Friday, 26 November 2010

The Next Korean War: a Manufactured Opportunity for Conflict?

One of my first political memories is of the beginning of the Korean War in 1950. There was talk of a call up of former American soldiers, and I worried that my father--whose military career, begun in 1944 when he was 31, lasted, according to him, "two years, two months, two days, too long"--might have to go fight on the other side of the world. I still remember having nightmares.

The two Koreas are stumbling around again now, with North Korea getting the bad press. Heavy artillery aimed at a disputed island is cited as a major provocation by the country led by a family which seems truly scarily weird. But let us not forget that the current attack comes just as South Koreans and Americans are putting the pieces in place for a war game simulating an invasion of South Korea by North Korea. Some 70,000 South Korean soldiers are on the ready, with Americans standing by to help out.

The New York Times and other "serious" media mentioned this build up before the North Korean attack, including the fact that South Korea had fired test shots in the area. But wilder information purveyors have said little or nothing about the optics of this since. Looks like somebody thinks a little war on the edge of Asia might be good for their interests.

But I love the headline in the Korean paper Chosun Ilbo: "China Stays Firmly on Fence Over N. Korean Attack." I keep imagining several billion people hunkered down on the Great Wall! Something to think about when nightmares recur from childhood.

No comments: