The content of this article does not reflect the official opinion of the George Washington University Institute for Korean Studies. Responsibility for the information and views expressed in the article lies entirely with the author(s).
Hyungjun Yu is a Junior at the CCAS majoring in Political Science and is a board member of the Korean International Studies Organization.
Soon after President Trump criticized North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the United Nations, threatening to “totally destroy North Korea”, the right-wing media in South Korea hastily radicalized the idea even further to argue something like “Show Kim Jong-un the fear of death with our pledge,” or “commitment to peace does not help.” These newspapers not only insisted that South Korea must show a sign of faith to the U.S.-South Korea alliance, but they in essence pressured the current government to support Trump’s words.
Instead of criticizing the irrational claim, that 25 million citizens of a country must be wiped out, the South Korean papers flapped about how the six-decade old alliance might fall apart if the Moon government did not cooperate with the U.S. The public threat to North Korea drew wide criticisms from the U.N. leaders around the world and crowds of politicians within the U.S. Democratic Party. And it is truly shocking that from the nation that was most directly involved in the tragic war that marked the 38th parallel there were voices championing Trump’s imaginary nuclear war scenario.
Arming South Korea with the realist perspective is one thing, but being dragged like a doll by the little girl is another. How long is the rhetoric that South Korea’s only option is to follow the U.S. going to manipulate the public? One must see that there is a difference between an alliance out of each state’s self-interest and a bully. What the rightists of the South is suggesting is not an alliance but almost the dependency theory.