The DMZ as Prelude
January 2, 2014
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The DMZ as Prelude
Although it is common in the media, and in books about Korea, to refer to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that rudely rips the nation in two as a “remnant of the Cold War,” I have argued on several occasions that the DMZ is not a remnant, but rather a prelude to a new geopolitical reality: the forceful separation of different economic systems by barriers. This building of walls to keep economic systems, and even classes and ethnic groups separate, is increasing around the world and we may well find that the DMZ is not a relic of past ideological battles, but rather the precursor of a new global phenomena.
The most striking parallels to the DMZ are without a doubt the walls recently erected around Gaza in Israel/Palestine and the militarized wall between the United States and Mexico. However, a recent special feature in the Guardian has drawn attention to a group of other notable walls around the world. Needless to say, similar walls are emerging at the urban level throughout all the cities of the world. Perhaps this proliferation of walls parallels the border-less society that is evolving at another level.
Recently, at an Asia Institute seminar in Seoul, John Feffer made a challenge to the Korean people, he said, and I paraphrase,
“For Korea to achieve reunification is to set forth a model for the entire world of how we can overcome the economic and cultural gaps between the developed world and the developing world. Korea will have to wrestle with tremendous problems, but it can give hope to the world, and concrete best practices, through its successful reunification that will have meaning far beyond the Korean Peninsula.”
The DMZ is best seen in the context of this larger challenge for our age.
“Our Walled World”
November 19, 2013
World War Z
- Our Walled World