05 November 2008

Another thought or two from Seoul

It's 10:30 PM. I need to wake up early tomorrow and get to my meditation, but between the joy of seeing Obama as my next President and the rage that comes from California's gay marriage ban, it's difficult to sleep.

Tonight's South Korean television channels have been all about Obama. They ran specials on the background that Obama came from, his rise to prominence as a community organizer and as a politician, how his mantra for change resonated with American voters, and how he ended up making history as America's first black President. While most of this is information that I am already familiar with, it's a lot of new, excellent information for the South Koreans.

But the most damning thing was the bit about South Korea's diplomacy. Not surprisingly, the establishment had cultivated lots of close ties with many Republicans. A few token Democrats, notably the Clintons, also had some ties to South Korean diplomats. But Obama is so out of the box that South Korea never bothered to establish contact with him. The news channels all pointed out that in order for South Korea to protect its own interests and enhance American interests, its diplomatic efforts now need to extend to all important American politicians, regardless of party affiliation.

I fully agree. The Moonies and the Grand Nationals should no longer be in charge of US-South Korean relations. The center-left Democrats (here in South Korea, not the US Democratic Party) realize it, and are making steps to coordinate their agenda with the US Democrats, even as the ruling Grand Nationals continue to push tired old Reaganomics that America itself has now utterly rejected. I hope that the Obama Presidency will usher in a new era in US-South Korean relations, with positive ramifications for the rest of the world; I want to be a part of that new relationship.