Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Chasing a Phantom Called America by Kim Dae-joong

The sight of people struggling in the muddy rice fields of Pyeongtaek shouting anti-American slogans prompts a heavy sigh that we have been unable to extricate ourselves from America for so many decades. The charge, by a key former secretary of President Roh Moo-hyun, that the free trade agreement with the U.S. now under negotiation is a "betrayal" and a "blunder" makes me feel ashamed that we are still caught up in this dependency.

The half-century of South Korea’s history and its relations with the U.S. has light and darkness in it. Yet this anachronistic love and hatred of the U.S. obsesses us still in the 21st century, showing how far we still are from overcoming it and moving on.

wow, It was A good Read on what I have been saying all along about the USA and Korea.

The trends around us suggest the future survival of countries will be staked on quite different wars. One is a war over resources, with the U.S., EU, Russia, Japan and China engaged in struggles to secure energy and resources. The Cold War is over, and countries are regrouping around multiple cores for the sake of energy, where they recognize neither yesterday's enemies nor today's friends.

These energy wars are waged in parallel with religious clashes. In what could arguably be mankind's ultimate culture clash, the world is rushing toward a decisive encounter between the Christian and Islamic worlds. On innumerable occasions in world history we have seen how terrifying, merciless and destructive religious wars are. An epochal fight between two major religions, possibly the final religious and racial war, is now germinating in the Middle East. Our foremost task is to survive and prosper amid these clashes.

Our country has few resources. We rely 100 percent on foreign countries for our energy, and because we do, we should choose a side that has the resources. We cannot say we belong fully to the Christian world, but we definitely do not belong to Islam. That means we cannot afford to be on bad terms with the Christian world. Bluntly speaking, we have no oil but lots of Christians. Since we cannot hide under the wing of neutral "third” countries, we must show the wisdom, through a carefully calculated foreign policy, to avoid becoming embroiled in a whirlpool of war.
How we deal with America today depends on just such survival skills. Strategic anti-Americanism benefits us no more than sentimental or ideological anti-Americanism. Blind pro-Americanism as a hangover from the Cold War is just as useless. We must adopt a fundamental strategy of taking the real benefits where we need the U.S. even at the cost of concessions, and of coldly cutting it off where it is in our interest to do so.

Those who advocate the withdrawal of U.S. troops from South Korea insist that the American presence here keeps up the pressure and thus the risk of war. If that were the case, the Korean Peninsula would have been reduced to rubble in the days when the troops exercised much greater influence here. Already U.S. troops are in the process of pulling out of South Korea. What terrible unresolved grudges these people must entertain, to throw stones at the U.S. forces’ retreating backs.
For South Korea, the U.S. is no longer the be-all and end-all: it is a means to survival. It is useful. There is no point in getting worked up as though we would perish immediately without the U.S. It is equally nonsensical to curse the U.S. as if it was responsible for an imminent Armageddon. The U.S. is no longer a requirement but an option: we should choose wisely.


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