[GOING TO THE BLOGS]TOUGHER LOVE

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[GOING TO THE BLOGS]TOUGHER LOVE

The fallout from the North's missile launches continues. And to a K-blogosphere largely contemptuous of Seoul’s dealings vis-a-vis the North, the Roh administration's newly evolved backbone ― the South this week announced the suspension of food aid ― has been a surprising, and welcome, development. “I predict the Norks will attack a ROK Navy ship in the West Sea next. Seoul’s impertinence cannot go unanswered!” writes Gar at “Lost Nomad” (http://www.lostnomad.org/), tongue firmly in cheek. “Damn I feel proud of the ROK government for once.”
But Joshua at “The Korea Liberator” (http://www.korealiberator.org/), for one, is not seduced by Unification Minster Lee Jeong-sok’s sassy new mien. “Yes, Lee often talks like a man who likes a good boilermaker with his breakfast,” he writes, “but until now, he’s only been willing to publicly insult the president of the United States (while praising His Porcine Majesty). This is new territory for Lee, but my money says he’ll be shocking this cadaver [the sunshine policy] with the heart paddles again within a week, tops. That doesn’t mean he’s fooling anyone, himself included.”
Over at “North Korea zone” (http://www.nkzone.org/nkzone/), Barry thinks Lee’s hand may have been forced by the Uri Party’s recent rout in local elections. “It is of course possible that Lee has always played the tough negotiator in private, while publicly maintaining a conciliatory stance ― but it's more likely that the shift in public opinion which led to the recent GNP victories is responsible.”
And lest we forget, the talks also produced yet another contender for most staggeringly brazen North Korean twittering ever, when the men from Pyongyang claimed that their “military first” policy, or songun, is, in fact, for the protection of the whole peninsula. And if that weren’t bad enough, Robert at “The Marmot’s Hole” (http://rjkoehler.com) tells the tale of a South Korean “civic group” that breathlessly endorses this tripe. “The group [One Corea] said the Songun policy was ‘clearly the savior of South Korea,’ and that it was an ‘objective fact’ that the policy had deterred the ‘American imperialist invaders’ from launching a war on the Korean Peninsula. They praised North Korea for ‘protecting the territory of the Fatherland of the Korean Peninsula’ despite having no food to eat and no clothes to wear.”
Though welcoming Seoul’s new-found resolve, GI Korea (http://jetiranger.tripod.com /BLOG/) thinks the recent U.S. decision not to sell unmanned aircraft to Korea indicates that it’s a case of too little, too late. “It is becoming more and more apparent that South Korea's incompetent government is going to create the thing that they fear more than the North Korean threat and that is a fully militarized Japan. South Korea has only itself to blame for beginning an arms race in northeast Asia, and the normalization of the Japanese military might, with their coddling of North Korea and anti-American policies. It is quickly looking like the legacy of President Roh will be the beginning of the end of the US-ROK alliance, a belligerent and nuclear-armed North Korea and a rearmed and militarized Japan ready to conduct pre-emptive strikes on the peninsula. Quite a legacy indeed.”

MORE DISCIPLINE NEEDED
As even a cursory glance at K-blogs will attest, Korea attracts more than its share of scathing critics, especially when compared with the flattering, often fawning, blogosphere coverage of Japan. Why? Nathan at “Seoul Hero” (http://nathanbauman.com/seoulhero/nfblog/) thinks he has the answer. “Japanese culture draws to Japan people who are interested in Japan. Japan further ensures that expats who arrive are high achievers by insisting on strict dress codes and discipline. By contrast, the expats who come to Korea come largely to make money (English teachers), or because they have been told to come (U.S. military). Eastward-looking English teachers who are put off by the discipline that Japan requires often settle in this country, with the result that there is a lack of intellectual and disciplinary caliber in the English teaching community here.”


by Niels Footman

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