By Brett Daniel Shehadey
Special Correspondent, In Homeland Security
The U.S. Ambassador to South Korea, Mark Lippert, was attacked Thursday by a knife-wielding assailant following a speech by the Ambassador ironically on the subject of ‘peace.’ The attacker was identified as a 55-year-old anti-American activist who lunged at the Ambassador with a 10-inch fruit knife; the attacker stated his opposition to the presence of some 28,000 American military troops in-line with North Korea propaganda.
Ambassador Lippert was immediately taken to the hospital and received surgery and 80 stiches. He is expected to recover without serious injury but will suffer some temporary nerve damage in his left hand, where he bore the brunt of the knife thrust, along with scars on part of his face.
North Korea was quick to frame the attack as “righteous” and “just punishment.” The North Koreans further stated their belief that a U.S. presence since the 1953 Armistice agreement did not ended the Korean War but rather has reinforced the teeth of the cease-fire now in place for more than 50 years.
The communist North has always neglected the Korean Armistice Agreement: to “insure a complete cessation of hostilities and of all acts of armed force in Korea until a final peaceful settlement is achieved.” They have made continual acts of aggression, provocation, nuclear weapons testing, destruction of military and civilian ships as displays of power; and also they have learned to penetrate the demilitarized zone through propaganda airwaves compounding over decades.
North Korea’s abhorrent remarks of the attack fall just short of a direct claim of responsibility. It is unknown if the knife attack involved Pyongyang, however, it cannot be ruled out either. If they were directly responsible for an operation involving the attack on a U.S. Ambassador in Seoul, it would, of course, be seen by some as an act of war and yet another breach of the armistice agreement. The U.S. must now (and always) stem this tide of growing discontent pushed by North Korean propaganda machine. The attack on Ambassador Lippert highlights that policy.
There are allegedly generations of anti-Americans in the Korean peninsula ready to take violent extremist measures to oppose the U.S. Is it possible to take a more active information/operations approach to reach the skipped generations? Not really. The youngest generation is the key—they are more immune to communist methods, having grown up in a successful liberal democratic environment. Reunification is the North’s priority. Realizing that the war of the minds will determine the future of South Korea, in particular, must be a native venture. But such sentiments of a reunification show a sharp ideological war of minds between North and South and generations. There is even a Ministry of Unification in the South which sponsors pro-unification programs. It is seen as inevitable.
The North still holds families and relatives that are not allowed to visit or leave, accept the rare occasion of soft courting diplomacy on the part of South Korean concessions. The South is too often willing to accept unnecessary losses for minor gains that have no lasting, profound or sincere intentions from their northern cousins.
Ambassador Lippert is expected to be released from the hospital in three days and reach full recovery in several months.
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