Category Archives: Kim Jong-un

Korean Olympic Diplomacy Moves Forward Despite U.S. Intransigence

By many accounts, the Koreans – North and South – have prevailed over the disruptive desires of the United States, coming together in a series of very public actions, clearly meant to turn down the political heat generated by President Donald Trump and the U.S. pressure for military action. This pressure can be seen as a continuation of President Barack Obama’s “Asia Pivot,” a policy that called for full U.S. dominance in the region, including by containing China and the new emerging regional powers through a set of expansive, coordinated, and aggressive military alliances with Japan and other Pacific Rim countries.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, right, talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s sister Kim Yo Jong as they watch a concert by Pyongyang’s Samjiyon Orchestra at a national theater in Seoul on February 11, 2018. (AFP/Getty Images)

The high-profile actions taken by the North and the South – both acting independently of Washington – left U.S. Vice President Mike Pence pouting and twiddling his thumbs on the sidelines during some very effective international diplomacy. In this regard, there does indeed seem to be a new and genuine desire on the part of the president of South Korea to forge a more peaceful and cooperative relationship with the North, even though U.S. officials and commentators seem to be dead set against it, portraying the warming relations between North and South as an attempt by the North to subvert the long and close relationship with the South.

In congressional hearings this week, the moves toward North-South de-escalation were dismissed by a leading Republican, Sen. James Risch of Idaho, as a “smile campaign.”

“The South Korean people seem to have been charmed to some degree, some of them seem to have been captivated by it,” Risch fretted.

Meanwhile, on the media front, CBS reported that its rival network NBC “was forced to fire one of its Olympic analysts after he inexplicably said Koreans are grateful for Japan’s role in their economic development – while ignoring the one-time imperial power’s brutalization of the peninsula.”

I spoke to writer and regional expert, K.J. Noh, about the Olympics and the big-power politics swirling around the Olympic Games in Seoul. Noh is a special correspondent for Flashpoints show on Pacifica Radio.

Dennis Bernstein: Welcome back, K.J. Noh. We want to get to some of the bigger political issues but let’s start with a media story. We’ve heard that NBC fired one of its analysts because it turned out he didn’t have a clue about Korean history and ended up insulting Koreans while trying to somehow curry favor with Japan.

K.J. Noh: This commentator, Joshua Cooper Ramo, is the Co-CEO of Kissinger Associates and a supposed expert on the geopolitics and culture of Asia.  The history is that Korea was brutally colonized and subjugated by Japan for three and a half decades.  As the Japanese athletes were coming in, Ramo said “Now representing Japan, a country which occupied Korea from 1910 to 1945.  But every Korean will tell you,” he went on to say, “that as a technical, cultural and economic example, Japan has been so important to the transformation of Korea.”

This didn’t go over well with Koreans.  As one Korean put it, “After decades of human rights violations, exploiting our resources and attempting to destroy our heritage, Japan is not in a position to expect our gratitude.”  This is just one example of the extraordinary ignorance surrounding Korea, by so-called “experts.”

DB: What do you think was the significance in terms of diplomacy between the North and the South?  You have the United States swearing up and down that this is a ploy by the North to get in the way of our tight relationship with the South Koreans.

KJN: As you know, the Winter Olympics are usually not as well attended as the summer games and not as much a source of interest for the general global audience.  But these Olympics, held in the South Korean county of PyeongChang, have reached out to the North Koreans.  And the North Koreans have responded.

In fact, they responded very rapidly, sending over 500 of their citizens, including a cheerleading squad, an orchestra, a Taekwondo demo team, the head of the North Korean assembly, 22 athletes, and most surprisingly, Kim Yo Jong.  Kim Yo Jong is a  high-ranking Politburo member, and Kim Jong Un’s younger sister.  Just the fact of the North Koreans defying expectations and showing up was a propaganda coup.

The allegation was that the North Koreans were going to use the Olympics as a propaganda offensive. Actually, that battle was lost before it even started, because so much of the Western media has gone overboard to portray the North Koreans as brainwashed zombies or belligerent monsters.  So when these representatives of North Korea show up and they are not cowed zombies or desperate monsters, but rather vivacious, congenial, and self-possessed women, that shattered a lot of received stereotypes.

DB: It does seem that there is a strong spiritual push by the new leadership in the south to bring the two countries together.  There have been some pretty warm words, haven’t there?

KJN: Absolutely. To give some more background, although technically North Korea and the US are still at war, North Korea and South Korea signed a Treaty of Reconciliation, Cooperation, and Non-aggression in 1992.  The letter of that agreement has not always been observed and, especially during conservative administrations, the hostilities have escalated.  But the current president of South Korea, Moon Jae In, was the chief of staff of Roh Moo Hyun, who headed a progressive administration and worked very actively toward reconciliation with the North in a program known as the “Sunshine Policy.”

To a certain extent, this small break in the clouds is an attempt to return to that policy of reconciliation.  What is notable is the congeniality with which the hand was extended toward North Korea.  For example, when the North Korean and South Korean athletes entered the stadium as one team, under a single flag, a standing ovation erupted as 35,000 people rose to their feet in a celebration of this very powerful coming together.

DB: Just watching on my TV, I was totally moved.

KJN: The other thing that was notable was that Vice President Pence was the only person who did not stand up. Here’s a man who criticized African American football players for “taking the knee” and has said that sports should not be politicized.  The Korean Times described Pence’s gesture as “mean-spirited and stupid arrogance, making America look bad in the eyes of the world.”  Professor Alexis Dudden at the University of Connecticut, called it “a new low in American bullying.”

DB: These Olympics come in the context of some pretty crazy policy on the part of the United States government.  The permanent war government wants this kind of policy because it helps the weapons industry.  Can these meetings at the Olympics mean anything in this context?

KJN: It’s hard to say right now.  There seems to have been a bit of an about-face on the part of Pence, some have said because the enormous criticism he has received.  He has now said that he is willing to meet and talk with the North Koreans without preconditions. At the same time, he has said that he intends to maintain maximal pressure and that there are even more extreme sanctions in the pipeline.  Meanwhile, South Korean President Moon met with the sister of Kim Jong Un on four separate occasions over three days, including a performance by the North Korean Orchestra. During a state luncheon, Kim Yo Jong extended an invitation to President Moon from Kim Jong Un to visit North Korea for a summit meeting “at the earliest date possible.”

In the visitor’s book, she wrote:  “I hope Pyongyang and Seoul get closer in people’s hearts and move forward for the future of a mutually prosperous unification.”

• First published in Consortium News.com

Two Minutes to Doomsday

Not since 1953, when the U.S. and the Soviets exploded thermonuclear bombs, has the world been such a powder keg!

Only recently, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved the Doomsday Clock forward 30 seconds. It now registers two minutes to midnight. Verily, it’s lights out when the clock strikes 12:00 midnight. Ka-boom, it’s over!

What’s going on?

Hitherto, in the aftermath of the Cold War, the clock was set all the way back to 17 minutes to midnight. Thereafter, it wasn’t until 1998, when India and Pakistan staged back-to-back nuclear weapon testing, that the famous timepiece moved forward into single digits once again. It’s important to note that resetting the clock is not a frivolous undertaking. A group of distinguished scientists make that decision.

Here’s the rationale for the move closer to the dreaded midnight hour: Upon the election of Trump, the Science and Security Board for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists reset the Doomsday Clock to 2 ½ minutes to midnight. That was based upon extraordinarily provocative nasty destabilizing verbiage from the president himself. Indeed, he is commander in chief, ahem.

Thereafter, following the self-crowning glory of Trump’s inauguration, which was an absolute bust, especially as worldwide protests in the streets vastly outnumbered the inauguration, global risks have measurably increased with leaders Trump and Kim exchanging simplistic infantile barbs at every opportunity.

Not only, it’s also a fact that global risks have compounded via U.S.-Russian relations, featuring more conflict than cooperation, as the two Super Powers crank up tensions: (1) continuing NATO military exercises along borders, (2) undermining the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, (3) upgrading nuclear arsenals, and (4) eschewing arms-control negotiations. Truly, America is in conflict within all categories that ricochet into holocaust.

On a Global basis, tensions have increased over the South China Sea. Pakistan and India continue building larger nuclear weapon arsenals. And, in the Middle East, the U.S. is driving a stake into the heart of the Iranian nuclear deal.  Meanwhile, and increasingly so, cyber threats risk outages of infrastructure power grids and water sources.

Exasperating this perilous world scenario, there is the real threat of fundamental breakdown in the international order because of U.S. behavior, torpedoing trustworthiness amongst nations whilst also undermining, and, in fact, ridiculing, a very sober Paris 2015 climate accord.  In point of fact, U. S. leadership has turned deceptive and unreliable to predict or discern between sincerity and mere rhetoric, inter-meshed within goofy twitter messages. Confusion and conflicting policy statements confront allies with despair.

Further endangering the world community, it is all too evident that the Trump administration is true grit for neoliberal spirits. In fact, it is speculated that if the Science and Security Board for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists computed risks of holocaust based upon the tenets behind rampant neoliberal capitalism, the clock would be reset to one minute before midnight. Indeed, especially under Trump, and especially with a big tax cut combined with rejection of any effort whatsoever to tame global warming. The biosphere is at a heighten level of risk under Trump.

The case can be made that the planet is at peak risk because of neoliberal socio-politico-economic policies that are equal in weight to the threat of nuclear holocaust. Neoliberal capitalism runs roughshod over the social contract and ignores ecological responsibility. For certain, there is no profit to be found in social contracts or ecological caretaking.

As a result, after 35 years of hardcore neoliberalism, the ecosystem is exhausted, frayed, and starting to collapse. Indeed, neoliberal principles of privatization of public assets, rugged individualism, and free-market dicta scrunch every class below the one percent whilst tossing aside ecological concerns into the gutter. Similar to a hefty steamroller, neoliberal ascendency literally flattens the social contract and tosses aside care for the biosphere.

The brand spanking new tax cut leveled at propping up corporations and the super rich exposes $1.5T in new governmental debt. Ipso facto, government must be cut to the bone to satisfy Republican dogma. Hence, the middling classes will be screwed, as the poor get decimated. Socially conscious and ecologically beneficial government will be, and is already, ripped apart. The checks and balances that keep the ecosystem humming, like the EPA, are systematically ravaged via executive order whilst giving the finger to the Paris 2015 climate accord.

This ongoing massive unraveling of guardianship for the ecosystem is smack dab in the crosshairs of a mean-spirited Ayn Rand-type conspiracy, taking full control over America. Rule via decadence is taking America back to late 19th century socio-politico-economic principles, “when men will be men.” As it happens, Trump is turning loose the most boorish elements of the transnational elite.

Meanwhile, the planet simmers with overheating symptoms, and emits an orang-ish glow because of massive chemical saturation, threatening civilization down to its core. The biosphere can ill afford the world’s largest economy rejecting remedial efforts. If the Science and Security Board for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists gave equal weight to ecosystem debasement as it does nuclear threats, the Atomic Clock would bust a spring.

Alas, because of excessive levels of CO2 emitted by humans with resultant global warming, which the Trump group exacerbates, the planet is weak in the knees, especially where people don’t see it, as for example,  (1) The all-important Atlantic ocean conveyor belt circulation pattern, aka: Thermohaline, has already started to slow down way ahead of schedule because of global warming, (2) Oceans have lost 40% of plankton production over the past 50 years, threatening loss of one of the major sources of oxygen for the planet, (3) In 2017, the Gulf of Mexico’s Dead Zone, where oxygen is so weak that fish die, is the largest ever at 8,800 square miles, (4) Kelp Forests in the ocean, the equivalent of terrestrial Rain Forest, are being wiped out from Tasmania to California, (5) Greenland experienced total surface melt for the first time in scientific history, (6) The massive Arctic meltdown threatens runaway global warming (“RGW”) as methane hydrates are exposed, bringing in its wake burn-out agriculture, (7) Irreversible Antarctica ice sheet collapse has commenced.

But still, overshadowing all threats to civilization, positive climate feedbacks are starting to influence the global warming process, meaning the planet itself is on autopilot, emitting one molecule of CO2 via hands-free positive feedbacks for every two molecules of CO2 emitted by human activity.1 This one fact alone is reason enough to move the Doomsday Clock much, much, much closer to midnight.

Postscript:  “There are growing signs that the Pentagon and the CIA are pressing ahead with preparations for a preemptive war against North Korea, including the use of nuclear weapons. There have been multiple reports in the American corporate media of behind-the-scenes discussions between the US military and intelligence apparatus and the Trump administration of the feasibility of a so-called “bloody nose” attack, involving US air strikes on North Korean nuclear facilities, with the expectation—however ill-founded—that they would not provoke a full-scale war.2

  1. Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
  2. Alex Lockie, news editor, Business Insider: “US Stealth Bombers in Guam Appear to be Readying for a Tactical Nuclear Strike on North Korea,” Defend Democracy Press, January 28, 2018.

Big Power Diversions: Olympic Diplomacy on the Korean Peninsula

The more overtures, sudden but entirely appropriate, being made by North Korea to their South Korean counterparts, the more concern seems to emanate from quarters in Washington and Tokyo.  A recurring streak in these engagements is the fear that Pyongyang is simply prevaricating, distracting and diverting: they are having us all for fools.

This betrays the whole premise of how US policy, and to a good degree that of Japan, has been linked to an obsession to place nuclear weapons dismantling and removal as a first step of talks rather than a final outcome with an enduring peace settlement.

Such a settlement, by its very composition, would have to normalise affairs between both Koreas, end the armistice with a peace treaty, with the possible icing on the cake being a Nuclear-Weapons Free Zone.  But surely, a declaration of non-hostility on the part of Washington might be a good start?

Initial freezes in terms of testing (ballistic weapons, the nuclear program) complemented by a suspension or delay of large military exercises by the United States and South Korea, would then follow as a way of smoothing the way.

In many security channels, this might seem like very large pie in a very distant sky.  Various powers, led by the United States, see a North Korean nuclear weapons program as satanic, untenable, the freakish sore of the international comity.  It must be removed, excised, disarmed, or shackled.  But even in the darkest moments of theatre, bluster and boisterousness, talks have been taking place.  There have been discussions, albeit quietly held, reverberating in the background.

These talks have led, in balletic, searching format, to Olympic diplomacy.  In a sense, it is fitting.  The Olympics have often been the scene of protest, propaganda and boycotts, a grandiose and costly hypocrisy that crushes the host city even as it drains its coffers.  But this occasion at Pyeongchang promises to be slightly different, returning the games to their initial, if contrived purpose: to promote peaceful engagement in sporting ventures and a cession of hostilities for the duration of the event.

The security mandarins in Washington and Tokyo are seemingly not convinced.  Last weekend, it transpired that President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, had made a secret journey to San Francisco to discuss North Korea’s nuclear weapons program with Japan’s Shotaro Yachi of the national security council, and officials from South Korea.  The agenda item – the recent resumption of communications between Pyongyang and Seoul – was treated with some scorn, with Olympic diplomacy here deemed a diversion that will have little if any impact on the nuclear weapons program.

Again, the narrow horizon, the chatter of small minds prevailed, evinced by such remarks by McMaster to Fox News’ Bret Baier at the Reagan National Security Forum in California.  For McMaster, the nuclear program is a bacillus that requires expunging with immediacy, leaving little, if any room, for accommodation.  Being alarmed is a way of being.

“I think it’s increasing everyday,” he spoke with orthodox, rehearsed urgency. “It means we’re in a race.  We’re in a race to be able to solve this problem.” (On this score, McMaster is hardly being original, having insisted on this futile contest for months.)  While there were “ways to address this problem short of armed conflict” this was a “race because he’s getting closer and closer and there’s not much time left.”  Such a sinister suggestion, the self-clapping in irons that restricts diplomacy because the war monger longs to reach for his weapon.

As Leon Sigal, Director of the Northeast Asia Security Project at the Social Science Research Council explained to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee last year, denuclearisation was the “ultimate goal”.  However, “demanding that Pyongyang pledge that now will only delay a possible agreement, enabling it to add to its military wherewithal and bargaining leverage in the meantime.”

This point is being insistently ignored by a set of policy makers in Washington, leaving no room for manoeuvring, theatre, dissimulation, in short, all aspects that are vital to the resolution of lingering disputes.  Senator Lindsey Graham, for one, claimed on Wednesday that Seoul was “undercutting what Trump’s trying to do” in allowing Pyongyang to participate at the Winter Olympics.

What McMaster is alluding to is brutal, surrendering simplicity: come out with your hands up, surrender your weapons, and all will be well.  He does this by insisting that, “The greatest immediate threat to the United States and to the world is the threat posed by the rogue regime in North Korea and his continued efforts to develop a long range nuclear capability.”

In Vancouver, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson carried out his usual double act in a press conference following a meeting with Canadian, Korean, Japanese and UN Command officials.  He began with “one policy and one goal”: “the complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.”  The pressure of sanctions, long shown to be ineffective in having any actual impact on Pyongyang’s weapons program, would continue, albeit in a more targeted way.  Combating the evasion of sanctions and interdiction to prevent “ship-to-ship transfers” was also discussed.

Then came a slight adjustment in tone: while “maximum pressure”, one designed to push Pyongyang to denuclearisation talks, buttressed by a “resolute military option” had been the object of the Trump administration, Vancouver provided a different setting, featuring “constructive discussions about how to push our diplomatic efforts forward and prepare for the prospects of talks.”  All to the good, though heavily qualified by the next spurt of bellicosity from President Trump himself.

North Korea: an Agent of Peace?

The false alarm on a ballistic missile attack on Hawaii last Saturday from North Korea did not help the Peace Talks which were essentially initiated by DPRK’s President, Kim Jong-un. They spread enormous fear of a nuclear annihilation of Honolulu, pulverization of homes and people – of Armageddon for the Hawaiian population. Was this a Trump attempt to boycott the talks? Or was it the war-mongering faction of the deep state wanting more threats of war, scaring the Hawaiian population into believing that this might become reality; pushing them with a false alarm into wanting the devastation once and for all the Korean Peninsula – because an attack on the North would not spare the South? Is the war industry desperate for more wars, more profit? They may be wheezing from exhaustion as the world is turning towards peace.

Another sign that the empire, the rogue controllers of the universe, are running on empty, that they are in sheer fear of losing their grip on the world, is that Canada and the US have decided to hold an international meeting in Vancouver, Canada, on North Korea on 15 and 16 January 2018. The Conference is hosted by Canada, sponsored by the US. In addition to Canada and the US, there are 18 countries in the “Vancouver Group”, including Denmark, Greece, Norway, New Zealand and others – but not Russia, nor China — and most ridiculously of all – North Korea itself is absent. Russia and China will be briefed at the end of the meetings, in the evening of 16 January; that was the proposal. Have these wannabe hegemons along with their breath also lost their marbles?

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said the obvious: This is not acceptable. Adding with his always positive humor, “With all due respect towards those who came up with such an initiative, I don’t expect anything productive. Hopefully, nothing counterproductive will happen. It’ll be a great result already, while it’s hardly believable.”

The Peace talks were initiated under the pretext of the North wanting to participate in the South’s winter Olympics in PyeongChang in February this year. A clever move. It reminds of the Ping-Pong diplomacy between Nixon’s America and China of the early 1970’s. Interestingly this was the thawing of relations between the People’s Republic of China (PRC) which was being ‘sanctioned’ – alas! sanctions are not new! – because of Beijing’s ‘interference’ in the totally illegal, unjustified, criminal and devastating US-led Korean war which from 1950 – 1953 totally destroyed North Korea, with a death toll of at least 4 million people, almost half of the then North Korean population. The US bombs left not a brick untouched in the now DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea). The goal of this inhuman atrocity was then, as are Washington’s 60 years-plus aggressions towards Pyongyang today, an attempt of further encroaching on China with the final goal of full domination.

The US table tennis team was in Nagoya, Japan, in 1971 for the 31st World Table Tennis Championship, when in April 1971 the team received an invitation to visit Beijing. Hence started a diplomatic journey which later opened the (flood) gates for an immense, intense and at times controversial trade relationship between Washington and Beijing. For the PRC sports played an important diplomatic role, reflected in the slogan “Friendship First, Competition Second”.

Was Pyongyang inspired by this example of sports paving the way for a new and improved relationship between brothers? Possibly. Yet. It is not clear, who really took the initiative, and who persuaded the Donald to be quiet and let it happen.  Will he indeed be quiet and let these historic peace talks take place undisturbed? What is happening behind the curtains in Trump’s camp – other than the Vancouver Group gathering – is anybody’s guess. That these Peace Talks are taking place is what the world should concentrate on – a step forward in a peace movement that cannot be undone. It is a masterpiece of two sovereign nations to cement their relationship which unites them, plus portions of China and today’s Russian Federation with a 5000-year history.

It is important to understand Korea’s history to comprehend that everything that comes out of the lie-infected mouthpieces of Washington is incoherent and does not fit reality, the thousands of years of a peaceful Korea, whose beliefs are still today largely influenced by Confucius. The history and image of thousands of years of peaceful Korea is a revelation. See box – below.

Returning to today’s reality – only a few weeks ago, all fifteen members of the UN Security Council (UNSC) have condemned the DPRK as an aggressor that has to be punished, piling insult after lies and more insults on President Kim Jon-un and on his nothing-else-but-defense strategy. Today, the same UNSC should get together again and unanimously praise DPRK for this tremendous feat of, against all odds, engaging in peace talks with its natural brother for millennia. Why will such praise for a peace-loving nation not happen? Because the Donalds and Nikki Haleys of this world, the master aggressors of the universe, and all the President’s Men and Vassals, would have to bite their tongue.

However, we know this is not the end of it. Washington still has more than 28,000 servicemen and women stationed in South Korea and a deadly arsenal of warships, fighter planes and nuclear bombs to strike pre-emptively, if the hegemon deems it necessary. Never mind that 80% of South Koreans want this murderous occupation to end. Similar with Japan’s Okinawa US base with more than 40,000 US servicemen and women – the vast majority of Japanese, and especially Island inhabitants, want them out. They bring crime, drugs, prostitution and even murder to the island. Rapes are on the rise.

Okinawa Demonstration

May these Korean talks set in motion something bigger than just peace talks between two brothers. Could this first serious encounter in over sixty years (delegations of the two countries have met in 2014 for an exchange of family visits) become an eye-opener for the 15 UNSC members who thoughtlessly dished out murder sanctions to North Korea just a few weeks ago?

Could this be an eye-opener for the world, showing how fake the entire UN-operation has become, how subservient to the paymaster they have become? Could this be a signal for China and Russia that their non-veto, their submission to the bully, for whatever strategic reason they may have had was a mistake?  Or would they simply claim credit for what is happening – that threats and sactions do work? Any thinking person who knows the history and Mission of Peace of Great and Ancient Korea, the Gojoseon Kingdom – and surely China and Russia ought to know it – will see either how ignorant the world is, or else, how blood and greed thirsty humanity has become under the Kingdom of Capitalism.

The two Koreans may have seized the opportunity to fulfill their highest goal, to become one again, bringing their families together in a lasting way; initiating a movement of joy and harmony; a new era of unification that cannot be broken. This is fully in line with the Buddhist preachings of love, still deeply enshrined in the two Koreas.

President Kim Jong-un has always and repeatedly said that he is not seeking war, is not threatening anybody, but that the nuclear arms are a defensive weapon aiming only at the aggressors – the one and only aggressor, the United States, which for over 60 years has not let go, not allowed converting a shaky armistice agreement into a peace agreement. The people of the DPRK want nothing more than peace.

Wars over the last century and especially during the last 17 years, with the onset of the eternal “war on terror”, the one business terminology that drives the profit of the military-security industrial complex, has become so ingrained in people’s minds, that a world of peace, harmony and love is almost unimaginable.

Under what type of regime would a united North-South Korea function? A hard-core socialism, DPRK style, a Seoul type capitalism, with a soft Moon Jae-in touch, or a Chinese type socialism with a capitalist coating, yet controlled by a centralized socialist party?  Difficult to predict at this point, but given Korea’s historic link to Manchuria, to both today’s China and Russia, it would likely be a political model of social sensitivity.

The regional pressure led by China to withdraw the US military base from the Korean Peninsula would grow – and in parallel the Japanese people would find an additional argument for expulsing the US occupiers from the beautiful island of Okinawa. Would the US supported puppet leaders – leaders, not people – Japan, Guam, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia, Australia – cave in to peoples’ pressure and kick the war hounds out of their sovereign territories, as they should, if they want to deserve even a shred of the meaning of democracy?

Let me dream for a moment: If this tremendous endeavor – peace and unification – were to succeed, it might set an agenda in motion, the world at large has not thought of yet. China and Russia would come out stronger with their objective of a multi-polar world.

Mr. Putin, who supports the Moon-Kim Plan knows very well what political role the Olympics play and how sports act in politics. He and Russia are living “sports as politics” almost on a daily basis. Russian athletes being banned from Olympics, and other sports events; Russian athletes consistantly being singled out for doping, when the number of US athletes caught doping is much larger. US sports people found doping fill pages on internet, but nobody cares to look and dares speaking up against injustice. The Olympic committee is a puppet of the same league as are the United Nations, the European Union and all the international courts. For what reasons?  I can only think of cowardice. That’s what globalized neoliberalism has made us – afraid of sanctions, afraid to stand up for justice and instead subservient to bullies. That’s greed above integrity.

President Putin, along with the Presidents Moon and Kim, cleverly turns sport around as a peace initiative – who could oppose DPRK athletes from participating in South Korea’s Olympics – and behind the scene is an actual peace initiative being mounted that could literally turn the world’s techtonic power plates around. Dynamics of such developments, coupled with a rapid shift towards more economic equilibrium, already taking place in the form of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s (SCO) growing strength, and with increased monetary independence from the west – such dynamics are unpredictable. But they could rapidly move our civilization from darkness into light.

Day of Infamy for the UN Security Council: Triggering a Devastating Humanitarian Crisis in North Korea

Ignoring the avalanche of evidence that prior sanctions on the DPRK are causing a devastating humanitarian crisis for the people of North Korea, especially the most vulnerable, on December 22, despite warnings of the catastrophic consequences to the people, the UN Security Council passed a new set of sanctions so draconian and inhumane that they must be compared to Hitler’s Nuremberg laws.

In quintessentially bad faith, many of these Security Council diplomats who voted “yes” professed ignorance of the human suffering their prior sanctions were inflicting, or are wantonly indifferent to the human agony their votes for these new sanctions make inevitable.

In view of the collapse of the DPRK’s socialist economic system these sanctions are intended to provoke, the ultimate question remains why China and Russia failed to veto these sanctions, while they have the power to prevent this catastrophe. What “arrangements” were made? Has the U.S. juggernaut succeeded in inducing the short-sighted submission of Russia and China, who must certainly anticipate the horrific results of a collapse of the DPRK, which will lead to the complete destabilization of the Eurasian continent, a permanent American military presence, and probably nuclear war. Surely Russia must remember that Gorbachev was assured by U.S. Secretary of State James Baker, that, in return for the Soviet Union’s agreement to the reunification of Germany,

NATO will not expand one inch east of Berlin.

Today Russia is surrounded by NATO bases. Was Gorbachev gullible or treacherous? Russians frequently suspect the latter.

All five permanent members of the Security Council are themselves are in gross violation of Article 6 of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which requires their divesting their military arsenals of nuclear weapons; they are, instead, investing trillions of dollars in upgrading “nukes.” Article 6 of the NPT requires their negotiating, in good faith, a treaty to abolish nuclear weapons; this United Nations treaty was adopted this year, ignored by Russia and China, and opposed by the US, UK and France in a virulent campaign. The US is also violating article 1 of the NPT, placing nuclear weapons in 5 NATO countries: these 5 countries, including Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, and Germany are in violation of Article 2 of the NPT. In violation of the NPT, themselves, the Permanent 5 members of the Security Council have absolutely no right to condemn the DPRK, which is not even a party to the NPT.

United Nations Security Council resolution 2397 dooms the UN to a legacy of destruction of stable, progressive independent nations including Iraq, Libya, and now the DPRK.

Prior to the adoption of resolution, 2397, the UN Human Rights Commissioner revealed that the tough sanctions already imposed on the DPRK are obstructing delivery of desperately needed humanitarian aid. As a result, 70% of the population, 18 million North Koreans suffer from acute food shortages. Sanctions obstructing international bank transfers are blocking UN ground operations, preventing delivery of food, medical equipment and other humanitarian aid.

According to AFP:

‘Aid groups are facing hurdles to clear customs for goods destined for North Korea, to ensure procurement and transport of aid supplies, as well as rising food prices that have shot up 160% since April,’ said UN Assistant Secretary-General Miroslav Jenca.

On December 9, NBC news reported:

The Trump administration’s primary North Korea strategy would do little to curb the country’s nuclear program, and could trigger a famine, according to experts. The White House is urging China to turn off oil supplies to the 25 million Koreans…many analysts say such a move would have minimal impact on North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, and would instead hit the country’s agricultural sector, potentially leading to mass starvation.

Dr. David Von Hippel, a senior adviser at the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability warned the results of an oil embargo could have a catastrophic impact on a humanitarian level.

An oil cutoff would drastically reduce the amount of domestically grown food available to the civilian population….What arable land there is the DPRK farms intensively. They rely on tractors, irrigation pumps, refrigerators and transportation trucks to harvest and distribute food before it rots….even the current level of sanctions imposed in September (Resolution 2375) will impoverish North Korea’s breadbasket.

On October 25 UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the DPRK, Tomas Quintana stated that he was

alarmed by reports that sanctions may have prevented cancer patients from access to chemotherapy…the shipment of wheelchairs and essential equipment for persons with disabilities is now constrained…humanitarian actors are facing difficulties to source much-needed supplies and carry out international financial transactions.

Following his return from Pyongyang, UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman stated:

What I was concerned about was the reduction in programs for the DPRK. The program is only 30 percent funded. It’s having a large impact on how the UN can deliver on its humanitarian programs. I was concerned about the overall lack of funding…which affects the UN’s ability to deliver life-saving equipment on the ground.

This humanitarian disaster is neither accidental nor coincidental. All this information was publicly available to all 15 members of the Security Council prior to December 22, when they inflicted even more deadly sanctions on the people of North Korea. The Security Council is an accessory to these crimes. Though they boast, irresponsibly, that the sanctions contain “humanitarian exemption,” how do they explain the alarming failure to implement these “humanitarian exemptions,” and the fact that the tragic victims of these criminal and fatal sanctions are the majority of the people of North Korea?

The damning answer is revealed in the investigation of the failure of “humanitarian aid” in the case of sanctions against Iraq, which resulted in another humanitarian catastrophe, including the death from starvation of more than half a million Iraqi children. In a brilliant work of investigative journalism by Joy Gordon, entitled “Cool War: Economic Sanctions as a Weapon of Mass Destruction,” (Published in Harper’s, 2002) Ms. Gordon States:

News of Iraqi fatalities has been well documented (by the United Nations, among others), though underreported by the media. What has remained invisible, however, is any documentation of how and by whom such a death toll has been justified for so long…..But I soon learned that all U.N. records that could answer my questions were kept from public scrutiny. This is not to say that the UN is lacking in public documents related to the Iraq program. What is unavailable are the documents that show how the U.S. policy agenda has determined the outcome of humanitarian and security judgments…The operation of Iraq sanctions involves numerous agencies within the United Nations…These agencies have been careful not to publicly discuss their ongoing frustration with the manner in which the program is operated…Over the last three years, through research and interviews with diplomats I have acquired many of the key confidential UN documents concerning the administration of Iraq sanctions. I obtained these documents on the condition that my sources remain anonymous. What they show is that the United States has fought aggressively throughout the last decade to purposefully minimize the humanitarian goods that enter the country. And it has done so in the face of enormous human suffering, including massive increases in child mortality and widespread epidemics…what is less well known is that the government of Saddam Hussein had invested heavily in health, education, and social programs for two decades prior to the Persian Gulf War of 1991. Iraq was a rapidly developing country with free education, ample electricity, modernized agriculture and a robust middle class.

The diplomats who heedlessly refer to failed “humanitarian exemptions” to these DPRK sanctions are privy to the facts excavated by Joy Gordon, and published in Harpers, and these diplomats are aware of the actual cause of the failure of “humanitarian aid.” This failure is the deliberate, premeditated killing of innocent North Koreans, and that is the purpose of these sanctions, which do not, in fact, affect the nuclear program. In any civilized, responsible organization, the perpetrators of these sanctions would be convicted of premeditated murder.

North Korea is not an aggressor: they fought successfully against brutal Japanese colonization, and were then provoked into defending themselves from guerrilla attacks by U.S. client Syngman Rhee’s army, in 1949, which violated the 38 parallel to attack North Korea, the provocation that ignited the Korean War of 1950-1953. Today, the US, South Korea and Japan are imperiling the survival of North Korea with their incessant military threats.

In the 1950-1953 U.S. led UN attack of North Korea, more than 3-4 million North Koreans were murdered by carpet-bombing, napalm, germ warfare and other weapons of mass destruction. These figures are confirmed by US General Curtis LeMay, and numerous others involved in perpetrating this massacre of North Koreans. As traumatic memories of the slaughter of 1 million Armenians by the Turks over 100 years ago still fester within the lives of today’s Armenians, as Hitler’s genocide of 6 million Jews 70 years ago cannot be forgotten by today’s Jews, so the massacre of more than three million North Koreans by a US controlled UN army can never be forgotten by North Korea, whose government is determined to protect North Korea from a repetition of this horror. And the only weapon that might deter the United States from another attempt to totally destroy the last remaining socialist country is their nuclear weapon, which might require the US to think twice before another attack.

Thus, an alternative method of slaughter, UN Security Council Resolution 2397, despite alarming warnings of catastrophic humanitarian consequences, ruthlessly cuts 90 percent of oil supplies to the DPRK; the resolution demands that 150,000 North Koreans working in other countries must be expelled, and have their jobs eliminated within 24 months, exacerbating the impoverishment of North Korea; in addition to other restrictions, and together with a large number of previous travel bans against individuals crucial to the economic sector of the DPRK, Resolution 2397 includes further travel bans against 15 key members of the economic sector, and foreign trade representatives.

Ambassador Han Tae Song, at the UN in Geneva earlier stated:

It is obvious that the aim of the sanctions is to overthrow the system of my country by isolating and stifling it and to intentionally bring about humanitarian disaster instead of preventing weapons development as claimed by the U.S. and its followers.

On December 7 it was reported that South Korea will spend almost $1,000,000.00 to purchase drones and grenade machine guns, for a “Decapitation Unit” to murder Kim Jong UN. This, of course, is not only criminal homicide, it is in violation of international law. On December 10 Reuters reported that Japan, the US and South Korea will hold additional military drills, immediately following the December 4 US- South Korea large-scale military drills held the prior week. This is an incessant military threat to the survival of the people and government of North Korea, and an intolerable provocation. On December 17 South Korean and U.S. forces conducted a joint military plan to invade North Korea, ostensibly to “remove weapons of mass destruction.” This “Warrior Strike” military exercise was held at Camp Stanley, north of Seoul, near the 38 parallel. US commander of Forces Korea Vincent Brooks, and Lt. General Thomas Vandal were present at the “Warrior Strike” military drills.

By November 28, the government of the DPRK had not tested anything for almost three months. Instead of attempting peaceful negotiations in this stable atmosphere, as required by all Security Council Resolutions, the US, on the contrary, escalated its military threats against North Korea, with a series of deadly military drills. It is therefore preposterous that U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stated on December 15 that North Korea must “earn” the right to negotiations. North Korea had conspicuously halted any testing for almost three months prior, and instead of seizing the opportunity to establish negotiations for peace, the US aggressively increased military threats.

The DPRK Foreign Ministry called US President Trump’s national security strategy

the most recent American policy seeking to stifle our country and turn the entire Korean peninsula into an outpost of American hegemony…Trump is seeking total subordination of the whole world.

UN Security Council Resolution 2397 will be fatal to North Korea’s economy. It will destroy the majority of the people, but have little or no impact on weapons development.

Finally, it is revealing that on December 4 the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on the “Prohibition of the development and manufacture of new types of weapons of mass destruction and new systems of such weapons: report of the Conference on Disarmament”. The DPRK voted “Yes” in support of this resolution. The U.S. voted “No,” in opposition. Again, on the General Assembly resolution on the “Promotion of multilateralism in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation” the DPRK voted “Yes,” in support of this resolution, while the U.S. voted “No” in opposition. It is obvious which country is a threat to world peace: it is not the DPRK.

It is freezing in New York today. If an 90% oil cutoff were imposed on the United States, a huge number of civilians would freeze to death. The winter in North Korea is even colder. Resolution 2397 will condemn the people of North Korea to excruciating deaths. Ironically, December 22 is the United Nations “Holocaust Remembrance Day.” It is shameful that on December 22 the United Nations Security Council voted to inflict the Twenty–First Century’s Holocaust upon the people of North Korea. With the passage of Resolution 2397, the United Nations Security Council has become an instrument of barbarism and terror.

Featured image is from Zobiyen TV.

Article first published in Global Research

James Clapper Wants Us to Trust Him: So Does Politico

In a recent piece published on Politico, former director of national intelligence James Clapper, that “crusty ex-cargo pilot,” makes us privy to another of his unnerving assessments of the world-at-large, “The Russians have succeeded beyond their wildest expectations.” The last time Mr. Clapper assured us of something, it was that the intel community wasn’t spying on us. We saw how that turned out. But that was under oath before Congress. This is an interview with a leading political website. Much higher stakes. Clapper has settled comfortably into his civilian role as the lead legitimizer of January’s farcical Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA), and sees Russian influence, and the tantalizing prospect of presidential treason, as a weighty black cloud hanging over the country, a semaphore of apocalypse.

Clapper is effectively a PR flack of the Democratic Party and the military-industrial-finance complex. The former is the Clinton wing of the DNC. The latter includes defense industries, the Pentagon, Fortune 500 manufacturing multinationals, and a handful of the world’s largest banks. These two entities have a common interest: demonizing the Russian Federation. The Democrats want it to deflect attention from the landfill of venality, graft, and other corruptions revealed by WikiLeaks, a rogue DNC insider, and now Donna Brazile. The ruling class community wants it to force President Trump to continue the hostile policies of George Bush and Barack Obama in the global arena, notably toward Russia. So, immediate Democratic interests dovetailed with permanent establishment interests. Hence Russia was employed to hide Democratic corruption and justify active measures against it. In other words, the establishment is working hard to preserve the status quo, against popular pressure to change the status quo. It was ever thus.

The Art of the Sell

If you are going to peddle a lie like Russia-gate, you need to establish two critical components: credibility and consensus. On the credibility side, major institutions and respected influencers must be enjoined to sell the right narrative to give the story a patina of legitimacy. This is Clapper’s job, and that of the intelligence agencies. On the visibility side, mainstream news channels must flood the airwaves with this story. This will provide crucial visibility for the story and, even more importantly, create a perception of consensus. This is the corporate media’s job. To simultaneously accomplish both, Clapper works with media companies like Politico  to broadly disseminate the anti-Russia tale in the voice of a credible servant of the state.

Clapper says Russia-gate is worse than Watergate. He darkly murmurs his innuendo to Politico international affairs correspondent Susan Glasser, another rapt reporter dutifully recording the wizened words of a man once privy to the inner chambers of American intelligence. The tone is suitably reverential. For the proven perjurer Clapper, Russia-gate is unprecedented because it shows “…a foreign adversary actively and aggressively and directly engaging in our political processes to interfere with them and to undermine our system, whereas in Watergate you were dealing with a two-bit petty burglary, domestic only.”

Clapper then says he fears that the extent of nefarious Russian actions go even deeper than he thought. One shudders to think. He talks flatly about Russian use of social media. Politico goes out of its way to claim that the social media non-story about a speculative Moscow-directed “influence” campaign is “extensive and sophisticated” and calls bots and trolls “false-front groups.” Any rhetorical formation that sounds more menacing than “fake” will work.

Glasser, a starry-eyed apostle of Russia-gate, “asked whether Russian President Vladimir Putin now believes he is winning in his campaign against the United States.” Mind you, no evidence has yet been produced to demonstrate Vladimir Putin ever launched a “campaign against the United States.” It’s fairly obvious from his foreign policy positions, offers, and statements that he’d rather cooperate with Washington than fight it, though Moscow surely preferred Trump to Clinton in the general election.

Clapper replies that, “Their first objective in the election was to sow discontent, discord and disruption in our political life, and they have succeeded…They have accelerated, amplified the polarization and the divisiveness in this country, and they’ve undermined our democratic system. They wanted to create doubt in the minds of the public about our government and about our system, and they succeeded…”

Incredible Claims

The Russia-gate narrative began as an accusation that Russia had hacked the DNC to destroy Hillary Clinton. Then it changed to an accusation of Russian influence to destroy Hillary Clinton. Then it changed to an accusation of Russian influence to sow division among American voters. All along, it has also charged that Donald Trump colluded with Russia to destroy Hillary Clinton. No such evidence has been produced.

The DNC hacking claim has been debunked. The claim about WikiLeaks as an agent of Russia is false, given it has released hundreds of thousands of documents critical of Russia itself. The claim Russia hacked into U.S. voting systems was fake news. The disgusting dossier is another fiction ginned up by the Clinton camp to smear Trump. Evidence is lacking that Trump himself is some kind of Russian puppet. Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller has merely found what most would expect: business contacts in Russia, plus some corrupt associates. Perhaps the most useful claim the Russia-gate promoters have is that Russia, in some capacity, tried to influence voters. Seems true to some extent. Most countries with money do this. The KGB did it for decades. But nothing unearthed by the New McCarthyites suggest that this was an extensive and sophisticated campaign. But Clapper attributes it all to the Kremlin and its insidious ruler Vladimir Putin.

Facebook found a total of $100,000 dollars had been spent by a huge variety of Russian accounts over a two-year period generated by the Internet Research Agency, which appears to be troll farm, funded by a Russian oligarch who is friends with Putin. Most of the ads didn’t even promote a candidate, which was the original claim—that Russia wanted to elect Donald Trump. This sounds suspiciously like a bot farm trying to scare up likes and traffic in order to sell those audiences to advertisers. Recall that Facebook got a billion in advertising revenue from last year’s presidential campaign alone. One hundred thousand dollars is a drop in the ad-spend ocean. Brands regularly burn through 100k in a few weeks, often with hazy results. It is difficult to know the origin of murky leak fronts like DCLeaks, Guccifer 2.0, and Fancy Bear. We know the CIA developed technology in order to falsely attribute hacks. Even so, Clapper and others of his ilk desperately want us to believe that this is all Putin-directed Russian advertising activity, that it amounted to a huge influence campaign, and that it sowed immense discord in American society and gravely undermined our democracy. Clapper’s is a case of special pleading, when one conjures a desired interpretation of reality and then hastily assembles ‘facts’ to prove it is so.

This is disingenuous on so many levels. First, one imagines some Russian money was spent to sway American opinion, and probably to support Donald Trump, who sounded a lot friendlier to Moscow during his campaign than the neoconservative warmonger Hillary Clinton. But buying ads to promote a different view is normal behavior. Nothing particularly wrong with it. To see what illegal and unethical efforts to destabilize countries looks like, you’d have to look at U.S. overt and covert action in Eastern Europe, Russia, and elsewhere. Russia in the mid-Nineties is an instructive example. We installed Boris Yeltsin in the presidency in 1996 and backed his anti-democratic authoritarian attacks on his own people. Clapper knows the extent of our shameless interference abroad. He knows he is inflating, for political purposes, a dubious and at any rate minor effort by Russia. He knows the disparity between Washington’s interventions abroad and a loose array of uncoordinated ads floating around on unread Facebook feeds. But he has buried this cognitive dissonance deep in his mind.

Next, Clapper and the MSM’s assertion that these Russia-linked ads sowed discord, particularly of a racial nature, in American society, is itself a deeply insulting claim. As Ajuma Baraka wrote, we don’t need foreign powers to produce racial conflict in America. We already do that perfectly well on our own. The implication that without foreign interference we would live in some kind of racial harmony is absurd on its face. Did the Kremlin produce Ferguson? Did Moscow fire the pistols of racist cops? Did Putin stir up this month’s uprising in St. Louis?

Lastly, Clapper knows we don’t live in a democracy. We live in an obvious oligarchy that serves the interests of elite plutocrats that own the military-industrial-finance complex of multinational corporations. Our society is almost wholly subservient to their money power. What was revealed about the Clintons and the DNC actually reinforced this reality. Instead of fearing that ‘our democracy’ has been undermined, Clapper instead wants to drop a bag over the truth of our plutocracy. That is what intelligence officials do.

Unreliable Sources

As John Kiriakou points out, the CIA has lied to us relentlessly. They said there was no torture program. Lie. They said there was no program of extraordinary renditions. Lie. They said there was no “archipelago” of foreign secret prisons. Lie. They said they were not hacking into Senate Intelligence Committee computers. Lie. Clapper told Congress when he said the NSA was not spying on American citizens. Lie. The National Intelligence Agencies collectively produced and supported the claim that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and was trying to gain materials for a nuclear bomb. Lie.

Why would anyone in their right mind trust James Clapper or any of the intelligence agencies that now control the presidency? Moreover, why would any sane person trust the mainstream media outlets that peddled the intelligence lies noted above? The only answers I can come up with are ignorance, stupidity, or willful blindness. Sources and publisher must be believed. They are the twin scaffolding on which the credibility of the narrative hangs.

Halos for Heretics

To that end, the rest of the article devolves into a kind of hagiography. Not only does Clapper superficially possess the requisite CV of a reliable source, but he must also be made to look personally ethical. Casting someone in a noble light requires a few characteristic moves: he must have pure motives, relatable values, and must be bravely battling a demonic enemy. These are the ingredients of myth-making.

First one must paint the person’s motives as pure, ideally contrasted with a phalanx of ill-starred narcissists only out for themselves. Jesus among the Pharisees and money-changers is a workable template. Glasser is a trusted hand at this kind of thing. In order to depict the intel veteran as a chaste and honorable fellow, she begins by telling us that, “…this is no limelight-seeking politician trashing the man in the White House for a quick cable-TV adrenaline rush.”

Next you need to spotlight the person’s values, make them commensurate with those of your audience. You’ll also have to demonstrate that whatever the person is doing, he or she is doing against his better instincts, at risk to himself, under duress, at the cost of his own comfort.

Glasser rolls these two prerequisites into a couple of paragraphs. She says repeatedly that Clapper is not cut out for this role, but fills it out of some sense of duty to his country. Read uncompromising patriot. He “still carries the bearing of his three decades in the Air Force.” Gravitas. Decorum. Sagacity. You get the picture. Yet he finds being in the public eye, “unsettling” and “painful.” He “reveres” the office of the president and doesn’t like being seen as a critic of the president. Clapper reached out to Trump on the phone, but alas, he finally had to take his paranoia public. This is all self-serving and unprovable supposition.

But as a man who has training in shaping a narrative, Clapper soon winds his way back to the prize: the evil empire. This is, of course, the other critical element of any consecration, the relentless demonization of the enemy. Heroes must fight worthy causes, or they aren’t really heroes. On cue, Clapper finds it “worrisome” and “bothersome” that Russia is modernizing its nuclear forces. He makes no mention of the fact that Moscow recognizes it is being surrounded and harassed by a hostile, angry, aggressive superpower sensing the waning of its political power. Why wouldn’t it modernize its nuclear capacity? After all, that dove Barack Obama earmarked a trillion dollars to modernize American nukes.

No matter, the bad guy here is the Russian Federation. Oh, and also North Korea. Clapper doesn’t mention that the United States inflicted a genocidal scar on the Korean conscience during the Korean War. He doesn’t mention how that war has shaped Pyongyang’s attitude toward the imperial west. He simply criticizes the president, quite fairly, for his blustery exchanges with Kim Jong Un. He correctly sees this rhetorical sword fight increasing the odds of a “cataclysmic” exchange. But Clapper fails to see, as he did with Russia, that North Korea is actively trying to defend itself against a malicious empire that wants to literally overthrow its government and replace it with technocrats who will sanction the looting of Korean wealth. Instead, Clapper derides Jong Un as little more than a dictator, “surrounded by medal-bedecked sycophants, who dutifully follow him around like puppy dogs with their notebooks open, ascribing his every utterance…”

Glasser’s work is deftly done. It certainly helps that the current inhabitant of the White House is an enfant terrible who deserves plenty of derision. Nobody on the Democratic side of the spectrum trusts Donald Trump, and thus are particularly vulnerable to conspiracies about him committing treason. The best propaganda has a measure of truth in it; i.e., Trump is not an unscrupulous mogul. Begin with a kernel of fact and spin a factious yarn out of it.

It’s a question of time and money. The money end of it is bottomless. The media companies actually make money out of spinning incredible stories. The time side is thankfully out of the hands of the plutocrats. Readers have short attention spans, and sooner or later their interest will wane and subscriptions and page views will decline. Voters will become disillusioned. Diehard patriots will ask questions. Democratic funds will fall (as they already have). And the Democrats will have to gin up some fresh threat to enthrall a war-weary public.

Honor Among Thieves?

There is perhaps still some honor among thieves. The thieves of your private communications and the inveterate leakers that have taken over the White House using leaks were supposedly all in agreement that Russia ‘hacked our democracy.’ All 17 of them. That’s what the New York Times told us for months. Turns out that was a lie. It was only four agencies that agreed with that assessment, and all of their leaders were hand-picked to conclude just that. Could it be that those 13 other agencies declined to support an obvious fabrication?

Still, it is no surprise the Times made this claim for so long before whispering a retraction. Their doctrinal role is to legitimate wars of aggression. They have backed every American war in the last 30 years, never once asking whether these might be imperial capitalist wars foisted on us by a savage plutocracy that runs the country–and pays their bloated salaries.

Let’s be honest. You won’t get truth from our intelligence agencies and you won’t get it from mainstream media. The latter serves the former. The former serves the ruling class community of which it is a central part. They are beholden to the same ideology. They share the same motivations. If you want the real story, read non-corporate news media. If you want facts, find sources outside the state. If you want democracy, spread the inconvenient truth.

Trump’s Pivot to Asia: An Arms Sales Bonanza

President Trump’s 5-country Asia tour has nothing to do with seeking peace anywhere. It has not even to do with diplomacy – it is entirely a warmongering business trip for the Military Industrial Complex. It is amazing that the world doesn’t catch on.

We know about Obama’s several years of pivoting to Asia. It resulted largely in the TPP, the Transpacific Partnership, a trade agreement between 12 countries including the US. The first thing Trump did when he came on board is canceling it, claiming that it would only harm the US. Canceling it, in fact, was a good thing, since contrary to what Trump understands, or claims to understand, of US-made international trade, the Asian partners would have suffered, not the US. There is not one single trade agreement the US has instigated, bilateral or multilateral, where the US came out as a loser, or even as an equal, always a winner. The original meaning of trade is not winning or losing, but it is an exchange of equals with equal benefits for all partners. ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America) is perhaps one of the few living examples.

Trump doesn’t like multilateral trade agreements, because – even though he is in control – he may not be in total control. He wants to call the shots, every shot. Literally. This is what this 8-day ‘pivot’ to Asia is all about. It is about selling weapons, ‘the best, the most accurate, the deadliest the world has ever produced. Trump’s words – almost. And repeated over-and-over-and-over again.

At a press conference in Tokyo, with Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe, Trump said literally, when pointing at Prime Minister Abe:

[He] will shoot [North Korea’s] missiles out of the sky when he completes the purchase of lots of equipment from the United States. One very important thing is that Prime Minister Abe is going to be purchasing massive amounts of [US-made] military equipment, as he should. We make the best by far … it’s a lot of jobs for us, and a lot of safety for Japan.1

Trump had the audacity, as he always does, calling North Korea (DPRK – Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) a “threat to the civilized world”. And this, when he knows – or should know – that Pyongyang is only defending North Korea from the constant threats and aggressions of the United States, that Kim Jon-Un has no intention of attacking any country but still has the memory deep inside, inherited by generations of North Koreans born after the atrocious Washington initiated 1953 Korean war, that devastated literally the entire country and killed 3 million people, about a third of the then North Korean population.

The entire world knows, including Trump’s predecessors, that the only threat to not only the world’s civilization, but to the entire humanity, is the United States of America – a rogue state, not respecting any international laws, no international contracts – and no human life, not even that of its own citizens. Tens of millions of people around the globe have been killed since the end of WWII directly by the US military, or NATO, or indirectly through proxies or mercenaries by the United States. All for wars that aim at complete world hegemony, at ‘Full Spectrum Dominance’ – as described by the PNAC – Plan for a New American Century. Nobody wants to touch this reality – almost nobody. Fortunately, in the last few years there are countries emerging that dare stand up to the killing monster, resisting it, by disobedience, despite ‘sanctions’, and through economic measures, like detaching their economy from the fraudulent fiat dollar. Recent examples are Venezuela and Iran.

Trump’s arms sale bonanza started actually already with Saudi Arabia, when he sold King Salman 110 billion worth of the best killer instruments – bombs, planes and tanks – America produces. A record weapon sales-contract.

On the pivot’s second leg, South Korea – Trump trumped up his tone, not at all for peace but to threaten once more Pyongyang and the North Korean leader, the American bully cum President calls derogatorily the ‘Little Rocket Man’. Where are we in this world? Does this man Trump not see how much he is despised? Or is he so sick to actually enjoy being hated?

More than eighty percent of South Koreans want peace with the North. President Moon Jae-in was recently elected on a platform of uniting the South with the North to bring back together families that were separated for more than half a century. How could he be such a dreamer? With close to 30,000 American soldiers on South Korean soil and a weapons arsenal, including nuclear arms, that could destroy all of east Asia in a jiffy. And billions worth of more weapons sales to Seoul are on Trump’s murderous sales agenda. He is not only a bully par excellence, but the best salesman the US military industrial complex could wish for, and a booster of the US’s GDP of death and destruction.

The bully at the pulpit had no intention of addressing a road to peace. To the contrary, he boasted about the extraordinary unsurmountable weapons might of “America First”, using South Koreans Parliament as a platform to launch yet another slandering tirade towards North Korea’s leader, Kim Jon-un, and her people:

[I] have come here to this peninsula to deliver a message directly to the leader of the North Korean dictatorship—the weapons you are acquiring are not making you safer. They are putting your regime in great danger. Every step you take down this dark path increases the peril you face. North Korea is not the paradise your grandfather envisioned. It is a hell that no person deserves. Yet despite every crime you have committed against god and man… we will offer a path towards a much better future. It begins with an end to the aggression of your regime, a stop to your development of ballistic missiles and complete verifiable and total denuclearization.

While Emperor Donald was talking, three US Navy aircraft carriers were positioning themselves in attack mode in front of North Korea’s coast, preparing for more intimidating war games. More provocation, knowing damn well that DPRK’s President Kim Jon-un will not let go of his defense strategy and rightly so. Anyone who knows a bit of North Korea’s history understands. Kim’s several requests for dialogue, as he wants peace for his country and for his people, were rejected by Washington. Instead he was showered with Trump’s outrageous warmongering language like “we will unleash ‘fire and fury’ the world has never seen” or “we will destroy your country to rubble”, and more of such ridiculous and shameful threats, shameful for the so-called ‘leader’ of the “free world”, of the globe’s self-proclaimed Almighty, and shameful for all the other nations of this globe that just watch and listen to the monster’s angry outbursts but are afraid to counter him, though they know he is wrong.

According to Reuters, Han Tae Song, Ambassador of the DPRK to the United Nations in Geneva, told the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women on Wednesday:

The United States and other hostile forces impede the enjoyment by our people of their human rights in every possible way, resorting to the vicious ways and means of all kinds in their attempt to stifle the ideas and system of the DPRK.

He continued saying that Washington “manipulated” sanctions resolutions against his country at the U.N. Security Council that violated North Korean sovereignty and rights to existence and development.

Due to these inhumane economic sanctions, vulnerable peoples like women and children are becoming…victims. Such sanctions against humanity which block even the delivery of the medical equipment and medicines for maternal and child health and the basic goods for daily life…..threaten the protection and promotion of our women’s rights and even the right to survival of the children.

Next stop on Trump’s ‘pivot’ was Beijing, where, to the surprise of most media, he behaved like a statesman, trying to persuade President Xi of the benefits of a friendly US-Sino relation, and, of course, of the importance that China adhere to the UN imposed sanctions on North Korea. The South China Sea, Human Rights and China’s alleged lack of Democracy – the usual Washington swan song – were not mentioned. Even the Chinese media hailed Trump’s visit as a success. The two leaders signed contracts for some 250 billion dollars-worth of investment and trade deals, or rather, as per Bloomberg, “non-binding memoranda of understanding”, between the two countries.

The deals, many of which were already concluded or planned before the Beijing meeting, included goods and services in transportation (Chinese purchase of 300 Boeing civilian aircraft), agriculture (pork and beef), IT, the financial sector (with Goldman Sachs – who else?) and more. Nothing controversial. Trump expects to be appreciated at home for his salesmanship in Beijing and for helping reduce the 250 billion US trade deficit with China.

Interestingly though, during the perhaps strategically most important stop of his Asia journey – Beijing – Trump did not use his usual vitriolic language to condemn and threaten Pyongyang and putting Xi on guard to follow the strict sanctions regime against the DPRK –- or else. Why didn’t he? Did he realize that it was worthless? That China would never let her neighbor die and he would make himself ridiculous making believe his sanctions threat would work on China?  Or did he have a deeper agenda, like winning China over – or neutralizing her – for a possible future strike on Iran?  Of course, if carried out, then by proxies like the armed-to-the-teeth with US and UK weaponry Saudis and Israel? Time will tell. But there is no doubt that the clear winner of this meeting was President Xi with his calm manner and Tao philosophy of smiling and non-aggression.

On his last stop in Da Nang, Vietnam, Trump attended the APEC (Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit (10-11 November), where he was expected to meet with President Putin, even briefly at the margin of the meetings. However, no official meeting was scheduled and as RT reports, “Hopes of a bilateral Putin-Trump meeting on the sidelines of the APEC summit have waned with the White House citing “scheduling conflicts,” but at least the two were all smiles while shaking hands during the photo call.”

Well, why would President Putin want to meet with Trump, who after a meeting with seemingly positive chemistry, in Hamburg in July 2017, at the G20 summit, has been nothing but deceptive? Why faking more trust in a flamboyant billionaire bully, who has no ethics, who doesn’t honor contracts, promises, multilateral agreements or even international law and allows his government to keep slandering Russia for ‘interfering’ in the 2016 US Presidential Elections?

The truth is, Trump, his predecessors, the UK leadership, the NATO allies, the Saudis, Gulf States and the EU puppets are shameless, ‘legalized’ murderers, legalized because they dance to the tune of Trump’s canons, or to the dark deep state’s strings that pull the triggers of mayhem and death. For these people – are they still to be called people? – Trump has accomplished what he set out to do: Selling hundreds of billions worth of arms. In less than a year of his Presidency, he did more good to the military-security industrial complex than Obama did in his last four years in office.

Arms are made to kill and destroy. Killing and destroying is contributing big-time to the US GDP; in fact, this industrial octopus with all its associated tentacles – finance, IT, research, sub-contracting, mercenary funding abroad and within the US, spying and surveillance the world over – amount to more than half of the US total economic output. The United States of America lives off an economy of war, an economy of destruction and death.

Take Yemen. Since March 2015, the US and UK backed and armed Saudis have bombed Yemen to ruins, destroying schools, hospitals, roads, ports – vital infrastructure for any civilization. In addition to hospitals and schools, they targeted specifically water and sanitation systems to cause utmost harm to civilian populations. As a result, cholera cases are estimated at 500,000-plus, mostly children and women and elderly (UNICEF), the worst in recorded history. Many die, because the Saudis, again backed by the US and the UK, have banned import and distribution of essential drugs.

With major ports closed, also by the Saudis, the US and the UK, Yemen is facing one of the worst famines the world has ever seen in recent history. Daily Saudi shelling with US planes and UK bombs, has killed tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, women and children – some estimates range from 60,000 to 80,000. Nobody really keeps count. Yemen has been (kept) poor before. And now, who cares. Yemen already today is the worst humanitarian crisis in decades. And there is no end in sight.

Since the US/UK backed Saudi attacks began some 20 months ago, UK arms sales have increased 50 times. Yet a case filed with the International Court of Justice (ICC) by UK citizens against ‘illegal’ weapons sales, was dismissed by the court, as it could not find anything illegal with these weapon deliveries. That only shows, ICC’s worthlessness, as it is totally controlled by the Zion-Anglo-Saxon hegemon.

What might be more effective than ICC in stopping the boundless assassination raids, is chaining up Donald Trump, Barack Obama, Theresa May and David Cameron, and parachuting them into Hudaydah, one of Yemen’s hardest hit towns, in the west of the country. Let them see and feel and smell the pain, death and desperation of the survivors. Would it light up the remnants of their spark of ethics and morals they may still have left from birth?

  1. The Guardian, 6/11/2017.

North Korea: A Threat Or A Victim?

If anyone is still wondering why North Korea was being “provocative” in missile tests and repeatedly declaring what would seem to be a daunting arsenal (although there is still no irrefutable, concrete proof of deliverable, long range nuclear weapons capability) here is just a small taste of what its southern neighbor, in cahoots with Godfather America, has planned:

“Decapitation”

‘Kill the King and the regime will collapse. That is the rationale offered by South Korean military planners for a “decapitation unit” they are forming for the sole purpose of assassinating North Korea’s Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-un. They are convinced that, in the ensuing chaos, North Korea’s leadership would disintegrate and abandon the nuclear programme on which he has staked his prestige.

‘ “Decapitation means we have only one target,” said Choi Jin-wook, a long-time North Korea analyst at the government’s Korea Institute for National Unification. “It’s much simpler to eliminate the leader than attack military bases.”

‘South Korean defence planners have ordered “decapitation strikes” in air, naval and ground exercises in which the targets are simulated to resemble one of Kim’s many hideouts or residences. Such exercises are the prelude to the formal formation later this year of the unit, Spartan 3000.

‘South Korea’s Defence Minister, Song Young-moo, has ordered a special forces “kill brigade” of crack commandos to spearhead the group. Fighter planes and guided missile destroyers would provide whatever support they needed.’

“The ministry cited the successful test-firing of a German-made Taurus missile at a target off the south-west coast as an example of the weaponry that might be deployed in an attempt to kill the North Korean leader.

“The missile, with a range of 310 miles, flew about 150 miles, hitting its target in the Yellow Sea.”

South Korea, of course, is not threatened with being wiped off the face of the earth for test firing a missile into the sea, as is its northern neighbor.

Think about the words “decapitation unit” – the horrific image which leaps into any even semi-normal mind. This kind of plotting dwarfs even the horrors of deranged criminals literally decapitating in the Middle East. But then swathes of them too are US backed.

Perhaps “decapitation” is now casual verbal currency in US-dominated political and military circles.

Chilling Principles of Defence Secretary Mattis

It should also not be forgotten that in the Trumposphere, where General James Mattis is now Defence Secretary the General has some pretty arresting principles. Life is clearly very cheap and killing the most casual of undertakings:

A few of his views include:

The first time you blow someone away is not an insignificant event. That said, there are some assholes in the world that just need to be shot.

Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.

Find the enemy that wants to end this experiment (in American democracy) and kill every one of them until they’re so sick of the killing that they leave us and our freedoms intact.

Precisely the “experiment in American democracy” inflicted most recently on Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, with North Korea and Iran in their sights.

With thanks to William Blum, the list of US mass slaughtering “democracy” projects since 1949 is here.

Talking of Afghanistan, here are General Mattis’ thoughts on democracy- spreading there:

You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn’t wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain’t got no manhood left anyway. So it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them. Actually it’s quite fun to fight them, you know. It’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people. I’ll be right up there with you. I like brawling.

In the real world these are surely views which might well find the holder in a secure psychiatric unit, if not a maximum secure prison.

Diplomatic Overtures Ignored

Contrast this to an ignored approach from the Korean Peninsular, where both Australia and North Korea have Embassies in Seoul.

On 28th September:

The Embassy of the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK) in the Republic of Indonesia presents its compliments to the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia and has the honor to inform that the Foreign Affairs Committee of the DPRK Supreme People’s Assembly sent the open letter to the Parliaments of the different countries.

… the Embassy of the DPRK has further the honor to enclose hereby the above-mentioned letter.

The preamble ends with diplomatic courtesies and “highest considerations.”

The letter in part (full document here) written in the third person, reads as follows:

Open Letter to the Parliaments of Different Countries.

The letter noted that Trump, President of the U.S., styling itself ‘the superpower’, denied the existence of the DPRK, a dignified sovereign state (and threatened) ‘total destruction’ at the UN …

The Foreign Affairs Committee of the DPRK … mission (is to) promote friendly and co-operative relations with the parliaments and peace-loving people of the countries around the world … based on the ideas of independence, peace and friendship, bitterly condemns the reckless remarks of Trump as an intolerable insult to the Korean people, a declaration of war against the DPRK and a grave threat to the global peace …

(From his first day in office, the President): “has engaged in high handed and arbitrary practice, scrapping international laws and agreements (putting America first) at the expense of the whole world.

Threats of annihilation and sanctions have denied the people of the DPRK “normal economic development, in breach of the UN Charter …

Trump, the letter states “threatened to totally destroy the DPRK, a dignified, independent and sovereign State and a nuclear power. It is an extreme act of threatening to destroy the whole world.”

The correspondence concludes with:

… the belief that the parliaments of different countries, loving independence, peace and justice will fully discharge their due mission and duty in realizing the desire of mankind for international justice and peace (and with vigilance) against the reckless moves of the Trump Administration trying to drive the world in to a horrible nuclear disaster.

With Trump threatening that his finger is hovering over the nuclear button, few could surely disagree with much of the DRPRK’s sentiments.

Donald Trump, of course, boasted menacingly to “totally destroy” North Korea in his address to the UN General Assembly on 19th September, the UN Charter’s fine founding words clearly unknown to him.

There has been a deafening silence from world governments regarding the above letter. Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, who visited South Korea in August, instead of reacting to a hand held out commented:

I read this as showing that the collective strategy of allies and partners to impose maximum pressure and diplomatic and economic sanctions on North Korea is working … So I think that this shows they are feeling desperate, feeling isolated, trying to demonise the US, trying to divide the international community.

However, Australia’s Lowy Institute Director of International Security, Euan Graham, was more positive, commenting:

This is effectively an invitation to have high level access, to send an (Australian) delegation from Seoul.

Now would be a good time for Australia to exercise its still existing, even if on-off, diplomatic relations with the North.1

North Korea the Aggressor?

For anyone reading most of the Western media where the DPRK is the latest nation to be demonized, here is the best and most succinct summary of endless US betrayal since the armistice of July 1953. Remember too that the US had nuclear weapons in South Korea from the late 1950’s until 1991. An excerpt from the early 1990’s onwards reads as follows:

In January 1993, president Bill Clinton announced the largest military war games ever (in which all sorts of nuclear weaponry featured).

These took place in and around Korea’s shores in March. The DPRK reacted to a more belligerent environment by giving notice of intention to withdraw from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which it had joined in 1985. The North also demonstrated the viability of a medium-range missile, the Nodong 1, in May 1993.

If ever cause and effect were starkly demonstrated here is a prime example.

Kim Il Sung died in July 1994 and his son, Kim Jong Il, replaced him as leader.

In the early summer of that year the US government concluded that a military strike on Yongbyon – under serious consideration – would start a war with the North.

But instead of war, influenced by a voluntary shutdown by the North of the Yongbyon reactor, talks led to the October Framework Agreement of 1994.

Under this agreement, the North agreed to continue the reactor’s shutdown in exchange for light water reactors and a new relationship with the US.

Loans and credits were to ease the agreement, and the US undertook to supply heating oil to tide over the North’s heating problems in the short term.

The agreement called for full diplomatic relations and a US pledge not to threaten or target the North with nuclear weapons.

Eloquently, no missile testing by the North proceeded between May 1993 and August 1998.

In June 1998 the Pentagon staged simulated long-range nuclear attack drills against North Korea, and in October that year a US Lieutenant General spoke publicly about plans for replacing the North Korean regime, and of even beginning the project preemptively if there were solid grounds for expecting an attack.

These developments hardly confirmed US commitment to developing a more co-operative relationship with the North.

George W Bush’s ascension to president in 2001 produced a declaration from his advisers that the 1994 agreement was dead in the water. (Thus) in December 2002, the DPRK expelled the IAEA inspectors, restarted the Yongbyon reactor and withdrew from the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Bush, meanwhile, declared his intention of dealing with North Korea after Iraq.

In spring 2003 the North made another offer to the US: it would scrap its nuclear development if the US would normalise relations and provide basic security guarantees.

Six years later, in 2009, substantive talks involving Russia and China as well as Japan, the US and both Koreas had goals which included the normalising of diplomatic relations, an end to trade sanctions and acknowledgement of the North’s right to use nuclear energy.

But these talks collapsed after both the US and the ROK rejected the North’s gradual dismantling of its nuclear weapons.

In 2011 Kim Jong Il died and his second son, Kim Jong-un, became the North’s new leader.

The summary concludes:

During these past three months the risk of war, indeed of nuclear war – not necessarily restricted to the Korean peninsula – has increased dramatically.

General Mattis Visits South Korea.

General Mattis is, at time of writing, in South Korea, where he has delivered a near dead ringer copy of the run up to the illegal invasion of Iraq. Washington’s mantra was that Iraq “threatened its neighbours” though even hostile neighbours responded that it did not. Iraq, of course, could destroy parts of the West “in 45 minutes.” It was a pack of lies.

Here’s Mattis:

North Korea has accelerated the threat that it poses to its neighbors and the world through its illegal and unnecessary missile and nuclear weapons programs … The situation had developed a “new urgency.

Next month Trump is to visit South Korea, the man who has threatened to unleash on the small nation “fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

This is the man of whom twenty seven eminent psychiatrists and psychotherapists have written in a just published book, “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump”:

We collectively warn that anyone as mentally unstable as this man simply should not be entrusted with the life-and-death powers of the Presidency.

It is time for the world’s diplomats to respond to North Korea’s letter and rise to the urgent occasion, before it is too late for the region and very possibly the planet.

  1. Sydney Morning Herald, 20th October 2017.

The Real Reason behind Trump’s Angry Diplomacy in North Korea

To understand the United States’ stratagem in the Pacific, and against North Korea in particular, one has to understand the fundamental changes that are underway in that region. China’s clout as an Asian superpower and as a global economic powerhouse has been growing at a rapid speed. The US’ belated ‘pivot to Asia’ to counter China’s rise has been, thus far, quite ineffectual.

The angry diplomacy of President Donald Trump is Washington’s way to scare off North Korea’s traditional ally, China, and disrupt what has been, till now, quite a smooth Chinese economic, political and military ascendency in Asia that has pushed against US regional influence, especially in the East and South China Seas.

Despite the fact that China has reevaluated its once strong ties with North Korea, in recent years, it views with great alarm any military build-up by the US and its allies. A stronger US military in that region will be a direct challenge to China’s inevitable trade and political hegemony.

The US understands that its share of the world’s economic pie chart is constantly being reduced, and that China is gaining ground, and fast.

The United States’ economy is the world’s largest, but not for long. Statistics show that China is blazing the trail and will, by 2030 – or even sooner – win the coveted spot. In fact, according to an International Monetary Fund report in 2014, China is already the world’s largest economy when the method of measurement is adjusted by purchasing power.

This is not an anomaly and is not reversible, at least any time soon.

The growth rate of the US economy over the past 30 years has averaged 2.4 percent, while China soared at 9.3 percent.

Citing these numbers, Paul Ormerod, an economist and a visiting professor at University College, London, argued in a recent article that “if we project these rates forward, the Chinese economy will be as big as the American by 2024. By 2037, it will be more than twice the size.”

It is no wonder why Trump obsessively referenced ‘China’ in his many campaigning speeches prior to his election to the White House, and why he continues to blame China for North Korea’s nuclear weapons program to this day.

As a business mogul, Trump understands how real power works, and that his country’s nuclear arsenal, estimated at nearly 7,000 nuclear weapons, is simply not enough to reverse his country’s economic misfortunes.

In fact, China’s nuclear arsenal is quite miniscule compared to the US. Military power alone is not a sufficient measurement of actual power that can be translated into economic stability, sustainable wealth and financial security of a nation.

It is ironic that, while the US threatens to ‘totally destroy North Korea,’ it is the Chinese government that is using sensible language, calling for de-escalation and citing international law. Not only did fortunes change, but roles as well. China, which for many years was depicted as a rogue state, now seems like the cornerstone of stability in Asia.

Prudent US leaders, like former President Jimmy Carter understand well the need to involve China in resolving the US-North Korean standoff.

In an article in the Washington Post, Carter, 93, called for immediate and direct diplomatic engagement with North Korea that involves China as well.

He wrote on October 4, the US should “offer to send a high-level delegation to Pyongyang for peace talks or to support an international conference including North and South Korea, the United States and China, at a mutually acceptable site.”

A few days leader, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, quoted Carter’s article, and reasserted her country’s position that only a diplomatic solution could bring the crisis to an end.

In a recent tweet, Trump claimed that “Presidents and their administrations have been talking to North Korea for 25 years, agreements made and massive amounts of money paid … hasn’t worked.”

He alleged that North Korea has violated these agreements even “before the ink was dry”, finishing with the ominous warning that “only one thing will work!”, alluding to war.

Trump is a bad student of history. The ‘agreements’ he was referring to is the ‘Agreed Framework’ of 1994, signed between President Bill Clinton and Kim Jong-il – the father of the current leader Kim Jong-un. In fact, the crisis was averted, when Pyongyang respected its side of the agreement. The US, however, reneged, argued Fred Kaplan in ‘Slate’.

“North Korea kept its side of the bargain, the United States did not,” Kaplan wrote. “No light-water reactors were provided. (South Korea and Japan were supposed to pay for the reactors; they didn’t, and the U.S. Congress didn’t step in.) Nor was any progress made on diplomatic recognition.”

It took North Korea years to react to the US and its partners’ violation of the terms of the deal.

In 2001, the US invaded and destroyed Afghanistan. In 2003, it invaded Iraq, and actively began threatening a regime change in Iran. Iraq, Iran and North Korea were already blacklisted as the “axis of evil” in George W. Bush’s infamous speech in 2002.

More military interventions followed, especially as the Middle East fell into unprecedented chaos resulting from the so-called Arab Spring in 2011. Regime change, as became the case in Libya, remained the defining doctrine of US foreign policy.

This is the actual reality that terrifies North Korea. For 15 years they have been waiting for their turn on the US regime change path, and their nuclear weapons program is their only deterring strategy in the face of US military interventions. The more the North Korean leadership felt isolated regionally and internationally, the more determined it became in obtaining nuclear devices.

This is the context that Trump does not want to understand. US mainstream media, which seems to loathe Trump in every way except when he threatens war or defends Israel, is following blindly.

Current news reports of North Korea’s supposed ability to kill “90% of all Americans” within one year is the kind of ignorance and fear-mongering that has dragged the US into multiple wars, costing the economy trillions of dollars, while continuing to make bad situations far worse.

Indeed, a recent Brown University Study showed that, between 2001 and 2016, the cost of wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Pakistan has cost the US $3.6 trillion.

Perhaps, a better way of fending against the rise of China is investing in the US economy instead of wasting money on protracted wars.

But if a Trump war in North Korea takes place, what would it look like?

US Newsweek magazine took on this very disturbing question, only to provide equally worrying answers.

“If combat broke out between the two countries, American commanders in the Pacific would very quickly exhaust their stockpiles of smart bombs and missiles, possibly within a week,” military sources revealed.

It will take a year for the US military to replenish their stockpile, thus leaving them with the option of “dropping crude gravity bombs on their targets, guaranteeing a longer and bloodier conflict for both sides.”

Expectedly, North Korea would strike, at will, all of the US allies in the region, starting with South Korea. Even if the conflict does not escalate to the use of nuclear weapons, the death toll from such a war “could reach 1 million.”

Both Trump and Kim Jong-un are unsavory figures, driven by fragile egos and unsound judgment. Yet, they are both in a position that, if not reigned in soon, could threaten global security and the lives of millions.

Calls for diplomatic solutions made by Carter and China must be heeded, before it is too late.

North Korea and Trump’s Reality Free Zone: Tweeting About Armageddon

When US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, stated of North Korea (4th September 2017): “When a rogue regime has a nuclear weapon and an ICBM pointed at you, you do not take steps to lower your guard. No one would do that”, she unwittingly put her finger on why the DPRK has been conducting missile tests and stating that they have ever bigger, better and longer range capabilities. There is no certainty that either of the latter is the case, but the tiny country has been subject to nearly seventy years of vilification and ever more threatening behavior from the US and allies, with the language of Donald Trump, from near day one of his Presidency of the US regime reaching ever more apocalyptic heights.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has stressed that dialogue and communication are vital:

Confrontational rhetoric may lead to unintended consequences … The solution must be political. The potential consequences of military action are too horrific.

One can only hope “diplomat” Haley – who told the UN Security Council: “The time has come to exhaust all of our diplomatic means …” and that North Korea was “begging for war” – was listening. This of a country which in living memory had every town, village and its capitol city near erased from the map by the United States and lost at least twenty percent, some estimates state nearer thirty percent, of its population of then just nine million people.

In 1953 when the US had destroyed all and there was nothing left to bomb they turned to bombing the dams, flooding the rice fields and causing starvation. North Korea’s government and the country’s collective and inherited memory have not forgotten and are simply attempting to ensure such a horror never again afflicts their small nation.

There has been no empathy, knowledge of history, compassion in the Trumposphere. The five times draft dodger has threatened “fire and fury” along with legality-detonating assassination of the Head of State, referring to him as “Little Rocket Man”, adding that he and his government “won’t be around much longer.”

Trump is also threatening generating the potential extinction of life on earth. His obsession with “if we’ve got nuclear weapons why don’t we use them” argument goes back decades – but his kindergarten level rhetoric shows a frightening disconnect from statesmanship, diplomacy – and reality. This is not conjecture. Twenty-seven eminent psychiatrists have put their reputation on the line writing in the just published book The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump that:

 He is dangerously mentally ill and presents a clear and present danger to the nation …  (exploring) Trump’s symptoms and potentially relevant diagnoses (they) find a complex, if also dangerously mad, man.

When Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told journalists whilst on a recent visit to Beijing that the State Department had: “a couple of, three channels open to Pyongyang” and “We can talk to them … we do talk to them”, Trump tweeted: “save his energy” as “we’ll do what has to be done!”

“I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man,” wrote the President from his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. How cheap human life is to a man who has never witnessed, indeed five times evaded, seeing the carnage even one bullet can do. In context, it has just come to light  that:

President Donald Trump said he wanted what amounted to a nearly tenfold increase in the U.S. nuclear arsenal during a gathering this past summer of the nation’s highest ranking national security leaders, according to three officials who were in the room …

According to the officials present, Trump’s advisers, among them the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, were surprised. Officials briefly explained the legal and practical impediments to a nuclear buildup and how the current military posture is stronger than it was at the height of the build-up. In interviews, they told NBC News that no such expansion is planned.

The July 20 meeting was described as a lengthy and sometimes tense review of worldwide U.S. forces and operations. It was soon after the meeting broke up that officials who remained behind heard Tillerson say that Trump is a ‘moron.’

Trump has vociferously denied the report, predictably falling back on his seemingly miniscule vocabulary and calling it “fake news”, even threatening the broadcaster’s license. So far he hasn’t threatened to nuke their New York headquarters.

Back to North Korea and the President’s chilling ignorance. On 1st October he tweeted: “Being nice to Rocket Man hasn’t worked in 25 years, why would it work now? Clinton failed, Bush failed, and Obama failed. I won’t fail.”

Kim Jong-un is thirty three and was formally announced as his father’s successor on 26th December 2011. He has thus been in power just short of six years. Twenty five years ago he would have been eight years old.

The US simulates invading North Korea annually. In the last such manoeuvres in August one South Korean defense official told the newspaper Chosun Ilbo that this year’s exercises would include: “a nuclear war game for the first time.”

Currently, in addition to the massive war games the US has been overflying North Korea with B-52 bombers, with further exercises taking place in and with South Korea and in the last days also with Japan. It should also be remembered that the US has in the Pacific:

Total military personnel, 87,000
US 7th Fleet
50-70 ships and subs including …
Up to 14 destroyers and cruisers
1 aircraft carrier
Up to 12 nuclear powered submarines
140 aircraft

In South Korea
23,468 personnel
300+ tanks

In Guam
personnel
B52 bombers and fighter jets

In Hawaii
40,000 military personnel
200 ships including …
5 aircraft carriers
1,060 aircraft

Moreover, as has been pointed out:

In Donald Trump’s first six months in office, he dropped over 20,650 bombs in approximately seven countries, which killed thousands of civilians. By comparison, Kim Jong-un bombs the ocean.

The same source makes a vital point, ignored by media and politicians:

“The media’s insistence that North Korea will never give up its weapons systems is completely disingenuous when one reads the entire context of the statements offered by Kim Jong-un’s government. On July 4, Kim’s statement read as follows:

The DPRK would neither put its nukes and ballistic rockets on the table of negotiations in any case nor flinch even an inch from the road of bolstering the nuclear force chosen by itself unless the U.S. hostile policy and nuclear threat to the DPRK are definitely terminated.

Indeed – and with arch hawk retired Lt. Colonel Ralph Peters writing an op-ed in the New York Post (4th September): “Better a million dead North Koreans than a thousand dead Americans” and with the Pyongyang government and people well aware of what happened to Libya which was persuaded to give up its weapons programme and Iraq which had done the same after 1991. Of course, Kim Jong-un and his colleagues are going to try to persuade that they can give as good as they fear getting in hope of avoiding annihilation.

Given the reckless rhetoric of Trump and others, as the New York Times puts it:

Congress has been sufficiently alarmed to consider legislation that would bar the president from launching a first nuclear strike without a declaration of war by Congress.

…  As things stand now, the Atomic Energy Act of 1946, passed when there was more concern about trigger-happy generals than elected civilian leaders, gives the president sole control. He could unleash the apocalyptic force of the American nuclear arsenal by his word alone, and within minutes.

Moreover:

A New York Times analysis found the U.S. could use 1,103 nuclear warheads and decimate China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, Libya, Iraq, and Syria … and still have 2,897 left.

Given that the man who tweets casually about “fire and fury” and smirks as he talks of “calm before the storm”, took the nuclear “football” (briefcase) down to his Florida Mar-a-Lago resort and allowed its minder to have “selfies” taken with it, him and guests, it seems pretty clear that the current incumbent of the White House still resides in the fantasy land of reality shows with no grasp of the potential global pyromaniacal armageddon he jokes about unleashing. Twenty seven eminent psychiatrists, of course, have far more disturbing diagnoses.

Apparently he likes watching movies. Perhaps someone should give him a copy of “The Day After.”