SEOUL — The spectacle of political confusion in Iraq today provides a window into the past. Rather than emulating the successful occupation of Germany or Japan as originally envisaged by U.S. policy planners, it is increasingly a carbon copy of the occupation that failed in Korea. And as Yale historian Paul Kennedy reminds us, “although history never repeats itself exactly, it should never be ignored entirely.”

Just like Korea more than 50 years ago, the United States has literally walked into a revolution. Like Iraq, Korea was simultaneously liberated and occupied by the U.S. and the Soviet Union — allies in the war against Japan but Cold War adversaries. As in Iraq, the Korean occupation got off to a bad start by retaining Japanese officials and their Korean collaborators of the colonial government, earning the enmity of the Korean population.

Unable to view this article?

This could be due to a conflict with your ad-blocking or security software.

Please add japantimes.co.jp and piano.io to your list of allowed sites.

If this does not resolve the issue or you are unable to add the domains to your allowlist, please see out this support page.

We humbly apologize for the inconvenience.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.