Ever since the Second World War, the world seems to have become a more and more united place. But did it really? We created international bodies such as the United Nations and the European Union, the African Union and other political bodies with one single aim: to unite the world in the mission of securing peace.
The Berlin Wall, that has been a symbol for the division of both Europe and the World for about 10.315 days, is gone now for longer than it ever divided Berlin. Germany, divided since the end of the Second World War, celebrated the 25th anniversary of its reunification three years ago.
However, other countries are still struggling with the unification process and some countries, which are already united, seem to be falling apart again.
In times where the conflict between the Spanish government and Catalonia shows how disunited some already united nations can be, and where the BREXIT negotiations create an even bigger room to resolve Unity among European States, the confrontation between North and South Korea seems to dominate the world media thanks to the ongoing commentary of President Donald J. Trump.
Only a few weeks ago, in the State of the Union, President Trump referred to US politics regarding North Korea as a “campaign of maximum pressure” to guarantee that the North would never succeed in creating a nuclear missile which could reach the United States of America. He continued that “past experience has taught that complacency and concessions only invite aggression and provocation” and that the mistakes of past administrations will not be repeated. This tone dominates the State of the Union, whereas words such as “negotiation” and “diplomacy” are hardly mentioned in the context of North Korea.
An even more dangerous threat was made by the administration regarding a pre-emptive military strike on North Korean nuclear facilities to set back North Korean attempts to create a nuclear missile that could hit the USA.
This threat was condemned by Mr. Victor Cha, who was one of the candidates to become US ambassador in Seoul, South Korea, but he was eventually unceremoniously dumped after having condemned the above mentioned threat. Mr. Cha was the Asia Advisor under the Bush administration, and is a world known Korea scholar. He brings the necessary know-how to the table, which US ambassadors in Seoul usually lack. In an article Cha wrote for the Washington Post, he condemns the most recent threats of the administration as an “assumption that a crazy and undeterrable dictator will be rationally cowed by a demonstration of US kinetic power”.
Despite his critics against the administration, Mr. Cha’s article also lacks words such as diplomacy or negotiations.
These statements were all taken from official documents no more than one or two months ago and still they seem so different from the talks we have seen in the last weeks.
Right now the media is full of coverage of the big summit between Trump and Kim, the two peacemakers of the century, who scheduled a meeting, canceled it and rescheduled so quickly that the news could hardly follow.
We can just hope this article will be online before either Trump or Kim change their mind about the summit again, but either way we have to wonder about the actual significance of this summit. How likely is it that something is actually going to be changed? Trump and Kim, whatever their position in their governments might be, are only two people.
If we look at the population and what they want, we might get a better idea of what is going to happen:
The Korea Institute for National Unification, a State-funded think tank, published a study saying that 50% of the South Koreans under 30 years old are against the idea of one united Korean State, while only 20% support it. They never knew Korea before the division and have therefore less connection to the North Korean citizens. For the South Koreans, who are over 60 years old, the results are reverse.
Polls from the US are not much more optimistic. Many people in the US still believe that a military solution would be for the best, whereas other statistics also show that a huge amount of these people do not even know where North Korea is.
North and South Korea have been divided for longer than Germany had been after the Second World War, and we have seen the complications in uniting the capitalist socialized Western part of Germany with the communist socialized Eastern part.
Maybe things will happen very quickly from now on, or maybe nothing will happen at all. It very much depends on the question whether the summit is an actual attempt of finding a solution, of just a charade played out by two politicians.