The Korean War ended in a stalemate in 1953. Having begun on June 25, 1950 with the blessings of Joseph Stalin, an armistice agreement on July 27, 1953 left the peninsula divided between the Republic of South Korea and the Peoples Republic of North Korea. How long ago was that? Dwight D. Eisenhower was elected largely on the promise to go there and secure an end to the conflict
By the time it was over the Red Chinese had intervened and American casualties were around 54,000 with 103,000 wounded. The North Koreans and Chinese were estimated to have lost ten times that number. The war was immensely unpopular with an American public that was still recovering from World War Two that had ended in 1945.
To his credit, President Truman did not hesitate to commit troops. Within two days after the invasion, Americans were fighting another war in Asia. The United Nations provided cover and the conflict was officially a UN action.
It was a proxy war, part of the long Cold War that had begun at the end of World War Two. The Chinese got involved when Gen. Douglas McArthur’s strategies put U.S. troops close to their border. He wanted to finish off not just the North Koreans, but the fledgling communist Chinese government as well. Truman relieved him of command after he neglected the fact that U.S. armies fight under civilian control in the form of an elected Commander-in-Chief and authorization from Congress.
In time, China for reasons of proximity and other factors became the power that controlled North Korea. Under Kim ill-Sung, known as the “Great Leader”, a Soviet protégée of Stalin’s, and his son Kim Jong-il, the “Dear Leader”, North Korea has evolved into the classic rogue nation. It was named one of George W. Bush’s “axis of evil.”
China provides life support for North Korea, the supplier of food and energy. In his 2004 book, “Rogue State: How a Nuclear North Korea Threatens America”, William C. Triplett II, noted that “communist China is central to all North Korean issues, from human rights to weapons proliferation.”
Whatever North Korea does is sanctioned by China. This fact has been largely shielded by U.S. policy from the American public. North Korea is known in diplomatic circles as “China’s hidden dagger.” The phrase is taken from an ancient Chinese military text called “36 Srategems.” It means the covert use of another country to annihilate your enemy. North Korea threatens South Korea and Japan, and by extension the U.S. which is committed to come to its defense.
American administrations have negotiated with North Korea and each has learned that they will not adhere to any agreement, using negotiations to secure bribes of all kinds, including one in which the U.S. agreed to build two nuclear facilities there! Recent news revealed they have increased their ability to produce nuclear weapons to the utter astonishment of U.S. intelligence agencies.
Its nuclear program was begun by Moscow and Beijing converted it to a weapons program. Triplett said that Beijing uses North Korea as a proxy distributor of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles to terrorist nations that include Iran and Syria. They in turn, provide weapons to their proxies, Hezbollah and Hamas.
Like Iran, no sanctions and no threats of military reprisal have ever had any serious affect on North Korea.
Writing during the George W. Bush administration, Triplett said “There is no endgame strategy. North Korean aggression and provocations still go unpunished.” Together, the North Koreans and China “have successfully bogged any progress in endless diplomatic meetings and conferences while North Korea’s nuclear research marches on.”
America is in no position to fight another war on the Korean peninsula and is dependent on China (and Japan) to purchase its securities to keep its economy functioning in the wake of the 2008 economic crisis. America’s manufacturing base has largely been undermined by the transfer of many of our industries to China.
Americans have largely forgotten the threat of communism.
The latest North Korean attacks are China’s way of reminding the U.S. of its dilemma and dependence.
The failure to secure a victory over North Korea in the 1950s, too much dithering since then, and too much distraction fighting recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have combined to render America a paper tiger who, despite our vast military power, will not or cannot pull the trigger.