September 12 2007
As president Bush calls for a continuing U.$. presence in Iraq, it is fitting that he touted his view on Korea in Sydney, Australia on September 7. In speeches on Iraq, Bush often mentions Korea as a success for implementation of u.$.-style democracy by war, because the united $tates has occupied Korea for over 50 years and that is what Bush originally planned for Iraq. It is a heavy ideological burden on the Korean people and Korean-unAmerikans in particular that Bush is placing. Koreans themselves are not so gung-ho on the merits of having Great Power interventions that kill thousands or millions.
In fact, at this time, southern Korea's lackey regime has 1200 troops in Iraq still.(1) This is a great irony: 30,000 U.$. troops are in Korea and Korea sends 1200 to Iraq. For purely political reasons, the united $tates does not draw down the troops in Korea to send to Iraq. Uncle $am would prefer an international presence in Iraq. Regarding Iraq, Bush only calls England, Au$tralia and southern Korea as of today.
The difference between Korea and Iraq is that at the beginning of the Korean War, there was already a movement afoot to reorganize Korea for land reform. There was going to be a new basis of unity of the Korean people. The united $tates ended up claiming credit for the benefits of the land reform movement while placing economic restrictions on northern Korea. In Iraq, the united $tates tried to do the same thing, but there was no movement afoot already for the united $tates to claim international credit for. Quite the contrary, the movement that Uncle $am met was one to end Uncle $am's attempts to use Iraqi oil for U.$. contractor fees.
For decades it was illegal to teach Marxist vocabulary in southern Korea. So now there is a bit of a difficulty in discussing nationalism and internationalism. The big Marxist words are not in the southern Korean language. When southern Koreans say "internationalism," they refer to lackey support to Uncle $am and trade.
So in essence, there is only the concept of bourgeois internationalism. The U.$. multinational corporations came up with bourgeois internationalism when they put natives in management roles in their colonial home countries in the 1960s and 1970s. So when southern Koreans refer to "internationalism" they mean roughly serving as a lackey in a U.$.-owned corporation. Against this concept there is "nationalism" including Kim's in northern Korea. Nationalism is popular in southern Korea too.
In English, Mao is clear--the nationalism of the oppressed being "applied internationalism." There is no meaning of being a lackey to imperialist-owned institutions.
In the joint media appearance in Australia, president Roh of southern Korea and president Bush discussed ending the Korean War, which is still on technically, because there is only an armistice not a peace treaty. Roh put on a show of slight independence by pushing president Bush "to be a bit more clear."(2) For this the Los Angeles Daily News said Bush should have attacked southern Korea for allegedly funding the Taliban.(3) What no one pointed out is that the event made it look like only the united $tates is still at war in Korea.
The Taliban released Korean hostages in August amidst rumors of a Korean payoff. It appears that Korea promised not to allow missionaries into Afghanistan in the future. Two of the hostages had already been executed when Korea struck its deal to obtain the remaining 19, plus two wimmin who had already been released. Korea had already planned to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year.(4)
The media reported a widespread mortification upon the return of the hostages to Korea. Not only is it in the back of the mind of Koreans that there is a civil war in Afghanistan, but also in this context anti-individualist norms play a progressive role. 23 people deviated from the right course and caused embarrassment to a whole nation.
President Roh justified the change in policy toward northern Korea in terms of reducing future taxes on southern Korea when Korea reunifies. Instead of trying to cause regime collapse in northern Korea, the southern Koreans now favor trade and improved economics to close a presumed gap between the poor of northern Korea and the rich of southern Korea.
On September 12, China, Russia and the united $tates visited northern Korea's nuclear facilities and declared their satisfaction at seeing everything they had asked to see.(5) On the 11th, a U.$. ambassador announced that a Bush-Kim summit was possible next year if Korea scrapped its nuclear weapons.(6)
On this point, president Roh in southern Korea took the position that southern Korea was not at war and was not really a party to the armistice. At the same time, Korean diplomats said India's position on nuclear weapons would make it more difficult for northern Korea to give up its own. This referred to India's non-proliferation deal or non-deal with Washington.(7) MIM sees no reason for Korea to have a different nuclear policy than India.
In another reminder of the Korean War, a southern Korean delegation met with Prachanda Path phony communists in Nepal and expressed their good will for the struggle for humyn rights and democracy.(8)
Korea is also in the news in Russia, where it recently negotiated a multi-billion dollar trade deal and is considering one billion in Russian helicopters.(9)
Behind the commotion, there is much promise in the air for bourgeois diplomacy between Korea and the united $tates--to do what should have happened decades ago.
2. Bush replied: "'I can't make it any more clear, Mr. President. We look forward to the day when we can end the Korean War. That will end - will happen when Kim verifiably gets rid of his weapons programs and his weapons.'"
3. "South Korea should face the music for funding terrorists," http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2007/09/113_10069.html