North Korea: An escalating situation

Now more than ever, we hear of the escalating tensions in Eastern Asia over the growing threats of nuclear proliferation by North Korea.  The West’s view of the country has been limited to an authoritarian “hermit” nation run by a maniac willing to threaten nuclear war to stay in power.

However, there are many things that have been neglected about the small east Asian nation.  The West fears North Korean aggression when it’s the people of North Korea that are more afraid of the United States and their allies.

During the Korean War in the early 1950s, the Korean peninsula was devastated, especially the North.  Four to five million Koreans died and the memory of the destruction is still very fresh in the minds of North Koreans, whereas the United States hasn’t been invaded since 1812.

The United States doesn’t have North Korean troops and allies surrounding it, but North Korea has a joint American-Japanese fleet amassed in the Sea of Japan just east of them and 30,000 troops along the North-South Korean border.  The North Korean people feel a lot more threatened by the opposition than Americans do, or should.   

When hostilities ended in 1953, no peace treaty was signed. Instead they forged an armistice agreement that ended the violence.  This means that although the fighting has ended, the war technically hasn’t.  The looming threat of the outbreak of violence is a constant reality for Koreans.  They feel that their only protection against reliving the war in the 50s is to become a nuclear power.

Instead of imposing more sanctions and responding with further military action, we should urge our leaders to alleviate tensions by withdrawing American forces from areas that might escalate the chances of conflict and from there work on a diplomatic solution to the ongoing dilemma.   

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