March 28, 2016

Trump's Foreign Policy

Every week, Monday to Friday, at around 7:30, I usually arrive at work. I usually sit down at my desk, turn on my computer, check my email, make myself a coffee in my Starbucks mug, and then I start monitoring. Today was like any other day. I did just the same routine as I normally do, making a list of hyperlinked-article titles to send to my supervisors.

Anyone that has any interest in the PR field would know what monitoring entails. Monitoring can be described as google-ing/searching keywords to find any reference to a certain company within the media for the last couple of days. It's a way to check how effective the PR has been in spreading certain information to the public (at least, the media). This is why we have to get to work by eight a.m. Interns get the task of waking up bright and early to start on monitoring. But, I'm not complaining. I'm actually getting a first-hand lesson about public relations and learning a lot about media itself. 

So, I usually start my monitoring at Naver because it's the best resource for finding Korean keywords (since Koreans are the target consumers and audience), and then I usually wrap up with a quick google-check because I need to go through the English Korean newspapers (Yonhap, Chosun, JoongAng, Korean Herald, etc). 

And, as I scanned around Korea JoongAng Daily a couple of hours ago, I came across an article titled “Trump supports nukes for Korea and Japan”, which obviously caught my attention. All of my friends knows my obsession over Donald Trump. As a Poli-Sci student, I am very much intrigued with the presidential elections in the States and as a Korean citizen, I fully understand the influence that U.S. presidents (mainly their foreign policy) has on Korea. And the obsession over Donald? I’m sorry to disappoint the white supremacists out there, but, no, I am not a Trump Follower. I would not even be classified as a Republican. Let’s just say I’m highly entertained by the crazy remarks he has to say and it’s pretty much my worry for global peace that motivates me to keep up with the Republican primaries. Sorry, Republicans, but the 2016 GOP primaries are pretty much the center of all global jokes right now.

Anyways, going back to the article, in an interview this past weekend, Trump stated that if he becomes president, as a part of his Asian foreign policy, he will allow for South Korea to possess its own nuclear weapons and even pull out U.S. troops from Korea. I remember at the start of his campaign, before the primaries began, that Trump was very adamant in his opinion of the US-ROK relations in terms of who is footing the bill for the U.S. troops in Korea and even Japan.

I’m sorry, but I was under the impression that this was a give-and-take relationship. If Trump thinks the majority of Koreans love having American soldiers on our country, he needs some new policy advisors. And his former remarks about how the fraction of what Korea pays for the soldiers is “peanuts” in comparison with the U.S., well, he needs to think about the importance of Asia to the United States.

But, I’m liking the idea that Korea would be allowed to develop their own nuclear arsenals. The only reason we need the U.S. in the peninsula is to deter threats from the North. What we have right now is a very uneven fight and there is absolutely no shed of light for an end to the sixty-year-old armistice on the peninsula. I’m not an advocate for nuclear weapons. But, on the other hand, I wouldn’t call myself an extreme pacifist (which does not mean I believe collateral damage is moral in anyway). But, allowing for Korea to develop our own nuclear weapons gives Korea the power to seek military independence, something that we need as a sovereign nation. 

I do understand that the decision to allow for Korea to have nuclear weapons is a slippery slope. But please let me emphasize again that this is all very theoretical. I personally don’t think that Trump would win the presidency, so let’s just discuss this matter in the view of “If Trump becomes president…”, which is actually equivalent to saying “if a fraction of Americans (rather, the electoral college) is crazy enough to choose Trump as the commander-in-chief…”.

It’s amazing how polar opposite Trump is from Obama. I mean, the non-resemblance is uncanny. For anyone who has ever enrolled in a foreign policy class or is just interested in U.S. foreign policy, the term “Pivot to Asia” should be very familiar. It is Obama’s current strategy towards the Asia region, putting emphasis on future relations with Asian countries — maybe as a way to balance the rise of China, but who knows? Obama managed to maintain great relations with most of the Asian countries (excluding North Korea of course), the biggest symbol being the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

But, I’m very curious to see how Trump’s foreign policy would look like. He’s burning ties left and right…it’s now a question of how long until the U.S. becomes a lone country in an otherwise global world. As a business man, he really underestimates the power of diplomacy and the importance it is to maintain great relations and the importance of working on the bad ones. 

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