Today, June 25, 2012, marks year 62 of the beginning of the Korean War.
Even though the war remains in limbo since the signing of an armistice in July 1953, the US has tracked North Korea as though it were Gerard Manly Hopkins ‘Hound of Hell”.
The US has never recovered from the stinging defeat it has suffered by its inability to rollback North Korea to the point of extinction, but has had to be satisfied by a stalemate at the 38 parallel which left the Korean War in limbo–where neither peace nor war decided the deadlock.
The Obama administration like the Bush administration before it, has mounted its stead to push North Korea to the point of collapse or war unless it ‘surrenders’ to it terms–notably by abandoning its nuclear policy. For the DPRK, a nuclear programme guarantees its survival, in spite of sanctions. Hence, Washington’s growing frustration, it checkmating Pyongyang.
The North Korea clerisy, too cleverly, has tried to use China to bell the North Korean cat, but with little success. Beijing decided to hold six party talks as a way of resolving the nuclear issue in a divided Korean peninsula. It soon realised that the US was trying to use it as its cat’s paw in roping North Korea to jump through Washington’s hoop. And China balked.
Washington has never stopped trying to move Beijing to make Pyongyang ‘behave’. Endless trips by diplomats and China hands have lectured China on its obligations to bring North Korea to heel, Yet, these calls have fallen on deaf eyes, for the plain and simple reason China refuses to play America’s game.
Still, this hasn’t stopped the US from continuing a cold war against North Korea. On the days leading up to the 62 anniversary of the Korean War, the US and its ally South Korea have conducted sea and land operations, an exercise simulating hostilities against North Korea. To twist the knife deeply into the open sore that is a war without a peace treaty, the US during search and rescue manoeuvres in Pocheon close to the North’s border with South Korea, has used the DPRK flag as a target.
In today’s ‘New York Times’ online, the paper of note has called in one of its heavy hitters in Asia, Jane Perlez. She obliges the reader by informing him that North Korea is sorely trying China’s patience by its stubbornness and ‘provocative’ actions and its avoidance of meeting the US demands. By implication, this journalist is making a case that China is losing its patience with the DPRK and might tilt towards the American position.
But like the majority of US journalists, clerics, diplomats, and generals, the American elite has a short historical memory, and forgets why China weighed in on North Korea’s side during the Korean War. And Beijing’s reasons for aiding and abetting Pyongyang remain as true today as they were yesterday.
And so, sadly on this the 62 year of the Korea War, it looks as though the US is willing to engage in a replay of the 100 year war.