Academic journal article Military Review

SEPARATED AT BIRTH: How North Korea Became the Evil Twin

Academic journal article Military Review

SEPARATED AT BIRTH: How North Korea Became the Evil Twin

Article excerpt

SEPARATED AT BIRTH: How North Korea Became the Evil Twin, Gordon Cucullu, The Lyons Press, Guilford, CN, 2004, 352 pages, $24.95.

North Korea, a country that U.S. President George W. Bush characterizes as part of an "axis of evil," largely remains an enigma that puzzles most Americans. Likewise for many military historians as well as the general audience, the Korean War stands as perhaps one of the least analyzed and least understood conflicts our Nation has experienced. In a compelling personal account, Gordon Cucullu provides riveting insight into the war.

Chronicling his military career as a Special Forces officer and foreign affairs analyst, Cucullu recounts cultural and geopolitical events that led to Korea's separation in 1945 and concludes with the present nuclear dilemma. His perspectives, historically accurate and well developed, succinctly illustrate the challenges the United States faces in dealing with a rogue regime.

Tracing the roots of the Korean conundrum, beginning with the peninsula's fairly arbitrary division at the conclusion of World War II by the Allied powers, Cucullu asserts that America was not prepared to occupy or competently govern Korea after the war (while the Soviets were) and that America lacked the cultural awareness and expertise to effectively transition Korea to a democratic nation. Too many U.S. foreign policy experts and resources were focused on Japan.

For many years North Korea's primary focus was to defeat South Korea militarily. As a result of corruption and the self-serving policies of its communist regime, it became a desperately poor nation, economically and politically estranged from the rest of the world. And, while there seems to be frequent interest in and dialog about a unified Korea (vis-à-vis East and West Germany), South Koreans dread the enormous cost of rebuilding North Korea. …

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