Some Bright Sides To an Ugly Reality

26 May

korea-fractured-300x300.jpg Who would have known Victor Cha could be optimistic (~13:50) on South Korea?

  • South Korea’s leftists managed to steer the conservatives and the general debate to “microeconomics”, or bread-and-butter” issues;
  • Ideas could become important, and regional and personal fights might play less of a role in the general election;
  • Korean politics is “fickle”; South Korean politics have not realigned;
  • Voters like Park Geun-hye’s “statesman-like” comportment;
  • South Korea’s leftists lost bigger on foreign policy;
  • South Korea and the U.S. are more solid partners.
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Scott Snyder reinforces some of these points here.

The day after the parliamentary elections last month, the Korea Economic Institute sponsored a discussion of the election result with Victor Cha, Bruce Klingner, and myself, at which we identified two factors likely to shape the presidential election: an issues agenda primarily focused on social welfare policies and efforts to capture the middle ground versus simply mobilizing evenly-divided political bases. It was also argued that the United States is likely to be eager to work with South Korea’s next president regardless of who wins the December election.

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