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Mirror Images: Leadership legitimacy, narratives of nationhood and the limits of US Cold War alliance policy in Asia. Dr John Nilsson-Wright

A comparative study of US Cold War relations with Japan, the Republic of Korea and the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam). Based on archival research and a comparative analysis of the complex historiography of US involvement in each of the three countries, the project considers the successes and failures of US leadership in advancing the twin goals of nation-building and national security promotion in each of the three countries.

The US experience in Japan and South Vietnam represents two sharply contrasting examples of success and failure, while in the case of the ROK, the US record is more nuanced, incorporating both positive and negative elements.

The research seeks to understand the roots of variation in each of these three case-studies and in particular the role of legitimacy and narratives of national identity used by local political actors in seeking to bolster their political authority at home while also developing effective security partnerships with the United States.