By David William Pear
Like Pavlov's dog, the mainstream media slobbers platitudes every time North Korea launches another test missile. Listening to the blather one would think that once Kim Jong-un has a missile capable of reaching the US, he is going to use it in an unprovoked nuclear attack on the US mainland killing millions of Americans.
For Kim to attack the US he would have to be insane, paranoid, and suicidal. Top officials in the US intelligence agencies say he is not. Director of Intelligence Dan Coats has said publicly that Kim is acting very rational; the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says that Kim is "not insane "; the CIA deputy director of the Korea Mission Center, Yong Suk Lee, says that Kim is not suicidal, either. So we can rest with ease that Kim Jong-un is highly unlikely to wake up one morning and nuke America because he can. According to Yong, Kim "wants to rule for a long time and die peacefully in his own bed."[CNN, October 6, 2017]. Everyone in the mainstream media knows this or should.
North Korea is not an existential threat to the US national security. Occasionally the mainstream media does tell the truth, but that does not sell news, or make the military-industrial-security-complex, neocons, and others in the Deep State happy. Instead the mainstream media tell us about the latest war of words and weapon tests, usually instigated by the US, which the media does not tell us. The word-war is exacerbated every time the US threatens, insults and mocks Kim.
The US regularly practices nuclear attacks on North Korea by air, land and sea which also get a propaganda response from Kim. North Korea has offered to stop testing nuclear bombs, if the US would stop playing nuclear war games on its border [The Guardian]. The US has been threatening North Korea for over 70 years.
What should frighten the American people is the long history of US crazies who would start a nuclear war. President Trump is not the first president that cannot be trusted with nuclear bombs. It is only by sheer luck that the world has escaped a nuclear war or a cataclysmic nuclear accident. There have been many close calls, and one day there will be one too many.
The US keeps gambling away with nuclear roulette anyway, threatening North Korea, Iran, Russia, and the enemy du jour. One of the favorite US verbal threats is to say that "all options are on the table", that includes nuclear, but the diplomacy option is usually missing. The US has even used nuclear bombs twice against civilian populations in 1945, and according to many historians unnecessarily, because Japan had already offered to surrender. Hundreds of thousands of Japanese died mostly so that Harry Truman could try to impress Joseph Stalin with a show of US power.
During the Korean War (1950 to 1953) President Truman publicly threatened to use the atomic bomb, and the military planned, practiced and shipped nuclear bombs to Asia to be dropped on North Korea. General Douglas MacArthur wanted to use 26 nuclear bombs and start a war with China too [History News Network]. Truman did give General Matthew Ridgeway pre-authorization to use nuclear bombs, even after MacArthur was relieved of his command. Instead the US completely destroyed North Korea with conventional bombs and napalm, killing an estimated 20% to 30% of the population "anyway, someway or another, direct casualties of war, or from starvation and exposure" [Air Force General Curtis LeMay].
The Korean War is called the "Forgotten War" for reasons: the US was humiliated and lost the Korean War; over 50,000 Americans were killed as negotiating chips, they "died for a tie" as to where to draw the Military Demarcation Line between the North and South; and South Korea was "destroyed to save it".
The South Koreans deserve a lot of credit for rebuilding a modern highly advanced society in all categories such as education, healthcare, technology, and their standard of living. But contrary to propaganda mythology they did not develop under capitalist free-trade and democracy. The South Korean "miracle on the Han river" was achieved under US backed military dictatorship, a highly planned economy, and billions of dollars from US aid, loans and direct investment. ["Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism", by Ha-Joon Chang].
Kim Jong-un has very good reasons to fear US threats. He knows that the US is ruthless enough to kill millions of his people and destroy his country, just as the US did in Iraq and Libya. Senator John McCain's daughter Meghan McCain even said on Fox news that the US should assassinate the "Crazy Fat Kid". Words like that, Trump's insults, threats and nuclear war games are going to get bombastic verbal reactions by Kim Jong-un, and cause him to redouble his nuclear and missile programs. [The Nation].
While the US constantly talks about a denuclearized Korean peninsula, it is the US that first nuclearized it, starting with President Harry Truman's threats in 1951. Then in July of 1957 President Dwight D. Eisenhower unilaterally withdrew from section 13(d) of the 1953 Armistice Agreement, which made the introduction of any new weapon systems in the Korean peninsula forbidden to both sides. The US broke the promise so that it could "equip U.S. forces in Korea with modern weapons;"dual capability (nuclear-conventional) weapons, such as the Honest John and the 280 mm. cannon", i.e. tactical nuclear weapons [National Security Council Report]. All during the rest of the Cold War the US stationed at least 950 nuclear weapons in South Korea. The US may have withdrawn its nuclear weapons from South Korea in 1991 as it says, but it still has plenty in Guam and elsewhere that it uses to constantly threaten North Korea with a nuclear attack.
While the mainstream media ponders how to get North Korea to sit down at the negotiating table, it is the US that refuses to talk. North Korea has often offered to sign a permanent peace treaty and non-aggression agreement, but the US has consistently rebuffed the offers. The State Department has repeatedly said in news conferences that it will not negotiate with North Korea unless they meet unspecified preconditions first [US Department of State]. What is puzzling is what the preconditions are, and how to get the US to sit down at the table. Incredibly the US and the media constantly repeat that it is North Korea that refuses to talk!
Unless there is a diplomatic solution, Kim Jong-un is rationally following in his father's footsteps by developing a credible nuclear deterrent against US aggression. In 2000 President George W. Bush scoffed at President Clinton's nuclear agreement with North Korea, and then he intensified threats in 2002 with his "Axis of Evil" speech. Bush followed that speech by invading Iraq in 2003 with "Shock and Awe", leaving the cradle of human civilization in ruins, and later hanging Saddam Hussein.
Bush did not plan to stop with Iraq. General Wesley Clark says that he was told at the Pentagon that Bush planned to invade 7 countries in 5 years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran [YouTube]. It is the US that has been paranoid, unpredictable and insane during the 21stcentury, and it did not start with Trump, but he takes prides in acting more insane.
After the initial US invasion of Iraq, a smug looking Bush got out of the passenger seat of a fighter jet that the pilot had landed on the USS Abraham Lincoln. He strutted over to the microphone in his flight suit and gave a premature "Mission Accomplished" speech. Lisa Schiffren gushed in the Wall Street Journal that Bush's performance made him look hot and sexy in his flight suit, adding with admiration that Bush is "credible as a Commander in Chief". The mainstream media has been the cheerleader for all of the Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Obama, Clinton and Kerry wars. They are now inciting the US public with propaganda for war with North Korea, Iran and Russia.
Kim Jong-un is not paranoid to be fearful, and he has been acting predictably. The US has left him no choice other than to defend his country with the deterrent of nuclear weapons. Bush sabotaged the negotiated nuclear agreement that the US and North Korea had made under President Bill Clinton in the 1990's. That is what precipitated North Korea withdrawing from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and resuming their nuclear program.
In 2003 when Bush persuaded Libya's Muammar Gaddafi to abandon his nuclear program, he singled out North Korea when he said, "we want to have lessons learned, because we want Libya to be a model for other countries" to unilaterally disarm. North Korea was paying close attention in 2011 when President Obama and Hillary Clinton destroyed Libya and assassinates its leader, once he was defenseless. Clinton then gloated "we came, we saw, he died, hahaha". The lesson of Libya is that "if you have nukes, never give them up--if you don't have them, get them" [US Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats].
The North Koreans are not going to trust a US agreement again. They will trust in themselves, as they did when Kim's grandfather Kim Il-sung led the guerrilla warfare against the Japanese. Korea's historical philosophy is based on the principle of self-sufficiency and resistance against foreign domination, especially in the North. The North Koreans now call their historical philosophy "Juche". North Korea is determined to follow the principle of Juche to the "realization of independence in politics, selfsufficiency in the economy and self-reliance in national defence"" [official DPRK Juche link].
President Trump slammed the door shut on negotiations with Kim Jong-un by threatening to totally destroy North Korea with "fire and furry" and insulting him with the "Little Rocket Man" slurs. Kim takes it seriously when the US repeatedly threatens to destroy his country. Trump's insults caused Kim to "lose face (kibun)". Respect is extremely important in Korean culture. The natural reaction for a Korean who has been disrespected is to become infuriated. It is predictable, and the US knows it.
US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley's latest outburst that "if war comes, the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed" is an obvious provocation, which the Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov called "a really bloodthirsty tirade". Interestingly, Levrov added that "Moscow has been closely working with the US on the North Korean issue, with several meetings being held between the countries' diplomats in the Russian capital, and other venues."
In the 21st century the US has killed millions of defenseless people all over the world with wars of aggression, and by using excessive force and total war against civilian populations. The US uses food, water and medical supplies as psychological weapons of mass destruction. As Madeleine Albright said, 500,000 dead children is "worth it" to bring a country to its knees. That is what the US sanctions are now doing to North Korea. But as Russian President Vladimir Putin said, "North Korea will 'eat grass' before giving up nukes".
The Koreans know the history of US aggression well. The US's first contact with Korea in the 19th century was an act of aggression. The US considered Korea's isolation, self-sufficiency and refusal to trade an arrogant and intolerable insult, and a loss of profit. So in 1871 President Ulysses S. Grant launched an invasion against Korea. When Japan colonized and annexed Korea in 1910 the Western colonial powers including the US cheered their approval.
All Korea has ever wanted was to be left alone. During their 4000 year history Korea has not been an aggressive expansionist country. To the contrary, Korea has often been invaded by China, Mongolia, Japan, Russia and the US. Historically Korea has resisted contact with foreigners because foreigners had always brought invasions. Like his Korean ancestors, Kim Jong-un just wants North Korea to be left alone for the Korean people to determine their own future.
David William Pear is a Senior Editor for OpEdNews.com and a Senior Contributing Editor for The Greanville Post. All of his articles and comments are his own, and are not the responsibility of, or speak for the editorial opinion of anyone but himself. David is active in social issues relating to peace, race relations, homelessness and equal justice. David is a member of Veterans for Peace, St Pete for Peace, CodePink, and International Solidarity Movement