The Demilitarized Zone Is the New Berlin Wall. One That Can Explode Into a Global War Any Minute.
The West and the Free World face the new East and the new including China, Russia and North Korea on the DMZ.
It used to face the Soviet Union on the Berlin Wall until 1989. Now the US Japan and the ROK are facing the China-Russia-North Korea block on the DMZ.
THE DMZ POWDER KEG
64 years ago, the United Nations/United States, North Korea and China signed the Korean Armistice Agreement at P’anmunjom which established the new border between the two Koreas, the cease-fire and the return of the combined 160000 POWs. The first mistake made then was that no peaceful settlement was ever concluded. The absence of such settlement certainly is putting oil on the fire 64 years later. The Korean War was an unfinished war.
The Vietnam War has demonstrated that a conflict involving two ideological states cannot conclude peacefully. Ultimately North Vietnam conquered South Vietnam. So will North Korea conquer South Korea or will South Korea create a regime change in P Y that will make the reunification possible? But the ROK and its allies win and invade the territory of North Korea, will China ( who was a signatory in the armistice agreement ) engage the UN or whatever coalition that will take shape, go to war with this coalition and then bring Russia into it? WWIII would then be unleashed.
Not to be forgotten, the First World War took place along lines of trenches too. Tanks were the main new technology tested during WWI. Treatment of POWs and civilians was still handled in the old ‘gentleman’s’ way, except in barbaric countries like the Ottoman Empire.
The Second World War took place along the Danzig line and then went on to expand everywhere. Warplanes and large scale air bombing raids were amongst the main technological advancements tested during that war, culminating into the atomic bombing of Japan in 1945. Treatment of entire populations suddenly became atrocious, mostly due to the fact that enemies fought on ideological lines and not only national ones.
The Cold War symbolic line was located on the Berlin Wall. Many hundreds of new technologies were tested during the Cold War. Ill treatment of prisoners, civilian, military and non-uniformed combatants reached levels of atrocities unheard before. National conflicts, ideological conflicts became all intertwined. They prompted slaughters of entire populations as had never been seen before.
We could forecast that World War III would allow the belligerent governments to test killer robots, new aircraft operating in lower space as well, artificial intelligence on the battlefield and countless other deadly and ultra accurate technologies. The ill-treatment of human populations and non-human combatants would reach new heights of surgical atrocity and mass extermination although contained in space and time thanks to the superiority of modern technology.
Demonstrated by the fact that the DMZ is the most heavily militarized border in the world, the incoherence of the cease-fire is further reinforced when we just saw how North Korea has just violated many of the stipulations by launching missiles into the adjacent seas. It seems clear that North Korea has gotten some sort of informal option of, if not approval, at least no reaction or commitment of containment on the part of China and Russia.
A retrospective of the events between 1954 and today clearly demonstrate why the Korean conflict is an unfinished business that will find an unpeaceful solution soon.
In 1954 the Geneva Conference failed to find any solution. Nuclear-equipped artillery was deployed in the ROK in 1958. The armistice was reaffirmed in 1975 and 1996 but no real solution to the conflict was implemented. The real change happened in 2009 when North Korea announced that it no longer respected the armistice. Two or three years earlier, their government had just reinitiated the escalation by launching their first missile program.Two military incidents took place in 2010, opening a spiraling military confrontation that has reached warlike level a week ago, after six to seven years of unstoppable escalation, both rhetoric and militarily operational.
Similarly the 1954 Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone was supposed to separate North Vietnam from South Vietnam at the end of the First Indochinese war. But we know today how the North Vietnamese victory over the brave but betrayed French colonial contingent paved the way for the invasion of South Vietnam by the communist legions. The city of Hue located about one hundred kilometers south of the Vietnamese DMZ was the close equivalent of Seoul’s ROK today, with the difference that it is the capital of the ROK, while Hue was only a regional capital, even having a historical status.
There exist about fifteen DMZs in the world today. Eighty-four international boundaries conflicts are documented and some of them are presently hot spots, like the Spratly and the Paracel islands. Saddam Hussein viewed the Iraq-Kuwait barrier as an illegal separation between what he saw as two parts of Iraq, causing one conflict in 1991 and the total occupation of Iraq after 2003.
The Korean DMZ is now the next source of conflict in the world, as I previously explained in a paper I published in 2006 on the triond forum, which I believe is no longer active.
The DMZ is the only world land mine exempted area in time of peace. Four tunnels were dug over the years from the 1970s to 1990 by North Korea to attempt penetration of the ROK. In a flagpole war, both Koreas build monstruous flagpoles facing one another. The North Korean flagpole is now the fourth tallest in the world. During the height of the cold war, hundreds of soldiers died in skirmishes, small battles and even an assassination attempt on the president of the ROK in 1968, the most communist oriented year of the second half of the twentieth century. There may be a Korean Wall, like the Berlin Wall, dividing the Koreas, although its existence is denied by the US and the ROK. However it is absolutely certain that the DMZ prevents North Koreans to leave North Korea as the Berlin Wall did with Berliners seeking freedom from the totalitarian regime. The gravest threat coming from the DMZ is related to the concentration of sixty percent of all North Korean artillery pointed toward the ROK, and in particular Seoul located only 10 kilometers from the DMZ, even closer than Hue was from the North Vietnamese DMZ. The atrocious destruction that could be inflicted on the ROK is unfathomable. We know that the North Korean regime means its threats, especially now they are flying Hwasong-12 missile over the Hokkaido region in Japan. In spite of the presence of a Civilian Control Zone and a Neutral Zone inside the DMZ there is no guarantee that they would deter in any conceivable way the potential for both sides to unleash hell on each other.
In conclusion, the DMZ offers the combination of many elements to fuel an asian powder keg similar to the Danzig corridor and the Berlin Wall. No peace treaty exists and the war can restart in the blink of an eye. The present international political climate is favorable with threats of war everywhere: the Indian-Chinese border conflict reignited in the Doklam Plateau area between Nepal and Bhutan, the competition over the South China Sea opposing a group of seven or eight nations, various tensions over the world opposing minor and major powers, and the omnipresent danger of the reactivation of the so called class wars, in particular since Chavez and now Maduro of Venezuela, have progressed toward the instauration of a so-called Fifth Internationale, and the ridiculous theories of a ‘socialism for the twenty-first century’ inspiration. These many signs of international instability are a growing concern to all the peace-loving citizens of the world, whether they stand on the right or on the left side of the political spectrum.
© 2017 Lothaire Beaumont