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A majority of Americans and Koreans support the alliance, but…

The Council on Foreign Relations had a blog post yesterday titled “American Attitudes Toward Korean Security: Steady as She Goes.” It reports that:

Within Asia, the greatest level of American support for a forward U.S. military presence is for the U.S. troop presence in South Korea perceived by two-thirds of Americans as a strong partner of the United States, with 60 percent of respondents favoring a continued U.S. presence there.

The CFR found this “striking” considering the “apparent bipartisan fatigue with the results of diplomacy toward North Korea that permeates the Washington policy community.”

Bipartisan fatigue. I love the terms academics come up with. Though I suppose it sounds more scholarly than, “going nowhere fast.”

You can read analyst Scott Snyder’s full report, prepared for the Chicago Council on Foreign Affairs, here.

As for Korean attitudes: A February, 2011 report for the Center of US-Korean Policy by Kyung Hee University’s Kyu-toi Moon, using numbers from a 201o survey by the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, shows American public support for the ROK-US alliance is tepid compared to that of South Koreans.

Based on the survey analysis, 87 percent of South Korean respondents thought it was necessary to continue the ROK-U.S. alliance in order to deter North Korea’s potential military threat. Furthermore, 90 percent of the respondents who believed China would intervene in the event of a war on the peninsula supported the alliance, while 83 percent of those who did not believe that China would intervene also supported the alliance.

Perhaps most intriguing is Moon’s conjecture that the election of a progressive administration in South Korea come December could possibly stir the youth to another bout of anti-Americanism.

If a progressive administration similar to the Kim Dae Jung or Roh Moo Hyun administrations wins the next presidential election, the win will only be possible with votes from younger generations. Should we expect anti-American sentiment in South Korea to rise again under a new progressive administration?

And so goes the definition of “progressive” that my mama taught me to the scrap heap of parental wisdom.

About the author: Founder/CEO of Meme Communications Korea – www.memecommunications.com

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    Too many expats ignore the silent majority.

  • madar

    Let’s be real. The silent majority are silent because they really don’t care enough to say anything one way or another. The reason they don’t decide the issues, as apposed to the vocal minority, is that they just don’t care and probably don’t really know enough about the issues to make an intelligent judgment. The problem is how to “wake them up” when they agree with you on a given issue.

  • padaajoshi

    I spoke to a Korean and this he told me: “Most Koreans want the US troops to stay becuase it saves us a lot of money when it comes to defence.” Of course, he didn’t spell defence with a “c” he spelled it with an “s”. All things aside, I think this is a fairly shallow reason for maintaining troop presence. What do you think?

  • http://pawikoreapics.blogspot.com/ pawikirogii 石鵝

    i think you’re a korea basher. i’ll bet you just made that up.

  • Arghaeri

    I doubt he he made up hearing about it, the bit about speaking to a guy who spelled out defence mid conversation is funny though.

    I’ve heard similar, and no its not shallow, its pragmatic realpolitik, and its the main reason I support them being here.

  • http://kwillets.typepad.com/kwillets/ KWillets

    That article did go on to say that youth are becoming less self-contradictory, and I tend to agree. Some progressives are actually acting like progressives, working for NK human rights instead of denialism.

    Whether that opening will transfer to the ROK-US relationship is hard to predict, however.

  • Yu Bum Suk

    I wish that America would debate the idea of withdrawing US troops in exchange for NK quitting its nuclear programme and offering transparent evidence of doing so. This would allow both sides to claim victory while removing NK’s biggest propaganda line.

  • Arghaeri

    I suspect they already have, but the “you first” principle will always get in rhe way.

  • RolyPoly

    1) 80% of Americans do not know where Korea is. Many think Korea is an African country.

    2)97% of Americans do not know that American troops are in Korea.

    3) 90% of Americans do not want the US get involved in NK-SK war. So, when the war starts, the US troops will be re-called. The US congress will vote to withdraw immediately.

    4) China will definitely intervene and Chinese troops will march into NK when something, or even nothing, happens. The US troops will say “Bye-Bye”.

    5) SK has to buy more weapons if it wants to defend its apartment, cars, lands, bank accounts, wives, daughters, sons, etc. You’ve got to pay… No free lunch. And, make clear of its intentions to fight NK and China. If Koreans think NKs or the Chinese will be kind to them, they are gravely mistaken. Beggars cannot share; they are hungry.

  • TheKorean2

    RolyPoly, I doubt China will step in and fight a war that would cost their own economy.

  • hacker

    RolyPoly – Dude, where do you get your stats from? I would ask to see them but if it is where I think they come from then the sight might be a bit too raunchy for the likes of me, ya know hemorrhoids and all.

  • Veritas

    #7
    Arghaeri already pointed it out, but it would be very much a “you first” situation… and to make matters worse, North Korea isn’t really known to be all that trustworthy when it comes to this kind of “agreements”. Even if the U.S. and North Korea reaches some sort of agreement and the U.S. pulls out their troops, I can definitely see North Korea not living up to their end of the deal or do so in a very un-transparent manner.

  • TheKorean2

    North Korea will never leave its nuclear armament even if USFK leaves. That’s already a given.

  • RolyPoly

    TheKorean2,

    The Chinese are where Germans were at 1930s. They will courageously die for their “motherland”. Money and economic growth is secondary to them.

    They have not yet become economic animals that the West have become.

    The Chinese are very proud people. Too proud to acknowledge that they are the least educated and the poorest of CJK. They will invade and they will take.

    The have-nots have no conscience.

  • RolyPoly

    hacker,
    Are you in high school? Your mind is at that level.

    And, I think you are a native, even though you are trying to hide it. Because your thinking process is definitely Korean.

    Koreans start by innuendos and name-calling, desperately hoping someone will join in their baseless nonsense. More people join then that proves you are on the majority and therefore correct.

    The westerners think differently. Being in the majority ( in the herd) does not necessarily that you are correct. You have to come up with solid logic or examples.

    Start thinking like westerners.

  • RolyPoly

    TheKorean2,

    Do you think the news headline, “The Chinese troops are marching into NK territory” will trigger something?

    Nothing. Of course, the US and the EU will protest mildly. Even Russia will join in. Japan may scream.

    But nothing. There is no “universal justice” in the world. No country is willing to do anything unless the action helps its national interests.

    Even the US.

    Nothing will happen when China gives some nonsense excuse like it wants no refugees coming over to its territory. So, the troops have to march into NK to restore order.

    Many countries will applaud Chinese proactive action.

  • RolyPoly

    Actually nuclear weapons can be a great excuse for China or Russia to march into NK. To dismantle nuclear weapons that NKs may detonate or sell.

    Most US public will welcome the initiative.

    This may be the reason why China and Russia supplied nuclear know-how to NK. It makes a good excuse to take over.

  • padaajoshi

    RolyPoly: I knew Americans were stupid, but do you expect me to believe THAT????????????????

  • hacker

    Oh mighty rolypoly, I must be a native because you said so. Your logic and statistics are so accurate that none may question your almighty intellect. Way beyond high school, and way beyond believing that a person who spouts bu11Sh@t. You pulled those stats out of your @$$ and you know it. I challange you to produce even one solid source to prove anything that you said aside from your speculation that the Chinese are going to come in an save the day as that is a common thought anyway. Most people that I know, at least the educated ones, would call you any day of the week on a statement such as that. So to puill a page from your own almighty righteousness ” come up with solid logic or examples” and follow it up with some confirmation such as how you mcame to such weak conclusions, baseless examples, and barely any logic. Otherwise you are just the same as Q. You don’t like it, too bad!

  • hacker

    padaajoshi, a comment about Americans being stupid, classic coming from someone smart enough to go surfing in, or just before a typhoon. Stupid is as stupid does.

  • TheKorean2

    RolyPoly, yes, Chinese want to start a nuclear war with North Korea? I highly doubt it. Go look at today’s headlines, China sents their patrol ships into Japan’s waters. Both Koreas can sit back and watch another Sino-Japanese war happening.

    North Koreans do not trust the Chinese, its obvious. LOL

  • RolyPoly

    hacker,
    Maybe I was wrong. You may not be a native. But you do think like a Korean. I want to know how it happened.

    TheKorean2,
    Where did I say the Chinese want to go to war with NKs. NKs are goons under China. Kim JeongUn will do anything the Chinese Communist party (I do not know who is in charge – Hu?) tells him to do – even inviting the Chinese troops into NK territory.

    Always remember NKs are the Chinese are blood brothers. And, they do mean it.

  • RolyPoly

    padaajoshi,
    Americans are not stupid. Just not interested.

    Korea is not interesting topic. Korea does not affect Americans at all. It ranks as important to the average Americans as some African country – Sudan comes into mind. Or, Angola ( it may no longer exists).

    May thinks Samsung is a Chinese brand. And, Hyundai cars are Honda cars made in Korea.

  • alexander1982

    Considering overall economic, political, and miscellaneous factors, the Korean-American alliance has been a major net loss for the United States. Korean leaders have craftily played the US for a fool since Korea’s first president Rhee took office.

    From military assistance to FTAs, the Americans have been naive, and the Koreans have taken advantage on numerous occasions.

    Today, the America’s forward deployment in South Korea is a horribly flawed strategy, which put the US at great risk for an unappreciative ally.

  • TheKorean2

    RolyPoly (Japanese in disguise), Yea, like how NK does with Chinese companies? LOL NK doesn’t give an a**crap about China unless China gives them something in return. NK is using China for its own benefits.
    As for importance of today’s Korea, it is becoming more important in the region, than Japan is.

    As for alexander, consider that South Korea is America’s best ally in the region, which took part in America’s wars, from Vietnam to Afghanistan. You should give some respect to the “unappreciative ally”. LOL

  • alexander1982

    For the record theKorean2, Vietnam represented another case in which Koreans were able to profit off and swindle the United States. Aside from America kickstarting Korea’s steel and other industries during Vietnam, Koreans benefitted from generous financial, military, and technological assistance packages. In other words, we had to pay, pay a lot for your help. And there were numerous claims by the military that Korean firms were ripping us off during Vietnam.

    In Afghanistan, Korea’s commitment was a half-in approach, in which Korea was guaranteed extremely safe, minimal postings. However, the crafty Koreans have received contracts and other economic benefits far outweighing their commitments in Afghanistan. And we won’t mention all the kicking and screaming you guys did in sending over the small contingents that you did.

    Best ally in the region by a long shot is JAPAN

    Unfortunately, the only respect I give Korea is for its craftiness.

  • TheKorean2

    As for Vietnam contribution, S.Korea helped USA a lot in that war. US only gave certain free-loans to S.Korea at that time which was later paid off. America kickstarted what? When did Koreans ever received economic benefits by joining Afghanistan? What the hell??? Stop making silly excuses. S.Korea is #1 USA ally in the region. It always was.

  • hacker

    I can agree that S.Korea was a willing ally in Vietnam but there was a lot more to it than just certain “free-loans”. Suggest reading “Allied Participation in Vietnam” by Lieutenant General Stanley Robert Larsen and Brigadier General James Lawton Collins, Jr.. This is a Department of the Army which delves into the demands that the S. Korean Government made in exchange for their participation both from the US and the Vietnamese. On the kickstart of the Steel and shipbuilding (US and Japanese aid both tech and $$$) try reading “The Steel and Shipbuilding Industries of South Korea: Rising East Asia and Globalization” by Kyoung-ho Shin and Paul S. Ciccantell.

  • cm

    Getting military and economic aid from America was one of the reasons the Korean government set up Korea’s participation in that war. But it’s disingenious to ignore all those individual Korean men who had nothing to do with Korean government motives, who volunteered to go to fight in Vietnam because they personally believed they were fighting against communism, and felt grateful towards the United States. Many of them went through the Korean War, they hated communism, were grateful towards the United States, and wanted to help out. They didn’t had to volunteer. Just read their memoirs and their interviews.

    It’s useless to drag them through this to prove some worthless points.

  • alexander1982

    Yeah, it might be possible that a handful went to Vietnam for the reasons you say, CM, though knowing the average Korean as I do, I doubt it. Indeed, they were paid far above what they could have earned in Korea at that time.

    Reality is reality, not worthless.

    It is time for the Korean-American alliance to be scaled back significantly. Economically, politically, and militarily, it has made little sense for the US. Americans need to wake up to that fact.

  • alexander1982

    Seeing CM, theKorean, and other uber-nationalistic racists on this blog seemingly defend the alliance makes what I, and many others who know the ins and outs of Korean-American relations, am saying quite obvious.

    The love that alliance — I wonder why.

  • hacker

    CM. You have to admit that governments do many things without taking into consideration the lives of the soldiers who fight them and discussing the actions of the government in no way trivializes the sacrifices that the soldiers made or are making everyday. In order for an alliance to work it has to be mutually beneficial to both sides and Korea and the US mutual interests have been diverging for some time. We need to be able to move assets easily between where they are needed while Korea is concerned with upsetting China which is. Either the alliance evolves or it dies.

  • hacker

    To post 32 – “upsetting China which is understandable.”

  • cm

    alexander1982, they were paid far above what they were paid. I think they were paid between $40 to $80 a month – but more than half of the money were taken by the Korean government. They would have been lucky to be left with $20 a month to keep. As for the hate, I think it’s coming more from you.

  • jk6411

    alex @#26,

    And we won’t mention all the kicking and screaming you guys did in sending over the small contingents that you did.

    That was because a leftist anti-American president was in power.

    @#32,

    Watch your mouth. 5,000 South Korean soldiers died in Vietnam.

    As for the Kor-US FTA,
    Even Obama has said countless times that it’s beneficial to the US.
    I’m not as sure if it will be beneficial to Korea, though.

    (BTW, if Japan is such a great ally of the US, how come it still hasn’t signed an FTA with the US?)

  • http://pawikoreapics.blogspot.com/ pawikirogii 石鵝

    uh oh, looks like we got another korea basher. he full of ‘facts’. this creep is going to be fun.

    did you get a fork instead of chopsticks? first time minority? poor baby! get it all out right here at the marmot’s hole where you can talk your sh8t about korea and improve your kibun at the same time!

    ya creep!

  • TheKorean2

    alexander1982, if US don’t strengthen their ties with South Korea, they will lose a vital ally in the region.

  • TheKorean2

    alexander1982, why do you assume I’m an “ultra nationalist racist”? LOL

  • RolyPoly

    alexander1982,

    You victim mentality and hatred toward Koreans are quite refreshing. It is like seeing gbevers in action again.

    Do you have an opinion on Dokto too?

  • RolyPoly

    alexander1982,
    So you think Koreans took advantage of Americans?

    Are you saying Americans are stupid? To be taken advantage by backward Koreans?

    I think Koreans are very stupid to have PGH running for presidency and suffer consequences ( I think SK may split into two regions if PGH becomes president). Where does that put Americans? The stupidiest?

  • hacker

    35 jk6411 – @#32, Watch your mouth. 5,000 South Korean soldiers died in Vietnam.
    What in my post am I supposed to be watching my mouth about? Where I made it clear that discussing the actions of government in should not trivialize the sacrifices made by soldiers? If that is the case maybe we should revisit some other conflicts that you all seem to be so willing to blow off the sacrifices made.

    36 pawikirogii 石鵝 – I hope your not refering to me.

  • hacker

    RolyPoly. I guess if she wins then there will be a majority who think your view was pretty stupid. I personally don’t care who wins because it is a crap shoot anyway, all politicians lie to get elected.

  • Arghaeri

    Seeing CM, theKorean, and other uber-nationalistic racists on this blog seemingly defend the alliance

    Its a litlle more complicated than that since the ones you quote and many of the others are in fact North Americans….

  • Arghaeri

    Not only that don’t you think you have a bit of a cheek moaning on about realpolitik in relation to korean involvement in vietnam and afghanistan, i.e. getting the best for your team, considering the US had no good reason to be in those countries in the first place. I.e complain if the US was really under threat and “friend” didn’t help, but don’t moan about “friends” reluctance to get involved in american political agenda and power projection.

    Also a bit of a cheek considering the qay the US defence industry has been ripping off americans for….

  • jk6411

    hacker @#41,

    Sorry, that was a typo.
    I was talking to alex @#30, not #32.

    pawi is also referring to alex (I think).

  • http://pawikoreapics.blogspot.com/ pawikirogii 石鵝

    no, not you, hacker. talking bout lil alex. btw, argaeri, least we korean. what drives your interest in the place?

  • TheKorean2

    Arghaeri, Sure US don’t need to be in Afghanistan when the ruling Taliban are heavily supported by your arch-enemy, the Al-Qaedas.

  • RolyPoly

    hacker,

    Making the daughter of the DICTATOR to be the president of Korea has consequences that are unimaginable. Total chaos, including massive demonstrations for years to come, may be unavoidable.

    And, it is all man-made.

    Korea has already too many problems and Koreans may make the biggest problem of all.

    A virtual civil war.

  • hacker

    RolyPoly @48 – I can certainly agree with you statement “Korea has already too many problems and Koreans may make the biggest problem of all.” but then again that is true in most countries. Don’t you think that the more logical view would be to judge HER on HER merits and those of her party? She is not her father after all. If the Progressive camp looses and she is elected why would it have to result in massive demonstrations? Why does the past have to weigh so heavily on the minds of Koreans all the time? I would think that it should be the same as when the conservatives lost to Kim and Roh, both of whom I did not much care for. It doesn’t always have to be all or nothing. If the minority looses they should accept that and work towards the future and if by some Raelian chance she somehow manages to circumvent the constitution then let all hell break loose. If she wins, she does it through the vote meaning more people sided with her views than yours.

  • RolyPoly

    hacker,
    If you were imprisoned, tortured and became handicapped, would you be fair and work toward future by working with the daughter of the man who caused it against democratic principles?

    OH, don’t get me wrong. I am a conservative. I hate so-called Progressive party’s pro-North stance. In big picture, these guys are helping China. They are not only helping NK’s dictators but also working as puppets for China’s communist party. Sorry f****s.

    However, electing the symbol of Korean hypocracy and dictatorship is a wrong move. So wrong that I believe this can tear the whole country apart. The country will regress to 1960s.

    There is a slim chance that she may win. However, the consequences will be detrimental to Korea. You cannot do this type of stupid thing and still hope for peaceful outcome.

  • hacker

    Well RolyPoly, I guess here is where we get to agree to disagree. I believe the democtratic process and as an extension that the if the majority feels that she is the best suited for the job then it is hers to succeed or fail. I, myself, don’t see her as a sysmbol of Korean hypocrisy and dictatorship and I don’t see Korea reverting to the 1960′s if she is elected but then I again I am not going to be one of those who has to make that decision. Having said that, who would you seem to prefer as a conservative candidate that would have been the better choice? Would you rather have Moon or Ahn?

  • TheKorean2

    RolyPoly, PGH isn’t a dictator. It’s better for S.Korea to choose a liberal/progressive-moderate president that can help improve inter-Korean relations first.

  • hacker

    52 TheKorean2 – Only half joking but is there really such person as a liberal/progressive-moderate? Would that be the same a progressively liberal conservative?

  • TheKorean2

    Hacker, I meant progressive-center. Our current president is nothing more of a corporatist who doesn’t know squat about politics.

  • hacker

    TheKorean2 – Agreed, but he sure has provided lots of entertainment value, not to mention loads of blogging material.

  • Arghaeri

    argaeri, least we korean. what drives your interest in the place?

    You know very well, as do we, that you’re american pawi, so cut the bullshit.

    As for my interest, why do you assume I’m not korean, is it cos I’m white. What a racist you are?

  • Arghaeri

    are heavily supported by your arch-enemy, the Al-Qaedas.

    since when are they my enemy, what did I or korea ever do to them?

  • alexander1982

    @Arghaeri, based on CM’s and Pawi’s commentary, my guess would be, passport or not, that they are about as much American as I am Korean.

    @Pawi, I was thinking about climbing into your world but doing so would be too bizarre of an experience for me, and maybe you too. I think your own comments speak well for themselves.

  • Arghaeri

    Really, go figure!

    You’d be right in CM’s case since he’s canadian.

    As for the other, they’re that strange breed that think they’re korean just cos they look it.
    If they ever come and work here, they’ll find out just what real koreans think about their being korean.

  • alexander1982

    Regarding the actual topic, as an American, I see scaling back the alliance to be in America’s best interests.

    Having our troops here is a constant source of agitation, protest, and controversy, and a waste of money. I want those bases on Guam or the West Coast. I want those bases contributing to American economies. Plus, Koreans will start respecting us again. Koreans do not respect people that allow themselves to be swindled.

    Along with this, our defense commitment to Korea is really a subsidy for a country that has ripped off American military tech from defense training and assistance programs to sell its own military goods worldwide, not to mention Korea’s free hand in our markets.

    We have a trade deficit with Korea for many reasons, some of them unfair. The FTA is hugely favorable to Korea. Our diplomats got buzz-whacked by the Korean negotiators. We get to sell grapefruit here.

    We have enough internal and external issues and threats, we certainly do not need a forward deployment in Korea. Besides, a Sino-Korean alignment is most likely an inevitably.

    Historically, Korea, adjusted for inflation, received more financial aid (mostly from the US) than any country in the history of the world. We also kickstarted their Samsungs, Hyundais, and many others through both indirect and direct processes. So America directly and indirectly helped build Korean companies for K. companies to price out (in some cases outcompete) American firms. Regardless of your economic philosophy, that does not make much sense, does it?

    To RolyPoly’s inquiry, “Do I think Americans are stupid?”, I would say to a large degree that we are because we lack the tenacity, are uniformed, and obviously extremely naive. And, we are paying dearly for these shortcomings.

  • palladin9479

    “Koreans start by innuendos and name-calling, desperately hoping someone will join in their baseless nonsense. More people join then that proves you are on the majority and therefore correct.

    The westerners think differently. Being in the majority ( in the herd) does not necessarily that you are correct. You have to come up with solid logic or examples.”

    This is not a thinking pattern unique to Koreans, it’s actually the thinking system used by most humans on the planet including many of the posters present in this thread. The attempt to create an emotional response and then rally emotional support from other people is very very old, back from the days where we beat each other in the heads with clubs. It stems from the subconscious belief that if enough “others” agree with you then you must therefor be correct.

    Any who the Koreans want the US here cause it reduces their defense budget significantly while ensuring their sovereignty is not encroached by China. The US wants to be here because our presence prevents China (and Russia to an extent) from encroaching on other nations and building themselves into a world super power. They really REALLY hate us for doing that and currently are waging a political / propaganda war on the US.

    To those wanting the US to leave the region I say this, that would be a monumentally bad idea. Power abhors a vacuum and neither SK nor Japan is strong enough to fill the void that would be created should the US leave the region. Instead the local power would seek to fill it, they’ve already been pushing the boundary’s to see what they can get away with. To those who want the US to leave Korea, again a bad idea as Korea serves as the ideal local for ground power projection just like Japan serves for Air and Surface power projection. Nothing makes a statement quite like having a CSG conducting “training drills” in the middle of the South China Sea right after China declares that same sea it’s sovereign territory.

    NK will never give up it’s nuke program because they want insurance against outside intervention in their country. That regime is very afraid of China or SK / US attempting to accelerate it’s collapse. Having the capability to build a nuke makes for a convincing argument, after all if they collapse where would those materials end up? Nobody wants to be the one responsible for that debacle.