Some of your above comments regarding Koreans' attitudes to the west, and in particular the US, might have had a lot more relevance in 1999. But today (in fact, since the Anton Ohno era around 2000) a new generation has assumed the mainstream of thought in Korea, a generation raised in comparative luxury on the sweat of their parents and grandparents who lived through hard times and the war. In general it's the older Koreans who remember the sacrifices of the United Nations forces and the western massive industrial/scientific/economic aid, while many of the younger generation are flag-waving xenophobes (see point 4 below).
I think the youth usually has one of those "umph" better known as idealism and usually coupled with nationalism. Nevertheless, these flag waving youth can easily blame the west for many things they considered as injustice. The one particular example was the Asian Currency Crisis of the late 1990's. When the IMF stepped in to remedy the dangerous Asian Economic Contagion. This new caretaker suddenly dictated what had to be done, what austerity measures and what not, before these suddenly bankrupt nations could get their aids from IMF. The way IMF conducted its business during this period of chaos in Eastern Asia was just horrid as if it had never been taught manners. To many Asian youths, including South Koreans, the way the IMF dictated their government was deplorable. This views were held quite widespread since many youths also put the blame on the West for propping up tyrant after tyrant for years. The military backed governments in South Korea, the Philippines and Indonesia could never be flourishing had it not for the US blessing. And, during this Economic crisis of 1990's, the common people would have to bear the brunt again for yet more mistakes in US foreign policy. Again, this view is rather simplistic, but it is good enough for the youth to put the blame squarely on the US shoulders. This was probably the flash point which seems to support your opinion with regard to South Korean youth's anger towards the US. I don't think this view is quite pervasive in today's South Korea, especially since South Korea managed to recover economically within just six years, quite swiftly considering how serious the crisis was. Their deep hatred towards the Japanese, however, continues to linger even to this day.
...In addition, Korea has not a single top 50 university in the world rankings (the much better educated Americans, Europeans, Canadians, Australians and Japanese do much better) http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/world-university-rankings/2011-2012/top-400.html
. What Korea does have is the hagwan
system of cram schools where parents send their kids to learn rote recitation of facts and established formulae any fool can look up in a book. If you call that education I'd call that pretty sad. This lack of originality in education is evident in Korea's dismal showing in science and medicine Nobels (they have exactly none) and Maths prizes like the Fields medal (again, Korea has never won a single one), possibly making them the only OECD nation not to make the cut. Ever. Again, Korea's 'great education' system is a total myth, it's a Confucian system built on regurgitating the innovations of others (and in science, that usually means foreigners). Hence it's easy to see why CEOs at Samsung have no problem with blatantly ripping off foreign companies - they've been trained to do it since they were young. If that sounds hard it's only because it's true. Are some Koreans very smart? Sure, just like some people from any
country. But their education system sucks, which is why Korean parents will do almost anything to get their kids into western universities.
Your ranking cut-off system is rather curious if not ingenious. If you go with just the top 50, I can say that you are right since most universities in the top 50 were from the West, If you take MIT, Princeton, Yale, Harvard, Oxford, Stanford, University of Michigan, University of California Berkeley, University of Texas Austin, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Caltech, Cambridge, University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania, University of Carolina at Chapel Hill, Georgia Tech, Imperial College, UCLA, University of Washington, Cornell, University of Minnesota at Twin Cities, University of Wisconsin, Carnegie Mellon, Johns Hopkins, Northwestern, McGill and University of Toronto, you will have very few spots left for your top 50. And, I actually had memorized these good schools from eons ago, and voila...! they are still in the top 50 even now, at least in some surveys. They are in the top 50 due to their reputations, and I think it's quite difficult to be kicked out of this top 50 unless you are doing something horribly wrong. You ought to see the top 200 to be able to see a better picture. And. once you do that, you will see four  South Korean universities start to show up on a radar: Seoul National University, Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology, Pohang University of Science and Technology and Yonsei University. That is quite respectable considering there are gazillions universities out there in the wild.
The major reason why Korean parents send their kids overseas is because their kids failed the entrance exam for gaining entry to reputable Korean universities, not to mention the tricks used by some rich parents to delay the obvious - the mandatory military service - which usually robs two years out of their children's life after high school. The key word here is "rich". If you are one of those rich parents, you can afford to send your kids overseas. Otherwise, you will have to make do with Korean educational system which is not as bad as you make it to be. The thing is when you start attending college, it is up to you what you want to get out of it. You can't depend too much on the system or the professors. It is essentially true wherever you go to school, even in the States. You have heard it before about undergrad classes being taught by TA's who can barely teach effectively. Worse still, in many reputable engineering schools, the TA's assigned for teaching these preliminary and introductory engineering or science classes can barely speak English at all. The upper division classes and Grad schools are where the US [and the West] educational system excel with top notch facilities and professors.
......was in fact only possible at all because of American, European, and Japanese technology transfers, foreign expertise, industrial espionage (not to mention war reparations and foreign aid money, POSCO being a case in point) and cold war politics which fostered an American reluctance to prosecute Korean patent infringement. Do some older Koreans recognize this? Yes. But many of the younger generation have been brainwashed to believe Koreans actually did this on their own because of their 'superior education' (see point 3, above).
If you are saying this, this was also being done by the Japanese during its rebuilding period, Many Japanese had been caught for industrial espionage, and the last embarrasment was when a Japanese company Hitachi got caught in the early 1980's of having IBM's "Adirondack Workbook" in its possession. IBM had been the target of industrial espionage far too many times by not only Japanese entities but also others. Small wonder, IBM was and still is the warehouse of innovations and patents. I mentioned how South Korea had rebuild their economies faster than the Japanese without having to explain how South Korea had done it because it should be fairly obvious anyway. You said " American, European, and Japanese technology transfers, foreign expertise, industrial espionage (not to mention war reparations and foreign aid money....) as the reasoning behind South Korea's economic miracle. I don't dispute that at all, but you have to remember there are quite a few countries around the world with similar opportunities, like the Philippines and Indonesia for example, but yet these countries have failed to rebuild and develop their economies as swiftly as South Korea had done. So, there has to be something else at work here beyond the reasoning you mentioned above. One thing I have noticed about South Koreans. They are inherently very goal oriented, focused and hard workers, perfect workaholics poster boys. I haven't seen people dedicated so much to their works than the South Koreans. Perhaps, these traits are the ones that set them apart from their regional peers.
The fact that a Korean based company named Samsung has been found guilty of making a serious amount of money by ape'ing some Apple products shouldn't be overgeneralized to something it is not. For sure, it is not a verdict against Korean people. They are a very decent people, and I had the opportunity to get to know many of them. They are no different than Americans or Canadians. And of course, by the same token, it is not fair to bash and ridicule all Americans based only on actions by the likes of AIG, Arthur Andersen, Enron, Lehman Brothers or even an individual like Bernard Madoff.
Edited by mcrs - 8/26/12 at 11:08pm