Thursday, June 19, 2008

A man's fate may sometimes be found on his plate…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 10:54 AM Permalink

…as the president of South Korea has learned:
Critics of President Lee Myung-bak vowed Thursday to continue their protests despite his repeated apologies for a U.S. beef import deal that has paralyzed his four-month-old government.

Reeling from the biggest anti-government demonstrations since the end of military dictatorship in the late 1980s, Mr. Lee promised to fire some of his aides and reshuffle his cabinet.

But the damage inflicted by the beef protests and aggravated by soaring oil prices has curtailed his plan to stimulate the economy with pro-business legislation.[…]

Mr. Lee angered South Koreans by agreeing in April to lift an import ban on U.S. beef that was imposed in 2003 after a case of mad cow disease was discovered in the United States. The beef protests quickly grew into broader demonstrations against Mr. Lee’s leadership style.[…]

“I have painfully learned that no policy can succeed without public support,” Mr. Lee said.

“For the rest of my term, I will keep reminding myself of the lesson I have learned from this case.”

It was a humbling moment for Mr. Lee, who won a landslide victory last December on promises that he could help revive the country’s economy and rebuild an alliance with Washington.

“The people’s resistance will continue as long as the government uses lies and excuses to avoid renegotiating the beef deal,” organizers of the anti-Lee demonstrations said in a statement. They demanded a “complete renegotiation” of the beef deal — a posture shared on Thursday by the main opposition United Democratic Party.

Protesters want the accord to be renegotiated to allow South Korea to approve U.S. meat companies exporting to South Korea. They also demand the right to unilaterally stop importing U.S. beef if mad cow disease is found again in the United States.
If we are what we eat it's obvious that too many politicians, on both sides of the Big Pond, have been eating way too much beef.

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