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Worse Than a MonolithAlliance Politics and Problems of Coercive Diplomacy in Asia$
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Thomas J. Christensen

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691142609

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691142609.001.0001

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Growing Pains: Alliance Formation and the Road to Conflict in Korea

Growing Pains: Alliance Formation and the Road to Conflict in Korea

(p.28) Chapter 2 Growing Pains: Alliance Formation and the Road to Conflict in Korea
Worse Than a Monolith

Thomas J. Christensen

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines how problems and politics in the nascent alliances and alignments in both the communist and anticommunist camps affected security relations between the two camps in the first years of the Cold War. It shows how the uncertain and poorly defined nature of U.S. commitment to its partners in East Asia undercut the credibility of the nation's near-term threats and long-term assurances in coercive diplomacy. It argues that North Korea's invasion of South Korea that started the Korean War was rooted in a combination of communist elites' underestimation of the resolve and power of the United States to counter such an aggression in the near term and an inflated view of Japan's likely future role in the security politics of the region after its full economic and military recovery from World War II.

Keywords:   alliances, security relations, Cold War, United States, East Asia, South Korea, Japan, coercive diplomacy, Korean War, security politics

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