Improving the World, One Death at a Time If anyone should have any questions about whether the United States of America is not the most aggressive, warlike, and terrorist nation on the face of the earth, its latest proposed action against the supposed rogue state of North Korea should allay any such doubts. Throughout history, the problem with empires has always been the same: no matter how stable and invincible they appeared, eventually they ran into “imperial overstretch”. At some point, the exercise of maintaining an empire simply becomes unaffordable. The deterioration usually happens very gradually, so the ruling elites will always be reluctant to admit that something needs to change. Students of history always observe with astonishment that no-one seems to be learning from
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Improving the World, One Death at a Time
If anyone should have any questions about whether the United States of America is not the most aggressive, warlike, and terrorist nation on the face of the earth, its latest proposed action against the supposed rogue state of North Korea should allay any such doubts.
Throughout history, the problem with empires has always been the same: no matter how stable and invincible they appeared, eventually they ran into “imperial overstretch”. At some point, the exercise of maintaining an empire simply becomes unaffordable. The deterioration usually happens very gradually, so the ruling elites will always be reluctant to admit that something needs to change. Students of history always observe with astonishment that no-one seems to be learning from history, but one’s contemporaries are always driven by the particular pressures and exigencies of the times they live in, and trapped in their own bubble of delusions. The first sign that things are beginning to go haywire is when the frequency with which the printing press is resorted to as a means to obtain funding increases noticeably (the functional equivalent of the surreptitious reduction of the precious metals content of coins used in the more distant past). [PT]
Last week, the US circulated a draft resolution which it intends to present to the UN Security Council that would give the American Navy and Air Force the power to interdict North Korean ships at sea to determine if they were transporting “weaponry material” or fuel and that US forces would be given “the right” to use “all necessary measures” to “enforce compliance.”*
Not surprisingly, Nikky Haley, the blood-thirsty and incompetent American Ambassador to the UN, has enthusiastically backed the resolution, utterly clueless of its ramifications if passed, the most horrific of which would be the igniting of WWIII.
It seems the clock is ticking again… [PT]
Trump’s selection of the neocon mouthpiece as UN Ambassador has been a disaster on several fronts: first, it was an early and quite telling sell-out of his political base whom he promised an American First foreign policy of less belligerency and intervention. Second, Haley had no foreign policy experience and has made a fool of herself internationally on more than one occasion with her inane statements.
Incoming! After Nikki Haley remarked that North Korea was “begging for war”, the North Korean news agency (KCNA) countered with a quite colorful reply: “U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, a political prostitute, has kicked off a hysteric fit…[…] She is crazily swishing her skirt, playing the flagship role in Trump administration’s hideous sanctions and pressure racket against the DPRK. She became a laughing stock of the world public for her reckless tongue-lashing devoid of any elementary conception of reason. It seems that she is still ignorant of what disaster would be entailed by her stupidity. So wretched is the plight of the U.S. which put forward such depraved woman and beginner diplomat as its representative in the UN arena.[…] The U.S. administration will have to pay a dear price for her tongue-lashing” (complete statement here). The North Korean news agency is well known for its flowery insults, which seem to be an important part of the traditional “face saving” ritual. After G.W. Bush made North Korea part of his “axis of evil”, the KCNA shot back by describing him as “a hooligan bereft of any personality as a human being, to say nothing of stature as president of a country. He is a half-baked man in terms of morality and a philistine whom we can never deal with.” Later it pointed out that he looked “like a chicken soaked in the rain.” Dick Cheney was characterized as “hated as the most cruel monster and blood-thirsty beast, as he has drenched various parts of the world in blood.” while Donald Rumsfeld was described as “a political dwarf, human scum or hysteric. His hands are stained with the blood shed by so many people. He is, indeed, a human butcher and fascist tyrant who puts an ogre to shame.” We propose that instead of opting for nuclear war, Kim Jong-Un and Donald Trump should enter into a Twitter war. Whoever gets the most likes wins. Of course, Kim might object to the 140 characters limit. [PT]
Illustration by Alexander Hunter / The Washington Times
That the US is even considering such a provocative scheme once again shows the hubris which exists within its vast corridors of power. If any other country were to suggest such an audacious act, it would be rightly condemned, ostracized, and labeled as a rogue state. Yet, it is US lawmakers, policy wonks, and the CIA/NSA-directed American press corps that charge others (mostly those who do not kowtow to US dictates) of “terrorism.”
This year, as of yet, North Korea has not been responsible for a single death of a foreign national. Nor has the tiny communist state ever used a nuclear weapon against an enemy like the US did with its immoral and hellish destruction of two Japanese cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the conclusion of WWII.
On the other hand, since the start of the Trump Presidency, US-backed forces have been responsible for the deaths of some 3700 civilians in Mosul, Iraq.** This is not to mention its murderous armed strikes in Yemen and Afghanistan. Nor is American aggression limited to direct military action, but its arms sales to its puppets and various despots have escalated tensions and make conflicts that do break out much more brutal.
No-one quite knows what he’s on, but the Dear Leader seems to be stuck in a permanent good mood loop. Perhaps there is always someone around telling him really good jokes… fact is, the man seems to be laughing a lot and apparently he is genuinely enjoying himself. We’re not quite sure if that is a good or a bad sign. We would note though that the North Korean regime is quite odious and oppressive, and Kim is issuing threats – to neighboring countries as well as the US. And obviously, he is not just threatening everyone with long speeches in which he lists the names of all North Korean communist party comrades who have recently passed away (some were presumably helped along) and praises the achievements of the revolution (here is an example – beginning at 4:00 it’s like listening to someone reciting the phone book). Nuclear weapons have numerous psychological effects, which are usually summarized in brief and to-the-point one-liners, which range from the well-known “mutually assured destruction” (a.k.a. “balance of terror”) to the somewhat less reassuring “use it or lose it”, which may yet come into play at some point. We would guess that after observing the fates that befell tinpot dictators like Gadaffi and Saddam, Kim Jong-un and his regime buddies concluded that autocrats who surrender their WMD capabilities in an effort to mend fences have a habit of ending up deposed and dead sooner rather than later. And so they pressed on with their nuclear program; however, by developing an ICBM that may be able to reach the US mainland (if not yet, then soon, we are told) and a small enough warhead to make it more interesting (reportedly NK recently tested a hydrogen bomb) Kim has altered the state of play rather dramatically. Previously he was “only” able to issue credible threats against neighboring states, but now the US itself is potentially in the cross hairs. From a US perspective, that certainly changes how these threats are viewed, as they have a rather more existential quality now. All attempts to arrive at a negotiated agreement in the past have come to grief, and from a realpolitik standpoint it has now become a lot more difficult to deal with the situation. While Antonius is correct that North Korea hasn’t actually invaded or attacked any other countries lately, its leadership clearly does have a belligerent attitude and has time and again failed to deliver on its promises and commitments. It is often said that the regime is not irrational, that its threats only serve to obtain concessions, and that sounds reasonable enough. Ultimately this is just an educated guess though – after all, none of us are mind readers (and who knows why Kim is laughing all the time…) [PT]
Foreign Policy U-turns and the End of Hegemony
Fortunately, for the future of global peace, US hegemony is coming to an end. The nation is hopelessly broke while its welfare/warfare economy is beyond reform and faltering badly, which means that when the inevitable collapse does happen, it will mean the end or a serious pull back of the Empire. Great Britain found itself in a similar situation in 1945 after it took part in another senseless global conflict which liquidated the British Empire once and for all.
Any sober thinking realist would recognize the deteriorating societal and economic conditions at home, yet because of the collective hubris embedded in the political class, American bellicosity continues.
The last hope of changing US overseas affairs in a peaceful direction was Donald Trump who throughout the campaign spoke of an American First foreign policy which garnered widespread support.
Within Trump’s foreign policy statements, however, there were many troubling ones: calls for increased defense spending, “wiping out ISIS,” updating the nation’s nuclear arsenal, putting an end to the North Korean “problem.” The encouraging words about non-intervention and getting along with Russia were quickly scuttled, while the militaristic side of Trump’s campaign rhetoric has won the day.
President Trump tackles the North Korean problem…
History is replete with examples of hubristic regimes that appeared invincible and everlasting, but quickly fell with severe and quite nasty retribution from their enemies. While the US goes about the world threatening, bombing, and destabilizing those it does not like, it too, possibly in the not too distant future, may face the deserved wrath of those it has humiliated and terrorized.
*David E. Sanger, “U.S. Seeks U.N. Consent to Interdict North Korean Ships.” New York Times. 6 September 2017.
**Adam Johnson, “Corporate Media Largely Silent on Trump’s Civilian Death Toll in Iraq.” Fair. 19 July 2017.
North Korean propaganda posters: officially, the Korean war of the early 1950s has never ended. There is still no peace treaty, only a truce. [PT]
Image captions by PT