Saturday, November 08, 2003

nonproductive Korean recalcitrance

The Marmot writes on South Korea's most recent size-of-the-table nitpicking of the details re: SK troops to send to Iraq. Choice shrunken head from a Korea Times article to which the Marmot linked:

South Korea and the United States are engaged in a tug-of-war over the size, timing and type of the former's planned dispatch of troops to Iraq.


Seoul is also seeking to postpone the dispatch of the troops until the end of the general elections slated for April next year.

But the U.S. side, headed by Assistant State Secretary James Kelly, was said to have raised strong opposition to Seoul's stance, prodding Seoul officials to reconsider expanding the deployment.

Open-market-style haggling or passive-aggressive behavior?

From AlleyDog's dictionary of psychological terms:

Passive-Aggressive: When a person acts in a passive-aggressive manner, they are displaying aggression in a way that is indirect as opposed to direct (like hitting or yelling). There is no direct anger or confrontation involved, but the person is expressing aggression indirectly. For example, if you are angry at your spouse who asked you to pick up several ingredients for dinner that night, and you somehow forget a couple of the items which make preparing the meal impossible, this might be considered a passive aggressive act.

This distinguishes South Korea from North Korea, I think. NK is actually on a war footing against the US; ostensibly, SK is a US ally, but I have to agree with the Marmot when he writes,

Will someone PLEASE remind me why we have 37,000 troops here? Christ, with friends like this, who needs enemies?

Pull the troops out. Just pull them out. South Korea fears this because such a move will make SK truly responsible for itself. It'll have no whipping boy on hand to blame. And then, one hopes, it'll transfer its passive-aggression to where it more properly belongs: the idiots across the DMZ. At which point we can begin deconstructing the poisonous "one people" meme.

[NB: perhaps the phrase "actually on a war footing against the US" needs to be clarified. NK's army, should it move, will obviously move into SK, not teleport into New York City. But NK's rhetoric has been much more consistently anti-US than anti-SK, especially since the advent of the lovely "sunshine policy." A war, should it ever happen, would most likely be blamed (by both Koreas) on the US. And nukes, if there are any, would most likely be sold to people who will want to smuggle them inside the US. This is the sense in which I mean "war footing against the US."]

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