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Late Pres. Roh ‘anti-American, crazy’: Bob Gates

In his recently published memorir, former SecDef Bob Gates paints an unflattering picture of late Korea President Roh Moo-hyun:

Gates recalls a November 2007 meeting in Seoul with the liberal-minded president, whose diplomatic and security policy is still being debated.

He calls Roh “anti-American and probably a little crazy.” Roh was quoted as telling Gates that “the biggest security threats in Asia were the United States and Japan.”

I must confess it’s nice to see Roh was telling both the Americans and North Koreans the same thing. Important to stay on message, you know.

Unsurprisingly, Gates liked working with Lee Myung-bak, more.

You’ll recall Roh’s attitudes led him to get pwned by Gate’s predecessor.

Anyway, perhaps more interesting was Gates’s claim that President Lee and Company really wanted to lay the smack down on North Korea following the 2011 shelling of Yeonpyeong-do, but the United States leaned on Seoul to limit its retaliation:

“South Korea’s original plans for retaliation were, we thought, disproportionately aggressive, involving both aircraft and artillery,” Gates wrote in his memoir.

“We were worried the exchanges could escalate dangerously,” he added.

Over the next few days, Gates said he, US President Barack Obama and then secretary of state Hillary Clinton had numerous telephone calls with their South Korean counterparts in an effort to calm things down.

“Ultimately, South Korea simply returned artillery fire on the location of the North Koreans’ batteries that had started the whole affair,” he said.

The Korean government is declining to comment on this, but they probably don’t need to. After all, this isn’t the first time a former US official has made such a claim.

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  • Koreandumbdumb

    All Korean newspapers are translating “crazY’ as “정신 없는 사람” but you and I know it means “미친 넘”. Rho deserves to be called that. How can a SK president defend NK nukes? Was he a NK spokesperson? He engineered the transfer of wartime command. At the end of 2015, Korea becomes an orphan. The US becomes a bystander. Rho personally brought this about. All by himself! What a crazy nut!

  • Koreandumbdumb

    I am glad that he killed himself (or was it someone pushed him)? He put the whole country into a death-spiral. You will see what I mean when we get to the end of 2015. Without the US presence, a civil war will break out. People will split as two groups, one anti-China and the other anti-Japan. These two groups will fight each other. A civil war to split the country. SK must decide where it belongs and silence the other side now. “United we stand, divided we fall”, as SungMan Rhee said. This has to happen now.

  • dlbarch

    The JoongAng Ilbo uses the phrase “약간 정신,” which sounds like a line out of Harry Potter.


  • KWillets

    It’s a surprise that the US stopped retaliation for Yeonpyeong? Was that not obvious?

  • MikeinGyeonggi

    “the biggest security threats in Asia were the United States and Japan.”

    Well, we do like to start wars, particularly on the other side of the world. Not sure why he puts Japan up there. As far as Roh being crazy, he did jump off a cliff. Sane people usually don’t jump off cliffs. Just sayin’.

  • PeterDownUnder

    I love how the currently popular movie based on his life as a lawyer is titled “변호인” since he went upto North Korea and told Kim Jong Il that he went around the world acting as North Korea’s “변호인”

  • RElgin

    I liked the man, even with all his flaws, but any movie about him could only suck.

  • dlbarch

    All right, someone help me out here. Does anyone recall the (in)famous quote attributed to former President Roh Moo Hyun complaining that Korea “clinging to the crotch of America’s pants and hiding behind America’s ass” showed that the country was too dependent on the U.S.?

    For the life of me, I cannot find the original quote in Korean.

    Any help?