Situational Anti-Americanism in the Republic of Korea: origins and causes of decline

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Abstract


The article discusses main theoretical approaches to the concept of Anti-Americanism, including situational Anti-Americanism, i.e. critique of not America as such, but rather of its particular actions. It demonstrates that Anti-Americanism that has emerged in the Republic of Korea is of situational type. While in the first decades of the Cold War South Korea was one of the most pro-American states in the world, it started to change in 1980s. The article links emergence of Anti-Americanism in the country to U.S. support to the authoritarian political regime in South Korea in times, when ever greater part of the population started demanding democratization. A focus is given to 2000s, when Anti-Americanism gained significant popularity in the country. It demonstrates that situational Anti-Americanism is the dominant type of it also nowadays. In recent years declining popularity of Anti-Americanism has been characteristic to South Korea society. The article links this tendency to the failure of the six-party talks on North Korean nuclear program, to rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia in general, and, most importantly, to the progress that the Korean people’s Democratic Republic has achieved in development of its missile and nuclear technologies. At the same time, it concludes that as long as U.S. troops remain in South Korea, and as long as political and economic ties between the Republic of Korea and the U.S. remain as close as they are today, situational Anti-Americanism will remain characteristic to South Korean society.


About the authors

Irina Sergeevna Lantsova

Saint-Petersburg State University

Author for correspondence.
Email: islanko@mail.ru

PhD in Political Sciences, Senior Lecturer of the Department of American Studies of the Faculty of International relations of Saint-Petersburg State University

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