Toward a Culture of Reconciliation
Publication Year: 2005
Published by: University of Minnesota Press
Series: Barrows Lectures
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
Preface: A Rogue Is a Rogue Is a Rogue
Few conflicts are as protracted as the one in Korea, where deeply hostile and anachronistic Cold War attitudes have posed major security problems for half a century. To be more precise, two specters haunt the peninsula: a military escalation, even outright war, and a North Korean collapse, which could easily destabilize the northeast Asian region.1 ...
Given that this book emerged over a period of almost two decades, I am grateful to a correspondingly large number of people who were kind enough to help me in my effort to understand Korea and its security challenges. During my initial stay in Panmunjom I came to appreciate my Swiss, Swedish, Polish, and Czech colleagues at the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission. ...
Note on Transliteration
Introduction: Rethinking Korean Security
One of the key features of politics in Korea is a persistently recurring state of military tension. The roots of this conflict are historical: as a result of the emerging Soviet-American rivalry at the end of World War II, the Korean peninsula was tentatively divided along the thirty-eighth parallel. ...
1. The Emergence of Antagonistic Identities
The honorific attributes in the first epigraph were bestowed by North Korea’s official press upon the outgoing and incoming South Korean presidents Chun Doo-hwan and Roh Tae-woo. The year was 1988. In the South, hatred of North Korea’s Communist leadership was widespread too, although articulated in slightly less colorful ways. ...
2. The Persistence of Cold War Antagonisms
One would think that ideological antagonisms substantially subsided with the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the subsequent disintegration of the Soviet Union. But in Korea it is striking how much remains the same. ...
3. The Geopolitical Production of Danger
Constituting a natural link between the Asian mainland and Japan, the Korean peninsula has always been an important factor in the security policy of the surrounding powers. In the nineteenth century two major wars were fought for control of the peninsula, one between Japan and China (1894–1895) and the other between Japan and Russia (1904–1905). ...
Part II: Alternative Security Arrangements for Korea
In this second half of the book, I advance my suggestions about how to promote a more peaceful political environment. Central here is the challenge of figuring out how to deal with the vilified other and the corresponding antagonistic identity constructs. ...
4. Toward an Ethics of Dialogue
Few would question that dialogue is an essential aspect of dealing with security dilemmas. Michel Wieviorka is one of many commentators who draw attention to the linkages between conflict and the breakdown or absence of dialogue. ...
5. Dilemmas of Engagement
Although underestimated by defense experts, the promotion of dialogue and face-to-face encounters is by no means a radical idea. Most state actors entangled in the Korean security situation display a preference for the so-called soft landing scenario, which foresees an incremental rapprochement between North and South. ...
6. Toward an Ethics of Difference
Drawing attention to the contradictions and problems of normalization, as I did in chapters 4 and 5, is not to oppose engagement or to eschew democratic values. Quite the contrary. An active engagement policy is badly needed on the peninsula, but in order to overcome some of the most difficult existing security dilemmas, ...
Korea is an open book whose story line has yet to be written to the end. Whether peace or conflict will prevail is to a great extent dependent on the mind-sets that will guide not only future decision makers but also the societies at large in both Koreas. I have sought to advance a number of suggestions about how to understand and engage this ongoing political struggle. ...
About the Author
Roland Bleiker is reader in peace studies and political theory at the University of Queensland, Australia. From 1986 to 1988 he was chief of the office of the Swiss delegation to the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission in Panmunjom. ...
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