their subsequent o’ereapacit’. Japan is arncase in point. During the Cold War, thernconntrv’s strategic ahie outweighed—inrnthe eves of U.S. poHtical leaders and economicrnplanners — its growing role as anrneconomic competitor. Americans providedrnopen access to their markets withoutrndemanding reciprocitv, while thernJapanese supinely accepted Hicir role as arneunuch state, disarmed but kept fat andrnhapp b their American overlords. As arn”developmental state,” along with thernother Asian “tigers,” Japan created itsrnow n variet’ of mercantilist capitalism, arn”third wa” between the socialism of thernSoviet bloc and “laissez-faire,” AmericanrnshJe. This Nipponese third wav, however,rnwas not an ideological alternative, butrnthe surial mechanism of a defeatedrnpeople. Japanese industrial policy, guidedrnbv a permanent and unelected bureaueracwrnwas geared to serve the interestsrnof producers, not consumers. Giantrncartels, or zaihatsu, stood at the apex ofrnan export-driven economy, churning outrninexpensive manufactured goods for thernU.S. market while making their ovn peoplernpa ten times the world market pricernfor their primary food staple, rice. OtherrnAsian states, huddled under the l l S . defensernumbrella, followed the Japanese example.rnImperialism distorted the normalrndeelopment of these nahons and madernthem economically dependent on theirrnpolitical and —espeeiallv—their militar’rnrelationship with the United States.rn’I’his peculiar form of imperial svmbiosisrnhad a debilitating effect on both Americarnand Japan: It led to the de-industrializationrnof America as well as a great dealrnof Japanese malinvestmcnt. In America,rnthe deterioration of the steel, auto, andrnother heaw industries created the RustrnBelt, slashing the ranks of working-classrnfamilies; in Japan, MITI economic plannersrnmanipulated the controls of their industrial-rnpolicy machine, reducing interestrnrates to zero percent, and creating anrneconomic bubble that biust in 1998,rnwhen Japan plunged into recession. MITI’srneconomic planners, rather Hum undertakernneeded reforms —which wouldrnhae meant the wholesale restructuringrnof tiic Japanese economy—fell back onrnwJiat the}’ knew: The’ would export theirrn\a out of their predicament. Resistingrnpressures to open their markets to Americanrngoods, the Japanese continued to developrnthe fine art of economic warferc behindrna wall of protective tariffs, taxes, andrnother barriers to trade. In negotiationsrnwitii the U.S. government, the Japanesernheld the trump card: Did the Americansrnwant the suddenU’ impoverishedrnJapanese holders of LIS. go’ernment securitiesrnto convert their assets into cash?rnThis would be perhaps tiie most destabilizingrnform of blowback possible: thernbvrstingof the American bubble and thernbeginning of a worldwide economicrnmeltdown.rnHere is tiie true meaning of globalization:rnThe United States is beingrnheld hostage bv its own satellites, a prisonerrnof histor’ as well as of tiic hubris ofrnits leaders. Johnson’s powerful thesis isrnthat we are bound to buckle under tirernburden of empire; it is onlv a matter ofrntime before the American Empire goesrnthe wa of its Roman, British, and Sovietrnpredecessors.rnFrom Johnson’s perspective, the easernof South Korea is especially illuminatingrn—and newsworthv, as we witness tirernrise of a new Korean nationalism and thernmomentum of reunification threateningrnto erase borders, political structures, andrninterstate alliances born at the height ofrnthe Cold War. Johnson compares thernKwangju uprising of 1980 to the suppressionrnof the Hungarian revolution of 1956,rntiie difference being tiiat the Soviets usedrntheir own troops while we depended onrnour South Korean surrogates. When arnSouth Korean general in 1980 headed offrndemocratic elections witii a coup and imposedrnmartial law, student protesters inrnKwangju were bavonetcd bv elite SouthrnKorean military forces who had beenrnw ithdrawn from the DMZ with morernthan tacit U.S. consent. Johnson, quotingrnrecenth released cables to and fromrndie American ambassador to South Korea,rnWilliam J. Glevsteen, shows that thernUnited States coordinated the l)loodvrnsuppression of tire Kwangju rebellion asrnsurely as the Kremlin planted its jackbootrnon the neck of Imre Nagv and tiie Hungarianrnrevolutionaries. During tiie ColdrnWar, Soutii Korea had no more choice tornopt out of its militarv alliance with tiiernLfnited States than the nations of thernWarsaw Pact were free to leave tiie Sovietrnbloc.rnThe inability to escape the “protection”rnof American hegemonv is evenrnmore pronounced in the post-Cold Warrnera, when there is nothing to protectrnSouth Korea against except the acceleratingrnimplosion of North Korea’s communistrnregime. As Soutii Korean PresidentrnKim Dae Jung holds up tiie promise ofrnreunification as an achievable goal, thernlords of the New World Order are gettingrnnervous. In April 1997, Seeretar)’of DefensernWilliam Cohen declared in a visitrnto Seoul that American troops would remainrn.stationed on the peninsula even ifrnNorth and South Korea were reunified —rna statement that was met at the time withrnwidespread shock, not onlv by tiie Chinesernbut bv’ tiie South Koreans, who increasinglyrnview die CIs in tiieir midst asrnmore of a threat than Nortii Korea’s iiiihrnlion-man ariiiv.rnJohnson’s account of the origins andrndevelopment of South Korea as a U.S.rnclient state emphasizes the underlvingrncurrent of Korean nationalism that isrnjust now breaking tiirough to tiic surface.rnCen. Park Chung-hee’s coup d’etatrnof 1961 ushered in a decade of whatrnappeared to be coordination betweenrnWashington and Seoul. Ceneral Park,rnhowever, had observed the fate of America’srnSouth Vietnamese client, andrnhe was aware that South Korea neededrnto go it alone by acquiring nuclearrnweapons. Soutii Korea launched a nuclear-rnweapons program that was supposedrnto bear radioactive fruit in 1985 —rnbut Park was assassinated before thernproject got off the ground. (It was, ofrncourse, a coincidence that his assassinrnwas South Korea’s chief of intelligence,rnKim Jae-kyu, who just happened to bernPark’s main liaison with W’ashington.rnThe two were having dinner, and sometimernbetween the appetizers and therndrinks Kim pulled out a pistol, shot Parkrnin the head, and wounded a bodyguard.rnThe official story is that he did it tornprotest “repression against tiie people”-rna repression implemented by the commanderrnof Park’s political police, tiie assa.rnssin himself)rn1 lie same militarv and political establishmentrnthat insists on maintaining indcfinitelvrnour Cold War “forward” stancernon the Korean peninsula as a permanentrnobstacle to Korean reunification also seesrnChina as an emerging threat to Americanrnhegemonv that must be eitiier “engaged”rnor “contained”-never adjusted to. Thernironv, Johnson points out, is that a unitedrnKorea could provide a regional counterbalancernto this alleged Chinese threat.rnThe author’s a.ssessment of China reflectsrnhis view of Asia’s developing capitalistrncountries—Taiwan, Soutii Korea, Singapore,rnand even Japan —as “soft” authoritarianrnstates which, while nominallvrndemocratic, are actuallv governed withrnvarv iiig degrees of popular participationrnand consent bv unelected bureaucrats.rnSEPTEMBER 2000/23rnrnrn