Korea’s Free-Riding Days Are Over

And, why is this bad?

In short, America’s accelerating sovereign debt crisis, much reduced force structure in Korea, and low public opinion support for more interventions, badly constrain our ability to meet our alliance commitments here, and many other places. This doesn’t mean we should get out; this is no personal endorsement one way or the other. But it does mean that probability of major US assistance on which Korea has built its security for two generations is diminishing fast. We need to be honest about that. Call it the end of empire, retrenchment, imperial overstretch, whatever; but US allies need to recognize this. The days of free-riding are just about over.

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Google and Daum Offices Raided For Privacy Violations

Democracy Now! reports that Google and Daum offices were raided in South Korea.

Police in South Korea have raided the offices of Google Korea and Daum Communications following allegations the companies collected information on the location of smartphone users for advertisement purposes without their permission. Google is also under investigation by South Korean authorities for allegedly collecting emails from unsecured wireless networks while photographing neighborhoods for its mapping service. The raid comes at a time when Apple and Google are facing scrutiny around the world for their practices of tracking the location of smartphone users.

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Don’t Look for Homefront in South Korea

The controversial video game, Homefront, is revealing more about the real South Korea than its fictional North Korea ever could. First, there’s that ugly South Korean censorship habit.

 

According to South Korea’s state-run Game Rating Board (GRB), THQ has not filed the required paperwork for the game to be sold here. By law, all video and computer games must undergo a review from the GRB before being sold here. Queries sent multiple times to THQ via e-mail received no reply.

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Not Interested in the Korean War

Tom Ricks did a little “light” reading, the decades-long trove of Army War College studies.

I also was surprised at how little written about the Korean War. It just seems never to have been foremost in the collective mind of the Army. Indeed, Vietnam seems to get almost as much attention in the mid-’50s, with papers such as Richard Stilwell’s “The Indochina Contest,” done in 1955, and another paper in 1958, “Military Strategy in Southeast Asia.”

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The Best Totalitarian Regime

Daniel Pinkston at ICG discusses North Korean-Style “Democracy” and the Prospects for True Democratisation.

Under the concept of “democratic centralism” Kim Il-sung began to establish a personalistic system fitting the term “totalitarian” or “sultanistic” in the words of Juan J. Linz.[iii] Others have described the DPRK political system as “Stalinist, corporatist, mono-organizational, neo-traditional.” Charles Armstrong correctly points out that the state has displayed all of these characteristics and the state has transformed since it was founded in 1948.

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