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The United States and the Koreas - Adding Substance to Sunshine

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For fifty years, the United States pursued a status quo strategy on the Korean peninsula, almost oblivious to evolution in the regional and strategic environment. Thousands of US servicemen spent their year on the ROK and thousands are there now, serving as Americas symbol of commitment to maintaining, and if necessary, restoring peace. Today, multiple factors suggest both the opportunity and the requirement for a change in strategy. These include the development in South Korea of strong democratic institutions, a vibrant economy, and a professional military, juxtaposed to North Korea, variously described as a failing or failed state, its people starving while leadership focuses on maintaining a huge military, threatening its neighbors and the world with missiles and weapons of mass destruction WMD. Regionally, Koreas neighbors--Russia, China and Japan--all recognize the success of the South and are concerned with the potential ills posed by the North. Internationally, the end of the Cold War, growth of a global economy, and recognition of the threat of transnational terrorism provide an unprecedented environment for consensus. All these factors combine to provide an opportunity for positive change through a more regional diplomatic focus, a less intrusive American military presence and multilateral balance of power, and greater regional and international cooperation to create a better peace. This paper describes the evolution of these factors in the strategic and regional environment and suggests changes to US strategic policy which forward both the interests of the United States and the region, adding substance to sunshine.

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  • Economics and Cost Analysis
  • Government and Political Science

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