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Time to Reassess the United States/Republic of Korea Mutual Defense Treaty

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Technical Report

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Army War College Carlisle United States

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Americas allies rely disproportionately on the United States to shoulder the burden for maintaining the rules-based international order. The emergence of cross-domain transnational threats and rising, revisionist state powers are straining American capabilities and resources to maintain the rules-based international order by itself. Furthermore, public opinion in the United States has visibly shifted, demonstrating a sizable portion of the public is tiring of cheap riding by allies and unequal treaty relationships. The American electorate expects the rest of the world to contribute their fair share to the provisioning of global public goods. One way in which the United States can begin to alter the status quo of being the guarantor of the rules-based international order is by reviewing and updating its Mutual Defense Treaties, which are predominantly outdated unilateral security guarantees. This essay examines the state of the current United StatesRepublic of Korea Mutual Defense Treaty, the historical barriers to the maturation of this security relationship, and offers recommendations for needed adjustments.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science

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