Antonius Aquinas is an author, lecturer, and a senior editor at “Wide Awake News.”
As long as the US Empire can be funded and maintained on the backs of its taxpaying public, the chance of a deescalation 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 role of the US as global policeman will come to a much-needed end.
Hamhung, North Korea, June 30, 1950; an example of minor collateral damage suffered by North Korea during the behavior-modification police action of the early 1950s. Let us be clear that we have no sympathy for the hereditary Stalinist dynasty/junta oppressing the people of North Korea. Nevertheless, it should be crystal clear by now why military interventionism is problematic: it usually not only fails to achieve anything remotely resembling the desired result, in most cases it actually brings about the exact opposite. It bolsters popular support for even the vilest regimes, as the focus of the population’s anger is redirected at an external enemy; instead of destabilizing autocrats and tyrants, it often ends up fortifying their position. Anything short of a complete victory will leave an implacable enemy in place, who as we can see in the example of North Korea can end up posing a major problem for decades. Past attempts to persuade the regime to abandon nuclear weapons (usually in exchange for economic concessions) often failed because the NK regime sabotaged them; all indications are that its decisions are driven by intense paranoia. In light of this, past agreements were often ill-conceived, as they inter alia involved the transfer of nuclear technology for supposedly “peaceful” purposes. The regime’s actions are mainly informed by a desire for self-preservation – its threats and posturing have to be seen in the context of this overarching goal. Given the deep scars left by the Korean war and the examples of tinpot dictators elsewhere who surrendered their WMD capabilities only to be hunted down and killed while their fiefdoms were bombed back into the stone age, it should not be too difficult to figure out why the NK regime wants to hang on to its nuclear weapons. [PT]
Photo credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images
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 on the Korean peninsula could be lessened.
The perennial nuisance in its third generation. [PT]
For the bellicose US, however, it seems not even an uneasy “truce” can be tolerated. The next scheduled American drill was not to take place until the spring of 2018, yet, while negotiations were underway, the US abruptly renewed exercises to the outrage of everyone involved.
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 he gave in to their provocations.*”
This, of course, is not the first time that the US has acted with duplicity in matters of foreign policy. Its barbaric dealing with two Middle Eastern strongmen (Saddam Hussein and 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.
North Korea, too, has witnessed the wanton destructive capabilities of the American military during the so called “police action” of the early 1950s:
“The US Air Force estimated that North Korea’s destruction was proportionally greater than that of Japan’s in the Second World War […] American planes dropped 635,000 tons of bombs on Korea […] including 32,557 tons of napalm, compared to 503,000 tons of bombs dropped in the entire Pacific theater of WWII.**”
The loss of life was, to say the least, catastrophic, as 10% of the population, some 3 million people, perished mostly due to American bombing, while the destruction of property was equally brutal. “By the end of the war,” North Korean sources assert, “only two modern buildings remained standing in Pyongyang.”***
Pyongyang in 1953, shortly after the end of the Korean war. Pictures of the North Korean capital from this time period are hard to find, but the destruction was evidently quite thorough. It should be noted that Seoul was devastated as well, South Korea definitely did not escape unscathed either. However, overall North Korea reportedly suffered a lot more damage. [PT]
Is it any wonder that the North Korean leadership gets a little antsy when the US scrambles its jets? It does not want a repetition of the holocaust inflicted on it by the merciless American Air Force.
Of course, these inconvenient facts are rarely if ever spoken about in the Western media, academia, and certainly not by war-mongering politicos like U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley. They are simply ignorant of history or pretend not to know.
The US Empire only accepts peace if it favors its interests. For the Korean Peninsula that means that Kim Jong-un must disband his nuclear program. Such a move, however, would mean a premature death to Kim and the eventual carpet bombing of his country. The North Korean strongman will do no such thing.
Unpredictable squared. [PT]
The Trump Administration may huff and puff all it wants and enact greater sanctions on the North, but unless it wants to risk a nuclear confrontation that may spread into a general world war, it has few options.
Instead of another round of destabilizing military maneuvers, perhaps President Trump and his foreign policy team should try to engage in genuine negotiations to bring about an equitable resolution to the matter.
Why not “give peace a chance?”
Taking aim: Kim Jong-un seems to be a big fan of binoculars – there are countless pictures showing him glued to assorted field-glasses and other pince-nez (note also the pair of gilded binoculars on the table, we believe he takes those with him everywhere, as they can be seen in a number of photographs made on different occasions). So here is a proposal for an opening gambit to negotiations: give him the spiffiest binoculars money can buy as a present. He would probably be a lot more agreeable after that. [PT]
Photo credit: KCNA
*”Russian FM Reveals First Victims in Case of War on Korean Peninsula.” Sputnik News. 2 December 2017.
**Charles K. Armstrong, “The Destruction and Reconstruction of North Korea, 1950-1960.” The Asian-Pacific Journal.
Image captions by PT
Antonius Aquinas is an author, lecturer, a contributor to Acting Man, SGT Report, The Burning Platform, Dollar Collapse, The Daily Coin and Zero Hedge. Contact him at antoniusaquinas[at]gmail[dot]com https://antoniusaquinas.com/.