To the deep consternation of President Trump, Vice-President Pence, the U.S. national-security establishment, and their acolytes and critics in the U.S. mainstream press, North Korea continues to drive a wedge between the U.S. government and the South Korean government. The best thing that could ever happen to the people of North Korea, South Korea, and the United States is if the wedge gets so large that South Korea gives the boot to all U.S. troops in South Korea, sending them packing back home, where they belong.
Here is how the wedge is working:
First, the two Koreas agreed that North Korea would participate in the Winter Olympics being held in South Korea. That agreement was entered into without the permission of U.S. officials.
Second, the two Koreas agreed to march together in the opening session of the Olympics and to compete together in at least one sports event. That agreement was entered into without the permission of U.S. officials.
Third, high North Korean and South Korean officials have agreed to get together for lunch during the Olympics. That agreement was entered into without the permission of U.S. officials.
In fact, while Vice-President Pence, who is traveling to the Olympics, has expressed ambivalence on meeting with North Korean officials, there is little doubt that he would love to be invited to that luncheon. But North Korea and South Korea would be wise to not invite him, as his participation would undoubtedly be filled with the usual U.S. threats and bluster about sanctions, military options, big nuclear buttons, and U.S. fire and fury on North Korea, none of which would be constructive.
Fourth, the speculation is that North Korea will invite South Korean President Moon Jae-in to visit North Korea. If the invitation materializes and is accepted, it is a virtual certainty that it will be done without the permission of U.S. officials.
The question naturally arises: Why are some of us here in the United States spending so much time focusing on the situation in Korea? Here's an excellent article that best sums up the reason: "What War with Korea Would Look Like" by Youchi Dreazen. Every American should read this article.
If war breaks out in Korea, it will not be anything like the U.S. wars on Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Panama, or Grenada. It will instead be a pivotal and devastating event in U.S. history and world history. Hundreds of thousands of people will be killed in both North and South Korea, including many, if not most, of the 28,000 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea as sacrificial pawns to ensure that the U.S. will automatically be part of the conflict. The two nations would be totally devastated and would remain so for many years, if not decades, into the future.