Sunday, October 10, 2004

Political Ponderings

The irony in studying abroad remains that i feel more in touch with American politics while im on the opposite side of the globe. I suppose this is because the recent Bush/Kerry political debates i've been able to catch mention the homeland almost nil while discussion of possible threats from abroad (where i am) abound. one of those threats to our God blessed nation is the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, aka North Korea. As ive been studying the inescapable lock Kim Jung Il has on the people of North Korea through their unique political system which somehow legitimizes what's been deemed the worst of the worst in terms of human rights violations, i feel as though i understand the korean situation better than mr george w bush (who would now want to probably tear down this blog posting under the beloved Patriot Act he wishes to institute). A visit to the last remaining barrier between nations, the DMZ (demilitarized zone), supplied a more subjective emotional value to the current civil war put on hold. Since mr bush doesnt have his eye on the north korean nuclear weapons or the north korean situation but instead quite intently focused on nonexistant implimants of mass destruction elsewhere, one can imagine my joy when i recieved my absentee ballot. i plan to send it off tomorrow.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Since mr bush doesnt have his eye on the north korean nuclear weapons or the north korean situation ..." Um, yes as a matter of fact he does. Did you miss the part where Kerry was in favor of bilateral talks (which led to the hoodwinking of Clinton) rather than Bush's current plan of multilateral talks, which would include ROK, PRC and the USA, among others, with DPRK? Did he not mention the DPRK in speeches up to two years ago? Or were you not paying attention?

I see your blog is still up, too. I guess the Patriot Act isn't that bad, now is it?

Come to your senses. If you hate Bush, just say it. Don't try to lie to yourself and/or others about it. In any event, it's obvious you are very much less in touch with the US in Korea. Do everyone a favor and sit this one out, okay?

October 10, 2004 8:32 PM  
Blogger Tom Franek said...

Dear Anonymous, my friend, thank you for your 2 cents.

First: "If you hate Bush, just say it. Don’t try to lie to yourself and/or others about it." I thought my particular esteem for Mr. Bush was clear. If I beguiled blog-readers into the misconception that I liked him, I apologize. Furthermore, it would also be false to say I hate him, that’s much too personal. I simply dislike much of what he’s stood for these past 3.5 years.

Second: "Were you not paying attention?" I’m well aware of Mr. Bush’s first, last, and only trip to Korea during his presidency over 2 and a half years ago. Naturally, he delivered a speech of hope for peaceful reunification at Dorasan station (the transit in deep slumber which one day might revive to unify the severed). Likewise, I’m familiar with Mr. Bush's categorization of DPRK as part of his "Axis of Evil" in his 2002 State of the Union address.

More importantly, I’ve been paying attention to the particular developments during his presidency. Since Mr. Bush's appointment to office in 2001, North Korea has terminated the freeze on its existing plutonium-based nuclear facilities, expelled International Atomic Agency inspectors, withdrawn their monitoring equipment, forsaken the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and resumed the extraction of plutonium from spent nuclear fuel in order to generate weapons. Hmm, the situation seems to be getting a little out of control, what has Mr. Bush been up to?

Multilateral talks! Was I unaware of Mr. Bush’s plan for multilateral talks? On the contrary, it sounds rather familiar, since it’s the same plan he’s been banging his head against the wall with for the past couple of years. DPRK insists that it’s a bilateral matter between itself and the USA. The variance between the two leave us at the current standstill. I don’t admonish a multinational discussion, nor solely a USA DPRK exchange necessarily. either has the potential to map out healthily. But in order to crack through the North Korean stubborn juche ideology a little, I think it would be a worthwhile undertaking to think up a few more options to lace with negotiations: frequents by more dignitaries, or perhaps the implementation of nonprofit organizations working towards small changes on a more finite local level. By dint of Mr. Bush’s future plan merely paralleling that of his stagnant course of action hitherto, I so audaciously infered that he hadn’t yet a good eye on the situation.

"Sit this one out, okay?" I hope you actually never desire that someone should politically disincline themselves. I encourage expression, differing views, and critical thinking and therefore appreciate our disagreement.

I recommend that you never use "it’s obvious" in your writing. Things are never obvious. And if you insist that they are so, you often undermine the intelligence of another who’s rightfully inclined to their opinion. Therefore, be open to the possibility that it’s not obvious as you assumed it to be, and realize that there’s an unfathomable cloud of ignorance unbeknownst to you and me alike.

Both of us are merely in the best interest, and for that I’m thankful. Tom

October 12, 2004 11:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey tom - ben downs here again (and once again i seem to have misplaced my caps lock key). well well, you seem to have a little political fire on your hands! good for thought and a couple of laughs though. i agree with you and disagree with you, but i'll not divulge further lest i anger the blogmaster in his domain.
look up my email address at and drop me a note so that i can have your e-mail address, ok?

i love the franekian writing. i think that if you decide to skip out on the music scene you need to study some form of journalism or writing of some sort. maybe a music critic? who know. anyway - good luck with future responses to the inevitable "anonymous"es among us. i'll be reading faithfully!

p.s. you use a word i'm not familiar with (perhaps Korean) to modify either DMZ or N.K. - what does it mean?

October 14, 2004 4:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey - ben again. found the word - "juche" (in reference to North Korean idealogy.

October 14, 2004 4:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Tom! This is Keturah. (Also at U of Illinois, if you want my new email address) Your blog is very cool! (I feel like I should be using a larger vocab...) OK, your tidings from otherwhere glut my conscious with an enthrallingly novel culture and recondite lucubrations. Yeah, anyway... Going to Korea sounds awesome! I'm planning on going to France (and the rest of Europe) this summer - can't wait. I do have a question - this dimplomatic discussion dazzled my dome (yes, the words are dodgy but they all start with 'd' - aren't I doing well? oooh, can I get extra points for 'dodgy'? I didn't even mean to do it). Enough excursus. Back to the paramount issue in Korea: How do you propose reuniting this bifurcated country? I think it's great for American expatriates to see another country's views on their situation and how the US fits in, and I'd love to hear more of your observations. I gather that you think the US should 'fit in', or be involved - do you think the US ought to scupper the DPRK ruling system? (ok, a horribly oversimplified idea, given the epiphenomena) What would be the best possible outcome for Koreans and everyone around them? What could possibly conduce to a reconciliation? My Korean friends in the US have never talked about the issue - was it just them, or is it conceivable culturally that they would avoid it? Well, the whole thing makes my head hurt (especially trying to think of big impressive words). Anyway, your extremely enlightening epistles elicit extensive enjoyment ici. :) ttyl

excuse the emendation: implements of mass destruction. hey, you are far superior at implementing abstruse vocab in your blog, but i think i just excelled in spelling. that, or you just can't be bothered about appearances in your blog.

October 23, 2004 1:13 PM  

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