pacific forum History of Pacific Forum

Issues & Insights Vol. 03 – No. 05

In recent years, the relationship between the U.S. and South Korea seems to have taken a turn for the worse. The alliance, under-girded by a mutual defense treaty of 50 years’ standing, has served as the foundation for security and prosperity in the region. It was an alliance forged in a bitter war fought against a common enemy and one that oversaw the transformation of South Korea from one of the poorest nations in the world to one of its most dynamic economies. It also oversaw South Korea’s transition from authoritarian politics to full-fledged democracy. All throughout, the military alliance defended South Korea from the belligerent and erratic neighbor to its north. The alliance stands as a shining example of how much an alliance can contribute to bringing about both economic and political development that serves the interests of all involved. It is no wonder that the alliance is often mentioned by members of the current U.S. administration of what can be achieved in places like Iraq.