North Korea, Part Two: Not Our Problem
Donald Trump has warned of “fire and fury” if North Korea (NK) doesn’t halt its nuclear program, but they have a reason to continue. And despite Trump’s bluster, it’s very unlikely that we will act against the tiny country. The last time we did, it was Chinese troops that drove us back into the South. And, of course, even if we could crush NK, it probably wouldn’t be until after they attacked South Korea, Japan and other US allies.
The United States has few options for dealing with the North Korean nuclear challenge, and no good ones. A pre-emptive strike risks an unspeakable catastrophe. Sanctions have not worked, and tightening them further is no more likely to. Diplomatic talks will be difficult for the United States because an agreement would involve a compromise that would allow North Korea to keep its nuclear weapons. Nonetheless, if the goal is to prevent Pyongyang from developing an accurate nuclear-tipped ICBM, then negotiating with Pyongyang may well be the only way to try to defuse a looming crisis.
Some say Trump’s actions show that he doesn’t understand the situation.
“Trump has an appalling ignorance of the current world, of history, of previous American engagement, of what former Presidents thought and did,” Geoffrey Kemp, who worked at the Pentagon during the Ford Administration and at the National Security Council during the Reagan Administration, reflected. “He has an almost studious rejection of the type of in-depth knowledge that virtually all of his predecessors eventually gained or had views on.”. . .
“The President has little understanding of the context”—of what’s happening in the world—“and even less interest in hearing the people who want to deliver it,” Michael Hayden, a retired four-star general and former director of both the C.I.A. and the National Security Agency, told me. “He’s impatient, decision-oriented, and prone to action. It’s all about the present tense. When he asks, ‘What the hell’s going on in Iraq?’ people around him have learned not to say, ‘Well, in 632 . . . ’ ” (That was the year when the Prophet Muhammad died, prompting the beginning of the Sunni-Shiite split.*)
“He just doesn’t have an interest in the world,” Hayden said.
But Trump is not the only one who is clueless. Did YOU realize that we are already at war with North Korea? We have been since 1950, because we never negotiated a settlement—only a ceasefire.
So all this hand-wringing and screeching about NK is just nonsense. Of COURSE, NK is going nuclear. That’s the only thing that saved Iran from a US attack. Look at Iraq. More importantly, look at Libya, where President Gaddafi renounced his nuclear program—and was deposed. In fact, North Korea points to Libya as the reason they need nukes.
North Korea has defended its latest nuclear test, saying the fate of Saddam Hussein in Iraq and Muammar Gaddafi in Libya showed what happened when countries forsake their nuclear weapon ambitions. . .
A commentary published by the official KCNA news agency late on Friday said. . .
“History proves that powerful nuclear deterrence serves as the strongest treasured sword for frustrating outsiders’ aggression.”. . .
“The Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq and the Gaddafi regime in Libya could not escape the fate of destruction after being deprived of their foundations for nuclear development and giving up nuclear programmes of their own accord,” it said.
There’s an even deeper stupidity. Not only is the war with NK dragging on for three-quarters of a century, but it’s not even our war! It as a United Nations action. We just participated. It was possible because the Soviet Union was boycotting the UN, due to the UN’s silly refusal to recognize Communist China.
The actual invasion of the South by the North took place on June 25th 1950. The Security Council of the United Nations met the same day. The Russian delegation to the Security Council did not attend the meeting as they were boycotting the United Nations for recognising Chiang Kai-shek’s government in Taiwan as the official government for China whilst ignoring Mao’s communist regime in Beijing. Therefore, the obvious use of the veto (which it is assumed the USSR would have used in this case) did not occur. . .
On June 27th 1950, America called on the United Nations to use force to get the North Koreans out as they had ignored the Security Council’s resolution of June 25th. This was also voted for and once again the Russians could not use their veto as they were still boycotting the United Nations.
The United Nations now had to formulate its plans. Sixteen member states would provide troops under a United Nations Joint Command. It would fight with the South Korean Army. . .
On September 15th 1950, United Nations troops landed in an amphibious assault at Inchon. The landing was a huge success and the United Nations effectively cut the North Korean army in half and pushed them out of South Korea. MacArthur then advanced into North Korea – despite the warnings from Communist China. This resulted in a Chinese attack on United Nations troops and between November 1950 and January 1951, the Chinese managed to push back the United Nations force. After a clash with President Truman, MacArthur was sacked and the war degenerated into a war of stalemate with neither the United Nations or the Chinese managing to gain the upper hand. In 1953, a ceasefire was agreed at Panmunjon which exists to this day.
North Korea is not at war with the United States. NK is at war with the UN. Therefore, the UN should sue for peace and set up the negotiations it failed to do in 1953. Give NK security and begin trade with the rest of the world. What we need is “capitalist peace.”
In Thomas L. Friedman’s 1999 book The Lexus and the Olive Tree, the following observation was presented: “No two countries that both had McDonald’s had fought a war against each other since each got its McDonald’s”. He supported that observation, as a theory, by stating that when a country has reached an economic development where it has a middle class strong enough to support a McDonald’s network, it would become a “McDonald’s country”, and will not be interested in fighting wars anymore.
While the “Golden Arches Theory” has been broken a few times since the book, it still mostly holds. If nations trade, they have a vested interest in their trading partner having wealth, too. It’s way past time for the United Nations to end ITS war with North Korea, and to bring it into the community of nations.
Related: North Korea, Part One: Trump = Obama
Filed in: Foreign Policy Tagged in: China foreign policy north korea nuclear trump USA