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Solving U.S. Problems in Korea Through Unification

The United States has been heavily involved in Korean affairs since the end of World War II.  Although our original goal of helping Korea regain her independence “in due course” was not supposed to entail a decades-long process, as events evolved, the United States became entangled in geopolitical obligations that have, so far, lasted for 60 years.  At the core of that entanglement is the issue of how to deal with inter-Korean tensions.  Resolving those tensions clearly would help Korea and—if it is done soundly—might even improve U.S. policy in the overall Asia-Pacific region.

The obvious problem the United States faces in Korea centers on North Korea’s nuclear-weapons agenda and how the Pyongyang government headed by Kim Jong-il manipulates that agenda.  However, a spectrum of problems plagues U.S. relations with both Koreas.

The Democratic People’s Republic of (North) Korea (DPRK) has always feared and distrusted the United States because of our role in the Cold War and the Korean War and our attempts to leverage our alliance with the Republic of (South) Korea (ROK) against the DPRK.  North Korea-U.S. relations worsened in the post-Cold War era, as Pyongyang reacted adversely to the George H.W. Bush, Clinton, and George W. Bush administrations’ interventionism worldwide.  This reinforced North Korea’s long-standing quest for self-reliance and...

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