The two Koreas show some sanity by talking to each other, while the US throws an insane tantrum that South Korea is acting like an independent sovereign country, instead of a US colony. The US is flabbergasted that South Korea is off the Washington war-message, and the US wants South Korea to just keep its mouth shut.
Fearing that peace might break out with the two Koreas talking, Washington instructed South Korean President Moon Jae-in to keep the message about anything but peace. It is not just Trump. A former top official for the Obama administration warned Moon that South Korea was not going to get anywhere with the North Koreans unless they have the "US behind them". Humiliating; that is like saying that Moon's "button" is not as big as Kim's. The metaphor is exactly how the Washington elite see South Korea: as Washington's obedient eunuch. The official went on to say, "If South Koreans are viewed as running off the leash, it will exacerbate tension within the alliance". Running off the leash! Now more humiliation, South Korea is supposed to be a US poodle? Instead President Moon Jae-in is showing that he has teeth, and that South Koreans want their country back from US humiliating domination.
During the talks it was agreed for North Korea's participation in the Winter Olympics in February, and future talks between the two to reduce tension. Neocons such as John Bolton are outraged that North Korea has proven once again that it is willing to come to the negotiation table. Bolton says it is a dirty trick and that North Korea is "taking advantage of a weak South Korean government", adding more insulting humiliation. To Washington, South Korea talking peace is weak, running off the leash and going it alone without its US master. The North using the peace option is seen as a provocation and propaganda that Washington will not tolerate. In retaliation the US sent more nukes to Guam, and put the state of Hawaii on a full alert that a "ballistic missile was inbound". The nukes outbound to Guam are real; the ones inbound to Hawaii were fake, just like the ability of the billion dollar THAADS to shoot them down. Too conveniently the Hawaii false alarm comes just as the US and its vassals are readying for what the US plots to be a show of solidarity and unity on killer sanctions against North Korea. The US wants its chorus to perform the tragedy of telling North Korea to obey or watch 500,000 of their children die. As Madeleine Albright said about Iraq's 500,000 dead children from US sanctions, "the price is worth it". The US does not think the price of diplomacy is worth it though.
The US continues to block efforts at diplomacy. The US expresses its contempt for South Korea's 2017 election of President Moon Jae-in. He was elected on a peace platform by the South Korean people. Moon's predecessor Park Geun-hye sang from the US hymnbook until she got caught with her hand in the cookie jar. In 2017 the South Korean people went to the street and demanded the granddaughter of former dictator Park Chung Hee be impeached, and now she is in prison. Peace is not anything that Washington's plutocrats want to hear, although the South Korean people like the sound of it, and elected Moon their president by a wide margin. The self-interests in Washington preferred the corrupt warmonger Park. She carried the US's tune with perfect pitch, even (allegedly) conspired to assassinate the North's Kim Jong-Un. The message of the humiliation from US apparatchiks is that if Moon does not change his tune the US will try to undermine South Korea's democracy with a regime change project. The US habitually meddles in other's elections, and wants to keep tensions high on the Korean peninsula, keep the South Koreans in line, make North Korea a boogeyman, frighten the American people, station 30,000 US troops in South Korea with wartime operational control, buy more multi-billion dollar THAADS from Lockheed Martin, and divide the Korea people. Even at the risks of a nuclear war, which the US proposes making easier.
The establishment nearly went to war with North Korea in 1994 until Bill Clinton negotiated peace. The neocons in Washington and the mainstream media keep saying that North Korea refuses to come to the negotiating table. Clinton's decision to use diplomacy instead of threats proved the warmongers wrong again. It was the US all along that refused to talk, preferring belligerence and threats just as it does now. Once Clinton showed a willingness to bargain, then a nuclear deal was struck. The deal was called the Agreed Framework. What North Korea wanted then for it to suspend its nuclear program was for the US to halt the massive military exercises on North Korea's border, a non-aggression guarantee, compensation for abandoning its needed electric producing nuclear reactors, and economic relations with the US. Now the situation with North Korea is back to where it was in 1994. George W. Bush reversed the path of peace when he came into the White House. In 2001 he tore up the Agreed Framework, put North Korea on the Axis of Evil list in 2002, invaded Iraq in 2003, and hanged Saddam Hussein in 2006. Very predictably North Korea resumed its nuclear program for self-defense against a paranoid and unpredictable USA that sees enemies to attack under every bed.
Bush scrapped the Agreed Framework, and told then South Korean President Kim Dae-jung that future talks with North Korea were dead. Kim Dae-jung had come to visit Bush shortly after winning the Nobel Peace Prize for his Sunshine Policies of peace with North Korea. Instead of welcoming President Kim and his peace efforts, Bush humiliated him by shockingly calling North Korea leader Kim Jon-il a dwarf. North Korea predictably withdrew from the Non-Proliferation Treaty in 2003 and resumed work on its nuclear program. A month later Bush called out North Korea to pay particular attention to Libya as an example of how a country is welcomed into the "international community" when it unilaterally gives up its nuclear defense program. North Korea paid attention and it was listening when Muammar Gaddafi said in a 2008 speech that "one of these days America may hang us like they did Saddam ". In 2011 Gaddafi was murdered a brutal death at the hands of US proxies; he was anally raped with a bayonet and left to rot on public display in a meat locker. Before Gaddafi's corpse was even cold a hysterically glowing Hillary Clinton cackled "we came, we saw, he died", hahaha". Now fast forward to 2018 and the US is threatening war against North Korea again.
The US has been abusing Korea since 1871 when it first invaded it with an expeditionary force of Marines to forcibly open trade. Korea just wanted to be left alone, but the US forced Korea to sign an exclusive trade treaty in 1882 at the point of a gun. In exchange for that unequal trade agreement the US promised Korea protection. In 1910 the US proved that its promise was worthless. Instead of protection, President Theodore Roosevelt stabbed Korea in the back by conspiring with Japan. Roosevelt had enthusiastically supported Japan in the Russo-Japanese War. Japan pre-emptively attacked the Russian fleet at Port Arthur in a sneak attack. Teddy congratulated Japan for their brilliance...in 1941 his nephew Franklin would call a Japanese sneak attack "a day of infamy". After Japan and Russia ground down to a bloody stalemate, Japan secretly appealed to Teddy to open negotiations. Roosevelt acted as a (dis)honest broker in negotiating the Treaty of Portsmouth, for which he won the Nobel Peace Prize. Japan won the spoils of the war. Roosevelt had a secret deal that Japan could have Korea and the US would take the Philippines. In 1945 the US deceived Korea again. Instead of liberating Korea from the Japanese occupation, the US occupied Korea for 3 years until 1948 and then blocked its independence. The US was largely responsible for the division of Korea and backing dictatorships in South Korea until 1993. Americans do not know the US treachery, but Koreans do. Why would they trust the USA now?
In order to understand North Korea, one must start with the "anticolonial and anti-imperial state growing out of a half-century of Japanese colonial rule and a half-century of continuous confrontation with a hegemonic United States", as Bruce Cumings writes in his book North Korea: Another Country. In order to understand South Korea one should take a similar approach. The Japanese colonization of Korea in 1910 was greeted with cheers from the USA. Teddy Roosevelt encouraged Japan to have its own Japanese Monroe Doctrine for Northeast Asia. The Japanese were harsh rulers, and Koreans remember colonial times as a national humiliation. Under the Japanese the Korean economy grew rapidly, but Koreans will rightly argue that little of it helped the average Korean. Like the Korean "comfort women" sex slaves during World War Two, Koreans were forced to obey their Japanese masters. Some Koreans complied reluctantly, some willingly and some enthusiastically. Many, but not all of the enthusiastic collaborators came from the landed aristocratic class of Koreans known as the Yangban. Other collaborators were traitors that saw advancing their economic and social status by collaborating. After the division of Korea in 1945 many of the yangban class and collaborators fled to the South where they felt safe with the US occupation army, and for good reasons. The North was redistributing the yangban's vast landholdings. Many of the yangban and collaborators were safer in the US occupied south. Many went on to achieve leadership in business and government in South Korea. For instance, the future South Korean dictator Park Chung-hee (from 1963 until his assassination in 1979) had collaborated with the Japanese as a lieutenant in the Japanese army in Manchuria fighting against the Korean resistance fighters.
Korea has a long history of thousands of years. It united as one people in the 7th century and remained so until after World War Two. The US had started planning for the occupation of Korea six months after Pearl Harbor, according to Bruce Cumings. The day after Japan surrendered a future Secretary of State Dean Rusk drew a line at the 38th Parallel where the US proposed that Korea be divided, and the Russian allies agreed. Thousands of Koreans protested in the streets. They were told that a trusteeship was temporary until elections. Instead the US feared that the people would elect a communist government, and so they rigged a fraudulent election for a separate government in the South. The United Nations rubber stamped it. As in the South, the North then held separate elections for the Supreme People's Assembly which then elected Kim Il Sung, a famous anti-Japanese guerilla resistance leader since 1932. The US and South Korean propaganda portray that North Korea was a puppet and satellite project of the Soviet Union. This is probably the US projecting its own imperial intentions. Cummings says that no evidence exists that the Soviets had any long-term designs on Korea. They withdrew all of their military in 1948 from North Korea.
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