Scholars at Stanford's Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies assess the strategic situation in East Asia to be unsettled, unstable, and drifting in ways unfavorable for American interests. These developments are worrisome to countries in the region, most of which want the United States to reduce uncertainty about American intentions by taking early and effective steps to clarify and solidify U.S. engagement. In the absence of such steps, they will seek to reduce uncertainty and protect their own interests in ways that reduce U.S.
Drawing on twenty-four years of experience in government, Michael H. Armacost explores how the contours of the U.S. presidential election system influence the content and conduct of American foreign policy. He examines how the nomination battle impels candidates to express deference to the foreign policy DNA of their party and may force an incumbent to make wholesale policy adjustments to fend off an intra-party challenge for the nomination.
Stanford University’s Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (Shorenstein APARC) and The Korea Society established the New Beginnings policy study group three years ago to enhance the United States’ important alliance with the Republic of Korea. Differences of approach toward North Korea had created significant tensions between the two governments in preceding years.
Between 2009 and 2010, major new developments in and around the Korean Peninsula profoundly affected the context of U.S.-South Korean relations. The global economy, led by Northeast Asia, began slowly to recover from the economic recession that followed the U.S. financial crisis. As China’s economy continued its dramatic development, East Asian countries strengthened the architecture of regional cooperation. The international community focused increasingly on multilateral problems such as climate change and environmental issues.
In these uncertain times, the new Obama administration has an important opportunity to transform our vitally important alliance with the Republic of Korea (ROK, or South Korea) into a broader and deeper regional and even global partnership. South Korean President Lee Myung- bak is committed to the concept, and he has four more years in office to work with President Obama on it. The South Korean public also feels considerable goodwill toward President Obama.
In a few short months, a new U.S. administration will take office in Washington. It will inherit adecent hand to play in Asia. The region is not currently in crisis. Relations among the great powers there - the United States, Japan, China, Russia, and India - are generally constructive. The prospect of conflict among them is remote. Asian economies have sustained robust growth despite the current U.S. slowdown. The results of recent elections in both South Korea and Taiwan present promising opportunities that did not exist a year ago.
With the inauguration in February 2008 of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, The Korea Society and Stanford University’s Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center launched a nonpartisan group of former senior U.S. government officials, scholars, and other American experts on Korea to explore how to revitalize the U.S. alliance with the Republic of Korea (ROK) after nearly a decade of strains and tensions.
Northeast Asia stands at a turning point in its history. The key economies of China, Japan, and South Korea are growing increasingly interdependent, and the movement toward regionalism is gaining momentum. Yet interdependency, often set in a global context, also spurs nationalism in all three countries, and beyond in East Asia. The essays in this volume assess current interactions -- or cross currents -- between national and regional forces in Northeast Asia, and suggest their future direction.
The dramatic reassessment of U.S. foreign policy priorities in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks has affected virtually every country in Asia, and underscored the extent to which America's own security is directly tied to that of the broader Asia-Pacific region.
Many similarities exist between America's alliances with Japan and South Korea. The United States provides a security guarantee to both countries, and maintains a military presence in each. Local ambivalence about these foreign troops has long been a staple of politics in both countries.
The two alliances are strategically connected. The United States would find it difficult to support its commitments to South Korea without access to bases in Japan. Japan would have trouble sustaining political support for US bases if it were America's only ally in the region. Trilateral security consultations among the United States, Japan, and South Korea enhance deterrence and generate diplomatic leverage with respect to North Korea.
The US-Japan and US-ROK alliances have yielded mutual benefits for over fifty years. Yet today, while US-Japan defense cooperation is flourishing, conflicting perceptions in Washington and Seoul of Kim Jong-il's North Korean regime--and how to deal with it--have generated deep concerns about the future of the US-ROK alliance. This has prompted officials on both sides to shift their attention from managing these defense partnerships to redefining their terms.
Armacost and Okimoto's provocative book examines this policy challenge. Substantial progress has been achieved in modernizing the US-Japan alliance. A shared US-ROK analysis of the North Korean challenge, and a common strategy for combating it, is now the urgent priority. Without it, the US-ROK alliance will not regain the relevance and promise that mark America's relationship with Japan. Given the stakes, Washington and Seoul must summon the political will to address current problems promptly and purposefully. Written by some of the most eminent scholars and practitioners in the field, the chapters in this timely volume offer thoughtful suggestions to help policymakers achieve this goal.
(This title is now out of print and complete PDFs may be downloaded below.)
During the past year, Japan's security policy was shaped decisively by the emergence of a more palpable threat from North Korea. This prompted Tokyo to bolster its alliance with the United States, toughen its stance toward Pyongyang, align its policies more closely with Washington's toward other members of the so-called "axis of evil," and modestly extend the parameters of its evolving international role as a source of offshore, noncombat, logistic services and humanitarian assistance.
North Korea's renewed bid for nuclear weapons poses an urgent, serious foreign policy challenge to the United States. The current situation -- though it bears a resemblance to the events of 1993-1994 -- is far more dangerous and difficult. North Korea has developed longer-range ballistic missiles; South Korea's growing nationalism has put its U.S. relations on shakier ground; and the United States is distracted by the wars on terrorism and for regime change in Iraq.