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South Korea Slips Off the US Leash

Standing up to empire

While the US government is doing its utmost to frighten Americans about the supposed capability of North Korea to hit US cities with its nuclear-tipped missiles, South Koreans, whose country would be devastated once again by a war between the North and the US, as it was by the Korean War in the early 1950s, when millions died, mostly from an incomprehensibly huge and brutal US bombing campaign, particularly of North Korea, but of the South Korea, too, seem confident it won’t happen again. While there are right-wingers in the South who hate and fear the North and oppose reunification, most South Koreans understand that North Korea’s nuclear program is about preventing a US invasion aimed at regime change, not at trying to attack the US or South Korea. There is tremendous anger and antipathy in South Korea — and among Korean-Americans in the US — at Trump’s name calling and threats to erase North Korea in a US nuclear attack on that long-suffering nation. Many have relatives who live in the north, and also remember the ruthlessness of America’s military in the ‘50s. Many Koreans also still recall that the US military oversaw the killing of some 100,000 Korean leftist and nationalists in the south between 1945 and 1950 during the US occupation, and that Washington and the US military command in South Korea also okayed the slaughter of hundreds of students during an uprising in the South Korean city of Gwangju in 1980.

Some leaders in the US, notably Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), have spoken out against Trump’s threats. Gabbard, a major in the Army Reserve who served in Iraq, has even gone so far as to explain that North Korea’s nuclear weapons are clearly meant as a defense against the threat of US “regime-change” efforts, and has also said that US government attempts to demand denuclearization of North Korea as a precondition for peace talks are futile.

She is right. Kim Jong-un has seen how the US dealt with Muamar Ghaddifi in Libya, once he gave up nuclear weapons, and with Saddam Hussein, who had none, and sees possession of credibly deliverable nuclear bombs as his best bet for staving off US military action against his regime.

There is also the reality that China is not going to allow the US to gain control over North Korea, which would put US troops on its border. It was the threat of that happening back in 1950 that led a much weaker China, just a year after its forces had won their long revolution and taken power in Beijing, to join the battle on North Korea’s side when Gen. Douglas’s forces appeared likely to crush the North Korean army.

The situation in Korea is unprecedented at this point. The Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (the North) now has as many as 20 nuclear weapons, including hydrogen bombs, that can probably reach the US mainland on North Korean missiles. Meanwhile, the Republic of Korea in the south is showing signs of shaking off at least some of the control the US has long exercised over its relations with the North. At the same time, under President Trump, behind all the bluster the US is pulling back from its prior efforts to behave as the world’s “lone superpower,” and is being forced by a resurgent Russia and a China that is both a dominant economic and an increasingly potent military rival, to recognize the limits of US military and economic power.



story | by Dr. Radut