MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Korean Summit: It’s Not About Us – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. Fox on April 23, 2018

The Korean summits threaten the basic architecture of the post-WWII American empire: costly bases, large troop concentrations, essentially a full-scale military occupation. This set-up requires huge outlays of tax dollars, and that’s just in direct costs: in short, there’s a huge trough at which plenty of federal contractors feed.

https://original.antiwar.com/justin/2018/04/22/korean-summit-its-not-about-us/

Moon and Kim will meet this week in a preliminary summit leading up to the supposedly bigger event, the Trump-Kim super-summit. Or so the conventional wisdom would have it: after all, isn’t everything in the world really about us?

Well, no, but you’ll have a hard time telling the pundits and policy wonks that. They don’t realize that the real summit is taking place this week in Korea, as the two leaders form a united front against Washington’s War Party – hoping to enlist Trump on their side…

The level of analysis we get from the insta-“experts” on television is a cartoonish rendition of the grim reality of North Korea, made without reference to the historical context in which that impossible creature, a hereditary communist monarchy, was born.

Every single building in North Korea was bombed during the Korean war: the entire country was leveled to the ground. Twenty percent of the population perished. Out of this blasted landscape came the mutant form of communism practiced by the regime since the ascension of Founder-Leader Kim Il-sung, the guerrilla leader who rose to the top of the heap in the wake of the armistice. In rising to power, he had to fight off attempts by pro-Soviet and pro-Chinese factions to displace him, and this internal fight led to the development of North Korea’s unique adaptation of “Marxism-Leninism”: “Juche,” or national self-sufficiency. It is a radical extension of the Hermit Kingdom’s historical position of extreme isolationism: complete economic and social autarchy.

All this developed in reaction to the nation’s tortured history of colonialism, first under the Japanese boot, followed by civil war, foreign invasion, and division. Yet the body politic eventually heals when the cause of the initial inflammation disappears: despite the poverty of this organic analogy, that is – broadly speaking – what is happening on the Korean peninsula today…

The more fundamental reason for the apparent willingness of Kim to make significant concessions is simple economics: the North Korean people cannot eat Juche. Pyongyang’s “military first” policy has drained the nation of its very substance. Strategically, the best hopes for the survival of the North Korean elite is in some kind of settlement. Kim realizes that: so does President Moon. I won’t venture to say what Trump realizes, but his recent tweets – really all we have to go by – are leaning in the same direction…

The Korean summits threaten the basic architecture of the post-WWII American empire: costly bases, large troop concentrations, essentially a full-scale military occupation. This set-up requires huge outlays of tax dollars, and that’s just in direct costs: in short, there’s a huge trough at which plenty of federal contractors feed. If the need for US bases in South Korea disappears, then what about Okinawa, that perpetual source of tension with Japan? If they can close bases in northern Asia, then why not in Europe? After all, are the tens of thousands of US troops in Germany really guarding against the possibility of a Russian invasion?

So Trump is really chiseling away at the foundation stone of our “empire of bases,” as I think Chalmers Johnson dubbed America’s overseas presence. In doing so he is taking on some mighty powerful economic interests. A lot of money is at stake here. More importantly, a principle is at stake here, and that is the persistent belief on the part of our political class that they are called on by a God they don’t believe in to direct the affairs of the world. No matter how many times it is debunked, this conceit returns to haunt us on the op ed pages of the nation’s newspapers and on the airwaves ruled by the cable news shouters. Can Trump, that Samson in the Temple of the Conventional Wisdom, be the one to bring that pillar of empire down?..

Be seeing you

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I am not a number. I am a free man!-Number 6

 

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