Korean Endgame: A Strategy for Reunification and U.S. Disengagement

Princeton University Press
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Nearly half a century after the fighting stopped, the 1953 Armistice has yet to be replaced with a peace treaty formally ending the Korean War. While Russia and China withdrew the last of their forces in 1958, the United States maintains 37,000 troops in South Korea and is pledged to defend it with nuclear weapons. In Korean Endgame, Selig Harrison mounts the first authoritative challenge to this long-standing U.S. policy.

Harrison shows why North Korea is not--as many policymakers expect--about to collapse. And he explains why existing U.S. policies hamper North-South reconciliation and reunification. Assessing North Korean capabilities and the motivations that have led to its forward deployments, he spells out the arms control concessions by North Korea, South Korea, and the United States necessary to ease the dangers of confrontation, centering on reciprocal U.S. force redeployments and U.S. withdrawals in return for North Korean pullbacks from the thirty-eighth parallel.

Similarly, he proposes specific trade-offs to forestall the North's development of nuclear weapons and missile delivery systems, calling for the withdrawal of the U.S. nuclear umbrella in conjunction with agreements to denuclearize Korea embracing China, Russia, and Japan. The long-term goal of U.S. policy, he argues, should be the full disengagement of U.S. combat forces from Korea as part of regional agreements insulating the peninsula from all foreign conventional and nuclear forces.

A veteran journalist with decades of extensive firsthand knowledge of North Korea and long-standing contacts with leaders in Washington, Seoul, and Pyongyang, Harrison is perfectly placed to make these arguments. Throughout, he supports his analysis with revealing accounts of conversations with North Korean, South Korean, and U.S. leaders over thirty-five years. Combining probing scholarship with a seasoned reporter's on-the-ground experience and insights, he has given us the definitive book on U.S. policy in Korea--past, present, and future.

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About the author

Selig S. Harrison is a former Washington Post Bureau Chief in Northeast Asia and the author of five books about the continent. He served as Senior Fellow and Director of Asian Studies at the Brookings Institution and, for twenty-two years, as a Senior Associate of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He has visited North Korea seven times and met the late President Kim Il Sung twice. He played a key role in setting the stage for the 1994 U.S. nuclear freeze agreement with Pyongyang.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Feb 10, 2009
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Pages
448
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ISBN
9781400824915
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / International Relations / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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When the Soviet Union pulled its forces out of Afghanistan, the American media had a simple explanation: Soviet troops had been hounded out of the mountains by U.S.-armed guerrillas--the skies cleared of Soviet aircraft by Stinger missiles--until the Kremlin was forced to cry uncle. But Diego Cordovez and Selig S. Harrison shatter this image. Out of Afghanistan shows that the Red Army was securely entrenched when the Soviet Union agreed to withdraw: American weaponry and Afghan bravery raised the costs for Moscow, but it was six years of skillful diplomacy that gave the Russians a way out. Cordovez and Harrison provide the definitive account of the Soviet blunders that led up to the invasion and the bitter struggles over the withdrawal that raged in the Soviet and Afghan Communist parties and the Reagan Administration. The authors are particularly well-suited to their task: Cordovez was the United Nations mediator who negotiated the Soviet pullout, and Harrison is a leading South Asia expert with four decades of experience in covering Afghanistan. Their story of the U.N. negotiations is interwoven with a gripping chronicle of the war years, complete with palace shootouts in Kabul, turf warfare between rival Soviet intelligence agencies, and the CIA role in building up Islamic fundamentalist guerrilla leaders at the expense of Afghan moderates. Cordovez opens up his diaries to take us behind the scenes in his negotiations, and Harrison draws on interviews with Mikhail Gorbachev, former Secretary of State George Shultz, and other key actors. The result is a book full of surprises. For example, the authors demonstrate that the Soviets intervened not out of a desire to drive to the Indian Ocean, but out of a fear of a U.S.-supported Afghan Tito. Rebuffs by hardline "bleeders" in the Reagan Administration undermined efforts by Yuri Andropov to secure a settlement before his death in 1983. Even more startling, Gorbachev resumed the search for a negotiated withdrawal more than a year before the first American-supplied Stinger missiles were deployed in the war. The Soviet intervention in Afghanistan was one of the pivotal events of recent history. Out of Afghanistan destroys many of the myths surrounding the Afghan war and will have a profound impact on the emerging debate over how and why the Cold War ended.
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