Korea: the danger from without

By Sam Marcy (July 28, 1994)

Once again, as happened over four decades ago, Korea is in the forefront of international news. As in the earlier period, the question is whether a war is in fact pending in that area of the world.

Long after capitalism is abolished and its imperialist vestiges have been uprooted, people in the West will wonder why, for so long, Korea was discussed and written about only from the viewpoint of its strategic and military value. Its cultural significance and its rich history are rarely referred to except in history books and encyclopedias. Presumably, Korea's only historic significance is its strategic value to imperialism.

Not only Korea is treated this way, of course. A host of other nations, large and small, are considered in bourgeois historiography only for their military significance or their deposits of valuable natural resources such as gold, silver, oil and, more recently, uranium.

We must leave it to socialist historians to present a more progressive and revolutionary view of Korea. For now, let us consider the peninsula from the viewpoint of the danger it may face as a result of the imperialist bent toward adventurism.

Some months ago the U.S. deployed a large Naval task force in the waters around Korea. There is no logical reason for this--except that imperialist strategy dictates that too long a period of peaceful relations may reflect itself in Pentagon cutbacks, most particularly in Naval expenditures.

Two Koreas?

In this context we have to consider what passes in imperialist journalism as the "problem of the two Koreas"--the socialist Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea in the north and the capitalist regime in the south. There would be no such problem had it not been for imperialist intervention, first by Japan, then by the Western imperialists headed by the U.S.

That left Korea divided in two--as Germany was, as Ireland is today. The progress of capitalist development over a long period led to the unifications and divisions that currently exist on a global scale.

In the case of divided Korea, the task of anti-imperialist and progressive forces is not to heedlessly promote either separatism or unity but to consider most seriously how to rid Korea of imperialist influence altogether, so as to give the people a chance to determine their own form of national development.

The present period is of exceptional importance because of the death of President Kim Il Sung, the long-time leader of the DPRK who guided revolutionary Korea and developed it as a socialist country. The DPRK may face a danger from without for no other reason than that the imperialists may be tempted to take advantage of a transition period in the government in order to strengthen their own ambitions.

However, the Workers Party of Korea has been preparing for this transition for some time. There is nothing in the record that would cast any doubt on the new leadership to be selected by the Korean Workers Party. As much as they try, the imperialist media cannot produce credible evidence of an internal struggle in Korea that could be grist to their mill.

As the progressive and anti-imperialist forces throughout the world should expect, the south Korean puppets of U.S. imperialism have done their best to utilize this period to deride both Kim Il Sung and the person expected to succeed him, Kim Jong Il. The latter has been taking on greater positions of responsibility in the party, government and military.

The Seoul authorities are responding to the promptings of U.S. imperialism, which wants to poison the atmosphere of friendly relations developing between the people of north and south. If anything proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that the south Korean leaders are merely puppets, it is that they have not abided by the most elementary norms of diplomatic courtesy--even those that the imperialists apply during such periods--and have refused to send a message of condolence to the north.

This indicates they are isolated from the mass of the people and fearful that any demonstration of respect for Korea's revolutionary leaders will encourage real unification on the basis of popular support for the program and leadership in the north.

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