I don't really know if this is the most relevant area to post this, but here goes...
A group of us are discussing war, empire, interventionist US foreign policy, etc... I made the statement that I opposed US military intervention on foreign lands in all cases. Another person said, but what about South Korea? Even if Truman lied about the reasons or was wrong for going in, you can't dispute the meteoric rise of South Korea as a global economic power in the wake of the war -- especially from 1960 onward.
Had the US not intervened on behalf of the South Koreans, there is little doubt the country would look more like its [relatively] destitute neighbor to the north than what it turned out to be.
I realize we'll never really know for sure what South Korea might look like today had the US not gone in in 1950, and stayed for 50+ years now. I suppose its just as possible that today, we would see a unified Korea bustling in the throes of a free market economy instead of just the southern half. But that kind of speculative response seems empty to me.
Can one argue with the obvious? A South Korean economic explosion due to our interventionist defense of their homeland?
The regime in the South was the resurected quisling apparatus made up of collaborators with Japan. Accros the peninsula the Communists were seen as the more legitimate government for having been anti-Japanese, which is why their initial push went so well. Few felt like getting themselves killed for the wrong government. It was just one more US war to prevent de-colonialisation. After all, what is the point in inheriting all those colonial posessions if you don`t get to keep them?There is something to be said for economic freedom but there is also something to be said for freedom from quislings, freedom from foreigners and freedom from B-29s. Ask the hundreds of thousands incarcarated by US bombs if they feel the "meteoric rise" in South Korea has made it all worth it.
One can't examine the Korean results without accounting for the conditions North and South, which were consequences of the American intervention. To just cherry pick and look at the South is dishonest.
I think this is a difficult topic to discuss because of all the speculation necessary to come up with an alternate history. There is no doubt that the existence of South Korea has perpetuated the North Korean regime for a period of time longer than it may have existed had the Koreas been allowed to unify (even under Communist rule, at first). South Korea and the U.S. presence has given the North Korean regime a "common enemy" to avoid outright rebellion against their rule within their country. Arguably, this would have not been the case had the Koreas been unified upon the invasion of the South. True, there would have been no quasi-Capitalist South Korea, but at the same time it's completely plausible that the unified Korea would have "modernized" at a much faster pace than North Korea has (similar to China, perhaps, or even Russia). It is therefore arguable that South Korea's success has come as a sacrifice of millions of North Korean lives.
Otherwise, it is easy to argue in support of the intervention. Of course, the situation was created by government in the first place, including the U.S. Government. Mises.org has a good book on Roosevelt's policies towards Japan called Backdoor to War, by Charles Tansill. But, in 1948/1949 what intervention had been the causes for the war became largely irrelevant. It is not fair to analyze the situation based on the idea that it was government which created the problem in the first place, because the fact of the matter was that government was not going to dissolve itself anytime soon and perhaps government can choose one option better than the other, even if neither option are the best.
In any case, the United States did prolong the war by invading North Korea. They could have saved a great deal of lives and money by simply pushing for a restoration of pre-war borders, instead of attempting to unite the Korean Peninsula under South Korean leadership. It is obvious that at that point there more of a political agenda to fulfill than just the defense of South Korea.
Think how much richer the US would be if we had not intervened in the Korean War. We would not have lost the blood and gold involved.
Periodically the tree of liberty must be watered with the blood of tyrants and patriots.
General response to US involvement in all wars: Fighting the war is wrong is you violate the NAP by funding it with taxes, conscription and killing of innocents. If the war is fought by voluntarists against unjust aggressors, then it is libertarian. You can make the case that for every war the US has fought, it has been against unjust aggressors (simply from the fact that they are states). By the same token, the US has fought an immoral war every time because it has always violated the NAP.
The entire allied war effort cost approximately 129 billion dollars
i think a 10th of that would have bought more than enough guns and munitions to arm every south korean that wanted arms to defend himself against the commies to the north
Where there is no property there is no justice; a proposition as certain as any demonstration in Euclid
Fools! not to see that what they madly desire would be a calamity to them as no hands but their own could bring
I verified this answer as the best in sound-byte terms based on this line from your post:
"Ask the hundreds of thousands incinerated by US bombs if they feel the 'meteoric rise' of South Korea's economy has made it all worth it."