This chapter examines US–Republic of Korea (ROK) political relations in the 2000s, which are characterized by tensions, distrust and conflicting interests. It begins with a discussion of the rapidly deteriorating political relationship between Seoul and Washington after George W. Bush came to power. The chapter then analyzes the sources of tensions and distrust in US–ROK relations. Seoul and Washington often state that the ROK–US friendship is intact and the bilateral alliance remains firm. But beneath the rhetorical surface lies the reality of tensions, friction, and mutual distrust. The chapter looks at the sources of the changing relationship, focusing on: foreign policy goals and national interests; perception and attitudes; and the North Korean nuclear issue. The Bush government should realize that 'soft power' is often more persuasive and effective than hard power and that even the global superpower cannot manage international affairs alone without cooperation and support from interested states. The chapter concludes with an assessment of the current US–ROK relations.