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Should North Korea Attack, the US and South Korea Will Stand Shoulder to Shoulder

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As I prepare this article for Blogcritics, a look at the news indicates that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has yet to comment or to become involved in the late breaking and serious news from Korea. North Korea has proudly pointed to its nuclear capacity. It has paraded troops and weapons, bearing signs reading, “Defeat the U.S. Military” and “U.S. Soldiers are the Korean People’s Army’s Enemy.” And most importantly Korea has launched mortar shells at population centers in the South, killing innocent civilians.

Some say, as Hillary Clinton was among the first to suggest earlier, that “Pyongyang is intentionally acting in a provocative and combative way so as to gain world and U.S. attention, resulting in favorable treatment in economic… [and such spheres].” North Korea in recent months said of Secretary of State Clinton ” [she is] by no means intelligent.” They called her a “funny lady.” They continued, “Sometimes she looks like a primary schoolgirl and sometimes a pensioner going shopping.” Following that exchange, Secretary Clinton’s husband, former American President Bill Clinton, at his own expense, traveled to North Korea, and was able to regain some respect and undo some of the damage. Perhaps the Secretary of State is intimidated by the situation. It is probable that by the time this piece gets to the readers at BC, Secretary Clinton will have taken some action. I hope so.

As it happens, our Vice-President, Joe Biden, is a brilliant negotiator and diplomat. He has an unusual capacity to understand and to identify with those in distant parts of the world. In the face of the urgency of this situation, he may be the best choice for utilization.

It might be helpful to young readers to review a concise history of the Korean war, fought during the Truman, and Eisenhower administrations of the mid-twentieth century.

Let’s recall some of the history of the animosities during the late 1940’s and the 1950’s between the North and South sectors of Korea. The loss of life to both sides was beyond comprehension. U.S. losses were placed at over 54,000 dead with 103,000 wounded. Chinese and Korean casualties are estimated in each case as ten times as high. History views the Korean War as having been based on ideologies; Communist against non-communist.

On June 25, 1950, North Korean forces invaded South Korea. In the first weeks of the conflict the North Korean forces met little resistance and advanced rapidly. On June 27th, The United Nations condemned the invasion, calling it an “act of aggression”; President Truman authorized the use of land, sea, and air forces, appointing General Douglas MacArthur supreme commander. At a turning point of the war, on September 15th, 1950, U.N. forces made a daring landing at Inchon on the west coast. North Korean forces fell back and MacArthur received orders to pursue them into North Korea. On October 19, the North Korean capital of Pyongyang was captured. Then the Chinese Communists joined with the North Koreans to launch a successful counterattack. The Communists advanced into the South, capturing Seoul, the South Korean capital.

After several more months of fighting, the dividing line was at the 38th parallel, the dividing line to this day between North and South Korea. Newly elected President, former US General Dwight D. Eisenhower, pledged to end the war. Negotiations broke down on four occasions, but after much difficulty, and nuclear threats by Eisenhower, an armistice agreement was signed on July 27, 1953. We note that nuclear threats played an important role in the armistice.

Although an armistice was agreed to and signed, there was never an end to that war. North Korea still maintains a now passive role of domination. North Korea is angered by military maneuvers in the south that might culminate in a new determination of Southern independence.

In conclusion: an attack on South Korea, and an expression of ongoing hatred for the United States, is no small matter. The American Secretary of State might do well to seek her husband’s council, and to take what she can from advisors.

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About John Lake

John Lake had a long and successful career in legitimate and musical theater. He moved up into work behind the camera at top motion pictures. He has done a smattering of radio, and television John joined the Blogcritics field of writers owing to a passion for the liberal press, himself speaking out about the political front, and liberal issues. Now the retired Mr. Lake has entered the field of motion picture, television, and video game (now a daily gamer!) critique. His writing is always innovative and immensely readable!
  • http://viclana.blogspot.com/ Victor Lana

    From what I heard about this war from my uncle, it was brutal. Now, many years later, it seems things are starting up again. We can only hope cooler heads will prevail before one side does something stupid and causes a new war.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Let’s say, for sake of discussion, that U.S. diplomacy, whether carried out officially by Secretary Clinton or Vice President Biden or unofficially by former President Clinton, fails to resolve the present crisis.

    You note that in 1953, President Eisenhower’s “nuclear threats played an important role” in ending the war. Since the combined military forces of South Korea and the United States are now so badly outnumbered on the Korean peninsula by North Korean troops, would you advocate nuclear threats by President Obama to bring Pyongyang to its senses? And if that fails, would you further advocate U.S. nuclear first-strikes against the north?

    I’m just trying to see where you’re going with this, since you seem to approvingly recall the role played by nuclear saber-rattling in 1953.

  • John Lake

    You know Alan that I am an Obama favoring liberal, and as such I am hopeful that all this potential for long drawn-out confrontation can be avoided. Early arbitration may prevent unforseen and terrible consequences.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Since you evade my question, I’ll take that as a yes, you would advocate nuclear threats and, if those fail, U.S. nuclear first-strikes against the north. That’s some hawkish stance for an “Obama favoring liberal.”

  • John Lake

    Nuclear threats are ineffective if we don’t intend to back them up. Some conservatives have already called for an overwhelming military response from the US. On Fox News, Michael Scheuer, a so called “terror expert” called for the US to act “like a superpower,” and “destroy” North Korea’s Navy. While discussing North Korea’s attack on a South Korean island, Scheuer also said that the U.S. should have attacked North Korea “months ago” when “they sank that North Korean or South Korean boat.” It occurs to me that an “expert” should recall that it was a South Korean ship that was sunk. At the time I wrote: On March 26, 2010, North Korea fired a torpedo, sinking a South Korean naval ship, the Cheonan, in the Yellow Sea, in waters South Korea considered open water. The Cheonan was in the area near Baengnyeong Island, 130 miles northwest of Seoul, to assure the safety of crab fishermen.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    That’s just further evasion. We jumped from discussing what you, Mr. John Lake, an avowed “Obama favoring liberal,” advocate vis-à-vis nuclear threats and U.S. nuclear first-strikes against North Korea, to what some conservative so-called terror expert on Fox News had to say. Who cares? I’m trying to understand how far you are willing to go with nuclear weapons, an option that you pointedly raised in your article but just as pointedly seem reluctant to defend in this thread.

  • John Lake

    I am in a quandary to understand how you interpret my remarks favoring arbitration as a “hawkish stand”.

  • John Lake

    I don’t have confidence in Secretary Clinton. Biden and the President can come to some decision, which I shall most likely favor.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Never mind, Mr. Lake. I repeatedly asked about the nuclear option, which you raised in the first place, and you are clearly determined not to respond. Please pretend this whole exchange never took place. Happy Thanksgiving.

  • Henry Martinez

    I remember a vet, who couldn’t eat much because he was in the Korean war, his stomach was messed up… but he said it was a vicious horrible war, and from what i heard and understood , i believe it too be true. Problem is , with the people we have today we dont have leadership as we did of yesterday. We dont have people who are willing to put some of these extremists on notice, and launch a bomb that is long overdue… we got all these OMG types running around without seeing the big picture of how dangerous these types really are to us and others around us, and if we continue down this path of social superficialness we all will have to pay , its time we attack and make it official and stop beating around the bush and letting the buck get passed until they have to strike first every single time…. its time to set the record straight and give the extremist around the world the penalties and consequences before they act.

  • El Bicho

    “It occurs to me that an “expert” should recall that it was a South Korean ship that was sunk.”

    Misspeaking on live TV doesn’t mean someone doesn’t know what they are talking about. Also, Michael Scheuer worked for the CIA for 22 years, including a stint dealing with Bin Laden. For you to try and diminish him as “so-called”, affects your credibility more than his.

  • John Lake

    There is one minor point to be made. If the South chooses to respond militarily and further, if the US becomes involved, we do have weapons in our arsenals less all consuming then the nukes.

  • NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS

    It’s all about power at the end of the day in politics.Who has the bigger guns and man power.Histoy repeats itself in someway or another,enemies will always rise. As long as everybody in the world comes to some kind of agreement to peace and organization.
    I have enough problems as is, Who needs more wars.F A WAR

  • Cannonshop

    Well…it’s very optimistic to assume that an Obama administration would go to war against a Communist country-at least, for more than a few months-assuming that the PRC doesn’t halt U.S. action on the Peninsula. I suspect, rather, that we’ll see another Fall of Saigon on television, with the last U.S. support being something useless, like helmet covers and bug-dope again. That seems much more likely than the alternative.

  • John Lake

    Cannonshop has it all laid out. We’ll plan for a few months of war, and hope that the Peoples Republic (China) doesn’t prevent us from interfering. Then we can all watch on television. Maybe the coverage will be, “commercial free”.

  • John Lake

    November 28: In reports printed in this Sunday morning’s news, the North has continued artillery fire, though the firring appears to be only a drill, with no shots landing. It is noteworthy that artillery was fired during a visit by a “North American General” to the island of Yeonpyeong. while China is opposed to all actions that undermine peace and stability on the Peninsula, and are establishing six nation talks for early December, to include North Korea, South Korea, Japan, the USA, Russia, and China itself, news releases in the US (the New York Times) still refer to “North Korea and it’s patron, China”.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    There is a chance that the oppressive regime in North Korea will fall from within, similar to the way the Berlin Wall came down in Communist East Germany. The use of nuclear weapons might be less likely if the growing movement of dissent within North Korea has time to bear fruit.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    In the near-term, though, just like every other time in recent history that North Korea has bared its teeth to the outside world, the United States may end up at an economic bargaining table with that country and its ally, China.

  • John Lake

    Readers, use caution.
    In my attempt to follow the link in #17, I was told the site could not be accessed. In consideration of that warning, I didn’t attempt to open the link in #18
    Irene Athena, could you copy/paste the relevant information?

  • hsr0601

    Pretty sure North Korea = China in the different names of one country, or a military branch & a lapdog.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    Sure, John Lake. #18 is an article By Gao Zitan & Jiang Yuchan from The Epoch times, published by Chinese who expose human rights abuses in the PRC and give encouragement to those leaving the Communist party. The article’s name is: “Attack on South Korea an Elaborate Ploy, Analysts Say Chinese and North Korean regimes seek to blackmail United States into concessions.” The date is Nov 25, 2010. Here is an excerpt from it:

    “The United States is very tired from the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. If another conflict started in North Korea, the United States would want China to pacify North Korea and try to not cause international turmoil.

    “At that time, China can come forward and gain this bargaining chip which can be used to make demands of the United States, such as to stop the pressure for appreciation of the yuan,” Zeng said.

    “The regime in China often uses this strategy of using North Korea to divert attention. This method has been used countless times in the past. One can look back and find that whenever a situation arises in North Korea, the United States has to negotiate with China,” Zeng said.”

    The link in #17 is an article By Julian Ryall in Tokyo 12:01AM GMT 28 Nov 2010 in The Telegraph, based in the UK. Its title is “North Korea’s undercover journalists reveal misery of life in dictatorship,” and an excerpt from it is:

    “The authorities no longer command the fear and respect of the people,” said Jiro Ishimaru, editor of Asiapress International. “That’s an enormous change that is taking place in North Korea.”…Fliers critical of the regime have been distributed and people arrested for putting up a poster demanding freedom, he said.

    “There are not only fliers, but also many incidents of graffiti,” said Mr Kim, who has himself seen messages reading “Open up and reform!” daubed on walls, Other slogans have appeared venting criticism at regional party bosses or officials of state organisations or companies…Now in his thirties, he used to be a labourer in a machine factory but fled into China in 1999 during the North Korean famine that is believed to have claimed as many as 1 million lives. Unemployed and homeless, he met Mr Ishimaru and said he wanted to return to North Korea to document the people’s struggles to survive.

    “I am not against North Korea or even Kim Jong-Il as a person, but I am against a system that does not allow people to live equally and has no democracy,” Lee says, his face obscured and his voice disguised…I also want to make videos and provide information to people inside North Korea, to show them about the life outside the country,” he said. “They have to know that their human rights are being violated…Mr Ishimaru said he has never asked a refugee that he has met in China to go back to North Korea as a reporter, but has trained those that have expressed a wish to do so. Each is paid around $500 a month, which is an adequate income, plus cash for bribing border guards and police officers.

    Mr Ishimaru says the reports and images that are coming out of North Korea suggest that the population is becoming more vocally discontent with the regime and that Kim Jong-Un, the 27-year-old son of present leader Kim Jong-Il, will find it very difficult to maintain the dictatorship after his ailing father’s death.”

    I just accessed both of these by clicking on the links I posted in #17 and #18, by the way.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    The link in #17 is working for me, goes to a British newspaper site.

  • John Lake

    Irene Athena,
    I don’t believe I was being over-cautious. Because of the global nature of my published articles, I use more than one security system. I often link, myself, to the UK Guardian, and they certainly are a reliable site.
    I am particularly concerned that I may have offended you, because the material you have provided is unique and important. It provides an insight into life in China and in North Korea, that we in “the free world” seldom see. You bring excitement to my labors.
    Since I encountered difficulty with the link, I felt I had a duty to protect readers. I also issued a note to the editors at BlogCritics, alerting them. They share, I am certain, a duty to protect readers.
    Thank you for taking the time to share the knowledge that you are aware of. Please continue to do so.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    John Lake, I don’t blame you one bit for giving people the heads up. I’ve done it myself in the last month in fact. It’s good to look out for one another.

  • PHILLIP

    For one obama sucks,and i think a war would help the situation.Our country is headed for hell anyway by our socialist gov

  • John Lake

    PHILLIP:
    We defend your right to express your opinion…

  • Jack

    why is South Korea so afraid to defend itself. Each of the two times they have been attacked by the north and had military killed and they have given a stern talking to the North who laughs in their faces knowing they will retreat in fear like school girls ?

  • John Lake

    As I see it, South Korea bordering on the highly aggressive North has proven brave indeed.