South Korea as Oliver TwistPosted: July 26, 2012
I just saw this story about the ongoing negotiations between the U.S. and South Korea on a replacement 123 agreement. South Korea very much wants to be able to have domestic ENR capability and the U.S. is not willing to sign a deal with them unless they commit not to have it.
Theres just a tone to stories like this of the little developing state begging the big powerful developed supplier state to please, sir, allow them to have this technology that they really want, and think would be really beneficial for them. Like little Oliver asking for more gruel from the headmaster. The paternalism is just palpable, and really disturbing to me. The child presents its well-thought-through reasons why they should have the new stuff, and how they’ll be extra careful with it and make sure it doesnt hurt anyone. And then the dad just shoots them down, saying they dont really need it; its just too dangerous for them to have; they can’t be trusted to be responsible with it yet; theyre fine without it and should just keep relying on dad for the stuff.
I noted in my post below on the current gold standard interagency review about the debate going on in the comments to Mark Hibbs’ post over at Arms Control Wonk. David Fite in those comments tries to persuade us that when countries like Taiwan and South Korea agree to no-ENR commitments in their 123 agreements witht the U.S., its completely voluntary and an exercise of their sovereign right to choose that everyone should respect. And even more, that we should view such decisions as state actions producing a new global norm.
Well South Korea doesnt look very sovereign here to me.