A recent visit to the Korean War Veterans’ Memorial in WEST Potomac Park, Washington DC was very memorable. “DC” as they call it is rammed with memorials. Of all the ones I saw on my recent visit, the Korean War one was certainly the most moving. There is a wall where the images of those involved in the war are sand-blasted, plus some sculptures of troops on a recce (see my photo above).
Nearly three million people lost their lives in the Korean War from 1950-53. I doubt whether anything would be achieved by a repeat performance (which is what we seem headed for at the moment). Indeed, I suspect that Kim Jong-Un wants a repeat, given that his grandfather came badly unstuck in the process.
In Sunday’s New York Times, Blaine Harden wrote:
…deep in his dictatorial DNA, Kim Jong-un surely knows the risk of provoking a full-scale war with the United States. It did not go well for his family the last time around. During the Korean War (1950-53), his grandfather — Great Leader Kim Il-sung — cowered in bunkers as American bombs flattened his cities and legions of his people died.
There is also guidance from history as to how perhaps to bring about a peace accord with the North Koreans. When I visited the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Atlanta, Georgia, last Wednesday, I read a board which said this:
In the early 1990s, nations around the world feared that North Korea was determined to possess nuclear fuel that would be used for nuclear weapons. The United States had no direct communications with North Korean leaders and threatened economic sanctions. North Korea responded that sanctions might lead to war. In June 1994 President Carter and Rosalynn travelled to North Korea, helped avoid a confrontation, and began talks that led to a new agreement between the United States and North Korea.
The agreement referred to was the “Agreed Framework“. And it should be noted that “President Carter” was not President in 1994 – Bill Clinton was. (Americans use former job titles for people for the remainder of their lives).
But those words are uncannily similar to the current situation.
Surely there is a need for some sort of moderator to open discussions with North Korea. If not the US Secretary of State, why not a recently former President, or, at the very least, Dennis Rodman? The former basketball seems to be the only American which Kim Jong-In is talking to these days.