[Letters]Look in the mirror
As I began to read Kim Jong-su’s “Selfish laws only hurt the economy” [“Viewpoint,” Feb. 19] I was pleased to see the opinion expressed that economic nationalism and protectionism must be done away with for the good of the world economy. After seeing so many signs of such behavior here in Korea, such as the beef riots of last summer and the very small number of foreign cars on the streets, it was nice to see that such attitudes are not shared by everyone in this country. You can imagine my shock, then, on reading further and learning that the main target of the article was not Korea but the United States.
It is incomprehensible to me how a journalist such as Mr. Kim can ignore the huge amount of economic nationalism and protectionism in his own country and single out the U.S. as the primary culprit. Not once in his lengthy column does he mention any economic nationalism in his own country. He mentions England, Germany, France, China, and-most of all-the United States, but never Korea.
About the U.S., he criticizes the new economic stimulus bill for containing “buy American” clauses, and makes the strange point that President Obama “expressed concerns about excessive protectionism, but he did not veto the clauses.” (Note: When Congress passes a bill, the president can either sign it or veto it in full. He cannot veto specific clauses.) He even goes so far as to state that “it is deplorable to see that the United States is actually leading the world toward economic nationalism.”
Really? Which country saw massive riots in the streets at the prospect of the resumption of U.S. beef imports last summer? Which country only recently dropped regulatory restrictions that kept many foreign cell phones out of its market, including the iPhone? In which country did we see lawmakers attacking fellow legislators with a fire hose to prevent free trade legislation from going through just a couple of months ago? The answer to all of the above: South Korea. And the list goes on and on.
I sincerely hope that editorial writers all over the world continue to promote the benefits of free trade and highlight the destructiveness of economic nationalism. However, writing a column criticizing some examples of economic nationalism in several foreign countries while ignoring the rampant, out-of-control economic nationalism in your own country is simply unfair and irresponsible.
Christopher Borhani, Suwon, Gyeonggi Province
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