Michael Finnegan is a senior research associate at the National Bureau of Asian Research.
The Republic of Korea (ROK)’s pledge to return to Afghanistan, after more than two years of absence, can be viewed in several ways—as a domestic political breakthrough, recognition of Korea’s interests in the world, or reflection of an evolving alliance with the United States. Perhaps it is all of these and more. The full motivation for the decision and specific plans to implement the mission will not be clear until the Lee Myung-bak administration explains its rationale and plans for deployment to the South Korean people. As he does so, President Lee Myung-bak should avoid the mistakes of past administrations by clearly articulating South Korea’s national interests and strategic rationale for the deployment. Read more »