- NBR - The National Bureau of Asian Research

NBR Joint Publications

Edited volumes and monographs that address U.S. interests in the Asia-Pacific region, released in cooperation with external publishers.


Korean Approaches Reunification

Nicholas Eberstadt

The Korean Peninsula is again attracting attention. In the South (the Republic of Korea), the experiment with political pluralism proceeds at an accelerated rate, not always smoothly, but with increasing hope that the transition from military-led authoritarianism to civilian-led democracy will continue.

When one reflects on South Korean politics in recent decades, three experiences warrant consideration. First, the experiment in planting Western-style democracy prior to either extensive tutelage of the elite or socioeconomic modernization failed.

Second, given the Korean War and the continuing tension between the Northern and Southern governments as well as the serious defects in the existing civilian-led system, the usurpation of political power by a greatly strengthened military was not surprising. Moreover, it was a development paralleled in many other Asian settings.

Third, after several decades of state-directed economic development and the emergence of an increasingly vocal "middle class," a transition to greater political openness and the civilianization of the political process ensued, again, a trend with broad parallels elsewhere.

Many tests like ahead. A new generation of South Koreans is entering the political arena, often dissatisfied with older leaders and evidencing a strong nationalist bent. Can ROK democracy, still fragile, be strengthened, and a government of men be transformed into a government of law?

Other Joint Publications

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army in 2025
Roy Kamphausen and David Lai

Learning by Doing: The PLA Trains at Home and Abroad
Roy Kamphausen, David Lai and Travis Tanner

Assessing the People’s Liberation Army in the Hu Jintao Era
Roy Kamphausen, David Lai and Travis Tanner

Slade Gorton: A Half Century in Politics
John C. Hughes

Chinese Lessons from Other Peoples' Wars
Andrew Scobell, David Lai and Roy Kamphausen

2011 APEC Energy Policy Roundtable Report: Realizing APEC's Energy Growth through Sound Energy Policy

The PLA at Home and Abroad: Assessing the Operational Capabilities of China's Military
Roy Kamphausen, David Lai and Andrew Scobell

Beyond the Strait: PLA Missions Other Than Taiwan
Roy Kamphausen, David Lai and Andrew Scobell

The "People" in the PLA: Recruitment, Training, and Education in China's Military
Roy Kamphausen, Andrew Scobell and Travis Tanner

Right Sizing the People's Liberation Army: Exploring the Contours of China's Military
Andrew Scobell and Roy Kamphausen

China, the United States, and Southeast Asia: Contending perspectives on politics, security, and economics
Evelyn Goh and Sheldon W. Simon

Energy, Wealth and Governance in the Caucasus and Central Asia
Richard M. Auty and Indra de Soysa

Russia's Far East: A Region at Risk
Judith Thornton and Charles E. Ziegler

The Many Faces of Asian Security
Sheldon W. Simon

Korea's Future and the Great Powers
Nicholas Eberstadt and Richard J. Ellings

Energy Conflict in Central Asia and the Caucasus
Robert Ebel and Rajan Menon

From APEC to Xanadu: Creating a Viable Community in the Post-Cold War Pacific
Donald C. Hellmann and Kenneth B. Pyle

Korean Approaches Reunification
Nicholas Eberstadt