Tag Archives: North Korea

Reunification Only Way to Defuse Korea Crisis, by John R. Bolton

John R. Bolton may be right, but he’s proabably underestimating Chinese reluctance to have a reunified Korea—an American ally—as its next door neighbor. From Bolton at gatestoneinstitute.org:

Barack Obama’s foreign-policy failures, and those of his predecessors, regarding North Korea, are coming back to bedevil Donald Trump’s new presidency. Trump administration spokesmen have rightly said that Obama’s policy of “strategic patience,” a synonym for doing nothing, is over. But they have not yet articulated a replacement strategy.

Analysts across the political spectrum now believe that North Korea is perilously close to fabricating nuclear devices — at least five of which have already been detonated — small enough to mount on intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of striking targets within the continental United States. Some estimates posit this capability as early as 2018, with targets closer to the Korean Peninsula, including Japan and Hawaii likely at risk earlier.

Time is thus in desperately short supply, one of the fruits of 25 years of wasted efforts negotiating with Pyongyang. The harsh reality is that Kim Jung Un and his predecessors were never going to be chit-chatted out of their nuclear-weapons program, which they have always regarded as essential to regime survival. Neither persuasion nor coercion, nor any mix of the two, has succeeded before, and we have no reason to believe they will start succeeding now.

There are any number of suggestions about how to increase military pressure on North Korea, including scenarios for pre-emptive attacks against its nuclear and ballistic-missile assets. Certainly, no American president should be willing to countenance the risk to innocent U.S. civilians, and those of our vulnerable friends and allies in the region, that Pyongyang’s erratic leadership increasingly poses. Moreover, we must be sure China understands President Trump’s determination — reportedly explained in person to Chinese President Xi Jinping during the recent Mar-a-Lago summit — not to be held hostage by Pyongyang.

Unfortunately, however, years of savage Obama Administration defense budget cuts have rendered U.S. military options far from optimal. Obama underfunded national missile-defense programs, thereby rendering this last line of defense woefully inadequate compared to how President George W. Bush originally conceived it.

Similarly, our ability to neutralize North Korea’s military threats to the South, which have long worried United States and South Korean decision-makers, is severely challenged.

To continue reading: Reunification Only Way to Defuse Korea Crisis

Advertisements

Trump Should Meet With Kim Jong-un, by Justin Raimono

The drums of war beat so loudly that SLL will give almost anybody who wants to pass the peace pipe a forum. From Justin Raimondo at antiwar.com:

It could pave the way for peace on the Korean peninsula

The launching of yet another ballistic missile test by North Korea dramatizes the conundrum we face in dealing with Kim Jong-un. The trajectory of the missile – it traveled around 430 miles and landed some 60 miles from Russia, in the Sea of Japan – limns the trajectory of North Korea’s course in its confrontation with what Pyongyang views multiple threats to its sovereignty.

Previous missile tests landed off the Japanese coast: this one splashed down close to Russia. It’s no coincidence that Vladimir Putin was at that moment in China, speaking at the “One Belt, One Road” conference, the Chinese version of the Davos conclave. The test also underscores a major misconception – held by many in the US, including the Trump administration – that China is North Korea’s ally, and can effectively rein in Kim Jong-un. This launch is a rebuke to both Moscow and Beijing, one that can be easily understood given some grounding in the history of Pyongyang’s relations with those two powers.

While it is true that the Chinese supported Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-un’s grandfather, during the Korean war, subsequent relations with the fiercely independent North Koreans were contentious, to say the least. Starting in 1952, Kim Il-Sung inaugurated a series of purges aimed at the pro-Chinese faction of the ruling Korean Workers Party: this culminated in 1956, when leaders of both the pro-Chinese and pro-Russians factions were expelled. The purges left a trail of executions, while several of the expellees fled to China.

During the cold war era, Kim IL-sung deftly maneuvered between Beijing and Moscow, playing off the growing competition between the two communist powers, and significantly siding with the Russians when the Sino-Soviet split went public. They heartily disliked Gorbachev, and when he visited South Korea, snubbing the North, and threatened an embargo if they didn’t submit to inspection of their nuclear facilities, relations were practically severed. Moscow cut off military aid to Pyongyang in 1989. Post-Soviet Russia has supported Western efforts to sanction North Korea for its nuclear brinkmanship, albeit stopping short of endorsing military action.

To continue reading: Trump Should Meet With Kim Jong-un

Why Do North Koreans Hate Us? One Reason — They Remember the Korean War. by Mehdi Hasan

It’s easy to live and let live when you’re not on the receiving end of the bombs. From Mehdi Hasan at the intercept.com:

“WHY DO THEY hate us?”

It’s a question that has bewildered Americans again and again in the wake of 9/11, in reference to the Arab and Muslim worlds. These days, however, it’s a question increasingly asked about the reclusive North Koreans.

Let’s be clear: There is no doubt that the citizens of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea both fear and loathe the United States. Paranoia, resentment, and a crude anti-Americanism have been nurtured inside the Hermit Kingdom for decades. Children are taught to hate Americans in school while adults mark a “Struggle Against U.S. Imperialism Month” every year (it’s in June, in case you were wondering).

North Korean officials make wild threats against the United States while the regime, led by the brutal and sadistic Kim Jong-un, pumps out fake news in the form of self-serving propaganda, on an industrial scale. In the DPRK, anti-American hatred is a commodity never in short supply.

“The hate, though,” as longtime North Korea watcher Blaine Harden observed in the Washington Post, “is not all manufactured.” Some of it, he wrote, “is rooted in a fact-based narrative, one that North Korea obsessively remembers and the United States blithely forgets.”

Forgets as in the “forgotten war.” Yes, the Korean War. Remember that? The one wedged between World War II and the Vietnam War? The first “hot” war of the Cold War, which took place between 1950 and 1953, and which has since been conveniently airbrushed from most discussions and debates about the “crazy” and “insane” regime in Pyongyang? Forgotten despite the fact that this particular war isn’t even over — it was halted by an armistice agreement, not a peace treaty — and despite the fact that the conflict saw the United States engage in numerous war crimes, which, perhaps unsurprisingly, continue to shape the way North Koreans view the United States, even if the residents of the United States remain blissfully ignorant of their country’s belligerent past.

To continue reading: Why Do North Koreans Hate Us? One Reason — They Remember the Korean War.

 

What the N. Korean “Crisis” Is Really About, by Paul Craig Roberts

The US is demonizing North Korea as cover for placing anti-ballistic sites near China’s border. From Paul Craig Roberts at paulcraigroberts.org:

The North Korean “crisis” is a Washington orchestration. North Korea was last at war 1950-53. N. Korea has not attacked or invaded anyone in 64 years. N. Korea lacks the military strength to attack any country, such as South Korea and Japan, that is protected by the US. Moreover, China would not permit N. Korea to start a war.

So what is the demonization of N. Korea by the presstitutes and Trump administration about?

It is about the same thing that the demonization of Iran was about. The “Iranian threat” was an orchestration that was used as cover to put US anti-ballistic missile bases on Russia’s borders. An anti-ballistic missile (ABM) is intended to intercept and destroy nuclear-armed ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles) and prevent them from reaching their targets.

Washington claimed that the anti-ABM bases were not directed at Russia, but were for the protection of Europe against Iran’s nuclear ICBMs. Insouciant Americans might have believed this, but the Russians surely did not as Iran has neither ICBMs nor nuclear weapons. The Russian government has made it clear that Russia understands the US bases are directed at preventing a Russian retalliation against a Washington first strike.

The Chinese government also is not stupid. The Chinese leadership understands that the reason for the N. Korean “crisis” is to provide cover for Washington to put anti-ballistic missile sites near China’s border.

In other words, Washington is creating a shield against nuclear retalliation from both Russia and China from a US nuclear strike against both countries.

China has been more forceful in its reply to Washington’s efforts than have the Russians. China has demanded an immediate halt to the US deployment of missiles in South Korea. https://www.rt.com/news/386828-china-thaad-south-korea/

In order to keep Americans confused, Washington now calls anti-ABMs THAAD, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense. China understands that THAAD has nothing whatsoever to do with N. Korea, which borders S. Korea, making it pointless for N. Korea to attack S. Korea with ICBMs.

THAAD in S. Korea is directed against China’s retaliatory forces. It is part of Washington’s preparations to nuke both Russia and China with minimal consequence to the US, although Europe would certainly be completely destroyed as THAAD or anti-ABMs are useless against Russian nuclear cruise missiles and the Russian air force.

To continue reading: What the N. Korean “Crisis” Is Really About

Why is North Korea Being So Unreasonable? by Antonius Aquinas

After what the US did to non-nuclear Iraq and Saddam Hussein, non-nuclear Libya and Muammar Gaddafi, and wants to do to non-nuclear Syria and Bashar al-Assad, can we really say that Kim Jong-UN is being unreasonable for wanting to hold on to his nuclear bombs? From Antonius Aquinas on a guest post at theburningplatform.com:

north-korea disarmament

On April 28, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told the U.N. that North Korea “must dismantle its nuclear missile programs” before the US “can even consider talks.”*

Sounds reasonable.

Why hasn’t the Kim Jong-Un regime responded with open arms and shouts of joy for this generous and fair-minded proposal from Uncle Sam?

Maybe it is because North Korea not only has first-hand knowledge of US “diplomacy,” but it can point to the grisly consequences that happen to regimes that do not have nuclear capabilities when they fall out of favor with Washington war mongers.  Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria are just some recent examples.

Nor does North Korea have to look around the globe for what the US does to nations without nuclear arsenals, but can recall events which took place not so far away.  For more than a decade, America mercilessly pulverized the little, defenseless country of Vietnam.  Despite the destruction and mass murder inflicted, it was to no avail except, of course, to line the pockets of arms manufactures while American citizens were drained of their wealth and blood.

Or simply, Kim Jong-Un can look at his nation’s own history and see how the US treated it prior to it becoming nuclear.  In the “police action” of 1950-53, American coalition forces killed over 3 million North Koreans and dropped more bombs on the country then were used on Japan in World War II according to international war crimes lawyer Christopher Black.**

And, why would North Korea or, for that matter, anyone else have any faith in diplomatic agreements with the US which consistently violates terms of international accords and often complains afterwards when agreements are reached.  The latest example is President Trump carping that Iran is not living up to the “spirit” of the nuclear deal concluded under the Obummer Administration and signed off on by six major world powers.

To continue reading: Why is North Korea Being So Unreasonable?

NYT’s ‘Impossible to Verify’ North Korea Nuke Claim Spreads Unchecked by Media, by Adam Johnson

By today’s standards, all journalistic errors are permissable if they are in service of starting a war. From Adam Johnson at fair.org:

Buoyed by a total of 18 speculative verb forms—five “mays,” eight “woulds” and five “coulds”—New York Times reporters David E. Sanger and William J. Broad (4/24/17) painted a dire picture of a Trump administration forced to react to the growing and impending doom of North Korea nuclear weapons.

“As North Korea Speeds Its Nuclear Program, US Fears Time Will Run Out” opens by breathlessly establishing the stakes and the limited time for the US to “deal with” the North Korean nuclear “crisis”:

Behind the Trump administration’s sudden urgency in dealing with the North Korean nuclear crisis lies a stark calculus: A growing body of expert studies and classified intelligence reports that conclude the country is capable of producing a nuclear bomb every six or seven weeks.

That acceleration in pace—impossible to verify until experts get beyond the limited access to North Korean facilities that ended years ago—explains why President Trump and his aides fear they are running out of time.

The front-page summary was even more harrowing, with the editors asserting there’s “dwindling time” for “US action” to stop North Korea from assembling hundreds of nukes:

NYT: Dwindling Time for US Action as North Korea Hoards Bombs

From the beginning, the Times frames any potential bombing by Trump as the product of a “stark calculus” coldly and objectively arrived at by a “growing body of expert[s].” The idea that elements within the US intelligence community may actually desire a war—or at least limited airstrikes—and thus may have an interest in presenting conflict as inevitable, is never addressed, much less accounted for.

The most spectacular claim—that North Korea is, at present, “capable of producing a nuclear bomb every six or seven weeks”—is backed up entirely by an anonymous blob of “expert studies and classified intelligence reports.” To add another red flag, Sanger and Broad qualify it in the very next sentence as a figure that is “impossible to verify.” Which is another way of saying it’s an unverified claim.

To continue reading: NYT’s ‘Impossible to Verify’ North Korea Nuke Claim Spreads Unchecked by Media

Talk to, Don’t Provoke, North Korea, by Sheldon Richman

According to Sheldon Richman, one good thing Bill Clinton did was negotiate an agreement with North Korea that stopped them from building nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, that agreement was tossed out by George W. Bush. From Richman at antiwar.com:

There’s little more we can do than hope that some cool heads around Donald Trump are telling him he’d be nuts to attack North Korea. I don’t know who they might be. Still, we must hope.

It doesn’t take a lifetime of study to know that, fortunately, no military resolution of the standoff is available. Ten million South Koreans live within artillery reach of the capital of Seoul, some 30 miles from the demilitarized zone separating North and South. Nearly 30,000 U.S. military personnel are around there too. North Korea has thousands of underground and undersea military facilities that American bombs and missiles would not find. A conventional US attack would be catastrophic, a nuclear attack far, far worse, for the horrifying effects would spill over to China and Japan.

So what would be accomplished? Nothing good. That’s for sure.

Where, then, is the Trump from a year ago? You know, the one who said, “I would speak to him [North Korean tyrant Kim Jong-un]. I would have no problem speaking to him.”? As we well know, there are many Donald Trumps. Well, that’s the one we need now. Instead we have sabre-rattling Trump, along with Vice President Pence and others on the national-security squad.

The two governments have much to talk about. (Alas, as long as we’re stuck with the Westphalian system, we must make the best of it.) First things first. And by first, I mean peace.

Yes, Kim, like his father and grandfather before him, is a tyrant. But when has that ever stopped an American president from dealing with — and often befriending — a ruler? Never. American presidents have allied with some of the most ruthless heads of states of the 20th century. Trump recently entertained a tyrant — al-Sisi of Egypt — at the White House, praising him profusely. Then he called the head of Turkey — Erdogan — to congratulate him on expanding his autocratic powers through the ballot box. Nixon went to meet Mao Zedong, one of the great mass murderers in history, to open normal relations with what we once called Red China.

Kim and North Korea, therefore, are not unique in that respect. But they are unique in another way. The US government fought an undeclared war — sorry, police action — alongside South Korea’s own tyrant — Syngman Rhee — against North Korea and Kim’s grandfather — Kim Il-sung — from 1950 to 1953 because President Harry Truman didn’t want the Republicans saying he “lost Korea.” The US Air Force obliterated the country through carpet bombing after Truman decided atomic bombs were not practical, in contrast to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, a few years earlier. The bombing and shooting stopped with an armistice, but no peace treaty was ever signed to formally end the war. For decades, the North Korean government has sought that treaty and a nonaggression pact with the US government, but the requests always fell on deaf ears.

To continue reading: Talk to, Don’t Provoke, North Korea