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Full Access Irreconcilable Differences? Realism and Idealism in Cold War Korean-American Relations

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Irreconcilable Differences? Realism and Idealism in Cold War Korean-American Relations

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Anti-Americanism never should have emerged as a major force in South Korea. After all, Washington was responsible for the creation of the Republic of Korea in August 1948 and provided major support against North Korea during and after the Korean War. After 9/11, however, American failure to balance means and ends in the pursuit of realistic goals caused anti-Americanism to reach a crescendo because it revived with a new ferocity at least four historical factors: (1) American disregard for Korea and Korean incomprehension of American priorities; (2) American support for Korean military dictatorship; (3) United States military presence in Korea and refusal to deal with incidents of military misconduct in ways that appeared just to Koreans; and (4) American racism. Koreans, however, also do not understand that their nation is not the center of American priorities and expect more from the relationship than Americans are likely to provide. This article traces the development of these factors through the postwar period and the impact of Bush administration unilateralism.

Affiliations: 1: California State University, Chico, Email:, URL:


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