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Archive for category THE MAD DUDE

Nuclear Chutzpah By Eric Margolis

Nuclear Chutzpah

By Eric Margolis

May 07, 2018

 

 

 

‘Chutzpah’ is a wonderful Yiddish word that means outrageous nerve, or unmitigated gall.

This week’s Chutzpah Award goes to Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Standing in front of props of data files and cd’s, Netanyahu claimed Israel’s renowned Mossad spy agency had stolen a small mountain of secret Iranian nuclear data from a warehouse in Tehran.

The never-understated Netanyahu claimed that the purloined material proved that Iran was lying about having halted its covert nuclear program and must not be trusted.

Netanyahu’s supposed nuclear bombshell was likely the warm-up act for President Donald Trump to reject Iran’s nuclear freeze deal with the US, Russia, China, Germany, and France, blessed by the UN and the European Union. The only thing Trump apparently hates more than Muslims is his predecessor, former President Barack Obama (whom he accused of being a secret Muslim). The Iran nuclear deal was the most important foreign policy accomplishment of the Obama administration.

Netanyahu repeatedly warned the world about Iran’s alleged nuclear arsenal while making no mention at all of Israel’s own large, secret nuclear arsenal, which is believed to comprise of over 100 warheads, perhaps even several hundred, that can be delivered by aircraft, missiles and submarines. Every Mideast nation can be hit by Israeli nukes as well as Russia, which some experts say is or was on Israel’s target list.

Trump, of course, made no mention of the awkward fact that Israel had stolen much of its nuclear technology and uranium from the United States, sometimes with the connivance of very senior US government officials. France, that paragon of world peace, had the rest.

Listening to Netanyahu accuse Iran of hiding secret nuclear facilities was a pure pot calling the kettle black. Israel’s early nuclear program at Dimona in the Negev desert was entirely concealed from US and UN inspectors, including fake walls in the nuclear complex that completely fooled them. When Netanyahu accused Iran of cheating, he knows of what he speaks.

Most of what Netanyahu ‘revealed’ about Iran’s alleged nuclear program was old stuff, dating back to 1999-2003 and readily available in reports from the International Atomic Energy Agency. This respected UN agency now reports that Iran has fulfilled all of its commitments and abandoned its earlier nuclear program that did not produce any weapons before it was ended.

But facts don’t matter in this Trump-produced, made-for-TV drama. The key point is that with the naming of Michael Pompeo as US Secretary of State, and appointment of the rightwing fanatic John Bolton as US national security advisor, Israel’s rightwing government has completed its virtual takeover of US Mideast policy. As I’ve previously written, Trump looks more and more like a Trojan Horse for Netanyahu and his extremist allies.

 

Dimona-Israel Nuclear Program-Actual Nuclear Bombs are kept near Airbases such as one around Accor

 

 

 

 

 

 

Besides Pompeo and VP Mike Pence, both ardent Christian Zionists, and Bolton, Trump now has around him the UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, of Indian origin, who is the darling of the US far right and a handmaiden of arch-pro Israel billionaire, Sheldon Adelson, a major bankroller of the Republican Party. Add in Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and, of course, Trump’s daughter and son-in-law. In short, an amen-chorus for Israel’s far right.

This American Israel-first coalition has joined Netanyahu’s Likud alliance in pressing for war against Iran. The first skirmishes have already begun with over 100 Israeli air attacks on Syria, ostensibly against Iranian positions. A great propaganda hue and cry against the purported dangers of Iran is being raised in the US and Europe. According to Israel’s right, Assyrian hordes are about to engulf Israel.

 

 

 

 

In reality, Iran has very little offensive power. Like Iraq before it, Iran is militarily dilapidated with 40-year old equipment, a largely grounded air force, little artillery and poor communications. Tehran has a few inaccurate missiles but no nuclear warheads.

Israel’s powerful air force could easily turn any attacking Iranian forces into chopped falafel. Iran’s only strength is defensive, in urban combat or mountainous terrain. Iran has no capability to seriously threaten Israel except by aiding the Lebanese Hezbollah movement in showering northern Israel with light artillery rockets, a nuisance rather than a mortal danger.

Israel is moving to repeat its triumph in 2003 when the Bush administration, US partisans of Israel, and dishonest US media pushed the nation into a war of pure aggression against Iraq. Israel emerged the victor from this unprovoked war and is trying to repeat its success again with Iran.

Overthrowing Iran’s Islamic Republic would leave Israel the unchallenged power in the Mideast.

Eric S. Margolis is an award-winning, internationally syndicated columnist. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune the Los Angeles Times, Times of London, the Gulf Times, the Khaleej Times, Nation – Pakistan, Hurriyet, – Turkey, Sun Times Malaysia and other news sites in Asia.https://ericmargolis.com/

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Why Trump’s Troubling Pakistan Policy Dooms Afghanistan Peace By Touqir Hussain The Diplomat

The Diplomat

The Diplomat

Why Trump’s Troubling Pakistan Policy Dooms Afghanistan Peace

The administration’s approach to Islamabad undermines potential solutions in Afghanistan.

By Touqir Hussain
February 15, 2018 
 

For a 16-year-long war in Afghanistan, whose failure lies in an endless list of complex causes – including flawed strategy, incoherent war aims, return of the warlords, rise of fiefdoms and ungoverned spaces, corruption, power struggles and a competitive and conflict-prone regional environment – U.S. President Donald Trump has one simple solution: get rid of the Haqqani Network and Taliban sanctuaries in Pakistan. And if Pakistan does not oblige, cut off aid.

Like the Afghanistan war, the equally complicated U.S.-Pakistan relationship is also being narrowly defined, thereby obscuring the many different ways it can serve or hurt the very American interests that the Trump administration is trying to serve.

It is certainly true that Pakistan has a lot to answer for, especially for its illicit relationship with the Taliban. But sanctuaries did not play a defining role in the war’s failure, nor will their eradication, if they still exist, play a salient part in its success.
Sixteen years into the war, which has been described as “16 one year wars,” Washington has shown no better understanding of the complexities of Afghanistan and the region than when it invaded the country in 2001. Some understanding of what has gone wrong might help us find the way forward.

The War in Afghanistan: What Went Wrong

It was a war that may not have been unnecessary but was nonetheless possibly avoidable. It has been an unwinnable war in the way it has been conducted, especially given the realities of a strife-torn country wracked by multiple conflicts since the overthrow of the monarchy in 1973.  The 1980s war against the Soviets and the subsequent civil war had raised the profile of the mullah and jihad and changed not only Afghanistan but also the adjoining tribal territories in Pakistan. Home to millions of Afghan refugees and base to mujaheddin, these territories almost became like one country along with the areas across the Afghan border.

Pakistan’s heartland too was affected by the religious infrastructure spawned by the 1980s war and by Islamabad’s own follies,  to which Washington made no small contribution, first through the ISI- and CIA-sponsored jihad in Afghanistan, and then by sanctioning Pakistan in 1990 and leaving it to its own devices. The Taliban were an extension of this slow unravelling of Afghanistan, and strategic overreach of the Pakistan army and societal changes in the country.

Former President George W. Bush made grievous mistakes upon America’s return to Afghanistan. He showed no understanding of what had been going on in and around Afghanistan since Washington’s last exit. It was a strategic mistake to try to defeat al-Qaeda by defeating Taliban who were not going to fight but instead run away to Pakistan. The focus should have been on al-Qaeda. The context of dealing with the Taliban was fixing fractured Afghanistan through reconstruction and stabilization of the country with a new ethnic-regional balance acceptable to all the Afghans. That is what you call nation-building. But Washington, of course, would have none of that.

Instead, Bush outsourced much of the war to warlords and rushed to institute democracy, guided by the need to get domestic support for the war and by a flawed view that democracy is nation-building. Actually, democracy and nation-building are two separate challenges, with one sometimes reinforcing the other but not always.

In Afghanistan, democracy did not help. It made Karzai dependent on the political support of warlords and regional power brokers, the very people who had brought Afghanistan to grief in the 1990s. This led to payoffs, corruption, a drug mafia, power struggles, and bad governance, facilitating the return of the Taliban which led a resistance that was a part insurgency, part jihad, and part civil-war. And by creating a dual authority – their own and that of the Afghan government – Americans set up a perfect scenario for clash of personalities, policies and interests, making for a poor war strategy.

 

 

 

 

While Bush went on to fight another war, for his successor, it was a story of dealing with his deeply conflicted approach to the war where policy and legacy collided. Indeed the policymaking itself was not without its own conflicts, strife-torn as it was by turf wars, interagency rivalries and bureaucratic tensions.

The Trump Strategy

Now Trump is seeking a military solution to the conflict. There is a talk of a political solution, but that seems to be just a Plan B in case the military option fails. The suspension of aid to Pakistan is aimed at pressuring Islamabad to help Washington defeat the Taliban. But Pakistan is finding it hard to oblige without relinquishing its national interests in favour of U.S. aid, and that too in the face of public humiliation by Trump. It certainly will not do so in this election year, and not in an atmosphere where Pakistan sees the Indian threat having doubled with India’s increased presence in Afghanistan from where it is allegedly helping orchestrate terrorist attacks on Pakistan. If anything, this should enhance Pakistan’s relationship with the Taliban, which may be demonstrating their value as an ally with the recent horrific terrorist attacks in Kabul.

The Taliban are the biggest card Pakistan has to secure its interests in Afghanistan, and it would not give it up easily unless it knows what comes next.  Pakistan also feels the U.S. strategy would not succeed and may in fact backfire. A disinherited Taliban on a retreat from Afghanistan would be a much greater threat to Pakistan and to the United States, especially if the Taliban joins forces with other jihadist and Islamist groups.

The Washington-Islamabad standoff thus continues. Pakistan feels it can take the heat, and that if Washington dials up the pressure, it would fall back on China. Washington thus has to consider the geostrategic implications carefully in this respect.

The China Factor

A Pakistan closely aligned with China could conceivably take a harder line against India. If the United States continues to see China as a threat and India as a balancer, what would serve American interests better: an India whose resources are divided by a two-front deployment, or one that has friendly relations with Pakistan? For that, Washington should not burn its bridges with Islamabad.

A relationship with Pakistan would also give the United States leverage against India. Furthermore, it will be useful to have Pakistan on its side in a region that is increasingly coming under the strategic shadow of Russia and the creeping influence of Iran. Most importantly, Pakistan’s role remains critical in stabilizing Afghanistan, and in helping Washington’s counterterrorism efforts.

A Political Solution?

After considering all other options, the discussion always reverts to the talk of a political solution. But the irony is such a solution remains as elusive as the military one. How do you have power-sharing or coexistence when the Kabul government and the Taliban subscribe to two different political systems? And if instead of sharing it, you divide power by relinquishing the governance of some areas to the Taliban rule, are you not consigning the populations to the Middle Ages?

Pakistan has a limited influence to bring Taliban to the negotiating table and has little incentive to do so when there is lack of clarity about American policy and Pakistan’s own relations with Washington are strained. The upshot is that Taliban themselves are divided. Some are irreconcilable, but those who want peace worry that if they do lay down the arms and accept a deal while the American forces are still there, they might be shortchanged.

The Taliban trust China and its guarantees that they would not be betrayed. But the Chinese need support from Washington and Kabul. The Quadrilateral Consultative Group process offered the prospect of such a support.  But the Trump administration prefers military option and going it alone, and that also suits Kabul: this way, at least the Americans will likely stay for the long haul.

What is needed is a new relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Only Kabul and Islamabad together can deal with the Taliban, politically if possible, and militarily if necessary. Counterinsurgencies are essentially a governance issue. Afghanistan needs to conciliate the areas under the Taliban control, and Pakistan should help by making its lands inhospitable to them. And both must work on joint border management and resolution of the refugee problem. This is a long-term plan, but it is doable. U.S. engagement with them would be essential to their success, as would be China’s involvement.

But the Trump administration is not thinking in these terms. Instead, Trump has defined the Afghanistan war very narrowly and in immediate terms as a terrorism problem. American soldiers under attack from sanctuaries in Pakistan, rather than the war itself, preoccupies the Trump base. As for the military, it is only thinking of the military solution, and that also highlights the sanctuaries issue. So, right now, U.S. Pakistan relations are stuck, which makes the prospects of any political solution in Afghanistan quite dim.

Touqir Hussain, a former ambassador of Pakistan and diplomatic adviser to the Prime Minister, is adjunct faculty at Georgetown University and Syracuse University.

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Why We’re Underestimating American Collapse By Umair Haque

Why We’re Underestimating American Collapse

The Strange New Pathologies of the World’s First Rich Failed State

By Umair Haque

 

February 15, 2018 

You might say, having read some of my recent essays, “Umair! Don’t worry! Everything will be fine! It’s not that bad!” I would look at you politely, and then say gently, “To tell you the truth, I don’t think we’re taking collapse nearly seriously enough.”

Why? When we take a hard look at US collapse, we see a number of social pathologies on the rise. Not just any kind. Not even troubling, worrying, and dangerous ones. But strange and bizarre ones. Unique ones. Singular and gruesomely weird ones I’ve never really seen before, and outside of a dystopia written by Dickens and Orwell, nor have you, and neither has the history. They suggest that whatever “numbers” we use to represent decline — shrinking real incomes, inequality, and so on —we are in fact grossly underestimating what pundits call the “human toll”, but which sensible human beings like you and I should simply think of as the overwhelming despair, rage, and anxiety of living in a collapsing society.

Let me give you just five examples of what I’ll call the social pathologies of collapse — strange, weird, and gruesome new diseases, not just ones we don’t usually see in healthy societies, but ones that we have never really seen before in any modern society.

Image result for The Fall of American Empire

 

 

 

 

America has had 11 school shootings in the last 23 days. That’s one every other day, more or less. That statistic is alarming enough — but it is just a number. Perspective asks us for comparison. So let me put that another way. America has had 11 school shootings in the last 23 days, which is more than anywhere else in the world, even Afghanistan or Iraq. In fact, the phenomenon of regular school shootings appears to be a unique feature of American collapse — it just doesn’t happen in any other country — and that is what I mean by “social pathologies of collapse”: a new, bizarre, terrible disease striking society.

Why are American kids killing each other? Why doesn’t their society care enough to intervene? Well, probably because those kids have given up on life — and their elders have given up on them. Or maybe you’re right — and it’s not that simple. Still, what do the kids who aren’t killing each other do? Well, a lot of them are busy killing themselves.

So there is of course also an “opioid epidemic”. We use that phrase too casually, but it much more troubling than it appears at first glance. Here is what is really curious about it. In many countries in the world — most of Asia and Africa — one can buy all the opioids one wants from any local pharmacy, without a prescription. You might suppose then that opioid abuse as a mass epidemic would be a global phenomenon. Yet we don’t see opioid epidemics anywhere but America — especially not ones so vicious and widespread they shrink life expectancy. So the “opioid epidemic” — mass self-medication with the hardest of hard drugs — is again a social pathology of collapse: unique to American life. It is not quite captured in the numbers, but only through comparison — and when we see it in global perspective, we get a sense of just how singularly troubled American life really is.

Why would people abuse opioids en masse unlike anywhere else in the world? They must be living genuinely traumatic and desperate lives, in which there is little healthcare, so they have to self-medicate the terror away. But what is so desperate about them? Well, consider another example: the “nomadic retirees”. They live in their cars. They go from place to place, season after season, chasing whatever low-wage work they can find — spring, an Amazon warehouse, Christmas, Walmart.  Now, you might say — “well, poor people have always chased seasonal work!” But that is not really the point: absolute powerlessness and complete indignity is. In no other country I can see do retirees who should have been able to save up enough to live on now living in their cars in order to find work just to go on eating before they die — not even in desperately poor ones, where at least families live together, share resources, and care for one another. This is another pathology of collapse that is unique to America — utter powerlessness to live with dignity. Numbers don’t capture it — but comparisons paint a bleak picture.

How did America’s elderly end up cheated of dignity? After all, even desperately poor countries have “informal social support systems” — otherwise known as families and communities. But in America, there is the catastrophic collapse of social bonds. Extreme capitalism has blown apart American society so totally that people cannot even care for one another as much as they do in places like Pakistan and Nigeria. Social bonds, relationships themselves, have become unaffordable luxuries, more so than even in poor countries: this is yet another social pathology unique to American collapse.

Yet those once poor countries are making great strides. Costa Ricans now have higher life expectancy than Americans — because they have public healthcare. American life expectancy is falling, unlike nearly anywhere else in the world, save the UK — because it doesn’t.

And that is my last pathology: it is one of the soul, not one of the limbs, like the others above. Americans appear to be quite happy simply watching one another die, in all the ways above. They just don’t appear to be too disturbed, moved, or even affected by the four pathologies above: their kids killing each other, their social bonds collapsing, being powerless to live with dignity, or having to numb the pain of it all away.

If these pathologies happened in any other rich country — even in most poor ones — people would be aghast, shocked, and stunned, and certainly moved to make them not happen. But in America, they are, well, not even resigned. They are indifferent, mostly.

So my last pathology is a predatory society. A predatory society doesn’t just mean oligarchs ripping people off financially. In a truer way, it means people nodding and smiling and going about their everyday business as their neighbours, friends, and colleagues die early deaths in shallow graves. The predator in American society isn’t just its super-rich — but an invisible and insatiable force: the normalization of what in the rest of the world would be seen as shameful, historic, generational moral failures, if not crimes, becoming mere mundane everyday affairs not to be too worried by or troubled about.

Perhaps that sounds strong to you. Is it?

Now that I’ve given you a few examples — there are many more — of the social pathologies of collapse, let me share with you the three points that they raise for me.

These social pathologies are something like strange and gruesome new strains of the disease infecting the body social. America has always been a pioneer — only today, it is host not just to problems not just rarely seen in healthy societies — it is pioneering novel social pathologies have never been seen in the modern world outside present-day America, period. What does that tell us?

American collapse is much more severe than we suppose it is. We are underestimating its magnitude, not overestimating it. American intellectuals, media, and thought does not put any of its problems in global or historical perspective — but when they are seen that way, America’s problems are revealed to be not just the everyday nuisances of a declining nation, but something more like a body suddenly attacked by unimagined diseases.

Seen accurately. American collapse is a catastrophe of human possibility without modern parallel. And because the mess that America has made of itself, then, is so especially unique, so singular, so perversely special — the treatment will have to be novel, too. The uniqueness of these social pathologies tells us that American collapse is not like a reversion to any mean or the downswing of a trend. It is something outside the norm. Something beyond the data. Past the statistics. It is like the meteor that hit the dinosaurs: an outlier beyond outliers, an event at the extreme of the extremes. That is why our narratives, frames, and theories cannot really capture it — much less explain it. We need a whole new language — and a new way of seeing — to even begin to make sense of it.

But that is America’s task, not the world’s. The world’s task is this. Should the world follow the American model — extreme capitalism, no public investment, cruelty as a way of life, the perversion of everyday virtue — then these new social pathologies will follow, too. They are new diseases of the body social that have emerged from the diet of junk food — junk media, junk science, junk culture, junk punditry, junk economics, people treating one another and their society like junk — that America has fed upon for too long.

This article was originally published by “Medium” – Jan 25, 2018

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Donald Trump’s threatening tweet by Brig Gen(Retd)Asif Haroon Raja

 

Donald Trump’s threatening tweet

Brig Gen(Retd) Asif Haroon Raja

 

 

 

Pakistan was made an ally by the USA in September 2001 to fight its war on terror as a frontline State but was treacherously subjected to biggest ever covert war to destabilize, de-Islamize and denuclearize it. For the success of covert operations launched by RAW-NDS combine backed by CIA, MI-6, Mossad and BND from Afghan and Iran soils in FATA and Baluchistan from 2003 onwards, Pakistan was subjected to a willful propaganda campaign to demonize and discredit it by painting it as the most dangerous country of the world. It was subjected to a barrage of unsubstantiated accusations that it was in collusion with terrorist groups. It was also alleged that Pakistan’s nuclear program was unsafe and might fall into wrong hands. Allegations and denunciations were made by Bush regime as well as Obama regime and Pakistan was constantly asked to do more. The policy of ‘Do More’ was a clever ploy to bleed Pakistan as well as to tarnish its image and thus weaken it from within. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The latest narrative framed against Pakistan by Donald Trump regime is that it is continuing to provide safe havens to Afghan Taliban and Haqqani Network and is chiefly responsible for the instability in Afghanistan. It ignored Pakistan’s colossal sacrifices and brilliant successes achieved against the foreign-funded and equipped terrorists. On August 22, 2017, Trump subjected Pakistan to severest denunciation and threats while pronouncing his Afghanistan policy. He reiterated his stance while elucidating his national security policy last month. Trump, Secretary Defence Rex Tillerson and Vice President Mike Pence have rejected Pakistan’s explanations and hurled threats of aid cut, sanctions and losing territory if it fails to abide by the US dictates. The old allegation that Pakistan’s nuclear assets are unsafe has again been repeated and Pakistan put on notice.  In other words, a clear-cut narrative has been framed to validate punitive action against Pakistan. The threat of unilateral action has been sounded by the USA to force Pakistan to fight its war and help the US in converting its defeat into victory.

On January 1, Trump gave a New Year gift by tweeting: The US has foolishly given Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies and deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe havens to terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more”.

Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, in response to Donald Trump’s tweet, said that Pakistan was not worried as it had already refused to ‘do more’ for the US. “We have already told the US that we will not do more, so Trump’s ‘no more’ does not hold any importance,”. “Pakistan is ready to publicly provide every detail of the US aid that it has received.” Asif tweeted. “Will let the world know the truth….difference between facts & fiction.” He added that any drone attacking Pakistan’s urban centres will be shot down.  

Pakistan Foreign Office summoned US Ambassador David Hale and lodged its protest against US President Donald Trump’s tweet wherein he accused Pakistan of “lies and deceit” and used undiplomatic threatening language against an ally.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has summoned a meeting of the National Security Committee on 3rd January. He will chair the huddle to discuss the future course of action following the US President’s scathing statement against Pakistan.

None appreciated Trump’s weird tweet inside and outside the USA except for India, which is rejoicing and is terming Trump as the best President the US has had since ages. I was asked for comments by IndiaTimesNow but got thoroughly disappointed by my curt reply that, ‘Pakistan is quite used to ups and downs in its relationship with the USA, but mercifully it has got out of the US magic spell, and it no more yearns for US aid, and that it is now India’s turn, which is in the tight embrace of USA, to face the music. I also rubbished the claim of $33 billion and added that Pakistan lost $123 billion in the US imposed war besides 70,000 human casualties.  

Comic replies given to Trump’s tweet read: “Change your diaper and go to bed”. “Piss off, you are drunk”. “When is your Tee time today? Fool! Didn’t you tweet about how you were building a good relationship with Pakistan and were thankful for their cooperation? O yeah, that was all of two weeks ago. You are pathological. Please resign”.

The US is hell-bent to scapegoat Pakistan in order to hide its enormous failures in Afghanistan. While Pakistan has cleared all the safe havens and strongholds of TTP despite its leadership enjoying a complete safe haven in Kunar, Nuristan and Nangarhar, NATO has ceded over 47% Afghan territory to Afghan Taliban.

It is time for the US to accept its fault lines and fight its own war, or else accept its defeat gracefully, patch up with the Taliban and find a political solution instead of scapegoating Pakistan, and beat a hasty retreat from the quagmire it has got stuck. The US must remember that it buckled down before Lilliputian North Korea which is an emerging nuclear power but is now foolishly vying to lock horns with a full-fledged nuclear power, which is the height of foolhardiness.   

A highly dangerous situation has been created for Pakistan already grappling with multiple internal challenges. Ongoing political turmoil as a result of gang up of opposition political cum religious parties/groups in their bid to put the Federal and Punjab governments in the dock has further vitiated the atmosphere and made Pakistan more vulnerable to exploitation by enemies of Pakistan. The people are suspecting that ongoing political disorder in Pakistan.  They feel that All Parties Conference chaired by Tahirul Qadri on December 30 in which deadline was given to Shahbaz to quit by 7th January or face sit-ins all over the country is also the handiwork of partners in crime working in cahoots with the puppet regime in Kabul.

The US-Saudi and the US-India strategic partnerships are impelling both Iran and Pakistan to gravitate towards China and Russia and explore avenues to form a unified block in conjunction with the Central Asian States to counter the US imperialist designs. 

The writer is a retired Brig Gen, a war veteran, defence and security analyst, columnist, author of five books, Vice Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Centre, Chief Editor Better Morrow magazine.                  

 

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North Korea, An Aggressor? A Reality Check By Felicity Arbuthnot

North Korea, An Aggressor?

A Reality Check

By

Felicity Arbuthnot

 

 

 

 

“ … war in our time is always indiscriminate, a war against innocents, a war against children.”(Howard Zinn, 1922-2010.)

“All war represents a failure of diplomacy.” (Tony Benn, MP. 1925-2014.)

“No country too poor, too small, too far away, not to be threat, a threat to the American way of life.” (William Blum, “Rogue State.”)   

 

 

 

 

 

August 24, 2017

The mention of one tiny country appears to strike at the rationality and sanity of those who should know far better. On Sunday, 6th August, for example, The Guardian headed an editorial: “The Guardian view on sanctions: an essential tool.” Clearly the average of five thousands souls a month, the majority children, dying of “embargo related causes” in Iraq, year after grinding year – genocide in the name of the UN – for over a decade has long been forgotten by the broadsheet of the left.

This time of course, the target is North Korea upon whom the United Nations Security Council has voted unanimously to freeze, strangulate and deny essentials, normality, humanity. Diplomacy as ever, not even a consideration. The Guardian, however, incredibly, declared the decimating sanctions: “A rare triumph of diplomacy …” (Guardian 6th August 2017.)

As US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, the US’ top “diplomat” and his North Korean counterpart Ri Yong-ho headed for the annual Ministerial meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Manila on 5th August, a State Department spokesperson said of Tillerson:

“The Secretary has no plans to meet the North Korean Foreign Minister in Manila, and I don’t expect to see that happen”

Pathetic. In April, approaching his hundredth day in office, Trump said of North Korea:

“We’d love to solve things diplomatically but it’s very difficult.”

No it is not. Talk, walk in the other’s psychological shoes. Then, there they were at the same venue but the Trump Administration clearly does not alone live in a land of missed opportunities, but of opportunities deliberately buried in landfill miles deep. This in spite of his having said in the same statement:

“There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely.”

A bit of perspective: 27th July 2017 marked sixty four years since the armistice agreement that ended the devastating three year Korean war, however there has never been a peace treaty, thus technically the Korean war has never ended. Given that and American’s penchant for wiping out countries with small populations which pose them no threat (think most recently, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya) no wonder North Korea wishes to look as if it has some heavy protective gear behind the front door, so to speak.

Tiny North Korea has a population of just 25.37 million and landmass of 120,540 km² (square kilometres.) The US has a population of 323.1 million and a landmass of 9.834 MILLION km² (square kilometres.) Further, since 1945, the US is believed to have produced some 70,000 nuclear weapons – though now down to a “mere” near 7,000 – but North Korea is a threat?  

America has fifteen military bases in South Korea – down from a staggering fifty four – bristling with every kind of weapons of mass destruction. Two bases are right on the North Korean border and another nearly as close. See full details of each, with map at (1.)

North Korea also has the collective memory of the horror wrought by the US in the three year conflict on a country then with a population of just 9.6 million souls. US General Curtis Lemay in the aftermath stated: “After destroying North Korea’s seventy eight cities and thousands of her villages, and killing countless numbers of her civilians … Over a period of three years or so we killed off – what – twenty percent of the population.”

“It is now believed that the population north of the imposed 38th Parallel lost nearly a third its population of 8 – 9 million people during the 37-month long ‘hot’ war, 1950 – 1953, perhaps an unprecedented percentage of mortality suffered by one nation due to the belligerence of another.” (2) 

In context:

“During The Second World War the United Kingdom lost 0.94% of its population, France lost 1.35%, China lost 1.89% and the US lost 0.32%. During the Korean war, North Korea lost close to 30 % of its population.” (Emphasis added.)

“We went over there and fought the war and eventually burned down every town in North Korea anyway, some way or another …”, boasted Lemay.

Gen. Douglas MacArthur said during a Congressional hearing in 1951 that he had never seen such devastation.

“I shrink with horror that I cannot express in words … at this continuous slaughter of men in Korea,” MacArthur said. “I have seen, I guess, as much blood and disaster as any living man, and it just curdled my stomach, the last time I was there.” (CNN, 28th July 2017.)

Horrified as he was, he did not mention the incinerated women, children, infants in the same breath.

Moreover, as Robert M. Neer wrote in “Napalm, an American Biography”:

‘“Practically every U.S. fighter plane that has flown into Korean air carried at least two napalm bombs,” Chemical Officer Townsend wrote in January 1951. About 21,000 gallons of napalm hit Korea every day in 1950. As combat intensified after China’s intervention, that number more than tripled (…) a total of 32,357 tons of napalm fell on Korea, about double that dropped on Japan in 1945. Not only did the allies drop more bombs on Korea than in the Pacific theater during World War II – 635,000 tons, versus 503,000 tons – more of what fell was napalm …’

In the North Korean capitol, Pyongyang, just two buildings were reported as still standing.

In the unending history of US warmongering, North Korea is surely the smallest population they had ever attacked until their assault on tiny Grenada in October 1983, population then just 91,000 (compulsory silly name: “Operation Urgent Fury.)

North Korea has been taunted by the US since it lay in ruins after the armistice sixty five years ago, yet as ever, the US Administration paints the vast, self appointed “leader of the free world” as the victim.

As Fort-Russ pointed out succinctly (7th August 2017):

“The Korean Peninsula is in a state of crisis not only due to constant US threats towards North Korea, but also due to various provocative actions, such as Washington conducting joint military exercises with Seoul amid tensions, and which Pyongyang considered a threat to its national security.”

This month “massive land, sea and air exercises” involving “tens of thousands of troops” from the US and South Korea began on 21st  of August and continue until 31st.

‘In the past, the practices are believed to have included “decapitation strikes” – trial operations for an attempt to kill Kim Jong-un and his top Generals …’, according to the Guardian (11th August 2017.)

The obligatory stupid name chosen for this dangerous, belligerent, money burning, sabre rattling nonsense is Ulchi-Freedom Guardian. It is an annual occurrence since first initiated back in 1976.

US B-1B bombers flying from Guam recently carried out exercises in South Korea and “practiced attack capabilities by releasing inert weapons at the Pilsung Range.” In a further provocative (and illegal) move, US bombers were again reported to overfly North Korea, another of many such bullying, threatening actions, reportedly eleven just since May this year.

Yet in spite of all, North Korea is the “aggressor.”

“The nuclear warheads of United States of America are stored in some twenty one locations, which include thirteen U.S. states and five European countries … some are on board U.S. submarines. There are some “zombie” nuclear warheads as well, and they are kept in reserve, and as many as 3,000 of these are still awaiting their dismantlement. (The US) also extends its “nuclear umbrella” to such other countries as South Korea, Japan, and Australia.” (worldatlas.com)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov who also attended the ASEAN meeting in Manila, did of course, do what proper diplomats do and talked with his North Korean counterpart Ri Yong-ho. Minister Lavrov’s opinion was summed up by a Fort Russ News observer as:

“The Korean Peninsula is in a state of crisis not only due to constant US threats towards North Korea, but also due to various provocative actions, such as Washington conducting joint military exercises with Seoul amid tensions, and which Pyongyang considered a threat to its national security.”

The “provocative actions” also include the threatening over-flights by US ‘planes flying from Guam. However when North Korea said if this continued they would consider firing missiles in to the ocean near Guam – not as was reported by some hystericals as threatening to bomb Guam – Agent Orange who occasionally pops in to the White House between golf rounds and eating chocolate cake whilst muddling up which country he has dropped fifty nine Tomahawk Cruise missiles on, responded that tiny North Korea will again be: “… met with fire and fury and frankly power, the likes of which the world has never seen before.”

It was barely noticed that North Korea qualified the threat of a shot across the bows by stating pretty reasonably:

(The US) “should immediately stop its reckless military provocation against the State of the DPRK so that the latter would not be forced to make an unavoidable military choice.” (3)

As Cheryl Rofer (see 3) continued, instead of endless threats, US diplomacy could have many routes:

“We could have sent a message to North Korea via the recent Canadian visit to free one of their citizens. We could send a message through the Swedish embassy to North Korea, which often represents US interests. We could arrange some diplomatic action on which China might take the lead. There are many possibilities, any of which might show North Korea that we are willing to back off from practices that scare them if they will consider backing off on some of their actions. That would not include their nuclear program explicitly at this time, but it would leave the way open for later.”

There are in fact, twenty four diplomatic missions in all, in North Korea through which the US could request to communicate – or Trump could even behave like a grown up and pick up the telephone.

Siegfried Hecker is the last known American official to inspect North Korea’s nuclear facilities. He says that treating Kim Jong-un as though he is on the verge of attacking the U.S. is both inaccurate and dangerous.

“Some like to depict Kim as being crazy – a madman – and that makes the public believe that the guy is undeterrable. He’s not crazy and he’s not suicidal. And he’s not even unpredictable. The real threat is we’re going to stumble into a nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula.” (5)

Trump made his crass “fire and fury” threat on the eve of the sixty second commemoration of the US nuclear attack on Nagasaki, the nauseating irony seemingly un-noticed by him.

Will some adults pitch up on Capitol Hill before it is too late?

Notes

  1. https://militarybases.com/ south-korea/
  2. http://www.globalresearch.ca/ know-the-facts-north-korea- lost-close-to-30-of-its- population-as-a-result-of-us- bombings-in-the-1950s/22131
  3. https://nucleardiner. wordpress.com/2017/08/11/ north-korea-reaches-out/
  4. https://www.commondreams.org/ news/2017/08/08/sane-voices- urge-diplomacy-after-lunatic- trump-threatens-fire-and-fury

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