Thursday, June 19, 2008

India has its nuclear deal, South Korea has one with beef!

It's nearing splitsville for the Left and the Congress over the nuclear deal. Meanwhile, an interesting development is playing out in South Korea that may have lessons for us and out politicians.

A repentant Lee Myung-bak, the president and former Hyundai CEO, has had to repeal a deal with the US he rushed into after widespread public protests. The deal would have allowed large-scale import of US beef into South Korea. Beef imports were earlier called off after a case of BSE or mad cow disease was detected and critics therefore said the PM had overlooked the health concerns of his people. The beef deal, the US had insisted, was a must is a bilateral free trade agreement had to be signed. "I and the government are deeply sorry" a frank Lee told his people in his address. The president said he "was in a hurry after being elected president, as I thought I could not succeed unless I achieve changes and reform within one year after inauguration. As a president, I did not want to miss this golden opportunity (the free trade agreement)." Quite a bold statement for a politician.

Mr President, the Korean people have a beef with how you work! (Image from BBC News)
Would a frank Manmohan Singh, like Lee, tell us why there’s such obsession with the nuclear deal? So much so that we be subject to an early poll? Energy security has a lot of other components that are not getting the same love and push from the PMO: increasing energy efficiency, the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline being just two of them. So, is it really energy security that bothers the PM? And are there some “musts” we must give (or have given) to the US to have this nuclear deal?


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