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Book Reviews215 The Korean Peninsula: Prospects for Arms Reduction under Global Detente. William J. Taylor, Jr., Young Koo Cha, and John G. Blodgett, eds., Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1990. Pp. vi, 275. Index. $39.95. The current debate on the future of the Korean peninsula reflects an optimism-pessism dichotomy of perspectives. The issue revolves around the question of how to defuse the Korean time bomb by initiating the process of arms reduction and conflict resolution. On the optimistic side, a window of opportunity has opened up, it is claimed, from the collapse of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, followed by the subsequent reunification of Germany and the demise of communism in Eastern Europe. On the pessimistic side, however, tension and danger still persist on the Korean peninsula — the lone Cold War island amid the sea-changes in world politics and the last glacier in the post-Cold War era. Despite inherent difficulty in predicting the future, the book under review has given the reader a realistic account of what needs and can be done to defuse the power keg that the Korean peninsula represents today. The book is a collection of papers presented at a conference held in Washington, D.C., in 1989, which was jointly sponsored by Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Washington, D.C., and the Korea Institute for Defense Analysis (KIDA), Seoul. Sixteen substantive chapters, along with an introductory overview given by the president of the CSIS, represent the collective wisdom of leading defense-policy analysts both in the United States and in the Republic of Korea (ROK). In the introduction, Amos Jordan argues that "the emerging global detente provides a favorable environment" to the Republic of Korea "for realizing [its] national objectives" vis-à-vis the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in the North (p. 9). This "largely optimistic" tone of the book is carried into the subsequent discussion by individual authors. The book is organized into three thematic parts: the Global New Detente and the Korean Peninsula (part 1); the Context of Arms Reduction (part 2); and Arms Control in Korea: Issues and Prospects (part 3). In part 1, four chapters examine the nature of the post-Cold War era, the emerging international enviroment occasioned by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's rise to power in 1985, and the subsequent 216Journal of Korean Sind¡es U.S.-Soviet agreements including the signing of the Intermediary Nuclear Force (INF) treaty in 1987. In chapter 1, Robert Martin traces the historical origin of the "global\new detente" and hs development with a view to presenting the Soviet reassessment of its Asia policy and Gorbachev's new Asia initiative. Although "unprecedented opportunities to establish the foundations for a peaceful world" have arisen, tension on the Korean peninsula remains high as "the vestiges of the cold war" era rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union linger on (p. 26). This optimism of the new global detente is countered, however, by sober realism and counsel of caution, "not ... risk(ing) a premature lowering of our guard" by the United States (Gerrit Gong, p. 41), in the light of "North Korea's strategic relations" and its calculus (Norman Levin). "Strategic relations" is defined by Levin as "those a nation has with states that have the capability to favorably or adversely affect its fundamental national interest, particularly, as it relates to national security" (P- 44). North Korea's strategic relations with China and the Soviet Union are examined by Pong-Shik Park. The other two patterns of North Korea's "strategic relations" involve the United States, Japan, and South Korea. North Korean national interests are fivefold that, according to Levin, may be rank-ordered in terms of preserving the Kim Il Sung regime, maintaining North Korean independence, furthering the objective of reunification on North Korean terms, generating support for North Korean economic. development, and military modernization (p. 44). In part 3, six chapters examine the content of arms reduction and its prospects for success in the Korean peninsula. The security in the Western Pacific is contrasted with other regions in chapter 5 (Thomas Moorer). This is followed by an analysis of military relations and balance of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2158-1665
Print ISSN
0731-1613
Pages
pp. 215-218
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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