Victor Davis Hanson explains in less than five minutes.
South Korea is a model global citizen and a strong ally of the U.S.—and stands in sharp contrast to the communist regime in the North that has starved and murdered millions of its own people and caused untold mischief in the world community. Had it not been for U.S. intervention and support to the South, the current monstrous regime in Pyongyang would now rule all of Korea, ensuring its nuclear-armed dictatorship even greater power and resources.
The American effort to save South Korea also sent a message to both communist China and the Soviet Union that the free world, under U.S. leadership, would no longer tolerate communist military take-overs of free nations. The resulting deterrence policy helped to keep the communist world from attempting similar surprise attacks on Japan, Taiwan, and Western Europe.
Finally, the Korean War awakened the United States to the dangers of disarmament and isolationism and led to the bipartisan foreign policy of containment of global communism that in 1989 finally led to the collapse of the Soviet Union, and with it victory in the Cold War.
The Korean War was an incomplete American victory in its failure to liberate North Korea and unite the peninsula, but a victory nonetheless. And not just from a military perspective, but from a moral one as well. The reason 35,000 Americans died in Korea was to keep at least half the Korean people free. Korea did not have a single material resource that would have benefited America.
The Korean War merits more than a blank stare. It deserves to be remembered and studied – with pride.