Plus Ça Change, Plus C’est La Même Chose

2 Jan

That’s Korean for “asshole”.

What has changed? ROK President Lee Myung-bak is ‘…willing to open the door to a new era on the Korean peninsula if North Korea shows sincerity.'”. Pyongyang rang in the New Year with very little that was new, either, unless one counts what wasn’t said. “The North’s new year message contained none of the usual criticism of the US and no mention of its nuclear weapons programme – a sign that the regime may be willing to return to aid-for-disarmament talks with Washington.” It’s like watching two spent fighters pushing for a few extra points and waiting for the final bell.

Meanwhile, U.S. Republicans on the Iowa hustings did their own shadow boxing.

On Sunday, the front-runner for the Republican nomination, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, told an audience in Iowa that Kim’s death had created a “fragile and dangerous time” in the Koreas.

“I hope, with the ascension of Kim Jong Eun, that there’s some prospect for new openness,” Mr. Romney said.

“I’d love to see a day when we had freedom throughout the entire world. It’d be wonderful, wouldn’t it, if we could have freedom and (transparency) in all parts of the world including North Korea,” he said.

Last week, the candidate who appears to be Mr. Romney’s closet contender in this week’s Iowa caucus vote, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, indicated that his desire to reduce or wind down U.S. military commitments overseas includes those in South Korea.

“How long do we have to stay in Korea?” Mr. Paul asked during a campaign stop in Iowa. “We were there since I was in high school.”

Mr. Paul didn’t discuss the death of Kim Jong Il, however.

U.S. Rep. Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota, in a speech in Iowa just after Kim Jong Il’s funeral last week, said she’s worried that his son Kim Jong Eun may be more ruthless than he was. “While there is one less dictator who oppresses his own people in the world, there is no indication that there is hope for freedom on the horizon for the people of North Korea, as his successor may be even worse,” Ms. Bachmann said.

The boxers keep adding rounds to the end of the fight.

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