The shadow of war has hung over the Korean peninsula for six decades — almost a lifetime. That is how long the Korean people have been waiting for a peace treaty to be signed since the fighting ended in 1953.
By not sitting down with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and agreeing to a peace treaty, the State Department and Pentagon ensure that a state of war remains in place. They then invoke this as “justification” for the continued presence of tens of thousands of U.S. troops in south Korea.
The guns have not been silent during this incredibly long period of armistice. On the contrary. Just this month, the U.S. conducted not just one but two huge military exercises aimed at the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea — the socialist northern half of the peninsula.
Operation Foal Eagle, which runs from March 1 to April 30, was joined by Operation Key Resolve on March 11. Pentagon press releases insist that these annual exercises — among the largest in the world — are purely defensive training maneuvers. But together they deploy some 200,000 south Korean and 10,000 U.S. military personnel in maneuvers that simulate the invasion and capture of northern cities. (One gung-ho U.S. soldier posted photos at businessinsider.com taken during the 2008 exercises that look eerily like the U.S. invasion of Iraq five years earlier.)
The DPRK is completely justified in taking this threat seriously and strengthening its defenses against another attack. The corporate media here, however, react as though the north Koreans were on the borders of the U.S. threatening war — instead of the exact opposite being true.
Even as the budget axe is falling on every conceivable needed social service, the Pentagon has announced it will spend $1 billion on a “missile defense” system that is supposedly to protect the people of Alaska from the DPRK. Like the billions wasted on underground “fallout shelters” during the Cold War, this money is being thrown away so military contractors can rake in the profits. It has nothing to do with anyone’s security.
At the initiative of the Korea Alliance of Progressive Movements, based in Seoul, south Korea, the International Action Center and other groups in the U.S. have joined the Campaign to Stop U.S. Aggression on the Korean Peninsula. The campaign calls on people around the world to take photos of themselves holding signs calling on the U.S. to “End Sanctions Against North Korea,” “Stop the U.S.-South Korea Joint Military Exercises” and “End the Korean War, Peace on the Korean Peninsula Now!”
The photos are being sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and will be used in a mosaic at press events in south Korea.
This is a good start at helping people understand that U.S. hostility toward north Korea goes along with the Pentagon’s new “pivot toward Asia.” Workers here need to know that imperialism — the drive of big capital to dominate the world in its quest for superprofits — is what’s behind both the growing war danger and the hardships that millions here are suffering as jobs dry up and the gap between rich and poor grows wider every day.