Once again, as a result this time of North Korea being fingered for sinking a South Korean Navy vessel, the Cheonan, even the remote possibility of a war on the Korean peninsula of Northeast Asia should be creating a lot more concern than it has in the United States.
The concern, raised pointedly not quite a year ago by North Korea’s relentless saber-rattling with rockets and nukes, should not be just among diplomats, military strategists and the White House—but rather by American consumers and the dealers and importers of products made in South Korea.
Yes, there should be a universal worry because the Korean peninsula conceivably could again become a meat-grinder of casualties for young American soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines the way it did exactly 60 years ago. Now the U. S. has only 28,000 troops in Korea and is heavily committed – critics say over committed – in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Even if short lasting, a shooting war in Korea would be devastating to the U. S. consumer economy, including the “big box” retailers like Wal-Mart and Best Buy. As I punch in the letters forming this article, they are appearing on a flat screen monitor made by Samsung, a South Korean conglomerate. Samsung also made the cell phone in my shirt pocket, and the TV in the family room. My wife’s cell phone, like mine from Verizon Wireless, is manufactured by LG, another Republic of Korea electronics maker, once part of the Hyundai Group.