Tensions pervade as President Bush visits South Korea

The World

This USO canteen has been managed by this man, a former Peace Corp volunteer from the 70s who’s lived in Korea ever since. He says the recent demonstrations against US beef, which were fueled by internet rumors that said the beef came from cattle infected with mad cow disease, are a different than other protests he’s seen here against the US. It doesn’t take a lot for protests here to turn anti-American, but it hasn’t always been that way. This professor says anti-Americanism didn’t appear in Korean culture until the 1980s, at the height of Korea’s democracy movement. He says until that time, the US was seen as a model of democracy, but perceptions change because of the support it gave to Asia’s military dictators. He adds that much of the anti-Americanism of that time was based on emotion and rage, and not fact and logic. In one narrative about Korean history, the US is just the latest meddler in Korean affairs. This professor says anti-Americanism can be contributed to the role the US played in Korea’s reconstruction after the Korean War. but some analysts say it’s time Korea gets over it and they risk damaging economic relations with other countries.

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