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Attached is my American government assignment. Basically you just need to read the case study and answer the questions that follow.

Interest Groups: Case Study
Dissident Kim Dae Jung’s return to south Korea
South Korea experienced political turmoil in the decades following the Korean War under the
rule of several autocratic leaders who severely limited political freedom in society. As South Korea was a
crucial ally against the expansion of communism, the U.S. government was wary of being openly critical
of the corrupt S. Korean government. However, the U.S. no longer could ignore the violation of human
rights in South Korea when Kim Dae Jung, a leading pro-democracy dissident, sought U.S. assistance in
his return from exile to South Korea in 1985.
Kim rose to prominence as a political figure as a National Assembly member after the Korean
War. His active opposition to the corrupt dictators ruling S. Korea made him susceptible to violent
harassment by the South Korean government including imprisonment, an assassination attempt, and
abduction in the 1970s. Kim’s fight for democracy and human rights in S. Korea appealed to the U.S.
government and gained support. The Reagan Administration was involved in converting Kim’s death
sentence to a 20-year imprisonment in 1980. Advocacy from the U.S. Congress and Embassy was crucial
in getting General Chun Doo Hwan to grant Kim a suspension on his jail term (after Kim had served over
two and a half years in forced isolation) ostensibly for receiving medical treatment in the U.S. in
December of 1982. While in the U.S., Kim actively sought support and sympathy for the democracy
struggles in S. Korea from the American politicians and journalists. Kim taught at Harvard University as a
Fellow, established the Korea Institute for Human Rights, and closely corresponded with various
journalists and U.S. officials like George Lister, a policy advisor for the Bureau of Human Rights and
Humanitarian Affairs, and Elliot Abrams, the Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and
Humanitarian Affairs. Kim delivered a speech at the State Department Open Forum in 1985, challenging
the United States to be more actively engaged in supporting the democracy efforts in Korea.
Kim finished his medical treatment and fellowship in June of 1984 and started to carefully plan
his return to his homeland, aware of the fate of Benigno Aquino, the Philippine opposition leader, who
was assassinated at the Manila airport when he returned from exile in 1983. Kim was especially
concerned about the growing radicalism of the dissenters and wanted to return to inspire the discouraged
Korean population. Despite the danger and risk of re-imprisonment or even death that Kim faced, he
made a firm decision to return to his homeland in order to participate directly in his people’s struggle for
democracy. Kim asked the U.S. government for “concern and cooperation” to secure return without
“complications” and collaborated with Lister and Abrams on the details of his return. In September of
1984, Kim wrote a letter to General Chun telling of his intentions to return which was responded by a
threat to re-arrest Kim upon his return. Therefore, 22 Members of the U.S. House of Representatives
wrote a letter requesting the Korean government to assure Kim’s safety on October 16, 1984. The tone of
the letter was diplomatic but also cautioning of the consequences the harassment of Kim would have on
the bilateral relations. The S. Korean government announced that it would not re-arrest Kim, two days
after the invitation for General Chun for talks with President Reagan in the U.S.
Seeking to publicize his return, Kim wrote “Why an Exile Wants to Go
Home” in the Los Angeles times on October 11 and on November 4, reiterated his story to Korean
journalists in Washington, DC. On December 2, 3000 people attended Kim’s farewell ceremony in
Madison Square Garden in New York City. Despite urgings by some U.S. officials to postpone Kim’s
visit until after the Korean parliamentary elections, Kim embarked on his journey home on February 6,
1984. On his flight to Korea, Kim was accompanied by about two dozen U.S. citizens including US
Congressmen Edward Feighan, Thomas Foglietta, and Edward Markey, former Assistant Secretary of
State for Human Rights, Pat Derian, former Ambassador to El Salvador, Robert White, and singer Mary
Hundreds of Korean supporters who awaited Kim were blocked from welcoming Kim at the
airport by police officers and military. It is unclear how much violence ensued between these groups at
the Kimpo Airport on February 8, 1984, because of the conflicting accounts from the event. It was
reported that Kim, along with the members of the entourage, were physically shoved and beaten by
Korean Central Intelligence Agency officers. The entourage was later accused of deliberately provoking
violence when they were rumored to have used a locked-arms technique leaving the plane. Kim was
forcibly separated from most of his entourage (three members of the American entourage were allowed to
accompany him in separate car) and taken to a house where he was virtually put under house arrest.
The Korean government expressed “regret” over the tactics used at the airport a few days
following the incident when an invitation for President Chun to visit America was called into question.
While Kim’s accompanying party voiced distress at their treatment by the hands of the KCIA agents at
the airport and Kim acknowledged that he had been handled roughly, Kim had arrived at his home
without experiencing further violence. Ed Djerejian, a US deputy state spokesman, said that the United
States Embassy was opposed to the behavior of the KCIA agents but that President Chun’s visit to the
United States would continue as planned. Nonetheless, the South Korean government promised an
investigation into the incident and said that they would assure the safety of the visiting United States
Representatives and their party.
The U.S. continued to press the Korean government to release Kim from house arrest. Kim was
not rearrested on the old charges after his return and later had all his charges cleared on Jun. 25, 1987. In
the meantime the grassroots Korean movement for democracy grew rapidly. (See “South Koreans win
mass campaign for democracy, 1986-87”). Kim became active in Korean politics and, in 1997, became
the first opposition party leader to be elected president in South Korea.
1. Identify the various interest groups attempting to influence government policy in this case
2. What individuals other than Kim pushed the “return to South Korea” project on Kim’s
behalf? What was the importance of having these particular individuals backing the
3. What benefits might these individuals (identified in # 2 above) be seeking in supporting the
project to safely send Kim back to South Korea?
4. How might the interest groups (identified in # 1 above) enhance overall democracy?
5. Why might Madison approve of small, non-economic based interest groups being
established in America?
6. What individuals and/or groups would benefit as ‘free riders’ if the Kim project was
successful? How would they benefit?
7. What specific events directly influenced decision makers to support the Kim Project of
returning Kim Dae Jung safely to South Korea?
8. Describe the various ‘going public’ events that attempted to mobilize public opinion on this
issue. What other efforts might the interest groups attempted, if any, to further the cause?
9. Why was it decided to have Kim accompanied to South Korea with U.S. citizens, including
members of /congress, former ambassadors and former Assistant Secretary of State for
Human Rights?
10. Overall, how successful do you think the project was and why? How does this event of 30
years ago impact today’s geo-political relations between the U.S. and the Korean Peninsula?

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