Saturday, April 2, 2011

U.S. Out of Korea!

Reminding us that "Americans are weary of war, especially during an economic crisis that has threatened jobs, health plans, and pensions most families need to survive," Christine Ahn and Sukjong Hong suggest a way to save some "$15 to $20 billion annually" looking at Korea alone — Bring War Dollars Home by Closing Down Bases.

I welcome allies from various political leanings, but having Dr Martens dress shoes on the ground, I'm a bit unconvinced by their talk of a "global people’s struggle" and their anti-Americanism. Most South Koreans do not want us to leave, which is all the more reason we should leave. They, the South Koreans, know a good deal when they see one; we Americans do not seem to be so smart. To sum up the arrangement, for decades we have defended South Korea, allowing it to develop its export economy, and for this privilege, we have openned up our markets to its products while allowing it to close its markets to ours.

A brief exchange from a lunch yesterday comes to mind. An American colleague, somewhat sycophantically, began extolling the miracle of South Korean development and congratulating himself for having the good sense to have moved here about the same time I did. A professor, an ethnic Korean with American citizenship, said, "Your country did a lot to help that happen." It was the first time in my almost fifteen years here that I have heard such a frank admission from an ethnic Korean.

Of course, American occupancy does have its downside for Korea. Morally and spiritually, it is degrading to be another's protectorate when one has the means to take care of one's own defenses. For our own sake and for theirs as well, America should leave Korea to Koreans.

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Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.