July 13, 2017
By Margaret Kimberley
U.S. presidents treat other nations like Dred Scott – as having no rights that the United States is bound to respect. North Korea is called “rogue” – the U.S. term for a country that “dares to exist on its own terms.” The dignity of peoples is foreign to Washington’s rulers, who cannot conceive that it is better to engage with an adversary “than to demonize it on a regular basis.”
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), commonly known as North Korea, has the right to test and develop as many weapons as it likes. It doesn’t need another country’s permission to enhance its arsenal and, given America’s history of aggression, it is wise to do so. Any country deemed an enemy of the United States that doesn’t have a strong defense is in danger of ending up like Iraq or Libya, invaded or destroyed by other means.
There is no reason for Americans to pay attention to drivel about DPRK missiles reaching Alaska or any other part of this country. The United States has more weapons, nuclear and conventional, than any other nation in the world and is therefore the greatest threat to peace. The only danger from the DPRK’s missile program comes from American reactions to it.
The corporate media are constantly whipping the public into a frenzy regarding matters that should not be of concern. Despite headlines asking, “What to do about North Korea,” the answer is simple. There is nothing to do at all. Or rather it should be to engage with that nation rather than to demonize it on a regular basis. The Trump administration has asked for a unilateral stand down as a prerequisite for any talks, something which the DPRK would not and should not agree to do.
While politicians and pundits demand that something be done about this independent country, the United States escalates tensions with war games that simulate an invasion of North Korea. At the same time that the DPRK is labeled a danger the American Terminal High Altitude Air Defense (THAAD) system is being installed in South Korea and poses a very real threat. And in turn it creates an incentive for more weaponry.
President Trump is the greater danger in this scenario. He ran for office on a platform of putting America first and with a mistaken and uninformed notion that other countries won’t put their own interests first. He believes that he can pull Russia away from allies like China and Iran when they have become closer for the express purpose of defending themselves from America. Trump may fume that China doesn’t control the DPRK but his temper tantrums don’t change the fact that other countries do what is best for themselves too.
But Trump isn’t alone in his North Korea scare mongering. Democrats haven’t defended that country’s right to self-determination either. Trump rattles his saber with a loud voice, but Democrats are just as ready to advance the cause of the United States as hegemon. Democrats in the House of Representatives joined Republicans recently in voting for new sanctions against the DPRK. Only one member voted against this proposal.
The liberal corporate media do likewise. Their lament that something must be done about North Korea puts the seal of approval on very dangerous foreign policy decisions. One can read through page after page of the New York Times or Washington Post without seeing any difference of opinion on North Korea. Every reporter and op-ed writer sees it as a problem to be solved instead of as a nation to be engaged with in a respectful manner.
The only potential peacemakers on this issue are Russia and China. They call on North Korea to cease its missile testing and also on the United States to stop its provocative military maneuvers. The reasonable proposal has been either ignored or condemned by the press and the politicians in this country. Their agreement on this issue and their continued closeness are also not a problem to be solved but instead result from a legitimate need for protection from the United States.
North Korea is considered a bogeyman whether it tests missiles or not. It has been accused of everything from hacking into the Sony corporation computer systems to creating new malware viruses. Its president Kim Jong-un is treated like a joke or a demon. He may as well use the only defense he has at his disposal and that is to make America think twice about attacking his country.
Trump is like his presidential predecessors. He upholds the belief that other countries have no rights that the United States need to respect. The media may follow along with words like “isolated, “rogue,” and “reclusive.” These adjectives mean just one thing. A particular state has run afoul of the American government because it dares to exist on its own terms. That is a right every nation should have. Scare mongering is a tool to get public approval for more war. It is the United States that increases the risk of nuclear conflagration more than all of the “rogue” nations put together.
Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in Black Agenda Report, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via email at Margaret.Kimberley@BlackAgendaReport.com.