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The Missing Consensus: U.S. Policy Specialist Views on Korea

by Guest Blogger for Scott A. Snyder Saturday, August 1, 2009
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice speaks after the U.N. Security Council issued a statement unanimously condemning North Korea's recent missile launch April 13, 2009 (Chip East/Courtesy Reuters). U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice speaks after the U.N. Security Council issued a statement unanimously condemning North Korea's recent missile launch April 13, 2009 (Chip East/Courtesy Reuters).

Stephen Costello is President of ProGlobal, Inc. He previously directed the Program on Korea at the Atlantic Council of the United States and was Director of the Kim Dae-jung Peace Foundation, U.S.A.

From the earliest days of the modern U.S.-Korea alliance, there have been tensions reflected by debates in the American policy community over how to deal with North Korea. Under the Clinton and Bush administrations, respectively, U.S. policy toward North Korea fluctuated wildly, from intensive engagement and deal-making to confrontation, coercion, and containment. There have been less noticed, but equally important, fluctuations in policy toward South Korea. These policy changes did not always correspond to developments in Korea, but sometimes reflected U.S. ideological and political battles. Read more »