There is a frightful interview with Dean Rusk -- the second-longest serving US secretary of state, and one of the two American military officers tasked with dividing Korea on Aug. 10, 1945, using a rudimentary map -- that should be required viewing for every student of contemporary Korean history and of the 1950-53 war.
The decision to bisect Korea was enacted in blatant defiance of expert warnings, disregarded the most basic and most essential needs and wishes of all Koreans and caused catastrophic havoc, trauma and destruction. Korea, as a divided country -- with millions of its people murdered at the hands of the genocidal Kim dynasty in the North, a regime never democratically elected -- has yet to substantively recover.
Rusk’s retrospective comments lay bare the unambiguous component of racism within such unscrupulous and callous maneuverings.
In the footage, captured while he was comfortably retired and enjoying his “golden years,” the controversial figure discusses the legacy of his friend Dean Acheson, who was secretary of state under the Truman administration and during the 1950-53 war. Rusk’s ghastly choice of words -- divulging his and Acheson’s juvenile and categorically inexcusable aversion toward international non-white ethnic minorities -- is one of the most shocking and damning indictments of post-World War II allied politics in Korea that I’m aware of. Even if Rusk -- in an unguarded moment -- simply was conveying what he and Dean Acheson had harbored within their hearts, this is still the case.
Rusk implicated that both he and Acheson were unapologetic “omni-racists.” In the footage, accessible on YouTube, he stated, “Well, Dean Acheson was a brilliant man. His interests, really, were concentrated in the North Atlantic in terms of his own strong sense of personal commitment. After all, he had played a large role in the building of the Marshall Plan and the construction of NATO. And, from a geopolitical point of view one can understand why this North Atlantic relationship was looked upon as fundamental. He had less interest in the ... little yellow, brown, black people in various parts of the Earth.”
Search “Dean Rusk Korea” and notice how his eyes animate with unaccountable hatred at the impromptu pause preceding those profoundly disgusting words. It’s vile and revolting -- further his divulgence contains consequential, far-reaching ramifications which must be assiduously evaluated and comprehended.
A 2003 article in the Los Angeles Times reveals then-US President Harry Truman was no better. The commentary noted that, although most people may not realize it, “Truman’s bigotry comes as little surprise to historians who have studied the man and his career.”
Truman made “ugly comments” about a diversity of non-white ethnic minorities as well -- and clung to such despicable and immoral prejudices throughout all phases of his life. The Associated Press reported in 1991 that he “expressed strong racist sentiments before, during and after his presidency” and cited a letter where Truman arrogantly and unashamedly boasted of “race prejudice.”
Trump has been reprehensibly singing the praises of an American president deemed even worse.
Andrew Jackson is reported to be Trump’s “favorite president.” But Jackson, the seventh US head of state, has been called the “American Hitler” for masterminding unmitigated evil such as the opprobrious Indian Removal Act and the Trail of Tears campaign of forced relocation, which killed thousands of innocent people.
A March 2014 article in Slate magazine called Andrew Jackson -- who owned and sold slaves -- a “mass murderer” who “engineered a genocide” and was responsible for “ethnic cleansing.”
Trump has reportedly hung a portrait of one of history’s worst men in the Oval Office, saying in March he was a “big fan” of the white supremacist. “Andrew Jackson had a great history” he pronounced at an April Town Hall event.
He tweeted on March 16: “Andrew Jackson: We thank you for your service. We honor your memory. We build on your legacy & we thank God for the USA!” to the legitimate moral outrage of innumerable individuals and communities.
In a 1994 exhaustive study, historian David Stannard asserted that the genocide of Native Americans -- weighed in its entirety -- marks the “worst human holocaust the world had ever witnessed ... consuming the lives of countless tens of millions of people.” Trump’s remarks are unnervingly insensitive and may instigate intractable tensions.
Trump blurted ominously to the Washington Examiner on Sunday, “North Korea weighs on me, but we have to be prepared for the worst. We have to be prepared to do what we have to do. We cannot allow this to go on.”
In an April 28 interview with the National Interest, Daniel L. Davis, a senior fellow at Washington-based think tank Defense Priorities, indicated that the chances of war on the Korean Peninsula at the current time are “very high.” When asked to give a percentage, he cautioned as high as 75 percent.
A commentary by Davis entitled “Before Fighting a Costly War With North Korea, a Strategic Reassessment” published the same day, underscores that there is no coherent logic in America attacking North Korea militarily to “pre-empt” Kim Jong-un from acquiring a nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile.
“But even if Pyongyang were to successfully build such a device -- no sure bet -- what logic would there be for him to use it?” Davis writes.
“The United States is reported to have 6,800 nuclear weapons and could, therefore, vaporize their country several times over, while North Korea would likely not get more than one shot. What possible reason would Kim Jong-un have to take actions that would not accomplish his objectives but guaranteed to result in his destruction?”
In a Sunday interview, a Fox News anchor put before Trump’s national security adviser,
“They have thousands of short range missiles that are aimed at Seoul, a metropolis of 25 million people. ... If we were to launch a pre-emptive strike against their nuclear program, their missile program, we’re talking about human catastrophe, aren’t we?”
In his response, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster -- who, in the same interview, indicated Trump’s demand for South Korea to pay $1 billion for an anti-missile system was subject to “renegotiation” -- acknowledged military action would signify this.
What would be the impetus which enables Trump to feign that military action, by way of preventive strikes, is justified?
“So, it is their -- the sixth nuclear test is what it would be, combined with the ballistic missile program that poses a grave threat to the United States and our citizens, as well as our friends and partners in the region.”
Fox’s Chris Wallace asks later on, “But, precisely to that point, can you envision a situation where North Korea becomes such a threat that we’re willing to take that risk of a fuselage of short range missiles hitting Seoul, a metropolis of millions of people?”
His alarming answer in full, before they moved onto other topics, “What the president has first and foremost on his mind is to protect the American people. And I don’t think anyone thinks that it would be acceptable to have this kind of regime with nuclear weapons that can target, that can range the United States.”By Robert Park
Robert Park is a founding member of the nonpartisan Worldwide Coalition to Stop Genocide in North Korea, minister, musician and former prisoner of conscience. The article reflects only the views of the writer. -- Ed.