COPENHAGEN -- Here in Europe, there is little media coverage about North Korea's May 25 nuclear weapons test or its increasingly frequent ballistic missile launches. There is even less mention of Pyongyang's decision to sentence two American female journalists to "12 years of reform through hard labor" for "committing hostilities" and illegal entry. North Korea's flagrant violations of international law, repeated breaches of United Nations resolutions, rampant human rights abuses, wholesale currency counterfeiting, transnational kidnappings, threats of aggression and active state sponsorship of terrorism simply do not raise European ire. It wasn't always that way.
Fifty-nine years ago this month, the North Korean People's Army smashed across the 38th parallel, capturing Seoul, the capital of the Republic of Korea. The battered South Korean army and its U.S. military advisers quickly were pushed into the "Pusan Perimeter," on the southern tip of the peninsula, and President Harry Truman took the case to the United Nations Security Council.
American leadership and the absence of the Soviet ambassador resulted in swift passage of Security Council Resolution 84. The measure -- perhaps the last time in history that the U.N. acted with dispatch -- authorized the use of force against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. During the bloody three-year war that followed, troops from seven European countries -- and 10 others from around the world -- fought beside U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines in Korea, finally securing an armistice July 27, 1953.
In the years since, the increasingly isolated patriarchal-Stalinist regime in Pyongyang has raised visceral hatred of the United States to the level of a new art form while systematically violating the terms of the armistice and virtually every other agreement to which it is a party. In short, Pyongyang's past behavior is a prelude to present and future conduct.
On Jan. 18, 1968, North Korean guerrillas attacked Seoul's presidential palace in an attempt to assassinate South Korean President Park Chung-hee. President Lyndon Johnson dispatched Cyrus Vance to discourage the South Koreans -- with troops already committed in Vietnam -- from undertaking a military response. Vance's mission was a "success," and no action -- other than a strongly worded diplomatic note -- was taken against Pyongyang.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.
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