International Writing Workshop II
Professor Yang Chen
Passportless U.S. Citizenship
When it comes to politics, especially for a hot-headed group of people like South Koreans, logos often gives way to pathos, allowing a call for the heart override a calculated rationale. The South Korean president-elect Geun-Hye Park’s cabinet line-up of new ministers (secretary in the U.S. politics) provoked a huge controversy, when she nominated the Korean-American president of the Bell Laboratories, Jeong-Hun Kim, as the minister of Future Creation and Science Ministry. Having attained success in the world’s most advanced venue of science—leading the New Jersey Bell Lab and receiving the Hall of Fame award by University of Maryland, and in public services—the U.S. Navy, the CIA advisory board and numerous other government-related organizations, just to name but a few, Kim’s experiences boast of a highly accomplished career of both an American civil servant and a scientist. Many South Koreans distrust the man, who had renounced once his Korean citizenship to become an American citizen and called the U.S. President Obama “our president” only two years ago; they question whether the nominee qualifies for such a significant public position, whether he would strive solely for the best interests of their nation (Hankyoreh). Moderately anti-U.S. in nature, Korean progressive media such as The Hankyoreh raise concern that Kim, who has expressed “strong patriotic sentiments toward the U.S.” both outwardly and through actual service, would not fulfill the Korean minister’s responsibilities when conflicting interests between Korea and the U.S. are at stake (Hankyoreh). Despite the nominee’s exceptional accomplishments as a scientist, the Koreans are staunch that they would not trust “a foreigner” to lead one of the most important ministries. Notwithstanding what one of the modern science’s bests has to offer, the Koreans are determined to defend their most authentic national identity, free of foreign additions.
The proponents of the nomination argue that the opposition is unreasonable and irrational, for the nomination can only bring benefits to the Ministry and even to the nation’s technological industry, a significant portion of which is already largely dependent on its U.S. connections. Although South Korea has developed an accomplished degree of economic independence, the nation’s fundamental existence in many aspects has been built upon a bulwark called the U.S. The president-elect and her proponents justify the nomination on the grounds that they “would do anything” for the best interests of the nation (qtd. in Hankyoreh). On the other hand, though, the national interests conflict with national identity. The opponents of the nomination resolutely stress the purest and noblest identity as a sovereign tribe, contending that regardless of economic interests, an independent nation should not let an outsider to dilute her authentici...