Manifesto – Sally Park

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<Commentary>

             The picture that is on the top is from the CBC news article “North Korea in dire need of food” from August 2, 2012. This was taken by Kim Kwang Hyon who is a journalist for the CBC news firm. The people on the roof are the residents in Anju City, South Phyongan Province. They are waiting for the rescue team after the severe flooding hit North Korea. This flooding caused thousands of homeless as many houses and farmlands were destroyed and submerged. Also this forced North Korea to request international assistance to the rest of the world. Due to North Korea’s inability to cope with a natural disaster and feed people, this flooding caused the serious concern regarding North Korea’s poor economy.

          The second picture is from the United States Department of Defense. It was taken by Glenn Fawcett on March 18, 2013 as part of his official duties. In the picture, Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter is shaking hands with U. S and South Korean soldiers in the Joint Operations Center of Command Post TANGO near Seoul, South Korea. Command Post TANGO stands for Tactical Air Naval Ground Operations Center and it is the United States military bunker complex in South Korea. Carter is expressing appreciation to the soldiers for serving for the U.S and South Korea and also for cooperating in the joint training that was performed from Mar 11th to 21th in response to continuous nuclear weapon provocation of North Korea. In 12th, Febrary,2013, the North Korea state  media announced that they had conducted nuclear weapon test. Also it was followed by further several nuclear weapon tests and this threatened the security of Korea peninsula severely, calling for the close cooperation between South Korea and the United States.

          I chose these two pictures because I wanted to address the question about the security policy of the United States towards North Korea. As we see the residents in the picture, the people in North Korea are waiting for humanitarian aid and basic necessities because they are suffering from a chronic food shortage. However, as the U.S is mainly addressing the nuclear weapons and security issues at this time, the people who are in desperate need of help in North Korea are ignored and dying.  We can clearly see this through the fact that the Unites States canceled the plan to send 240,000 tons of food aid due to the North Korea’s long-range rocket test. From this situation, it seems to me that the U.S has only the political intention of controlling North Korea, thus spreading American value and becoming the military leader of the whole world. On page 20 of the reading of the ‘Keywords for American Cultural Studies’, Bruce Burgett and Glenn Hendler said “In the early years of American studies as an academic discipline, in the 1950, the field’s foundational texts located the essential meaning of America variously in its history of westward movement, in religious and philosophical individualism, or in the worship of progress and modernity.” In class, we learned that early on America desired to conquer the new land of the westward under the name of bringing in the civilization and to obtain freedom and progress. This strongly reminds me of America sending troops to South Korea and trying to keep North Korea from developing Nuclear weapons as we see in the second picture. Also in the “Elbow Room” video that we watched during the class, it said “In God we trust there is a new land out there. There were plenty of fights to win land rights. But the west meant to be. It was our Manifesto Destiny.” This lyric is telling us that America has the divine right to invade the other territory no matter how many conflicts and fights would be involved in the process of expansion. The Manifesto Destiny is deeply rooted in American’s mind which allows people to justify the right to control the North Korea through the nuclear policy.

< Manifesto>

Dear America,

          Hello, my name is Jane and I’m from North Korea. I’m a college student and I have a friend named Sally, who is from South Korea. I know a little bit about you because Sally told me some history and other stories about your culture and society. I learned so many new things about you through her and I got to develop my own opinion and thoughts about you. I want to talk about them through this letter so I would appreciate it if you would pay attention to what I’m going to talk about from now.

           I learned your history of the westward expansion and the massacre of the native Americans. This whole process was devastating and frustrating because Indians had to be killed and lost their land to the white people. However, Manifesto Destiny played a crucial role in concealing the political ambition and the violence behind it so that you could achieve your purpose. I observed many similar cases that show how deeply rooted the Manifesto Destiny mind set is even in the modern world. You have become the great role model of democracy and capitalism, which the rest of the world should learn and follow. The countries that obey this set of international rule that you have created are guaranteed the freedom and peace under the strong diplomatic protection you provide. The international order and norm that is set up and led by you include the spread of democracy, elimination of terrorism, and the prohibition of possession of nuclear weapons. However I can raise the question regarding who gave you such big political power and the right to intervene on such broad issues happening in the world. Another question is why do you choose such a savage and violent method when you exert international force.

          In January, 2002, former President George W. Bush described Iran, Iraq and my country as the axes of evil. This statement was made in order to widely declare your role as the just protector against terrorism and the development of nuclear weapons. I was very unhappy and scared to hear this news because you looked very mad and intimidating. I thought there will be a war against you very soon. Fortunately, the war happened in Iraq, and instead, you took various sanctions to regulate the North Korea’s nuclear development program. The Iraq war caused thousands of deaths and the results seem to be devastating based on the continuous conflict in regards to financial and diplomatic aid. The purpose of the Iraq war is to terminate the Hussein regime that kept Iraq from adopting democracy. But I think if that was the true reason, you could have chosen a more peaceful and humanitarian way to promote democracy in Iraq. For example, negotiating and meetings between the leaders of the stakeholder countries, bringing in Iraq to the position of talk, and persuading Hussein to take initiative for a political reform. No one can judge what the pragmatic reason for this war was, but the clear fact is that you invaded Iraq without any internationally negotiated permission and the process involved brutal violence.

          The same idea applies to the nuclear weapon issues with my country. I know about your food support to our country and I truly appreciate your help. However, you also have shown that you can stop the support toward us at any time if we try to develop nuclear weapons regardless of how serious the economic crisis is. I’m sure you know that the current world rule regarding nuclear weapons is mostly controlled and governed by you. But many people are wondering why you have been given the permission to intervene in every nuclear weapon issues and what justifies it. You said that you simply want to maintain the peace and freedom of the world. However, it sounds very absurd to me when I consider the fact that you also possess numerous nuclear weapons and that you ignore other powerful countries that are continuing to develop the nuclear weapon. As you can see in the picture, people in North Korea, including myself, can be saved from their sufferings and have a better standard of living simply though food and other basic aid. Thus, you can bring in more peace and freedom to us than you do by focusing too much on regulation of nuclear weapon issues. Honestly, I don’t know much about what nuclear weapons are. I just want to feed myself and my family enough to study in the school and have a normal life. Nuclear weapon control would be better explained by your nationalistic desire to expand your political power to the Korean peninsula. By acquiring the political force to govern this area, you will be able to further gain the geographically important location to be opposed to China. China is increasingly becoming a powerful nation and threatening your diplomatic position as the most advanced country in the world.

          Manifest Destiny is still alive in your diplomatic and security policy, which provides a plausible excuse to exert your national power. There is no doubt that you have the best resources and experiences to efficiently spread democracy and freedom to the rest of the world. However, you should be aware that your position as the highest advanced country in the world doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a given right to cruelly govern and intimidate other countries in such a violent way. I want to apologize if you are too shocked to get to know my view toward you. But I know most of my peers and friends are thinking in same way. I hope you will be able to make some positive changes in your political attitudes towards poor countries, including my country.

Sincerely,

Jane

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About sallypark25

Hello, I'm Sally. I'm exchange student from Korea. I've been here for 7 months and I plan to go back to my country after this quarter. I like chatting with my friends, discovering fancy restaurants, and going to the street market when I travel abroad. I want to gain the better understanding about America through this class, hoping that I can say with confidence that I know a lot about America at the end of this class. Nice to meet you guys!
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One Response to Manifesto – Sally Park

  1. cdowens says:

    This is a rhetorically powerful letter!

Comments are closed.