Thursday, 15 December 2016

Park’s Stunning Fall May Open the Door for Opposition Victory


Following weeks of massive street protests, Park Geun-hye, South Korea’s first female president, has been impeached by a vote in the country’s national assembly over accusations of extortion, bribery, abuses of power, leaking confidential government documents and violating the constitution.

Park has governed high-handedly with a secretive style of leadership that has stoked public curiosity in her closely guarded personal life. She campaigned on reducing income inequality and expanding welfare but emerged adrift as a bland center-right defender of the status quo.

She came to power in early 2013, supported at the ballot box by mainly senior citizens who saw her as channeling the legacy of her late father, the military dictator Park Chung-hee, often associated with modernization, rapid growth and authoritarianism.

The scandal that precipitated Park’s spectacular downfall is rooted in allegations that her longtime personal friend and confidant, Choi Soon-sil, exerted an inordinate amount of influence over government policies, edited the president’s speeches and even influenced government appointments.

Read the full story on New Eastern Outlook

Nile Bowie is a Singapore-based political commentator and columnist for the Malaysian Reserve newspaper. He can be reached at nilebowie@gmail.com.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Trump’s administration won’t benefit from hawkish stance on China

President-elect Donald Trump’s phone call with the president of Taiwan was initially reported as a protocol-shattering blunder initiated by the Taiwanese government rather than Trump himself, a move that provoked Beijing's ire.

American presidents, long sensitive to the China-Taiwan impasse, have not directly communicated with Taiwan’s leadership since 1979 when the Nixon-era shift in policy established formal direct ties between Washington and Beijing.

Though many were skeptical of the administration’s explanation of the exchange as a routine congratulatory call, it has since been established that the conversation had been quietly planned months in advance by Trump’s advisors.

Former Senator Bob Dole also played a key role coordinating between Taiwanese officials and the Trump campaign, reportedly lobbying as a foreign agent for the government of Taiwan behind the scenes. This was a calculated signal that the incoming administration, which has associated itself with several prominent Taiwan proponents, is planning to break with the past in pursuit of a tougher recalibration of relations with China.

Read the full story on RT

Nile Bowie is a Singapore-based political commentator and columnist for the Malaysian Reserve newspaper. He can be reached at nilebowie@gmail.com.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

‘Lock Her Up’: What’s next for S. Korea as scandal-ridden presidency dithers?

South Korea’s Park Geun-hye is at the center of a political firestorm and under attack on multiple fronts over a devastating corruption scandal. The country’s first female president faces impeachment and mass street protests calling for her arrest.

The bizarre scandal engulfing Park’s government is rooted in allegations that her longtime personal friend and confidant, Choi Soon-sil, exerted an inordinate amount of influence on government policies, edited the president’s speeches, and even influenced government appointments.

Choi, a civilian with no security clearance, was found to illegally possess confidential government documents. Park is also accused of personally lobbying corporations like Samsung and Hyundai to make massive financial contributions to charitable organizations controlled by Choi.

To add to the salaciousness, Korean media reports claim that Choi’s father was a spiritual mentor to Park after the death of her parents because of his alleged ability to channel the spirit of her assassinated mother and induce trance-like experiences in the future president.

Read the full story on RT

Nile Bowie is a Singapore-based political commentator and columnist for the Malaysian Reserve newspaper. He can be reached at nilebowie@gmail.com.