Although most South Koreans profess to hold favorable views of the United States, the phenomenon of anti-Americanism in this "pro-American" country is wellknown. David Straub, who served as the head of the political section at the U.S. embassy in Seoul for three years, analyzes the arc of increasing anti-American sentiment from 1999 that climaxed in 2002 in massive demonstrations over the accidental killing of two schoolgirls by a vehicle driven by American soldiers. Straub argues - using case studies of majorincidents during the period - that anti-Americanism was not simply a reaction to U.S. actions, but was powerfully embedded in a longstanding Korean national narrative of victimization at the hands of great powers, magnified by the election of a left-national government and media dynamics in the Internet age.
David Straub is a former career American diplomat who served as the U.S. Department of State's director of Korean affairs. Since 2008 he has been associate director of Korean studies at Stanford University's Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center.
1. Introduction: South Korea's Anti-American Eruption2. The Catalyst: Revisiting the Nogun-ri Massacre3. Poisoning the Relationship: Agent Orange and Formaldehyde4. Fairness and Equality: Maehyang-ri and SOFA Revision5. Bushwhacked: North Korea Policy6. Not Sporting: The Short-Track RacingIncident7. Climax: The Highway 56 Tragedy8. Conclusion: Lessons for Americans and Koreans