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Saturday, February 26, 2005

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EliteGroup

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lirelou

Andy,

My view of Soviet aims in post-WWII Korea is that they wanted to ensure a friendly government on the easternmost flank whose structure was communist. I believe that they were willing to let the Korean communists sort themselves out, and were prepared to support whoever emerged from this competition the winner. Thus, I don't believe that the Soviets viewed Kim Il-sung as a trojan horse, but just one of several candidates to head the future Korean Socialist State. I note that K-I-S was quick to assume a voice in defense and internal security matters, and to maneuver his trusted "Gapsan" subordinates into these positions early. His task would have been far more difficult had the Chinese civil war not kept the majority of real Japanese resistance fighters off in China until 1949, and that slight accident of history greatly aided his rise to power. Thus, the Soviet "installation" of Kim Jong-il was more the natural result of a general Soviet aim to place a friendly state on their periphery, rather than the specific result of a plan to put K-I-S in the driver's seat. This difference may seem minor, but it underscores the fact that both the Soviets and Americans were willing to let Korean actors sort out the messy business of deciding who was in charge of what would become the two Korean states. And in the end, it is Koreans who were actively or passively responsible for what happened.

jtb-in Texas

Very cool analysis, lirelou... very astute... answers a lot of questions...

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