Olsen, Edward A. 1941-

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Olsen, Edward A. 1941-

PERSONAL:

Born August 29, 1941. Education: University of California, Los Angeles, B.A.; University of California, Berkeley, M.A.; American University, Ph.D.; earned certificate from Stanford University Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies.

ADDRESSES:

Office—National Security Affairs Department, Naval Postgraduate School, 1411 Cunningham Rd., Monterey, CA 93943. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Academic. George Williams College, Downers Grove, IL, lecturer in international relations; U.S. State Department, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Office of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, political intelligence analyst, 1975-80; Naval Post-graduate School, Monterey, CA, professor of national security affairs, beginning 1980, director of Asian Studies.

WRITINGS:

Japan: Economic Growth, Resource Scarcity, and Environmental Constraints, Westview Press (Boulder, CO), 1978.

(Editor, with Tae-Hwan Kwak and Wayne Patterson) The Two Koreas in World Politics, Institute for Far Eastern Studies (Seoul, Korea), 1983.

U.S.-Japan Strategic Reciprocity: A Neo-internationalist View, Hoover Institution Press (Stanford, CA), 1985.

(Editor, with Stephen Jurika, Jr.) The Armed Forces in Contemporary Asian Societies, Westview Press (Boulder, CO), 1986.

(Editor, with Jung Hyun Shin and Tae-Hwan Kwak) Northeast Asian Security and Peace: Toward the 1990s, Kyung Hee University Press (Seoul, Korea), 1988.

U.S. Policy and the Two Koreas, World Affairs Council of Northern California (San Francisco, CA), 1988.

(Editor, with Tae-Hwan Kwak) The Major Powers of Northeast Asia: Seeking Peace and Security, Lynne Rienner (Boulder, CO), 1996.

Toward Normalizing U.S.-Korea Relations: In Due Course?, Lynne Rienner (Boulder, CO), 2002.

U.S. National Defense for the Twenty-first Century: The Grand Exit Strategy, Frank Cass (Portland, OR), 2002.

Korea, the Divided Nation, Praeger Security International (Westport, CT), 2005.

Contributor to periodicals and academic journals, including Korea and World Affairs, North Korean Review, Pacific Focus, Far Eastern Economic Review, Korean Journal of International Studies, Journal of East Asian Affairs, and Military.com.

SIDELIGHTS:

Edward A. Olsen is an American academic. Born on August 29, 1941, he began his formal education at the University of California, Los Angeles, earning a bachelor of arts degree. Olsen then earned a master of arts degree from the University of California, Berkeley, before completing a Ph.D. from the American University. Olsen also received a certificate from his studies at the Stanford University Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies in Japan.

Olsen taught international relations at George Williams College and served with the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, in the Office of East Asian and Pacific Affairs as a political intelligence analyst from 1975 to 1980. At that point Olsen began working at the Naval Postgraduate School, eventually becoming a professor of national security affairs and director of Asian Studies.

Olsen published The Major Powers of Northeast Asia: Seeking Peace and Security, edited with Tae-Hwan Kwak, in 1996. The book outlines the relations between Japan, Russia, China, the two Koreas, and secondarily, with Australia.

Stuart Harris, reviewing the book in the Australian Journal of Political Science, mentioned that "this book is an interesting collection dealing with security in Northeast Asia," but pointed out that the region "is defined rather more narrowly than has become customary." Harris concluded that "all told, the volume is valuable for demonstrating the importance of relationships between countries in Northeast Asia that often get overlooked in broader analyses of regional security." Donald Zagoria, reviewing the book in Foreign Affairs, opined that Olsen's solution to the problem facing the Koreas today "is unlikely to be very productive," noting that the issue of leadership "is left out of the equation almost entirely."

Writing in the Journal of Contemporary Asia, Jim Jose found the range of topics covered in the book "appropriate and relevant." Jose noted "a striking degree of homogeneity in the contributors' approaches," adding that "this is not to gainsay the specific differences with respect to their individual ideological views. Rather it is to acknowledge what appears to be a dominant assumption shared by most, if not all of the contributors." Jose lamented that "there is no serious attempt made, either by individual contributors or the editors (in their joint introduction and conclusion), to offer an assessment of whatever the issues might be from the perspectives of the two Koreas themselves." Jose stated that "the essays reflect … a western (dominantly USA) hegemonic perspective. The questions of peace/security for whom?, on whose terms?, and in whose interests?, remain grounded within a major power perspective. In many respects, such questions are asked and answered from within that perspective. The Cold War may have ended but the shape of the emerging new world order, at least in the Northeast Asian region, appears remarkably familiar." Jose concluded that "the fate of the many, in this specific instance the two Koreas, is to be decided by a few who have sufficient global reach to impose their political will." David Kelly, reviewing the book in Korean Studies, commented: "Despite the inevitable erosion of its timeliness in a fast-changing region of the world, it holds up well to current needs of teachers and researchers, for the basic reason that the editors have paid particular attention to the dimensions of that very dynamism."

Gilbert Rozman, writing in Orbis, found that "none of the authors say enough about Chinese internal politics or national identity to make a persuasive judgment as to whether placation or pressure, carrots or sticks, are more likely to affect Chinese psychology in a positive way. Instead, they all tend to weave power and psychology alike into a modified containment strategy designed around three goals." Rozman pointed out that in discussing the Sino-Russian affiliation, the contributors to the book "see this relationship as inconsequential or, if anything, beneficial for peace and security." Rozman noted that "such a blase attitude toward the Sino-Russian strategic partnership lacks credibility because of the absence of any analysis of the nature of the relationship itself or of what nefarious U.S. or Japanese schemes the partnership is actually preventing. The authors may claim to have a firm grounding in traditional balance of power theory, but they appear out of touch with theories of market integration and national economic interests or even with the realities of what the various countries' security objectives currently are." Rozman summarized that the book's "view of Northeast Asia largely through the prism of a divided Korea is instructive inasmuch as the resolution of that anomaly will do much to shape the region's future." Rozman explained that the book shows "how difficult it is to design solutions in the absence of hard information, direct communication among dissenting scholars, points of view from all the nations concerned, and tested theoretical frameworks and models. So long as these lacunae exist, scholars will be unable to provide policymakers with the knowledge and tools necessary to address the new problems of Northeast Asia."

Olsen published Toward Normalizing U.S.-Korea Relations: In Due Course? in 2002. Here Olsen gives his prescription for how the United States should treat the Koreas equally in order to achieve a one-Korea solution.

James I. Matray, reviewing the book in Korean Studies, recorded that "Olsen's account is highly interpretive and speculative, relying on recent journal articles and a decent selection of monographs." Matray appended that "anyone who worries about Korea's future will benefit from reading Olsen's description of a new U.S. policy to normalize relations with both Koreas."

Olsen also published U.S. National Defense for the Twenty-first Century: The Grand Exit Strategy that year. Olsen outlines how the United States should shift towards a non-interventionist policy in order to lessen its footprint on the world, which, he concludes, would improve relations widely and lessen the risk of terrorist attacks.

A contributor to the Atlantic Monthly commented that Olsen's "detailed analysis and proposals are important and fresh—radical, in fact." The same contributor concluded that readers "looking for forceful dissent and a genuine alternative to the foreign-policy status quo should … examine Olsen's unsentimental non-interventionism."

In 2005 Olsen published Korea, the Divided Nation. The account outlines the history of Korea, showing how it ended up in its divided condition during the Cold War. Olsen also proposes what the two halves must do in order to reunite.

Robert Oppenheim, reviewing the book in the Historian, remarked that "anyone who has ever attempted to summarize thousands of years of Korean history in the allotted space of a few pages will recognize how difficult a task this is, and by and large Olsen does a splendid job of doing so in his second chapter." Oppenheim concluded that Korea, the Divided Nation "would work well as" an introductory book on the origins of modern Korea for many readers.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Armed Forces & Society, January 1, 1989, John W. Killigrew, review of The Armed Forces in Contemporary Asian Societies, p. 311.

Atlantic Monthly, January 1, 2003, review of U.S. National Defense for the Twenty-first Century: The Grand Exit Strategy.

Australian Journal of Political Science, November 1, 1997, Stuart Harris, review of The Major Powers of Northeast Asia: Seeking Peace and Security, p. 480.

Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, April 1, 2003, J.P. Dunn, review of U.S. National Defense for the Twenty-first Century, p. 1444; July 1, 2006, C.J. Ward, review of Korea, the Divided Nation.

Current History, April 1, 1989, R. Scott Bomboy, review of U.S. Policy and the Two Koreas, p. 189.

Foreign Affairs, summer, 1985, Donald S. Zagoria, review of U.S.-Japan Strategic Reciprocity: A Neo-internationalist View, p. 1130; January 1, 1988, review of U.S. Policy and the Two Koreas, p. 198; winter, 1988, Donald S. Zagoria, review of U.S. Policy and the Two Koreas; March-April, 1997, Donald Zagoria, review of The Major Powers of Northeast Asia.

Historian, spring, 2007, Robert Oppenheim, review of Korea, the Divided Nation, p. 137.

International History Review, February 1, 1990, review of U.S. Policy and the Two Koreas, p. 199.

Journal of Asian Studies, August 1, 1987, Benedict R. Anderson, review of The Armed Forces in Contemporary Asian Societies, p. 624; May 1, 1997, John E. Endicott, review of The Major Powers of Northeast Asia, p. 455; November 1, 1997, Sheldon W. Simon, review of The Major Powers of Northeast Asia, p. 1116; August 1, 2003, Mitchell Lerner, review of Toward Normalizing U.S.-Korea Relations: In Due Course?, p. 981.

Journal of Contemporary Asia, October 1, 1998, Jim Jose, review of The Major Powers of Northeast Asia, p. 568.

Korean Studies, January 1, 1999, David Kelly, review of The Major Powers of Northeast Asia, p. 154; June 1, 2002, James I. Matray, review of Toward Normalizing U.S.-Korea Relations, p. 320.

New Republic, December 30, 1985, Paul Kennedy, review of U.S.-Japan Strategic Reciprocity, p. 44.

Orbis, January 1, 1998, Gilbert Rozman, review of The Major Powers of Northeast Asia, p. 130.

Pacific Affairs, winter, 1987, John McCarthy, review of The Armed Forces in Contemporary Asian Societies, p. 652; winter, 2003, Tae Yang Kwak, review of Toward Normalizing U.S.-Korea Relations, p. 663.

Parameters, fall, 2003, review of U.S. National Defense for the Twenty-first Century, p. 144.

Reference & Research Book News, February 1, 2003, review of Toward Normalizing U.S.-Korea Relations, p. 156; February 1, 2003, review of U.S. National Defense for the Twenty-first Century, p. 241; February 1, 2006, review of Korea, the Divided Nation.

ONLINE

Center for Contemporary Conflict, Naval Postgraduate School Web site,http://www.ccc.nps.navy.mil/ (July 31, 2008), author profile.

Independent Institute,http://www.independent.org/ (July 31, 2008), author profile.

Military.com,http://www.military.com/ (July 31, 2008), author profile.