Will We Repeat History in Korea?

War with North Korea is coming. Why do I say that? Do I have some kind of magic device that can predict the future? Of course I have no such thing, but what I do have is history. History can teach us much about what will happen. They say it is cyclical. Although many events have different details, basic concepts throughout the ages have often remained unchanged. Government officials will always attempt to gain more power at the expense of the people, whether it is a democracy, oligarchy, or monarchy. Empires will always attempt to spread their influence, whether this is done through expansion and conquering or economic and cultural domination. There will be rebellions when governments push the people too far, and there will be genocide when leaders believe that a specific identity is superior to another. Wars are fought to gain power over other human beings. These historical norms will continue to guide the history of humanity, and because of these norms, we can often predict what will happen.

We want to believe that our time period is unique and that events will play out differently from the past, but in reality, American politics, in particular, is extremely predictable. Being the most powerful empire that the planet has ever seen, despite most of us not wanting to accept that our country fits into the same type of category as the Roman Empire, the United States uses intimidation and violence to accomplish its feats. Though the United States does not overtly conquer weaker nations through military force, it utilizes an array of tactics from the manipulation of foreign elections to covertly overthrowing other governments to economic domination through international bodies and sanctions. The United States has troops stationed in roughly two-thirds of the world’s countries, and very little happens worldwide without the approval or disapproval of the American government. Countries that do not comply are made to conform to the United States-led global order. With all of that being said, it should now make sense why I have stated that a war with North Korea is imminent.

Since Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day is this week, it seems appropriate that I should mention the events that led up to the horrific attack that killed a couple thousand Americans at the hand of the Japanese government. Most Americans recognize this as the event that led to the entry of the United States into World War II (however, the United States had been involved in the war effort long before this occurred), and very few people ask why Japan attacked the United States. Some people believe that President Franklin Roosevelt manipulated the Japanese into making the first move so there was justification to enter a war that most Americans wanted very little to do with, but regardless, Roosevelt’s economic sanctions against Japan are what led to the attack. This was largely in the form of an oil embargo, which made Japanese imperialism much more difficult, if not impossible. After diplomacy failed due to demands put on the Japanese government, Japan, desperate for oil, concluded that the United States would attempt to halt its expansion into the oil-rich Dutch East Indies. The Japanese decided to make the first strike and cripple the American Navy.

I say all of this, not in defense of imperialist Japan, but rather, because this should be a lesson to Americans not to repeat the mistakes of the past. Economic sanctions are a precursor to war, and it is no different with North Korea. Also, the constant rhetoric against Kim Jong-un is a unifying rally for a future war. Just like prior to the Iraq War, government officials and the media had to try to prove to everyone that Saddam Hussein’s connection with the September 11, 2001 attacks was legitimate. When that premise proved false, the next piece of rhetoric was his alleged chemical weapons program. We now just consider the hundreds of thousands of lives killed as simply a mistake, not to mention the additional hundreds of thousands of people who were killed as a result of the sanctions that were put in place on Iraq before the American invasion.

As we support the military exercises that simulate the invasion of North Korea and the large presence of American troops in the Korean peninsula, let us reflect on the errors from our history. Let us not fight a war over pride and the concept of American domination, but let us embrace the concept of diplomacy and peace. Kim Jong-un may be a malevolent dictator, but he is also not an idiot. Using logic, we can determine that because the Kim regime cares about its existence, an attack against the United States could not be a likely scenario. We also have no reason to believe that the North Korean government is an irrational player in global politics. Although military conflict in Korea seems inevitable, there may be hope that our politicians will take the prudent and moral path towards negotiation. I would not get your hopes up, though, because the United States government likes making demands and hates compromise.

Thank you for reading this blog, and if it was of interest to you, please check out my book, The Global Bully.
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Published on December 05, 2017 20:15
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