The Unz Review • An Alternative Media Selection$
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 BlogviewEric Margolis Archive
End the Korean War
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information


Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • B
Show CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Thanks, LOL, or Troll with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used three times during any eight hour period.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

“I have some pretty severe things we’re thinking about,” Trump said of North Korea at a news conference in Warsaw. “Doesn’t mean we’re going to do them.”

What President Trump really meant is that he has painted the US into a corner with all his threats of war and really does not know what to do next. North Korea called his ‘or else’ bluff. Good. No action on North Korea is better than any conceivable military operation.

Last week the North Korea test fired a new, longer-ranged strategic missile, Hwasong-14, that US experts claimed was capable of hitting Alaska and perhaps even San Francisco. North Korea is now believed to have mastered a lightweight nuclear warhead that can be carried by the Hwasong and shorter-ranged Taepodong and Nodong missiles.

North Korea can’t today seriously threaten North America with missile strikes, but it probably will by 2019. Meanwhile, North Korean nuclear and conventionally-armed missiles (and this could include poison gas and biological warheads) today threaten the 80,000 plus US military personnel based in Japan, South Korea and Guam. They would be immediate targets should the US and South Korea attack the north.

Add tens of millions of South Korean and Japanese civilians who are at risk of North Korean retaliation. Half of South Korea’s capitol, Seoul, is within range of North Korean heavy artillery and rocket batteries dug into the so-called Demilitarized Zone.

It would take only three nuclear weapons to shatter Japan and just two to cripple South Korea, not to mention polluting the globe with radioactive dust and contaminating North Asia’s water sources. Nuclear explosions would spread radioactive contamination over northern China and Pacific Russia.

Why are we even talking about nuclear war in North Asia?

Because North Korea has scraped and skimped for decades to build nuclear weapons for the sole reason of deterring a major US attack, including the use by the US of tactical nuclear weapons. Pakistan ‘ate grass’ for decades to afford nuclear weapons to offset the threat from far more powerful India. Israel uses the same argument to justify its large nuclear arsenal.

After Washington overthrew the rulers of Iraq and Libya, it became painfully apparent that small nations without nuclear weapons were vulnerable to US ‘regime change’ operations. The North Koreans, who are very eccentric but not stupid, rushed to accelerate their nuclear weapons and delivery systems.


Almost equally important, North Korea boasts one of the word’s biggest armies – 1,020,000 men, 88,000 crack special forces, and an trained militia of over 5 million. The North’s weapons are obsolescent; its small air forces and navy will be vaporized by US power but its troops are deeply dug into the mountainous terrain and would be fighting from prepared positions. War against North Korea would be a slow and bloody slog– even a repeat of the bloody, stalemated 1950-52 Korean War in which 39,000 Americans and at least 2.5 million Koreans died. I’ve been in the deep North Korean-dug tunnels under the Demilitarized Zone. A full division can be moved through in only 60 minutes.

Ever since being soundly beaten in Vietnam and fought to a draw in Afghanistan, the US military has preferred to attack small countries like Panama, Grenada, Somalia, Yemen, Iraq and Syria. The Pentagon is not eager to tangle with the tough North Koreans. Estimates of the cost of a US invasion of North Korea have run as high as 250,000 US casualties and tens of billions of dollars.

Seemingly heedless of these hard facts, President Trump – who himself avoided national military service in the 1960’s – keeps beating the war drums over North Korea and needling its thin-skinned regime with naval exercises, over-flights, and intensifying bombast. North Korea’s Kim Jong-un has played right along, clearly relishing his game of chicken with tough-talking Donald Trump.

Trump seemed certain he could somehow cajole China into disarming North Korea’s nuclear arsenal. But the administration’s amateur foreign policymakers failed to understand that the only “deal” that could get China to disarm the North was by agreeing to remove all US military bases from the region – South Korea, Japan and Guam – and also moving the US Seventh Fleet far from China’s coasts.

Growing US hysteria over North Korea, a nation of only 25 million, recalls the propaganda storm launched by Washington to justify its invasion of equally small Iraq. The dim-witted US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, has become point-woman for hurling warlike threats at North Korea even though this neocon poster-girl’s foreign affairs experience appears to have been limited to the International House of Pancakes in her native South Carolina.

Everyone seems to have forgotten, or ignores, that North Korea, South Korea and the United States remain in a state of war. The 1950-52 Korean War ended with a cease-fire, not a peace. The US has been trying to overthrow and undermine North Korea’s Stalinist regimes ever since, using military threats, subversion and economic warfare. Talk of US-South Korean plans to “decapitate’ North Korea’s leadership with missile strikes and commando raids keeps giving Pyongyang the jitters.

South Korea’s new president, Moon Jae-in, demanded that his nation be consulted before any military action. But Moon’s pleas have been largely ignored by Trump. Most South Koreans shrug off the North’s threats and seek to avoid war at all costs. Of course. They would be the primary victims.

The US has spent over \$200 billion on ballistic anti-missile systems in recent years designed to stop North Korean missiles.

Unfortunately, these ABM systems don’t work very well. More tens of billions will have to be spent before these anti-missile systems become reliable.

Would it not be easier and less expensive for grand deal-maker Trump to recognize North Korea, set up diplomatic relations, stop trying to overthrow the Kim regime, and finally end the Korean War?

(Republished from by permission of author or representative)
Hide 25 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
  1. anon • Disclaimer says:

    In a word, no.
    The fact that anti-ballistic missile defense systems aren’t perfect doesn’t mean they aren’t the answer.
    They are.
    Realistically, it isn’t possible to stop nations from gaining nuclear technology.
    And realistically, we can’t trust our safety to a North Korean regime. There is nothing about that country’s leadership which lends itself to respectable diplomacy.
    We should be fairly quiet and work hard to make sure our defensive military technology can take out any missiles N. Korea may someday wish to fire. That is feasible, and it’s the only effective solution to the problem.

  2. It’s not about ending the ‘Korean War’.

    Then, as now, Korea was a pawn on the chessboard of control of the Pacific.

    With Japan as whore-dog of the US, it’s US vs China for dominance in Pacific.

    And the US doesn’t want to let go of its puppet South Whorea.

    In some ways, the US presence has been good for South Whorea.

    After all, without the US, Pacific would be controlled by China and Japan, and Whorea would be stuck in middle.

    So, the US had kept things more neutral.

    But after the Cold War, the US getting nuttier and nuttier.

    Consider how the US used to be, more or less, a stabilizing force in much of Middle East during the Cold War but went nuts as the sole superpower.

  3. @anon

    You make unsubstantiated assertions and offer unsolicited opinions yet sign your comment “anon”! Good show, pal.

  4. KenH says:

    We were told that Chinese president Xi Jinping found the chocolate mousse served at Mar-A -Lago so delicious that he would probably nuke N. Korea for us. That didn’t happen.

    Then Mike Pence stare down across the 38th parallel was supposed to make the hermit kingdom think thrice about threatening the exceptional nation. That failed.

    Kim Jon-Un has responded to Trump’s tough guy posturing and pomposity with his middle finger, bare backside and threats of launching a nuclear strike. And objectively speaking I can’t say I blame him after Iraq and Libya were attacked even after making concessions to us and how we’ve attacked Syria when they’ve neither threatened us nor pose a threat.

    Things are getting interesting.

  5. Don Bacon says:

    The introduction by the U.S. of the THAAD missile system into Korea violates the 1953 Armistice Agreement.

    Armistice Agreement (excerpt): The Commanders of the opposing sides shall cease the introduction into Korea of reinforcing combat aircraft, armored vehicles, weapons, and ammunition; provided however, that combat aircraft, armored vehicles, weapons, and ammunition which are destroyed, damaged, worn out, or used up during the period of the armistice may be replaced on the basis piece-for-piece of the same effectiveness and the same type. . .here

    • Replies: @Randal
  6. Randal says:
    @Don Bacon

    The US of A don’t need no stinking “agreements” or “laws”.

  7. Randal says:

    Would it not be easier and less expensive for grand deal-maker Trump to recognize North Korea, set up diplomatic relations, stop trying to overthrow the Kim regime, and finally end the Korean War?

    Less expensive for America and for Americans, but not for Trump – he’d have to face the music from all the establishment types whose incomes and status depend in various ways on supporting US militarism and aggression.

    He’s getting enough of that kind of grief already.

  8. Yes. Lets end the Korean war. And the war on drugs. And the GWOT. And the cold war against Russia. And the Civil war for Christ sake! And lets end the war on whiteness. Nip it I say. Nip it in the bud.

    Imperial Washington MUST rule the Earth by force of arms. There is no cure for this ancient virus. Only death.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  9. anon • Disclaimer says:

    Why doesn’t the USA simply leave South Korea altogether? Then the Korean peninsula would no more be its problem then Mexico’s. And if South Koreans TRULY “seek to avoid war at all costs”, why don’t they just order the US to leave?

  10. Halit says:

    “There is nothing country’s leadership which lends itself to respectable diplomacy” Who the hell you think you are? Your country were dealing with dictators like, Gaddafi, Saddam,Sisi,so what’s wrong dealing with this one?
    It’s your country leadership created this Dictators missiles when ignorant Bush declare Axis of evils and keep putting this Dictator under pressure. Now serves your right to deal with this one whom able to get nuclear bombs and all of you don’t know what to do.
    You must deal with this Dictator, you will be forced to talk with him to solve this issue. He is angry enough and he has the motivation and capability bomb South Korea and American soldiers.
    Swallow your pride and talk to this man otherwise you are in deep shit, literally. And I am stating the obvious.

  11. DanF says:

    Because the Sunshine Policy, which lasted almost 10 years was so successful? What Eric, and every other North Korea apologist forgets for two South Korea Administrations (Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun) in a row. South Korea tried diplomacy. It went no where! Even though the South gave the North money, free food aid, setup economic zones, family exchanges, etc…. At the end of the day the North did not change, and eventually the people of the South had enough of giving everything away for free, and Roh’s party lost the 2008 election.

    • Replies: @Chris Mallory
  12. Agent76 says:

    Mar 18, 2017 Flashback: How Did North Korea Get Nuclear Power

    North Korea, Meet The New Sheriff With Washington taking a North Korea policy overhaul, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Friday declared that the existing “strategic patience” approach is over, saying all options including military action are on the table.

  13. I agree with both Ken H. and Don Bacon. Yes, we were told by the MSM that Xi Jingping found the chocolate mousse served at Mar-A-Lago so delicious that he’d nuke North Korea for us. That never happened.
    Then the Mike Pence stare-down across the 38th Parallel made the Hermit Kingdom think thrice about threatening the “exceptional nation”. That, too, failed.
    Don Bacon correctly stated that THAAD deployment in South Korea violated the Armistice Agreement of 1953.
    Armistice Agreement (Excerpt): The Commanders of both sides shall cease the introduction into Korea of combat aircraft, armored vehicles, weapons and ammunition; provided however, that combat aircraft, armored vehicles, weapons and ammunition which are destroyed, damaged worn out, and used up during the period of the armistice may be replaced on the basis piece-by-piece of the same effectiveness and the same type.
    South Korea’s recently elected President, Moon Jae-In, in his Inaugural address, repeated his people’s demand to dismantle the ineffective THAAD missile defense systems from South Korean soil, which the Armistice Agreement of 1953 would consider banned weaponry had it been in existence back then.

  14. Anonymous [AKA "Vladivostok"] says:

    A war on whiteness? Roughly fifty years ago, it was illegal for blacks and whites to mix in the same audience or in the same section of a restaurant, in parts of the country. I know the sweetest 85 year old black man, an Air Force veteran, who had the brake lines cut on the oil tank truck he was driving, by racist white co-workers back in the 60s, who would also paint ‘KKK’ and much more that is unmentionable on his locker at work, and threaten his life, simply because of the color of his skin. Are whites barred by law from entering any establishments, that you’ve heard of? How many white folks have blacks at work who threaten to kill them, murder them in cold blood, if they don’t quit? Black Lives Matter et al are simply trying to end the war on Blacks, as for many people, the Civil War never ended. Xavier University, a historically Black college in New Orleans, is bounded on one side by Jefferson Davis Parkway. That’s akin to building a synagogue on Himmler Road. These are people who it was perfectly legal to own, owning another human being, up to 150 years ago, with a modified form of slavery still existing, well into the 20th century. Get back to me when you can claim that anyone White in this country, even groups like the Irish and Italian immigrants who were considered less than human by most other White groups, has that heavy burden on their minds and souls.

    • Replies: @anon
  15. @DanF

    Why would the NORKs change when they have 10’s of thousands of US troops on their border?

  16. Yes, North Korea is ruled by a power mad dictator. Yes that PMD loves to murder people and make threats. But, that same PMD also loves Japanese sex slaves and orgies fueled by smuggled booze. Both of those would come to a sudden and complete halt if he was stupid enough to attack the US.

    It is well past time to bring all our troops home. Tear up any and all defensive treaties and let the South Koreans, Japan, and China live with the NORKs.

    Nothing in Asia is any business of the US government or responsibility of the American tax payer.

    • Replies: @anon
    , @Diversity Heretic
    , @DanF
  17. anon • Disclaimer says:

    You live in a fairy tale world. Good for you….

  18. anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Chris Mallory

    Couldn’t agree more. Korea should not be America’s problem.

  19. @Chris Mallory

    Good comment. Involvement in Korea might have made sense in the 1950s when we perceived a threat of global communism. That ended for good around 1991. Today, North Korea may be a problem but it shouldn’t be the U.S.’s problem. Unfortunately, the MIC is today so powerful that it makes it “our” problem.

  20. DanF says:
    @Chris Mallory

    To answer the first statement. The primary objective of our forces in South Korea is to die. To ensure political and societal will at home to prosecute a war with North Korea. Any military effectiveness of the less than 30,000 soldiers is solely do to the lack of effectiveness of the North Korean army regardless of it’s “paper strength.” NOTE: I am stating only their objective goal not an opinion that I view this as either an appropriate goal or support it.

    In regards to your second comment regarding leaving. In theory I am not against it though, I would give the ROK and Japan a chance to make it worthwhile for us to stay. As North Korea with Nuke’s and long range missiles (though I doubt their range is as good as the media says) are an actual threat to us. Because as I said negotiations have no track record of success, so even if we leave the problem does not go away. At the same time the ROK and Japan use North Korea the same way the Europeans use NATO vs Russia against us.

    Essentially, “Look here is big bad scary nation….” Ignore the fact we have the technology, economy, and manpower to actually beat them. We need the US to spend Billions of dollars and it’s own manpower to protect us.

    So, getting back to my point. I would basically go to the South Koreans and Japan, lay out hard ground rules: to include but not limited to financial subsidies from the ROK & Japan, extra territorial rights of our servicemen, minimum 1.5% GDP defense spending (if you are not going to defend yourself why should we bother), no rent charges/tree tables/crop reimbursement/other ridiculous local plans to milk the US government, and additional legal protections. Do the above suck, yes they do and that is the point. If these countries really feel they need us they will make the sacrifice. If they are just trying to milk us, then we can go home and work on improving the THAAD system, which actually is not as bad as described in the article. Especially, against a ground launch from a far away nation like North Korea. Is it a 100% defense shield no, but as military systems go it is actually quite decent. Not to mention with us no longer being in region we would be the “far away hard target” with a THAAD compared to the close and soft ROK and Japan targets.

    Now there is going to be a lot of trade-offs. Japan militarism would be almost guaranteed to come back, however, their demographic problems are going to greatly hurt/prevent it from being too aggressive. South Korea would probably go through a lot of social upheaval (possibly an overthrow of their government and fall back into dictatorship), as their entire “ivory tower” setup would fall down overnight. China too, would actually have to live with the consequences of their decisions. Now on our side the press would lay the “Guilt Trip Narrative” on thick saying we should not of done it. We should of stayed and kept getting “milk” for the “common good” or something like that. Though, as a US citizen who was both in the military and did a lot of traveling. It would be nice for those other nations that like to complain about our presence fully understand, what the benefits of us being there were. Since once we leave it is not going to all “sunshine and rainbows.”

  21. @DanF

    Nothing in Asia is worth one drop of American blood. PERIOD.

  22. @DanF

    I agree. Declare victory & leave. The biggest argument against staying is that the troops stationed there are tripwire soldiers. If the NORKs decided to go ahead and attack I would expect large casualities which or course are causus belli for more of the same. This shows no respect for these men’s lives, none at all. It reminds me of Foch in WW One where he was asked by an American ambassador, “How many American troops do you need?” Foch replied, “One, and I will make sure he is killed.”

  23. @anon

    Letter 1
    anon says:
    “realistically, we can’t trust our safety to a North Korean regime. There is nothing about that country’s leadership which lends itself to respectable diplomacy.
    We should be fairly quiet and work hard to make sure our defensive military technology can take out any missiles N. Korea may someday wish to fire. That is feasible, and it’s the only effective solution to the problem.”

    Let’s look at this from a North Korean perspective. They might quite well say:
    “Realistically, we can’t trust our safety to the US regime. There is nothing about that country’s leadership which lends itself to respectable diplomacy, as witness what happened to Iraq and Syria and Libya.
    We should be fairly quiet and work hard to make sure our offensive military technology can make any missiles the USA may someday wish to fire unbearably expensive to them. That is feasible, and it’s the only effective solution to the problem.”

  24. @DanF

    DanF says:     
    July 11, 2017 at 4:07 pm GMT

    ” Because as I said negotiations have no track record of success, so even if we leave the problem does not go away. ”

    These “negotiations” had no chance of success because the US was not willing to take its nukes out of the region. It was never a serious negotiating partner. The reason is that it wants to surround China and Russia and Korea is right hard up against both.

    Yes, Korea is sitting on some interesting mineral deposits and its banks do not conform to what the IMF and the Fed want but these are minor details. The major purpose of the US being in South Korea has nothing to do with North Korea.

  25. Ordinarily, I’m a nearly reflexive anti-interventionist, but tragically, I think war with North Korea may have become necessary. Suppose we don’t go to war with North Korea..and then in 2027, the regime is overthrown (which hardly strikes me as a fantastic possibility)? What’s the likelihood that U.S. targets, including cities on the Pacific Coast of North America, get targeted for nuclear obliteration out of a misplaced sense of revenge (shortly before Kim Jong-Un gets torn apart by a frenzied mob?) One in three? Even money? Those are not acceptable odds.

Current Commenter

Leave a Reply - Comments on articles more than two weeks old will be judged much more strictly on quality and tone

 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments have been licensed to The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Commenting Disabled While in Translation Mode
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Eric Margolis Comments via RSS
Personal Classics
“America’s strategic and economic interests in the Mideast and Muslim world are being threatened by the agony in...
Bin Laden is dead, but his strategy still bleeds the United States.
Egyptians revolted against American rule as well as Mubarak’s.
A menace grows from Bush’s Korean blind spot.
Far from being a model for a “liberated” Iraq, Afghanistan shows how the U.S. can get bogged down Soviet-style.