History of the North Korea Crisis

History of the North Korea Crisis

Anas Kaouss 21/08/2017

This past decade has witnessed increasing tensions between the United States and North Korea. The ramification of a war would be disastrous for the peninsula and beyond. 


A Serious Conflict 




The Trump presidency in its first two hundred days has rattled US imperialist strategists. He has lurched from one blunder to another. On the domestic front Trump’s statement of blaming both sides while commenting on the supremacists’ murderous attack in the Charlottesville, has unleashed a firestorm in the US.


On the foreign front Trump’s bluster of ‘fire and fury’ against North Korea has further complicated this dangerously spiralling conflict. For more than half a century, China has seen North Korea as a dangerous irritant as much as an asset. It might be useful for keeping the United States off guard, and regarded as an essential buffer by the military establishment, but China would happily ditch it if there were a better option.


The long history of North Korea’s nuclear programme follows a recognisable path, previously trodden by Israel, India and Pakistan. It goes from the ambition, formed in the mind of North Korea’s founding dictator, Kim Il-sung, through the long years of a clandestine programme, to the gradual revelation of a reasonably mature, if relatively small, nuclear capability. Signalling is also an element in deterrence. The regime is certainly unpleasant and destabilising, but it is a mistake to imagine that there is no clear purpose and no plan.


Enemies Since the Cold War 




The origin of the conflict between the two countries goes back to the Cold War era. The United States of America and the Soviet Union never fought directly, instead, they have assisted opposing nations. One of them was the North Korean and South Korean war. During the second World War, Korea was under the control of Japan, which divided it into two pieces along the 38th parallel. North Korea was under the control of the soviet Union, whereas, South Korea was governed by the United States. The soviet Union helped North Korea create a communist state, meanwhile the US helped fostered capitalism in South Korea. Unfortunately, the North Korean leaders have exploited the acts of atrocities committed by the US imperialism in the past, against the Peoples of the Korean peninsula to perpetuate their rule.


During the Korean war of 1950-53 the entire Korean peninsula was bombed and devastated by US air force. America and other countries immediately came in assistance to South Korea. Although much of the propaganda of today’s North Korean regime is preposterous and idiotic the hate, though, is not all manufactured. It is rooted in a fact-based narrative, one that North Korea obsessively remembers and the United States blithely forgets. On June 25th, 1950, North Korea with the help of the Soviet Union and later on China as well, invaded South Korea and took over Seoul the capital. The United States bombed everything that moved in North Korea, every brick standing on top of another. US bombers destroyed hydroelectric and irrigation dams flooding farmland and destroying crops.


Although the ferocity of the bombing was criticised as racist and unjustified elsewhere in the world, it was never a big story back home. War reporters rarely mentioned civilian casualties from US carpet-bombing. It is perhaps the most forgotten part of a forgotten war. According to Hyun Lee, managing editor at ZoominKorea, the ceasefire agreement was actually signed by the US and North Korea, and not between both Korean parts. Both sides agreed to stop the fighting, demilitarise the border between the two countries, and for the withdraw of all foreign troops. Surprisingly, the withdraw of troops never happened, US military is still operating on the South Korean soil until today and a peace treaty was never signed. The US kept control of the military in South Korea, in case of another war breaking up. This was long labeled as the North Korean and South Korean conflict, but in its roots it was clearly a US and North Korean conflict. 


Heightened Tensions 




Historically, from 1958 to 1983, the US has always kept nuclear weapons in South Korea to threaten North Korea, which witnessed what happened with its neighbours in Hiroshi and Nagazaki. America and North Korea signed two agreements regarding to stop the nuclear program, granting security and assurance. But on both occasions, the US broke the agreements and did not follow through on it. The current American-North Korean row is for the ownership of the tiny Pacific island of Guam. In early August North Korea threatened to fire missiles into the sea near Guam that escalated the threatening rhetoric. North Korea’s claims on the island have some historical legitimacy. Guam belongs to the USA as war booty it acquired after the 1898 Spanish-American war.


The US had annexed Puerto Rico and the Philippines in the same armistice agreement with Spain. The Philippines eventually got independence, but Guam remains an American territory, which in reality is a ‘self-governing’ colony of the US. Kim Jong-un is concerned about this tiny patch of ‘American land’ because he feels threatened by the huge US military arsenal stored up in this Island. Furthermore, North Korea has faced a big recession and crisis, America took advantage of the situation and applied sanctions on North Korea to accelerate the regime’s fall down. This had led North Korea to continue on with their nuclear program and were continuously getting support from China. Also, during the Obama’s eight years in office, North Korea has been overlooked, as they have kept advancing with their nuclear program. Today, we are looking at a North Korea threatening to attack the US. On the north end of the strip is a huge USAF’s Anderson airbase, hidden behind a dense forest with a fleet of advanced B1 bombers ready to strike North Korea. On the west coast of Guam an even more secret naval base maintaining a squadron of nuclear attack submarines.


Trump has threatened to fight back and “destroy” North Korea if that was to happen. On the other hand China, North Korea’s main ally, has joined Russia in backing up North Korea. Can we say that having bad experiences with previous Republican presidents, North Korea feels threatened from the coming of a new republican president? or is it one way for the Trump’s administration to deviate the public opinion from the actual problems the US is going through? The escalation of this conflict shows the historical and economic decline of the US imperialist empire and the intensifying crisis of capitalism in the region is reflected in the aggravation of external threats of horrific military conflicts. Although a full-fledged war may not be imminent but strains in the Korean peninsula will keep on erupting where catastrophic clashes cannot be ruled out. Within the existing system there is no way-out. Capitalism in its terminal decay can only present a future of doom for the human race. 

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Anas Kaouss

Political Guru

Anas is the founder of the Casablanca Professional Network. He is currently working as a sales analyst at Virtual StrongBox, Inc. He holds a bachelor degree in business management from the University of North Carolina.


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