Case #1319.0

Persuading a President: Jimmy Carter & American Troops in Korea

Publication Date: January 01, 1996
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In 1977 Jimmy Carter planned to withdraw American troops from South Korea. Two years later his subordinates and pressure from outsiders combined to force him, reluctantly, to reverse his judgment. Arguments about analytic methodology mix with volatile bureaucratic politics to produce unusual innovation. The innovation is bad news for a determined president and good news for his opponents inside and outside of the executive branch. The climax takes place on a city street in Seoul, in President Carter's limousine, as the president angrily confronts his advisors.

Learning Objective:
This case tells the story of the limits of presidential power. It also illustrates the role of intelligence assessment by showing how American intelligence agencies, influenced by a maverick subunit to the US Army, dramatically revised estimates of the military danger posed by North Korea.

Other Details

Case Author:
Joe Wood and Philip Zelikow
Faculty Lead:
Ernest May and Philip Zelikow
Pages (incl. exhibits):
United States, Asia, South Korea