Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Korea, the Wall that no one wants to fall.

The Korean War ended with an armistice, and thus, by technicality never really ended, not that it started "officially" for the US either. In the first phase of the war the Korean Peninsula was almost united twice. Once by the communists, and the Pusan Perimeter, and once by the UN forces right at the Yalow River. After the Chinese got involved, the lines went back to Seoul, then back to the 38th parallel, essentially where the war started. Unlike many of the Cold War's battles, it never had a satisfactory conclusion.

Much like the Berlin Wall, the DMZ in Korea was a scar across the land. It was a division across the land that divided once united peoples. Much like East and West Germany, once the walls went up, there was a solidification of the differences. When the Walls finally fell in Berlin, the East was granted access to the West, and all the benefits of a western society, full of on demand manufacture, a working power grid, and freedom from Soviet style "intelligence" services. The West got a mess it took over 10 years to fix.

There was also another legacy of the Berlin Wall. Once it fell, there was no way that communism in Europe could continue. No way for them to keep out the cultural and economic pressures that the West was so good at applying. Indeed the Soviets were already collapsing from the weight of their inadequate methods of manufacture (Ugo anyone?) their abysmal agricultural practices, and their social decay. The major question seems to be "why did it last so long?"

It has more to do with the fact that it was a stability factor. It prevented the Soviets from being Drastic and gave the West an easily defensible line of embarkation. The Soviets had to cross this line to start the War in Europe. The major powers of America and the USSR put pressure on their local client states to keep these divisions, because it was felt that it gave stability. If Germany had Unified in say 1960, what do you think would happen? the crackdowns nearly did force US involvement, and with Kennedy in charge, how effectual the Military would have been in such an intervention is highly debatable.

Well the cold war is long over. The Belligerent Powers have made peace, and Communism is actually rather like a joke on most of the world stage. Why is Korea still divided? You'd think a whole unified Korea would be good (eventually) for everyone. In the South, their embrace of Capitalism has lead to them to be an industrial, and economic powerhouse. They rival much of their own regional adversaries, like Japan and China. In the North there is Famine, and Stagnation. Both of which can be seen in the fact that North Koreans are typically several centimeters shorter than their southern counterparts despite being racially identical. One would think that (aside from those in power) the North would be clamoring for the benefits of the South. But that wall is not going to come down. Much like the Berlin Wall the regional (and world powers involved) don't want it to happen, but also unlike Berlin, the people inside Korea don't want it to happen.

To understand the outside influence, you have to understand that the North shares a Border with China and Russia. The Russians do not want to lose access to their ports, in that area because really that's one of the few port facilities Russia has access to that don't freeze up in winter. The Chinese do not like rivals. The Vietnamese and Chinese fought a terribly bloody war, after the US fought there, and the Chinese always are a little paranoid about invaders. They're paranoid about the nationalist Chinese in Taiwan, which, despite being given hardly any land at all and hardly any resources are constantly elbowing China in important markets, and most often doing the same jobs better quicker and more efficiently. If North Korea, which is heavily dependent on Chinese good will were to become as prosperous as the South, and indeed Unified, it is entirely possible that they might be forced out of many of the markets China depends on (in their own little way they did embrace capitalism in the end) and worse they wouldn't have one of their key playing cards against the US and the West.

In the "Free World" you have Japan, a long time rival and enemy of Korea. Pretty much every time the Japanese got sick of their little islands or wanted new land the first place they went was Korea. This explains why there is so many ethnic Koreans in Japan, they were often brought back and used for cheap labor, and with Japans inbuilt racial stresses, such gaijin are never allowed the benefits of citizenship. History of conflict between Korea and Japan is long, bloody, and probably too dull for most Westerners to muddle through. Indeed Korea would not even be divided if not for Japan. Japan fears the hatred they engender in the Koreans (rightly so) and a Unified Korea would not only be an economic threat (Japan's economy is not the best in the world) but a military one as well. The US, would be fine with it, so long as it did not cause regional chaos, though knowing our more Progressive "friends" they would preserve the status quo until Judgement Day

But wouldn't the Koreans want it? I point back to Berlin. It took 10 years to make the East as in anyway comparable to the West. How long do you think it would take North Korea, which has been run Piss Poor for decades, to recover? Never mind the constant animosity, of the North sending their special forces on "training missions" to kill South Koreans. The rumors of millions of artillery rounds being pointed at Seoul for over 60 years has not helped much. The anger and bitterness caused by the division would probably take almost a whole generation to heal.

With the Kim Dynasty passing on to the third generation, there were (initially) many people in high places that were worried that the relatively unknown Kim Jong Un would be unable to control his country. It is still possible that there could be chaos. If Kim Jong Un can not control his military, or perhaps worse, if he can only control a portion of his military, there is a potential for collapse, and civil war. A war which would *naturally* draw in most of the "belligerents" that have kept Korea divided. Throw in Nuclear Weapons in the mix and you reach a conclusion that many do not want to contemplate, which is why, many in the halls of power continue to hope that the Wall will stay up, and why no one has bothered to plan for the day when it *eventually* will fall.

Friday, December 23, 2011

How do you maintian Faith in a Faithless world

so there I was, it was February of 2003, I was in my first week of Basic Training. I was sitting there, on my first Sunday, just trying to get a little peace, and wishing for the nightmare to be over (DS Morton was plain up scary). I was tired, and aching in places I didn't know I could ache. I was pretty sure I'd never make it through.

Then the Chaplin was saying that we should look around and see some of the guys that came before us. The guys about to graduate. They had sat where where we had sat, and thought what we thought. He said they felt the same way as we did, that we couldn't do it. and he kept saying "you can do it"

Somehow he got through to my much sore and befuddled mind, and I looked up and saw this stained glass window. A soldier bent in prayer. It was so moving that I bust out in tears. Something that really hadn't happened before.

I suppose I could say it was an epiphany. A moment of clarity that changed my perceptions of what had come before. But really I think it was finally accepting a Faith that I had a base acknowledgement of, but this was more of a full acceptance.

Since then there have been several moments that had challenged, and reaffirmed the faith I found that day. But this isn't about how I found Jesus. Really I am not trying to convert you (whoever you are that might be reading this).

Actually the reason that I write this particular post is all about the ride of Atheism. Its not that I mind folks that don't believe in God. I'll live and let live. But here's the problem. Recently more and more "Humanists" who seek to tare down all religion. Not just Christianity, but that's the first target. You'll see things about the "myths" and why believe in God?

There's a flaw in this. You can see a correlation between times when this country has strong faith and when it is weak in its faith, and also it's overall strength. Economic Strength, Military Strength etc. What I think is really funny about these so called Humanists is that they talk about "freedom" from religion, and yet Religious people tend to be happier on the whole, and tend to live better lives. They spend so much time scoffing at something they never bother to understand. Laughing at metaphorical imagery ("where is that guy hanging out in the clouds") and completely miss out on just about everything else.

So why tare down Christianity? Why try to make it so its an "us vs. them" why isn't their way of life a live and let live approach like most of Christianity has? I think this is an attempt to force a certain almost Marxist sort of change. Sure we can't have the communist manifesto in full, but we can have a start by taring down the "opiate of the Masses". You can have "official" protection by misreading the preamble to the 1st Amendment, so that rather than protect our religious freedoms it's an excuse to take our freedoms away.

Sadly in this day in age, when someone talks about "freedoms" or "discrimination" you should probably pay extra attention. Its most likely that they want the exact opposite of freedom.

Friday, December 16, 2011

writting about the war

I have recently come to the conclusion that I should write a slightly altered account of the war, or rather take a story and fill it with real things that actually happened to me. Maybe throw in a few things that didn't but you know its not as easy as one might think. Writing about simple things is actually pretty hard. How much should be filler, should I just write and go, or should it be structured?

Names also give me fits. Some names just seem fake, so I try my best to come up with them, but lets tell the truth, everything I write looks like shit to mine own eyes, even if people around me say "oh my God that was good" I half think that most of those people are pulling my leg. But then there's always that small vanity in the back of your mind. You want to believe you're good.

I shared what I wrote about Craig's death with someone and it got posted on a blog I frequent. It got posted and the responses were quite humbling. I think now that the war is over people need to know what has happened. So for my brothers, I will try to write to the best of my ability.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Fuck 2011!

I would have to say if ever there a year that was utterly shit, It would be 2011. I mean I thought my 13 months in the WTB were bad, but this year takes the but fuck cake. How you say? Well let me start off with January:

So first week of school, I was staying at the House (I loved living in the KA House) and got wicked sick. It was not good. Missed the first week of school. THEN my father died. That threw my semester out the window. You could understand the depression that followed. Then the chapter lost its charter. The one bright side of January to May, was that Osama died. And Fuck him very much.

So then I was living in the KA basement for almost a month. Believe me when I say that sucked ass. Homelessness is a bitch. So then I get the pipeline job in NY, and fuckers fire me after 7 days. Which royally fucked up my financial plan and made me feel even worse. The girlfriend at the time was not helping matters much. She wanted all my attention, and to tell the truth she was getting beyond unhelpful. Yeah drama is like a magnet to me.

So now I've got a job at walmart. It sucks ass and the pay is a bitch. I've been behind on my bills despite earning more than ever. It really doesn't make sense, but what can you do? Thankfully I've been working out at the Rec, and I've actually lost a lot of weight. That's probably the reason I haven't offed myself sooner. This year has been fucking insane.

Oh did I mention Helen got married? Wonder-fucking-FULL!!! She's so happy I could gag. So to the fairer sex all I've got to say, is really you suck.

So now I've got to pay through the nose to try to get registered. It is something I might talk about later. But for right now. FUCK 2011!!!