The legacy of the Korean War on U.S. democracy, economy, and society

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Thursday, June 25 from 4 to 5 pm ET: the Quincy Institute hosted a Zoom webinar on the legacy of the Korean War on American democracy, economy, and society. June 25 marks the 70th anniversary of the start of the Korean War, which technically is still ongoing. President Harry Truman defended U.S. participation in Korea as a “police action,” setting the stage for future presidents to circumvent Congressional declarations of war when sending U.S. troops overseas. The Korean War also cemented the post WWII military-industrial complex, which has grown into a seemingly unbreakable iron triangle of federal budget appropriations, weapons procurement, and lobbying contributions to members of congress by the arms corporations. This panel discussed how the United States became so heavily militarized, and what we might do to walk back the endless war preparation and footing. The panel featured Congressman Ro Khanna (CA-17), a member of the House Armed Services Committee and chief sponsor of H.Res.152 calling for a formal end to the Korean War; Mary Dudziak, QI Non Resident Fellow and Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Law at Emory University School of Law; and Nikhil Pal Singh, QI Non Resident Fellow and Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis and History at New York University. Quincy Institute CEO Lora Lumpe moderated this discussion.


Mary Dudziak

Mary L. Dudziak is a leading scholar of legal history of the United States and the world. Her work focuses on the intersection of US domestic law and international affairs. She is currently writing about war and political accountability in American history. Her earlier scholarship examined the intersection of race, civil rights, and US foreign affairs during the Cold War. She is also a non-resident fellow at the Quincy Institute.

Nikhil Pal Singh

Nikhil Pal Singh is Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis and History at New York University, and Founding Faculty Director of the NYU Prison Education Program. A historian of race, empire, and culture in the 20th-century United States, Singh is the author, most recently, of Race and America’s Long War (University of California Press, 2017). He is also a non-resident fellow at the Quincy Institute.

Representative Ro Khanna

Representative Ro Khanna represents California’s 17th Congressional District, located in the heart of Silicon Valley, and is serving his second term. Rep. Khanna sits on the House Budget, Armed Services, and Oversight and Reform committees and is first vice chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. He also serves as an Assistant Whip in the Democratic Caucus. Rep. Khanna is committed to representing the people and ideas rooted in Silicon Valley to the nation and throughout the world. Prior to serving in Congress, Rep. Khanna taught economics at Stanford University, law at Santa Clara University, and American Jurisprudence at San Francisco State University.

Lora Lumpe (Moderator)

Lora Lumpe is the CEO of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Prior to joining Qi, she was an advocacy director at the Open Society Foundations, combatting the corrosive effects of militarism on democracy in the United States and abroad. Lora is an expert on several aspects of U.S. hyper-militarization, including military budget, arms industry and weapons sales, military aid and training, child soldiers, gun running, and munitions with disproportionate impact on non-combatants.