N. Korea as next Iraq discussed

Zach Baker and Zach Baker

With the war in Iraq winding down, the possibility of North Korea becoming the next target of the war on terror was discussed in a forum last night at Olscamp Hall.

The forum featured three speakers, and was attended by members of all different age groups in the Bowling Green community.

Fuji Kawashima, the university’s Director of Asian Studies, spoke on the military history of North Korea, and how important it is for the United States to listen to its allies as they enter into discussions with the nation today in Beijing.

He also said that continued talks, rather than any military action, could help push the North towards a more moderate stance than the one they have taken now, having admitted to producing nuclear weapons.

“We must listen carefully to what North Korea is saying because a preemptive attack on Pyongyang may result in massive killing,” Kawashima said. I believe negotiations alone will save lives, bring peace to Korea, and help divided Korean families become united again.”

The next to speak was Dr. Gary Hess, Distinguished Research Professor of History.

In his remarks, Hess said he was “cautiously optimistic” that the situation between North Korea and the U.S will not lead to war, but at the same time, said the discussions between the United States and Korea will not work.

Hess said neither North Korea or South Korea is ready to go to war.

“I’m very pessimistic that negotiations will work,” Hess said. “And I also think that war for a variety of reasons is unthinkable to both sides.”

Dr. Mark Simon, Chair of the Political Science department, was the last of the professors to speak.

Simon said that it was unlikely that a war with North Korea was imminent, in part because of the resistance and loss of life that would occur in any such war. He said it was more likely for the U.S to target Syria or Iran before going to war with North Korea, a country that could cause great damage to its neighbors. Simon said that North Korea’s use for nuclear weapons was to use them as a deterrent.

“I am optimistic that deterrents will lead all parties involved to a negotiated solution, rather than a unilateral attack like we had with Iraq.”