Korea: An Alternative History

Hits: 704

For decades, consumers of the US media have been fed a series of repeated lies concerning the status of northern Korea. Tales of mass starvation and brutal torture are told over and over, occasionally updated but essentially the same as those told when Washington first realized it could not defeat the national forces headquartered in Pyongyang.

Naturally, these stories become more frequent and considerably more dramatic during those times the US military heightens tensions in the region. While some of these “reports” are probably based in fact, the more revealing aspect of their being told is the lack of context involved in their telling.

In other words, most US residents have very little knowledge of Korean history and culture and, if asked, would most likely be unable to identify where Seoul or Pyongyang are on the map.  This serves the interests of the powers that be in DC quite nicely. If the citizens of an aggressor nation (which the United States certainly has been in Korea) are ignorant of the land and people their rulers wish to attack, then those citizens are likely to believe most anything they are told by those in power intent on making war.

This seems especially the case when it comes to Korea—now Washington’s longest surviving enemy.  Indeed, most all US political figures liberal and conservative, military members and media folks buy into the commonly held portrayal of northern Korea as a land ruled by a brutal dictatorship imposed originally from the outside that starves many of its people and enslaves the rest.  Even many of those who have expressed doubts about similar claims made by war hawks in regards to other nations (Iraq, Iran) believe such stories when it comes to Korea.

This situation exists because it strengthens the US argument for the continued occupation of the Korean peninsula and its maintenance of the state of not-quite-war.  As author Stephen Gowans makes clear in his recent book Patriots, Traitors and Empires: The Story of Korea’s Struggle for Freedom, the history of Korea is quite different than that most US residents have been told.

By removing the US-imposed imaginary line of demarcation along the 38thparallel that divides Korea into two entities, Gowans is able to provide a history closer to the Korean history understood by many Koreans.  It is a history of resistance to outside intervention; a resistance forged in blood from fighting Japanese and US invaders. It is also a history that emphasizes the self-reliance and independence of a people.

Gowans begins his text with a discussion of Korean history prior to World War Two.  His summary highlights the independence of the Korean people and the series of invasions and occupations they repelled over the centuries.  He discusses the Japanese occupation in detail, providing a summary of the manner in which the Japanese stole Korean lands, enslaved its people and forced thousands of its women into prostitution to serve Japanese troops.

Concurrent to this history, Gowans explains the world situation at the time—a situation that saw the great imperial powers Britain, Russia, France and the US heading towards war while the lesser powers (esp. Germany and Japan) saw war as the only way they might obtain more resources and markets.  Weaving these stories together provides the reader with an alternative understanding of how and why Korea’s history took the path it did.

When the second of the twentieth century’s two great wars was over, Korea was free of outside domination.  Japan had been defeated and awaited its fate.  Meanwhile, the Korean people began to take back their country.  The resistance forces who had helped overthrow the Japanese occupation forces began to set up local and regional governing councils.  This action was supported by the Soviet Union but was strongly opposed by the United States, which had already decided it was going to make Korea its outpost in eastern Asia.

To this end, policy makers in Washington and generals in the Pentagon worked together to devise a way to destroy the popular government being constructed in Korea. In a now-familiar scenario, right-wing figures from Korea were given positions of power in the governing structure put in place by Washington, leftist and democratic organizations and individuals were imprisoned, tortured and killed by Washington’s clients, and fake elections were held.  Many of the officials in this government had also served the Japanese occupation regime—a fact that did nothing to make the US-imposed authorities any more popular. So, the resistance continued.

The military leadership of Kim Il-sung combined with the popularity of the resistance’s political platform proved a serious opponent to US plans.  Ultimately, it was the strength and depth of the resistance that led to the intensification of hostilities, a division of the nation and the conflict the west calls the Korean War.

Patriots, Traitors and Empires: The Story of Korea’s Struggle for Freedom is a crucial text for those seeking to understand how many Koreans see their world.  It is fiercely anti-imperialist in its understanding of history and pulls no punches when discussing the destructive nature of the United States’ role in modern Korean history.

Some readers may find Gowans’ indictment too strong and even unfair.  If one finds themselves among those readers, I suggest they forge ahead anyhow.  His history is not just valid, it is probably closer to the truth than the history most Americans have been fed the past seventy years.  Indeed, it could even clarify Korea’s uncertain future—a future hopefully of peace and prosperity.


Originally published on 2018-05-04

Author: Ron Jacobs

Source: Counter Punch

Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!

Donate to Support Us

We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.

READ MORE!
The U.S. War Crime North Korea won’t Forget
North Korea cheered this month when a man with a knife and a history of violent behavior slashed the face of Mark Lippert, the U.S. ambassador to South Korea. The attack in Seoul was “a knife shower of justice,” North Korea said, praising it as “deserved punishment for warmonger United States.” If that sounds mean-spirited, consider this: For years, North Korea has taught schoolchildren to bayonet effigies of U.S. soldiers. Under its young dictator, Kim Jong Un, the government has suggested it was prepared to nuke Washington, Austin and Southern California. More than 40 years ago, Kim Il Sung, the “Great ...
READ MORE
Post-Maidan Ukrainian Anti-Semitism: Tragic “Blowback” Resulting from U.S. Interventionist Foreign Policy?
The foreign policy of the United States in the post-Cold War era, driven by a doctrine of Exceptionalism and managed by a neoconservative strategy, has been responsible for the invasion of Iraq in 2003, Nato’s war on Libya in 2011 and the covert war waged in Syria using Islamist proxies. It was also at the root of its involvement in the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Ukraine in 2014. But the geopolitical advantage intended in each enterprise has brought the proverbial blowback.The results are plain to see. Libya is now certifiably a failed state. Accompanying the destruction of ...
READ MORE
America’s Benevolent Bombing of Serbia
Twenty years ago, President Bill Clinton commenced bombing Serbia in the name of human rights, justice, and ethnic tolerance. Approximately 1,500 Serb civilians were killed by NATO bombing in one of the biggest sham morality plays of the modern era. As British professor Philip Hammond recently noted, the 78-day bombing campaign “was not a purely military operation: NATO also destroyed what it called ‘dual-use’ targets, such as factories, city bridges, and even the main television building in downtown Belgrade, in an attempt to terrorise the country into surrender.”Clinton’s unprovoked attack on Serbia, intended to help ethnic Albanians seize control of ...
READ MORE
The Operation Barbarossa II File: But Who will Prosecute?
As some of you may remember I am compiling a criminal dossier on the western powers concerning, among other things, their preparations for Operation Barbarossa II, the term that I use for NATO’s build-up of forces in Eastern Europe threatening the security of Russia.In June, the BALTOPS 2017 NATO naval and air exercises were conducted in the Baltic Sea near Kaliningrad and the approaches to St. Petersburg simultaneously with the Saber Strike military ground exercises in Latvia and Lithuania.On July 11th NATO’s Sea Breeze naval exercises began in the Black Sea, threatening Russia’s southern flank. The NATO exercises are conducted ...
READ MORE
Islamic Extremists Establish Foothold in Kosovo and the Balkans
Peace TV, an enterprise directed from India, Saudi Arabia, and Dubai by a fu­­ndamentalist Islamist preacher, Zakir Naik, has established a 12-hour daily program in Kosovo, a country 90% Muslim. The entry into Kosovo of Naik’s Peace TV, broadcasting each day in Albanian from 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., appears to be an element in a novel campaign by South Asian Islamists to establish a foothold among Europe’s indigenous Balkan Muslims. Peace TV’s message is hard-line Wahhabism, which insults, in aggressive terms, spiritual Sufis, Shia Muslims, non-fundamentalist Sunnis, Jews, Christians, and Hindus, among others. Radical Islamist interlopers and their financiers, mainly ...
READ MORE
America and the Great Abdication: Don’t Mistake Donald Trump’s Withdrawal from the World for Isolationism
When great powers fade, as they inevitably must, it’s normally for one of two reasons. Some powers exhaust themselves through overreach abroad, underinvestment at home, or a mixture of the two. This was the case for the Soviet Union. Other powers lose their privileged position with the emergence of new, stronger powers. This describes what happened with France and Great Britain in the case of Germany’s emergence after World War I and, more benignly, with the European powers and the rise of the United States during and after World War II. To some extent America is facing a version of this—amid ...
READ MORE
The Pope Оpenly Еmbraced Kosovo Secession in 1993
I. Comment by Jared Israel The two media reports from 1993, posted below, refer to Ibrahim Rugova as “President of the Republic of Kosovo,” when in fact: a) no such republic existed; b) Kosovo was a province of the Republic of Serbia and c) Rugova was not any kind of government official, let alone a president. Rather, he was the leader of a faction, supported and sponsored by outside powers, which faction had already played a key role in launching the attack on Yugoslavia, and which was now boycotting all official Kosovo institutions as part of a strategy of creating a ...
READ MORE
Israel Cannot Use Violent Self-Defense While Occupying Gaza
Whenever bombings and shootings escalate in the Middle East, Israeli propagandists say that Israel is exercising its right of military self-defense against indiscriminate attacks coming from the Gaza Strip. But as this article documents, the right to use force in self-defense is contingent on Israel ending its military occupation and blockade of Gaza. DON’T MISQUOTE ME ON THAT! Doubtless some unscrupulous person or persons will quote or interpret this article out of context and claim that I’m saying that Israel has no right to self-defense at all. So, let me be clear: Israel is a nation-state like any other, like it or ...
READ MORE
The Cold War is Over
Like most Englishmen, I grew up with a natural dislike of “abroad” and a belief in the inferiority of all foreign things. I think it took me five visits to France before I began to regret leaving that lovely country rather than to rejoice at my return to our safe and familiar island. It often strikes me as quite funny that I spent so much of my life as a foreign correspondent, a profession for which I am so unfitted. When I went to live in Moscow in 1990, I felt that I had somehow betrayed my native soil. (I was ...
READ MORE
A Note on the Crime Against Venezuela
To clarify the importance of the January 23rd coup attempt in Venezuela we remember that ever since WWII the customary motivation for violations of the Convention on Genocide has been to gain a region’s natural resources. For example Iraq, Libya, Syria, Haiti, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Guatemala, and others. The people of resource-rich areas are forced into flight, exile, refuge elsewhere, or are attacked by disease, or starvation, or directly murdered by military programs, or divided internally into civil wars assuring the death of multitudes.Damages are inter-generational with the effects of depleted uranium weaponry or ...
READ MORE
Why are We Sending $38 Billion to Rich and Powerful Israel?
Last week’s announcement of a record-breaking US aid package for Israel underscores how dangerously foolish and out-of-touch is our interventionist foreign policy. Over the next ten years, the US taxpayer will be forced to give Israel some $38 billion dollars in military aid. It is money we cannot afford going to a country that needs no assistance to maintain its status as the most powerful military in the Middle East.All US foreign aid is immoral and counterproductive. As I have often said, it is money taken from poor people in the US and sent to rich people overseas. That is ...
READ MORE
Washington’s Wars
The New York Times reported on October 22 that the United States has “just over 240,000 active-duty and reserve troops in at least 172 countries and territories,” which is a staggering total. But in an intriguing revelation the Times reported that there are a further 37,813 troops deployed “on presumably secret assignment in places listed simply as ‘unknown.’ The Pentagon provided no further explanation.”It is not surprising that Washington’s war-spreaders do not supply information to the American public concerning the location of soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen involved in clandestine operations around the globe, because this might bring to light the lack of justification for ...
READ MORE
War Crimes Charges for the Hague Tribunal Against NATO Leaders
Accused of War Crimes: The British Prime Minister Tony Blair   WAR CRIMES CHARGES FOR THE HAGUE AGAINST THE NATO LEADERS – ONE OF THE INDICTMENTS IN THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL TRIBUNAL FOR THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA NOTICE OF THE EXISTENCE OF INFORMATION CONCERNING SERIOUS VIOLATIONS OF INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW WITHIN THE JURISDICTION OF THE TRIBUNAL; REQUEST THAT THE PROSECUTOR INVESTIGATE NAMED INDIVIDUALS FOR VIOLATIONS OF INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW AND PREPARE INDICTMENTS AGAINST THEM PURSUANT TO ARTICLES 18.1 AND 18.4 OF THE TRIBUNAL STATUTE. TO: Madam Justice Louise Arbour, Prosecutor, International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, Churchillplein 1, 2501 EW, The Hague, Netherlands. AND TO: President William J. ...
READ MORE
War Crimes: Agent Orange, Monsanto, Dow Chemical and Other Ugly Legacies of the Vietnam War
Fifty years ago this next month (December 1965), with the urging of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the rubber stamp approval of President Lyndon Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, the United States Air Force started secretly spraying the forests of Laos with a deadly herbicide that was known as Agent Orange. Operation Ranch Hand, whose motto was “Only We Can Prevent Forests” (a shameful takeoff of Smokey the Bear’s admonition), was a desperate, costly and ultimately futile effort to make it a little harder for the National Liberation Front soldiers from North Vietnam to join and supply their ...
READ MORE
How Jimmy Carter and I Started the Mujahideen
Q: The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs [“From the Shadows”], that American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan 6 months before the Soviet intervention. In this period you were the national security adviser to President Carter. You therefore played a role in this affair. Is that correct?Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, ...
READ MORE
The Geopolitics of American Global Decline: Washington vs China in the 21st Century
For even the greatest of empires, geography is often destiny. You wouldn’t know it in Washington, though. America’s political, national security, and foreign policy elites continue to ignore the basics of geopolitics that have shaped the fate of world empires for the past 500 years. Consequently, they have missed the significance of the rapid global changes in Eurasia that are in the process of undermining the grand strategy for world dominion that Washington has pursued these past seven decades. A glance at what passes for insider “wisdom” in Washington these days reveals a worldview of stunning insularity. Take Harvard political scientist ...
READ MORE
Disappeared People in Kosovostan
During and after the the Kosovo conflict in 1998-1999, the KLA abducted and kidnapped over 2,000 Kosovo civilians, Serbs, Roma, and Albanians that opposed the KLA, who were tortured and murdered. Ten years after the conflict, these 2,000 remain missing. Approximately 1,000 to 1,3000 Kosovo Serbs are missing and presumed dead. How did they die? UNMIK occupation forces have been reluctant to investigate these mass murders of Kosovo civilians. What happened to them? Evidence has emerged that the KLA ran a series of prison camps, in Kosovo and in Albania itself, where they tortured and murdered Kosovo Serbs, Roma, and ...
READ MORE
The End of Empire
The American empire is coming to an end. The U.S. economy is being drained by wars in the Middle East and vast military expansion around the globe. It is burdened by growing deficits, along with the devastating effects of deindustrialization and global trade agreements. Our democracy has been captured and destroyed by corporations that steadily demand more tax cuts, more deregulation and impunity from prosecution for massive acts of financial fraud, all the while looting trillions from the U.S. treasury in the form of bailouts. The nation has lost the power and respect needed to induce allies in Europe, Latin ...
READ MORE
CIA Was Aiding “Jihadists” before Soviets Invaded Afghanistan
Originally, there were four parties involved in the Afghan conflict which are mainly responsible for the debacle in the Af-Pak region. Firstly, the former Soviet Union which invaded Afghanistan in December 1979. Secondly, Pakistan’s security agencies which nurtured the Afghan so-called “mujahideen” (freedom fighters) on the behest of Washington.Thirdly, Saudi Arabia and the rest of oil-rich Gulf states which generously funded the jihadists to promote their Wahhabi-Salafi ideology. And last but not the least, the Western capitals which funded, provided weapons and internationally legitimized the erstwhile ‘freedom fighters’ to use them against a competing ideology, global communism, which posed a ...
READ MORE
Western Warmongers Killed 1.5 Million Muslims in “War On Terror”
“I believe the perception caused by civilian casualties is one of the most dangerous enemies we face.” – U.S. General Stanley A. McCrystal in his inaugural speech as ISAF Commander in June 2009. The dust had hardly settled on Russian airstrikes on ISIS positions in Syria before Western media reports claimed that ‘civilians’ had been killed “including women and children”. Leaving aside the dubious nature of these allegations – the first of which was made before Russian airstrikes had even begun, according to Putin – Western propaganda outlets and the politicians they serve are in no position to point the finger at Russia ...
READ MORE
The U.S. War Crime North Korea won’t Forget
Post-Maidan Ukrainian Anti-Semitism: Tragic “Blowback” Resulting from U.S. Interventionist Foreign Policy?
America’s Benevolent Bombing of Serbia
The Operation Barbarossa II File: But Who will Prosecute?
Islamic Extremists Establish Foothold in Kosovo and the Balkans
America and the Great Abdication: Don’t Mistake Donald Trump’s Withdrawal from the World for Isolationism
The Pope Оpenly Еmbraced Kosovo Secession in 1993
Israel Cannot Use Violent Self-Defense While Occupying Gaza
The Cold War is Over
A Note on the Crime Against Venezuela
Why are We Sending $38 Billion to Rich and Powerful Israel?
Washington’s Wars
War Crimes Charges for the Hague Tribunal Against NATO Leaders
War Crimes: Agent Orange, Monsanto, Dow Chemical and Other Ugly Legacies of the Vietnam War
How Jimmy Carter and I Started the Mujahideen
The Geopolitics of American Global Decline: Washington vs China in the 21st Century
Disappeared People in Kosovostan
The End of Empire
CIA Was Aiding “Jihadists” before Soviets Invaded Afghanistan
Western Warmongers Killed 1.5 Million Muslims in “War On Terror”
Global-Politics.eu

Written by Global-Politics.eu

SHORT LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The website’s owner & editor-in-chief has no official position on any issue published at this website. The views of the authors presented at this website do not necessarily coincide with the opinion of the owner & editor-in-chief of the website. The contents of all material (articles, books, photos, videos…) are of sole responsibility of the authors. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the contents of all material found on this website. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not responsible for the content of external internet sites. No advertising, government or corporate funding for the functioning of this website. The owner & editor-in-chief and authors are not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the text and material found on the website www.global-politics.eu

Website: http://www.global-politics.eu