Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Political Regionalism in S Korea

A Machiavellian Par Excellence and the Political Regionalism

Decades ago, I have met him first time, as a journalist to cover the Parliament, at the luncheon meeting in Seoul, and I instantly liked him as a principled and humble man compared to other elitist politicians, except his strong and pungent Cholla-do vernaculars and rictus smile of a bowing undertaker.

His name is DJ Kim, the Janus-faced man his master, cigar-spelunking Bill Clinton, praises him as a Nelson Mandela and a few Koreans trust as a people's president.

Recently, he seems to step up his soi-disant reconciliation policy regarding regionalism and parochialism, stating that he has the great respect for former dictator Gen. CH Park, his arch enemy when I first met him and will help to elect Gen. Park's memorial. (I am sure Gen. Park would make a violent turn in his grave.)

Kim states that he revered Park as the originator of Korean prosperity in global scale, ignoring the well-known but unspoken fact that the Vietnam war which boosted the Korean economy was an unjust and cruel piracy and Park has ordered his mercenary soldiers to plunder savagely the lives and properties of the Vietnamese people.

Kim was a persuasive advocate against the occupation of American soldiers in the peninsular and an ardent abolitionist of National Security Act (he was convicted and sentenced to death under the Act) during the military dictatorship.

Now he urges Americans to keep their troop permanently in the country even after the unification and he utilizes the same Act to control the dissident groups.
His over-all policies regarding regional factionalism clearly has ended up rich in rhetoric and very poor in reality when one examines where his government stands in almost every sphere of the system.

It would be abhorrent and egregious to generalize or categorize people in terms of where they were born, raised and died, and characterize them in accordance with what provincial vernaculars they speak.

However, without a discussion of prevalent Korean tradition that portrays the provincial characteristics, no one, especially foreigners, may comprehend the real aspects of political, social and economic life in Korea, as the concept of Israel as a Jewish state may not be obtained without knowing Jewish attitudes to non-Jews.

The regional character where DJ Kim came from symbolizes mercurial, double-cross, and treacherous traits where historically most of the underprivileged has resided until just the beginning of Kim's ascension.

Seoul region represents somewhat mercantile and smart Alec disposition while the middle-eastern mountainous area contains the nature of uncouth and rugged like Appalachian region in the U.S. and is not conducive to the power game.

The middle-western section where Kim's torturer-cum-colloborator-cum-heirapparent JP Kim behaves as a fence sitter and political juggler to make other province happy whatever it may be.
The support of this region was crucial to crown DJ Kim in the presidential election in return for his promise that JP Kim would succeed him-- it became nebulous whether the president and his party would stick to the deal.

Finally, the enemy of DJ Kim inhabits in the southeastern part of the most populous and industrial sector where people display headstrong and uncompromising obstinacy and this region has been pampered with every ways and means over decades by electing four native sons, three murderous military dictators and one corrupt political hack as president.

It would be very much wise and cunning for DJ Kim to resurrect Gen. Park from his grave and to reduce the death sentence of Gen. Chun, both the native sons of enemy region, in order to tout the crucial votes for the coming elections.
In addition, DJ Kim allegedly helps Gen. Chun and his cohorts to create the splinter party to destroy the base camp of the opposition party (an enemy of one's own enemy is a friend).

He knows that people from this region are hopping mad over the exclusive appointments of his own regional henchman in every lucrative and important post.
His metamorphosis from the principled man to a blabbermouth president has reminded me of the last encounter with him at the safe house of the military intelligence decades ago.

He, a detainee as a Commie suspect, was an abject apologist and collaborator to sing for the supper when he had to face the music.
"Everything can be sacrificed for the Presidency", as his close aide noted, was his moral standard, that is, the end justifies the means, any means, if necessary.

DJ Kim deserves to be a maitred in Machiavellian café as the doctrine is characterized by subtle and unscrupulous cunning, deception, expediency or dishonesty, in governance of the state.

He goes to Moscow soon to talk to Russian President Yeltzin to persuade to service $2 billion debt to Korea (it is most likely Korean taxpayers have to pay the bankers because the government of Gen. Ro guaranteed the loan and belly-up Yeltzin offers a fleet of the leaky submarines instead.)

Who will prevail in the meeting? Yeltzin, a grand master of machination and chicanery who jigged in front of the TV camera to show his stamina, or DJ Kim, a Machiavellian par excellence who transcend to serve rich and powerful bankers over people?

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