[Letter to the editor]‘Anti-Americanism’ has many guisesGuy Sorman writes in his “What is Anti-Americanism?” (May 18) that “Anti-Americanism is an ideology. It does not relate directly to what the United States does or doesn’t do in specific circumstances or locations ... Like any ideology, anti-Americanism does not describe reality ...”
It must be pointed out first of all that while “anti-American” attitudes are widespread, they are by no means part of a single “ideology,” and appear in multiple forms in a variety of different contexts. Those who display “anti-American” attitudes in one area may not do so in another.
Thus, contrary to Sorman’s assertion that “Any admiration for the dynamism and creativity of U.S. culture pins you as an imperialist stooge,” I am an avid fan of rock ’n’ roll, jazz, blues, hip-hop, hamburgers, Hollywood and many other aspects of American culture, but remain strongly opposed to U.S. foreign policy as it has been conducted historically.
Sorman argues, “If you are not pro-democracy, if you are not pro-market, the United States is the enemy by definition; this will have nothing to do with U.S. behavior.” For someone who describes himself as a philosopher, it is surprising that he misses the fact that democracy and the market are not the same thing, and that one doesn’t necessarily entail the other. Indeed it is the fact that the United States consistently acts on behalf of the market at the expense of democracy that leads me into opposition.
Therefore, if I am guilty of “anti-Americanism” in the sphere of foreign policy, it is directly related to the reality of the United State’s behavior and it has no effect on my love of hot dogs, Chuck Berry, Raymond Chandler or my many American friends.
Rory Rowan, an English teacher in Seoul
Time to revise the National Security Act
While reading J-style on May 22, I was confused about South Korea’s very contradictory stance about North Korea. While some people were cheering for the two Koreas conducting a test run of an inter-Korean railroad system, one man got arrested for selling books on communism in the same country.
South Korea has been providing a lot of aid to North Korea, and has also been running the Kaeseong Industrial Complex and actively operating a tourism project in North Korea. By these actions South Korea has been doing its best to develop inter-Korean relations through reconciliation and cooperation, clearly showing that it thinks of North Korea as a partner or a friend. However, maintaining the National Security Act goes against all these actions.
The National Security Act was enacted to safeguard our nation and to ensure the Korean people’s survival and freedom by regulating anti-state activities that threaten national security. This act perceives North Korea as an enemy and as a threat to our national security. This is very contradictory for a nation conducting programs that aim to bring peace to the Korean Peninsula and develop inter-Korean relations. The act hinders promotion of inter-Korean relations and violates the rights of freedom in a democratic country. For example, arresting a citizen for taking pictures of a military facility or selling books that are related to North Korea goes against the Constitution, which states that freedom of speech and expression should be protected. A byproduct of the Cold War era, it is a totally outdated law. It needs to be revised to promote inter-Korean relations and to preserve the rights of the citizens of Korea.
Lee Kang-eun, a senior at Ewha Girls’ Foreign Language High School