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Thoughts on Korea

Reader comment on item: Korean Delusions [of Appeasement]

Submitted by M. Smith (United States), Oct 9, 2002 at 10:38

Dear Dr. Pipes; From the perspective of many decades of involvement with Korea I offer the following:

---Yes, North Korea is as bad as you indicate -- and even worse. Current claims of a "thaw" are wishful thinking by many, Koreans and others. Not only regime change is needed, but because of the pervasiveness of the regime, basic societal change will be needed as well.

---- However, it is a mistake to look at the South's view of the North in the same light as any other nation choosing "appeasement" with a dictatorial, aggressive regime. The difference, obviously, is that Korea is ethnically, emotionally and in so many other ways, one nation. Unification is central to Korean thinking at virtually every level of society. For some, unification would take precedence over any other consideration, although only the most die-hard leftists would accept it on Northern terms.

----Instead, many see a merged Korean nation, bound together in some yet to be agreed-upon political and perhaps economic union as a serious goal. Increasingly, there are those who would be prepared to move in this direction , even should the U.S. have substantial reservations about the details. In a showdown, Korean nationalism could trump the status quo, and this will give pause not only to the U.S. but, even more so. to Japan and China.

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