[EDITORIAL]Renew the allianceThat the Democrats have taken control of the U.S. Congress indicates a change in foreign policy by the United States. There are those who point out that President George W. Bush’s policy has a “you are either with us or against us” mentality that will turn softer based on the principle of reciprocity. At the same time, it’s also clear that the basic foundations of Washington’s foreign policy as the world’s superpower will not change.
What lies at the center of our interest is how this change in the political landscape in the United States will affect Washington’s policy toward the North, including the North Korean nuclear crisis, the transfer of wartime operational control, the nature of the South Korea-U.S. alliance and free trade agreement negotiations. This is a time when government officials are working toward devising policies needed to prepare for any variables that could alter the foreign policy of the United States.
The leaders of the Democrats have clearly stated their opposition to President Bush’s policy of isolating the North. Thus, there is the possibility that the Bush administration’s policy toward the North could be softened.
Nevertheless, to expect a change in the United States’ stance that it cannot accept a North Korea in possession of nuclear weapons would be stretching it, especially in light of the Democrats’ position, which is said to be even stronger than that of the Republicans in terms of blocking the spread of nuclear weapons.
The ouster of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld opens up room for a change in current bilateral security issues, such as the transfer of wartime control.
Nevertheless, unless there is a change of our government’s position, delaying the timing of the transfer is the only possibility left. This is an issue that should be discussed in 2009 once the new administration comes into power.
The free trade agreement negotiations are expected to become even more difficult, as the U.S. Congress’ efforts to protect the economy will become even stronger. Our government will be pressed to become even more careful in its negotiation efforts. Whether in terms of security or on the economic side, the United States is a key ally that has a crucial impact on our very existence. Nevertheless, with an increase in friction between the two sides, the alliance is in a crisis.
Democratic control of the U.S. legislature could become an opportunity for both sides to revive the alliance. It’s a time when we need to renew the alliance properly.