Tuesday, September 8, 2009

[Natural Order] How will we judge the Korean War in a century?

I believe some of the words from the previous post, "I'd blame Truman" to have been misconstrued to somehow mean that I am saying it would have indeed been a good thing to have had Kim Il Sung quickly unify the peninsula on his terms. By no way, did I mean that I wish Koreans in South Korea today would be better off had this been the case. I mean, it is irrefutable, that South Korea enjoys a moderately wealthy existence compared to the bizarre state that is North Korea today as North Korea recently again demonstrated by killing six civilians in South Korea by flooding a dam that was built to do just that, yes, by flooding a dam that was built to kill people

"The Peace Dam is probably the only dam in world constructed with no reservoir"("North Korea Kills Six In South Korea with Flood" : ROKdrop ).

"North Korea built dams including the Mt. Kumgang Dam to inundate Seoul," he said, but the project was foiled by South Korea building the Peace Dam. "But North Korea believes it can decisively threaten Seoul if it opens the floodgates at times of heavy rainfall," he added. ("Was N.Korea's Dam Release a Shot Across the Bow? : Chosun Ilbo).

This is not the type of government that I think should inwould even want to exist, let alone be the state of a unified Korean peninsula. let alone even an island.But, the point I was trying to make was, consider this article from the New York Times, though some are secondary sources, I doubt any would refute these facts; unless you really were like the spokepiece of North Korea, such as Kim Myong Chol, whose "work" frequently appears on Asia Times, such as "Rich lessons in North Korea's playbook." As for Stalin beling held responsible for the North Korean invasion, first consider U.S. failure to communicate its intentions and interests in the period leading up to the Korean War, then consider:

"We later learned from Khrushchev's memoirs that, far from initiating the attack, Stalin only slowly consented to Kim Il Sung's overconfident plan for a campaign that would be over before the Americans could react. Khrushchev's version has been reinforced by other Soviet witnesses in the years of glasnost."

But, most importantly, is the conclusion of this article written some 40 years after the Korean War broke out and nearly two decades from today:

What deserves our respectful attention is that Harry Truman's basic decision, with its human cost, especially to us and to the South Koreans, was right ("The Korean War, 40 Years Later; The Right Decision" : The New York Times).

What I am arguing is will this be the consensus twenty years from today (or forty years after this article was written). I mean, yes, most ordinary South Koreans enjoys such material prosperity that probably only a select few and I mean a very select few in North Korea could only begin to dream about. I am saying that had the Korean War run its course without intervention from the United States (or equivalently had Harry S. Truman not settled on a policy, the Truman Doctrine, where not winning wars, was supposed to be a success ), then Korea would most likely have been a poor, failing state for perhaps a half century or so. But, this is what I was getting at in the previous post:

While it may be the case that economists in yesteryear saw South Korean economic development as a miracle, in the heart of prosperous Northeast Asia, I would argue, it is in fact North Korea that seems to be the exceptional case and the miracle ("I'd blame Truman" : Breaking Down Borders: Korea).

Considering this, then I don't think so. I think in this alternate scenario, if you envision Korea to be like Vietnam, and especially where that economy seems to be heading, and you'd get a good idea. A unified Korea in 1950 would have suffered perhaps a famine (one and probably just one as in what happened in Communist China) and a period of dire economic mismanagement. But, then since no rival Korean state exists and after the country reconciled the fractures and fissures the nation found itself in in the aftermath of forced industrialization and colonization, the Korean state would then have been able to adopt the necessary political and economic reforms to eventually find the material prosperity and democratic institutions that South Korea enjoys today.

I am sure this will be the story of Vietnam in a generation or two, but what about those of North Korea? Millions will have been and could still be suffering under this perverse communist regime that is North Korea. In this light, can it still be argued that if the Korean War is seen from a Korean perspective and not in the perspective of the cold war, was it really a success (post-1988)? I would argue no.

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