Who, Again, Is the Dangerous Provocateur on the Korean Peninsula?
May 2, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
In this context, the Trump/Pence fascist regime has continued to raise the level of tension.
Last Thursday, April 27, Trump issued a stark warning and threat to North Korea: “There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely.” And he added, “We’d love to solve things diplomatically, but it’s very difficult.”
That same day, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson demanded that the United Nations Security Council impose punitive new economic and financial sanctions on North Korea’s economy, potentially causing widespread suffering, perhaps even famine. This demand was aimed at China, which accounts for 90 percent of North Korea’s trade. Meanwhile, John Kasich, the so-called “moderate” Republican governor of Ohio and former presidential candidate, called for unilaterally “taking out”—that is, mass murdering—North Korea’s leaders. On Sunday, Trump again refused to rule out a preemptive attack if North Korea carried out a new nuclear weapons test. As these threats and warnings were being issued, U.S. warships arrived in waters off the Korean Peninsula.
Then on Monday, May 1, Trump announced that he’d be willing to meet with top North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Trump’s calculated or off-the-cuff statement about being open to talks with Kim in no way represents a move away from war preparations.
On the same day Trump claimed he’s open to meeting with Kim Jong-un, the U.S. THAAD missile system in South Korea became fully operational. This missile system, which is described as “defensive,” is in fact designed to prevent North Korea from responding to a U.S. first strike. It is a pivotal element of U.S. war-making strategy in East Asia—not only against North Korea but also potentially against China. And, again on this same day, the U.S. flew two strategic bombers over the Korean Peninsula in a training drill with the South Korean air force.
All this underscores that Trump’s comments about wanting to resolve things diplomatically and being willing to talk with Kim Jong-un must be understood principally as an ultimatum to North Korea: “Accede to U.S. demands, or face the specter of war and annihilation.” Trump’s comments are also designed to put the blame on North Korea should war ensue: “We tried to resolve the crisis diplomatically,” the U.S. rulers would claim, “but North Korea’s belligerent regime refused.”
Who Is the Aggressor and Provocateur Here?To hear the Trump/Pence regime and the ruling class media tell it, the crisis began when North Korea’s “paranoid dictator,” Kim Jong-un, began “aggressively” and “provocatively” firing off test missiles, conducting nuclear tests, and carrying out military maneuvers. Not a day goes by without television news programs showing North Korean soldiers goose-stepping past Kim Jong-un in his reviewing stand, followed by rows of missiles and tanks. The clear message from the U.S. media: the U.S. has no choice but take action to stop a madman from attacking the homeland and endangering the world.
But What Is the Actual History Between the U.S. and North Korea?At the end of World War 2, Korea was liberated from the yoke of Japanese imperialism. But the U.S., aiming to become the dominant imperialist power in the Asia-Pacific region, was intent on preventing the spread of genuine communism, which was then gaining ground in China with the revolution under the leadership of Mao Zedong. So the U.S. never reconciled itself to a liberated, independent Korea. They worked to prevent the unification of North and South Korea and to overthrow the government then taking form in North Korea. That government became the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea). While a genuine revolutionary state on the socialist road to communism could have emerged in North Korea, it never did. North Korea still calls itself socialist and communist, but it is in reality a reactionary regime, with nothing in common with genuine communism.
The U.S. has been carrying out aggression against North Korea in one form or another for nearly 70 years. The U.S. killed more than three million Koreans during the 1951-53 Korean War. It deployed hundreds of nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula from 1958 to 1991. It has repeatedly threatened North Korea with war, strangled it with economic sanctions, and deployed thousands of troops on its borders. The U.S. has never recognized the North Korean government and has repeatedly threatened “regime change.” And the U.S. refuses to pledge not to overthrow the North Korean regime (even when North Korea has offered to enter into negotiations over its nuclear program in return).
Historian Bruce Cumings points out: “North Korea is the only country in the world to have been systematically blackmailed by U.S. nuclear weapons going back to the 1950s, when hundreds of nukes were installed in South Korea. I have written much about this in these pages and in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.”
So for North Korea’s leadership, developing means to ward off a U.S. attack isn’t irrational—it’s completely rational. Even some former U.S. defense officials admit that North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons—and missiles capable of delivering them, including over long distances—is essentially for deterrent purposes (in other words, discouraging or preventing) others from attacking North Korea—especially against existential threats to the regime from U.S. imperialism.
Yet the very grave, bellicose U.S. threats and escalation being directed at North Korea right now could unleash a train of events, calculations, and miscalculations in which North Korea’s leadership feels its hand is forced and that it must strike out or risk annihilation. This is how dangerous the situation that U.S. imperialism has created is.
America Was Never Great... and No One Who Stands with Humanity Should Want It to BeThe Trump/Pence fascists are determined to solve the many challenges to U.S. global dominance by wielding its power more violently and aggressively.
So while Trump declares that U.S. borders are sacred and must be protected at all costs, he and his cabal prepared to trample on—even obliterate—other countries and their borders. They see North Korea’s potential ability to protect itself and deter a U.S. attack as an intolerable outrage.
All this is what “Making America Great Again” is really all about—making America the world’s unchallenged dominator, exploiter, and environmental predator. Why the fuck should anyone want that?
A world where bombs and drones rain on country after country, millions die unnecessarily, and tens of millions more are forced to flee for their lives? A world where vast swaths of humanity slave in sweatshops or are adrift without work at all? A planet with nowhere the female half of humanity can walk freely, without fear. An Earth whose ability to sustain human and many other forms of life is being shredded?
That’s the world that U.S. imperialism has helped create, presides over, and is now risking a nuclear holocaust to maintain. Again—why in the fuck should anyone with a shred of concern for humanity and the planet want that? Instead, we should root against this monster and welcome its difficulties, setbacks and defeats, knowing that those weaken U.S. imperialism’s grip on the earth and could hasten the day it can be broken by communist revolution.