Speaking in Seoul today, "U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says the world has a duty to respond to sinking of a South Korean warship that has been blamed on North Korea" — Clinton: World must act on SKorean ship sinking
. "After talks with South Korean leaders Wednesday, Clinton told reporters the attack, which killed 46 sailors, was an 'unacceptable provocation' by the North and the 'international community has a responsibility and a duty to respond.'"
Madam Secretary is right that it was indeed an "unacceptable provocation," but wrong that the "international community has a responsibility and a duty to respond." The "unacceptable provocation" was against South Korea, which reserves the right to respond. Seoul's hands are tied by all this talk about some abstraction called "the international community," the same phantom which only emboldened Pyongyang, knowing it to be a myth, to provoke in the first place.
This kind of boilerplate just plays into Kim Jong-il's hands. He's scored a propaganda victory, which he will use to bolster his domestic support. Nothing can be used to unite a people to its government like threats from the outside, as Americans learned in 2001.
There will be no resumption of the Korean War, which has not yet ended, as it would spell the end of the Kimist régime
and Kim Jong-il knows it. The South has two-and-a-half times the people and forty times the economic output as the North, not to mention a couple of inches in average height and a much stronger military, even without the U.S. presence.
What's more, the South has political and, more importantly, economic freedom, one glimpse of which, which an open conflict would surely allow, would consign the Kimist régime
to the trash bin of Korean history. This is not 1950, when both parts of the peninsula were equally poor and backward. (The North was actually better off back then.)
Kim Jong-il knows this and will push only so far as to get what he wants and needs for his own personal survival. I don't know whether to declare him a genius, or to declare the Clinton, Bush, and Obama régimes
(not to mention South Korea's Kim and Roh régimes
) morons for cutting deal after deal with him for the past decade-and-a-half.
South Korea was attacked, not America, much less the world. We heard this same kind of internationalist blathering sixty years ago, shortly before another Democrat president got America involved in its first undeclared, United Nations-sponsored war on this very peninsula.
Fabiano Choi Hong-jun, chairperson of the Catholic Lay Apostolate Council of Korea, has the right approach: "With Christian faith, we view this as another ordeal on the way toward national reconciliation and we must keep hope" — Church leaders pray to ease Korean tension
. He continued, "We need to pray for peace and reconciliation."
Labels: American History, America the Beautiful, Corea, Norks in the News, The Catholic Faith, War and Rumors of War