Josh Marshall on S. Korean elections

The last time Josh Marshall wrote a long post on Korea, he fell under heavy criticism from the Asian bloggers. Now, it may happen again.

In a new post Marshall asserts that more important than any of today’s big news stories is the victory of the Uri party in the Korean elections. Bottom-line reason: This indicates a worldwide trend of countries choosing to vote in leaders who are against George W. Bush and what he stands for.

It is the continuance of a global trend in which elections in countries allied to the United States are being won by parties advocating loosening ties with America. Running against America — or really against George W. Bush makes for great politics almost everywhere in the world.

We saw it in South Korea two years ago. Then later that year in Germany. Recently in Spain. And now again in Korea — with many other examples along the way.

Each election had its own internal dynamics. But in each case opposition to the policies of the Bush administration became a salient, even defining issue.

He also draws interesting parallels between what’s going on in Korea and recent events in the US. I love Marshall, but his argument does not seem to be particularly sound — there may be other factors behind some of these elections, not simply anti-Bushism at work. Since I don’t know enough about Korea to comment intelligently, I’ll leave it to you to read his remarks and draw your own conclusions. I suspect that once again Marshall will stir up some controversy among the Korean bloggers.

The Discussion: 4 Comments

I think he’s stetching a bit in his search for anti-Bush sentiment. While there is anti-American sentiment in Korea, it’s been there for a while, so can’t really be attributed to GWBs foreign policy. Also, of course the winning Uri party supports sending troops to Iraq (the biggest loser, MDP, was against) …

He could also have added Taiwan to his list of countries which had voted the ‘wrong’ (from a US perspective) party into power – and he’d have been wrong there too: In Taiwan the DPP won *despite* having the weaker ties with the US.

Maybe a weaker point could be valid though: perhaps it’s just that current US policy is out of step with other countries? These countries aren’t voting against the US (i.e. aiming to get votes by anti-US sentiment), they’re just voting for parties who have a different approach to foreign policy to the US.

April 15, 2004 @ 8:32 pm | Comment

David, I like your analysis way more than I like Marshall’s, which I find almost painfully simplistic. He’s too smart for that.

April 15, 2004 @ 9:59 pm | Comment

Thanks for the heads up on that — in point of fact, the United States was not a factor in this election at all. This general election was about the Roh impeachment, regionalism and a load of other goofy sh*t. The conservative, pro-American GNP didn’t get trounced because it was pro-American; it lost because it spearheaded the impeachment and was run by a bunch of crooks. In fact, given the circumstances, I’m surprised they did as well as they did.

It should also be pointed out that — its hesitancy not withstanding — the Uri Party supports sending troops to Iraq.

April 15, 2004 @ 11:51 pm | Comment

Josh proves, once again, he know nothing about Korea

I guess this is the problem when you rely on the foreign and English language press for your Korea news: Josh Marshall is attempting to spin yesterday’s general election results into a statement against Bush: Setting aside these uncanny parallels,

April 16, 2004 @ 4:41 am | Comment

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