The quest for American hegemony in Asia…starting with the Korean War
All most people know about the Korean War is that it was dubbed the “forgotten war.” They may not fully understand that it occurred at the height of anti-Communist blacklists, the purges of so-called “red” journalists and movie stars and so on — and that all this resulted in a media blackout. The tangled sequence of events leading to the Korean War were obfuscated in plain sight in order to prep the ground for a never-ending Cold War which aims to secure enduring American hegemony in East Asia, above all else.
In spite of every effort to conceal the details of the Korean war as it was happening, the well-beloved journalist I.F. Stone copiously documented it in full, producing an important document from the time with lasting significance for all of us today. Stone looked at openly available US intelligence sources, the actions of Chiang Kai Chek and the like, and demonstrated indisputably — via 600 citations— that there were those in the U.S. government and military who saw instability in the region as in the U.S. national interest. Stone made a strong case that the Korean War was a proxy war that sought to lay the ground for long term American dominance in Asia.
At first no one would touch Stone’s findings – they were too hot. But Stone got in touch with Monthly Review (then a magazine started with writing by the likes of Einstein) and this was the first book it published. Courageously written at the height of the McCarthy era, officials never refuted nor denied the book’s claims, but Stone’s book still got a real audience due to the durable reputation of the journalist himself.
Join us for a discussion co-hosted by the Korea Policy Institute’s Christine Hong and Martin Hart-Landsberg as they talk with the writers of the book’s new introduction. Tim Beal and Gregory Elich, and broach some fascinating questions:
*How does a divided Korea boost US militarism in the region, and globally, to this day?
*With the continuation of the war to this day, what have been the costs of division for Koreans?
*How is the book a “master class” in how to read imperialist elites and their global machinations?
Christine Hong chairs the department of Critical Race and Ethnic Studies and directs the Center for Racial Justice at UC Santa Cruz. She is the author of A Violent Peace: Race, Militarism, and Cultures of Democratization in Cold War Asia and the Pacific (Stanford UP, 2020). She co-directed the Legacies of the Korean War oral history project and now serves on the board of directors of the Korea Policy Institute.
Martin Hart-Landsberg is professor emeritus of economics at Lewis and Clark College. He is the author of seven books on issues related to globalization and the political economy of East Asia, including Korea: Division, Reunification, and U.S. Foreign Policy and The Rush to Development: Economic Change and Political Struggle in South Korea, both published by Monthly Review Press. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Korea Policy Institute and has served as consultant for the Korea program of the American Friends Service Committee.
Gregory Elich is a Korea Policy Institute board member. He is a contributor to the collection Sanctions as War: Anti-Imperialist Perspectives on American Geo-Economic Strategy (Haymarket Books).
Tim Beal is a retired New Zealand academic with a special interest in U.S. imperialism, particularly with respect to Asia. He first read, and wrote about, Izzy Stone’s book The Hidden History of the Korean War as an undergraduate at Edinburgh University in 1970 — initiating a journey of discovery that has resulted in two books and numerous articles on Korea and imperialism.