North Korea? The problem is Washington

17 Apr

See also North Korea’s Nukes.

This from CounterPunch today:

… no country in the world needs nuclear weapons more than North Korea. Brainwashed Americans, who get their news from Fox or CNN, may differ on this point, but if a hostile nation deployed carrier strike-groups off the coast of California while conducting massive war games on the Mexican border (with the express intention of scaring the shit of people) then they might see things differently. They might see the value of having a few nuclear weapons to deter that hostile nation from doing something really stupid.

And let’s be honest, the only reason Kim Jong Un hasn’t joined Saddam and Gaddafi in the great hereafter is because (a) The North does not sit on an ocean of oil, and (b) The North has the capacity to reduce Seoul, Okinawa and Tokyo to smoldering debris. Absent Kim’s WMDs,  Pyongyang would have faced a preemptive attack long ago and Kim a fate similar to Gaddafi’s. Nuclear weapons are the only known antidote to US adventurism.

The American people, whose grasp of history does not extend beyond 9-11, have no idea of the way the US fights its wars or the carnage it unleashed on the North. Here’s a short  refresher …

Full piece here. To be sure, there are aspects of Mike Whitney’s analysis I don’t agree with. This for instance:

Like Vietnam, the Korean War was just another muscle-flexing exercise the US periodically engages in whenever it gets bored or needs some far-flung location to try out its new weapons systems.

We shouldn’t underestimate America’s $10 trillion for-profit arms sector as war motive in and of itself (while routing $596 billion a year from US taxpayer to private pocket) but this is facile. Encapsulated in McNamara Doctrine and domino theory, the fear of socialism by imperialism  – here defined as dominance not by direct rule but fiscal, economic and military might – was real. Explaining the Vietnam and Korean wars in terms half idealist/half reductionist won’t do. One, the world’s most powerful ruling class  – here defined as that miniscule elite whose monopoly ownership of big capital is the controlling factor in wealth creation – does not allow its team leaders to wage war out of boredom. Two, wars of this magnitude may indeed include, but may not be monocausally reduced to, exercises in weapons testing.

Similarly, there were other reasons, at least as compelling as oil, why Gaddafi’s and Saddam’s state capitalisms offended Wall Street and Washington, London and Paris. Some of them are touched on in my recent post, Debating Syria.

But we needn’t share Whitney’s understanding of Washington warmongering to appreciate the blazing accuracy of his charge sheet. As for the lesson he draws – nuclear weapons are the only known antidote to US adventurism well, with ‘imperialism’ substituted for ‘adventurism’, it’s one I’ve been known to draw myself from time to time.

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Update April 23 – four days later, on April 21, CounterPunch published this less entertainingly written but altogether more useful piece on North Korea and America’s record there.

2 Replies to “North Korea? The problem is Washington

  1. I didn’t know that Alain, and it certainly ups the ante – the more so given China’s interest and close proximity. Thanks.

    In fact I know very little about North Korea, period, and am now strongly of the opinion that what little I think I know has to be re-evaluated with a strong dose of scepticism.

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