At the end of President Barack Obama's inauguration ceremony, civil rights leader Rev. Joseph Lowery invoked the hope of a day "when nation shall not lift up sword against nation, when tanks will be beaten into tractors." No one expects such a utopian vision to materialize any time soon. But both Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have spoken eloquently of the need to emphasize diplomacy over a narrow military agenda. In her confirmation hearing, Clinton stressed the need for "smart power," perhaps inadvertently echoing Obama's opposition to the invasion of Iraq as a "dumb war." Even top U.S. military officials, such as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, have warned against overly militarizing U.S. foreign policy.
- Released March 13, 2009
- Released March 1, 2009
Sometimes, it’s the everyday things, the ones that fly below the radar, that matter.
- Released February 26, 2009
Editor's Note: This essay is a condensed version of a paper originally commissioned by the Korea Economic Institute (KEI) for its Academic Paper Series. South Korea is currently engaged in a large-scale, expensive modernization of its military that aims to provide the country with a more robust and self-sufficient defense. The timing of this considerable increase in military spending might seem, at first glance, rather odd. Korean economic growth has been relatively anemic in the past few years. Meanwhile, the conventional military power of its chief adversary, North Korea, has steadily declined and, until recently, South Korean leaders were committed to expanding inter-Korean cooperation. In another irony, the current Lee Myung-bak administration has simultaneously pushed a much harder line on North Korea and reduced the level of spending projected by the previous Roh Moo-hyun government.