This post is also available in: Spanish
By David Swanson
The New York Times and the people it gives voice to are very worried that Donald Trump may be too much in favor of peace in Korea, more in favor of peace than of disarming North Korea prior to peace — a sure recipe, of course, for never arriving at peace.
North Korea has disarmed in the past when there were real steps toward peace from both sides.
North Korea is no threat to the United States — the actual United States, not its mission of global domination.
The United States has no business in Korea and would facilitate peace and disarmament, make itself better liked around the world, and save many billions of dollars by getting out.
Allowing the people of Korea to officially and finally end the Korean War is the smallest step that could be taken, and there is no excuse for not taking it.
That the media depict Trump as favoring peace is not actually a good reason for supporting war. If Trump declared his love for your family would you immediately announce your hatred for them? Or is independent thought still possible?
Now, no president of any country, and certainly no war maker who refrains from making war in a particular instance should come anywhere near a Nobel Peace Prize, which should also not be given to people who’ve just been elected president and not yet done a darn thing, and also not to people who do great work on great causes unrelated to the abolition of war.
This is not my opinion, but the legal requirement of Alfred Nobel’s will. The prize is to fund the work of leading advocates for global disarmament and peace. Trump doesn’t need any funding, is threatening Venezuela and Iran, and has just announced new plans for his weapons parade at which he can celebrate having expanded the biggest military ever seen and escalated every war he inherited. Having people aspire to winning a peace prize is a good thing. Not giving it to some of them will best help to keep the prize a worthy thing for others to aspire to.
Meanwhile, here’s a petition that everyone in the world ought to be able to support:
While U.S. mass media ignores or demonizes the people of North Korea, it is all too easy to forget that there are millions of children, factory workers, and peasants being brutalized by cruel U.S. and U.N. sanctions.
A century ago, Woodrow Wilson promised self-determination to smaller nations but denied it to Koreans, and gave the Empire of Japan the green light to continue its colonialist violence. After the Pacific War, the U.S. and the USSR split the country in two. Syngman Rhee — a George Washington University graduate just like Juan Guaidó — was imported to serve as dictator of South Korea. The United States labeled anyone who resisted him a “communist” and helped Rhee torture and kill them.
The Korean War resulted from the division of the country and subsequent provocations from both sides, one of them heavily backed by the United States. The U.S. military invaded the North in the autumn of 1950 and destroyed the country, flattening nearly every city. The United States has retained wartime control of the South Korean military, maintained a major occupation of South Korea, and refused to allow a peace agreement to end the war ever since.
In the past two years, the democracy-loving people of South Korea have brought Moon Jae-in to power and the U.S. and North Korean leaders together. As a result, North Korea has not tested any new missiles, has returned U.S. soldiers’ remains, and has begun dismantling nuclear sites and demilitarizing the Demilitarized Zone. The United States has scaled back its threatening war rehearsals.
Now the United States needs to support an end to the war. Petty impediments like partisanship and major disagreements on unrelated topics need to be set aside for the sake of peace. Nuclear war, scientists now understand, is not containable. If it happens on Earth, it threatens the whole Earth. Those unable to act against the risk of the mass killing of people distant and different from themselves still can and must act against the risk of nuclear apocalypse.
Sanctioning the people of North Korea for decades has utterly failed to accomplish anything other than great human suffering. It is time to end the war, end the sanctions, allow families to reunite, and begin planning to bring U.S. troops home to the United States.