KOREA: THE CHICKENS COME HOME

Note (11DEC2017): This past week, H.R. McMaster, President Trump’s National Security Adviser, stated that these United States of America are sliding towards war with North Korea. Ambassadress Nikki Haley echoed his sentiments. By the way, despite the hysterical sensationalism in the media, sexual harassment — whatever that means — is not a crime nor is collusion. Part Three augmented.

In 1994, then-President Clinton lied to the American public about North Korea. He already had lied about Gennifer Flowers in 1992. Then, also in 1994, he lied about ClintonCare. In 1998, he was to lie about Monica Lewinsky.

Now, it’s 2017. The chickens hatched from his lie about Korea in 1994 have come home to roost. The following is an excerpt from the semi-fictional novel, Inescapable Consequences, published in late 2009:

“The woman Folly is riotous;She is thoughtlessness, and knoweth nothing.”  —Proverbs 9:13

I

President Park Duck-soo sat rigidly in the large conference room unable to speak.  To the others present, the ministers from his cabinet and the heads of the military, the man seemed about to go into shock.  Sitting somberly, silently, they awaited his words. Finally, one of his generals spoke, addressing the President, “Sir, are we going to ask them?”  No response.

The General waited a few moments for the President to answer.  “Sir, I say again.  Are we going to ask them?”  His voice projected a tone of urgency.

Eventually, the President answered.  He spoke softly.  “They will say no.  We went too far … too far.  You may ask, anyway.” He then waved everyone else from the room.  Sitting alone writhing in mental agony, he awaited the consequences of his folly.

II

For a number of years, anti-American sentiment in the Republic of Korea had been escalating.  Demonstrations occurred regularly, demanding removal of American military forces.  President Park had been elected on a platform of rapprochement with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to the north and of antagonism toward the presence of the American forces in the South.  He based his political strategy on the assumptions that American forces never would leave unless he ordered them out, which he had no intention of doing, and that American taxpayers would continue paying for the “privilege” of defending South Korea.  Besides, relations between the South and the North had been improving considerably.

American forces already had removed themselves from the daily lives of the South Koreans, whom they were defending against their cousins to the north.  The Americans occupied bases well to the south of the capital, Seoul.

It had been several months since President Kent’s last address to the American people, in which he had announced removal of forces by the end of the year from foreign countries refusing to provide compensation in full for the American presence.  During the interim, tens of thousands of South Koreans, mainly young people, held repeated celebrations in the streets.  President Park himself reluctantly marched in one celebratory parade.

“What choice do I have?” he had confided to an advisor.  “I must save face.  Think of my political opponents.”

During the period of those demonstrations, the American Ambassadress to South Korea, at the direction of President Kent, had tried repeatedly to persuade President Park to renounce publicly any desire for American forces to depart his country.  Her last attempt was an official written note to the effect that the United States would consider one more antagonistic statement on his part a material breach of the agreement between the two nations.  President Park’s response was an especially virulent speech daring America to leave immediately while his Ambassador in Philadelphia hastily scheduled a secret meeting with the U.S. Secretary of State.  The Ambassadress was shocked by President Park’s address to his nation.  She would have been more shocked had she been told of her South Korean counterpart’s message to the American government.

The day following President Park’s vituperative rant, President Kent had announced the withdrawal of American forces from the Korean peninsula.  One month later, the last American troops had departed.  Three days after their departure, hundreds of thousands of infantrymen from the North accompanied by armor, artillery, and air power crossed the 38th parallel, invading the South.  The second Korean conflict began.  The South Korean celebrations of American withdrawal ceased.

The attack from the North had begun at dawn.  That first day, the South Korean military mounted a respectable defense.  To his relief, the rockets that President Park had expected to descend upon Seoul had not appeared.

That afternoon President Park had met with his staff.  The question put to him by the General was whether to request the American forces to return immediately to the Korean Peninsula.  Until their recent departure, they had been there continuously since the first Korean conflict began in 1950, their presence keeping the North at bay.  “Pride be damned!” President Park thought while answering the General’s question.  The South Korean government instructed its Ambassador in Philadelphia to request an urgent meeting directly and personally with the American President.  The President felt too ashamed to telephone himself. That afternoon President Park had met with his staff.  The question put to him by the General was whether to request the American forces to return immediately to the Korean Peninsula.  Until their recent departure, they had been there continuously since the first Korean conflict began in 1950, their presence keeping the North at bay.  “Pride be damned!” President Park thought while answering the General’s question.  The South Korean government instructed its Ambassador in Philadelphia to request an urgent meeting directly and personally with the American President.  The President felt too ashamed to telephone himself.

President Kent met with the South Korean representative and listened to his plea.  He remained non-committal.

III

Clifford Kent absentmindedly placed the handset into its cradle, reflecting upon his just completed conversation. It confirmed his own thinking. Then, he left his office.

As he entered the conference room, everyone rose to greet him. He took his seat at the head of the table. Present were all members of the National Security Council and the entire Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The President opened the meeting. “Gentlemen, you know why we’re here. The North Korean military, now in total command of that country, has invaded the South. South Korea will lose. The North Korean generals recognize their inevitable victory and, therefore, are sparing the Southern cities and infrastructure. Having supported previously calls for American withdrawal, President Park now is requesting humbly that we return immediately to rescue him from his folly. I solicit your opinions.”

As the President had predicted, the discussion was lively. Most of the civilians were in favor of granting President Park’s request. Unanimously, the military were against it.

“Gentlemen, minus four plus four equals zero.” Those in his audience all responded with puzzled looks on their faces. “Allow me to explain. We sit here facing a troublesome situation. I propose using a scientific approach in dealing with it.” The puzzled looks became more pronounced. “Doing so requires four, initial steps … the negatives,” the President continued, “then four, additional steps … the positives. Putting the two series of four steps together, hopefully we resolve our problem. Minus four plus four equals zero.”

The President scanned the room. The puzzled looks remained.

“I’ll elaborate. Part One consists of four steps to describe the situation in question … the negatives. Then, Part Two consists of four steps to resolve that problem-situation … the positives. Adding Part Two to Part One equals zero … no problem … that is, if we’re successful.”

The President continued, “In a context of repeated abuses by the South Korean government and many of its people, an especially vituperative speech by President Park prompted us to withdraw our forces from the Korean Peninsula. As a consequence of our troops’ leaving, the North responded by invading the South. The invasion prompted President Park belatedly to change his tune and request our immediate return to assist in defending his country. President Park’s request now functions as the antecedent for this meeting. Our behavior will be a discussion of what best to do. The consequence of that discussion will be our reply to President Park.”

The President paused awaiting any questions or comments. There were none. Everyone looked uncomfortable. Some of the civilians were perspiring in spite of the cool ambient temperature in the room.

“Now, returning to the situation in question, I’ve described it in terms of context and the relevant antecedents, behaviors, and consequences. Turning to the resolution, I’d define the problem-behavior as an excess of military aggression by North Korea in the form of their outright invasion of the South. Any disagreements?”

No one disagreed. Everyone still looked uncomfortable.

“Amplifications or modifications?” the President asked. No one offered any.

“Then, let’s target a goal. To me, the options are clear.  A reunified and democratic Korean Peninsula appears out of the question.  Remember, the Communists have ‘nukes’ hidden, and our troops invading the North might provoke both a military and a financial response from China.  The only two options seem to be … continuing to have a partitioned Korean Peninsula with the South free from Northern domination … or having a reunified Korean Peninsula under domination by the Communist-government in Pyongyang.  Discussion?”A reunified and democratic Korean Peninsula appears out of the question.  Remember, the Communists have ‘nukes’ hidden, and our troops invading the North might provoke both a military and a financial response from China.  The only two options seem to be … continuing to have a partitioned Korean Peninsula with the South free from Northern domination … or having a reunified Korean Peninsula under domination by the Communist-government in Pyongyang.  Discussion?”

Those in favor of the former option, all civilians, argued that the United States should defend democracy against tyranny.  They argued that allowing victory by the North would encourage future military adventures, including those by China and other aggressive nations, to the detriment of American interests; an argument reminiscent of the ‘domino-theory’ from the Cold War.

In contrast, those in favor of the latter option, mainly the JCS, argued that, having withdrawn from the Peninsula, the United States had signaled to the North that it no longer would defend the South.  Returning American troops to the Korean Peninsula again would replay the kind of confusing communication for which American politicians had become notorious.  It would result in thousands of American casualties, destruction of cities in both the North and the South, and, as President Kent himself had mentioned, possible intervention by China.  Worst of all, once more, the United States might be fighting a war not to win.

The President listened closely to all statements by both sides.  Prior to his entering the meeting, he had made a provisional decision after a conversation by telephone with Admiral Fisch in Honolulu.  Still, the President remained amenable to possible change. After everybody else had voiced his say, the President spoke.  “Gentlemen, I have listened to all of you, and I have listened closely.  I must tell you that, prior to this meeting, I spoke with Admiral Fisch in Honolulu.  My answer to President Park’s request will be simple and direct.  He paused.  It will be firm and unqualified.  He paused again.  My answer will be …. “

(To be continued.)

© Gene Richard Moss (2009)
All rights reserved.

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