When people look back on history, they don’t remember the day-to-day events. The chaff, in other words, between the big moments.
The Human brain loves patterns. Stories. Connections. These are things we are good at, naturally. Things that decades of computer science still hasn’t been able to replicate. When playing in an online casino, do we clearly remember the times we won a few cents here and there, or do we remember the big payoff?
It’s the same for history. We remember and retell history as a story, with important chapters presenting the most interesting parts. The Battle of Waterloo. The Black Death. Chernobyl. The invention of the Telephone. Even the small things, like Martin Luther King’s famous “I have a dream” speech.
That’s why it’s important to notice and appreciate historic moments as they happen, such as Donald Trump crossing the DMZ- the first USA president to do so ever.
The Trump Administration
After Donald Trump's incredible win in 2016, one of the fears many Americans had was his approach to foreign policy (among all the other fears Americans have attributed to Trump). Looking back into 2016, it's not hard to see why.
Donald Trump during his campaign was and still is, very brash, outspoken, rude, and not very presidential. Since America's international relationships were already shaky after the Bush and Obama presidencies, how Trump would handle and treat foreign dignitaries was of great concern to many.
There were many who were willing to believe that Donald Trump's attitude on Twitter could trigger a war with places like North Korea. However, I honestly don't think anyone could have predicted Trump's actions in regards to North Korea, or their apparent success.
A Brief History of the Korean Situation
To take a few steps back, I should explain why merely crossing the DMZ (DeMilitarized Zone) is so important.
Back in World War Two, Imperial Japan conquered Korea, and when Japan was defeated by the allies, the area was divided in two. The North was controlled by the Soviet Union, and the South by the United States. In 1948, when reunification agreements failed, two separate states were created. The Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea in the north, which wasn't democratic, republican, or for the people. In the South, the capitalist Republic of Korea was formed.
In 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea, backed by the Soviet Union (indirectly) and China. South Korea survived only through American support, and in 1953, a ceasefire was called and the modern DMZ line was established.
The two countries have not declared peace to this very day.
While South Korea prospered under it's democratic and capitalistic system, North Korea is a communistic dictatorship, with concentration camps, secret police, propaganda television, and radio, armed with nuclear weapons.
With the fall of the Soviet Union, and China distancing itself from North Korea economically, North Korea has become politically isolated. In other words, desperate, and a cornered animal is very dangerous. Since South Korea is the most likely to be hurt from a war with North Korea, it's been America's interest to protect their ally as best they can.
The Trump Approach
Enter stage left: Donald Trump. After some initial bowing up on Twitter, followed up with military movement.
Then, something unexpected happened. Kim Jong Un agreed to come to a summit.
Then, Trump surprised everyone by complimenting Kim Jong Un and North Korea and even showed them a happy, optimistic, movie representing a future North Korea at peace, complete with modern infrastructure, beachside resorts, and theme parks.
And do you know what happened?
North Korea agreed to further meetings, and talks, and even agreed to return the bodies of fallen American soldiers, nearly seventy years after the Korean War. And now, three years into his presidency, Donald Trump has stepped onto North Korean soil peacefully.
I don’t think anyone could have foreseen this, and I don’t think anyone held much hope for real peace with North Korea. However, many, including myself, might very well be proven wrong.
And that’s a good thing.Updated Date: 08 July 2019, 18:57