August 4, 2006


South Korea's growing isolation (Bruce Klingner, 8/05/06, Asia Times)

South Korea is becoming increasingly marginalized in Northeast Asian policymaking because of the collapse of inter-Korean talks and its growing estrangement from the United States, Japan and China.

Washington and Tokyo have regained the initiative and will be able to push a harder line against Pyongyang, while Seoul's engagement policy faces dwindling domestic support. The deterioration of relations with Washington is fueling rumors of additional drawdowns in US troop levels, which could cause public and market trepidation over a perceived degradation in Washington's commitment to South Korea's defense.

Chinese and Russian acquiescence to stronger language in United Nations Resolution 1695 than first indicated left South Korea nearly as isolated as Pyongyang.

No nation need be part of the Axis of Good, but it must accept the consequences.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 4, 2006 10:15 AM

It ain't called the Hermit Kingdom for nothing.

Posted by: Mike Morley at August 4, 2006 10:37 AM

If you want to belly up to the bar, you've got to buy a round once in a while. No one drinks for free.

Posted by: Rick T. at August 4, 2006 10:58 AM

Roh is being quite stupid - his position has been growing weaker for a long time, and he won't do anything different.

A re-unified Korea is only going to happen one way, but the South probably won't like the beginning.

Posted by: jim hamlen at August 4, 2006 11:16 AM

The US should pull all troops off the DMZ, and conceivably out of Korea, except a large airbase in the South end of the Peninsula, assuming SoKo signs off on the latter.

We all know the threat that Seoul lies under, but the simple fact is, if SoKo, with twice the population of the North, and 40 times (!) the economy, cannot defend themselves from that tin-pot twerp, then SoKo does not deserve the freedom and independence that all too much of planet earth, certainly in the US 'orbit", seems to assume falls from the sky like rain. The assumption that such freedom is therefore their birthright, one that is only troubled by those militaristic Yanks, etc, is one that the US has to actively fight with virtually every ally in this troubled world, and is the explanation for much of US policy of late, in Asia and the Middle East.

If South Korean troops, backed by the US Navy and Air Force, cannot defeat the admittedly well-armed scarecrows of the North given all of SoKo's advantages, just what the hell is the US defending there anyway, other than yet another freeloader.

Posted by: Andrew X at August 4, 2006 12:14 PM

How sharper than a serpent's tooth. . ..

Andrew is on the right track. It wouldn't take much--just tell the thankless children that we are no longer defending the Seoul area.

Posted by: Lou Gots at August 4, 2006 12:33 PM

There are a few more places who could stand to learn the same lesson, places that we have protected for far longer than SoKo.

Posted by: dick at August 5, 2006 1:21 PM
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