The parties are advised to chill.
Mattel, Inc. v. MCA Records, Inc., 296 F.3d 894, 908 (9th Cir. 2002)

Thursday, December 22, 2005
Our Man In Seoul

. . . kicks ass.

There's an International Herald Tribune profile on our new ambassador to South Korea, Alexander Vershbow:

In two months since he arrived from Moscow, Vershbow has made so many blunt comments about the communist North and about the South's policy that he has already drawn calls for his departure. These are not just the predictable attacks that flow regularly from Pyongyang; officials from South Korea's governing party, Uri, have also suggested publicly that Washington recall him.

In rapid fire in early December, he called Pyongyang "a criminal regime," criticized the absence of human rights in the North and, at an economic conference in Seoul, reminded the South that North Korea was "a military threat." Vershbow has also criticized Seoul's commitment to economic aid and investment in North Korea.

In rapid fire in early December, he called Pyongyang "a criminal regime," criticized the absence of human rights in the North and, at an economic conference in Seoul, reminded the South that North Korea was "a military threat." Vershbow has also criticized Seoul's commitment to economic aid and investment in North Korea.

Last week, complaints from North and South greeted Vershbow's suggestion that South Korea's economic aid and investment to the North should be linked to progress on the nuclear disarmament talks.

And let's not forget his comments concerning alleged counterfeiting of US currency by North Korea.

It's about time somewhat splashed a cold dose of reality on the South Korean government's fantasy world. See, for instance, some of the mouthings from the Roh administration's Unification Ministers. (see also here)

Earlier this month (via Korea Times):

Alexander Vershbow, U.S. ambassador to South Korea, issued the scathing rebuttal during a meeting with senior domestic journalists of the Kwanhun Club in Seoul. "This is a criminal regime and you can’t somehow remove sanctions as a political gesture when this regime is engaging in dangerous activities such as weapons exports to rogue states," Vershbow said.

Which prompted this response (via Chosun Ilbo):

The ruling-party lawmaker [Kim Won-ung] was speaking on a PBC Radio talk show. "If I were told to choose between peace on the peninsula and our allies, I would say that we need to give up our alliances," Kim said. "It seems to me the neocons in the U.S. are not aware of what is going on."

"I am saying this clearly to Ambassador Vershbow: no country that becomes an obstacle on the path to reunification of the peninsula can ever be a friend of Korea, and this is something that Vershbow needs to bear in mind," Kim said.

Kim warned the envoy faces being called in "for a talk" by the Foreign Ministry, "or, in the worst case, we can ask the U.S. government to recall him." He said given the character of relations with the U.S., "the Korean government is likely to be submissive on this issue. But if Vershbow persists with the same attitude, we will present a resolution or a proposal calling for his recall to the National Assembly."

[emphasis added]

Kim's views, while reprehensible, at least have the advantage of clarity. If the Uri party feels the need to give up the alliance in favor of "peace on the peninsula, fine. I'm reminded of Franklin Roosevelt:

No realistic American can expect from a dictator’s peace international generosity, or return of true independence, or world disarmament, or freedom of expression, or freedom of religion -- or even good business. Such a peace would bring no security for us or for our neighbors. Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

As a nation we may take pride in the fact that we are soft-hearted; but we cannot afford to be soft-headed. We must always be wary of those who with sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal preach the "ism" of appeasement. We must especially beware of that small group of selfish men who would clip the wings of the American eagle in order to feather their own nests.

Which is why, no matter the desire of the Uri party, it's darned unlikely Vershbow will be recalled, as seen in this letter from Henry Hyde (via Free Korea):

In this regard, I wish to commend you for your vigorous defense of American values, including democracy and human rights, and for holding to account those who would threaten America's economic security through the systematic counterfeiting of our national currency. In this season of "peace on earth, good will toward men," it is also fitting to recall our less fortunate brothers and sisters who are suffering under tyranny in North Korea or who are seeking shelter as refugees in China, as another family did in Egypt over two thousand years ago. Those who inflict suffering on these innocent people are, indeed, members of a "criminal regime." Those who would make apologies for such a regime, whose nuclear proliferation, counterfeiting, gross human rights violations, and other illicit activities threaten the security and prosperity of the American people and the entire international community, are no friends of America or her people.

I hear that.


Posted 5:45 PM by Tony


Aaaand, I'm Back

Sort of. I've just been really busy lately. Hopefully, I'll start blogging a bit more regularly.


Posted 5:39 PM by Tony


An Orange County native trapped in the SF Bay Area. Email at orblog-at-yahoo.com.

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