US Humiliation of South Korea

President Moon Jae-in: He better have his own Praetorian guard. The empire is unforgiving of upstart “puppets”.

The two Koreas show some sanity by talking to each other, while the US throws an insane tantrum that South Korea is acting like an independent sovereign country, instead of a US colony.  The US is flabbergasted that South Korea is off the Washington war-message, and the US wants South Korea to just keep its mouth shut. 

Fearing that peace might break with the two Koreas talking, Washington instructed South Korean President Moon Jae-in to keep the message about anything but peace.  It is not just Trump.  A former top official for the Obama administration warned Moon that South Korea was not going to get anywhere with the North Koreans unless they have the “US behind them”.  What an insult, it is like saying that Moon’s “button” is not as big as Kim’s.  The sexual metaphor is exactly how the Washington elite want Moon to act: as Washington’s obedient eunuch without a button.  The official went on to say, “If South Koreans are viewed as running off the leash, it will exacerbate tension within the alliance”.  Running off the leash!  Is South Korea a US poodle?  Why doesn’t Moon act like an attack dog and bite the master’s hand to show that he has teeth!

John Bolton
War criminal Neocon John Bolton.

During the talks it was agreed for North Korea’s participation in the Winter Olympics, and future talks to reduce tension.  Neocons such as John Bolton are outraged that North Korea has proven once again that it is willing to come to the table.  Bolton says it is a trick and that it is “taking advantage of a weak South Korean government”, adding more insults at a friend. (1) To Washington, South Korea talking peace is weak, running off the leash and going it alone without its US master.   The North using the peace option is seen as a provocation and propaganda that Washington will not tolerate.  In retaliation the US sent more nukes to Guam.  That means that all options are on the US table, except sitting down and diplomacy. 

The US has been terribly unhappy with South Korea after the 2017 election of President Moon Jae-in, who was elected on a peace platform.  Unlike his predecessor Park Geun-hye who was impeached and is now in prison; Moon favors better relations with North Korea.  The self-interests in Washington prefer a corrupt warmonger like Park.  She sang from Washington’s hymnbook.  She even (allegedly) conspired with Washington to assassinate Kim Jong-Un. 

Peace is not anything that Washington’s plutocratic interests want to hear, although the South Korean people like it and elected Moon president by a wide margin.  The US wants to keep tensions high, keep the American people frightened of a North Korean boogeyman, keep large numbers of US troops in South Korea, install multi-billion dollar THAADS, and keep Korea divided.  Even if they start a nuclear war.

The public swallows whatever propaganda the US State Department puts out, and the mainstream media regurgitates it.  Every mention of Kim Jong-Un has the preamble that he is paranoid, unstable and refuses to talk.  The American people swallow it and are fooled again.  The public does not even remember that Bush fooled them with propaganda and invaded Iraq based on lies.  The past is lost in the public’s fog of chronic amnesia, and inconvenient facts go down the memory hole of the mainstream media.  The public has been told so many lies about Korea (North and South), over such a long period of time, that they have been thoroughly indoctrinated.  If the public wants to understand the US, South Korea and North Korea triangle, they should stop listening to the mainstream media and forget everything they think they know.

Trump has been the best distraction from the truth and peace that the mainstream media has had since Bill Clinton was caught getting oral sex in the Oval Office.  Apparently, the only thing worse than a president having strange sex is a president talking peace to the Russians, North Koreans or anybody else.  Could Monica-gate in 1995 have had anything to do with Clinton’s peace with North Korea?  The establishment nearly went to war with North Korea in 1994 until Bill Clinton used the good offices of former president Jimmy Carter to negotiate peace. 

Every mention of Kim Jong-Un has the preamble that he is paranoid, unstable and refuses to talk.  The American people swallow it and are fooled again.  The public does not even remember that Bush fooled them with propaganda and invaded Iraq based on lies.  The past is lost in the public’s fog of chronic amnesia, and inconvenient facts go down the memory hole of the mainstream media.

The neocons in Washington and the mainstream media keep saying that North Korea refuses to come to the negotiation table.  Clinton’s decision to use diplomacy instead of threats proved the warmongers wrong.  It was the US all along that refused to talk, preferring belligerence and threats, just as it does now.  Once Clinton showed a willingness to bargain, then a nuclear deal was struck that was called the Agreed Framework.  What North Korea wanted then for it to suspend its nuclear program was for the US to halt the massive military exercises on North Korea’s border, a non-aggression guarantee from the US, compensation for abandoning its electricity producing nuclear reactors, and economic relations with the US.

George W Bush—the Bumbling Fool— told countless lies, but the media—appropriately called “stenographers to power”—never called him on that.

Now the situation with North Korea is almost identical to 1994, thanks to George W. Bush.  Bush came into the White House in 2001 and tore up the Agreed Framework, put North Korea on the Axis of Evil list in 2002, invaded Iraq in 2003, and hanged Saddam Hussein in 2006.  Very predictably North Korea resumed its nuclear program for self-defense against a paranoid and unpredictable USA that sees enemies under every bed.

Bush scrapped the Agreed Framework, and told then South Korean President Kim Dae-jung that future talks with North Korea were over.  Kim Dae-jung had come to visit Bush shortly after winning the Nobel Peace Prize for his Sunshine Policies of peace with North Korea.  Instead of welcoming President Kim and praising his peace efforts, Bush insulted him and then shocked him by referring to the leader of North Korea Kim Jon-il as a pygmy.  The Agreed Framework was over.  North Korea predictably withdrew from the Non-Proliferation Treaty and resumed work on its nuclear program.  Now fast forward backwards and it is 1994 again. 

In 2003 Bush called out North Korea to pay particular attention to Libya as an example of what happens when a country unilaterally gives up its nuclear defense program.  North Korea listened then and it was listening when Muammar Gaddafi said in a 2008 speech that “one of these days America may hang us”.  In 2011 Gaddafi would die a brutal death at the hands of US proxies, he was anally raped with a bayonet and left to rot in a meat locker.  Before the smoke had even cleared a hysterically glowing Hillary Clinton cackled “we came, we saw, he died…hahaha”.   

Who can blame Kim Jong-Un for not trusting the US?  During a shameful United Nations authorized US-led expedition Libya was bombed back to the Stone Age.  The US coalition flew 5,800 bombing sorties and launched 309 cruise missiles against Libya, a nation with a comparatively thin (but modern) infrastructure.  North Korea has its own experience of US brutality. During the Korean War the US bombed Korea for 3 years, wiped out 20% of its population and destroyed every city, village and vital structure.  The US public is passive and oblivious about what is done in their name.  That is why the Americans call the Korean War the Forgotten War, and whatever they think they do remember is probably wrong.

The public’s chronic amnesia of even recent events may be partially attributed to their internal conflict between what they believe are US values of democracy, freedom and human rights; and what the US actually does.  The public believes in the mythology that every person in the world is an American trying to get out and become a Christian.  Amnesia is why all US wars of aggression are forgotten wars, and why the US keeps repeating them.

The US has been abusing Korea since 1871 when it first invaded it with an expeditionary force of Marines to forcibly open trade.  Korea just wanted to be left alone, but the US forced Korea to sign the Treaty of 1882 at the point of a gun.  In exchange for that unequal trade agreement the US promised Korea protection.  In 1910 the US proved that its promises are worthless.  Instead of protection, President Theodore Roosevelt stabbed Korea in the back by conspiring with Japan. 

Teddy Roosevelt has enjoyed great popularity as a great president, but his record is —at best—mixed, and he remains one of the first true scoundrel global imperialists.

Roosevelt had enthusiastically supported Japan in the Russo-Japanese War.  Japan pre-emptively attacked the Russia fleet at Port Arthur in a sneak attack, and Roosevelt congratulated Japan for their brilliance…in 1941 cousin Franklin would call a Japanese sneak attack “a day of infamy”.  After Japan and Russia ground down to a bloody stalemate, Japan secretly appealed to Teddy to open negotiations.  Roosevelt acted as a (dis)honest broker in negotiating the Treaty of Portsmouth, for which he won the Nobel Peace Prize.   Japan won the spoils of the war.  Roosevelt had a secret deal that Japan could have Korea and the US would take the Philippines. 

In 1945 the US deceived Korea again.  Instead of liberating Korea from the Japanese occupation, the US occupied Korea for 3 years until 1948 and then blocked its independence.  The US was largely responsible for the division of Korea and backing dictatorships in South Korea until 1993.  Americans do not know the US treachery, but Koreans do.  Why would they trust the USA now?

In order to understand North Korea, one must start with the “anticolonial and anti-imperial state growing out of a half-century of Japanese colonial rule and a half-century of continuous confrontation with a hegemonic United States”, as Bruce Cumings writes in his book North Korea: Another Country.  In order to understand South Korea one should take a similar approach. 

The Japanese colonization of Korea in 1910 was greeted with cheers from the USA.  Teddy Roosevelt encouraged Japan to have its own Japanese Monroe Doctrine for Northeast Asia.   The Japanese were harsh rulers, and Koreans remember colonial times as a national humiliation.  Under the Japanese the Korean economy grew rapidly, but Koreans will rightly argue that little of it helped the average Korean.  Like the Korean “comfort women” sexual slaves during World War Two, Koreans were forced to obey their Japanese masters.  Some Koreans complied reluctantly, some willingly and some enthusiastically.  The enthusiastic collaborators came mostly from the landed aristocratic class of Koreans known as the Yangban.  After World War Two many of the collaborators and the yangban class fled to the South where they felt safe with the US occupation army, and for good reasons.  The North was redistributing the yangban’s vast landholdings.   In the South the US promoted capitalism and welcomed class inequality.  So the yangban and their wealth were safe in the US occupied South.  Many future leaders in business and the government of South Korea would come from the old Yangban class.

Korea has a long history of thousands of years.  It united as one people in the 7th century and remained so until after World War Two.  The US had started planning for the occupation of Korea six months after Pearl Harbor, according to Bruce Cumings.  The day after Japan surrendered a future Secretary of State Dean Rusk drew a line at the 38th Parallel where the US proposed that Korea be divided, and the Russian allies agreed.  Thousands of Koreans protested in the streets.  They were told that a trusteeship was temporary until elections.  Instead the US feared that the people would elect a communist government, and so they rigged a fraudulent election for a separate government in the South.  The United Nations rubber stamped it. 

As in the South, the North then held separate elections for the Supreme People’s Assembly which then elected Kim Il Sung, a famous anti-Japanese guerilla resistance leader since 1932. The US and South Korean propaganda portray that North Korea was a puppet and satellite project of the Soviet Union.  This is probably the US projecting its own intentions.  Cummings says that no evidence exists that the Soviets had any long-term designs on Korea.    

South Korea was ruled by US backed repressive dictators until 1993, starting with Syngman Rhee who had lived in the USA from 1912 until 1945 when he was flown back to Korea by the US military.  The US pumped billions of dollars into South Korea to make it a showplace of capitalism during the Cold War, but South Korea did not develop under either democracy or capitalism, according to Ha-Joon Chang, the author of Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism

For many decades North Korea outpaced South Korea in economic development and in their standard of living.  With the 1991 demise of its most important trading partner the Soviet Union, North Korea fell on hard economic times.  Then it suffered two floods and a drought in the 1990’s that resulted in famines.  On top of that the US has imposed killer economic sanctions.  So now US propaganda constantly reinforces the belief that North Korea is an economic failure that cannot even feed its own people.  (Despite it all, North Korea even manufactures state of the art automobiles—Eds]. While the US touts that South Korea is an economic miracle of democracy, capitalism and free markets. Little is ever mentioned about the economic collapse of South Korea in 1997, which the US had to rescue with a financial bailout package that reached $90 Billion.  The package included IMF loans that came with harsh conditionalities of austerity.  The minister of finance Lim Chang Yuel went on TV, humiliated and begging for the South Korean people’s forgiveness. 

Despite all the propaganda otherwise, North Korea is not only willing to sit down at the table with the US, but it has long been proposing negotiations to a deaf USA ear.  What North Korea says it wants today are the same things that were negotiated with Clinton in the Agreed Framework:  security, compensation, and economic relations with the US.  There is nothing unreasonable that North Korea is asking for, and that is probably why the US refuses to negotiate.  For its own insane [but logical reasons when viewed from the standpoint of naked imperialism] the US wants continued hostilities instead of coexistence. 

It is the US that is unpredictable.  One day Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says that the US is willing to hold unconditional talks with North Korea.  Then he says the US won’t.  Trump says that he will destroy North Korea with fire and fury, and then he says he would “absolutely talk to North Korea’s Kim on the phone”.  It is the US that is paranoid and finding enemies everywhere:  Cuba, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Venezuela, Iran, Russia, China, Islam, Hamas and Hezbollah to name a few.  Look at the list of some of the brutal kingdoms, monarchies, dictators, fascists and human rights abusers that the US hypocritically supports:  Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait, Jordan, Qatar, Bahrain, Israel, Rwanda, Honduras, Haiti, Pakistan, the Contras, the Mujahideen, the Muslim Brotherhood, and scores of Islamic terrorist proxies to name a few.  US foreign policy is not about democracy, freedom, human rights and human development as the above lists show.  US foreign policy is based on hegemony, empire, power, corporate interests, corruption and self-interests of the high and mighty.   

Compare how much of a threat the US is compared to North Korea.  Since World War Two North Korea has not invaded anybody.  Korea itself has not invaded anybody in hundreds of years.  The US has attacked at least 32 countries since WW2 (and scores of others surreptitiously].  North Korea has a defense budget of only $7.5 billion, compared to the US $1 Trillion.  North Korea has developed nuclear weapons because the US has been threatening it with nuclear destruction since 1950 and keeps practicing regime change decapitation invasions on its border.  North Korea has an arsenal estimated at 20 nuke bombs that are not a threat to the US’s 15,000 nuclear arsenal.  Instead the US is definitely an asymmetrical threat to North Korea.  When are the American people going to wise up to the US false cries that the evil wolf is at the door again?


North Korea: Another Country, by Bruce Cumings.

The China Mirage: The Hidden History of American Disaster in Asia, by James Bradley.

Korean Mind: Understanding Contemporary Korean Culture, by Boye Lafayette De Mente.     

(1) The US Neocon noises about South Korea’s government being “weak” are dangerous, not just routine Neocon bombast, not to mention that they are widely shared by the US foreign policy establishment, which has been following Neocon strains of policy for a very long time, since imperialism is at it core a philosophy of domination perfectly in tune with neocon visions of power. Such rumblings therefore could easily open the road to a quick character assassination of President Moon Jae-in and the “need” for a preventive coup or his political neutralisation, or worse, to “protect South Korea”.  It’s a foregone conclusion that the empire already has a host of well-groomed military or hard-right US collaborators ready to take his place. The CIA playbook is clear: first character assassination, then removal by any means necessary.  The contemptible American media and its Western satellites can then provide their usual propaganda support before, during and after the dirty deed. Not to mention that Washington’s “nuisances” have a funny way of suffering accidents that actuarial tables regard as highly improbable.

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About the author
David William Pear, currently serving as a senior contributing editor, is a progressive columnist writing on economic, political and social issues. He is also a regular columnist and commenter on OpedNews. His articles have been published by The Real News Network, Truth Out, Consortium News, Russia Insider, Pravda and many other progressive publications.  David is a member of Veterans for Peace, St Pete for Peace, CodePink and International Solidarity Movement. In February of 2015 he was part of a people-to-people delegation to Cuba with CodePink. In November of 2015 he was a delegate with CodePink to Palestine to show solidarity with Palestinians. In 2016 David spent 10 weeks in Palestine with the Palestinian non-violent resistance group International Solidarity Movement (ISM). David frequently makes extended trips to Russia as a private citizen. After retiring from finance in 2009, David earned a certification as an Emergency Medical Technician. David is a Vietnam veteran having served as a member of the 5th Special Forces Group as a combat advisor to the Army of the Republic of (South) Viet Nam. David resides with his wife and three cats in Clearwater Beach, Florida.


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David has a Bachelor of Science degree in economics from the University of Maryland and attended classes at George Washington University to receive his Certified Financial Planner certification. He also attended courses at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania for his certification as a Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA). He has volunteered for public health service, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, emergency medicine and needs of the homeless. His hobbies include boating, fishing and motorcycle touring. He is also a licensed skydiver (USPA-inactive).

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8 thoughts on “US Humiliation of South Korea

  1. No, sir!

    The public you are referring to does not learn anything in schools. Not even foreign languages.

    Nor does it want to learn anything – statistically speaking.

    Why have expectations, then ?

    1. Agree with your factually correct response. The education system, (in particular history) is part of the emperical ingredient to offset any doubt otherwise – see Chomsky “Manufacturing Consent”. – “Untold History of the US”. – O. Stone, P. Kuznick.
      If anything, “The public has been told so many lies about Korea (North and South), over such a long period of time, that they have been thoroughly indoctrinated”. among similar lame duck statements in the article, demonstrate your facts. Thank you.

  2. “The North using the peace option is seen as a provocation and propaganda that Washington will not tolerate. In retaliation the US sent more nukes to Guam. That means that all options are on the US table, except sitting down and diplomacy. ”

    Apply this across the board and you have a perfect and complete summation of U.S. foreign policy.

    Moreover, the historical background you’ve included here is extremely thorough and cogent. This will be one of my main go-to articles when challenging the fairy tales the brainwashed masses are being handed.

    Great article!

  3. Thanks to David Pear for this magnificent article, literally a tour de force on Korea. I found the parts dedicated to Korean history, both ancient and early 19th-early 20th century –about which I knew nothing–of particular value and interest. The parts about US-Japanese agreement according to which Japan got Korea and the USA the Philippines and the role of the former North Korean landholding class of Yangban in South Korea shed light on post-WWII events. It is understandable that the US will keep a tight leash hold on its showcase vassal. Many Westerners who visit South Korea for one reason or another come away dazzled by the efficiency and splendor.

  4. Lots of good stuff but too sympathetic to North Korea which is ruled by a truly vile regime.

    North Korea is not about nationalism. It’s about dynasticism.

    Also, ‘Kim Il Sung’ was not the real Kim Il Sung. His real name was Kim Sung Ju and he appropriated the name of a guerrilla fighter. And his cult of personality was obnoxious.

    Bak Jung-Hi worked for the Japanese, but collaboration is par for the course when resistance is futile. Resistance became futile under Japanese who were only defeated by great powers. Sukarno collaborated with Japanese too. And Kim collaborated with the Soviets.

    North Korea redistributed land to the peasants but then state collectivized the land, and the peasants became slaves of the state.

    The fact that Red China and communist Vietnam turned to market economics is proof that capitalism works better than communism. Communism is like City Hall running all the economy of a big city. Who wants that?

  5. ‘Kim Il Sung’ was a fraud. He had been part of some resistance movement, but he was not THE Kim Il Sung who’s more legend, like Robin Hood.

    Kim was so unknown in Korea that Soviets initially had trouble installing him as leader. Most people saw him as Soviet stooge, which was what he was.
    So, as in the South, the domestic patriots had to be repressed or executed, and a cult of personality had to be built up around Kim that became more and more ridiculous.

    Kim was an unimaginative Stalinist.

    That said, I don’t see how his ‘invasion’ of South was a bad thing. How can a Korean invade Korea? The north/south divide was artificially imposed by great powers on a nation. As idiotic as both Kim and Rhee were, there was nothing wrong in their dream of reuniting the nation. The great wrong was in the (1) division of Korea itself (2) installing puppet rulers in both artificially created entities.

    Suppose China and Russia divided Israel into north and south. Would it be wrong if either Israel, north or south, tried to reunify the nation? If north Israel entered south Israel to unify the nation once again, would that be ‘invasion’?

    Kim’s Stalinism and personality cult would have been bad for Korea, but I don’t see anything wrong with his desire to unify his nation. And in that, Rhee had every right to want to unify the nation.

    Where Rhee and Kim were idiotic was in blaming one another instead of blaming the great powers that divided their nation. But how could either blame his sponsor? If not for USSR, Kim would not have been installed as leader of north. If not for US, Rhee would not have been shoehorned in as leader of south. They gained power as dogs to foreign masters.

    If they really had sense, both would have stepped down as leader(as both were installed by empires) and graciously allowed for unification and new leadership chosen by the people than by foreign powers. But both had petty egos, and Kim wanted to be ruler of all Korea, and Rhee wanted to be ruler of all Korea. Neither blamed the great powers but just one another.

    If Israel were divided by great powers, I think Jews would have enough sense to come together and act in unison. After all, Israel itself was created by the coming together of all kinds of Jews: capitalist, communist, socialist, liberal, conservative, secular, religious. Jews may be neurotic and crazy, but they have enough sense of world affairs and the nature of power.

    But Koreans are a stupid people. Divide them and set them against each other like dogs, and they are like two pitbulls. A culture of slavish servitude and emotions-over-reason made them act like dogs than sensible humans.

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