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James Jungbok Lee

This article examines the reasons why the level of alliance cohesion between the United States and the Republic of Korea (rok) was suboptimal during the Second North Korean Nuclear Crisis (2002–2006). Existing studies on this phenomenon primarily attribute its causes to factors like the rise of anti-Americanism in the rok and/or the increasing divergence in the two nations’ respective threat perceptions of the North Korea and their resulting policy preferences. However, these explanations are partial at best. The main finding here is that one should understand the frictions in the U.S.-rok alliance in terms of the rok’s status concerns. In particular, the rok, with a sense of entitlement to its solid middle power status, had set out to cooperate closely with the United States in seeking to answer the nuclear problem, based on the spirit of horizontal, equitable alliance relations. However, the United States failed overall to reciprocate, thereby leading the rok to boldly pursue its own set of policies at the expense of eroding alliance cohesion. These events demonstrate that (dis)respect for status concerns in international politics can make a major contribution towards facilitating (or impeding) interstate cooperation.

Jun Suk Hyun and William Stueck

U.S. relations with South Korea had a rocky start during U.S. occupation when American planners rated the peninsula low on the list of U.S. strategic priorities. The psychology of the relationship improved in 1948, when the United States helped create the Republic of Korea (rok), and even more after June 1950, when U.S. military intervention prevented North Korea from conquering South Korea. With the July 1953 armistice in the Korean War, the United States reluctantly agreed to a bilateral alliance that eventually became the centerpiece of American defense strategy there. With concerns ongoing about Chinese expansion and Japanese reliability, staunchly anti-Communist South Korea became the most reliable U.S. strategic partner in East Asia. When Pak Chŏnghŭi emerged as a strong leader in the mid-1960s, the United States came to see the rok as a valuable strategic asset in countering Asian communism. With South Korea’s settlement with Japan and commitment of combat forces to Vietnam in 1965 and U.S. acceptance of a Status-of-Forces Agreement with the rok a year later, the bilateral alliance relationship reached a peak after two decades of challenges.

Erik J. de Jager

The project, Chronicle of the Governors’ Association is a combined history and anthropological field research project investigating the sustainability of a so-called ‘Institution for Collective Action’ in The Netherlands. The co-operative association, known as the ‘Governor’s’ Association’ or ‘To Our Avail’, acts as a sickness fund for male entrepreneurs, and is an expression of such an institution. Research into the functionality of this particular association was undertaken by the author during the years 2015–2016, with support from the University of Utrecht. By examining the history, background and workings of this 110-year-old co-operative sickness fund through collating data from many different sources, he identified the qualities that have ensured the long-term existence of this type of commons. The resulting archived data collection underpins the findings of this research.

John Watkins

Does the us president seek a war to end all war in the Middle East? Apocalyptic thinking is hardly a novelty when it comes to the United States, or to diplomacy. A look back at the 17th century, and the evolution of international thinking since, reminds us how durable such thinking can be.

Anne Deighton

The British decision to leave the European Union has created a number of challenges in the security and defense realms. The difficulties with implementing the decision are compounded by the unusual apparatus and haphazard manner by which the so-called Brexit negotiations have been handled on the uk side.

Klaus Larres

The much-praised “special relationship” between the US and the UK has had little, if any, relevance for President Donald Trump. After the Brexit referendum of June 2016 Prime Minister Theresa May and many of the “Brexiteers” in the Conservative Party hoped that a rejuvenation of relations with the U.S., perhaps by means of free trade treaty, would counter-balance any loss of political and economic influence due to the UK’s departure from the European Union. Some of Trump’s rhetoric seemed to indicate this. He repeatedly praised the country for its desire to get back “its sovereignty” and “control over its borders.” In reality Trump was so focused on the realization of his “America First” policy that it was unlikely that he would be inclined to grant any special favors or generous trade terms to the UK, “special relationship” or not.