Plus de soft power en Corée du Sud

CAMBRIDGE – La présence de la Corée du Sud au forum de l'Association des Nations de l’Asie du Sud-Est le mois dernier en Thaïlande était capitale. La Corée du Sud s’est discrètement affranchie de sa relation difficile avec la Corée du Nord. Elle est en passe de devenir une puissance assez importante sur la scène internationale. Le secrétaire général des Nations Unies est Sud-Coréen ; Séoul accueillera le prochain sommet du G20 ; et le pays vient de signer un accord de libre échange avec l’Union européenne.

Il n’en a pas toujours été ainsi. Si la géographie forge le destin, la Corée du Sud n’a pas eu beaucoup de chance. Coincée dans une zone où trois géants – la Chine, le Japon et la Russie – s’affrontent, la Corée a connu, au cours de l’histoire, son lot de soucis quant à l’élaboration d’une force militaire de défense suffisamment « forte ». En effet, au début du vingtième siècle, les efforts en la matière se sont révélés vains, et la Corée est devenue une colonie du Japon.

Après la seconde guerre mondiale, la péninsule a été divisée suivant une ligne figurant la bipolarité de la Guerre Froide. L’ONU et les Etats-Unis ont dû intervenir pour éviter que ce pays ne se laisse subjuguer par la Guerre de Corée. Plus récemment, malgré ses incroyables moyens en « hard power » [ou puissance coercitive], la Corée du Sud s’est aperçue qu’une alliance avec une puissance aussi distante que les Etats-Unis continuait de fournir une assurance vie bien utile au vu de son voisinage difficile.

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