Monday, June 16, 2008

Why Obama is Bad for Korea

I started writing this post on May 28th, but after seeing television coverage of Obama this morning, I decided to finish it. There is a reference to Hillary, who currently isn't a factor. Just so you know.

In talking to many Koreans, the subject of the current US elections usually comes up at some point. Usually only two names are mentioned: Hillary and Obama. This can probably be attributed Korean press coverage of the race, which seems to have focused mainly on the undecided Democratic nominee. It seems that, at least among those who closely follow US politics, that the Korean desire is to see Obama rise to the presidency.

What initially triggered the post was Obama's letter to President Bush opposing the Korea Free Trade Agreement. He feels that the US won't get enough benefits from the deal. His particular target was at the automobile industry. Last week, he went further insinuating that the US should take a more retaliatory approach to trade with Korea.

A New York Times article quotes him as saying "if South Korea is selling hundreds of thousands of cars to the United States and we can only sell less than 5,000 in South Korea, something is wrong." Selling American cars in Korea is like selling Korean beef in Texas. The NYT article mentions GM's big stake in Korean car maker Daewoo (read: profits from Korean cars come home to America.) Both Obama and the NYT failed to consider the FDI Korea has put into the economy of the southern states with both Hyundai and Kia building plants. Had we followed Obama's theories on trade, there would be a lot of jobless people in Montgomery, Alabama.

The Wall Street Journal had an article that outlined the real costs of Obama's policies. At a time when Korea is opposing US beef imports, Obama feels they should be forced to take it. He is stoking the anti-trade fires on two continents with one issue. Not even Bush could be so divisive. If Obama's foreign policy is anything like his trade policy, he is stoking a fire that will likely burn him.

New York Times: Check Point - Obama Calls for Scrutiny of Trade Deals

Wall Street Journal: Change You'll Have to Pay For

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