TKUS 1st paper - Jin Kim ANS 361 Oppenheim Assignment 1...

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Jin Kim ANS 361, Oppenheim Assignment 1, Situating the Korean War The Korean War of 1950 has been a subject in discussion among countless authors and researchers for a long while, as they tried to come up with a unified cause/reason for such a catastrophic event but each ended up with different answers. In this paper, I will be discussing about how the three major authors, Cumings, Milliken, and Goncharov, relate the causes and/or ramifications of 1945-50 Korean division and the war itself to wider processes or dynamics. In her article ‘Intervention and Identity,” Milliken focuses on the U.S.’s implementation of collective security system in Korea, in which the participants of the system agree that peace is universal and indivisible, and that any breach to this peace will result in a collective response (p92). Concerned of Soviet’s growing expansion in East Asia, the U.S. used the collective security system as a justification for its intervention in East Asia as well, primarily in Korean peninsula, to protect it against the threats of Communism and keep Soviet Union’s power in check. Western intervention in Korea came about out of this interlocking insecurity about the West; it was democratic, advanced, peaceful west versus the totalitarian, backward, aggressive communist bloc of Soviet Union (p93). To U.S., Korea was a free world periphery of the West (p93). But there was a definite distinction within the collectivities: the U.S. as the leader of Western civilization and the Free world, and developing state, in this case the Korea, as a young fledgling brought to become a full member of the West (p94). Milliken labels this intervention as “epistemic realism,”
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a myth of 19 th century of the frontier to reconstruct “us,” the U.S., as civilized and “them,” the Korea, as barbaric (p94). I believe this was the problem that led to the division of the Korean peninsula and eventually to the war. Often in this kind of intervention, the intervener articulate not just individual state interests but also collective identity. Milliken claims that a theory of foreign policy as collective identity, rather than serving the interests of the individual state, constitute that state by drawing its borders conceptually and assigning its identity as “a particular state with a definable character,” (p93) in Korea’s case a character of
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TKUS 1st paper - Jin Kim ANS 361 Oppenheim Assignment 1...

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