The impact of threat perception disparities on ROK-U.S. alliance cohesion: shifts between self-reliance and troop dispatches in the Park and Roh administrations
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This thesis compares the Park Jung Hee and Roh Moo Hyun governments' threat awareness and alliance policies, particularly with regard to self-defense and troop dispatches in support of the United States. It finds that during the Roh administration, domestic political factors led to a deflation of security threats, leading Roh to shift from self-reliance to U.S. support via dispatch of troops in order to gain more leverage in pursuing the Republic of Korea's diplomatic preferences. Meanwhile, the Park government, influenced by threats to the U.S. alliance, amplified its threat perception, leading to an opposite shift from troop dispatch to self-reliance. The thesis concludes that in both cases, gaps in threat perception deteriorated the alliance's solidarity. These findings suggest that while Korea is a small power in an asymmetric alliance, its domestic factors have the power to significantly impact the alliance's performance. When this results in the two countries' drifting apart, it could affect the alliance's ability to deter North Korea.
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