Park Geun-hye’s March to the Center

Posted on August 25, 2011. Filed under: 2012 Elections, DPRK, Policy |

Ms. Park is once again proving her inability to have any principles or definitive policy positions. Her newest policy known as “trustpolitik” draws a vague line between the supposed hawks in the Lee Myung-bak camp and doves pushing a return to the rapprochement of the failed Sunshine policy.

“An alignment policy would entail assuming a tough line against North Korea sometimes and a flexible policy open to negotiations other times.”

Defining “something” is of course the challenge and if she is claiming to take a more “aligned” approach than Lee Myung-bak did, I take it that could mean the tolerance of at least  two military attacks which is exactly what this current administration did.

Of course, she could be suggesting that she’ll be more open to aid and other financial assistance like the Roh and Kim administrations were which, as history teaches us, leads to the murder of Southern tourists, development and testing of nuclear weapons and the firing of long-range missiles.

The bottom line is that Lee Myung-bak didn’t follow a truly hawkish North Korea policy. He pussyfooted his way through without fully committing to the hawkish policies he ran on and in return, he’ll be remembered as the president that allowed North Korea to murder more than forty South Korean citizens without consequence. Sure, he and his advisers will claim that they avoided a second Korean War, but the truth is that they punted on confronting Kim Jong-il.

I guess we should remember that by the time Lee Myung-bak had arrived in office, the South Korean voters were already split on DPRK policy and now, almost five years later, they seem to be just as split with a large segment of voters nostalgic for the faux-sense of security that Sunshine offered. Park is simply capitalizing on that while offering no substance with her moderate rhetoric.

It’s a pander that she hopes will allow her to waltz in on name recognition only.

The only question that remains and considering everything that has happened with North Korea over the past decade,  do people want yet another opportunistic politician claiming to know the perfect combination for dealing with the North?

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