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Can the United Nations be blamed for the current situation in Korea? (Part 7)

Can the United Nations be blamed for the current situation in Korea? (Part 7)

Of course MacArthur is not the only individual that might be put to blame for their role in the Korean divide. The South Korean leader Syngman Rhee, chosen by the USA, had no intention of allowing a united Korea because, tyrannical as he was, he would never be re-elected in fair democratic nationwide elections. Indeed Jon Halliday notes that “Rhee was against ending it. The USA maintained Rhee in power at the cost of keeping Korea divided.” Though he held little power in reality and was dictated by the US, they needed him to govern as they wished just as much as he needed their support so his importance should not be underestimated. Furthermore, North Korean leader Kim Il Sung, like Rhee, had reason not to want a united Korea. Kim Il Sung had been struggling for power for some years and it was the Soviet communist influence, thanks to the divide in Korea, that allowed him to seize power. Lankov compares Kim Il Sung to Stalin in his rise to prominence, slowly removing all opposition until he and his accomplices reigned in an unchallenged dictatorship. Though it was Kim’s nationalistic policies and “burning ambition to unite Korea” that had made him popular, once finally in power in the North, like Rhee, he had no intention of risking losing it in nationwide fair elections. Finally, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Chairman Mao Zedong might shoulder at least some of the blame for the continuation of a divided Korea. The CCP had established itself as the head of Chinese government in 1949 following a century of humiliation, civil war and foreign influence in China. Therefore Mao was eager to seize upon any opportunity to prove China’s worth to the world. When the US pushed into North Korea near the border with China Mao deployed hundreds of thousands of troops (though the original numbers are contested) to push the US back to the 38th parallel and out of the communist North. Though Mao likely did this as an act of power and not to prevent a united Korea, the fact is that his actions caused stalemate in Korea, from which it has never quite recovered.  


Blaming Communism is most certainly how most orthodox scholars approach the current situation in Korea, and they’re not entirely wrong. Though the paper thus far has applied heavy blame upon the shoulders of the USA for their aggression and to the United Nations for their weakness and corruption, the USSR were no better than the USA, and China’s intervention was arguably the final blow preventing a united Korea. The Soviet Union was the chief supplier of weapons and technology to North Korea. In fact if the North Koreans do have nuclear weapons at present as they claim, one can be almost certain that they were supplied by the USSR during the Cold War years. As long as the USSR backed the North there would never be peace in Korea. Indeed in a report sent to Malenkov on the situation in Korea the Soviets discuss future plans to move the government to Seoul in South Korea, which assumes that the communists have by that point taken the entire Korean peninsula by force. It was the North, after all, backed by the communist ideal of liberation through revolution, which first invaded the South and initiated the war. Also, one of the main criticisms of the US is physically entering the war yet the USSR, though they tried to deny it, did in fact send some ground troops but more prominently Mig-15 fighter planes into Korea. As Krylov explains throughout his book, Soviet MiG-15 Aces of the Korean War, the USSR painted over the Soviet flag on the planes in an attempt to hide their origin. Nevertheless, though they were more subtle than the western forces, the USSR still played as much of a role in further instilling an ideological divide in Korea.



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