Thursday, December 18, 2008

Americans Not Welcome

Every time the US military is involved in some tragedy overseas, especially in Japan, I feel terrible for a variety of reasons. One, it's a tautology but tragedies are tragic. Two, I fear there is an unconscious tally of such incidents that will cause Japanese to turn widely anti-American once the threshold is breached. Three, I hate crime and have a special animus against those that are intentional, such as US soldiers raping women, robbing stores, etc.

If a US military vehicle accidentally crushed two Japanese schoolgirls due to a combination of drivers' blindspot and bad luck, people would be deservedly and understandably angry but compensation paid. The story would of course be national news, a few locals (and professional protesters) would be shown demanding closure of the base, and then it would be over; it might continue locally, but nationally it would be supplanted by newer news.

In Korea, also home to many US military bases, things apparently turn out differently.

How about the store with the "Americans Are Not Welcome Here" sign? That would probably not happen in Japan, but were I in South Korea, I'd stand in front of the store with a fistful of won and giving them the finger. Beating of unrelated US soldiers just walking around on leave? In Japan, no; in South Korea, apparently yes.

Thanks, South Korean bigots and leftists, for giving me reason not to buy anything from your ungrateful country, let alone visit it.

I cannot recall ever having an ugly encounter with a South Korean in Japan or the US, although I have had Koreans complain about US policy and/or individuals to/with varying degrees of credibility and sympathy. In fact, I would say South Korean expats as a whole are usually great people.

However, I believe it is long past time for the US to pull out of South Korea (and Western Europe), amicably. When a majority of the local populace thrives on or requires anti-Americanism, it's time to quit serving it. With the US fighting two wars and running up insane debts, this would be a good and mutually understandable time for the US to begin to leave. South Koreans are rich enough to defend themselves and have plenty of veterans. The US will continue to sell the ROK whatever it can't make for itself. Their media can galvanize plenty of civilians in case the North Koreans invade. Why, maybe the North Koreans will even be much better to live with or under.