Peace talks in Korea? Washington worries

Occupation and war in Korea are permanent U.S. policies.

After fielding joint teams at the Olympics, North and South Korea have agreed to discuss peaceful relations and an end to the threat of nuclear war. Is Washington happy that negotiations might replace war talk? No.

The New York Times reported March 7 that this diplomacy “sets in motion a challenging phase” for Trump. “Administration officials are wary of entanglements in a negotiation in which the U.S. makes concessions…” Washington wants to manage its clients like Seoul, not follow their lead. “American officials voice frustration that [South Korean leader] Mr. Moon has responded so readily to the overtures…”

Democrats are far from part of a “resistance” to Trump’s warlike Korea policy. U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released a statement hailing the use of “leverage of additional economic and military pressure” and urging “strategic,” “tough-minded” diplomacy, i.e., the use of more military “leverage” of the kind that has kept the U.S. on the verge of hot war with North Korea for decades. That includes an occupation force of 35,000 U.S. troops in South Korea and regular major military exercises on the border with the North.

To reach peace on the Korean peninsula would be as easy as for Washington to recognize both governments and remove its occupation troops and bases. The occupation and the continued official state of U.S. war against North Korea, threaten China, prevent peace, and threaten nuclear war. The 68-year U.S. state of war reminds every country in the world which country is the most dangerous of all world powers – the United States. Not long after devastating every village in North Korea in 1950-1953, Washington turned its massive “fire and fury” against Vietnam, killing millions.

As with Vietnam, a mass movement in the U.S. can end the U.S. occupation of Korea and allow Koreans to determine their own future.

Trump’s policy is not different from Obama’s, Bush 43’s, Clinton’s, Bush 41’s, Reagan’s, Carter’s, Ford’s, Nixon’s, Johnson’s, Kennedy’s, or Eisenhower’s. U.S. policy in Asia is based on permanent war and occupation. Permanent war and occupation are also U.S. bipartisan policy in the Middle East region, where the Pentagon wages wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and Yemen, also supporting the permanent Zionist occupation of Palestine.

Socialists since the time of Eugene V. Debs have campaigned against U.S. wars. To do so, they have made agreements even with their bitter opponents at times to march and rally together against imperialist wars. Only a united and massive movement can slow the tendency toward wider war.

A widely endorsed conference in January called for a national da of antiwar action. The date of April 14 has been chosen. Plans are on for regional actions in Washington DC, New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, and Minneapolis. Success will depend on broad-cased outreach with democratic decision-making. Socialist Party members are active in this and other antiwar work in New Jersey, California, Massachusetts, and other areas.


David Keil

is a member of the Editorial Board of "The Socialist" and of the Boston Area local of the Socialist Party.

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