nuclear crisis made in USA
Bush threats forced North Korea to arm in self-defense
By Fred Goldstein
The Bush administration and the so-called "great powers" are hypocritically trying to create panic over the announcement by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on Oct. 8 that it had successfully detonated a nuclear weapon. U.S. officials have declared it a "threat to international security."
In fact, it is the U.S. imperialist government and its ally, Japan, that have created the crisis situation and are the main threats to peace in Asia.
The DPRK, in a statement from its Foreign Ministry on Oct. 3, had announced publicly that it intended to carry out the test. It says it was forced into nuclear testing because the Bush administration "seriously threatened the DPRK’s sovereignty and right to existence." It condemned threatened sanctions as an "attempt to isolate and stifle it and bring down the socialist system chosen by its people themselves."
"The U.S. extreme threat of a nuclear war and pressure compel the DPRK to conduct a nuclear test, an essential process for bolstering nuclear deterrent, as a corresponding measure for defense," the statement continued.
To the Korean people, the U.S. threat is real. Washington divided their country after World War II and has kept it divided until today through a large U.S. military presence. For decades, Washington propped up one dictatorial South Korean government after another.
The U.S. led a brutal war against the North from 1950 to 1953, dropping 800 tons of bombs a day in saturation raids. It used napalm—jellied gasoline that clings to skin and causes a horrible death. Every town, village and city was left in rubble.
Four million Koreans died. Innumerable atrocities were carried out by U.S. troops. And Washington used nuclear threats throughout the armistice negotiations.What can end the crisis
The crisis on the Korean peninsula and in the region could be ended if the U.S. government would do three basic things: recognize the sovereignty of the DPRK; establish normal diplomatic and economic relations between the two countries; and guarantee the DPRK’s security against a U.S. attack.
The North Korean government has been asking for this for over 50 years, since the end of the Korean War.
In addition, the DPRK has made innumerable proposals for the denuclearization of the peninsula and the surrounding region.
Above all, this kind of stability should be embodied in the signing of a peace treaty formally ending the state of war between the U.S. and the DPRK. Washington has resisted such demands for over 50 years.
The big business media and the government are treating the DPRK leaders as if they are paranoid and irrational. But the facts show a different story.Bush administration threats
In his State of the Union address in January 2002, President George W. Bush branded the DPRK as part of an "axis of evil," along with Iraq and Iran. In that same period, Bush ordered the Pentagon to develop "flexible" plans for the use of nuclear weapons as part of the Nuclear Posture Review. Sections of it were leaked showing that the DPRK was on the Pentagon’s list of seven targeted countries.
The National Security Strategy of September 2002 put forward the doctrine of "preemptive war" and "regime change," linking it to Bush’s "axis of evil" assertion. Six months later Washington launched a preemptive, unprovoked war to bring about regime change in Iraq and overthrow the Saddam Hussein government.
All these threats were being made by a superpower with 10,000 nuclear warheads, a $10-trillion economy, a population of 300 million and highly developed weapons systems spread throughout Asia, especially in the vicinity of North Korea. In contrast, the DPRK has a population of 25 million, an economy of $16 billion, and has been undermined economically by half a century of U.S.-imposed sanctions.DPRK ringed by U.S. military
Furthermore, the DPRK is surrounded by U.S. nuclear bombers, nuclear-armed submarines, cruise missiles, aircraft carriers and destroyer fleets. Some 30,000 U.S. troops are based in South Korea, as well as a U.S. military high command that has final authority over several hundred thousand South Korean troops. Their mission is war against the North.
As recently as June of this year, the U.S. Air Force held tests of its Minuteman III missiles near the Korean peninsula. Three U.S. Navy carrier battle groups—including 22,000 troops, dozens of fighter planes and several heavy bombers—were assembled in the western Pacific off Guam in the largest naval mobilization since the Vietnam War. The USS Curtis Wilbur and USS Fitzgerald, both guided-missile destroyers, sit off the coast of North Korea. The U.S. sent spy planes on 170 missions during this period.U.S. hawks block normalization
Far from causing the present crisis, the DPRK has tried repeatedly to avoid having to develop a nuclear deterrent. Each time the U.S. government or militaristic factions within it have found ways to thwart any agreement.
A year ago, in September 2005, the North Korean government signed an agreement at six-party talks with the U.S., China, Russia, Japan and South Korea. In the agreement the DPRK pledged to "abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs." In return the U.S. and North Korea agreed "to respect each other’s sovereignty, exist peacefully together and take steps to normalize their relations."
Four days later, the U.S. Treasury Department imposed sweeping financial sanctions against North Korea designed to cut off the country’s access to the international banking system, branding it a "criminal state" for alleged money laundering and so-called "trafficking in weapons of mass destruction." (Newsweek, Oct. 10)
In 2004, negotiators from the State Department had worked out an agreement with the DPRK "outlining steps to resolve the standoff over the country’s nuclear weapons. But it lacked the tough language on disarmament that North Korea had rejected and [Vice President Dick] Cheney knew Mr. Bush wanted."
"With Colin L. Powell, then secretary of state, and his deputy, Richard L. Armitage, at a black-tie dinner where they could not easily be reached on secure telephones, Mr. Cheney ‘declared this thing a loser,’ said a former senior official."
Bush sent new instructions to the negotiators—through the National Security Council, rather than the State Department—"that essentially killed the deal." (New York Times, Oct. 10)Hostile to North-South dialog
In 1999 a new prime minister, Kim Dae-jung, was elected in South Korea. Kim declared a "sunshine policy" of building friendly relations with the North. In 2000, Kim Dae-jung had an historic summit meeting in Pyongyang with Kim Jong Il, the North Korean leader. When Bush took office in 2001, he refused to meet with Kim Dae-jung, signaling U.S. government opposition to any relaxation of tensions on the peninsula and anything that could be favorable to North Korea.
The Clinton administration had also tried to undermine the DPRK. In 1993, after the collapse of the USSR, as part of the retargeting of U.S. nuclear weapons, Clinton let North Korea know it was being targeted by some of them. Clinton authorized Operation Team Spirit in March 1993, mobilizing bombers, cruise missiles and naval vessels against the DPRK. He went to the demilitarized zone separating North and South and threatened the DPRK with war in early 1994.
When the government in Pyongyang, North Korea, threatened to pull out of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Clinton prepared for war, including the use of nuclear weapons. South Korean Prime Minister Kim Young-sam argued with Clinton for half an hour over the phone to stop the war. Faced with the prospect of a nuclear attack, Kim Il Sung, then president of the DPRK, invited former President Jimmy Carter for talks. At their conclusion, Carter announced an agreement, later called the Framework Agreement, negotiated in Geneva.
Under this agreement, the DPRK, which was trying to develop nuclear energy to supply electric power since it has no oil or gas, agreed to shut down its nuclear reactor and stop development of two others in exchange for two light-water reactors. The U.S. was supposed to organize the production of these reactors by 2003 and supply fuel oil in the meantime.
It was also supposed to lift sanctions, recognize the sovereignty of the DPRK, work towards normal political and economic relations, and guarantee against nuclear attack. The U.S. immediately backtracked on everything but supplies of fuel oil, and those deliveries came late.
Washington sought sanctions against the DPRK in the UN, put it on the "terrorist list," refused to guarantee against an attack and did not move an inch to normalize relations. It delayed production of the light-water reactors so they would be finished at the earliest by 2010.
The DPRK was in extraordinary economic difficulties following the collapse of the USSR and was forced to delay its economic recovery under threat of war.
Furthermore, in 1998, the U.S. military conducted exercises simulating an attack on the North with 30 nuclear bombs. U.S. warplanes based at Seymour Johnson Air Base in North Carolina, carrying concrete dummy bombs in place of B61 nuclear bombs, dropped them at a base in Florida as part of operational plans drawn up by the National Command Authority. (Gregory Elich, "Strange Liberators," Llumina Press, 2006)Strategy of demonizing DPRK
The strategy of demonizing North Korea and constantly threatening it serves a dual purpose. It keeps military tensions in the region at a fever pitch and provides the basis for maintaining more and more military hardware in Asia. Bush has promoted a high-tech, highly expensive and highly profitable (to the military-industrial complex) missile defense system.
Administration denials notwithstanding, it is the policy and ambition of the U.S. ruling class and its military to destroy the socialist government of North Korea. It has been the policy ever since the Korean Revolution after World War II, led by Kim Il Sung. The bosses and the landlords were thrown out and the society was taken over and run for the workers and peasants. That was the first "crime" of the DPRK.
The second "crime" was the outcome of the Korean War. In spite of enormous casualties, the revolutionary armies of the North, with the assistance of the Chinese Red Army, inflicted the first military defeat on U.S. imperialism by stopping it from taking over all of Korea.
One of the long-standing goals of Washington has been to break up any solidarity between the DPRK and the People’s Republic of China (PRC). It is difficult for progressives and revolutionaries to watch the PRC lending itself to the anti-DPRK schemes of Washington and Tokyo. Hopefully, the current narrow, unjust and self-defeating policy of supporting sanctions on the DPRK will be reversed.
The implacable U.S. imperialist hostility towards the Korean revolution and the socialist government of the DPRK comes from its ambitions to conquer Asia and turn the Pacific Ocean into a U.S. lake. This policy has been a stated goal for over a century.Challenge to anti-war movement
The anti-war movement in the U.S. now recognizes that the Bush administration is an aggressor in Iraq and is planning aggression against Iran. It is beginning to recognize the reactionary role of the U.S.-client state in Tel Aviv as the cat’s paw of the Pentagon in the Middle East. It recognizes that Washington has designs to overthrow the Cuban government and the Venezuelan government.
It is time to elevate the cause of the DPRK in the movement and fight against Washington’s demonization, its sanctions and threats.
It is U.S. militarism that is the threat to peace, not the defensive measures taken by the government of the DPRK. North Korea has done everything possible to avoid having to resort to a nuclear deterrent. But it has experienced a solid wall of hostility, threats, military maneuvers, vilification, and attempts at isolation and economic sabotage.
It has seen "preventive war" against Iraq. It has witnessed the destruction of the government of Yugoslavia after a massive U.S. bombing campaign. The DPRK does not want more nuclear weapons in the area. On the contrary, it has offered many proposals to get rid of them. It has called for signing a peace treaty. It has called for a non-aggression pact. It wants peace, while Washington wants war and counter-revolution in Korea and all of Asia.
Right now a dangerous bloc exists between Washington and Tokyo. Japan annexed Korea in 1910 and ruled it as a colony until 1945. The Japanese imperialist ruling class wants to use this crisis as a springboard to build up its military. It is using the Bush administration’s full court press for sanctions and the strangulation of the DPRK as its cover.
The workers and oppressed in this country can only suffer from an increase in militarism around the Korean peninsula. Either they will be dragged into war or forced to pay the price of increased military spending—or both.
Those who are exploited by the bosses, whose wages are going down, whose benefits are being cut, have nothing to gain by supporting the war drive of the billionaires’ government in Washington, the military-industrial complex and Big Oil, who are behind the present crisis.
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