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South Korean Pol Wants to Pivot Away from US

First it was the Philippines. Will South Korea be the next country where voters elect a leader whose policies threaten the increasingly precarious Asian peace? The WSJ:

In recent weeks, Mayor Lee Jae-myung, who favors reaching out to North Korea and taking a more confrontational approach to the U.S., has emerged as a serious challenger against front-runner Ban Ki-moon, who just wrapped up his 10-year stint as U.N. secretary-general.

Mr. Lee has called for direct talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, for the possible removal of the U.S.’s 30,000 troops from South Korea, and for the renegotiation of a trade pact with Washington.

The U.S. alliance “has degenerated into a subordinate relationship where we give whatever amounts of money they ask us to give,” Mr. Lee said. “The U.S. should be begging us for the defense of East Asia.”

The Eurocentric media universe is fixated on the political turmoil that threatens to rip the European Union to shreds. But in most ways, Asia is the much more combustible and dangerous region, and it is experiencing its own destabilizing set of events. The dynamic with South Korea in particular is one to watch closely.

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  • JR299792458

    I’m not a fan of Barack Obama, but this is silly. Is there anyone in the world who in not shltting on him on his way out?

  • Disappeared4x

    It must chafe many to be stuck in a polity defined by the condescending kindness of others, e.g. UNSC resolutions on a conflict frozen since 1953, and an American occupation force. Is it possible that South Koreas voters get a real referendum on the US + UN ‘handling’ of North Korea? Quite symbolic actually having Ban Ki-Moon on the ballot.

    In a sign of self-determination, South Korea wanted to replace US troops more than ten years ago, during the Bush43 era debate on drawdowns.

    Perhaps the South Korea embrace of Talmud study has made the voters smarter, able to question the failures of the United Nations on Korea? http://matzav.com/talmud-study-now-mandatory-in-south-korea/

    • JR299792458

      Even I don’t wade into murky waters of Talmud study. Good luck to you there. 🙂
      As for the UN, it has jumped the shark with the anti-Israel resolution. It is useless and now people are openly talking about. Another part of Comrade FriendlyGoat’s Personal Lord and Savior Barack Obama’s legacy. Who said that man can only destroy political parties? He can destroy financial institutions as well.

  • FriendlyGoat

    Yes, of course. Trump, Tillerson and Mattis should be begging South Korea. They just didn’t know.

  • KremlinKryptonite

    Not really. I actually live in Seoul. The vast majority of Koreans were/are afraid that Trump will pull the US out of here. Mr. Lee’s views are minority views, and only represent a percentage of the elderly population (which is a solid, reliable voting block to be sure), but these views are NOT popular here in the sum total.

    • ljgude

      Your comment is a great example of how the Internet can immediately add an on the spot perspective to a report from a different part of the world. Of course we don’t know accurate your assessment is but I, for one, take it on board as credible and making sense. One thing that is not obvious from here (a third place a bit closer to Seoul – Perth Australia) is why it is part of the older Demographic that is supporting the mayor? Thanks

      • KremlinKryptonite

        Thanks. And the older (really the oldest) generation has traditionally been the generation more open to accommodation of the Kim regime or worse wanting to make lots of concessions. It’s usually driven by emotion, as they have family imprisoned in DPRK and are willing to do almost anything to get more than one opportunity per year to meet with them Young people (as in under 60) are generally super, duper, uber pro-US..to the point that it’s annoying. And they have been talking nonstop about Trump. “US leaving Korea?! What can we do?! Do we need to pay more, or do we need to just explain to him how much danger we are in because he doesn’t know the details?. He was not in the military, maybe he doesnt know” These are the things said – daily

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    It’s going to take awhile for Trump to reverse all the Damage the “Worst President in American History” Obama has done to America.

  • Genesis123

    I mean, who hasn’t taken a dump on that big eared doofus on his way out of the office

    • Andrew Allison

      The line is very, very long!

    • f1b0nacc1

      I wouldn’t waste my crap on him

  • Angel Martin

    regardless of the eccentricities of individual politicians, it is the destiny of Japan, S Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore… etc to be allies because they are all threatened by the same aggressor.

    • CapitalHawk

      Yes. Different aggressor, but they are in the same boat as Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and the Baltic states.

  • CapitalHawk

    Well, unless you want an eventual war in East Asia, South Korea can’t be allowed to join up with North Korea and China. Not that the South Koreans would really want that, but Japan would not accept that as a long term situation either. I have seen Korea described elsewhere as “a dagger pointed at the heart of Japan” and it’s easy to see, just by looking at the geography, why Japan would think that is true. Add to that the fact that Korea sourced many of the soldiers and ships for the two attempted Mongol invasions and was the springboard for the second attempted Mongol invasion of Japan (the only two attempted invasions of Japan, ever). Korea was also the trigger for the Japan-China war in the late 1800s and was first place that Japan invaded during its expansion in the build up to WW2. In short, I think it is fair to say that Korea has historically been the main trigger of conflict between China and Japan and probably will be in the future.

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