Several important items made themselves more obvious than ever during the North Korea summit – the most important among them, that Koreans overwhelmingly support reunification, and view our increased military presence there as a hindrance to that end. If we have the gall to call ourselves champions of democracy (while history points frequently to the contrary), anything else that can be said about this event is secondary to the clear and present will of the Korean working class. But, since a materially complete understanding of what’s going on in the peninsula is crucial, we should carefully consider a few more things.
What we can conclude firstly, and this should be obvious by now, is that President Donald J. Trump would appear to operate on a random number generator at times. The things that make the most sense seem to satisfy his ego the most, so at least we know what motivates him. Other things don’t make as much sense, even to his closest advisors. Thankfully, random number generators do sometimes find correct integers at just the right time, and that was the case here – an agreement to end joint military exercises with South Korea in exchange for partial denuclearization was ostensibly the correct foreign policy decision to stumble into. It’s the type of thing that makes the trombone sounds in John Bolton’s head a fitting soundtrack to the sight of Lockheed Martin’s stock value taking a hit – peace isn’t good for business. Of course, that drove the hashtag-resistance wing of the Democratic Party downright bonkers, since their politics appear to do little more (if anything) than oppose Trump at every turn. That bring us to our second conclusion:
Establishment Democrats are clearly the left-wing of pro-war nationalism, and they’ve duped a lot of working-class people, wittingly or unwittingly, into repeating talking points that you commonly hear on the right.
No one has exposed this awkward position more clearly than Rachel Maddow, MSNBC political analyst and professional conspiracy theorist, who enjoys the same high ratings now as Sean Hannity did while Obama was in office, and for similar reasons. She even made sure to include, between waxing melancholy about how “Trump gave Kim Jong-un something he desperately wanted, except he gave it to him for free” (as if North Korea owes us something), that North Korea shares an eleven-mile long stretch of border with Russia, leaving her audience to fill in the blanks.
Sadly, this resulted in a deluge of social media nonsense dripping in red scare and yellow-peril. Pictures of the U.S. and DPRK flags were accompanied with commentary such as “the flag of freedom next to the most brutal, vicious, repressive symbol on Earth”, posted by people who, only a week prior, had no problem dismissing the flag as “just a piece of cloth” when the NFL ruled against their players protesting police brutality. While some of us on the far-left are still trying to figure out which one of those flags is supposed to be the “repressive” one, liberals on social media pledged allegiance to racist propaganda, parroting rhetoric that dehumanize Koreans as starving automatons laboring at gunpoint to a monolithic demigod, flinging highly-commodified anecdotal defector testimonies across the seven winds of Twitter and Facebook, all while complaining that Trump isn’t being imperialistic enough.
The final point is that, to quote a comrade, Kim Jong-un has been found guilty of crimes against humanity by a coterie of nations who built their entire empires on much of the same. The irony isn’t lost on the far-left in the United States, where nearly our entire working-class history was subsidized on the backs of African slaves, to whom the ruling class carries out the logical conclusion of that relationship through modern-day lynchings at the hand of our police force. Not to mention, our attempted genocide of its indigenous people under the banner of “manifest destiny” (an idea we’re pretty sure was embraced as “progressive” at the time) and our continued efforts to displace their descendants through privatization and pipelines. Liberals who have been silent about our allyship with Saudi Arabia, led by a Wahabiist who beheads dissidents in the streets and to whom the United States is all too eager to sell weapons, now have academic-level expertise in the field of “brutal dictators” without the Thesaurus to match. We’ve heard this propaganda before, and it all leads to the manufactured domestic consent for “humanitarian efforts”, that destabilize regions, leave them in worse conditions than before, and cause refugee crises while bolstering the ranks of terrorist organizations, all in the name of installing regimes loyal to the U.S. empire under the guise of exporting our uniquely Western sense of “democracy”. Much to the discomfort of liberals, we’re simply not buying it anymore.
Remember, though, that all of this takes a backseat to the central principle that Koreans have a legitimate desire to see this happen. A real wise guy once said “There is often talk of human rights, but it is also necessary to talk about the rights of humanity.” Koreans have a right to autonomy, democracy and unification. Their working class has a right to deal with their own ruling-class issues, just like we do, and I have faith in their ability to do it appropriately. In the 50s, we dropped 20,000 tons of napalm on their citizens, sending them into a paranoia-induced international anxiety that likely resulted in their current ruling-class issues and revisionism. We owe North and South Korea a real shot at autonomy and unification. They don’t owe us shit.