War History, the Bush View

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by lancslad, Aug 24, 2007.

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  1. This morning's "Today" newspaper in Singapore is running an interesting article re GWB and his interpretation of war history. The bit that caught my eye specifically, and I quote verbatim, is:

    "Mr Bush declared that US support had turned South Korea into a model for developing countries across the world including the Middle East..."

    I haven't read too much on the history of the Korean conflict - most of my understanding is via MASH :D All joking aside I'm curious as to how S. Korea can be seen as a "succesful" model for anyone - particularly a flashpoint such as the Middle East?

    On the one hand I appreciate there has been little formal conflict since the truce but you're still left with the model country as one of the most heavily armed countries in the world, still in theory at war with its "slightly unstable" neighbour and maintaining a border with that neighbour which is more than a little volatile.

    Anybody else think GWB has about as much awareness of "war history" as a pygmy in the Amazon rainforest :D

  2. Could it not be the comment is referring to economic manipulation – aka it’s kiss butt or die time and we’ll let you kiss ours, rather than the military model?

  3. Let's not allow dislike of Bush cloud the fact bthat South Korea is a success story. The fact that "peace talks" are still going on does not detract from that.
  4. They make nice little cars :D The Yank like big ones like their burgers :)
  5. In reality yes but to put the quote in its full context, GWB was emphasising the reasons as to why the US should stay in Iraq and continue to fight. His reference to S. Korea was used as an example of how the US has stayed put and in his opinion it eventually had all turned out ok. Japan was a similar example and to some extent Vietnam was also an example where he stated that the price of the US withdrawal was "paid by millions of innoent citizens".

    Over breakfast this morning it just seemed strange that GWB considered S. Korea to be a "model". Economically it is a fair point - but he seems to me to be missing the point that a model where over a million soldiers face each (however peacefully) other over a contested border isn't really the ideal.

  6. I agree with you lancs. Then arguably the economic prosperity of the south was a showcase result of another ‘race’ between Communism and Capitalism. 8O Korea was supposed to be stabilised in ’45, then given to free election for self-determination. Surprise, surprise, the Communist managed north produced a pro-Communist candidate and the ‘Western’ managed south a pro-US one.

    Though I’m not over fond of ‘ifs’, if the advances and occupation of Europe had gone differently in 44/45, we could well have had an Iron Curtain falling through several eastern European countries instead of on defined boarders – yes accepted some were redrawn yet again. As it was, the prime example was Germany.

    If GWB wants to quote examples of American ‘help’, why not pick from Central and South America? :wink:

  7. Agreed. South Korea has done quite well economically, socially, and politically (there have been alot of protests and demonstrations there, but one could argue that that IS a healthy sign of a democracy)

    Doesn't change my opinion of Bush, but I'll allow him to keep this one
  8. Perhaps he had in mind the comparison that S. Korea went through a (longish) phase of being run by corrupt pro-western cliques entirely dependant on the west for their survival and rabidly anti the west's enemy du jour. Yet it turned out ok in the long run.

    Or is that crediting him with a little too much grasp of history?
  9. Schaden

    Schaden LE Book Reviewer

    Wish they'd just be honest and say "We're here to get our hands on the OIL!!!" rather than all this crap about how concerned they are about what might happen to the population when they leave...yeah right.
  10. Agreed. But don't forget that the west started out supporting a dictator in the South, Syngman Rhee, who whilst not being on the rarified nasty level of some dictators was still an unpleasant, corrupt, power-grabber. But who else was there?
    -Western servicemen had very little time for the government or in fact the people and didn't really want to be there, so there is a parallel
    By persisting over time, and with western contacts, and a lot of hard work, S.Korea has come quite a way. Yes they are still technically at war with the North, and the young men have to do a couple of years hard national service. But they do have relative peace and prosperity, which they certainly did not have at the end of the war.

    So yes in a way GWB is right, if you stick in and support a corrupt bunch then in about 30 years you should have quite a nice country, and make a decent car.
    Mind he is forgetting that the Iraqis don't have an asiatic work-ethic, and that Korea was divided politically not religiously or ethnically, but for him that is not a bad bit of homework.
    - Young George is making definite progress, and while not yet having a full grasp of his subject there is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. But needs to try much harder.