Less than three months into Pres. Donald Trump’s reign we can already say that there is a non-trivial chance that the United States will soon be engaged in a nuclear war.
The threat is still remote, but all the pieces are in place. An aircraft carrier group en route to North Korea, anonymous sources threatening a preemptive strike against them, a recent unilateral attack on the Syrian government and the dropping of a 21,000 pound conventional bomb in Afghanistan — interpreted by many as a message for North Korea.
Any misjudgments or mistakes could easily spark a shooting war in which the North Koreans will face an existential threat they can only resist with their nuclear weapons. The United States would be likely to respond in kind.
The main thing standing between us and this scenario? The cooler heads and good judgement of Trump and Kim Jong-Un.
This is deeply concerning, but to hear the U.S. media tell it all of the irrationality and risk in this is on the North Korean side. NBC News, in the very article announcing the United States’ threat of unauthorized aggression against North Korea, called it “volatile and unpredictable.”
Australia’s defense industry minister called North Korea “the world’s greatest threat” less than a week after the United States escalated the major power conflict in Syria with little warning. And The New York Times spoke of China’s need to “rein in” the childish North Koreans, even if the United States is the one that’s killed at least 1,000 civilians in combat since the beginning of 2017.
Western propaganda draws from a deep well of racist “yellow peril” prejudice to stoke irrational fears against this tiny, poor, isolated country, and it amplifies this paranoia with long-standing stereotypes of East Asian “oddity” to dehumanize North Koreans and justify U.S. aggression against them.
In the hands of a war-horny bigot like Trump, this well-established, bipartisan narrative poses a fearsome threat of making nuclear war inevitable. It’s imperative that we answer these lies immediately if we are to minimize this risk.
There are three basic pieces to the West’s slander of North Korea — that the whole country is “crazy” and especially dangerous, and that North Koreans are treacherous and untrustworthy. They can’t be reasoned with, they won’t honor any diplomatic agreements, and any moment they could fly off the handle and kill millions of people for no reason whatsoever.
This demands extraordinary military pressure from the United States and allies and may, alas, require us to destroy them.
Each of these is a perverse misrepresentation. The claim that they are insane in particular is a terrific example of gaslighting — an abuse tactic where the perpetrator takes steps to make their victim act or feel crazy and then uses those responses as proof of the victim’s irrationality, a justification for further abuse.
North Korea, by way of context, is bordered on the north by China and the south by South Korea. South Korea hosts 28,500 U.S. soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen, many of them literally amassed at the border with the North. On their east is the Sea of Japan (known to Koreans as the East Sea), and across that is a nation which brutally occupied Korea for decades.
The North Koreans are surrounded on all sides by countries that have invaded or occupied them in living memory, and the world’s most powerful military is still technically at war with them and poised to invade at moment’s notice.
This is the sort of scenario that would make any country not merely paranoid, but legitimately insecure. In light of U.S. military aggression against countries that choose to resist our global order — see Iraq, Libya, Syria, etc. — North Korea can choose to capitulate or focus tremendous resources on building up their defensive capabilities.
Also in living memory there is the time the United States killed a quarter of the North Korean population and leveled the country’s urban centers, leaving almost no structures standing in Pyongyang. The North Koreans didn’t capitulate then and it isn’t on the table now — defense and defiance it is, and this is hardly “crazy” in context.
The U.S. media, however, never provide this context and instead they present North Korean military propaganda as being unhinged and aggressive. They never compare this, of course, to U.S. military flyovers at sporting events or the ceremonial induction of new soldiers at halftime, or even to our National Anthem with its celebration of bombings and rockets and warfare.
If North Korea is “crazy” for its militarism, then the United States is downright certifiable.
U.S. propaganda can dismiss North Korea’s legitimate concerns so easily because of the underlying racist assumption that these are a bizarre and simple-minded people that believe in things like unicorns. This feeds off of and into orientalist logic that sees East Asians as a nearly subhuman “other” that can’t be reasoned with and so must be handled with force.
It worked when we needed to justify violence against immigrant laborers in the 19th century and it works to justify our imperialist expansion today.
As for claims about North Korea’s unique danger to the world, this too is divorced from reality. The country has no meaningful power projection capability — its naval surface vessels can’t operate more than about 50 kilometers off the coast — and the U.S. military has them contained to the south. China is still North Korea’s ally and does not view it as a significant military threat. North Korea is contained.
But what about those missiles and nukes? The North Koreans could maybe lob a missile at Japan — or maybe not, a missile test on April 15, 2017 failed — and they could level Seoul with artillery alone. But why would they ever do this?
The only way to explain such a unilateral assault on any of their neighbors — which would prompt either U.S. or Chinese military assets to overwhelm and destroy them — is to go back to that same baseless “crazy” claim. They could miscalculate of course, but claims that they are especially dangerous almost always rely upon the assumption that they might just wig out and bomb everybody for no reason at all at any moment.
Again, this is rooted in an infantilizing, dehumanizing, racist logic.
And any claims of a direct North Korean threat to the United States is ludicrous bullshit. They have no weapons capable of reaching anywhere within thousands of miles of the United States, and are years away from developing it, at best. Even if they reach that goal — which their very uneven history of missile tests indicates will be very difficult — they would still have thousands of fewer weapons than we do.
Any launch of that sort would represent an act of mortal desperation — again, it would be totally delusional to launch it offensively. Cable news is a much bigger threat to U.S. security than North Korea ever will be.
So if North Korea’s military threat is totally derived from their desire to preclude a US attack why not negotiate a peace between our country and theirs? If they had that sort of assurance we could both back away from the brink and perhaps even provide space for an opening in North Korean society.
Conventional wisdom answers that the North Koreans have reneged on every agreement ever made with them. But if the “crazy” claims are an example of gaslighting, this answer is a textbook case of projection. It’s not the North Koreans who have betrayed past agreements, but the United States. To cover this up we repeat the same racist logic we used against Native Americans — we broke the treaties, but they were the “Indian givers.”
The main incident here has to do with the “Agreed Framework between the United States of America and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” signed between the two countries in 1994. The Agreed Framework — as it is usually called — basically traded the end of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program for normalized economic and diplomatic relations with the United States.
As a good faith step to spur the negotiations North Korea submitted to limited weapons inspections while the United States cancelled military exercises with South Korea. North Korea also used its plutonium production plants for energy, so the United States agreed to work with allies to provide them with fuel oil until two light water nuclear reactors — nuclear power plants that cannot be weaponized — could be built.
The United States failed to uphold its end of the agreement almost immediately. Two weeks after it was signed, Republicans took back Congress and labeled the agreement “appeasement.” They never provided sufficient funds for providing the fuel oil and the United States never met the obligations set in the Agreed Framework.
The Americans also failed to take even the first preliminary steps in building the light water reactors for over four years, and then moved at such a slow pace that there was no chance of meeting the timelines set in the Framework.
Finally, and most significantly, Congress blocked any attempts to begin normalizing relations between North Korea and the United States and Pres. Bill Clinton never pressed it to do so.
North Korea played along for at least four years and even warned us that it was going to restart its nuclear program a year before it actually began a pilot program. According to Leon Sigal, author of Disarming Strangers: Nuclear Diplomacy with North Korea, the North Koreans did not shift from this pilot effort to a full-scale weapons program until Pres. George W. Bush refused new negotiations in 2001.
North Korea “was playing tit for tat — cooperating whenever Washington cooperated and retaliating when Washington reneged, in an effort to end enmity,” Sigal wrote in 2007. This extended to the later Six Party Talks between North and South Korea, the United States, China, Japan and Russia which almost brought North Korea back into the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Talks broke down when the United States refused to release $24 million frozen in a Macau bank account, and North Korea tested its first nuclear weapon six months later. But for that $24 million there might be no nuclear threat from North Korea today.
The fact is that America set such a low priority on disarming North Korea because it isn’t dangerous to the United States because it have nukes. The North Koreans are dangerous because they refuse to submit to our imperial authority and play ball with our global order.
Notice how much less hand-wringing you hear about Pakistan, even though it does have a nuclear arsenal probably 15 times the size of North Korea’s, while also actively collaborating with jihadists. The Pakistanis are subject to the U.S. empire, however, and they buy their weapons from the U.S. military-industrial complex, so they are no big deal.
North Korea dares to not only maintain its independence, but to defend it by any means necessary. It can’t be rewarded with negotiation. America has to destroy North Korea to teach the rest of the world a lesson, and this means preparing the U.S. public for nuclear war, painting the country as a bunch of war-crazed military aggressors whose word can’t be trusted.
Again, this is the definition of projection, taking advantage of racist assumptions baked into U.S. politics and culture.
The good news is that it appears that North Korea is acting both rationally and politically — not militarily — right now. The country is playing the present crisis in such a way as to encourage a favorable outcome in South Korea’s upcoming snap presidential election.
A friendlier government there could mean new economic and political opportunities as well as new diplomatic backup that could help shift the balance in any future negotiations with the United States.
Unfortunately the North Koreans are lined up against the regime of an insulated, ignorant, white supremacist warmonger who has learned in the last few weeks that the same forces lying about North Korea kiss his ass when he escalates military conflicts around the world.
It’s our responsibility to push back against our government and against the institutions lying their way into nuclear war.
It’s our responsibility to speak the truth about North Korea — even if it challenges our most deep-seated political assumptions — and it’s our responsibility, always, to stay defiant.
About the author:
Andrew Dobbs, activist, organizer, and writer based in Austin, Texas.
Interview with historian Stephen Cohen, by Patrick L. Smith, published in Salon.com, April 17, 2015
Introduction by Patrick L. Smith: It is one thing to comment in a column as the Ukrainian crisis grinds on and Washington—senselessly, with no idea of what will come next—destroys relations with Moscow. It is quite another, as a long exchange with Stephen F. Cohen makes clear, to watch as an honorable career’s worth of scholarly truths are set aside in favor of unlawful subterfuge, a war fever not much short of Hearst’s and what Cohen ranks among the most extravagant expansion of a sphere of ...
A quick review of Ukraine, Zbig’s Grand Chessboard – How the West Was Checkmated is simple – this amazing work should be in everyone’s reading library. Anyone who cares to understand the situation of what has happened, and is happening in Ukraine needs to read this book. It covers the history of the dissolution of the USSR, the resulting creation of Ukraine, and the history of the U.S.’ attempts through various government and non-government organizations (e.g. Soros) towards the first failed colour revolution (Orange, 2004), then on towards the second attempt resulting in the successful installation of the noenazi puppet ...
Can the world wake up?
On September 19, 2000, going on 16 years ago, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard of the London Telegraph reported:
Declassified American government documents show that the US intelligence community ran a campaign in the Fifties and Sixties to build momentum for a united Europe. It funded and directed the European federalist movement.
The documents confirm suspicions voiced at the time that America was working aggressively behind the scenes to push Britain into a European state. One memorandum, dated July 26, 1950, gives instructions for a campaign to promote a fully fledged European parliament. It is signed by Gen. William J. Donovan, ...
Current political process of acceptance of the quasi-independent state of Kosovo to the full UN’s UNESCO’s membership opened once again a question of the NATO’s military intervention against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (the FRY) in March−June 1999 as a foundation for Kosovo’s secession from Serbia and its unilateral proclamation of a quasi-independence in February 2008. Kosovo became the first and only European state up today that is ruled by the terrorist warlords as a party’s possession – the (Albanian) Kosovo Liberation Army (the KLA). The aim of this article is to investigate the nature of the NATO’s war on ...
Here it comes again. As the enemies of peace continue to pressure a new US President into deeper war commitments overseas, and as Washington’s Deep State works relentlessly opposing Russian moves in Syria at every turn, the war drums have started again – beating harder than ever now, clamouring for a new US-led attack on Syria. This morning we saw the familiar theme emerge, and just in time to provide a convenient backdrop to this week’s Brussels’ ‘Peace Talks’ and conference on “Syria’s Future”.
The US-led ‘Coalition’ prepares to make its end-run into Syria to ‘Retake Raqqa,’ and impose its Safe Zones in order ...
To describe the US attack on Syria as a serious development is to be guilty of understatement.
Without any recourse to international law or the United Nations, the Trump administration has embarked on an act of international aggression against yet another sovereign state in the Middle East, confirming that neocons have reasserted their dominance over US foreign policy in Washington. It is an act of aggression that ends any prospect of détente between Washington and Moscow in the foreseeable future, considerably increasing tensions between Russia and the US not only in the Middle East but also in Eastern Europe, where NATO ...
America’s hegemonic project in the post 9/11 era is the “Globalization of War” whereby the U.S.-NATO military machine –coupled with covert intelligence operations, economic sanctions and the thrust of “regime change”— is deployed in all major regions of the world. The threat of pre-emptive nuclear war is also used to black-mail countries into submission.
This “Long War against Humanity” is carried out at the height of the most serious economic crisis in modern history. It is intimately related to a process of global financial restructuring, which has resulted in the collapse of national economies and the impoverishment of large sectors of ...
Paul Craig Roberts’ address to the Conference on the European/Russian Crisis, Delphi, Greece, June 20-21, 2015
Paul Craig Roberts, formerly Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury for Economic Policy, Associate Editor, Wall Street Journal, Senior Research Fellow, Stanford University, William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
The United States has pursued empire since early in its history, but it was the Soviet collapse in 1991 that enabled Washington to see the entire world as its oyster
The collapse of the Soviet Union resulted in the rise of the neoconservatives to power and influence ...
More than six decades after Berlin’s capitulation which capped World War II, the war is still raging, now in the form of revisionist attempts to cast a shadow over the memory of Soviet soldiers who fought in it. Among other things, the efforts aimed at equating fascism – a monster nurtured by the West in the 1930s-1940s – and Russia’s XX century wartime past are supposed to divert attention from the continuity between the Anglo-Saxon imperialism and the German national socialism. The nature and key traits of the continuity are exposed in “From Imperialism to Fascism: Why Hitlers’ India was ...
Over the past 50 years the US and European powers have engaged in countless imperial wars throughout the world. The drive for world supremacy has been clothed in the rhetoric of “world leadership”, the consequences have been devastating for the peoples targeted. The biggest, longest and most numerous wars have been carried out by the United States. Presidents from both parties direct and preside over this quest for world power. The ideology which informs imperialism varies from “anti-communism”in the past to “anti-terrorism”today.
Washington’s drive for world domination has used and combined many forms of warfare, including military invasions and occupations; proxy ...
Stepan Bandera’s 106th birthday celebration passed on New Year’s day 2015 and the question of what it means in Ukraine is front and center again. Are there really nazis in Ukraine today? When the Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseni Yatsenyuk can say on German News “We cannot allow Russia to attack Ukraine and Germany again like the Soviet Union did in 1941” – Isn’t that case closed regarding ideology?
Yet history and the facts are clear that the Bandera legacy has little to do with Ukrainian history except mass murder.
Instead history shows the mass murderer and torturer Bandera’s greatest impact on the ...
“It is always difficult to play a double game: declaring a fight against terrorists and simultaneously trying to use some to place pieces on the Middle Eastern chess board to pursue their own interests … [but do the] so-called moderate bandits behead people moderately?” – Vladimir Putin (2015)
Reports that US and British aircraft carrying arms to ISIS were shot down by Iraqi forces (Iraqi News 2015) were met with shock and denial in western countries. Yet few in the Middle East doubt that Washington is playing a ‘double game’ with its proxy armies in Syria. A Yemeni AnsarAllah leader says ...
If the Trump phenomena showed anything, it showed the consensus reality the mainstream media attempted to create concerning Hillary’s certain victory, as well as the consensus reality erected for decades, is not omnipotent.
In fact, the earliest days of mass print media were erected on a famous fraud known as the “Great Moon Hoax” of 1835 – something researcher Chris Kendall has long called attention to – wherein the “educated,” “elite” widely accepted the mainstream publications’ claim bat people inhabited the lunar surface.
In our day, a similar hoax still reigns, as mainstream media is literally as credible as Weekly World News’ Bat Boy ...
“Neocons” believe that the United States should not be ashamed to use its unrivaled power – forcefully if necessary – to promote its values around the world. Some even speak of the need to cultivate a US empire. Neoconservatives believe modern threats facing the US can no longer be reliably contained and therefore must be prevented, sometimes through preemptive military action.
Most neocons believe that the US has allowed dangers to gather by not spending enough on defense and not confronting threats aggressively enough. One such threat, they contend, was Saddam Hussein and his pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. Since ...
Ema Miljkovic-Bojanic, M. A.
Institute of History of
Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts
Malcolm’s Apology of the “Pax Ottomana”
(Ab)using of historiography and historical facts for political ends is not a novelty introduced towards the end of the twentieth century. Its instances have been known throughout history, so that “practically there is not a single epoch of human history that was not controlled – by the Church, state, nation, party, leadership…” But precisely at a time when historiography seemed to be getting rid, at least partly, of the grip of “supervision” and when a critical approach was getting the ...
John Pilger is the kind of well-informed, hard-hitting journalist with gobs of integrity that no longer exists in the Western mainstream media. He has the most distinguished career of all in the business.
In the article below he brings stunning information to one of my own themes–the creation by Washington and its NATO vassals of an artificial reality consisting entirely of propaganda into which Washington has placed the entire Western world and all outside who inspire to be part of it. Westerners live in The Matrix, and the presstitutes keep them there. The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, and ...
One way to understand the effect of 9/11, in most general terms, is to see that it allowed the agenda developed in the 1990s by neoconservatives—-often called simply “neocons”—to be implemented. There is agreement on this point across the political spectrum. From the right, for example, Stefan Halper and Jonathan Clarke say that 9/11 allowed the “preexisting ideological agenda” of the neoconservatives to be “taken off the shelf . . . and relabeled as the response to terror.”1 Stephen Sniegoski, writing from the left, says that “it was only the traumatic effects of the 9/11 terrorism that enabled the agenda ...
Columbus made four voyages to the New World.  The initial voyage reveals several important things about the man. First, he had genuine courage because few ship’s captains had ever pointed their prow toward the open ocean, the complete unknown. Secondly, from numerous of his letters and reports we learn that his overarching goal was to seize wealth that belonged to others, even his own men, by whatever means necessary.
Columbus’s Spanish royal sponsors (Ferdinand and Isabella) had promised a lifetime pension to the first man who sighted land. A few hours after midnight on October 12, 1492, Juan Rodriguez Bermeo, ...
Bijeljina, Bosnia in 1992: Serb Volunteer Guard (Arkan's Tigers) led by Željko Ražnjatović Arkan in the action of "cleaning the town from the Muslim jihadists" (official Arkan's explanation). The victims are local Muslim family members. The guard was composed by volunteers of all moral kinds being independent on the front line and in fact waging its own private war. Bosnia is a neighbouring republic to Serbia with 1/3 of Serbian population. Bosnian Muslims (Bosniaks) and (Roman Catholic) Croats committed terrible crimes of genocide against the local (Orthodox) Serb population during the WWII (the so called Magnum Crimen) while during the ...
Interview With Historian Stephen Cohen On Ukraine
Ukraine: Zbig’s Grand Chessboard – How the West Was Checkmated
Somnolent Europe, Russia, And China: Accept US Hegemony Or Go To War?
The NATO’s Violations Of The “Just War” Principles In 1999
Reviving the ‘Chemical Weapons’ Lie: New US-UK Calls for Regime Change, Military Attack Against Syria
Airstrikes Without Justice
The Globalization Of War. America’s “Long War” Against Humanity
Paul Craig Roberts’ Address To The International Conference On The European/Russian Crisis Created By Washington
Anglo-Saxon Roots Of German Nazism
Fifty Years of Imperial Wars: Global Neoliberalism and America’s Drive for World Domination
Stepan Bandera: The Legacy of Self-Loathing Nazi’s in America
The Dirty War on Syria: Washington Supports the Islamic State (ISIS)
The Entire Mainstream Warmongering Media Is Fake
Neocon 101: What do Neoconservatives Believe?
Noel Malcolm: “Kosovo – A Short History”, 1999. A history written with an attempt to support Albanian territorial claims in the Balkans (Fourth part)
Crazed Washington Drives The World To The Final War
Neocon Imperialism, 9/11, and the Attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq
Two War Photographs: Bosnia vs. Vietnam