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It may be George W. Bush who once claimed, “I’m a uniter, not a divider,” but here in Korea, President Roh has been putting that maxim into practice, forging a remarkable cross-partisan unity among 17 former defense chiefs who are as one in condemning Seoul’s push to reclaim wartime command of its military.
Yet according to Robert at “The Marmot’s Hole” (http://www.rjkoehler.com), Mr. Roh has at least managed to change some people's minds. “Both the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Defense Ministry made internal decisions concerning the transfer of command in 1990 and 1991, respectively. That, of course, was under the administration of President Roh Tae-woo, and no less than five of his defense ministers ― including Lee ‘I’d tell Gen. Bell to ignore the Korean government’ Sang-hoon and Lee Jong-gu (who was defense minister through Dec. 1991) ― are on the list of ‘military elders’ [complaining] about Roh Moo-hyun’s stance on the transfer issue. Funny how that works.”
“GI Korea” (http://gikorea.net/BLOG/), however, can’t find much to laugh about. “The current Korean government is openly anti-American and seems determined to make the reduction of USFK an embarrassing ‘withdrawal’ for the United States,” he writes. “However, shouldn't liberation from the Japanese after World War II, 36,000 lives lost during the Korean War, and over 50 years of stability and economic development on the Korean Peninsula provided by the United States be at least worth an honorable redeployment of US forces from the Korean Peninsula? Is that asking too much?”
And such is the exasperation of Joshua at “The Korea Liberator” (http://www.korealiberator. org/), he has started bandying the “c” word around. “Although I don’t yet believe that a coup is likely, I believe that it’s a real possibility for the first time. In fact, it’s possible to read the generals’ statement as a veiled warning.” But, what to do? “If a senior U.S. official were to find some appropriate way of signaling strong U.S. disapproval of any unconstitutional action by the military, the primary advantage would be (hopefully) deterring anyone from even considering a coup against this lamest of lame duck presidents... Maybe General Bell can ask them out for [singing and snacks].”

Having consulted the runes once more, Scott at “North Korea zone” (http://www.nkzone.org/ nkzone/) believes Pyongyang may be planning another attention grabber. “While I would not suggest that [a nuclear missile] test is a sure thing I would say that, unless there is a dramatic breakthrough in the [six-party] talks (I’m not holding my breath), there is at least a 50/50 chance of a DPRK nuclear test this winter. Negotiations are clearly going nowhere and, without the unwavering support of [China], there is a good chance that the DPRK may have concluded that it has nothing to lose by demonstrating its ‘nuclear deterrent’ to the world.”
On a lighter note, Scott at “The Party Pooper” (http://partypooper.blogs.com/partypooper/) is making predictions of his own regarding the future of baseball star Lee Seung-yeop, who “has ruled the Japan league this year.” After signing for a U.S. major league team next season, “He’ll start... off somewhat well, and the Korean media will be all over it, predicting all sorts of exaggerated achievements like they always do.” Who, us?
“Seung-yeop will then go into a slump and be taken off the starting lineup. The first year will basically be written off as a ‘learning period,’ just like his first year in Japan. The Korean sports media will somehow manage once again to learn nothing from the whole experience, despite being burned in this way time and time again.” Eventually, “He’ll ... finish out his career as a decent player, probably the best Korean hitter in the bigs overall for the time being. In short, he won’t be great, but he’ll do well enough eventually and despite the Korean sports media desperation for their own Ichiro, it will be a very respectable achievement.”

by Niels Footman
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