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A Troubled Peace

U.S. Policy and the Two Koreas

Chae-Jin Lee

Publication Year: 2006

In A Troubled Peace, Professor Chae-Jin Lee reviews the vicissitudes of U.S. policy toward South and North Korea since 1948 when rival regimes were installed on the Korean peninsula. He explains the continuously changing nature of U.S.-Korea relations by discussing the goals the United States has sought for Korea, the ways in which these goals have been articulated, and the methods used to implement them. Using a careful analysis of declassified diplomatic documents, primary materials in English, Korean, Japanese, and Chinese, and extensive interviews with American and Korean officials, Lee draws attention to a number of factors that have affected U.S. policy: the functions of U.S. security policy in Korea, the role of the United States in South Korea's political democratization, President Clinton's policy of constructive engagement toward North Korea, President Bush's hegemonic policy toward North Korea, and the hexagonal linkages among the United States, China, Japan, Russia, and the two Koreas. Drawing on concepts of containment, deterrence, engagement, preemption, and appeasement, Lee's balanced and thoughtful approach reveals the frustrations of all players in their attempts to arrive at a modicum of coexistence. His objective, comprehensive, and definitive study reveals a dynamic—and incredibly complex—series of relationships underpinning a troubled and tenuous peace.

Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xi

There is an old saying in Asia suggesting that when we drink water from a well, we should think of those who dug it long ago. As I reflect upon my forty years in academia, I cannot help but remember those who dug the well of knowledge from which I gained enormous benefits. As a student at Seoul National University, I was fortunate to have been educated by two towering pioneers: Min Byung Tae, an eminent scholar...

Abbreviations

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pp. xiii-xiv

Note on Korean, Chinese, and Japanese Terms

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pp. xv-

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1. Introduction

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pp. 1-8

Ever since the end of World War II, the United States has played a key role in the management of Korean affairs. With the defeat of Japan in 1945, the United States terminated Japan’s thirty-five years of colonial rule over Korea and, together with the Soviet Union, divided the peninsula along the 38th Parallel, occupying South Korea and North Korea, respectively. After prolonged negotiations failed...

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2. The United States Faces Korea

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pp. 9-62

Geographically and culturally worlds apart, the United States and the Korean Peninsula in the early nineteenth century had little in common. Yet they were about to enter a turbulent period of conflict and cooperation that would last for more than a century and a half. As early as the 1830s, the United States government believed that one of the advantages of opening Japan to the West would be the...

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3. The Dynamics of Structural Adjustment: From Nixon to Carter

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pp. 64-111

The structure of relations between the United States and South Korea shifted dramatically in the period from the beginning of the Nixon administration (January 1969) to the end of the Carter presidency (January 1981) and required a significant change in each country’s policy toward the other. As a result of its costly and ill-fated entanglement in the Vietnam War, the United States began to reassess the...

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4. The Passing of the Cold War: The Reagan and Bush Years

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pp. 112-157

Championing a moralistic and militantly anti-Communist foreign policy, President Ronald Reagan, at the time of his inauguration, rejected the liberal premises that had guided Carter’s military and diplomatic approaches toward Korea. In his summit meeting with President Chun Doo Hwan in February 1981, Reagan unequivocally declared that “the United States, as a Pacific power, will seek...

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5. From Containment to Engagement: Clinton’s Policy

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pp. 158-209

As discussed in the preceding chapter, the end of the global cold war marked a sea change in the international strategic and economic order. As a principal beneficiary and custodian of this changing world order, President William J. Clinton was faced with the challenge of meeting the commitments made by his predecessors in a world that had dramatically changed. When he took office in the...

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6. In Search of Hegemonic Diplomacy: Bush’s Policy

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pp. 210-274

Dashing President Clinton’s hopes that his Republican successor, George W. Bush, would continue his carefully crafted policies of constructive engagement with North Korea and close cooperation with South Korea, the incoming Bush administration was inclined to change both the philosophical foundations and the substantive direction of the U.S. approach toward the Korean Peninsula. In terms of...

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7. Prospects

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pp. 275-295

Once, in a discussion of the complexities of international relations, George F. Kennan suggested that there was not only “nothing final in point of time, nothing not vulnerable to the law of change,” but also “nothing absolute in itself.”1 He added: “There is no friendship without some element of antagonism; no enmity without some rudimentary community of interests; no benevolent intervention which is not...

Appendix

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pp. 297-301

Notes

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pp. 303-341

Index

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pp. 343-352


E-ISBN-13: 9780801889271
E-ISBN-10: 0801889278
Print-ISBN-13: 9780801883316
Print-ISBN-10: 0801883318

Page Count: 376
Illustrations: 1 line drawing (map)
Publication Year: 2006

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Subject Headings

  • Korea -- Foreign relations -- United States.
  • Korea (North) -- Foreign relations -- United States.
  • United States -- Foreign relations -- Korea.
  • United States -- Foreign relations -- Korea (North).
  • United States -- Foreign relations -- Korea (South).
  • Korea (South) -- Foreign relations -- United States.
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