Did anyone else catch this seriously weird piece by Thomas Walkom in the weekend’s Star? Titled “It’s time to end the Korean War” it offers Walkom’s penetrating insight that the only way to defuse the tensions on the Korean Peninsula is to “negotiate and sign a real peace treaty with Pyongyang”. Isn’t that brilliant? Thank Christ we have Thomas Walkom arround to give us such pearls of wisdom. Do you think the Nobel Prize committee is accepting nominations yet, because surely Walkom is a contender? (Although, given some of the past winners, that isn’t saying much).
In all seriousness, who publishes such nonsense? Of course the solution to the Korean War is to sign a peace treaty. Duh! But that’s a little hard to do when one party to the conflict is a neo-Stalinist totalitarian state (although, to be fair, the North Koreans do totalitarianism far better than Stalin ever did) governed by a dynasty of increasingly sociopathic midgets. And it’s even harder when said sociopathic midgets are hell-bent on imposing their style of totalitarian misery on the otherwise prosperous, democratic and free denizens of South Korea. In that context Walkom’s prescription for ending the Korean War can only charitably be described as… well… mind-numbingly stupid.
Oh, but it gets better. Because, in Walkom’s world, the problem isn’t just the North Koreans. It’s the Americans too. See, they didn’t withdraw from South Korea after the armistice ended the fighting in 1953, while the Chinese did withdraw from North Korea. So its the American’s fault, got that? The fact that the Chinese troops withdrew across the Yalu river – which is, what, 200 miles from the South Korean border? – doesn’t appear to have occured to Walkom. For the Chinese to withdraw from their own backyard isn’t really much of a concession. Whereas, if the Americans were to pull out of South Korea they’d be ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FUCKING WORLD AND AN OCEAN AWAY if the North Koreans invaded the South again (just like they were in 1950, when the North very nearly defeated the South before US and allied forces could stop them). That’s sort of an important point, don’t you think, Tom? Perhaps I’m being unfair. Thomas Walkom works for the Star, so might not be familiar with much of the world outside of the 416 area code, but still…
He goes on to say that: “To assign blame for the standoff on the Korean peninsula is a mug’s game. Most historians agree that the Northern troops did invade the South in 1950.” Wait, what? Historians agree that the North invaded the South, but Thomas Walkom has doubt as to where the blame belongs? Shit, had he been around in 1939, we’d be treated to columns about how Poland should have been nicer to Germany (“It’s time to end WWII, let’s sign a peace treaty with Hitler”).
One more time, Tom, North Korea invaded South Korea in an act of unprovoked aggression (on the assumption that the United States would not defend South Korea – Tom, think that has anything to do with why the South Koreans want the Americans to remain in South Korean as a deterrent against future aggression?). Period. End of Story. As between a naked aggressor and the parties (namely the US and its allies, including Canada) defending its victim (South Korea, although in fairness the biggest victims, by far, of the North Korean government, have been the North Koreans locked in a living hell for the past 60 years) from further aggression there is no moral equivalence whatsoever. That North Korea continues to threaten its Southern neighbour and has repeatedly attacked South Korea in various ways over the past 60 years (all while committing horrific crimes against humanity on the home front), while South Korea has evolved into a thriving democracy only drives the point home. Only a moral midget could suggest otherwise (happily, the Toronto Star appears to have an affirmative action program for moral midgets).
Look, I’m never going to see eye-to-eye with the Toronto Star’s politics or that of most of its columnists. And that’s fine, I like a good left-wing column even if I disagree with it. My problem with this article isn’t that it diverges from my ideology, it’s that it diverges from reality. Even for Thomas Walkom, it’s terrible.