The solution to Korean Unification

 

The U.S. has refused to relax economic sanctions against North Korea. Moon had previously pressed for the easing of such restrictions and sought to resume stalled inter-Korean economic projects such as a joint factory park and mountain resort. U.S. President Donald Trump opposed a request by South Korean President Moon Jae-in to resume economic cooperation with North Korea at a summit on June 30, the Yomiuri newspaper reported.

More than half of South Korea’s university-age students now possess a positive view toward Korean unification. That’s according to a new poll conducted by the National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee. The survey was conducted in early November, canvassing more than 1,000 university students nationwide. Unification of South and North Korea present many problem beyond ideological differences.

  1. Economic Consequences:  South Korea’s GDP is many times multiplied over it’s North Korean Counterpart.  The gross domestic product (GDP) of North Korea is estimated to be $40 billion in 2015, according to the CIA’s World Factbook, which has not given any updated GDPinformation since that date. In terms of GDP per capita, North Korea had a per capita GDP of $1,700.  The South Korean FDP is estimated to be over 1.531 trillion USD (2017).  If unification took place, the South Korean portion of the peninsula would be largely responsible for developing its Northern counterpart, although on a plus side, the North Koreans have a vast military and its own natural resources. In due time, it could supply the South Koreans with many benefits. Its a short term cost versus a long term investment.
  2.  Political Involvement:   If Korea returned to its former empire of the Joseon Kingdom, who would be its ruler? Kim Jong Un or Moon , Jae-In?  This would arguably be the largest hurdle. The people of both North and South Korea would have to hold a new election in order to bring in a fresh new government. Would the government be capitalist or communist in nature? Would both leaders be willing to give up their own power in order to bring about unification?
  3.  Foreign Influence:  If you study the history of Korea (Joseon Kingdom), you will quickly learn that the North and South are merely consequences of the Cold War between Russia and the United States. After the end of WW2, Russia (then USSR) and the USA, divided Korean ownership into two nation states. Much like what happened in Germany and Vietnam. In a sense, the Korean struggle is a proxy war between the USA and communist Russia. Until the Korean people realize that they are essentially puppets of the old USSR and modern United States of America, they will fail to see the con-artistry that was placed upon their brethren. If the North and South unite, they will arguably be one of the most powerful nations in the world. This is contrary to the interests of China, Russia, and the United States. Many of these so called “peace-talks”, are merely for show, and the Koreans must be privy to this.
  4. Assimilation:  Once unification happens, most Koreans will defect to the south since it is more economically sound than the north. How will the economy absorb this? How will the culture be affected on a local scale? How will society integrate them? Many reports already show North Koreans being discriminated against in the southern regions due to them being far behind in terms of education and physical health. How will North Korea’s military weapons and natural resources be combined with South Korea’s military power and natural resources?
  5. Cooperation from Foreign countries:  China, Russia, and the United States all have an economic and political stake in the Korean Peninsula. All three countries must be on board with this assimilation. By combining both Northern and Southern provinces, the peninsula could theoretically obtain vast powers that could rival China, Russia, and the United States.  Just as President Moon has recently attempted to create a joint business venture with Chairman Kim in the form of a joint factor and vacation resort transcending the DMZ, American President Donald Trump, blocked such a measure stating that North Korea must agree to reduce its nuclear program even more so. We must trust South Koreans in their attempts to negotiate with North Koreans. The United States, Russia, and China must all work together by taking a step back and allowing the people of both North and South Korea to negotiate their own affairs. Sometimes, doing less is akin to doing more. President Moon and Chairman Kim must take more initiative in negotiating the sovereignty of their kinship by relying less on foreign powers; specifically Russia, China, and the United States. Nobody knows the Korean people better than those who speak the language and live in the culture of the Korean Kingdom formerly known as “Joseon”.    The Koreans of both the North and South have far more to gain than the Russians, Chinese, and Americans have to lose.

My grandfather, Sargent James Edwards Watkins of the US Army, fought in the Korean war, who is now deceased, would love to see a unified Korea. Economically, politically, and socially, it would not be an easy task, however, in the spirit of freedom and liberty, I believe that perhaps after 10 or 20 years post-unification, Korea could very well become the most powerful nation in east Asian and quite possible become beacon of hope and a positive example to all countries within close proximity within the region including the South-East Asian portion.

Through localization of alliances and communications within the east and southeast regions of Asia, I believe that the Korea peninsula can become a shining example of social and economical prosperity and responsible power.   Militarily, North Korea is quite capable, socially and economically, South Korea has much to offer. If both regions were to successfully reunite, I truly believe that the region could become a leader in the United Nation Security Council and perhaps replace China as one of the “P-5” nations appointed to the UN on foreign affairs. The Korean peninsula is unique in the sense of its economic and military power. Under the right circumstances, I believe that this unification could create a new force in the region that could fundamentally preserve peace, prosperity, and human rights.

The sinful karma of the Cold War must be accounted for. The sins of the past, if healed correctly could restore the former honor of Korea as it once held prior to the Japanese invasion of 1910. North Koreans and South Koreans have one thing in common, they are Koreans!  They speak the same language, and have the same blood coursing through their veins. They must no longer allow themselves to continue being the consequence of the Cold War between Russia and the USA. Until both the North and South Koreans can realize that they are merely puppets to foreign forces, they will be blinded by their own selfish ambitions and never truly realize the power they are capable of as a shared race of people.

To the people of Korea, I say to you, GOOD LUCK and 감사함니다 (thank you), for listening to the words of a humble Migukin (American), who truly loves, respects, and admires the resolve of the Kingdom of Korea. Please continue to fight for the sovereignty and prosperity of your land, absence of foreign influence or manipulation. Take charge of your bloodline and reclaim what is rightfully yours! Only the Korean people can solve the problem of the Korean people. The Americans, the Russians, and the Chinese are merely hurdles to overcome. In the end, it is up to the Korean people to realize the strength and beauty of a reunited culture that will be soon known as the restored Kingdom of Korea.

  • Randell Stroud
  • Nalini-Global
  • 2019

It’s time we stop bullying our Veterans and LEOs

 

When it comes to veterans in our nation, there appears to be one of two attitudes held towards their presence.

  1. “We love our Veterans! We support them no matter what! “
  2. “Veterans are just tools of a war machine who deserve what they get!”

While many conservatives will never criticize the military or police no matter what, other political ideologies such as liberals, libertarians, or anarchists, will sometimes spit on the service of veterans by calling them, “tools of the government”, and other derogatory terms, — The truth is somewhere in the middle, as is in most cases of “This Vs That” issues.

Yes, there have been servicemen  and police who have acted inappropriately in their service.  The Mahmudiyah rape and killings involved the gang-rape and killing of 14-year-old Iraqi girl Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi and the murder of her family by United States Army soldiers on March 12, 2006.  In other cases, many Vietnam veterans have admitted that they killed Vietcong soldiers and wore pieces of their body parts as trophies.  And yes, it is true that many military conflicts are fought on bad intelligence or for malicious profit or gain.

However, there are also many accounts of soldiers who disobeyed orders that went against their conscious and/or later spoke out against things in their service they disagreed with. Soldiers are not mindless drones! They are usually very intelligent people.

A good example is Major General Smedley Butler, America’s most decorated marine in modern military history, who wrote the book, “War is A Racket”, which exposed the corrupt money-making schemes involved in overseas wars. Smedley, emphasized that soldiers should only be made to protect their country, not to police the world or fight on behalf of money hungry politicians.  Very brave and intellectual statements indeed!

Many liberal leaning people, often criticize our servicemen as being mindless robots for the US military, but this couldn’t be farthest from the truth. Every person who wants to serve our country is required to take an oath to the US constitution, a legal instruments that formed the foundation of our modern legal system to which the average American cannot even recite.  When our nation is threatened with an outside attack or an internal attack of gigantic proportions, the military is deployed to handle the crisis. These men and women spend their careers honing their combat, administrative, legal, and survival skills in order to protect those in their community.

While I agree that it is the duty of Americans to arm themselves and take part in the protection of their communities, our servicemen devote 100% of their time towards this effort, thus, they are experts in this field. Because we have a military, we can walk through the streets, fly through the air on our airplanes, and travel the world, knowing that there is a military force that is trained and ready to protect us from invaders.

People join the military for all kinds of reason. Sometimes those reasons are selfish other times they are purely out of duty and love for one’s country. Regardless of the reason, the soldier enlisted is employed to serve a primary duty of protecting his/her people. This rings true in all armies around the world. Without a military, in the event of an invasion, poorly trained citizens would have to band together with limited supplies to combat such a threat. While not totally impossible, the consequences would be disastrous, most likely leading towards the breakdown of their society.

When soldiers are sent off to fight and die in conflicts that appear to have little to do with our national security, please do not criticize the soldier. Criticize the policy maker who ordered their deployment! Criticize the commander in chief if you wish, criticize your state’s governor if you wish, criticize our lack of spirituality if you wish, but do not criticize the soldier.  Most soldiers that I know who are stationed in Iraq or Afghanistan want to come home, many agree that the wars have gone on far enough, they don’t want to participate in such actions.  Yet, when they are deployed and the bullets firing towards them from insurgents begin, they have no choice but to fight back, all because of a policy maker who decided that military action was necessary.

Servicemen can be seen as “tools of the government”, but only when “we the people” do not support them and speak out for them. In the 1960’s, many Americans were forced to deploy to Vietnam under Draft provisions. Anyone who refused to enter into the military under a draft order was sentenced to prison. These young men who were forced to kill, fight, and see their friends die, were spat on and ridiculed by the anti-war movement and were often called, “Baby killers”.  These men were forced to fight in an unpopular war under threat of law, yet were ridiculed for attempting to survive such a desperate situation.  These events were totally unfair towards our veterans.  This is why Vietnam Veteran Era soldiers have some of the highest incidents of PTSD.

Contrarily, because of strong opposition from the American public with displays of nearly constant protests regarding the Vietnam war, politicians felt the pressure and eventually brought home our troops after being in the area for 20 years.  Our troops now face a similar situation in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our troops have been there for 17 years . Despite early protests from the modern anti-war movement, in recent years, these wars have been mostly forgotten about by the public.

President Obama announced a supposed end to the Iraq war in 2011, yet to this date, there remains over 30,000 troops permanently stationed in the country whereas Afghanistan remains as active as ever in terms of conflict. These wars appear to have no end in sight.  But who is at fault? Our servicemen or our law makers?

Our servicemen have only a few things in mind when it comes to their service.

  1. I must protect my nation
  2. Protect my family
  3. survive

Politics are of little concern to soldiers. In fact, the “Uniform code of military justice”, a codified legal system governing enlisted soldier behavior, bars public criticism of the President and missions in order to protect moral during combat.  Perhaps every year, congress should take a vote from our soldiers who have boots on the ground, or make true congressional declarations of war; such reforms would be highly beneficial in my opinion. Regardless, there is still no merit in criticizing individual soldiers or police to the degree we have been.

Let’s say you work for Nike, Reebok, Toyota, Burger King, HCA, or any major corporation.  It is pretty safe to say that all of these corporations have probably committed some atrocious act at some point; Harming the environment, treating employees badly, using forced child labor, ect.  Because you work for a corporation that sells products using unethical means, does that mean that you yourself are evil? Probably not. You are probably just happy to have a job in order to feed your family or perhaps you really love the product but secretly wish that the company operated more fairly.

I think our soldiers and our law enforcement officers feel the same way. They are doing a JOB! A job that often includes things that they disagree with but must carry it out anyways. Occasionally, an employee may speak out or rebel, but he/she does so at risk of losing their job or even their life in some cases.  If we as a society want to reform a corporation, reform a military, or reform a government, being angry with the actions of the leaders of such an organization is a normal response. But to criticize those who carry out the functions of that organization are not always warranted and are often gray, murky, and situational.

If you truly support our Veterans or if you truly disapprove of the missions they are involved in, be a part of the solution instead of simply espousing hatred towards such an entity. Bring together your community, show solidarity, make it clearly known to policy makers how the public is feeling, boycott, get new laws passed or repealed and use diplomatic methods to reshape these institutions.

The best way to support our veterans, those who stand between us sleeping safely at night or being invaded by those who wish to do us harm, is to get involved in politics in order to prevent needless wars and to support those injured soldiers who return home from these wars.  Our servicemen and law enforcers, while not always behaving perfectly, are essential to preserving a free society. When these men and women who are trusted with keeping our lands relatively safe act out under bad leadership, we should seek to reform the system, hold individuals accountable, work aggressively towards preventative measures of a repeat incident.

While I agree that it is not healthy to worship servicemen and policemen as flawless gods, it is also not healthy to put all servicemen and policemen into the category of “corrupt”. Our servicemen and policemen are also individuals with their own opinions regarding war, politics, and society. They are serving as a collective yet still deserve to be treated as individuals. Just as it is not fair to stereotype a race or religion, it is also not fair to stereotype those who are employed in a certain profession, whether it be the lowly cashier or the badge wielding police officer.

Honor and dishonor exists in all areas of employment. Some employees will take pride in their jobs, seeking to obtain a leadership position in order to improve conditions for everyone, whereas others will do just the bare minimum because they just want survive and get by.  Unless you are living off the land living like the amish and making your own clothes by scratch, odds are, we are all somewhat guilty by association in terms of the things we buy, the places we work at, and/or the things we say to each-other.

No one is innocent. 

However, when it comes to the military, less than 1% of Americans serve.  It’s a job that is totally necessary yet less than 1% of our population is willing to do it. Some say our veterans do not deserve the benefits they get, while others say they deserve more.  I say, if its a necessary job that less than 1% of our population is willing to do, then I’d vote that they get MORE benefits.

If you hate the wars, if you hate the policies, if you hate the way things are run, start your own or seek to reform them. It is that simple! Criticism is necessary for a dialogue to occur, yet, eventually some action has to come next to create a solution. Some problems are never completely cured as problems often evolve or devolve. Regardless, someone has to care enough to do something about it and i’d bet every last cent I have that most soldiers have no desire to unnecessarily harm others, and most police officers don’t want to unnecessarily ruin people’s lives.   We must stop picking on the “foot soldies” and criticize those who are calling the shots, the law makers and the CEOs who make the final stamp on an order.

Just like in all systems or ideologies, it is the “bad apples” who give the harvest a bad name.  As a person who is interested in running for office someday as a congressman or senator, instead of bashing the actions of policemen and servicemen, I am more interested in talking to them on ways we as lawmakers can improve our system, make it more fair, make their jobs easier, and less stressful.

If we as a society are comfortable with criticizing policemen and our soldiers because of bad leadership, we should be consistent and also protest the lowly cashier who works at a fast-food restaurant which serves unhealthy food to our public.  As Jesus Christ once said,

“Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone.”

or as a great rapper once said,

“Don’t hate the player, hate the game.”

 

  • Randell Stroud
  • 2018
  • Nalini-Global

Filipino President, Duterte, receives criticisms over “Drug War”

Since taking office in June of 2016, President Duterte, has been a strong proponent of increasing sanctions against drug users and sellers, and by “sanctions”, I mean death.  While many countries such as Denmark, treat drug issues primarily as a medical concern rather than a criminal one, the Filipino president appears to have reversed this European precedent.

The 45 years long war on drugs in the United States, is also a very controversial topic that mirrors many of the same criticisms. Whereas the United States boasts the largest prison population on the planet, primarily caused by harsh drug laws, the Philippines is going a step further by using death as a means of punishment instead of incarceration or rehabilitation programs. On the surface, it may seem to be a swift strategy of “no tolerance” against the destructive nature of drug manufacturing. However, just like in any “war”, innocent casualties will also become a factor. The government has said over 3,800 were killed in legitimate anti-illegal drug operations. Human rights groups peg the number of deaths at over 13,000, but the administration has dismissed this figure as overblown.

Duterte recently scaled back his drug war, tapping the smaller Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency as the lead government body to enforce the campaign and relegating the police force to a supporting role.  This resulted in the Philippine National Police to terminate its controversial house-to-house anti-drug campaign “Oplan Tokhang” (knock and plead).

These “door step” trials can sometimes result in “trigger happy” officers firing on innocent people, house pets, or minor children, such as in the case of  17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos, who was dragged past a basketball court into a dead-end screaming, “Please can I go home. I have school tomorrow”. He was given a gun and told to run, whereas he was essentially killed by a firing squad. A perfectly staged killing set up by public servants against their own citizens.

Just as in all forms of law enforcement, there must be a balance between deterrence through punishment and a gentle hand of compassion in order to change the law, repeal the law, or rehabilitate the offender. A society ran on fear will never flourish just as in the days of Feudal Japan or the Monarchy of Britain that ruled over the American Colonists.

New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said world leaders should raise concern about Duterte’s war on drugs, which has seen thousands dead, mostly from the urban poor.

“Surely someone from among the 20 world leaders at these summits can confront Duterte about his horrific and unprecedented ‘drug war’ killings,” Brad Adams, HRW Asia Director, said in a statement.

The President’s son, Paolo Duterte, 42, appeared last month before a senate inquiry to deny accusations made by an opposition lawmaker that he was a member of a Chinese triad gang who helped smuggle in a huge shipment of crystal methamphetamine from China.

President Duterte pledged to protect police officers should they decide to murder his son if the allegations are indeed found to be true, in a speech made to the public. President Duterte claims that the law is not exempt for anyone under his Drug War parameters, including himself or family members.

Protesters soon rallied afterwards holding signs saying, “Stop the killings!”, “No rule by Martial Law”.  Many of the protesters grew up in the era of the Marcos family who ruled over the Philippines for years using Martial Law tactics that involved extra-judicial killings and suppression of free-speech alongside the ban of private gun ownership.

Duterte responded to the protesters by saying, “I would be happy to slaughter the 3 million drug addicts in this country”, whereas he went on to describe any children killed in the drug war as “collateral damage”.  Leaders in the Catholic church, the country’s dominant religion, have also spoken out against these harsh tactics used in this drug war.

Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, denounced the drug killings at another mass on Thursday, saying Catholics must do more than lighting candles for the dead and helping orphans. “Stand up. To keep quiet in the face of evil is a sin,” he said.

President Duterte is still in the early stages of his presidency. It isn’t too late for him to turn things around and have a change of heart. Like many great leaders, good intentions often pave the way to hell. While few doubt that the president doesn’t means well in his effort to solve the drug use problem in the Philippines, few agree that instituting a civil war against your own people in order to solve that problem can be a viable remedy.

We pray that world leaders will discuss alternative methods of curbing drug use in the Philippines with Duterte during upcoming conferences. Perhaps, such conversations will also influence American leaders who have also refused to adopt a more European approach towards solving drug use problems with medical solutions rather than criminal solutions. Currently the United States is spending over $51 billion dollars a year on drug enforcement measurements. A figure that many argue could be funneled into more productive rehabilitation programs. We can only pray that Duterte and other leaders who use similar tactics will be paying attention to the words of protestors and human rights organizations in the coming months leading up to a new election cycle.

 

Nalini-Global

2017

Randell Stroud