The US Versus North Korea – Round 2?

Hang on to yer hats. We’re off to war with North Korea. Kim Jong-un is yet another lunatic leader threatening the peace-loving United States, and likely to invade our dear allies in the South at any moment.

America’s Seventh Cavalry, in line with the best traditions of the ‘Old West’, will come riding out of the sunset to rescue South Korean maidens from a fate worse than death at the hands of those filthy, North Korean, commies.

It’s just a pity Slim Pickens isn’t still around to see it.

While Dr Strangelove was intended to satirize the nuclear arms race, the ideal of the “all-American-hero” is just the sort of crazy propaganda the US government is feeding – via mass media – to audiences daily, most of whom are happy to lap up such drivel while reclining in their armchairs after a hard day in front of the college football game.

Warmongers invariably have two weaknesses: arrogance and amnesia. It’s not the done thing to tell the peasants the truth. It’s not considered cricket, among the ruling classes, to contemplate the “other fellah’s” point of view. After all, it may have the effect of illuminating our government’s ideals in a slightly less than perfect light.

Not that this is in anyway to condone the craziness and brutality of the North Korean regime. It isn’t. But when Kim Jong-un came to power his country was under serious western sanctions. They successfully launched a rocket that placed a satellite into orbit, (joining the 70,000 or so already up there, belonging to other nations). Western governments publicly denounced the action as a cover-up for testing a long range missile and increased the severity of the sanctions.

Perhaps understandably, this peeved the North Koreans who retaliated by setting off a large underground explosion at one of their (possibly) nuclear test sites. Western governments denounced this as unacceptable behavior, proclaimed it an illegal nuclear test, and turned the thumbscrews on North Korea a little tighter.

The truth is that no-one, apart from the North Koreans, knows for sure whether it was a nuclear test or not. No radiation was detected, and according to William J Broad of the New York Times (among numerous others):

…As is usual with tests by the secretive North, it was not even clear if the underground test was nuclear, rather than conventional bomb blasts meant to mimic an underground nuclear test.”[1]

Western media, and in particular the US corporate-controlled channels, have no doubt whatever it was nuclear and happily inform their viewers to that effect, making no mention of any possibility of doubt.

The next event to further upset the North Koreans was the sudden arrival of US Stealth bombers over their airspace. Now, forgive any apparent cynicism, but were the bully in the other schoolyard…so to speak, it’s not hard to imagine the political consternation if North Korean bombers were suddenly spotted over Florida, or, Hawaii, Paris, or London. Yet it’s perfectly okay, in the eyes of the arrogant, to not only employ Stealth bombers to give North Koreans the jitters, but a whole army, navy, and airforce right in their backyard.

And, they make it a yearly event.

Which all begs the question as to whether provoking a war with North Korea is someone’s idea of a good idea.

US Imperialism didn’t die after the Iraq war, anymore than the PNAC gave up and went home to grow potatoes. Those guys, Rumsfeld, Kristol, Kagan, and their multifarious hangers-on, are still around and active behind the political scenery.

World domination was not the exclusive obsession of Adolf Hitler or Alexander the Great. Neither is it today confined to a game played on computer screens.

In the next twelve months thousands of the US military will be returning home to the United States from Afghanistan. Soldiers are only productive when they’re fighting wars. To have them sitting around in their bases costs the nation, and Halliburton, Lockheed Martin, Northrop, and others, lots of money.

Such companies had a lot riding on George Bush’s venture to dominate the Middle East. For them it was a bonanza, even though it didn’t quite turn out as expected.

Messrs Kagan, Rumsfeld, Kristol, and Co no doubt hoped that by now a large portion of the US military would be camped on Iran’s border, on the verge of vanquishing the Iranian regime once and for all. It’s not going to happen. Which is why President Obama is in no hurry to further assist the Israelis with their Iran nuclear problem.

Perhaps North Korea will prove more obliging than Iraq?

It won’t. They said Iraq would be a pushover. It wasn’t. They said Iraqis would welcome them with open arms. They didn’t. Do they think North Koreans will throw flowers under the feet of a US military invasion? They certainly will not.

That’s the trouble with arrogance. It blinds to the “other fellah’s” point of view. Throughout North Korea, from peasant to president, America is considered “the enemy”. If necessary, they will fight to the last man. Though, they probably won’t have to. Those huge, televised, military parades aren’t populated with cardboard cutouts, and the terrain in North Korea makes Afghanistan look like a walk in Central Park.

The United States lost 40,000 men the last time it took on North Korea. And it didn’t win. But that was sixty years ago. Politicians and empire builders are arrogant, and arrogance spawns amnesia. Especially when it’s convenient to do so.

[1] “A Secretive Country Gives Experts Few Clues to Judge Its Nuclear Program” New York Times, February 12th 2013