High Stakes for Humanity in the Escalating U.S.-North Korea Tensions
April 3, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
There is growing tension between the Trump/Pence regime and the rulers of North Korea—and a “logic” driving this that could break out in a horrific war. Should this situation explode, it could also set off sudden leaps in repression within the U.S. by the Trump/Pence regime.
During his March 16-19 trip to Asia, Trump’s secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, said, “[D]iplomatic and other efforts of the past 20 years, to bring North Korea to a point of denuclearization, have failed.” And he made it clear that “no options were off the table”—including a pre-emptive military strike.
In response, North Korea released a propaganda video showing U.S. aircraft being blown up and said, “The nuclear force of the DPRK [North Korea] is the treasured sword of justice and the most reliable war deterrence.” A week before Tillerson’s trip, on March 6, North Korea test-launched four ballistic missiles, three coming within 200 miles of Japan.
The threat of nuclear war seems in the hands of two madmen—Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. On one level, this is true. But there’s a method to the madness and a logic to the logic of these “madmen.”
When Donald Trump talks about “Making America Great Again,” he’s talking about dramatically reinforcing and strengthening U.S. domination over other imperialists and the world as a whole. This requires profound, violent recasting of the way things have been for decades, including rewriting the rules—not of whether, but how overtly, to threaten humanity with war, including nuclear war.
And it requires a hyper-aggressive and militaristic foreign policy, which can be seen in the Trump/Pence stance towards North Korea. The regime can allow no perception of U.S. “weakness” or “lack of resolve.” So, North Korean defiance and refusal to heel to U.S. demands must be met with escalating warnings—including the threat of a nuclear attack. And in all this, the madman “lunacy” and “unpredictability” of Trump serves a strategic calculus.
It actually is not irrational for Kim Jong-un to think the U.S. would launch a war against North Korea that would kill millions of people. In 1950 the U.S. invaded Korea and waged a war of mass murder, killing three million people and razing to the ground almost every building. Ever since, the U.S. has worked to politically isolate, economically strangle, and militarily threaten North Korea. It has worked to enlist countries throughout the region in these efforts. And the U.S. has openly talked about wanting a “regime change” in North Korea.
During his campaign, Trump said, “I would get China to make that guy [Kim Jong-un] disappear in one form or another very quickly.” And when asked if this meant assassinating Kim Jong-un, Trump said, “Well, you know, I’ve heard of worse things, frankly. I mean this guy’s a bad dude—and don’t underestimate him.”
In fact, joint military exercises between the U.S. and South Korea during Tillerson’s trip included “regime change” scenarios and reportedly included the U.S. Navy SEAL Team 6 (which killed Osama bin Laden) and other Special Forces—in order to simulate the removal of Kim Jong-un.
The North Korea regime is essentially a dynastic feudal aristocracy that calls itself socialist. From the point of view of this reactionary, oppressive regime trying to survive, there is a “logic” to its nuclear weapons program.
The U.S. has a nuclear arsenal thousands of times more destructive than North Korea’s. And there is a fascist in the White House, who—before he was elected—asked a national security expert, “If we have nuclear weapons, why can’t we use them?”
This is a very dangerous situation, which emphasizes the high stakes of whether or not mass resistance, in the name of humanity, will drive out the fascist Trump/Pence regime before they fully lock down the reins of power.
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