Asian Perspectives on International Security by Donald Hugh McMillen

By Donald Hugh McMillen

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Thus, without knowing a nation's perception of the state of the international political system, we can hardly understand its feeling of threat. The most critical element in evaluating a nation's threat perception is how it perceives the balance among the powers working in its security environment. In terms of military capability, the ROK cannot match the surrounding big powers, especially the Soviet Union, the PRC, and the US. Naturally, South Koreans correlate the imminent threat of North Korea with the superpower balance in East Asia.

In Asia, the US should consider a NATO-type treaty organisation, in which all members share the common defence. What can South Korea do to improve its security environment? Its options are quite limited due to its small size and capabilities. Of course, it will try to build up its own deterrence measures at any cost. Being a small nation, it will not be able to have threatening military forces, but it may develop a sufficient denial capability to discourage potential invaders. A porcupine cannot overwhelm a lion, but it does have enough bristles to discourage the latter's attack.

Of course, it will try to build up its own deterrence measures at any cost. Being a small nation, it will not be able to have threatening military forces, but it may develop a sufficient denial capability to discourage potential invaders. A porcupine cannot overwhelm a lion, but it does have enough bristles to discourage the latter's attack. South Korea considers herself to be a porcupine in a lion's cage. 21 NOTES 1. For definitions of a bipolar international system, see John Spanier, Games Nations Play, 2nd edn, Praeger, New York, 1975, p.

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