It is generally accepted among many Historians that a principal cause of the Korean “Police Action” was the Truman Administration and specifically Dean Acheson, Secretary of State, failing to make it clear that the Southern Rhee government (one can hardly call it a democracy) was part of the defense perimeter of the United States (speech at the National Press Club, January 12th 1950). Communist records made available recently (well, historically speaking) indicate that it was physical manifestations of U.S. disinterest like degrading the quality and quantity of U.S. troops stationed on the peninsula that were a more important factor.
But there is no denying it was a big, useless mistake on everyone’s part. If the U.S. had abandoned Korea to its fate the North might have succeeded in its Blitz. This was highly unlikely as Washington D.C. was already riven with debate over “who lost China?” and the Truman Administration could not afford another defeat politically.
Likewise, having enveloped and defeated the North Korean forces with the landing at Inchon, there was no prospect that Russia and China would tolerate an aggressive U.S. proxy poised at the Yalu River.
So, plenty of stupid on both sides. Slightly less than 1 Million dead and wounded, several Million refugees.
In the last few days it has been revealed that our airstrikes in Syria and Afghanistan, spectacularly expensive and ineffective by the way, were, in the minds of Very Serious People in the United States War Establishment, designed to “send a message” to North Korea.
If I were North Korea that message would be- get ready to nuke Seoul.
Frankly they could do it without the nukes, Seoul is no farther from the border than Washington D.C. is from Baltimore, about 40 miles, well within range of all that prepositioned and obsolete Russian artillery they have. In this case obsolete means “unlikely to survive” but it also means cheap. And effective? Artillery has been quite effective for over a hundred years, no rocket or nuclear science required.
Fortunately we have Colonel Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff to Colin Powell to straighten things out for us.
I really am alarmed when people make statements like that without the diplomatic finesse to deliver them properly. Strategic patience, as it were, has produced no war on the peninsula since 1953. That’s a pretty darn good record. Although I don’t know what he means by, “the period of strategic patience is over”.
I’m prepared, I think most Americans, and I know most Republic of Korea citizens – that is, South Korea – are prepared to be patient forever, if there’s no war in that forever.