Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Straight from the horse's mouth

President Roh Moohyun insisted today that he is not anti-American, adding that good relations with the United States are essential to his country's economy and security. He also said, before a group of local business leaders, that he is not pro-North Korean. Speaking about himself, Bob Dole-like, in the third persion:
Many easily think President Roh Moo-hyun is a pro-North Korean leftist force and has anti-American sentiment, but this is not the case.
"Yeah, right," some of you are no doubt saying.

Let me say this on his behalf: My Moohyun is not a communist. He may be a liar, a pig, an idiot, a communist, but he is not a porn star!

Actually, I believe him about the anti-Americanism. There is a difference between wanting the US out and wanting the USFK to behave (and for the most part, they certainly do) and have a small footprint (which they're working on, at no small cost to the ROK government). This is simply reflecting the will of the general public, who are often (and sometimes wrongly and unfairly) led to believe negative things about US policy and USFK behavior that they would like to see changed. That doesn't make them anti-American necessarily, depending on motive. When I start seeing "Fuck Bush" graffiti on just about every other block, then I'll start to worry.

I'm no fan of President Roh. I think the anti-American impression is unfortunate, but he's largely to blame for it. He came to power on pledges not to kowtow to the United States, but he let such rhetoric get out of hand. At least, as he acknowledged yesterday that there is friction with the United States on some issues, he realizes thre's a problem.

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