My latest on the Korea – US Trade Deal is up at EtherZone. Here it is below.
On November 24, Americans were bombarded (pun intended) with the news that North Korea had fired upon the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong. This news follows on the heels of a March incident where a South Korean warship was allegedly sunk by a North Korean sub.
While events of this nature in a far off country should normally be of only humanitarian and economic interest to Americans, our country was put on edge by these unnerving developments because, for some reason, we still have nearly 30,000 US troops stationed in South Korea (many more if you include Japan, Okinawa and Guam) that would be put at immediate risk in the event of a war between North and South.
Then, less than two weeks later, we were greeted with the news that South Korea and the US had reached an agreement on a new trade deal.
Am I the only one who is a bit irked by the dichotomy of these two Korea related news items?
Some sixty years after America went to war on the Korean peninsula we are still there protecting the deadbeat South Koreans at great risk of life and treasure. And the otherwise nationalistic South Koreans seem disinclined to change this arrangement anytime soon. (Unlike our officials in Washington, the South Koreans apparently know a sweet deal when they see it.) They recently negotiated a delay (read fobbed off) a planned transfer of wartime operational command from Washington to Seoul that had been scheduled for April 2012.
I am not necessarily opposed to free trade in theory, but I am sick of Uncle Sam being a chump. South Korea wants freer access to the lucrative American marketplace. I don’t blame them. Who wouldn’t? But at the same time they want the beleaguered American taxpayer and our overextended military to continue underwriting their defense. Sounds like a good gig if you can get it – IF YOU’RE SOUTH KOREA, but if you’re America, it stinks.
South Korea needs to get off the military dole. It needs to direct more of its own money towards shoring up its own military for its own defense if such is truly necessary and quit coming with its hand out to Uncle Sugar.
Once South Korea is solely responsible for its own defense and no longer relies on a bankrupt America to protect it from its menacing neighbor to the north, then maybe we should be more in the mood to talk about granting them freer access to our marketplace, but pardon me if I remain a tad bit surly about the prospect while South Korea continues to freeload.