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A Korean's viewpoint
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PeteJB



Joined: 06 Jul 2007

PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 12:15 pm    Post subject: A Korean's viewpoint Reply with quote

The following is a large snippet from a blog of a Korean studying in America. This post is about American GIs and American's attitudes in Korea. It's written in English, and well, I just think many of her arguments are flawed.

Quote:
Perhaps, very soon, South Korea will be put into a position where they need to make a choice between the Peoplesí Republic of China and the United States of America. The economy is America is disastrous, while the PRCís is on the rise. The U.S. is burdened by wars, unemployment, and an increasingly weak dollar. China on the other hand has never seen such expansive growth. I believe that when China takes the next step forward they will want to reign in on regional security. Historically, China has not been an ally to South Korea and currently has ties to the nuclear developed North. However, if China wishes to remain an economic juggernaut, developing a fair trade relationship with South Korea would lead to a greater benefit. Staying tied to archaic communist ideology seems to be in Chinaís past. If it comes down to it will South Korea side with China or America?

This leads me to another question. Does South Korea need the American military within its borders? Is America really helping Korea? Iíve been ruminating on these questions from the argument I had with a friend that lasted until four in the morning. My friend claimed that America had to protect South Korea from North Korea. America has military institutions in South Korea for the Southís benefit. I am not sure if he is aware, but the Cold War is over. There is no need to have communism vs. capitalism anymore. Furthermore the South Korean defense forces are well trained and advanced, while the North relies on antiquated weaponry from China and Russia. In terms of equipment the North wouldnít be able to stand up to the South. Secondly, given the opportunity a large amount of North Korean soldiers would defect to the Southís ranks. America uses that as an excuse to maintain military institutions for their own agenda, not the protection of South Korea.

In all honesty I was upset when I talked to my friend. Today, I read another headline from a Korean news site about a young girl, high school aged, who had been violated by an American soldier. The soldier allegedly entered the young girls studio apartment, sexually assaulted her, and to add insult to injury stole her laptop. There have also been reports of the U.S Army dumping toxic chemical waste in South Korea. Usually, they will try to bury it in the ground. Unfortunately, if it gets into the ground water supply it can travel towards the great river Han.
My foolish friend claimed, ďIíve never seen anything as disgusting as the Han River.Ē Of course, after hearing his words I felt enraged. Really? He wants to claim that Han River is disgusting when his country is responsible for contaminating it. Perhaps, I responded in anger, but I couldnít help to say, ďIf you hate it in Korea so much then fly back to your own country. You came there, because of your poor economy and my country gave you a job. You didnít even need previous work experience. Letís see how long it takes for you to find a new job in America?Ē

I have more than one American friend who is teaching English in Korea. Iím always open to their point of views; I just wish they would be as receptive to my own views. Some of my friends do miss their family, friends, and country. However, they all seem concerned about where they can work? Who will employ them in this difficult economy? They might want to go home, but they are afraid to, because of an uncertain future. The reality of life is that you need money to survive in this contemporary material driven world. So, my American friends continue to teach away relying on my country to support their careers.
Getting back to the situation on if America benefits Korea or not. I donít see how Americans can claim they help Korea at all. According to a report of criminal offenses by US Armed Forces members, since 2007 there have been roughly 1455 incidents. The key here is reported incidents. The actual tally is likely much higher. That is over one criminal action committed by the US military everyday against a Korean civilian. Dave claims that their soldiers are here to protect us from the North, but who is going to protect Korean citizens from the poorly regulated US military? Why is it the American soldiers who are terrorizing South Korea? The North Korea soldiers stay on their side of the DMZ. To be honest, America isnít protecting Korea out of the kindness of their hearts. No major capitalist country offers their service for free. America has another agenda. Perhaps, they want to try and control the shipping lanes into the East coast of Asia. American military institutions can be found in S. Korea, Japan, and the Philippines. Maybe, there is a need to keep their foothold into Asia to assert Western agenda on Asian societies.

The relationship between the PRC and USA will be one to watch develop. As China gains more economic prominence they will divert portions of those funds to modernize their own military. Perhaps, there will soon be another military that will be able to rival the Americans and help keep them in check. It isnít about China or America as a hero or villain, but more about a balance of power being instituted. America claims they are offering security to Korea, what is China happens to offer the same deal to Korea for security? That is another issues that Americans might need to contend with.

Another issue Dave brought up is that South Korean is racist. Of course, it is natural to think that countries with a greater level of diversity will have more problems with racism. However, I was shocked when Josh showed me his text book. In the book it said that Korea was more likely than any other country to not want to live next to a member of another race or foreign nationality. I do believe it is important to take the context of Korean history into account when making the statement. For centuries Korea had been invaded by Japan and China. Korea's two lovely neighbors seemed to take turns at trying to rule and suppress the Korean people and our culture. I believe Korean's developed a mentality of taking care of themselves and pushing others out to preserve our own identity as a people that has carried with the population throughout generations. It could even be argued that S. Korea is still under foreign influence today with the presence of the US Military and pressure from the American government to conform to Western Politics. Unfortunately young men in uniform don't always behave with the highest degrees of civility and when they commit crimes in Korea, against Koreans they can retreat to their base where local Korean authorities aren't able to interrogate or confront the soldiers about the accusations. The soldiers are essentially given a free pass to behave poorly IF they can make it back to the base before they are caught. This causes an increased strain on the Korean mindset and being able to trust foreigners, not to mention the majority of foreigners who have been to Korea in the past have tried to occupy and colonize the country. Koreans feel a need to stick together to survive. Foreign influence has had a history of not benefiting Korea.


Rebuttals?
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Setaro



Joined: 08 Aug 2010

PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Rebuttals?


Not really, she's pretty much right.
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nate1983



Joined: 30 Mar 2008

PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 3:32 pm    Post subject: Re: A Korean's viewpoint Reply with quote

PeteJB wrote:
Foreign influence has had a history of not benefiting Korea.


Then why would she travel thousands of miles and spend a boatload of money to be influenced by foreign education?

And talking about "her country" giving Americans jobs? At least that's the free market at work. Presumably, she is not working in my country, but reaping the benefits of its infrastructure and education system, both heavily supported by US taxpayer dollars.

Furthermore, she twists her words very neatly - the "young girl" and "US soldier" from what I hear were only a year or two apart in age, and while I'm certainly neither condoning nor defending his malfeasance, I don't see how she's trying to make it out as some abomination that Korean college guys never try with similar-aged girls.

She sounds like some typical college student who has a sudden epiphany that she's figured out all that's wrong with the world - only now, thanks to this blogging phenomenon, she exposes others to her drivel.
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radcon



Joined: 23 May 2011

PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does she not have any sense of irony? She is studying within the borders of the great satan. Instead of ruminating about the job prospects of English teachers in Korea she better focus on her own future job prospects because the under/un-employment rates of college grads in Korea is staggering.
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Captain Corea



Joined: 28 Feb 2005
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I am not sure if he is aware, but the Cold War is over. There is no need to have communism vs. capitalism anymore. Furthermore the South Korean defense forces are well trained and advanced, while the North relies on antiquated weaponry from China and Russia. In terms of equipment the North wouldnít be able to stand up to the South. Secondly, given the opportunity a large amount of North Korean soldiers would defect to the Southís ranks.


This sounds like wishful thinking. I'm guessing she has NO military experience.
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fermentation



Joined: 22 Jun 2009

PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 4:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
South Korean defense forces are well trained and advanced


She doesn't know what she's talking about if she thinks that.

Quote:
Foreign influence has had a history of not benefiting Korea.


Well, do be fair, direct influence/aid from foreign governments in general are not beneficial to any nation. Korea should be glad so many countries helped out during the Korean War but then again, they would not have needed that help if there was no foreign intervention in the first place.

Quote:
She sounds like some typical college student who has a sudden epiphany that she's figured out all that's wrong with the world - only now, thanks to this blogging phenomenon, she exposes others to her drivel.


Precisely. But she's young and it's okay to be wrong.
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DIsbell



Joined: 15 Oct 2008

PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 4:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

She makes some decent points, yet her perspective on China seems deeply flawed and she has the dishonest argumentative tactic of portraying the "other side" through a dumb friend who she paints as a boorish, unemployable-back-home English teacher.

What really gets me though is that I, as sort of a typical bleeding-heart anti-war American left kind of guy, feel so put off by her tone and the ungratefulness she shows. Her English ability and American degree are assuredly going to be major factors in her own employment, so she's no less dependent, if actually not significantly more dependent, on America for her own career. Not to mention that plenty of English teachers in Korea can and do go elsewhere to continue teaching, including her darling PRC (which is a bit less hassle to get a visa, and the pay is approaching SK levels, no?). Also, she says the Cold War is over and talks about allying with China instead (as if friendly relations with either country are mutually exclusive; she seems ignorant of Korea's already booming trade with the PRC), she seems to ignore America's staunch support of South Korea through thick and thin over the past 60+ years. And if you want to talk about a sweet economic situation for SK, look no further than the US/SK trade deficit and generally lucrative American consumer market that SK has been tapping into for decades. China is on the rise but any country would be a fool to ignore North American markets. I find her attitude in this regard comparable to Americans who needlessly bash the French in spite of our history of cooperation.

If she's writing something like this in English, I assume her aim is to communicate her ideas with at least some Westerners. I'm a Westerner very sympathetic to drawing down US troops globally, and I'm definitely willing to condemn sexual violence and wanton pollution wherever it occurs. Yet my immediate reaction was to rebuke the whole piece due to the tone.

Maybe she should head back to the states for some persuasive writing courses?
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Steelrails



Joined: 12 Mar 2009
Location: Earth, Solar System

PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 4:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Captain Corea wrote:
Quote:
I am not sure if he is aware, but the Cold War is over. There is no need to have communism vs. capitalism anymore. Furthermore the South Korean defense forces are well trained and advanced, while the North relies on antiquated weaponry from China and Russia. In terms of equipment the North wouldnít be able to stand up to the South. Secondly, given the opportunity a large amount of North Korean soldiers would defect to the Southís ranks.


This sounds like wishful thinking. I'm guessing she has NO military experience.


Not sure about the defection part...but she's got a decent picture of things.

Actually, the million man wave coming south is more of wishful thinking from the doom and gloom (and please spend money on weapons systems I hold stock in) prophets.

The war in the air would resemble the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot. The subsequent Air-to-Ground pounding would resemble the Highway of Death and the ground war would probably devolve into a 21st century Pickett's Charge (both tactically and as a logistic and coordination failure- IMO, the major reasons for its failure). The war at sea would probably be something like Straits of Hormuz, certainly no Falklands.

Seriously, KJI's force is not some Death Legion of Mordor. It is the Iraqi Army, circa 1991 without any of the benefit of combat experience and leaders that the Iraqis at least had.

Of course the big part is that the more Chinese investment and ownership goes into Korea, the greater the political impossibility of a Nork attack is and there goes the need for U.S. troops.

Throwing out a number here, but I'd say 100 billion dollars in financial ties between S.K. and China is the deterrence equivalent of 10,000 U.S. troops.
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rabidcake



Joined: 10 Aug 2009

PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OP, where did you go to get this blog?
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ajosshi



Joined: 17 Jan 2011
Location: ajosshi.com

PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 4:56 pm    Post subject: Re: A Korean's viewpoint Reply with quote

nate1983 wrote:
PeteJB wrote:
Foreign influence has had a history of not benefiting Korea.


Then why would she travel thousands of miles and spend a boatload of money to be influenced by foreign education?

And talking about "her country" giving Americans jobs? At least that's the free market at work. Presumably, she is not working in my country, but reaping the benefits of its infrastructure and education system, both heavily supported by US taxpayer dollars.

Not getting any thing for free. Foreign students pay full price. Their fees partly offset fees charged to residents. Also, the "infrastructure" is paid by taxed spending. Foreigners spend just like any other citizen. They don't get jack for free.

Furthermore, she twists her words very neatly - the "young girl" and "US soldier" from what I hear were only a year or two apart in age, and while I'm certainly neither condoning nor defending his malfeasance, I don't see how she's trying to make it out as some abomination that Korean college guys never try with similar-aged girls.

The girl is 17. The U.S. Army private is 21.

The U.S. Army private has admitted to the following:

1. Stalking females
2. Checked for female shoes before breaking in
3. Used an instrument to break in
4. Holding the female against her will
5. Beating the girl with the instrument used to break in with (causing severe lacerations)
6. Raping her for 4 hours
7. Claimed he was too drunk to remember what happened

Based on the facts, I don't see any bias.


She sounds like some typical college student who has a sudden epiphany that she's figured out all that's wrong with the world - only now, thanks to this blogging phenomenon, she exposes others to her drivel.

Those are merely her opinions. I'd say several of them are valid.
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MoneyMike



Joined: 03 Dec 2008

PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are a couple ok points in there, but she glazes over and ignores a lot too.

One thing she completely fails to bring up is America's contribution to Korea's current economy. She says that the American teacher is relying on Korea for a job, but Korea has and to some extent still does rely on American markets in the same way. (without the benefit of opening their borders to American products, at least without high tariffs)
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Captain Corea



Joined: 28 Feb 2005
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steelrails wrote:
Captain Corea wrote:
Quote:
I am not sure if he is aware, but the Cold War is over. There is no need to have communism vs. capitalism anymore. Furthermore the South Korean defense forces are well trained and advanced, while the North relies on antiquated weaponry from China and Russia. In terms of equipment the North wouldnít be able to stand up to the South. Secondly, given the opportunity a large amount of North Korean soldiers would defect to the Southís ranks.


This sounds like wishful thinking. I'm guessing she has NO military experience.


Not sure about the defection part...but she's got a decent picture of things.

Actually, the million man wave coming south is more of wishful thinking from the doom and gloom (and please spend money on weapons systems I hold stock in) prophets.

The war in the air would resemble the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot. The subsequent Air-to-Ground pounding would resemble the Highway of Death and the ground war would probably devolve into a 21st century Pickett's Charge (both tactically and as a logistic and coordination failure- IMO, the major reasons for its failure). The war at sea would probably be something like Straits of Hormuz, certainly no Falklands.

Seriously, KJI's force is not some Death Legion of Mordor. It is the Iraqi Army, circa 1991 without any of the benefit of combat experience and leaders that the Iraqis at least had.

Of course the big part is that the more Chinese investment and ownership goes into Korea, the greater the political impossibility of a Nork attack is and there goes the need for U.S. troops.

Throwing out a number here, but I'd say 100 billion dollars in financial ties between S.K. and China is the deterrence equivalent of 10,000 U.S. troops.


Her main points in that quote...

South Korean military is "advanced".
Are we sure about this? From the guys that I've talked to that recently finished their service, "advanced" would not be the word they'd use to describe it.

North Korean soldiers would defect to the other side.
And we'd happily accept them, right? Just put guns in their hands and turn them in the opposite direction? Sounds naive to me.

North Korea equipment is antiquated.
A gun is a gun. If it shoots, it can kill. They may not have precision bombing, but they've proven time and time again that their 'antiquated weapons' are able to take on "newer" foes. Need I post links to recent fights?

South Korean forces are well/better trained.
Um... seriously??



So yeah, I stand by my post that she's most likely ignorant of the military reality.
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Steelrails



Joined: 12 Mar 2009
Location: Earth, Solar System

PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 5:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
South Korean military is "advanced".
Are we sure about this? From the guys that I've talked to that recently finished their service, "advanced" would not be the word they'd use to describe it.


Air Force is light years ahead. Navy is light years ahead. MBTs are light years ahead. Command & Control/Electronics Information Systems are light years ahead. Infrastructure and logistical supports are light years ahead.

Quote:
North Korean soldiers would defect to the other side.
And we'd happily accept them, right? Just put guns in their hands and turn them in the opposite direction? Sounds naive to me.


As I said, this one I'm iffy about. But I would say that mass-surrenders are not an unlikely possibility or maybe a few Corps Commanders suddenly having "problems" receiving orders.

Quote:
North Korea equipment is antiquated.
A gun is a gun. If it shoots, it can kill. They may not have precision bombing, but they've proven time and time again that their 'antiquated weapons' are able to take on "newer" foes. Need I post links to recent fights?


Occasional terrorist-esqe incidents during 'peacetime' are a lot different than full-scale war. A militia group back home could stage a surprise attack and wipe out 20 GIs. That doesn't mean in a full-scale war the Michigan Militia would take down a combat regiment.

Quote:
South Korean forces are well/better trained.
Um... seriously??


Training takes money and materiel. Things the Norks lack, especially when it comes to armor and their air force.

The Norks have "maxed out" their military. With 25 million people and a shambles economy they are at their limit.

The SK military vastly outclasses them and that's with them not even coming close to maxing out their military potential. Think how much of the SK economy and population is NOT spent on military-related matters.

Do the Norks have the currency or petroleum reserves needed to carry out a war?

SK is 'lazy' with its military because it can afford to be. The U.S. could leave and basically they'd have to be 20% less lazier. But they could still be lazy.
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Unposter



Joined: 04 Jun 2006

PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This blog entry is not very well organized so it is very difficult to really understand her points but I will make a few comments:

1. It is my understanding that North Korea has enough mortars to take out the city of Seoul in one hours time. North Korea would have no reason to march across the DMZ until South Korea was sufficiently softened up.) If North Korea were to attack South Korea, it would be imperative to take out those mortars as quickly as possible. I would think knowing that the U.S. was willing to wipe North Korea off the map if that happened would at least make North Korea think twice about it and it would probably give the South Korean government some comfort that they would not have to go it alone.

2. I remember reading an article by a SNU Professor titled, "Home Alone" and it asked the question who is/are South Korean allies? He then said that if the U.S. is not South Korea's allie (sp?) than who is? He then suggested that going against the world alone is not the best choice for South Korea. South Korean arrogance should not get in the way of an allie (sp?)

3. With the North Korean "bugbear," standing between South Korea and China, it is going to be very difficult for South Korea and China to be more than simple friends. And, lets not forget all those Chinese textbooks that claim the Beakchae Kingdom was really Chinese and that China has a claim on Korea. I think South Korea has a lot to fear from China, especially if South Korea did not have the U.S. to balance power in the region. As the blog said, South Korea has long been a victim of the larger regional powers - China and Japan.

4. And, what does China really have to offer? Do you remember garbage dumplings? Chinese companies sold South Korea dumplings that were filled with vegetables from the garbage. How well can South Koreans trust Chinese products? China is still behind South Korea technologically and the way the Chinese government treats its people, soft South Koreans blessed with freedom and democracy would not be so happy. And, China is going to be a big competitor to South Korea. As China grows, it will probably cost jobs in South Korea.

5. She somewhow seems to think that teaching English is a kind of welfare program sponsored by South Korea to the benefit of Western people. She doesn't seem to think that South Korea has benefited and continues to benefit. Well, how short sighted! As most Koreans say, South Korea's only resource is human resources. South Korea needs a highly educated society. Since Korean is not an official language outside of Korea and South Korea has an export driven economy, the need for people who speak other languages is higher than in most other countries. Also, much of the technology that South Korea benefits from is derived from an understanding of English language textbooks. Try and take a science, engineering or computer class in Korea, and see how much English you really need to know.

6. South Korea has benefited greatly from the U.S. - it probably wouldn't exist - but I certainly don't think South Korea still needs to be grateful about it but to deny it is not factual either. South Korea has benefited in many other ways from the U.S. South Korea probably could not have gotten the 1988 Olympics if it were not for the political support of the U.S. Ban-gi Moon probably would not be Secretary General of the U.N. without some political support from the U.S. South Korea benefits much from its alliance with the U.S.

7. The U.S. military should do a better job of cotrolling their people. It is not just South Korea, it is Okinawa and probably some other places. Obviously, it is all human nature, at times, people comit crimes but every time a U.S. soldier does something, they are an easy target.
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Weigookin74



Joined: 26 Oct 2009

PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The funny thing is, if America left tomorrow, would the Koreans be scared? I think they'd be living in fear of that nutjob up in Pyeongyang. I can't approve of that soldiers behaviour. He was handed over to the Korean government for prosecution. Maybe there has to be some restrictions of being back on base by a certain time for soldiers to cut down on this or soldiers can earn the privedges of going off after a year of being here. As for PCB's, I believe many governments dumped this until the 1970's, even in the west. Some residents in my home province in Canada are getting compensation for the dumping of agent orange many years ago. Environmental standards and common sense weren't always what they are today. But the Han river wouldn't be polluted from that 40 years later. It would be raw sewage and other such things. Maybe comparable to the Hudson River in New York?

As for the racist thing, western nations came in during the Korean war and saved their a$$. We didn't invade them. We're not Chinese of Japanese. We have no centuries old conflict with Korea, so quit harping on us. If we are blamed for the division of Korea, then we could have not come here and Koreans could have lived happily under the rule of the Kims in Pyeongyang. How's that working out for the North, by the way? Korea is did have a chance for unification by the end of 1950, when Korean and UN forces drove the North Koreans to Chines border. But, then China got involved and pushed back. It is because of China that North Korea exists today. If Koreans want to blame this division on someone, blame it on China and not Western governments. My own family members came here and risked their lives to fight for Korean freedom. So, xenophobes, can pi$$ off!!

As for the downturn in America, it takes an election change to fix that industrial giants economy. China has many internal problems. America had two very bitter recessions since World War II. One under Ronald Reagan and another under Barrack Obama. One had a strong economic recovery and one did not. My country began shifting towards the thinking of one of these idealogies in the 1990's and 2000's. Our economy has been the strongest amongst G8 countries, including during the recession, though we are not entirely unaffected by the downturn. But our debt is low and our national unemployment is 7%.

America will recover, though it may take an election. As for China, there are more kinks in the armor than realized. As for predjudice, we have no centuries old conflict with Koreans. If I date Korean women, ajossis need to shut their racist mouths!!

I do like Korea for the most part, in spite of this blog. There are many good things here and many of the people are actually pretty cool. But that vocal minority and those idiots over at anti english spectrum do tend to give bad impressions of Korea and they greatly do a diservice to their country.
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