A reasonable summary at Mother Jones of the events leading to the current situation on the Korean peninsula. Two things are notable, at first read, by their absence, though.
1) “(from 1994) …for three years the Clinton administration stalled on implementing the agreement, hoping that the highly militarized North Korean regime, its people suffering from starvation, would simply collapse.”
This is true, and it’s also true that more than 2 million Koreans died in the meantime. How inconvenient!
2) “In June 2000, the president of South Korea, Kim Dae-jung, acting on his own initiative and without consulting the United States, undertook a historic journey of reconciliation to Pyongyang, in an effort to eradicate the last vestiges of the Cold War on the Korean peninsula. His visit produced a breakthrough, and won him the Nobel Peace Prize.”
His visit and ‘breakthrough’ came, in typical Korean fashion, as a result of a bribe of several hundred million US dollars paid by chaebol Hyundai to the DPRK regime. Not all that deserving of accolade, perhaps.
This conclusion, near the end of the piece, is one about which I am very uncertain, to put it mildly :

If President Roh were to ask American troops to leave South Korea altogether, with perhaps only a treaty promising an American “nuclear umbrella” in case the North ever did use nuclear weapons, I believe a reconciliation between the two Koreas might come very speedily.

If the Americans leave entirely, I’m on the next plane out, too. Whether or not I think they ought to be here, they need to be here, at least until Kim Jong Il and his regime has collapsed, as it inevitably will.


Join the conversation! 17 Comments

  1. “If the Americans leave entirely, I’m on the next plane out, too.”
    That’s a really dumb statement for a guy that hates Americans. What’s wrong, you afraid the Canadian government won’t come over and save the day?
    A quick summary of the world situation:
    Hurricanes hit Honduras – HELP USA! HELP USA!
    Latest report shows US government spends more on domestic issues than foreign aid – BAD USA! BAD USA!
    The world looks for answers to combat the SARS virus that originated in Asia – HELP USA! HELP USA!
    US government is hesitant on how to deal with big-haired psycho dictator that possesses nukes – BAD USA! BAD USA!
    Earthquakes devestate Turkey – HELP USA! HELP USA!
    American aid organizations reluctant to give large sums of money to corrupt leaders of African countries in the fight agains AIDS – BAD USA! BAD USA!
    Israel and Palestine fight relentlessly with no end in sight – HELP USA! HELP USA!
    The US anticipates slow progress developing Afghanistan after their roughly 30 years of continuous war – BAD USA! BAD USA!
    Eastern Europe is slow to recover from years of Soviet dominance – HELP USA! HELP USA!
    Border Patrol steps up surveillance along the Mexican border to combat illegal immigration and the threat of terrorism – BAD USA! BAD USA!
    Economic situation worsens as banks collapse in Argentina and Germany – HELP USA! HELP USA!
    I could go on and on but you get the idea…
    THE CANADIAN RESPONSE: Greedy Americans! I sure am glad Mr. Chretien secretion has separated us from any responsibility in the world! Gosh, I don’t know what we would do if we had to answer the tough questions. Oh Well, I’m taking off for a 3 month backpacking trip to India, so I’ll just stop thinking about it… Of course, I don’t plan to talk to any of the dirty local people in India, I’ll just hang out with the Europeans and smoke hooch and slam on Yanks! Sure am glad our government provides subsidized vacations! Ciao!
    What a boring endless cycle of stupidity. Give me a fuckin’ break.

  2. If the Americans leave, the lid on the pressure cooker is suddenly gone. I agree with you in that you might be well-advised to catch the first flight out of Seoul. I don’t imagine it will be a pleasant place to be.

  3. Yeah, right or wrong the US presence may be in South Korea, they are probably the only thing keeping the north from marching on down there and settling in.
    rocksinyourhead – by nature as well as name?

  4. That’s a really dumb statement for a guy that hates Americans.
    I may be idealistic, but I’m not stupid.

  5. Rocks stole my thunder. Stavman.. how can you post here day after day about how you loath the US government but would leave your home without our protection?

  6. Not my home pukey, not anywhere close. Just a waystation.

  7. what kind of an answer is that? it’s a waystation that you wouldn’t inhabit if the american army wasn’t there yet you feel the need to jab at america constantly. i’m having trouble understanding how a grown man can not see how immature and ungrateful that is.

  8. Pukey, you obviously come from a different universe than I do, where words like ‘patriotism’ and ‘nationalism’ and bullshit like that actually mean something to you, and stir your sluggish blood.
    You say : ‘it’s a waystation that you wouldn’t inhabit if the american army wasn’t there yet you feel the need to jab at america constantly.’ And I say, yes, I do. So what? There’s nothing in thse two positions that are in any way mutually exclusive, and if you had the wit to bring to bear on the question, you might understand why. Were I American, I’d be doing more of a service to my nation by ‘jabbing’ at it all the time than by sitting back in self-satisfied silence while my worthless scumbag of an unelected president furthered the agendas and designs of his corporatist buddies.
    Now : I’m asking you once again to watch your goddamned language, or I’ll be asking you once again to leave. I have mentioned before how I take unkindly to being insulted in my own house.
    If you’re having trouble understanding my position that is strictly your problem, not mine, and if you care enough to have an explanation from me, you’ll have to freaking well ask.
    PS : Fuck America. And thank you for your kind support.

  9. help help.. i’m being repressed!
    are you equating ankle biting with patriotism? if canadians did less ankle biting and more work.. maybe you’d spend less time being jealous of america.

  10. You know, I still don’t get this ‘jealous of america’ thing you keep talking about.
    I’m starting to suspect you’re just yanking my chain.
    (..and doing a pretty good job of it, too…)

  11. Don’t let it get to ya, pukester. This little site is designed to soothe the wonderchicken ego – any reasonable debate isn’t gonna work.
    Interestingly enough, if you go back through various archives (Metafilter comes to mind) you see much different emotions expressed by the chickboy after September 11th. His opinions vary based on the current trend. He truly follows the trendy political moment. He is on the cutting edge, Oh, of course, god forbid we doubt that. He is just following the trend rather than setting it…
    I think that whole “waystation” comment was to suggest he is too cool to have a home anywhere. He is a 21st century vagabond, without boundaries, without a home. Yeah, right.
    The word “SUBSIDIZED” comes to mind again, whether by socialist government or pampering parents, nobody really lives like that without a big wad of cash from outside the slacker realm. Pretty sad for a guy pushin’ 40.
    I say again, give me a fuckin’ break. Oh no, he will probably ban my IP again…

    you see much different emotions expressed by the chickboy after September 11th.
    Bullshit, in any sense that counts. Does the fact that I had sympathy for dead Americans, like the rest of the world, and the fact that I grew angrier and more resentful as pieces of shit like you squandered that good feeling as time passed mean that my thinking changed? Then, sure, on a surface level. If you’ve had precisely the same way of thinking about things, unaltered, that wouldn’t surprise me. Others allow circumstance, maturity, new information to mold their thinking, rather than insist on the unequivocated truth of their every half-assed belief, forever.
    He is a 21st century vagabond, without boundaries, without a home. Yeah, right… nobody really lives like that without a big wad of cash…
    You show both your ignorance and your ability to be a massive asshole here, which isn’t surprising. Nice to see your true colors. I make enough money to have a comfortable life, but by most standards, I’m poorer than shit, and live (by choice) in a style somewhere between frugal and destitute. My parents, at the moment, though they are none of your concern, do not have two dimes to rub together, which in part, along with their advancing age, is the reason they are trying to sell the lodge they currently run (and do not yet own outright). The fact that I’ve actually said this in response to your pathetic assholery rather than just delete it makes me feel a little dirty, but it’s better than just ignoring you, for the moment at least. That would be a sign that I actually care enough about what you say to be more than annoyed at the waste of my time. Which I don’t. For what it’s worth, you are wrong in every guess you’ve made, but you’re clearly an idiot as well as a trolling sack of shit, so that’s not surprising.
    Pretty sad for a guy pushin’ 40.
    Point me to the stories of your life, anything that would lead me to believe you’ve done anything but gloomily masturbate in your parents’ basement your entire life, shithead. The fact that you don’t seem to have much better to do than come here and insult me is a pretty telling condemnation of who is ‘pretty sad’ here, little man.
    Approaching 40 as I am, I’ve lived a life so far that is full to bursting, that is the envy of most people I know in real life, and some of the stories I tell here, as much for myself as for anyone else, serve to paint a partial picture of that.
    You, on the other hand, you are a pathetic little gadfly, and I honour you by wasting time swatting you. You’re worthless and barely worth the time it takes to read your meanspirited jibes. If you had the balls to say these kinds of things in the same room as me, I’d kick your weedy ass. As it is, I’ll settle for this :
    Kindly fuck off.

  13. actually.. i’m not pulling your chain. perhaps you are just emotionally constipated and aren’t in touch with how your jealousy seeps out in your posts.

  14. I still don’t get it, honestly. And ’emotionally constipated’ is something I most certainly ain’t.
    You do know that I’m Canadian, and that in any way that could possibly count, Canada’s a better place to live than America, right?
    (The fact that I live in Korea, and have no desire to move back to Canada throws in a few more variables, but still…)
    Really – I’m curious. Cite me an example of somewhere I sound ‘jealous’ of America, or easier, something that I could possible be jealous of. I just don’t get it.

  15. He’s got you there. I haven’t read anything that seems like jealousy of anything, let alone a country. Reading pukester’s & rocksinyourhead’s comments nearly got me into the my-country’s-better-than-your-country argument. The thing is, in my view, one of the greatest thing about both the US & Canada is the fact that it’s citizens are able to voice their opinions regardless of what they are. And, the rest of us are able to call bullshit if we choose to. It seems to me that there are a fair number of folks who only want ideas that coincide with their own heard. Sorry, but that’s just plain wrong. Good call, Stav, for letting other opinions be heard on your site, which doesn’t have to be democratic. Pukey & rock-head, you’re entitled to believe what you want, but…
    I think I’ll just leave it at that.

  16. Canada and the US are both great places with awesome people that I have loved my entire life. I can say that about several other countries as well, my ultimate point being that we are all in this clusterfuck together. Your broad paintbrush is what pisses me off, Stavros, I’ll never back down from that.
    There is a common perception outside the US of the dumbass, spoiled, American that neither understands nor cares about cultures beyond his own… I’m here to say, there are people like that EVERYWHERE, at least everywhere I’ve ever been. There are clueless Koreans and Canadians, Chinese and Americans… It is these fuckbrains that I am prejudice against.
    I disagree with pukester, I don’t think you are jealous. Your seething anger is probably real and unfortunately misplaced. Did it ever occur to you that I may be one of those “jabbing” at my nation in anger because of problems I perceive? No, you assume I am a flag waving-Bush ass kissing-babykiller-nationalistic wannabe.
    When I am volunteering for 8 months in some poor country and other travelers make assumptions about me because I am American – is it wrong for me to judge them in return? Just exactly, how passive and humble am I supposed to be simply because I’m American? I ask sincerely, because the other wealthy nations in the world want to set that standard for me… though the greedy and self-serving in their own country are viewed as an annoyance – must have been influenced by the Americans.
    Yeah, it chafes my scrote too…

  17. These are good questions, and fair ones, and asked without insulting me, for a pleasant change.
    Even if I don’t have answers for you, I appreciate your toning down the abuse a bit. Thanks.

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