[EDITORIALS]Handling the RepublicansThe U.S. Republican Party gained control of the Senate and the House in midterm elections Tuesday. It is unusual for the party controlling the White House to add seats in the House in an election in the middle of a president's term; the outcome shows how serious the impact of the Sept. 11 terror was for Americans. Political watchers believe that Americans fell in line behind President George W. Bush, who appealed to patriotism to channel the rage and insecurity of the American people into his programs.
With the new public mandate, the Bush administration's foreign policy will be more aggressive, in free trade in particular. Free-trade agreements and the World Trade Organization negotiations will gain momentum.
South Koreans are particularly interested in the Bush administration's North Korea policy. We are wondering if Washington will push its hard-line stance on the North unilaterally and whether it will pay attention to Seoul's voice. We also wonder how our new administration next year should deal with the Bush government.
International society has concerns about the Bush administration's unilateral foreign policy that plays down organizations like the United Nations. The concern also applies to the imminent war on Iraq. The Bush administration says it will begin its campaign against Iraq alone if the UN resolution on Iraq disarmament does not suit its taste. Some in the United States worry that the Bush administration may abandon its flexibility in policy-making and act even more unilaterally, carried away by its victory in the midterm Congressional elections. The Republican administration must remember that international trust flows from responsible actions.
Seoul must not be satisfied only with the victories of some Korean-American congressmen. Seoul should begin drawing up an aggressive and systematic strategy targeting the Republican-controlled Congress. Apart from President Bush's personal inclination, the power and influence that the U.S. Congress exerts on U.S. budgets and foreign policy is immense. The outcome of the U.S. midterm election should prompt us to make new preparations.