By Mitchell Blatt*
When Korea’s former president Park Geun-hye was in the midst of being impeached over a corruption scandal, in December 2016, “T.K.”, the anonymous blogger behind Ask A Korean, wrote, “[W]hat we are seeing in Korea now is the future of Trump. Korean politics already had its own Trump, and it is now showing the world what is going to happen next.”
I, too, noticed similarities between Korean politics and American politics while I was in Seoul in February and March, as the Constitutional court was ruling on her impeachment. Park’s supporters attacked the media. “The press = liars. Mass media = murder weapons,” a sign at a rally read. Some even posted signs praising Trump.
Now it’s more than a year since impeachment proceedings against Park began, and look at the news in America:
Financial records reviewed by The New York Times show that Mr. Cohen, President Trump’s personal lawyer and longtime fixer, used the shell company, Essential Consultants L.L.C., for an array of business activities that went far beyond what was publicly known. Transactions adding up to at least $4.4 million flowed through Essential Consultants starting shortly before Mr. Trump was elected president and continuing to this January, the records show. New York Times
- Firm Tied to Russian Oligarch Made Payments to Michael Cohen
- Trump’s lawyer pitched himself as a fixer to Novartis and got paid $1.2 million
- AT&T Paid Cohen For Advice On $85 Billion Time Warner Merger
- South Korean defense company that paid Trump lawyer Cohen $150,000 is poised to win part of a $16 billion Pentagon deal
AT&T Paid Cohen Up to $600,000 for Trump Insights, Source Says
Wow. What does this sound like?
Media outlets reported that Choi and President Park’s senior staff members, including both Ahn Jong-bum and Jeong Ho-sung, have allegedly used their influence to extort ₩77.4 billion($60 million) from Korean chaebols—family-owned large business conglomerates—and set up two culture- and sports-related foundations, Mir and K-sports foundations. – Wikipedia
Choi was found to have had used her presidential connections to pressure conglomerates – including electronics giant Samsung – for millions of dollars in donations to two non-profit foundations she controlled. – BBC
Reuters reports that in 2015, Samsung paid $18 million (£14.8 million) to Core Sports International, a consulting firm owned by — you guessed it — Choi Soon-sil. – Business Insider
Put it this way:
Donald Trump is Park Geun-hye, an incompetent, self-dealing heir of a dynastic family who is surrounded by corrupt loyalists.
Michael Cohen is Choi Soon-sil, a long-time associate of the president who was given way too much access, which he sold for profit.
AT&T and the other companies are Samsung and the rest.
We know what will likely happen next.
*Mitchell Blatt has been based in China and Korea since 2012. A writer and journalist, he is the lead author of Panda Guides Hong Kong guidebook and has contributed to outlets including The National Interest, National Review Online, Acculturated, and Vagabond Journey. Fluent in Chinese, he has lived and traveled in Asia for three years, blogging about his travels at ChinaTravelWriter.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @MitchBlatt.
This article was published at Bombs and Dollars.