So what was MASH about? There was a movie that was good, with Elliot Gould, but then the TV show was simply great. It was about Korea, nominally, but it was also very much about Vietnam and the futility of war. Kissinger is doing something similar here. He’s writing about Korea, but he’s saying a lot about Vietnam.
He brings up Saddam Hussein of course and this is a reference to the 1990 invasion of Kuwait, wherein the US “kicked the Vietnam Syndrome” according to President GHW Bush, and Kissinger is comparing N. Korea and Iraq’s suprise at the US reaction. Neither believed the US would act if they invaded.
They shouldn’t have been suprised though. In 1946 Truman wrote a letter we saw in the documents asserting we needed to make a strong government in Korea. Though in 1950 American planners (like German and Russian planners we saw earlier) were only really planning on the possibility of a general war and a general war in Europe no less. That they were able to keep Korea from going general was of course a great thing. Despite claims that our line of defense did not include the Korean peninsula (look at a map) that was only in relation to a general war, but in this now limitited war, the US and the UN would and do respond.
The struggle between Truman and MacArthur, China and Taiwan, N Korea and Stalin and the USSR all bear some consideration. Any reference to Indochina/Vietnam should also be noted. You also know, that N Korea, like Cuba, remain isolated states today, perfect examples of the policy of containment.
There never was a peace signed in Korea. Its still a hostile border. Looking back at my blog from last year I was pointing to the then current event of N Korea shelling S Korea and killing four persons. That the study of history is very much the study of today has rarely been clearer.