Steven Schrage is the Scholl Chair in International Business at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
The financial crisis has become a tsunami that threatens to upend traditional assumptions and significantly alter dynamics ranging from trade to national security. The effects of the crisis on the U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) alliance could radically change the environment facing both nations as well as the relative importance of a relationship which has already faced significant adjustments following the Cold War and 9/11. Yet, both nations’ destinies are being reshaped by important factors—ranging from the financial crisis to the risk of proliferation by North Korea—that point to the need for a deepened and elevated alliance. These and other factors will place the U.S.- ROK relationship at the nexus of more critical global issues than at any point in decades. An important factor transforming the alliance was on bold display in London as the presidents of South Korea and the United States joined over twenty national leaders to tackle the economic crisis that has become the world’s top priority. This crisis and the G20 process are poised to further elevate the alliance’s importance as we head toward 2010. Read more »