Tag Archives: Bruce Cumings

Bruce Cumings on the Korean War

I finished reading Bruce Cumings’s book on the Korean War — finally.

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There’s an excerpt in the final chapter that will likely inspire me to read more military history books on Asia (already his book has sparked my interest in reading about the Vietnam War and likely vis-a-vis modern Asian military history or post-war/Cold War context; anyone have any recommendations?).

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In the new century Americans have once again replicated their Korean experience — this time in Iraq. Without forethought, due consideration, or self-knowledge, the United States barged into a political, social, and cultural thicket without knowing what it was doing, and now finds it cannot get out. A great civilization arose and flourished at the intersection of the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers, but American leaders know almost nothing about it. Somehow they thought they could invade a sovereign country, crush Saddam Hussein’s army, and find the road to Baghdad strewn with flowers. Shortly after the occupation began in 2003, a New York Times reporter asked a professor at Baghdad University how he thought things were going: the scholar’s first comment was “You Americans know nothing about my country.” (232).

Here are some YT audiovisual accompaniments: