I still need to finish the last part of the Nine Years of Darkness series. But hearing the news that Nancy Pelosi finally greenlighted an impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump, I thought it would be fitting to share an excerpt of writing by Cheon Gwan-yul [천관율]. Cheon, a journalist for a South Korean magazine SisaIn, has been the sharpest observer of the political landscape leading up to Park Geun-hye's impeachment in 2017.
|Cheon Gwan-yul (source)|
To set the stage first: Cheon was writing this on November 12, 2016. Trump had been elected four days previous, and the public sentiment against Park's corruption scandal was reaching its peak. Two weeks prior to this date, Park Geun-hye appeared on a press conference to admit that she indeed let Choi Soon-sil, daughter of the shaman who claimed to speak with Park's dead mother, review and edit presidential speeches. The Candlelight Protests had been ongoing for several weeks with an average crowd size of a million or more people. Impeachment was not yet a certainty; Park hinted that she might be open to resigning, and there was real doubt on whether there were enough votes for an impeachment motion.
This writing was a lengthy post on Cheon's Facebook, which I read in real time. (It later became a part of the opening essay for his book on the impeachment.) It was shared more than 8,000 times, and "liked" more than 3,000 times. Since then, I have read it many times over, marveling at how well Cheon Gwan-yul's observations have held up, and how applicable this is to Trump as well.
Below, I translate the relevant portion.
* * *
The President Will Not Resign
If the president were the type of leader who considered the future of [her] Saenuri Party or the possibility of a conservative resurrection, she might choose to fall on the sword. Her resignation would turn the tide like few other actions could.
But our president is a highly privatized person. Unlike her predecessor [Lee Myung-bak] who was diligent in pursuing his private interest, she simply makes no distinction between her public life and her private life. (In contrast, Lee had an excellent sense of distinguishing the public from the private, such that he could smoothly transfer resources from the public to the private.) This is a level of privitizing power that we have never seen before.
. . .
To a privitized president, the family business is the only remaining objective. [Emphasis mine.] Minimizing the possibility of ending up in prison; securing the lightest sentences for key figures around her; preserving her wealth as much as possible. These are higher priorities than the party's resuscitation and the future of conservatism.
(More after the jump.)
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