North Korea’s Understandable Fears

Official Washington is in full-throated fury over a new North Korean nuclear test, but fails to note that North Koreans face a vast array of U.S./South Korean military might, including potential U.S. nuclear weapons, writes James Bradley.

By James Bradley

North Korea carried out its fifth nuclear test on Friday, drawing condemnation from President Obama and a charge from the Pentagon that the test was a “serious provocation.” Ho-hum, here we go again.

Near the ceasefire line between North and South Korea, President Barack Obama uses binoculars to view the DMZ from Camp Bonifas, March 25, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Near the ceasefire line between North and South Korea, President Barack Obama uses binoculars to view the DMZ from Camp Bonifas, March 25, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Every year, America pays its vassal-state South Korea huge sums of U.S. taxpayer money to mount 300,000-man-strong military “games” that threaten North Korea. North Koreans view images that never seem to make it to U.S. kitchen tables: hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of U.S. armaments swarming in from the sea, hundreds of tanks and thousands of troops – their turrets and rifles pointed north – and nuclear-capable U.S. warplanes screaming overhead.

But when a young dictator straight out of central casting responds to U.S. threats with an underground test on North Korea’s founding day, it’s the number-one story on the front page of the New York Times.

Let’s connect some dots. Washington and their note takers in the American press constantly tell us that crazies in Pyongyang and Tehran are nuclear threats. The misplaced, but easily sold, fears of the “North Korean missile threat” and the “Iran missile threat” allows the Pentagon to install “defensive” missile systems in South Korea and Eastern Europe which actually amount to offensive systems targeting Beijing and Moscow (by making first strikes against China and Russia more feasible).

We need to look beyond the simplistic, race-based cartoon-like scaremongering to see that far more reality-based and frightening is the nuclear threat posed by the United States.

President Obama — the Nobel Prize winner who pledged to lead a nuclear-free world — has committed over $1 trillion dollars to modernize America’s nuclear arsenal. Almost unreported by the press, we have been spending a bundle to make nukes “usable,” by miniaturizing them. And to top it off, Obama has maintained a “first use” option for the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Forget the tin-pot dictator with a bad crew-cut who leads an impoverished country. Here’s for some really scary reading:

Obama’s Trillion-Dollar Nuclear-Arms Train Wreck

Obama plans to retain first-use nuclear option

New U.S. Nuclear Bomb Moves Closer to Full-Scale Production

THAAD: A Major Security Risk for the ROK

James Bradley is author of several bestsellers including Flyboys and Flags of Our Fathers. His most recent book is The China Mirage: The Hidden History of American Disaster in Asia.

11 comments for “North Korea’s Understandable Fears

  1. Secret Agent
    September 13, 2016 at 20:06

    If North Korea didn’t exist, America would have to invent it.

    Just look at the benefits it brings. It justifies the continued military occupation of Korea and especially Japan more than 70 years since the end of WWII. This allows America to keep a toe hold on the Eurasian continent; the control of Eurasia being Americas primary strategic objective since it took over Britians empire in 1945. The occupation also forces those countries to purchase billions and billions of dollars worth of American weapons.

    Americans are brainwashed into thinking it’s all about their security when in fact it is about global hegemony achieved through control of the world island.

  2. Steve
    September 11, 2016 at 14:34

    The Empire and its arms merchants love perpetual hostilities. Divide and conquer works very well, thank you. When I see the cartoon-like, bellicose rhetoric and boogeyman persona displayed by North Korea – I do some basic research to try to understand. That research doesn’t involve drinking the kool-aid of the corporate press or the phony outrage of political shills.
    To cut to the chase: North Korea lost a greater percentage of its population in ‘the Korean Conflict’ than the percentage of any nation’s loss in WW 11, i.e. 1/3 of its population. Most of this was done with B-52 carpet-bombing. All 67 major cities were leveled. Everyone knows someone who died. Fast forward: The US and South Korea stage threatening drills twice each year. They even fly the dreaded B-52’s near the N. Korean borders. Is it any wonder that they developed a nuclear deterrent? Bottom line: The stand off is completely unnecessary, as a little genuine diplomacy could go a long way. But that’s not how the Empire works… See: for some factual history.

  3. Bart in Virginia
    September 11, 2016 at 10:41

    The other night on the News Hour two guests went on and on about our preconditions to nuclear talks with North Korea. Neither they nor “Judy” thought to consider whether the North Koreans might have any preconditions.

    I wrote in to point out that they may want some kind of guarantee that they will not end up like Gaddafi and eventually Libya after he gave in to us on his nuclear program.

  4. Zachary Smith
    September 11, 2016 at 01:34

    It’s difficult to find anything good to say about the current situation in North Korea. However, it’s as plain as the nose on your face that without their nuclear deterrent that nation would be in ruins by now.

    The Texas Torturer declared Iraq, Iran, and North Korea the axis of evil, and Iraq has been thoroughly destroyed. President Hillary is scheduled to take care of the second member, and for a while North Korea will remain Unfinished Business. Their delay of execution can be credited only to their possession of the nukes, IMO. Most likely that will be an extended affair unless the US decides to permit the destruction of South Korea. Say, for getting too friendly with Russia or China.

    • Bill Bodden
      September 11, 2016 at 13:47

      Except if Hillary and her neocon warmongers set up a war on Iran or get one through some other form of moral idiocy that will either send the US military into another quagmire or initiate World War Three or the First Nuclear World War. The Iranians have demonstrated when attacked they become one nation willing to do whatever it takes to defend their nation. Iran is also more populous and covers a much larger area than Iraq. A Trump victory in November could obviate wars with Iran and Russia, but who knows what price a Trump presidency will eventually exert? There is no lesser evil here. Just two ominous versions of a looming catastrophe.

    • David G
      September 11, 2016 at 20:56

      The DPRK’s decisive military deterrent is countless dug-in artillery pieces near the border that can demolish Seoul in a few minutes. I don’t think any informed person believes they have an effective nuclear option at this point, though obviously they are making strides.

  5. Joe Tedesky
    September 10, 2016 at 23:33

    Here’s for some really scary contemplation, Hillary Clinton.

    • Realist
      September 11, 2016 at 02:03

      If TPTB want to really scare the Russians and Chinese, they’ll award Hillary Clinton TWO Nobel Peace Prizes the day after she’s inaugurated. And, maybe throw in the economics prize as an incentive to ratify the TPP and TTIP. My grandfather had a saying that summed up the machinations of all human affairs: “it’s all bullshit.”

  6. Bill Bodden
    September 10, 2016 at 18:26

    The real crazies are in Washington, especially in the neocon brigades. There is no greater lunacy than risking a war with Russia and China as Hillary Clinton is likely to do.

    One of the unfortunate problems with North Korea is that its people were never unable to overthrow their dictator as the South Koreans did. The South Koreans had to endure several years under dictators imposed on them by the U.S., but their innate toughness and demand for freedom and democracy eventually won. I haven’t been to South Korea for a long time and wonder if South Korea has managed the transition from democracy to capitalist plutocracy as promoted by its American emperor.

  7. D5-5
    September 10, 2016 at 18:01

    Additionally, thousands of US troops are stationed at numerous camps in South Korea. Twice a year, the US forces combine with South Korea’s already formidable forces to menace North Korean borders with aggressive military displays, and the North Koreans don’t like it. Koreans are not submissive, mild types of people, but more “the Irish of the Orient,” a feisty breed. Repeated demonizing, war games, and the North’s predictable response create a continual cycle of threats, piousness from the Oval Office, and yet more demonizing and ridiculing. The War State and Global Dominance demand it.

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