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  • Author: Gary J. Schmitt
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: With the United States facing two major revisionist powers, Russia and China, as well as additional security threats from North Korea, Iran, and jihadist terrorism, a critical advantage for the United States is its global network of alliances and strategic partners. As the 2018 National Defense Strategy states, “Alliances and partnerships are crucial to our strategy, providing a durable asymmetric strategic advantage that no competitor or rival can match.” The advantage of having military allies and partners is enhanced by the core capacity of the American military having remained largely the same over the past decade, though the global security environment grew more complex and difficult during that time. In short, the United States needs allies and security partners. But the United States needs allies and partners that can pull their weight militarily if the country is going to be able to maintain a favorable balance of power in critical regions of the world. The second edition of A Hard Look at Hard Power provides an in-depth examination of the overall strategic perspective, defense plans, budgets, and capabilities of seven key European and Asian allies, three frontline strategic partners, and NATO.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Terrorism, Budget, Global Security, Alliance
  • Political Geography: Russia, Japan, China, United Kingdom, Iran, India, Taiwan, South Korea, North Korea, France, Poland, Germany, Australia, Sweden, United States of America
  • Author: Katherine Bauer, Kevin Mathieson
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Tehran is pressing Seoul regarding the billions in Iranian oil revenues held by South Korean banks, creating an opportunity to expand the U.S. humanitarian trade mechanism. On July 21, South Korea’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Iranian ambassador to lodge a complaint over Tehran’s heightened rhetoric regarding access to funds frozen in South Korea. The week before, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson had accused Seoul of having a “master-servant relationship” with Washington, while the governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) had previously threatened legal action to access the funds, which Tehran says it plans to use for humanitarian purchases. Although the U.S. government authorized use of the funds for such purposes in February, South Korean banks appear hesitant to move forward without additional U.S. assurances—a reluctance compounded by the $86 million fine that U.S. regulators levied on the Industrial Bank of Korea (IBK) in April for failing to identify large-scale Iranian money laundering. With COVID-19 cases on the rise again in the Islamic Republic, Washington should work with Seoul to ensure that trade for medicine, equipment, and other humanitarian items moves forward—albeit with strict oversight.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government, Trade
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Asia, South Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Frank Aum, Jacob Stokes, Patricia M. Kim, Atman M. Trivedi, Rachel Vandenbrink, Jennifer Staats, Joseph Yun
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: A joint statement by the United States and North Korea in June 2018 declared that the two countries were committed to building “a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.” Such a peace regime will ultimately require the engagement and cooperation of not just North Korea and the United States, but also South Korea, China, Russia, and Japan. This report outlines the perspectives and interests of each of these countries as well as the diplomatic, security, and economic components necessary for a comprehensive peace.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy, Economy, Peace
  • Political Geography: Russia, Japan, China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Korean Peninsula, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Country Data and Maps
  • Institution: Economist Intelligence Unit
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Economy, Outlook, Forecast, Finance outlook
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Japan, China, Sudan, Indonesia, Turkey, Ukraine, Moldova, Canada, India, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Kuwait, Tajikistan, France, South Africa, Brazil, Argentina, Yemen, Sri Lanka, Germany, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Romania, Hungary, Australia, Albania, Italy, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Mexico, Jordan, Bahrain, Singapore, Tunisia, Chile, Oman, Angola, Zambia, Ghana, New Zealand, Ecuador, Malawi, Namibia, Mauritius, Panama, Belarus, United States of America, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Seychelles, Democratic Republic of Congo, UK, Russian Federation, Syrian Arab Republic, Tanzania, United Republic of, Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Country Data and Maps
  • Institution: Economist Intelligence Unit
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Politics, Background, Forecast, Political and institutional effectiveness
  • Political Geography: South Korea
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Country Data and Maps
  • Institution: Economist Intelligence Unit
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Politics, Summary, Background, Political forces at a glance
  • Political Geography: South Korea
  • Author: Charles Knight, Lutz Unterseher
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Project on Defense Alternatives
  • Abstract: Varied incremental steps that embody and signal the accumulating commitment to a minimally acceptable common political future for Korea are key to this process. Progressive reduction of cross-border invasion threats through mutual confidence building force restructuring will constitute a virtuous circle of reinforcement for a changed relationship. [Through the] accumulation of the sunk costs of iterative reciprocity North and South Korea will arrive at a point where the demonstrated commitment to smaller restructured military postures is sufficient to allow rapid progress toward a stable level and disposition of arms compatible with a new peaceful political relationship.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Defense Policy, Military Strategy, Disarmament
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Kristine Lee, Joshua Fitt, Coby Goldberg
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: The U.S.–South Korea alliance is a primary deterrent to the threat North Korea’s growing nuclear arsenal poses. But the alliance’s nearly singular functional focus on managing the North Korea threat, despite South Korea’s broadly integral role in advancing a rules-based order in the region, has introduced volatility in the bilateral relationship. Washington’s halting and inconsistent approach to Pyongyang and its failure to reach a timely agreement on its military cost-sharing framework with Seoul have nudged the alliance toward a new inflection point. Beyond the North Korea challenge, South Korea has the potential to play a consequential role in advancing the United States’ broader vision for a rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific. As Seoul adopts globally oriented policies, buoyed by its position at the leading edge of certain technology areas and its successful COVID-19 pandemic response, the United States should parlay these efforts into a more concrete role for South Korea as a partner on the world stage. Collaborating on global public health issues, combating climate change, and jointly developing norms around critical emerging technologies would position the alliance to meet the challenges of the 21st century. By widening the aperture of the alliance and positioning Seoul to play an integral role in the United States’ vision for the future of the Indo-Pacific, the two allies will be better equipped to address enduring geopolitical risks in Northeast Asia, including those associated with a nuclear-armed North Korea.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Nuclear Weapons, Alliance, Modernization
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Kristine Lee, Martijn Rasser, Joshua Fitt, Coby Goldberg
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: The South Korean experience is an illustrative case study of digital entanglement with China. This paper focuses on South Korea’s 5G networks for the purposes of scoping, but the spotlight on telecommunications networks offers just one window into a broader trend of technology and economic interdependencies between Seoul and Beijing. In particular, the paper’s focus on 5G illuminates four central observations that could also apply to other technology areas: (1) the U.S.-China strategic competition has wedged South Korea between its most important ally and its largest trading partner; (2) geopolitical risk assessments are not top of mind in South Korea’s technology policymaking calculations; (3) the country’s political leadership largely defers to private industry on the use of Chinese equipment; and (4) South Korean privacy regulations remain relatively fluid and are evolving both to meet domestic pressures and to generate new market opportunities. These trends are evident in the history of South Korea’s economic entanglement with China and the risk of coercion carried with it. Ongoing entanglement with digital infrastructure—and 5G networks in particular—increases the potential for and reach of adverse economic statecraft by Beijing and will make it more difficult and costly to unravel.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Communications, Bilateral Relations, COVID-19, 5G
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Van Jackson
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: For the foreseeable future, America’s Northeast Asian allies Japan and South Korea must live in the shadow of a nuclear North Korea, whose capabilities they cannot match. During the Obama and Trump administrations, North Korea dramatically expanded and improved its ability to hold Japanese, South Korean, and even U.S. territory at risk with its nuclear and missile arsenal.1 Despite high-profile summitry and promises to the contrary, there is no sign that this imbalance will be rectified, and its continuation exacerbates regional risks and ally insecurity.2 The mounting North Korea threat is compounded by poor timing—U.S. policy has proven exceptionally erratic, unreliable, and risk-prone in recent years. The very existence of Japan and South Korea depends on strategies built around a partnership with the United States that has become shaky, and on faith in the competence of U.S. statecraft—which both countries are starting to perceive as a risk rather than a source of security. Ally perceptions of U.S. strategic incompetence generate real costs and risks for the United States and Northeast Asian security. If the United States continues to squander its deepest relationships in Asia, the allies could become rivals with each other, increase risks of nuclear instability, play a spoiler role in U.S. regional strategy, withhold basing and access rights to U.S. forces operating in the region, and potentially take independent aggressive actions against North Korea that unintentionally escalate to war.
  • Topic: Security, Nuclear Weapons, Alliance
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, South Korea, North Korea