The DePauw’s editorial on Korea matched Trump’s ignorance of and hostility toward the country. Evidencing a remarkable lack of knowledge on the matter (even referring to Kim Jung-Un by one part of his given name, “Un,” instead of his family name, “Kim”), they urge that “we” be extremely skeptical or else “we will be right back where we started with North Korea.”
Do the editors know where “we” started with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea [North Korea]? We started by having two U.S. officers with no knowledge of Korea divide the country in August 1945. We started by installing a brutal military dictatorship in the south in 1948 (which triggered the founding of the South and the North as separate states). We started by launching a brutal war against the country between 1950-1953, dropping millions of gallons of napalm and other chemical weapons and more bombs than were used in the Pacific during the entire Second World War. By the end of the war, there was no buildings taller than one story left standing in the North. We started by refusing to sign a peace treaty with North Korea. The U.S. continues to maintain South Korea as a neo-colony, with over 30,000 troops and dozens of military bases in the country.
If anyone should be skeptical right now, it is the North Koreans. When the General Agreed Framework of 1994 was reached between the U.S. and DPRK, the U.S. dragged its feet, fulfilling only 18 percent of its obligations. Then in 2002 the U.S. backed out of the agreement, threatening to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the country. This is when the DPRK legally withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and began developing nuclear weapons (which, by the way, they have never threatened to pre-emptively use against the U.S.). Additionally, the Trump regime just broke the Iran Nuclear Deal.
While the editorial asserts that Kim has done a 180 recently, the opposite again is the case. North Korea has consistently sought a peace treaty with the U.S. and reunification on an independent basis with the South. Scholars and analysts predicted that Kim would extend an olive branch as soon as nuclear capability was achieved. This is exactly what happened.
Given the important discourse of privilege and oppression on campus, it’s also important to note the extreme chauvinism in urging us to be skeptical after a meeting between two heads of state of the same divided country that our troops occupy. Who is the U.S.—which has thousands of nuclear weapons, maintains over 800 foreign military bases, and is currently at war with 7 countries—to dictate to the Koreans in the North or South what they should do? Koreans should have the right to self-determination. The Moon administration has deep ties to the reunification movement in South Korea (which has been brutally suppressed by U.S.-backed dictators and presidents). They know what they are doing.
If anything, “we” in the U.S. need to support the Koreans as they move forward with reunification and peace. We should do that by demanding our government, finally, after over 65 years, sign a peace treaty with the North, withdraw its troops from the South and cease all hostile activity such as war exercises, and pay reparations to the Korean people for the damage done by our division of their country.
If readers would like resources to actually learn about any of this, please feel free to contact me.