Tag Archives: south korea

Against the New Core

The Seattle Times editorializes on Barack Obama’s opposition to trade with the New Core, those billions of new capitalists who have come online since the end of the Cold War:

The Democratic presidential candidates, instead of bashing international trade, should be touting its contribution to shoring up a souring economy.

In 2007, exports rose 12 percent to a record $1.6 trillion in goods and services, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. That growth accounted for more than one-quarter of the increase in the gross domestic product.Exports are one of the few bright spots in an economy that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke acknowledges appears to be heading into recession. And the relative strength of Washington state’s economy — where one in every three jobs is trade-related — is testimony to the benefits of trade.

But that point is all but ignored in Sen. Barack Obama’s remarks prepared for an AFL-CIO meeting Wednesday in Philadelphia.

“Now, if we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll acknowledge that we can’t stop globalization in its tracks and that opening new markets to our goods can help strengthen our economy,” Obama’s speech reads.

Would he want to? Really? Stop it in its tracks?

Obama goes on to promise the union members he’ll vote against the pending trade agreements with South Korea and Colombia, and he’ll oppose permanent normal trade relations with China.

Besides the hope that Obama is lying or naive, is there any defense for Obama’s words?

Free Trade with South Korea!

South Korea and U.S. reach free trade agreement. Associated Press. April 1, 2007. Available online: http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/04/02/asia/AS-FIN-SKorea-US-Free-Trade.php.

Despite intense skepticism, the United States and South Korea reached an agreement on a future free trade deal. If ratified by both countries, the deal will be the largest in Korean history and the larges for America since NAFTA. Besides the obvious economic gains, this deal has very good strategic implications, as well.

The Greater Korean Republic

A South Korea – American free trade agreement would two pillars of the core, East Asia and North America, closer together. It will be the second major free trade agreement under the Bush Administration (the first being the Central American Free Trade Agreement). Further, South Korea is greatly admired in China for being an oriental state that modernized without losing its traditional, Asian characteristics. Further connecting South Korea to America demonstrates to potentially warry Chinese that ever-increasing globalization between a Western and Oriental country can allow both to get materially richer without getting culturally worse.

Of course, stumbling blocks can still be thrown up. While most South Koreans support increased openness, left-wing factions linked to North Korean racist-isolationism have already held violation demonstrations. And in our own country, Democratic hostility to orientals is as typical of the rear-end of that party as is Republican hostility to latinos.

Definite props to President Bush for pushing things this far. Let’s hope that the Democratic Congress passes the South Korea Free Trade Agreement as quickly as possible.

Update: One Free Korea has more.

Update 2: Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog analyzes the deal in the context of ASEAN.

South Korea’s Dangerous Political Immaturity

Korean War Criminals Cleared,” by Robert J. Koehler, The Marmot’s Hole, 13 November 2006, http://www.rjkoehler.com/2006/11/13/korean-war-criminals-cleared/ (from Coming Anarchy).

Panel issues list of pro-Japan collaborators,” Yonhap News, 6 December 2006, http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/Engnews/20061206/610000000020061206210859E2.html (from One Free Korea).

South Korea is an immature state whose power should be limited to the extent possible. South Korea is not an ally, but merely a state that must be “engaged.”

American policy in the Korean peninsula should be aimed at moving North Korea closer into the orbit of the People’s Republic of China. The only valid alternative is the total collapse of the North Korean regime and the return of immediate & full citizenship of all north Koreans in the Republic of Korea.

South Korea should not be allowed to extend its position and power by administering North Korea as a colony. South Korea is too volatile a state — too obsessed by Arabesque conspiracies and fetishism for revenge — to be trusted as a regional power

Some evidence:

Don’t Blame actual War Criminals:

A Korean government commission cleared 83 of 148 Koreans convicted by the Allies of war crimes during World War II.

The commission ruled that the Koreans, who were categorized as Class B and Class C war criminals, were in fact victims of Japanese imperialism.

Of the 148 Koreans convicted of war crimes, some 23 would eventually be executed.

Blame the Children of Political Enemies:

The panel, launched in May last year, was formed under a special law enacted in 2004 to seek out collaborators who endorsed Japan’s colonization of the peninsula.

Another 104-member presidential committee was launched in August with the mission of seizing assets owned by the descendants of the pro-Japan collaborators.

For what it’s worth, I hereby endorse Japanese colonization of the Korean pennensyla.

Like the Europeans in Africa, Japan’s sin in Korea is this: they left too soon.

Chinese Korea or Greater Korea

When North Korea Falls,” by Robert Kaplan, Atlantic Monthly, October 2006, http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/prem/200610/kaplan-korea (see commentary on Coming Anarchy, DPRK Studies, Left Flank, and ruNK, full text at Marmot’s Hole).

When I led recitations for International Relations last year, I gave a brief lecture to my class

“You will care about your neighbors as long as you live by them
You will care about anyone else until they get bored.

Countries can’t move.

Countries will care about their neighbors forever.
Countries will care about other countries until they get bored.”

On that theme, I am very greatful to Eddie of Live from the FDNF for mailing me (and Mark, I suspect) the complete text of Robert Kaplan’s article on the fall of Pyongyang:

The concluding paragraphs are the most relevant

But South Korea also provides a lesson in what can be accomplished with patience and dogged persistence. The drive from the airport at Inchon to downtown Seoul goes through the heart of a former urban war zone. South Korea’s capital was taken and retaken four times in some of the most intense fighting of the Korean War. Korean men and women who lived through that time will always be grateful for what retired U.S. Army Colonel Robert Killebrew has called American “stick-to-itiveness,” without which we would have little hope of remaining a great power.

In the heart of Seoul lies Yongsan Garrison, a leafy, fortified Little America, guarded and surrounded by high walls. Inside these 630 acres, which closely resemble the Panama Canal Zone before the Americans gave it up, are 8,000 American military and diplomatic personnel in manicured suburban homes surrounded by neatly clipped hedges and backyard barbecue grills. I drove by a high school, baseball and football fields, a driving range, a hospital, a massive commissary, a bowling alley, and restaurants. U.S. Forces Korea and its attendant bureaucracies are located in redbrick buildings that the Americans inherited in 1945 from the Japanese occupiers. Korea is so substantial a military commitment for us that it merits its own, semiautonomous subcommand of PACOM—just as Iraq, unofficially anyway, merits its own four-star subcommand of CENTCOM.

The United States hopes to complete a troop drawdown in South Korea in 2008. Having moved into Yongsan Garrison when Korea’s future seemed highly uncertain, American troops plan to give up this prime downtown real estate and relocate to Camp Humphreys, in Pyongtaek, thirty miles to the south. The number of ground troops will drop to 25,000, and will essentially comprise a skeleton of logistical support shops, which would be able to acquire muscles and tendons in the form of a large invasion force in the event of a war or a regime collapse that necessitated a military intervention.

Patience and dogged persistence are heroic attributes. But while military units can be expected to be heroic, one should not expect a home front to be forever so. And while in the fullness of time patience and dogged persistence can breed success, it is the kind of success that does not necessarily reward the victor but, rather, the player best able to take advantage of the new situation. It is far too early to tell who ultimately will benefit from a stable and prosperous Mesopotamia, if one should ever emerge. But in the case of Korea, it looks like it will be the Chinese.

We will not care about Korea forever. Pretending we will sets us up for a big mistake. Not only are Americans not imperialists (thank heaven!), we are far away.

North Korea’s neighbors will care about northern Korea forever. Beijing and Seoul will care about northern Korea forever.

To the Chinese People’s Collective or the Greater Korean Republic?

So, should we build a future worth creating for northern Koreans by changing facts that will will build either a Chinese Korea or a Greater Korean Republic? How do we choose between a Zhongua Hanguo and a Daihan Minguk?

With news that North Korea has become a South Korean satellite, it looks like “Greater Korea” is already here. It’s in part a Stalinist dictatorship. It is going the wrong way.

America should support Chinese designs in North Korea, and the overthrow of the “Kim Family Regime” by a pro-Beijing government. It may be better than a Untied Nuclear Leftist Korea any day.

South Korean Neocon

Kim Moon-Soo: The Making and Re-Making of a Radical Thinker, Part I,” by Joshua, One Free Korea, 13 August 2005, http://freekorea.blogspot.com/2005/08/kim-moon-soo-making-and-re-making-of.html.

From a fantastic post on One Free Korea

Kim Moon-Soo is the man who may yet break the drought that has fallen on the bleak political landscape of South Korea, one that for too long seemed to have been divided between opportunistic appeasers and opportunistic reactionaries, each with its own dubious connections to Korean dictatorships that the nation’s history will not view kindly. Charismatic, fiery, and proficient in the use of new media, Kim has emerged as the standard-bearer of the New Right, a new political grouping largely formed from former leftists and labor leaders who fought South Korea’s dictatorship of the past and North Korea’s dictatorship of the present.

Like its neoconservative counterpart in the United States, Korea’s New Right is idealistic and intellectual, retaining its liberal values despite rejecting some of the solutions most commonly associated with them. Their Internet magazines, such as DailyNK, fill a role similar to that of publications like The Weekly Standard in the United States (full disclosure–the DailyNK prints my screeds).

Kim’s biography is that of the New Right itself: a former student radical, labor organizer, and political prisoner, Kim emerged from prison to a democratic South Korea, joined the Grand National Party, converted to Christianity, and now seeks to unite both Koreas under democracy while keeping Korea out of the Chinese orbit. Beyond his persuasive skills, Kim’s life story speaks of a deep character, a powerful intellect, an occasionally explosive temper, and a profound attachment to ideas rather than an allegiance to ideology. Kim is no ordinary shop-floor demagogue. The man is also capable of serious thought on matters of statecraft.

This week, Kim introduced South Korea’s counterpart to the North Korean Human Rights Act in the National Assembly. It is the latest in a series of provocative jabs at the governments of North Korea and China, and follows a lifetime of confronting authoritarian regimes.

Read more

Short Review of "2009: Lost Memories"

2009: Lost Memories is Racist Anti-Japanese Terrorist Propaganda.

2009: Lost Memories

While stylish, it’s also sickening. The protagonist, the hero, becomes a murderer whose objective is starting a war between Japan and the United States. It plays like Arab nationalism — angry, backward-looking, unconcerned about the lives of others, petty.

Josh from One Free Korea has the deteriorating relationship between South Korea and the United States in his Death of an Alliance series. 2009 brings the same message, but as a jump through the gut.

It is a rare movie that makes you want to root for the Empire of Japan. The sickening nationalism of 2009 makes Lost Memories just such a movie.

Asian Geopolitics Roundup

Korean troubles, Chinese scheming, Perisan bloggers, and more! May 3rd, 2005:

Korea: Josh at OFK Fisks the New York TimesNick Kristoff’s criticism of Bush’s Korea policy. Not that the Souks are helping. Between media lynching American servicemen and curtailing the free press, Seoul has other dreams than being a liberal democracy.

Willl South Korea lose face if its soldiers liberate Nork concentration camps? And if that day does not come soon, who will be the next Pyongyang despot?

China: DU notes that Chinese military jets are flying closer to Japan. If Beijing isn’t careful, Tokyo could do something drastic like ditching Pacifism. Or even a revolution at home.

Other Chinese endevours are smarter. Beijing is trying hard to woo the Taiwanese, but apparently not the Maoists. Simon reports that scary Philippine rebels are upset that China abandoned Maoism. I imagine Beijing’s reaction would be the same as when the Nepalese crazies said the same thing: You guys are violent, but Mao was never violent.

Iran: From South West Asia, Younghusband at Coming Anarchy looks at Iranian bloggers.

On the lighter side, Mutant Frog offers tips for killing a hooker and getting away with it… eek!

South Korea: Not An Ally

Roh Hints at New East Asian Order,” Digital Chosunilbo, 22 March 2005, http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/news/200503/200503220024.html.

Seoul Is Beginning to Reap What It Sowed,” Digital Chosunilbo, 1 April 2005, http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/news/200504/200504010037.html.

U.S. to Scrap Ammo Reserves for Korean Army,” Digital Chosunilbo, 4 April 2005, http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/news/200504/200504040035.html.

Korea Steps Up Military Cooperation with China,” Digital Chosunilbo, 4 April 2005, http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/news/200504/200504040020.html (from OFK).

A state can be a positive force without being an American ally. While we distrust France, we recognize that the French economic engine is an important part of European trade. Likewise, India was a force for good in South Asia even when they were non-aligned.

So when Korea hints at leaving the Japanese-American alliance

President Roh Moo-hyun said Tuesday the power structure in East Asia will shift depending on what choices Korea makes.

At a graduation ceremony of the Korea Third Military Academy on Tuesday, Roh said Korea’s new role was of a stabilizer for peace and prosperity not just on the Korean Peninsula, but in East Asia as a whole. “Korea will calculate and cooperate if need be, and move forward with its proper authority and responsibility,” he said.

His comments were being read as a pointed reference to the country’s alliances with the U.S. and Japan rather than a mere statement of principle. Among core figures in the administration, there is growing dissatisfaction with U.S. and Japanese policies in East Asia, including North Korea.

or when Korea approaches the Chinese orbit

Military exchanges between Korea and China will intensify to a level similar to those between Korea and Japan, the defense ministry said Monday.

China, more than any nation, wishes for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, so we plan to strengthen our military exchanges with China, including making defense minister meetings a regular occurrence,” Defense Minister Yoon Kwang-ung told reporters. “There is a need to raise the level of military cooperation between Korea and China to at least that shared between Korea and Japan, and it’s worth thinking about plans to help stability on the Korean Peninsula with China’s assistance.”

we should see it as a challenge, not a disaster. South Korea is still a force for good. But the alliance is over. American blood should no longer to spilled to protect South Korea.

Fortunately, America has gotten the message

Lt. Gen. Charles C. Campbell, the chief of staff of the U.S. Forces Korea, said on Friday that 1,000 of the current 12,000 Korean employees of the USFK [United States Forces Korea, the American presence that protects South Korea under United Nations Command — tdaxp] will be laid off and forces’ support contracts cut by 20 percent over the next two years. Campbell also suggested relocating some key military equipment reserved here for an emergency from South Korea.

Given that the U.S. has been telling us that even if USFK strength is cut, it will try to leave as much equipment here as possible, it is hard to believe that cost saving alone is behind the move. No: this looks more as though the alliance is beginning to slacken.

The government must think carefully about the consequences, in terms of both responsibility and money, of advocating its “cooperative independent defense” and Korea’s much vaunted new role as a stabilizer in Northeast Asia.

even if it means something as serious as this

The U.S. has unofficially informed Korea’s military authorities that it plans to scrap the War Reserve Stocks for Allies (WRSA) — pre-positioned military supplies for use by Korea in times of emergency. But the Korean government and military say rather than destroy the stocks or ship them back to the U.S., Washington will ask Seoul to buy them.

That said, this is serious. This is a much, much, much greater rift than between Europe and America after the Iraq War. This is Korea saying it wants to shift sides, and America letting it. This is the greatest diplomatic gamble South Korea has ever taken and the greatest set-back for the Bush Amdministration, ever.

Seoul Loses Alliance, Common-Sense, Security

U.S. Experts Dismiss Seoul’s Regional Ambitions,” Digital Chosunilbo, 1 April 2005, http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/news/200504/200504010038.html (from One Free Korea).

Seou’s plan for One Korea, Free From Foreigners has an obvious consequence… One Korea, Free From Allies. The agreement from different observers and think tanks is striking. DC’s article is reproduced in full:

American Korea experts read the Roh Moo-hyun administration’s ambition for Korea to become a stabilizer in Northeast Asia as a barely concealed attempt to quit the alliance with the U.S. and call the plan unrealistic.

Georgetown University professor Bob Sutter said the concept could only mean an end to the Korea-U.S. alliance. It was also impossible to understand what the government meant by its stated aim of simultaneously strengthening the alliance and playing a stabilizing role in Northeast Asia. He said if Korea wants to leave its U.S.-alliance, it can do so, but there will be a price to pay later.

Heritage Foundation fellow Larry Wortzel said Korea lacks the economic, political and military strength to play a balancing role in the region, whereas Great Britain in the past and India now were able to play a balancing role because they had the national clout. Wortzel said Roh’s arguments were likely intended to strengthen Korea’s diplomatic leverage and get on a more equal footing with Washington. He added the U.S. and China resolved their diplomatic differences in a friendly manner without major conflicts since 1972 — it was therefore unlikely they would become mired in Cold War-like tensions, as Roh appears to assume.

The Cato Institute’s vice president Ted Carpenter, who has called for a “friendly parting” between Korea and the U.S., said if tensions erupted in Northeast Asia between the U.S. and China or Japan and China, far from playing a stabilizing role Korea would find itself in very hot water. He said Korea’s regional ambition was ultimately unattainable. He added Korea should now end its security dependence on the U.S. and make a mature decision to take charge of its own security.

The Asia Foundation’s Scott Snyder said it could be a natural choice for Korea to pursue multi-level and multi-faceted diplomacy, but just as the U.S. cannot play a unilateral role in Northeast Asia, it would be difficult for Korea, too, to exert a decisive influence in the region.

USFK has served its purpose. South Korea is a rich country that can defend itself. Let it.

IMAO Bought by the Koreans (Good)

Frequently Asked Questions, IMAO America, 2005, http://imao.us/faq.htm.

medium_whs.gifimao.us, a so-so blog that linked to me the other day lost its domain name recently.

It’s now owned by IMAO, a Korean tools firm.

From the new FAQ:

Q. When will IMAO products be available in U.S.?
A. Early in April 2005. Shipments to Canada come very soon.

Q. Are IMAO grips ergonomic and OSHA compliant?
A. Yes IMAO grips and handwheel give great comfort in the hand.

Q. How will IMAO products help my business?
A. IMAO helps customer to maximize their labor saving by providing standardized components for industrial devices and machines.

Q. What happed to previous site at this URL?
A. Previous owner sold URL to help the IMAO expansions into North American market. If you liek American humor, then you should also consider well manufactured IMAO grips and handwheels.

You know what? Good. imao’s “Unfair. Unbalanced. Unmedicated.” motto made a laughing stock of truly objective and disinterested newes sources such as Fox News. So long blogs. From now on, I’m trusting the pros.