Thoughts of the Times; Korea on the Wings of Globalization (I)

Korea Times (Seoul, Korea), May 29, 2000 | Go to article overview

Thoughts of the Times; Korea on the Wings of Globalization (I)


Globalization has more recently become the mantra of social scientific analysis on the trends and patterns of human civilization. Although, it has seemingly appeared to become more of a cliche, observers of social transformation consider it as having great meaning in prospecting a country's developmental horizon. How do we prospect Korea riding on the wings of globalization?

Politically, the contemporary world can be referred to as complex, anarchic, interconnected and, at most, having messy appearances. But certain trends are identifiable in terms of systems of networks that are burgeoning around the world, which have been highlighted by the substantial growth of international governmental organizations as well as international non-governmental organizations, accompanied by the rapid development of different forms of regime, the changing structure and form of international law, and the emergence of regional organizations and institutions. A given country is given the chance to enhance its national capacity by being a part of the global body politic. Along this line, South Korea has improved significantly its international standing after having been admitted as bona fide member of global organizations such as the United Nations and its international agencies, the World Trade Organization, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and other international institutions. She will continue to perform increasingly significant roles in international cooperation activities such as peacekeeping, overseas development aid, etc. In this context, what Koreans are tasked to do is to educate and train world-class future leaders and diplomats, who will represent Korea in such international bodies. Leadership education will need to focus on equipping young Koreans with cosmopolitan knowledge, attitudes and skills.

Military globalization refers to the expanding network of worldwide military ties and relations, as well as the impact of key military technological innovation which, overtime have reconstituted the world into single geostrategic space. In the post-Cold War world the trend towards institutional alliance arrangements has not abated and the greater emphasis is now placed on strengthening and extending regional cooperative security or multilateral defense mechanisms. Likewise, in parallel with these two new trends, there is a developing recognition that security means more than military one and now includes what the Japanese first propounded as comprehensive security, which includes further what Giddens terms as ``life politics'' and more recently termed by peace scholars as ``human security.'' This transformation is giving birth to so- called ``post-military societies,'' which implement policies of conversion from military to civilian use of public funds. In this vein, South Korea has seen and will be seeing more changes in its society. From military governments that dominated the political sphere for some three decades, a civilian government was put in place in 1993 paving the way for democratic and transparent governance to set in. It is expected that government will be more civilianized hence the possibility of rationalizing government priorities from a military security oriented to a more human security orientation. …

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