Thursday, February 11, 2010

Wrapping up loose ends

Well, I guess I can officially call this summer to a close as I've just submitted my paper on Central Asia through email to Dr. Lee. I've already given him my Korean paper, so all that's left to do is wait for him to grade the stuff and get back to me. For the Korean paper I did a piece on the US-Korean alliance and for Kazakhstan I did something about Foreign (mainly US) interests in Central Asia. Ironically I went into these two papers confident about US-Korean relationship and worried about Central Asia, but I came out worried about Korea and more comfortable with the power plays in Central Asia.

While I eventually do go to say in my Korean paper that the US-Korean alliance will still be maintained, I'm really very afraid of the way South Korea is currently going with anti-American attitudes and the lack of concern I see in the people my age about North Korea. If I'm being harsh on young Koreans, I apologize, but that's what I see in the students who come here. North Korea isn't really a threat in their minds and they feel that North Korea may be right in many areas. I've known several who say it might be true when North Korea says that the U.S. invaded North Korea first starting the Korean war. How serious they are about this is something I'm not sure of, but the fact that they are even able to consider it as a possibility is quite astounding considering the historical evidence against it and the way North Korea has operated in the past with its lies and propaganda.

I guess I just don't understand the mind of the people over there. A lot of time I see people out there protesting the U.S. presence there, which has always struck me as a bit of ingratitude. I've been told it is a thing about national pride, but still, if I had a hostile neighbor like that who has invaded my country and sent terrorists against me, I'd like to think that I would swallow my pride and accept a bit of help. Furthermore, you don't really see this same scale of anti-Americanism in Germany. I'm sure there's less troops there, but we still have a lot of troops in Germany and for a reason much less in Germany's national interests than defense against an enemy less than forty km from its capitol.

In what I've read though, it is always the government of Korea that tries to preserve the relationship with the U.S. so maybe it isn't a Korean thing, but a thing about youth. I know many American kids my age are ignorant and apathetic about what is going on around them, so what's really to make South Korean kids different? Maybe I'm just a crotchety old man on a soap box deep at heart...

Anyone actually surprised that Iran's big surprise to the west had to deal with nuclear technology?