But, I would have to argue that just because South Korea finds herself to be moderately wealthy, while North Korea has turned out to be a very bizarre state - though I will argue given the place (geography) and time (history) that North Korea finds herself to be in; it doesn't seem all that bizarre. But, not just the division of the peninsula, but the perverse nature of the North Korean state does actually lie in the hands of the United States. More so, I would like to say that it would be disingenious to argue that Joseph Stalin should be held any more responsible for the Korean War than Harry S. Truman.
The division of the Korean Peninsula was agreed during the Potsdam Conference. Although the Soviet Union should not have been in a war against the Japanese since they only enterred the war when Japanese defeat was all, but assured, it was not clear where and how the Korean Peninsula would be divided -- although a similar, parallel argument can be made about the U.S. invading continental europe only after German defeat was all, but assured after the Battle of Stalingrad, it was the Soviet Union, who assented, to the U.S. demand that the Soviet Union allow U.S. soldiers to land on the Korean Peninsula.
But anyways, you see, it was the Soviet Union who assented to the U.S. demand of division of the Korean peninsula. Note, that the U.S. refused the division of Japan when the Soviet Union asked if Soviet troops could land on Hokkaido. The Soviet Union, quite aware of which the more powerful country was at that time (and who also possessed nuclear weapons), assented and actually waited for the U.S. soldiers to arrive on the peninsula.
U.S. naivete not only wrongly interfered with the natural development of East Asia, but in particular with respect to Korea, the greatest tragedy was that by the U.S. interfering in what was basically a civil war, the peninsula saw all the carnage and destruction that would've played out anyways had the U.S. not interfered, but the wardid nothing to unify the nation ("Containment"). Moreover, the perverse state that North Korea finds herself to be in is a direct result of the natural order of things being prevented from occurring. Other Sinic nations experienced similar bouts of reconciliation, but with the fruits of unification.
I believe the U.S. during that period in time chose the wrong side. It was as if the U.S. in almost a John Bolton-esque fashion held so rigidly towards ideology that the nation was blind to what was really going on. The Civil Wars in the Sinic nations in East Asia were more a natural development of land reforms and a conclusion to societal fissures that had been building up for quite some time and, while Communism promised to be the "quick way" towards modernization, the U.S. belief in this communist bloc to be a monolithic one was misguided (and costly) to say the least.
Moreover, only after the U.S. signalled to Stalin that the U.S. did not care about the Korean Peninsula did Stalin give Kim Il Sung a green lightto invade the ROK armed with Soviet Tanks. Of course, the U.S. then abruptly changed her mind - or perhaps, it was just the case that President Truman who singlehandedly decided that the U.S. did care after all. As a result of this decision or perhaps indecision and miscommunication on the part of the United States, millions of Koreans and Chinese died along with many thousands of Americans.
Most importantly though, millions of Koreans would continue and still do continue to suffer in North Korea as a result of this indecision. 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. Hence, I would argue that, if blame were to be assigned, then it would not be Stalin, but Truman who should be faulted.
Of course, the nation remained divided and while in 1988 with the Seoul Olympics the U.S. did ultimately enjoy the fruitful dividends to the war on the peninsula, the nation remains divided.It is in this light that I'd humbly argue that the U.S. interfered in the natural development of things. The fissures that were built up during thetimes leading upto the Japanese Colonial Period and during this periodwere never reconciliated.And, I would also think that the perverse state that is North Korea todaywould not and could not exist had it not been for the presence of a rich and prosperous South Korea. Hence, the logic behind the U.S. interferingin the natural order of things.