New ver­sion of Korean war

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION - Muham­mad Ali Baig Email:

THE US For­eign Pol­icy prima rily fol­lows three ba­sic prin ciples which are prag­ma­tism, iso­la­tion­ism and moral­ism. These prin­ci­ples are be­ing fol­lowed by the Amer­i­can lead­er­ship in the pur­suit of the na­tional in­ter­ests since the in­de­pen­dence in 1776. There ex­ists no overt ag­gres­sion and use of force in these prin­ci­ples but the US Gov­ern­ment has used these in such a way that to en­sure the spread of democ­racy and free­dom; sov­er­eign states have suf­fered war and ter­ri­to­rial di­vi­sion. Per­haps the Jack O’Sul­li­van’s con­cept of “Man­i­fest Destiny” is that much dear to US pol­icy mak­ers that they seem ever ready to put na­tions in com­plete chaos in the name of civ­i­liz­ing them.

Af­ter World War II Amer­i­cans be­lieved that the Korean penin­sula was un­der the in­flu­ence of the Sovi­ets, and in the clutches of un­civ­i­lized poli­cies of the Polit­buro. In the name of free­dom, jus­tice and democ­racy by fol­low­ing the prin­ci­ple of moral­ism, Pres­i­dent Harry S Tru­man au­tho­rized Amer­i­can ground forces to stop the North Korean at­tack on June 30, 1950, un­der the United Na­tions Se­cu­rity Coun­cil Res­o­lu­tion 83, thanks to the Soviet Union be­ing ab­sent in the vot­ing. Sovi­ets be­lieved that their ab­sence will re­sult in the re­jec­tion of the res­o­lu­tion but they were not aware of the fact that the res­o­lu­tion will be passed even in their ab­sence or boycott. Tru­man or­dered Gen­eral Dou­glas McArthur to cut the sup­ply lines of the North Korean Peo­ple’s Army on Septem­ber 10, 1950 at the Bat­tle of In­chon. The Korean War was com­pletely an in­ter­nal mat­ter of the Korean peo­ple. The re­gion was un­der the Ja­panese rule since 1910 and there was no such di­vide as North or the South.

Gen­eral Dou­glas McArthur was a hero of the Se­cond World War, and he led the UN Forces in the in­va­sion. The war es­ca­lated and re­sulted in sig­nif­i­cant UN vic­to­ries. He fur­ther wanted to lead the con­cept of “Man­i­fest Destiny” to the North Korea whom he be­lieved to be bar­baric and un­civ­i­lized. The Amer­i­can aims and am­bi­tions alarmed Com­mu­nist China and it (China) poured men and ma­te­rial to de­fend its bor­ders and fel­low So­cial­ists. The Amer­i­can For­eign Pol­icy di­vided the Korean na­tion in to two sep­a­rate en­ti­ties and sov­er­eign states. No peace treaty has ever been signed af­ter the armistice in July 1953 and Kore­ans are tech­ni­cally at war with each other. The Amer­i­can for­eign pol­icy prin­ci­ple again came in to play in Syria when the wave of Arab Spring en­tered Syria. Peaceful protests were car­ried out by the Syr­ian peo­ple de­mand­ing for free­dom and jus­tice. These protests were fun­da­men­tally fu­eled by the United States to be­come an armed re­bel­lion against the As­sad Regime. The Amer­i­cans were in a phase of semi-iso­la­tion­ism re­gard­ing the Pres­i­dent Basher Al-As­sad. The wishes of the Wash­ing­ton based upon moral­ism and the spread of democ­racy en­gulfed the en­tire Syria in flames and de­struc­tion. The Syr­ian un­rest and protests were ab­so­lutely po­lit­i­cal in na­ture but Amer­i­can prag­ma­tism has evolved and trans­formed the sit­u­a­tion in to sec­tar­ian con­flict by drag­ging Iran and Saudi Ara­bia in the cri­sis.

Putin’s sup­port for As­sad is not an ac­tion but a re­ac­tion in re­sponse to the US For­eign Pol­icy to­wards Syria. He seems to be that much de­ter­mined to save the regime that he con­sid­ers al­most ev­ery­thing as ex­pend­able. Another dilemma that Putin is fac­ing that he is fight­ing for his only for­eign ally and he is not ready to let As­sad slip out of his hands that easy. The US Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry and his Plan-B is the re­sult of Amer­i­can prag­ma­tism cou­pled with moral­ism to spread the con­cept of “Man­i­fest Destiny” flanked with free­dom and democ­racy even at the ex­pense of in­no­cent civil­ians. It can also be said that Obama Doc­trine is some­what flawed and provided a vac­uum to be filled by the Rus­sians in Syria. It is un­der­stand­able that the Amer­i­can iso­la­tion­ism or per­haps par­tial-iso­la­tion­ism provided an op­por­tu­nity to Rus­sia to sup­port As­sad at all costs.

Kerry’s Plan-B also in­di­cates the be­gin­ning of a New Cold War and the Amer­i­can prac­tice to di­vide na­tions in to two sov­er­eign states as they did with Korean na­tion dur­ing the Korean War. The Amer­i­can prag­ma­tist di­vide gave birth to Repub­lic of Korea or South Korea and the Demo­cratic Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Korea (DPRK) or North Korea, who are still at war with each other. The con­fronta­tion be­tween the two Koreas has sig­nif­i­cantly af­fected the peace and sta­bil­ity not only in the re­gion but also in the en­tire world.

Amer­i­cans seem to be in­dif­fer­ent when it comes to eth­nic­ity and ethnic val­ues that are the ques­tion of life and death in the lives of na­tions. Since ethnic back­ground pro­vide foun­da­tions for na­tion-states and they are far stronger than the sec­tar­ian and even re­li­gious bind­ing forces. The Amer­i­can di­vide in Korea was not just a par­ti­tion of land but the di­vi­sion of soul. Kerry’s Plan-B in­tends to do the same phe­nom­e­non again in a dif­fer­ent place i-e Syria. — The writer is free­lance colum­nist based in Islamabad.

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