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Potential Positives of War in Korea

November 27th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Trouble is hardly ever not brewing on the Korean peninsula, but things have been heating up recently. As the crazed über-narcissistic dictator Kim Jong Il hands the reins of power over to his young and presumably equally narcissistic son Kim Jong Un, North Korea seems to be itching for war with their South Korean enemies. Between the testing of nuclear missiles and this past week’s artillery bombardment of Yeonpyeong, it’s not much of a stretch to imagine this escalating into full-scale war.

If that happens, I’ll do something I’ve never done before in my lifetime and advocate for the U.S. military to get involved in the conflict. The South Koreans are our allies and it would be wrong of us to stand idly by as the Kims of North Korea attempt to kill millions of them and subjugate the rest. Those living under the North Korean regime have been handed one of the unluckiest lots in life imaginable, and it would be a moral error to let that regime expand and doom another population to the same fate. It would be just as wrong as letting Adolf Hitler conquer Europe.

I say this as someone who vehemently opposed the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan before it started. I didn’t think conventional military tactics were the right approach to stopping terrorism. A nation-state didn’t attack us on 9/11. A small group of people who hate us did, and dropping bombs on their fellow Muslims and killing innocent civilians seemed like the most counter-productive response possible. That would only lead to more terrorism, and more hatred of the U.S. internationally.

Now, if war breaks out in the Korean peninsula it will be an entirely different matter. North Korea is an actual nation-state with an actual military made up of actual soldiers. An act of aggression on their part against South Korea would absolutely call for military intervention. We’d be fighting a country as opposed to an ideology.

The potential benefits of such a scenario are actually enormous. If the U.S. is suddenly confronted with a real war against a real enemy, it would have a clarifying effect on the wars of the last decade. The very juxtaposition of these two types of wars would highlight their differences in a way that we’ve never seen before in our history, and even without having to reflect on it too hard both liberals and conservatives alike would be able to understand why one kind is justified and the other is not.

A war against a Hitler-like aggressor with an actual military would bring the country together like it hasn’t been since WWII, and our political parties might just put aside their bickering for a brief historical moment to deal with a real threat to world peace (though I admit that’s a pretty big might, seeing as how the Republicans have shown us that they’re not above playing politics with matters of international security).

It would also give us a good reason to completely pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan, as we couldn’t possibly fight three wars on three fronts at the same time. This would then lead to a restoration of the image of America abroad, as the rest of the world will see us actually doing what we’ve only been pretending to do for the last few decades: defending freedom.

A war fought for noble purposes as opposed to one fought for corporate profits would go a long way to restoring the world’s faith in America, and Americans’ faith in themselves.

All that said, I do not believe such a restoration would be worth the loss of so many Korean lives and the lives of American soldiers, so I sincerely hope that North Korea is just flexing its muscles and that the ultimate result of the death of Kim Jong Il will be peace rather than war.

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