Tag Archives: North Korea

The Road To War? by The ZMan

Is Trump actually preparing to go to war with North Korea? From the Zman on a guest post at theburningplatform.com:

The base assumption of the armchair generals and foreign policy experts is that war on the Korean peninsula is suicide for all involved. The South Koreans know that the North Koreans have the capacity to inflict massive damage to South Korean cities. The North Koreans know that any war with the South brings in American air and sea power, which means the end of the Kim regime. Even assuming the Chinese step in to prevent a North defeat, the end result is monstrous for all concerned. As a result, we have a standoff.

That all sounds good, until you read something like this in the National Interest. Gordon Chang’s analysis may be way off base, but you cannot ignore the fact that Washington keeps pounding the war drums. It really does not matter if people outside Washington are listening. What matters is that official Washington seems to be gearing up for war. The Trump administration has been slowly building up offensive assets in the region. We now have three carrier groups operating within striking distance of North Korea.

Maybe it is all a bluff, but why would Washington bluff, if they accept the various war narratives popular with the foreign policy experts? If the North Koreans are sure that the South does not want a war, why would they think that Washington is doing anything other than bluffing? The whole point of saber rattling is so the other side thinks there is at least some chance that the guy rattling the saber is serious. More important, the guy with the saber needs to think he is serious too. Otherwise, you get Obama’s red lines.

There’s also the unknowns. In this case, no one really knows what South Korean and US military intelligence knows about the North Korean military. It is a safe bet that that the US has had spy satellites parked over North Korea for a long time. It’s also a safe bet that the South Koreans have been cultivating sources in the North Korean military. None of this information is made available to the so-called experts and armchair generals. In other words, Washington may be responding to things entirely unknown to the public.

To continue reading: The Road To War?

Advertisements

Heaven Forbid Peace Should Break Out Between the US and North Korea! by Antonius Aquinas

It’s not out of the question that the US and North Korea could reach some sort of peaceful resolution of their conflict. From Antonius Aquinas at theburningplatform.com:

US bombing Korea

Hamhung, North Korea, June 30, 1950

As long as the US Empire can be funded and maintained on the backs of its taxpaying public, the chance of de-escalation of tensions not only on the Korean peninsula, but throughout the world are practically nil.  And, as long as the nation’s current interventionist ideology holds sway, it will only be through a financial meltdown that the US’s role as global policeman will come to a much-needed end.

The most recent example of the world’s biggest bully escalating matters is its on-again, off-again badgering of North Korea.  In contrast to Western/CIA media reports, the November 28 launch of what appears to be an intercontinental ballistic missile, the Hwasong-15, was not unprovoked.  Instead, the North Korean test firing was in response to the unexpected announcement of further US/South Korean military drills to take place starting on December 4.  The exercises are, in part, to show off the latest mass murdering “product” of America’s military industrial complex, the USF-22 Raptor stealth fighter jet.

Before the latest launch, the Kim Jong Un regime had not fired a missile for two months and was in discussions with other intermediaries about how tensions could be lessened on the Korean peninsula. For the bellicose US, however, not even an uneasy “truce” can be tolerated.  The next American scheduled drill was not to take place until the spring of 2018, yet, while negotiations were taking place, the US abruptly, and to the outrage of everyone involved, renewed exercises.  Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, explains:

We have been working with Pyongyang.  Then,

all of a sudden two weeks after the United States

had sent us the signal [about readiness to dialogue],

they announced unscheduled drills in December.

there is an impression that they were deliberately

provoking [North Korean leader] Kim Jong Un to

make him break the pause and gave in to their

provocations.*

This, of course, is not the first time that the US has acted with duplicity in foreign matters.  Its barbaric dealing with two Middle Eastern strongmen (Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi) are grisly examples of what happens to those who run afoul of the US Empire, especially those who do not possesses a nuclear deterrent.

To continue reading: Heaven Forbid Peace Should Break Out Between the US and North Korea!

Little Rocket Man’s Risky Game, by Patrick J. Buchanan

The betting favorite is little rocket man wins his risky game. From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:

In the morning darkness of Wednesday, Kim Jong Un launched an ICBM that rose almost 2,800 miles into the sky before falling into the Sea of Japan.

North Korea now has the proven ability to hit Washington, D.C.

Unproven still is whether Kim can put a miniaturized nuclear warhead atop that missile, which could be fired with precision, and survive the severe vibrations of re-entry. More tests and more time are needed for that.

Thus, U.S. markets brushed off the news of Kim’s Hwasong-15 missile and roared to record heights on Wednesday and Thursday.

President Donald Trump took it less well. “Little Rocket Man” is one “sick puppy,” he told an audience in Missouri.

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley told the Security Council that “if war comes … the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed.” She then warned Xi Jinping that “if China does not halt the oil shipments” to North Korea, “we can take the oil situation into our own hands.”

Is Haley talking about bombing pipelines in North Korea — or China?

The rage of the president and bluster of Haley reflect a painful reality: As inhumane and ruthless as the 33-year-old dictator of North Korea is, he is playing the highest stakes poker game on the planet, against the world’s superpower, and playing it remarkably well.

Reason: Kim may understand us better than we do him, which is why he seems less hesitant to invite the risks of a war he cannot win.

While a Korean War II might well end with annihilation of the North’s army and Kim’s regime, it would almost surely result in untold thousands of dead South Koreans and Americans.

And Kim knows that the more American lives he can put at risk, with nuclear-tipped missiles, the less likely the Americans are to want to fight him.

His calculation has thus far proven correct.

As long as he does not push the envelope too far, and force Trump to choose war rather than living with a North Korea that could rain nuclear rockets on the U.S., Kim may win the confrontation.

Why? Because the concessions Kim is demanding are not beyond the utterly unacceptable.

To continue reading: Little Rocket Man’s Risky Game

Is North Korea Really a ‘State Sponsor of Terrorism’? by Ron Paul

On that list of state sponsors of terrorism, one looks in vain for Saudi Arabia or the United States, both of whom have sponsored numerous terrorists, notably ISIS and al Qaeda. From Ron Paul at ronpaulinstitute.org:

President Trump announced last week that he was returning North Korea to the US list of “state sponsors of terrorism” after having been off the list for the past nine years. Americans may wonder what dramatic event led the US president to re-designate North Korea as a terrorism-sponsoring nation. Has Pyongyang been found guilty of some spectacular terrorist attack overseas or perhaps of plotting to overthrow another country by force? No, that is not the case. North Korea is back on the US list of state sponsors of terrorism because President Trump thinks the move will convince the government to give up its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program. He believes that continuing down the path toward confrontation with North Korea will lead the country to capitulate to Washington’s demands. That will not happen.

President Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson argued that North Korea deserved to be back on the list because the North Korean government is reported to have assassinated a North Korean citizen – Kim Jong-Un’s own half-brother — in February at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. But what does that say about Washington’s own program to assassinate US citizens like Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16 year old son under Obama, and later Awlaki’s six year old daughter under Trump? Like Kim’s half brother, Awlaki and his two children were never tried or convicted of a crime before being killed by their own government.

The neocons, who are pushing for a war with North Korea, are extremely pleased by Trump’s move. John Bolton called it “exactly the right thing to do.”

Designating North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism will allow President Trump to impose the “highest level of sanctions” on North Korea. Does anyone believe more sanctions – which hurt the suffering citizens of North Korea the most – will actually lead North Korea’s leadership to surrender to Washington’s demands? Sanctions never work. They hurt the weakest and most vulnerable members of society the hardest and affect the elites the least.

So North Korea is officially a terrorism-sponsoring nation according to the Trump Administration because Kim Jong-Un killed a family member. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is in the process of killing the entire country of Yemen and no one says a word. In fact, the US government has just announced it will sell Saudi Arabia $7 billion more weapons to help it finish the job.

To continue reading: Is North Korea Really a ‘State Sponsor of Terrorism’?

America’s Renegade Warfare, by Nicolas J.S. Davies

One of the weird things about modern warfare is that it kills large numbers of civilians, but those deaths are essentially ignored, while most military deaths generate all sorts of attention. From Nicolas J.S. Davies at antiwar.com:

Seventy-seven million people in North and South Korea find themselves directly in the line of fire from the threat of a Second Korean War. The rest of the world is recoiling in horror from the scale of civilian casualties such a war would cause and the unthinkable prospect that either side might actually use nuclear weapons.

Since the first Korean War killed at least 20 percent of North Korea’s population and left the country in ruins, the U.S. has repeatedly failed to follow through on diplomacy to establish a lasting peace in Korea and has instead kept reverting to illegal and terrifying threats of war. Most significantly, the US has waged a relentless propaganda campaign to discount North Korea’s legitimate defense concerns as it confronts the threat of a US war machine that has only grown more dangerous since the last time it destroyed North Korea.

The North has lived under this threat for 65 years and has watched Iraq and Libya destroyed after they gave up their nuclear weapons programs. When North Korea discovered a US plan for a Second Korean War on South Korea’s military computer network in September 2016, its leaders quite rationally concluded that a viable nuclear deterrent is the only way to guarantee their country’s safety.

What does it say about the role the US is playing in the world that the only way North Korea’s leaders believe they can keep their own people safe is to develop weapons that could kill millions of Americans?

The Changing Face of War

The Second World War was the deadliest war ever fought, with at least 75 million people killed, about five times as many as in the First World War. When the slaughter ended in 1945, world leaders signed the United Nations Charter to try to ensure that that scale of mass killing and destruction would never happen again. The U.N. Charter is still in force, and it explicitly prohibits the threat or use of military force by any nation.

To continue reading: America’s Renegade Warfare

Flirting With War in North Korea, by Lucy Steigerwald

All the usual suspects are banging the drums for war with Iran, North Korea, or glory of glories, both. From Lucy Steigerwald at antiwar.com:

The most surprising part about Donald Trump’s Wednesday speech, directed at the North Korean regime via Tokyo, is that more people of a certain typeweren’t gushing over it. After all, if sending cruise missiles at Syria makes a man presidential, condemning North Korea accurately as “a hell that no person deserves” and sounding vaguely concerned about its miserable treatment of its civilians should make Trump worthy of Mr. Rushmore.

Trump is locked into an eternal squabble with Kim. This is nothing new for the United States – we’ve been messing with Korea for 70 years. On the other hand, Trump is usually a blowhard almost in the manner that the Kim family tends to be. Trump hasn’t released any dramatic videos of what it would like if the US nuked North Korea, but he’s done the American version – constantly threatening terrible things towards a nation that has had a victim complex since its inception, as well as delivering goofy schoolyard insults like “little rocketman” at a regime that clearly believes that it is to its benefit to acquire and keep nuclear weapons.

Never mind his vague nods to anti-interventionism on the campaign trail. Trump started his presidency by enthusiastically bombing the same countries his predecessors did. He even joined in on the hot new presidential trend, helping to eliminate members of the Awlaki family (and at least a dozen other civilians, in the disastrous SEAL January raid in Yemen).

Now, Trump truly joined the American Empire family with his summer speech to the UN, in which he declared that the US “may have no choice but to totally destroy” North Korea if it does not behave.

America remains in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, and myriad other locations across the globe. It continues to help Saudi Arabia destroy Yemen, which is now on the brink of utter disaster. Trump has even removed the meager restrictions on arms funding to Saudi Arabia that President Obama placed into effect in 2016.

To continue reading: Flirting With War in North Korea

Red Lines & Lost Credibility, by Patrick J. Buchanan

The US is losing face in the world…and its empire. From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:

A major goal of this Asia trip, said National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster, is to rally allies to achieve the “complete, verifiable and permanent denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”

Yet Kim Jong Un has said he will never give up his nuclear weapons. He believes the survival of his dynastic regime depends upon them.

Hence we are headed for confrontation. Either the U.S. or North Korea backs down, as Nikita Khrushchev did in the Cuban missile crisis, or there will be war.

In this new century, U.S. leaders continue to draw red lines that threaten acts of war that the nation is unprepared to back up.

Recall President Obama’s, “Assad must go!” and the warning that any use of chemical weapons would cross his personal “red line.”

Result: After chemical weapons were used, Americans rose in united opposition to a retaliatory strike. Congress refused to authorize any attack. Obama and John Kerry were left with egg all over their faces. And the credibility of the country was commensurately damaged.

There was a time when U.S. words were taken seriously, and we heeded Theodore Roosevelt’s dictum: “Speak softly, and carry a big stick.”

After Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in August 1991, George H.W. Bush said simply: “This will not stand.” The world understood that if Saddam did not withdraw from Kuwait, his army would be thrown out. As it was.

But in the post-Cold War era, the rhetoric of U.S. statesmen has grown ever more blustery, even as U.S. relative power has declined. Our goal is “ending tyranny in our world,” bellowed George W. Bush in his second inaugural.

Consider Rex Tillerson’s recent trip. In Saudi Arabia, he declared, “Iranian militias that are in Iraq, now that the fight against … ISIS is coming to a close … need to go home. Any foreign fighters in Iraq need to go home.”

The next day, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi responded:

“We wonder about the statements attributed to the American secretary of state about the popular mobilization forces. … No side has the right to intervene in Iraq’s affairs or decide what Iraqis do.”

This slap across the face comes from a regime that rules as a result of 4,500 U.S. dead, tens of thousands wounded and $1 trillion invested in the nation’s rebuilding after 15 years of war.

To continue reading: Red Lines & Lost Credibility