The New Neutrality

TOKYO – Throughout the Cold War, the Soviet Union used every imaginable threat and inducement – including the ultimate prize of reunification – to bring about a neutral Germany. But German leaders of both the left and the right, from Konrad Adenauer to Willy Brandt, spurned every Soviet offer. Will authoritarian mercantilism now succeed where communism failed?

Countries join alliances, or entities such as the European Union, because these groups make the benefits and obligations of membership as unambiguous as anything in international relations can be. For Germany and South Korea, however, relationships with historic allies – NATO and the United States, respectively – appear to be changing before our eyes.