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Preparing for Korean Unification: Scenarios and Implications Jonathan D. Pollack

Preparing for Korean Unification: Scenarios and Implications

Jonathan D. Pollack

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If and when Korean unification occurs, it will constitute one of the decisive strategic changes in Northeast Asia since the outbreak of the Korean conflict nearly half a century ago. Depending on how various political, military, economic, andMoreIf and when Korean unification occurs, it will constitute one of the decisive strategic changes in Northeast Asia since the outbreak of the Korean conflict nearly half a century ago. Depending on how various political, military, economic, and regional factors come into play, the outcome of the unification process could range from relatively manageable endgames to highly problematic and violent ones. Managing the results of the unification process will also usher in major new challenges for the United States, the Republic of Korea (ROK), and the U.S. Army. This report evaluates four alternative unification scenarios, each with corresponding characteristics, potential indicators, variations, and operational implications for the Army. We have labeled these scenarios according to their predominant characteristics: (1) integration and peaceful unification- (2) collapse and absorption- (3) unification through conflict- and (4) disequilibrium and potential external intervention. By describing the major dimensions of each scenario, we can identify some of the policy and operational challenges that U.S. and ROK security planners could face under each outcome. The findings in this report summarize and integrate the results of a research project on Korean Unification: Implications for the U.S. Army, sponsored by the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, U.S. Army, and conducted in RAND Arroyo Centers Strategy and Doc-trine Program. The Arroyo Center is a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the United States Army.