Conservatism and Liberalism in Religion and Politics
Richard D. Kahoe, Psychologist in Private Practice
North Korea observed an important anniversary on July 27, a date that ended the killing of American, Korean, and Chinese soldiers and divided the peninsula in two parts. The conflict was begun by Gen. Douglas MacArthur before Congress had declared war.
The date North Korea recently celebrated refers not to the end of that conflict, but to an armistice signed that day by both sides. That truce, signed by Gen. Mark Clark for the United States, provided for a Peace Conference, which occurred in April, 1954 in Geneva. When the Chinese leader Zhou Enlai arrived, he held out his hand to John Foster Dulles, who refused to take it and turned away. Dulles and the South Korean, Syngman Rhee, refused to discuss peace, and the Chinese leader proposed that the conference adjourn and set a date for a new meeting. The Canadian delegate reported that the American "simply waved his hand in opposition," and the motion did not pass.
Ever since then the United States has pursued a two-Korea policy, with the U. S. in command of 37,000 American troops and the South Korean army as well. North Korea, whose official name is the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), has reported that there have always been political parties in South Korea that have sought withdrawal of U. S. troops. They have also cited the U. S. assassination of the leader of the Korean Independence Party and subsequent assassinations in the South since then. This writer has no way of verifying these and subsequent accusations, but he is aware that many in both the North and South want a unified Korea free from foreign forces. For example, on July 14, 1972, both North and South jointly agreed that peaceful unification without interference would be their goal, and on July 23, 1973, President Kim Il-Sung of North Korea proposed a North-South confederation under the name of the Confederal Republic of Koryo.
However, the United States interest was in keeping the country divided. When in the 1990s North Korea began to develop a nuclear energy policy, with indications it might have the capacity to develop a nuclear weapon, relations reached a crisis stage. President Clinton actually threatened possible use of U. S. nuclear power. The insistence of Jimmy Carter that the President visit Pyongyang fortunately averted the crisis. In 1994 an Agreed Framework was concluded in which assistance with North Korea's energy needs was promised by the U. S.
George Soros (one of the world's wealthiest men), founder of the Open Society Institute and chairman of Soros Fund Management, has written about the current situation, "Bush precipitated the current crisis with North Korea." In an article in the June issue of The American Prospect, he differs with the corporate media, which presents only "the official view." His position, as follows, is one that this writer has long accepted.
"North Korea's nuclear program had been more or less contained in 1994 by the Agreed Framework concluded by the Clinton Administration. In the meantime President Kim Dae Jong of South Korea had engaged in a sunshine policy and it began to bear fruit. There was progress in removing land mines along the border, and a direct train connection was about to be opened. The North Korea leadership seemed to become increasingly aware that it needed economic reforms."
"When Kim Dae Jong came to Washington as the first foreign head of state to visit President Bush, he wanted to enlist the President's support for the sunshine policy. But Bush rebuffed him rather brusquely and publicly. Bush disapproved of what he regarded as the appeasement of North Korea, and he was eager to establish a discontinuity with the Clinton Administration. He also needed North Korea out in the cold in order to justify the first phase of the National Missile Defense program, the initial linchpin in the Bush strategy of asserting U. S. supremacy."
"Then came the 'axis of evil' speech, and when North Korea surprised the Bush Administration by admitting its uranium enrichment program (strictly speaking not in violation of the Agreed Framework because that covered only plutonium), Bush cut off their supply of fuel oil. North Korea responded with various provocations."
"As this magazine goes to press, North Korea could soon start producing a nuclear bomb a month. In mid-April it backed off from its demand for bilateral talks with the United States and agreed to three-way talks with the United States and China, but a serious rift between the United States and South Korea remains. South Koreans now regard the United States as being as much of an aggressor as North Korea and this renders our own position very different."
Any attempt to understand the crisis with North Korea must begin with the 1994 Agreed Framework, under which the U.S. was to provide "formal assurances" not to threaten North Korea with nuclear weapons. The following is a summary of an article by Kevin Kim, "Understanding North Korea" (In These Times, March 7, 2003), which cites Bush's refusal to give such assurances, along with the Bush doctrine that sanctions the use of nuclear weapons. Also the Administration plans to create nukes primed for 'deeply buried targets' like those in North Korea. Charles Armstrong, a North Korea expert at Columbia University's East Asian Institute, is quoted as saying, "The Framework lays out a very rapid timetable of movement toward normalization that hasn't happened."
Kim reports that "two [U. S.] promised 1,000-megawatt lightwater reactors-which are impractical for making bombs but remain vital to the North's energy needs-will miss their 2003 target date by seven years. The [promised] heavy fuel oil shipments meant to replace electricity from the frozen Yongbon reactors have been frequently delayed, and the North Koreans say the oil is barely usable."
Kim quotes Bruce Cumings, a Korea expert at the University of Chicago, who said, "The Bush Administration has botched our relations with North Korea terribly. It caused Pyongyang to repudiate the 1994 Agreement. It left Clinton's missile deal sitting on the table. It's been led by the most partisan foreign policy of an Administration in my memory-viewing the Framework not as a solemn agreement between two nations, but something Clinton did that they could repudiate."
Kim said further, "The announcement of the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive attacks last fall only confirmed Pyongyang's worst fears," and quoted Armstrong, "That was what caused the final realization in North Korea that it could well be an American target."
These warnings of the disastrous nature of Bush's policy toward North Korea have only become more frightening since his first pre-emptive actions in bombing Afghanistan and invading Iraq. What actually does his Administration have in mind for North Korea? A proposal now under consideration in Washington would involve 4,000 daily air strikes over 30 to 60 days, plus the deployment of two U. S. Army divisions to bolster South Korean forces now under the command of U. S. officers in the South, a call-up of National Guard and Reserve units, and the use of cruise missiles.
This proposal made by James Woolsey, a former CIA director who is also now the senior advisor to Donald Rumsfeld, has been endorsed by a retired Air Force general, Thomas McInerney. They are quoted as writing, "The world has weeks to months, at most, to deal with this issue, not months to years."
The propaganda for this has already begun. Former Defense Secretary William Perry told the Washington Post, "The nuclear program underway in North Korea poses an imminent danger of nuclear weapons being detonated on American cities." There is no clear evidence that North Korea can do this, even if the cities are in Alaska or Hawaii.
What are the arguments against such military action by the United States? One is that the bombing of any nuclear facility "could spew radiation across East Asia and around the world." Another is the Pentagon's estimate that such a war would generate 52,000 U. S. and 90,000 South Korean casualties within 90 days.
There are other dangers. What would the people and governments of other nations think of yet another action by the world's super-power, this one predicted to destroy a small nation with hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths, and doing it without being attacked.
The very idea that the White House would be willing to destroy many thousands of civilians should be abhorrent to Americans or people everywhere.
Bush would like to get North Korea to destroy its nuclear weapons and program. What stands in the way of this is that North Korea knows Bush's record of lying and has real doubt when he said, "The United States had no intention of invading North Korea."
He did not rule out bombing. And on October 19 a banner headline in the Kansas City Star read, "Pentagon's Plans include Stealth Bombers in Guam." Those bombers, now based in Missouri, would be much closer to North Korea. It is not surprising that North Korea wanted a non-aggression pact. But Bush rejected it.
The October 20 New York Times said Bush told reporters that a non-aggression pact could legally bind the U.S. "never to attempt an Iraq-like pre-emptive strike against the North's burgeoning number of nuclear facilities."
Moreover, as the Nation magazine noted, "North Korea has witnessed regime change in Iraq and shows every sign of believing that a growing nuclear arsenal is its best means of heading off the same fate for itself."
If we recall Bush's West Point speech June 2, 2002, he said, "America has, and intends to keep, military strengths beyond challenge, thereby making the destabilizing arms races of other eras pointless, and limiting rivalries to trade and other pursuits of peace." The first part of this boast is continuing, but the reference to "pursuits of peace" was shattered by Bush's war against Iraq, that is now a "political disasterﾅwrit large in the decline of U. S. reputation and power among the nations of the world, almost all of whom opposed the war and are now perfectly ready to watch on the sidelines as the U.S. sinks in the Iraq bog."
So now Bush must ask the help of China, Russia, South Korea and others to persuade North Korea to stop its weapons production.
At last a writer with impeccable credentials tells the real problem with the Democratic Republic of Korea (DPRK, or North Korea) and why Bush refuses negotiations. Leon V. Sigal, Director of the Northeast Asia Cooperative Security Project at the Social Science Research Council in New York, in the November/December issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, states that in talks with six nation's delegates (China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Russia and the U. S.) the DPRK stated: "We can dismantle our nuclear program if the United States makes a switchover in its hostile policy towards us and does not pose any threat to us."
North Korea was even willing to give up its demand for a non-aggression pact as a first step. Instead it proposed a combination that included diplomatic recognition by the U. S. and Japan and the fulfillment of the 1994 Agreed Framework. It continued its demand for a non-aggression treaty and for direct negotiation with the U. S. The U. S. delegate refused to negotiate, although the other nations "have tried to coax the U.S. into negotiating with North Korea."
The author of the article (Sigal), instead of listing the Bush Administration lies, then calls them "inexactitudes."
This article in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (known for its "Doomsday Clock" which may vary slightly, but which hovers ominously since its beginning within five minutes of the midnight of world nuclear disaster), is seven pages long-too long to summarize here. However, it concludes with this official statement from the Foreign Minister of North Korea: "The DPRK clarified more than once that if the United States has a willingness to drop its hostile policy toward the DPRK, it will have a dialogue with the United States to clear the United States of its worries over its security."
The author adds these words: "The United States needs to show it is willing to negotiate step-by-step and this time to keep any promises it makes."
 Harold Sunoo, 20th Century Korea, chapter 20.
 In These Times, September 28, 2003, and The Progressive, October 2003.
 Ibid., In These Times.
 The Progressive, 26.
 Nation, August 18/25. 2003.