National Security & Defense

The Corner

‘U.S. Confirms It Will Pay for Antimissile System, South Korea Says’

The U.S. is crab-walking away from Trump’s statement that South Korea should pay for a new missile defense system. This is really bad timing for upsetting the South Koreans, for reasons Michael Auslin notes in an excellent piece on the North Korea crisis in the new issue of NR:

Finally, this crisis may be different because of South Korea. The impeachment of former president Park Geun-hye has turned South Korean politics upside down. It appears that progressive Democratic-party candidate Moon Jae-in will replace her in the upcoming election; and, if not, the winner will almost certainly be center-left politician Ahn Cheol-soo, of the People’s party. Either way, the next leader of South Korea may well decide to return the country to the “sunshine policy” of the 1990s, which was based on engagement with North Korea and a distancing from the United States.

Candidate Moon, in particular, has demonstrated an openness to downgrading South Korea’s alliance with Washington and moving closer to both Pyongyang and Beijing. That could lead to the formation of a bloc of countries opposed to the United States and Japan; the former would find its influence severely diminished, while the latter would face new, difficult questions about how best to defend itself. It is unlikely that anything like a formal alliance, let alone unification with the Kim regime, would take place, but the result nonetheless would isolate Washington and strengthen Beijing as it weighs whether to work with Kim or precipitate his removal from power. South Korea would have set in motion a train of events that would reshape northeast Asia and dramatically increase the power of illiberal states.

By the way, this is a good time to check out Michael’s book on Asia:

Rich Lowry — Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: 

Most Popular

Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More