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.
Originally published on 2017-04-18
About the author: Andrew Dobbs, activist, organizer, and writer based in Austin, Texas.
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest.
Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!
Donate to Support Us
We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.
[wpedon id=”4696″ align=”left”]
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 ...
Future war “may see attacks via computer viruses, worms, logic bombs, and trojan horses rather than bullets, bombs, and missiles” [Steven Metz, Armed Conflict in the 21st Century: The Information Revolution and Post-Modern Warfare, Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, 2000, xiii].First partThe facilities of the Internet in politicsThe Internet or the WWW (World Wide Web) became massively widespread around the globe since the late 1980s or more precisely since 1989 – in the same year when the Berlin Wall collapsed and, therefore, enabled the Cold War 1.0 to enter the final stage of its end. That is why both of these ...
From a geopolitical perspective, the war on Yugoslavia in the 1990s was about restructuring Southeast Europe after the end of the Cold War. To this end, the US even deployed the combatants with which it had previously fought the USSR in Afghanistan and which it would later call „Al Qaeda“.The political and media propaganda regarding the war on Yugoslavia has been well researched by now. Interestingly, however, many media outlets and commentators are still trying to uphold the official narrative of the time, in contrast to the later war in Iraq, for example.There may be various reasons for this. On ...
Yugoslavia (the “land of South Slavs”) was a Balkan multi-ethnic state which emerged from the ruins of the Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy (est. 1867) and was officially announced to exist on December 1st, 1918 under the original name of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.[i] The name was changed in June 1929 to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The country existed under such name till April 1941 when it was destroyed, occupied, and divided by the Axis Powers and their Balkan satellites. Legally, the state emerged from the 1917 Corfu Pact signed by the Government of Serbia on one hand and the ...
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 ...
“Ethnic affiliation has never been forgotten in the territories of the former Yugoslavia. It did play a certain role, and it did influence decisions even during the Tito's era of strict ‘Brotherhood and Unity’”[Várady T., “Minorities, Majorities, Law and Ethnicity: Reflections of the Yugoslav Case”, Human Rights Quarterly, Vol. 19, 1997, p. 42]People, nation and stateI agree that “in Yugoslavia, all political problems are intimately linked with the issue of nationalism”.[i] Indeed, the fixing of inner or administrative borders between Yugoslavia’s nations and nationalities became one of the main issues that forged nationalism after the Second World War onward and ...
Western media is becoming unhinged as its anti-Russia propaganda struggles to keep a hold on its consumers. Two recent examples provide evidence.Pro-peace conspiracy emanating from MoscowOn August 28, the New York Times published an article by its Moscow bureau chief about the troubling news (from the Times‘ viewpoint) that the people of Sweden are not happy with their government’s wish to join up with the NATO military alliance.The ruling elites in Sweden and Finland have been quietly pushing for NATO membership for years. In May, the Swedish government pushed through the Riksdag a proposal for a ‘cooperation agreement’ with NATO, ...
Barring unexpected delays, Silvia Foti is months away from fulfilling an old promise that’s become her life’s work: to write a biography of her late grandfather, who is a national hero in his native Lithuania.
Foti, a 60-year-old high school teacher from Chicago, made the pledge to her dying mother 18 years ago. She has spent a long time studying the life of her grandfather, Jonas Noreika, as well as acquiring the writing skills necessary for chronicling it and finding a publisher.
But rather than celebrating Noreika’s legacy as her mother requested, the biography that Foti wrote confirms and amplifies the findings ...
Ema Miljkovic-Bojanic, M. A.Institute of History ofSerbian Academy of Sciences and ArtsBelgrade, 2000Malcolm’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 upper hand, the ...
The bleak truth is that a careful review of the activities of the CIA and the organizations from which it sprang reveals an intense preoccupation with the development of techniques of behavior control, brainwashing, and covert medical and psychic experimentation on unwitting subjects including religious sects, ethnic minorities, prisoners, mental patients, soldiers and the terminally ill. The rationale for such activities, the techniques and indeed the human subjects chosen show an extraordinary and chilling similarity to Nazi experiments.
This similarity becomes less surprising when we trace the determined and often successful efforts of US intelligence officers to acquire the records of ...
While the US claims recent sanctions targeting Russia are based on alleged Russian interference in last year’s US elections, a careful examination of US policy post-Cold War reveals a systematic campaign aimed at undermining Moscow, encircling Russia and attempting to overturn the current, prevailing political order there in favor of one dominated by US interests.At each step, various excuses are concocted, mainly to mesh with current political narratives embedded within public perception at any given time. Currently, playing left and right-leaning Americans against one another regarding the 2016 election and still-unproven allegations that Russia played a hand at tipping the ...
Stalinist “Land of Eagles” As in neighboring Yugoslavia, the communist revolutionary guerrilla forces, established by the aid and crucially supported by the Yugoslav communists led by local Albanian communist leader Enver Hoxha, took over the power in Albania in 1944. From 1945 to 1948 Albania was under the strong influence of Titoist Yugoslavia and both counties being under the hand of J. V. Stalin. Yugoslavia lavishly supplied Albania with deficient material, mainly nutritious ones, like wheat, etc. As testified by the Montenegrin zealot communist and revolutionist Milovan Đilas, one of the leading Yugoslav politicians at the time, and a member ...
Twenty years ago, on 24 March 1999, Operation Allied Force began – the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia that led to the country’s dismemberment – and the independent state of Kosovo was proclaimed. Yet these events were far from historically contingent, as some people claim. So who orchestrated the breakup of Yugoslavia and how?These days, few remember that the Bulgarians were at the start of it all. Even the Bulgarians themselves don’t like to think about it.In early March 1999, Bulgaria’s National Intelligence Service told Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND) that it had information about a secret plan by the Yugoslav ...
Several power centers were formed in Libya as a result of the fall of Muammar Gaddafi's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and the destruction of the statehood. None of them has a national legitimacy. The pursuit of personal interests by some political leaders to the detriment of the general state is intertwined with territorial fragmentation. The historic regions - Tripolitania, Cyrenaica and Fezzan - have de facto separated from each other. The Libyan phenomenon of the city-state arose (Misrata, Al-Zintan, Sirte, etc.). The separatist tendencies of the tribes grew stronger.Along with it, the UN attempts to stabilize the situation in the country. ...
Bijeljina, Bosnia in 1992: Serb Volunteer Guard (Arkan's Tigers) led by Željko Ražnjatović Arkan after 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 ...
Unless Syria will simply hand its most heavily pro-jihadist province, Idlib, to adjoining Turkey, which claims to have 30,000 troops there and is planning to add 20,000 more, World War III will probably happen soon, and here is why:
Russia’s troops are in Syria at the invitation of Syria’s Government and they have provided crucial assistance to restore the Government’s control over areas that the jihadists (sometimes called “Radical Islamic Terrorists” or otherwise) had seized. Consequently, unlike the Turks and the Americans, who are invaders of Syria, Russia is instead a defender of Syria, and is committed to doing there only ...
Long before Donald Trump successfully hung the “fake news” label on CNN, more discerning observers of the wars of the Yugoslav succession of the 1990s came to similar conclusions regarding the network’s news coverage of that tragedy. Headlined by Christiane Amanpour, CNN’s reporting, especially from Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo, showed a clear pro-Muslim, anti-Serbian bias, painting the conflict in stark black-and-white colors, where the Christian Serbs were always the “black hat” “aggressors,” perpetrators of “genocide” and such, while the Bosnian and Albanian Muslims were inevitably the “white hat” “victims,” in dire need of U.S. and Western “humanitarian” intervention to spare them from extermination at ...
How much longer are we accepting the tyrannical dictate of the American rulers? It gets worse by the day – and it looks like the western world’s “leaders” (sic – so sic!) are caving in ever more to the American killing machine – the European Union – and all its members heads of state, and all the Zion-Anglosaxons and Japan – no one dares standing up and shouting “NO!” – no more of your hegemonic atrocities! – But they all bend over backwards to please a criminal empire, run like the Barbarians.Imagine, the so-called world leader invites you to a ...
This past weekend saw Russians parading in celebration of the anniversary of their costly victory over Nazi Germany. Millions marched throughout Russia, holding photographs of their fallen family members in bittersweet remembrance. To this archival research peoples historian’s knowledge there was no public reminder that Hitler’s armed forces were built up by the West in open violation of the Versailles Treaty’s prohibitions in expectation of Hitler fulfilling his threats to invade the Soviet Union.
There is simply no way impoverished Nazi Germany could have on its own built its Armed Forces up to number one military in the world during the ...
TerminologyA meaning of the term Great Power(s) (GP) in global politics from the beginning of the 16th century onward refers to the most power and therefore top influential states within the system of the international relations (IR). In other words, the GP are those and only those states who are modelling global politics like Portugal, Spain, Sweden, France, the United Kingdom, united Germany, the USA, the USSR, Russia or China. During the time of the Cold War (1949−1989) there were superpowers as the American and the Soviet administrations refered to their own countries and even a hyperpower state – the ...
Ukraine: Zbig’s Grand Chessboard – How the West was Checkmated
The Power of the Internet in Politics
War on Yugoslavia: Fraud Western Propaganda
A Short History of An Interwar Yugoslavia (1918‒1941)
Stepan Bandera: The Legacy of Self-Loathing Nazi’s in America
Nationalism and the Yugoslavs
Western Media Propaganda Threatens Peace and Prolongs the Deadly Conflict in Eastern Ukraine
Untold History of Lithuania: A Chicago Teacher Showed Her Grandfather was a Nazi Collaborator
Noel Malcolm: “Kosovo – A Short History”, 1999. A History Written With an Attempt to Support Albanian Territorial Claims in the Balkans (Fourth Part)
Operation Paperclip: Nazi Science goes West
Russian Sanctions Latest Betrayal of Post-Cold War Agreements
The Post-WWII Albania and Kosovo
Who Orchestrated the Breakup of Yugoslavia and How?
Two War Photographs: Bosnia vs. Vietnam
Angelina Jolie and CNN Perpetuate Srebrenica Fake News Narrative
The West is Run by Barbarians
Contribution of US Capitalism to Nazi Germany’s War Economy
The Great Powers and Global Politics