Sunday, September 09, 2007

Ave, Skippy!

Koreabloggers should definitely check out Skippy's take on the "testy exchange" between Bush and Noh, and what Skippy sees as Bush's "stunning reversal." An interesting snippet from that post:

Since the largest part of my non-North American audience is Korean, I don't take any pleasure from saying this, but if countries like South Korea can push an ass-backward president like Bush around with impunity it threatens all of us.

The Russians are starting to get aggressive in the face of Bush's weakness, too. Would I sacrifice a Korean Peninsula that refuses to defend itself to save a Central Europe that can't?

In a [heartbeat]. That's part of the joy of a target country being on the tip of a peninsula: there's little chance of localized hostilities spreading, especially [when most] of the neighbors have ICBMs.

Koreabloggers of all political stripes have expressed displeasure with Bush's limp-wristed approach to Korea policy. I agree with Skippy that we should have more backbone. On this point, Skippy writes:

If President Bush were half a president, he would tell Roh - in public - that the United States will withdraw all of its forces and equipment within two years. The South Koreans would then be free to persuade the United Nations to sign a peace treaty with the north. The Japanese would then be assured that if either Korea even sneezed in their direction, both would be destroyed within three hours. I suspect that President Roh's position would change rather quickly in the face of that.

That would be interesting. But alas, here on the peninsula, things are more complicated than that. If a two-year timeline were suddenly thrown down, Koreans would be screaming that America would need to pay out a lot of cash to compensate for the inconvenience of moving out. Saying "Not our problem" wouldn't stop the screaming, even though it might be the best response to it. There's also the question of whether our military could move out of Korea that fast, and whether the other forces making up the UN contingent would be held to the same timetable.

Anyway, go read Skippy's piece and leave him some comments.



Unknown said...

I'm not sure of this, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the overwhelming majority of the UN contingent actually is US forces.

As to Korean domestic politics, Korean domestic politics is taking the consequences of any withdrawl out of American hands.

After 57 years and 36,516 lives defending a peninsula of little strategic value to the security to the United States, the Korean people should be forced to make some difficult choices.

If the ROK isn't interested in its own self-defense, there are better places for those 30,000 American to go. The rapidly dying government in Kabul would probably appreciate their presence greatly.

Kevin Kim said...


True enough, but I'm thinking more about the politics than the actual logistics. The US can't unilaterally declare the war over, as far as I know, and the negotiations between NK and the UN would take time.

"Two years!?" I hear you asking. Believe me, time moves at strange speeds on this peninsula, and nothing ever moves in a straight line. I can't see anything significant happening in a two-year timetable here.

I agree, though, that the Korean people should be forced to make tough choices, and soon.