Constructing a regional order Northeast Asia and the systemic constraints on Korean unification
Vance, Terence J.
Twomey, Christopher P.
Olsen, Edward A.
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Nowhere has the mid-20th century polarization of Northeast Asia been more evident than on the Korean Peninsula. Over the past six decades, efforts toward Korean unification have spanned the range of total warfare, covert attacks, propagandist affronts, and formal diplomacy to no avail. Amidst the talk of unification however, it seens a better understanding about the evolving nature of Korea's division is needed. Using a truly unique International Relations approach, this thesis explores the utility of Alexander Wendt's Social Theory of International Politics to address the evolving structure of Northeast Asia and its implications for Korean unification. The results of this analysis contrast with those of predominant IR theories such as Neorealism and suggest that unification is becoming less likely under structural trends. Additionally, the constructivist methodology employed here shows that while the United States will continue to play an important role in regional security, it must begin to diverge from its anachronistic Cold War defense posture to ensure future stability. By providing a deeper understanding about the macro-level structure of Northeast Asia, this these will contribute to the development of policies which will both enhance regional stability and aid in the eventual unification of the two Koreas.
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