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The war between North and South Korea was mainly viewed as a silent tussle between capitalism, represented by the US and Communism, represented by the then Soviet Union and The people’s republic of China. The war which began in June 1950 lasted only 3 years and left in its wake an estimated 3,000,000 people dead, most of them civilians. Historians put a number of suggestions as to why the US, under President Harry Truman entered the war. These are: the growing concern over communism occasioned by the cold war, the Soviet intervention in some European countries such as Turkey and Greece and also the fact that they weren’t the only nation that possessed the atomic bomb anymore. (The Soviet Union had successfully experimented with it in 1949).As a result of the 3 year war, the whole of the Korean peninsula was completely bombarded. The country became even more divided along ideological lines as the Southerners became increasingly anticommunists, and the Northerners Choosing to let China play a major role in their rebuilding after the war, still supported communism.
Scenarios of Possible Outcomes
In 2002 the Bush administration leveled accusations against North Korea accusing Pyongyang of secretly having a highly enriched-uranium programme. From then till early 2003, Washington and Pyongyang were engaged in an exchange of words before China initiated calls for a diplomatic mediation to try and resolve the stalemate. The underlying issues that necessitated the mediation process can well be explained with an insight into one of the major players in the six party talks, China.
It is easy to deduce that the Chinese really don’t want the situation to escalate into military violence as this would spell doom for the economic gains in Northeastern Asia and especially China. Also it is evident that the US would not hesitate to explore military options as in the case of Iraq, especially after the former US president labeled Kim Jong Il a tyrant. Strong mediation tactics as seen from China might in the long run succeed in making North Korea cede ground and provide concessions for a peaceful end to the crisis. Bearing in mind that North Korea is positioned in one of the most under institutionalized regions of the world, any mediator that engages the US and North Korea in direct bilateral talks is faced with a daunting task (Samuel, 2006). This might have had a more clear approach if North Korea had in place a constitution that reflected the will of the people and not that of the leadership (H5).
However if at any rate the mediation process fails to address fully US concerns for North Korea to abandon its nuclear enrichment, military confrontation is very likely bearing in mind that North Korea would retaliate in a bid to ensure regime survival(H1). This would in turn pull other players (UK and China) who might be reluctant into the ensuing war (H2).Countries that have fragmented and individual civil societies are not likely to take sides as their political leadership fears suffering possible defeats in elections as a result of these civil societies sensitization of what is real to the people. This perhaps explains why the UK has cold feet over North Korea.
Both the US and North Korea have accused each other of not honoring key elements for the implementation of the joint statement. News reports suggest very little has been achieved of late. With the odds being virtually against the mediation process due to the stands taken by the US and North Korea, it is impossible for the crisis not to generate into an armed conflict. This however can be countered by the fact that there was a political shift in the US occasioned by the 2008 general elections, and the current administration might be interested to prolong the mediation process. Military confrontation with North Korea will result in the birth of insurgency as is the case in Iraq (H7). Accelerated acts of terrorism might be witnessed bearing in mind the biggest looser would be North Korea. The war will thus succeed in making North Korea a failed state.
Samuel Kim, 2006. The two Koreas and the greater powers. Cambridge University Press. Web.