|A shark with teeth spelling out "imperialism" tries to devour the island of Cheju-do. This depiction is quite misleading, as the base would be on the southern side of the island, not the east.|
With their latest Korea-related offering, The Huffington Post underscores their need to get a few people conversant in Korean affairs to fact-check some of their posts on the Korean peninsula, because I end up doing a face-palm slap almost every time something about the Land of Morning Calm appears at the HuffPo.
As I wrote in their comments section, the writer of this particular piece seems so caught up in the romance of activism that she has not done due diligence for this story: this is not "US naval base," the writer's insistence notwithstanding.
Far from "imperialism" as the cartoon suggests, this naval base will allow South Korea (not the US) to project its power and better defend its own waters (there's this belligerent country and its benefactor right next door), making it less reliant on the US, not more. (I have written about the Cheju base and activists opposed to it here and there, while The Marmot's Hole highlighted it here.)
The base may also make it easier for the ROK Navy to send its ships out to areas where piracy's still a problem (Korean tuna boats and freighters have been frequent targets). Again, this raises South Korea to cooperative partner of the United States, not a vassal state.
In a perfect world, we'd all get along and there'd be no need for big, bad militaries and the weapons and bases they require, but this is the real world, and we need an effective military to remain free and secure, and that military needs bases. This is a case of local NIMBY, egged on by groups that are sympathetic to North Korea (or even working on their behalf) and thus have an interest in whipping up anti-American sentiment and seeing the ROK government fail.
|What the activists don't want you to know is that the naval base will allow cruise ships to call. What better match for the Island of Peace than the Love Boat?|