The realized truth of modern history is crystal clear. Washington had no business intervening in a quarrel between two no-count wanna be dictators (Syngman Rhee and Kim il Sung) on the Korean peninsula in June 1950, and surely has no business still stationing 29,000 American soldiers there 67 years latter.
Yet owing to the institutionalized albatross of that mis-vectored history, the world is now much closer to the brink of nuclear war than at any time since the dark
days of the early cold war. And the Donald has become just the latest political tourist in the Oval Office to succumb to the Deep State's false, self-serving
narrative about why the American imperium remains decamped on the 38th parallel.
For sure, it was never about the real estate. After 40 years of brutal and predatory Japanese occupation, post-war Korea was an economic backwater with the GDP of perhaps Cleveland, Ohio. It had been divided at the 38th parallel by Truman and Stalin as an afterthought at Potsdam (July 1945). Far from any intent to create separate nations on a peninsula that had been ethnically and politically unified for centuries, the line only marked a convenient staging grounds for the impending final attack on Japan that Stalin had committed to aid.
In fact, Washington's suave original cold warrior, Dean Acheson, had described the Potsdam demarcation as a mere "surveyors line". But as US/Soviet tensions heated up in the late 1940's, the US occupation forces in the south encouraged the puppet government they had established under ex-pat and Washington dandy, Syngman Rhee, to cleanse the country of left-wing influences and prepare to eventually rule the entire penninsula.
As Justin Raimondo succinctly chronicled this period:
.......the Korean war started during the American occupation of the South, and it was Rhee, with help from his American sponsors, who initiated a series of attacks that well preceded the North Korean offensive of 1950. From 19451948, American forces aided Rhee in a killing spree that claimed tens of thousands of victims: the counterinsurgency campaign took a high toll in Kwangju, and on the island of Chejudo – where as many as 60,000 people were murdered by Rhee's USbacked forces.
Rhee's army and national police were drawn from the ranks of those who had collaborated with the Japanese occupation during World War II, and this was the biggest factor that made civil war inevitable. That the US backed these quislings guaranteed widespread support for the Communist forces led by Kim IL Sung, and provoked the rebellion in the South that was the prelude to open NorthSouth hostilities. Rhee, for his part, was eager to draw in the United States, and the North Koreans, for their part, were just as eager to invoke the principle of "proletarian internationalism" to draw in the Chinese and the Russians.
The last underlined sentence tells the whole story. When hostilities broke out between the two Korean sides in June 1950, Washington instantly transformed it into a proxy war against the Soviet Union and its fledgling ally in China, which had just fallen under Mao's control the previous year. As Truman baldly put it, he was not going to loose another country to the "reds".
What we know today, and what staunch non-interventionists like Senator Robert Taft and Congressman Howard Buffett (R-Nebraska and Warren's father) knew even then, is that 1950s style communism could take care of its own self-destruction. America only needed to militarily secure the homeland, and then wait out the eventual demise of the wretched states that had temporarily fallen victim to communist misrule.
That is to say, a vastly different foreign policy would have emerged if it had been rooted in an understanding of the inherent superiority of free market capitalism and the inexorable certainty that centralized socialism would fail. Such a policy would never have been duped into the folly of a proxy war on this economically and strategically irrelevant Asian littoral.
As it happened, the Soviet Union did destroy itself from within in a matter of decades. And just in the nick of time, Mr. Deng discovered that Mao had nearly
destroyed China on the false belief that it could be collectivized from the barrel of a gun.
Instead, Deng not only rescued Mao's calamity by turning from firing squads to a hyperactive printing press, but spawned the greatest Ponzi scheme of borrowing, building, speculation and malinvestment in human history. It is surely a false and unsustainable prosperity, but for the moment it rings out a great irony.
Rather than a threat to America's security, Mr. Deng's great Red Ponzi is considered by Wall Street to be the very engine of "growth" in the modern world and the suzerains of Beijing the very model of unfailing prosperity management and economic "stimulus" if, as and when needed.