Sunday, April 27, 2014

Contrast and Compare: ROK PM with US Prez

Just a quick note. I have been reading about the horrible ferry accident in the Republic of Korea. It seems that somewhere north of 200 people died, with many more missing. Many of the dead were teenaged students. I gather that the cause of the sinking has not been determined yet, and this sort of disaster, it seems, can hit even the most sophisticated countries. 

I note, however, the reaction of ROK PM Chung Hong-won.

According to CNN,
South Korea's prime minister announced his resignation Sunday morning, taking responsibility for the slow initial reaction to a ferry's sinking that has left nearly 200 dead and scores more still missing. 
Prime Minister Chung Hong-won explained his decision on national television. He apologized "on behalf of the government for the many problems that arose during the first response and the subsequent rescue operation," in addition to "problems that existed before the accident." 
"During the search process, the government took inadequate measures and disappointed the public," Chung said. "I should take responsibility for everything as the prime minister, but the government can assume no more. So I will resign as prime minister." 
Chung urged South Koreans to stand united, rather than divided. 
"This is not the time for blaming each other but for finishing the rescue operation and dealing with the accident," he said. "In order to get over these difficult times, I ask the citizens for help."
Perhaps there are wheels within wheels--I am no expert on Korea--and the resignation is a stunt. I don't know. For now, however, I am struck by how Chung reacted to a national disaster compared to how our politicians do.

Holder resigning over "Fast and Furious"?

Sebelius resigning over Obamacare rollout?

Clinton resigning over Benghazi?

Kerry resigning over failed Mid East strategy?

Obama resigning over all of the above?

Nah. Doesn't happen here. We're too good at moving on . . .

21 comments:

  1. Good one, Dip, and one that we should urge on this administration. But in truth there is a different mentality here and in much of Asia. I remember when the Japanese ambassador's residence was taken over in Lima, Ambassador Morihisha Aoki felt compelled to resign. He did not do so until after the takeover was resolved, but I remember him as a very competent ambassador who was not in the slightest responsible for the takeover or the Peruvian government attack that killed all the MRTA terrorists.

    As it turns out, my wife and I were attending a despidida dinner in our honor at the time. Had I been there, I would have been armed (as were many of the diplomats taken hostage). How gunfire was avoided is still a mystery to me. People who were inside said a number of firearms were ditched in bathrooms and elsewhere.

    As it turns out, all American diplomats were freed within a few days. Their wives were freed that night.

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  2. "Had I been there, I would have been armed (as were many of the diplomats taken hostage). How gunfire was avoided is still a mystery to me" that is a mystery! They must have really got the drop on them or used the women to finesse the situation.
    James the Lesser

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  3. First hand accounts from colleagues and friends said the terrorists just appeared, firing Kalashnikovs as they moved through the food tent, pushing guests in front of them into the house. Peruvian security was outside the walls in front of the compound and unable to intervene. I don't think the emertistas had to "use" women to finesse the situation -- everyone was pretty well jammed into a small space and it would have been hard to engage without hitting friends. And any shooting would surely have incurred massive retaliation. Finally, the attack occurred early enough in the evening that guests were still relatively sober. As an interesting side note, our DCM had left early to go the airport to pick someone up, and our ambassador had paid his respects and left early because he didn't much care for cocktail parties. Our Political and Economic Counselors were hostages, but In any case, as I said, Americans were among the first guests released.

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    1. Perhaps "use" was a poor choice for what I meant. More along the lines of threaten would be closer. Thanks
      James the Lesser

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  4. Asians have a different reaction to shame, than Americans.

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    1. That's true. Like former Senator Dole asked of the public re Bill Clinton during the 1996 presidential debates "where's the outrage?".

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    2. What's notable in our time is the escalating tolerance - nay admiration - for shamelessness. The contrasting fates of the political careers of Gary Hart and Bilge Clinton should instruct us here. A resignation can be indicative of a sense of guilt or a sense of shame. Our institutions are commonly run by people like Hillary Clinton, who suffer neither.

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    3. 'Bilge Clinton' I have to pay that.

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  5. I'd go further back,Diplo. To be bipartisan about it, some heads should have rolled at FEMA after Hurricane Katrina. More should have rolled at the state/local level as well. I don't think any officials at any level resigned over anything. Going waaay back, my cynicism towards politicians started with Waco back in the 90's. Janet Reno takes "full responsibility" then....nothing. When's the last time you heard a poltician -- of any party -- say they "take responsibility" for something bad (other than lack-of-pants-control, Mr, Wiener), and then resign?

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  6. it's not so much that we're good a "moving on" as it is that this administration is superb at creating new disasters that distract us from the old ones. It's amazing.

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    1. That's Ann Coulter's description of the Clinton Administration's PR operation: hide the muck by placing it behind a bigger pile of muck, again and again for eight years. (Then close the books by issuing a mess of midnight pardons complete with clemency to your brother's chums and 'finder's fees' to your brother-in-law and then walk off with parting gifts in the form of White House tschotchkes which stick to your wife's fingers).

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  7. After reading this post, another passage came to mind:

    Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil. (Jeremiah 13:23 NIV84)

    I believe this would be an exercise in futility to expect the immoral person to act morally, the dishonorable to act honorably.

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  8. Resigning was the accepted mode in the UK up to the mid-60s as I recall, witness the Profumo affair. Today, people do not expect Cameron to resign even if Scotland leaves the Union during his watch.
    On this theme, I am struck by the almost total loss of trust in the political class in the Anglosphere and I suspect elsewhere. This would make a great post.
    Kirkbride

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    1. I have been thinking along the same lines. When I go to Europe, I see no trust in the politicos there either, but the elite seems brainwashed on the EU.

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    2. Recall that several occidental countries had a trente glorieuse around the same time. Mid-century political leadership included Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Churchill, and de Gaulle). You also had capable authoritarians (Franco, Salazar). Right now, we have Obama (pure on-air talent, nothing more), Cameron (unprincipled ad man), Hollande (an exemplar of the French nomenklatura, and morally decadent to boot), and miscellaneous clowns (Berlusconi) and Euro-cretins (Zapatero).

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    3. Nonny in the Westminster system it is called "Ministerial Responsibility" however the obligation to comply with the process has become lost among the political classes who now take no responsibility for anything while taking big fat paycheques off the people in whose interest they are supposed to govern.

      When they finally do get "the Khyber" or retire they sit on big fat indexed pensions for life. They give a whole new meaning to the word parasite.

      Maybe time for another "Peasant's Revolt" in the Anglosphere. Care factor for the rest of the Globe is zero.

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    4. David, there does seem to be similar unrest among the members of the 'sphere. As best I can tell, this seems to be quite pronounced in England. Citizens are taking it out on local officials but their target is ultimately Central government. Adding to the churn may be this EUssr wild card.

      I read about people here in the US who are "very concerned" about the growing distrust and animosity toward Washington. Personally, I and a few others would be concerned if their was no distrust toward DC.

      The times may be shaping up more to my liking. It's the Saxon in my blood.

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  9. A colleague of mine who taught US History had a poster on her door that read "Terror is waking up and realizing that your High School class is in charge of things".

    Face it. In the Western world, "the kids" of 1968 are in charge.

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    1. We thought they went away. We thought they went away. Or at least discovered soap & barbers and grew up. We really did believe this, in manner of doomstruck naïfs, during Morning in America, the Reagan Era.

      They were gone, we incorrectly assumed.

      But they weren't. How could we have missed it, after all, when we were yet in high school in Providence, Rhode Island, midway along the Poison Ivy League Axis of Weevils, in the dark shadows of Brown University, they did say in 1970 that the future lay not in increasingly risky street antics but in 'getting into the system and destroying it from within'.

      They said that.

      When predators telegraph their intent by their actions and statements, it's always polite to take them at their word until evidence demonstrates otherwise.


      They said they'd get in and reduce the functional valuable to worthless rubble.

      Thus far, all's going swimmingly. Job well done.


      Paul Vincent Zecchino
      Manasoviet Key, Florida
      29 APR. '14

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  10. paul_vincent_zecchinoApril 29, 2014 at 10:10 AM

    Bubba Bar-B-Que and Uncle Butch Waco over the gassing and burning alive of innocent women and children at Waco? Nah.

    Letting one terrorist rat after another blow up barracks, embassies, and Navy cruisers during the Rotten 90s, when the termites bored in deep for the final collapse? Nah.

    Today they're all getting big bucks to gass off their platitudes, inanities, and slogans to dingbat Elites and nouveaux riche kleptographers.

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