nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

North Korea’s Nukes and the ‘Forgotten War’

Hampton Sides, author of a new book about a turning point in the Korea war, explores the state of the Koreas and Trump’s forthcoming visit.  Interview, Bloomberg, By Tobin Harshaw, January 28, 2019,

“……It is a cliche that the so-called police action in Korea from 1950 to 1952 is America’s “forgotten war.” But, like most cliches, there is a lot of truth to it. American ignorance about the Korean War is a shame, and not only because it devalues the sacrifices of those who fought in it. With North Korea’s nuclear arsenal now threatening the U.S. mainland (not to mention Hawaii, Japan and the folks on the southern end of the peninsula), and President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un set to meet again next month, a little historical perspective might be helpful.

………. HS: Be mindful of the fact that North Korea’s fear and loathing of the U.S., however warped it seems, does have legitimate historical roots. During the Korean War, the U.S. bombed that country back to the Stone Age: Every building, every bridge, every village. The stated goal was to not leave a single brick standing upon another brick. That air campaign was gratuitous and cruel. We killed hundreds of thousands of civilians. We’re a country that has a habit of bombing people and then wondering why those people hate us. As we parse the madness that is the Kim regime, we should always keep in mind that this underlying history of “terror from above” figures into that madness.

Kim strikes many as a lunatic, but his nuclear strategy has actually been quite rational and effective in achieving his goals. So coaxing him to give up his nukes will take some extremely creative and forceful negotiating. The Hermit Kingdom desperately needs many, many things from the outside world — food, medicines, capital, technology, expertise and so on, and Kim knows this. A big question is whether he would really allow his own people to benefit in any meaningful way from the flow of goods and amenities that a removal of sanctions would usher in. Another question is whether he’d actually allow outside experts to come in and closely monitor his regime’s nuclear compliance. Caveats aside, we can only hope the talks continue. I’m highly skeptical of Trump’s much-avowed skills as a deal-maker, but a deal is certainly in the interest of the whole wide world.

……….. HS: It was repeatedly said during the 2016 campaign that Douglas MacArthur is Trump’s “favorite general.” I don’t get the sense that Trump reads history — or anything else, for that matter — but it’s a telling detail. Because with Douglas MacArthur you had a grandiose and vainglorious autocrat who had surrounded himself with sycophants and yes-men. He was a colorful and interesting character — in narrative terms, a gift that keeps on giving. But he was a thoroughgoing narcissist. It was said that he didn’t have a staff; he had a court. He didn’t want to hear inconvenient information. He didn’t like experts — he was the expert. He was in love with the vertical pronoun. It was all about him.This sounds extremely familiar to me.

………. Of course, Korea should never have been divided in the first place — drawing that line created one of the great geopolitical tragedies of modern times. Many thousands of families were torn apart and never allowed to see each other again. Historically speaking, there’s no difference between northern and southern Korea. It’s one country, one language, one culture, one people.

Or at least it was. After more than 70 years of living apart, a reunification, if by some miracle it ever happened, would be a wrenching and doubtless violent process. It’s not clear how a brainwashed and traumatized people from an impoverished police state integrates into the dynamic capitalist society that is modern South Korea. Still, I believe it’s destined to happen one day.https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-01-27/korean-war-in-current-events-from-the-1950s-to-a-nuclear-north

Advertisements

January 29, 2019 - Posted by | history, North Korea, politics international, USA

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: