That is the title for my latest contribution to the Foreign Policy magazine, regarding the latest scandal unfolding in South Korea. Excerpt:
So why was Park elected in the first place? Hardly anyone could claim that Park was the most qualified person for the job. It was no secret that during her political career, Park was not the sharpest tool in the shed. (...) Even Park’s association with the Choi family was a known issue — at least among the cognoscenti — when she was running for president. (...)
With the Choi scandal, the truth about Korea’s authoritarianism was finally laid bare. There is no magic in authoritarian rule, only the nauseating privatization of increasingly arbitrary power. Park was not a great stateswoman who was unconstrained from the burdensome strictures of democracy, but a pathetic figure doling out her presidential power to a psychic in exchange for emotional comfort. Like the Koreans who voted her in, the orphaned Park was selling away her authority in exchange for a false consolation from the past.