Trump's Diplomatic Approach to South Korean Alliance: Trash and Crash

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      Whether it’s the ridiculous demand for five billion dollars in military cost sharing put forward by the US in the Special Measures Agreement (SMA) negotiations currently pending between representatives of the US and South Korea, or whether it is the continuing US pressure to renew the General Sharing of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) before it expires November 23, the US appears to be following a policy undermining the legitimacy of South Korean rule as a sovereign democratic state.

      As pointed out in the the Hankyoreh, there is no international agreement supporting the unreasonable and unprecedented US demand for an increase of South Korean military cost burden sharing from approximately one billion to five billion dollars a year. The US team attempting to ram this down South Korea’s throat has absolutely no understanding of South Korean history nor its domestic political situation. Ostensibly, the negotiating team leader James Dehart was sent, without notice, to South Korea last week to gain some understanding of the situation and South Korean perspective on this matter. Conservatives in the National Assembly are no more receptive to financially overbearing demands than the democratic administration of President Moon Jae-in. It simply defies belief how tone deaf the US “diplomacy” really is. They have been told by the South Korean Foreign Minister that the US demand is outside the scope of the Status of Forces Agreement and will be rejected by the National Assembly. Even if it were even remotely plausible that any credible group of South Korean politicians would accept such demeaning demands, which there isn’t, the Democratic Party leaders in the Assembly could simply table any proposed ratification at the committee level so that it never sees the light of day. So it appears the US team has zero comprehension of the democratic political processes in South Korea. They also miscalculate their influence in contemporary South Korea by attempting to browbeat the South Korean side.

      A similar unsavory prospect is presented by the US demands that the South Korean government renew the GSOMIA agreement without a satisfactory quid pro quo from the Abe administration in Japan. While pretending to take an impartial role based upon regional security concerns, a failure by the US to play an intermediary role between Japan and South Korea in their current diplomatic dispute is little more than taking up the Japanese cause of trade war in defense of historical revisionism to the detriment of regional security.

      (Source- JTBC News, 10.3) The Taegukki People’s Revolution Movement, a reactionary far right organization, appeared to be present at the demonstration in force, carrying US flags as well as Korean flags. Their banner (above) featured the former ruthless dictators Syngman Rhee and Park Chung Hee.

      The upcoming defense cost sharing negotiations with Japan and Germany are an ultimate objective as the US team Trump tries to break down South Korean resistance to unreasonable demands from it’s so called ally to bolster it’s own military budget which is out of control as a result of poor budget planning in all dimensions. The target seems to be making an example of the relatively weaker South Korea as one of the most vulnerable allies. Ironically, South Korea spends more of its GDP on military expenditures for its own defense than any other US NATO ally. It recently expended 10 billion dollars accommodating the US base transition plan to Camp Humphreys in Pyongtaek, the largest US military base outside the US. It also purchases billions in US military equipment. Nevertheless, the unreasonable US demands threaten the integrity of the political process in South Korea both in the Assembly and in upcoming elections for Assembly seats in April. No assemblyman nor party in South Korea can put themselves in the position of capitulating to such unreasonable demands from an outside power, ally or not.

      Massive far right demonstrations took place in the street in Gwanghwamun for the past few weeks by fascist supporters of prior dictators who historically acted as puppets of the US and pro-Japanese elements in the power structure. This weekend religious fundamentalists and former military officers dressed in Erwin Rommel chic addressed a crowd bearing hundreds, if not thousands of US flags. This won’t change the political calculations in the National Assembly or the Blue House. Anyone seen capitulating to the US and Japanese manipulations to return to a semi-colonial quisling status will be branded as a traitor whose name will go down in infamy. On the other hand, a failure to obtain an SMA agreement on military cost sharing will be political catastrophe for the South Korean administration. These US and Japanese tactics are starting to smell like a regime change formula for the democratically elected government of South Korea.

      See: [News analysis] The US’ intentions behind ramping up S. Korea’s share of defense costs
      Posted on : Nov.8,2019 17:49 KST Modified on : Nov.8,2019 17:49 KST

      [Editorial] US contradicting itself by pressuring S. Korea to extend GSOMIA
      Posted on : Nov.7,2019 16:52 KST Modified on : Nov.7,2019 16:52 KST

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