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  • Author: Hugo Wheegook Kim
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: There is a vast literature that examines the American containment approach to communism throughout the Cold War era. However, few authors focus on the flip side of U.S. Cold War policy: constraint. In addition to their distaste for communism, Americans also feared "rogue" anti-communist allies dragging the U.S. into a larger-scale war with their common communist enemies. This fear especially applied to the South Korean authoritarian state under Syngman Rhee, who harnessed rabid anti-communism both to legitimize his rule and to try to embroil the U.S. in further conflict on the Korean peninsula. In order to exercise greater influence over such "rogue allies" as Syngman Rhee's South Korea, the U.S. opted to pursue strong bilateral alliances in East Asia, where they feared entrapment the most. As a result, solid relationships like the U.S.-ROK alliance came to dominate the East Asian security architecture, leaving little space for East Asian multilateralism to take root.
  • Topic: International Relations, Cold War, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States, East Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Korean Peninsula
  • Author: Hugo Wheegook Kim
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The Korean peninsula continues to be a geostrategic and economic nexus for Northeast Asia. As such, relations involve economic, social, historical, and larger regional issues, as well as the nuclear issue. While the specifics are yet to emerge, this article surveys the Obama administration's strategic approach to the region and the peninsula, concluding that it is working with a broad tradition of U.S. approaches to the region: engage China, uphold traditional alliances, and contain the North Korean threat. The economic crisis has affected the specifics of this grand strategy, but not the overall U.S. approach to East Asia.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States, China, East Asia, North Korea, Northeast Asia