Politics

South Korea’s Relationship with the United States

A historical look at United States involvement in South Korean affairs, and a modern day analysis.

In the midst of the scandal regarding the South Korean president, Park Geun-Hye, many have noted that the corruption uncovered bared a strong resemblance to the United States’ government corruption.  It is my belief that the ordinary citizens of South Korea are mostly good people as are the citizens of the United States; however, it seems we can never be so sure about our government officials.  This is but one new entry of many in the story of top democratic government officials secretly reaping the extra benefits that come with delegative powers.

The South Korean people spared no time rising up and demanding for President Park’s resignation.  Just this morning, thousands took to the streets in protest.  According to investigation, she was discovered to have given classified government information to unauthorized personnel and to have cut some lucrative deals with some of the wealthier domestic corporations.

I’m not saying the ideal democracy is not achievable, but there are many existing democratic establishments that were initially adopted under western American influence that gradually began to exhibit similar flaws.  When such countries adopt this form of government under American influence, they typically become closely allied with the United States, and some become very interdependent with the United States.

South Korea is one of the most unfortunate examples.  The United States solidified something like a blood bond with South Korea during the Korean War.  Truthfully, the main reason the United States ever got involved with what was going on with the peninsula of Korea was that the United States, for a long time, had been warring with the the great communist nations of the East.  Warfare is more geo-political that most realize.  As regimes like Russia began to invade newly liberated Korea following World War II, the United states stepped in and established a military alliance with South Korea.  Fast forward to today, and South Korea is barely able to hold on to its sovereignty.  North Korea is still at great odds with South Korea and South Korea is unable to adequately defend itself against a North Korean invasion.

The relationship the United States has with South Korea is a military alliance.  Sure, the United States engages in international commerce with South Korea, but the true bond held is militaristic.  With this being the case, and that South Korea desperately depends on the United States’ defense capabilities, South Korea is completely submissive to the United States, creating a unilateral partnership.  You could argue that South Korea takes advantage of the United States military, but the United States entered into Korean affairs on its own accord and actually created this dependent existence.  And it’s not as if this outcome was incidental.  The United States takes advantage of South Korea, positioning it as a strategic partner against the Eastern communist regimes, which was the whole idea from the beginning.  And being that the United States has complete leverage of South Korea, South Korea can be dragged into anything the United States demands, including poorly justified wars.

While South Korea is locked into a circumstance that seems to be inextricable for now and for the foreseeable future, other nations allied with or closely interdependent with the United States should study the historical and contemporary situation of South Korea to avoid being exploited by the United States’ geo-political tactics.

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