60th Anniversary of Korean War
Compiled from various sources
This year is the 60th anniversary of the Korean War. For most people today, that brutal contest of human wills, with millions of casualties on both sides, which brought humanity to the edge of a nuclear blast, is too distant to worth mentioning anymore.|
But for the Chinese who have enjoyed one of the longest spans of peace, the Korean War should always be remembered, and the sacrifices the Chinese people made to defend their motherland and the contribution they made to world peace in the harshest conditions should never be forgotten. For the American people, the war should be equally worth remembering, in the words of General Clark, who signed the first document of cease-fire without victory.
In 1972, President Nixon came to China and said to the then-Chinese leader Mao Zedong, "Mr. Chairman, you have changed the world." For the president of the most powerful nation in the world to acknowledge that a leader of a poor Third World country had changed the world, the world must have really changed.|
The Americans realized the world had changed in 1950, when the Chinese leaders decided to enter the Korean War to resist the most powerful nation in the world in defense of their motherland and in support of a friendly neighbor. The Chinese had claimed that the world had changed the year before when the People's Republic was founded. But the Western powers, particularly the United States, refused to recognize that the world had changed for them and for the Chinese.
When General MacArthur was asked what if the Chinese intervened in the war, his answer was quick and resolute, "It would the biggest manslaughter in human history." General MacArthur was not wrong. Before the founding of the People's Republic, the Chinese military lost almost every encounter it had with foreign powers for a little over one hundred years.
With the stigma of the sick man of the East, nobody was willing to take the Chinese seriously. General MacArthur and other world leaders were not willing to accept the fact that the world had changed until they were shown what their opponents could do to them.
Before the founding of the People's Republic of China, the rule of the game in the world was that the powerful would do whatever they pleased, and the weak had to put up with whatever they had to put up with to survive. In the words of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, they will deal with Western countries according to international law, but they will deal with Third World countries with preemptive strikes.
They would bomb a Third World country first before they argue why they bombed it. If it turned out that the reason for bombing was unfounded, they would tell you that it was collateral damage. One cannot blame the Western world for what they did to the Third World country. They have been able to get away with that for so long that it has become an instinct of the powerful nations. In order to change that existing culture of the world, the Third World countries have to be willing to fight to defend what is theirs.
If you are not willing to fight to defend what is yours, the powerful will take it as consent for them to take it from you. If one desires peace, the best guarantee is one's willingness and readiness to fight against the aggressors.
Some Chinese, in an effort to improve relations with the United States, want to forget the Korean War altogether. They do not recognize the significance of the Korean War for China, the United State and for the whole world. The significance of the Korean War is that it laid the foundation for the Sino-US relations.
Without that contest in the Korean War, the US would have continued to refuse to take China seriously, and would not have given the People's Republic of China the respect it deserved. Without due respect, there would be no solid foundation for China and the US to build a mutually beneficial relationship.
Some people in China today argue that China's entry into the Korean War was unwarranted because the US goal at the time was not to invade China. These people are both ignorant and naïve. Yes, Truman's initial order to MacArthur and the United Nations force was to repel the North Koreans back to the 38th parallel. But with his initial success, General MacArthur readjusted his goal to wiping out North Korea completely.
By the time Chinese volunteers entered the war in October 1950, General MacArthur had ignored several Chinese warnings, and the American and South Korean forces had advanced to the Chinese borders. General MacArthur began to talk about his goal of reversing the results of the Chinese Civil War and of introducing Chiang Kai-shek's forces into the Korean conflicts.
The old Chinese saying, Delong wangshu, (after getting the Long territory, Shu became the next target) accurately describes human behavior. Many people read too much into the fact that General MacArthur was dismissed by Truman in the end. He was dismissed because the Chinese volunteers had inflicted huge casualties on the United Nations forces. If the Chinese did not enter the war at that time, the world we live in today would have been very different indeed.
When China entered the Korean War, General MacArthur demanded authorization to use 30 nuclear bombs on the Chinese Northeast to create a radioactive wall so that China would no longer be able to continue the war.
Many people would like to label MacArthur as crazy. The truth of the matter is that he was not crazy at all. He was very normal, just as Truman was normal. Truman did not hesitate to use nuclear bombs against Japan. The Truman administration designed 10 plans to use nuclear weapons to attack the Soviet Union before the Soviet Union developed its nuclear bombs in 1949.
China was saved from a nuclear disaster not because of American good sense. It was saved because of US fear of a Soviet retaliation on China's behalf. Later, the US offered the French the use of nuclear bombs in Dien Bien Phu, which was rejected by the French.
During my mother's childhood, her family suffered from air raids twice and was robbed three times. As I grew up, listening to my mother's childhood stories of these bombings and robberies, in my childish mind these kinds of things would not happen again. Today, as I study world history and politics, I feel almost certain that these kinds of things can happen again to China if the Chinese people get complacent, and forget the hard-won lessons of the Korean War.
China is a peace-loving nation. But it does not matter how much you desire peace, you can never relax your willingness to defend yourself. Without the willingness and readiness to defend yourself, you do not deserve peace.