North Korea and the Repeating of History

North Korea and Kim Jong Un are much in the news of late and rightly so, but not for the reason most put forth. I, like many others, have followed the recent events, but I would like to propose a historical perspective that I believe will offer a better understanding of the current situation on the Korean peninsula. When we consider the history of Korea and its domination by other counties, both Asian (China and Japan) and Europe and the United States, the current misrepresentation is obvious and largely the result of misinterpretation of the goals of Mr. Kim. The major goal of Korea has been to assert its independence and sovereignty and that of North Korea is an extension of this. The reunification of Korea has been the principle goal since the creation of a divided Korea. This was the genesis of the Korean War. In this regard the situation seems very similar to Vietnam, Ireland and even Germany, all nations which were artificially divided and who set out to reunite themselves. In spite of the fact that Vietnam was seen in the United States as a war of global politics, of communist expansion, it was in fact a local war of reunification. When that goal was achieved, military hostility toward the United States largely evaporated.
Similarly the move toward unification of Ireland brought relative calm between the two antagonists. The British and Irish are no longer killing each other. This is true with North Korea as well. While the current administration chooses to think of Kim as our enemy, I believe that North Korea views the United States more as an obstacle than as an enemy. They want to have the United States cease to support South Korea as a means of facilitating the unification of their country. There may even be sentiment for this in South Korea.
The current administration is greatly facilitating this process by advocating an “America First” policy which is seen by the rest of the world, including South Korea, as a statement that the United States will only protect other nations like South Korea if it is consistent with protecting “America”. There is also a policy of increasing demands that foreign nations must pay for the military forces stationed by the United States in their countries. This is a departure from previous administration and adds to the unease of our allies. To further exacerbate this, our trade policies in Asia seem designed to convince China, the major regional power, that there is little to be gained by supporting the United States. It is little wonder that South Korea is no longer depending on the United States for protection and is opening talks with its Northern half. The United States is rapidly becoming a minor player in Asia. One can perceive a similar situation developing in Europe and the Middle East where our involvement is sporadic at best and whimsical at worst.
It is unfortunately these wars are not only being fought on the battlefield and the seas, but in cyberspace too. The people of Korea, Europe and the Middle East are being convinced by our enemies in the cyber war, that the United States is not committed to supporting or protecting them. This message is being propagated on social media channels about the recent bombing in Syria. The preparation for that attack should have included a social media campaign as well.
Will North Korea surrender its nuclear weapons? Perhaps, but I personally doubt it. They are achieving the goals they were built for, but the very success of the program makes maintaining it seem more logical. Indeed exporting the technology to other nations would seem the most logical move. North Korea has stated that they are now committed to economic growth and the nuclear and missile technology is their most saleable item. They have demonstrated that it works. A country with nuclear weapons can accomplish its long term goals.

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About pauljanson

Writing about everything
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