The Logic in North Korean ‘Madness’

North Korea’s nuclear deterrent is a logical – not crazy – reaction to U.S. “regime change” wars in Iraq and Libya, two countries attacked after they surrendered their WMD stockpiles, reports retired Col. Ann Wright.

By Ann Wright

Despite the rhetoric from the Trump administration about military confrontation with North Korea, the common theme of many U.S. experts on North Korea is that the U.S. presidential administration must conduct a dialogue with North Korea — and quickly. Military confrontation is not an option, according to the experts.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

And most importantly, the new President of South Korea Moon Jae-in was elected in May 2017 on a pledge to engage in talks with North Korea and pursue diplomacy to finally officially end the Korean conflict. Nearly 80 percent of South Koreans support a resumption of long-suspended inter-Korean dialogue, according to a survey by a presidential advisory panel showed in late June.

On June 28, 2017, six former high-level experienced U.S. government officials from both Republican and Democratic administrations over the past 30 years sent a letter to President Trump stating that “Kim Jong Un is not irrational and highly values preserving his regime. … Talking is not a reward or a concession to Pyongyang and should not be construed as signaling acceptance of a nuclear-armed North Korea. It is a necessary step to establishing communication to avoid a nuclear catastrophe. The key danger today is not that North Korea would launch a surprise nuclear attack. Instead the primary danger is a miscalculation or mistake that could lead to war.”

The experts:

–William J. Perry, 19th U.S. Secretary of Defense under the Clinton administration,

–George P. Shultz, 60th Secretary of State under the Reagan administration and now Distinguished Fellow, Hoover institution, Stanford University,

–Former Gov. Bill Richardson, U.S. Secretary of Energy and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations under the Clinton administration,

–Robert L. Gallucci, former negotiator in the Clinton administration and now with Georgetown University,

–Sigfrid S. Hecker, nuclear weapons expert and the last U.S. official to visit the North Korea nuclear facilities and now with the Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University,

— Retired U.S. Sen. Richard G. Lugar, R-Indiana, now President of the Lugar Center,

They wrote: “there are no good military options, and a North Korean response to a US attack would devastate South Korea and Japan. Tightening sanctions can be useful in increasing pressure on North Korea, but sanctions alone will not solve the problem. Pyongyang has shown that it can make progress on missile and nuclear technology despite its isolation. Without a diplomatic effort to stop its progress, there is little doubt that it will develop a long-range missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead to the United States.”

The experts ended their letter to President Trump calling for quick action: “Today there is a window of opportunity to stop these programs, and it may be the last chance before North Korea acquires long-range capability. Time is not on our side. We urge you to put diplomacy at the top of the list of options on the table.”

Off Ramps to War

Two weeks earlier, on June 13, former Secretary of Defense William Perry and University of Chicago Korean War historian Bruce Cumings both strongly advocated for dialogue with North Korea at the Korean Peace Network’s conference “Off Ramps to War” at the Partnerships for International Strategies in Asia, Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University in Washington, DC.

“North Korean leadership may be ruthless and reckless, but they are not crazy,” Perry said, adding, “Why do we have a double standard for North Korea? We accept Saudi Arabia as it is with its human rights violations, but we do not accept North Korea as it is – a nuclear power. Refusing to listen to the North Koreans about their goals and needs has meant that in the seventeen years since the last relevant dialogue, the North Koreans have developed and tested nuclear weapons and intercontinental missiles.”

President George W. Bush’s naming North Korea as part of the “Axis of Evil” in January 2002 and the Obama administration’s “Strategic Patience” policy were not forms of diplomacy, but instead were “miserable policy failures,” according to Perry, who noted that the lack of a U.S. negotiating strategy has allowed North Korea to do what the U.S. and other major powers do not want it to do — test nuclear weapons and missiles.

Perry said that the North Korean government has three goals: staying in power; gaining international respect; and improving the economy. Perry emphasized that the North Korean government will sacrifice the last two goals — gaining international respect and improving the economy — to achieve the first goal of staying in power.

Because of the lack of listening to and acknowledging North Korean objectives on what its goals are — which include signing a peace treaty to take the place of the 50-plus-year armistice, signing a non-aggression pact, and reducing U.S.-South Korean military war games — Perry believes that the best outcome available to negotiators is to freeze the nuclear weapons and the ICBM programs, not their elimination.

Perry said he believes North Koreans would never use nuclear weapons as those weapons “are valuable only if they DON’T use them. They know the response from the U.S. would be devastating, should North Korea explode a nuclear weapon.”

Bruce Cumings, Korean War historian, author of The Korean War: A History and University of Chicago history professor, said at the symposium that the Clinton administration achieved very important goals with North Korea, including “North Korea freezing its plutonium production for eight years (1994–2002) and, in October 2000, indirectly working out a deal to buy all of North Korea’s medium and long-range missiles — and signing an agreement with North Korean General Jo Myong-rok in a meeting in the White House stating that neither country would bear ‘hostile intent’ toward the other.”

Neocon Truculence

But the George W. Bush administration — led by Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Undersecretary of State John Bolton — “actively sought to torpedo the Agreed Framework” and succeeded in pushing aside the agreements negotiated by the Clinton administration thereby destroying the 1994 freeze and refusing to acknowledge the Clinton-Jo pledge of “no hostile intent,” particularly since the pledge was made by allowing a North Korean general inside the White House.

President George W. Bush pauses for applause during his State of the Union Address on Jan. 28, 2003, when he made a fraudulent case for invading Iraq. Seated behind him are Vice President Dick Cheney and House Speaker Dennis Hastert. (White House photo)

With President Bush’s January 2002 State of the Union speech, in which he linked North Korea to Iran and Iraq as an “axis of evil,” the Bush administration turned its back on North Korea, abrogating the “Agreed Framework” and halting shipments of American fuel-oil permanently. In response, the North Koreans withdrew from the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and restarted their plutonium-producing reactor.

Historian Cumings wrote, “The simple fact is that Pyongyang would have no nuclear weapons if Clinton’s agreements had been sustained.”

Sheldon Richman, executive editor of The Libertarian Institute and the former senior editor at the Cato Institute, agreed with Perry that North Korean leader Kim Jung Un is not crazy. Richman wrote, “Let us dispense, once and for all, with the idea that Kim is a madman. Brutality is not madness, and a madman wouldn’t be expected to capitulate to economic pressure. He shows every sign of wanting his regime to endure, which means he would not want the US military or nuclear arsenal to pulverize it. Assuming rationality in this context asserts only that Kim’s means are reasonably related to his ends.”

Richman underscored the rationale for the North Korean government to develop nuclear weapons against the will of the U.S. “Kim shows every sign of having learned the lesson of recent US regime-change policies toward Iraq and Libya, neither of which were nuclear states. Same with Syria, whose regime has been targeted by the U.S. government. The lesson is: if you want to deter a U.S. attack, get yourself some nukes.”

Robert E. Kelly, Associate Professor of International Relations in the Department of Political Science at Pusan National University, wrote, “This is not a suicidal, ideological, ISIS-like state bent on apocalyptic war but rather a post-ideological gangter-ish dictatorship looking to survive. The best way to guarantee the North’s survival is nuclear deterrence. … It is a rational decision, given Pyongyang’s goals to, 1) not change internally, and 2) not be attacked externally. This is not ideal of course. Best would be a de-nuclearized North Korea. But this is highly unlikely at this point.”

Backchannel Contacts

Track 2 Diplomacy with North Korea continues Japan’s Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported recently that Robert Gallucci and Leon Sigal, director of the Northeast Asia Cooperative Security Project at the Social Science Research Council, held nuclear and missile discussions in October 2016 with North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Han Song-ryol in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The North Korean envoy said North Korea had relayed its desire to negotiate directly with the U.S without involving China, to whom 90 percent of its exports go.

North Korean missile launch on March 6, 2017.

Another Japanese newspaper Mainichi Shimbun wrote that North Korea originally demanded Washington send to North Korea a former U.S. President as a special envoy to resolve the case of Otto Warmbier, an American student who recently died after detention in North Korea.

According to the newspaper, Choe Son-hui, head of the North Korean Foreign Ministry’s U.S. affairs bureau, notified the U.S. through its United Nations mission in May 2017. But North Korea released Warmbier in a coma after Trump refused to send a former President and sent Joseph Yun, State Department Special Representative for North Korea Policy to North Korea instead.

Another Track 2 group met with a North Korean delegation in early June 2017. Sue Mi Terry, a Korea expert who has worked at both the CIA and the National Security Council and now is with the Bower Group Asia spoke on June 28 to National Public Radio about meeting with North Korea officials to try to get nuclear talks back on track.

Terry said that to North Koreans, their nuclear arsenal “is a matter of survival. North Koreans have told us even in the recent meeting – and they’ve specifically brought up Libya – Gaddafi’s case in Libya and Iraq – and said this is – nuclear weapons is the only way for us to absolutely guarantee our survival, and this is why we’re not going to give it up. We’re so close to perfecting this nuclear arsenal. This is our final deterrent against the United States. Ultimately it’s about regime survival for them, and nuclear weapons guarantees it.”

Terry said the North Koreans demand that the United States accept them as a nuclear power and there is  “absolutely no flexibility or willingness to meet to talk about ending their nuclear program.” In contrast to other experts, Terry believes it is “unrealistic for us (the U.S.) to go from where we are to talk about peace treaty and discuss formally ending the Korean War.”

She believes the solution is “continuing with maximum pressure with sanctions and trying to get China to do more. And if China does not come through, then we’ll have to pursue secondary sanctions against Chinese banks and entities and see if that can get China to rein in North Korea a little bit more.”

Ann Wright served 29 years in the U.S. Army/Army Reserves and retired as a Colonel.  She was a U.S. diplomat for 16 years and served in U.S. Embassies in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Afghanistan and Mongolia.  She resigned from the U.S. government in March 2003 in opposition to Bush’s war on Iraq.  She is the co-author of Dissent: Voices of Conscience.

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50 comments for “The Logic in North Korean ‘Madness’

  1. john wilson
    July 17, 2017 at 4:52 am

    Actually they don’t need to talk to the leaders of North Korea at all. How about just leaving them alone and stop endlessly threatening them with war and sanctions? The Yanks could all but remove the troops they have stationed at the border and take their THAADS missile systems home as well as their war ships. Further, they could take off the sanctions against North Korea which only serve to hurt the ordinary man in the street. If the North Koreans weren’t having to spend all it time and money trying to defend themselves against the American war monster, they could turn their attention to improving the lot of their population and have some kind of reasonable society for them.

    • Gary Hare
      July 17, 2017 at 5:39 am

      Far too sensible!

    • July 17, 2017 at 3:17 pm

      As in Vietnam the USA blocked a mandated election vote in Korea which would have again prevented the lose of millions of lives and unified the nations. 10’s of millions of humans have been sacrificed to support Imperial Capitalism.

    • Joe Tedesky
      July 17, 2017 at 3:29 pm

      John I agree. Although it has been proven that long term bogeymen, and quagmire wars, are very profitable. How else could the U.S. leadership justify the military spending, which outspends the next seven nations military budgets in total, and add to that that the U.S. has over 800 military bases surrounding the globe. If there were no Kim Jong Un, or ISIS, as well as no Al-Qaeda, then what good excuse would there be to tell the American public to why their Social Security, and Medicare, is being either cut or held in place without increased benefits? Lately Russia has been added to this international club of trouble makers, and that’s because Russia is where the real defense money is to be spent. Just look at the U.S. debt of 20 trillion dollars, and then you tell me how reasonable this all sounds to the average person. It’s all a scam John, and you know as well as the rest of us, and your comment is greatly appreciated by us, but it’s a no go to settle any differences without the military when it comes right down to it with official U.S. policy. We are stuck here in this painful place, like or not. Again John I’m not being smart or cocky in any way, my words I choose always aren’t the best, but I want you to know how much I agree with you…I said that already. Take care John Joe

      • Virginia Jones
        July 18, 2017 at 2:28 am

        So true and so horrendous!!! The US has only one solution to every problem, war war and more war!!! I don’t know when this will end…..

  2. Gary Hare
    July 17, 2017 at 5:38 am

    Spot on! The logic of Kim Jong Un and co. is, and has been, obvious to anyone with an open mind. The only way to dissuade a bully, is to demonstrate that the bully can be hurt. The US elite must know and understand this. But it seems to me that they want to ignore this, so that they have an excuse to enrich the defence contractors even more, and keep their own sheep afraid of a big bad wolf.

    • Sam F
      July 17, 2017 at 9:33 am

      Exactly; the right wing tyrants over democracy must create foreign wars to pose as protectors and accuse their opponents of disloyalty, as Aristotle and Plato warned, to “keep their own sheep afraid of a big bad wolf.” To do this, they harass and provoke foreign powers, building a right wing in Russia and China to accuse of threatening, and forcing small socialist nations into extreme defensive reactions to force them into poverty, and accusing their victims of provocation.

      If the US kept money out of mass media and elections, with constitutional amendments restricting them to limited individual contributions, the people could be educated to reject tyranny. But without those tools of democracy that cannot be done: we await our destruction by forces we have set in motion, likely by economic retaliation.

  3. Anonymous
    July 17, 2017 at 7:31 am

    China should do more or be sanctioned? So says yet another gatekeeper of Excaeptionalist America’s self-annointed position as World’s Policeman.

    The Korea problem is the result of US policy. It is the US responsibility, based on its ‘do as we say or die mentality’. It is the US responsibility, based upon its reneging on deals made with North Korea to halt nuclear development in exchange for lifting sanctions. Sanctions in themselves are effectively war by other means.

    The US is an untrustworthy state sponsor of terror and major war criminal state.

  4. Sally Snyder
    July 17, 2017 at 7:42 am

    Here is an article that looks at the plans that the American military still has in place for invading North Korea:

    http://viableopposition.blogspot.ca/2013/02/a-history-of-preparing-to-attack-north.html

    As was the case in the 1950s version of the Korean War, China’s close relationship with their North Korean counterparts is a complicating issue.

  5. mike k
    July 17, 2017 at 8:38 am

    As in so many areas of today’s world, the primary factor driving events is the American Empire’s drive for World Domination. This insane and destructive goal has colored the history of civilization from it’s earliest days. There will be no lasting peace in Korea, or anywhere else in our world, until we find ways to lay this evil dream of World Dominance to rest. None of the patchwork attempts to secure peace will be truly effective as long as this fatal project is still alive. This mistaken aim is at the very heart of the failed economic fraud known as capitalism.

    • Sam F
      July 17, 2017 at 9:58 am

      I agree, although the tyrants over democracy no doubt know that world domination is not within their grasp, and does not necessarily serve their goals. Tyrant politicians must create foreign threats, to pose as protectors, and of course that serves the MIC/WallSt/zionist oligarchy in many ways. NK opposition will not sell many weapons for the MIC and WallSt, nor vilify Russia to oppose it in the Mideast for the zionists. But NK nuclear capability, although defensive, could in principle be used to oppose US aggression in the Mideast for zionist bribes, and that would threaten the MIC/zionists.

      • July 17, 2017 at 11:09 am

        Yes Sam F,…military contractors must love KIm.

      • mike k
        July 17, 2017 at 11:27 am

        Sam, the capitalist drive is an addictive state that knows no limits and brooks no opposition or denial. The end state this insanity aims at (whether it ever reaches it or not) is for one man to own everything, and everyone else serve him. This is full spectrum dominance taken to it’s (il)logical conclusion. When six persons own more wealth than half of the world population together, we can see that this crazy process is well advanced.

        I agree with you Sam, that the human world will be destroyed or extinct before capitalism can “enjoy” it’s dreamed of end state.

        • Seer
          July 17, 2017 at 3:15 pm

          The “capitalist drive” is based on the faulty premise of perpetual growth on a finite planet. ANY “drive” that’s based on this premise is based on insanity (all is but a Ponzi waiting for eventual collapse [which is what happens to all empires as they attempt to perpetuate the necessary supporting growth]).

          Consider that the future rests solely on the assumption of growth, it’s what provides “incentive” to work at jobs and such (pensions absolutely require future growth). “Interest” is essentially “growth.” The foundations of our ability to escalate our self-deception was when “interest” came to be. A bit of history (is this ALL “capitalism?” perhaps):

          http://www.monetary.org/a-brief-history-of-interest/2010/12

          • Bob Van Noy
            July 18, 2017 at 7:44 am

            Seer, thank you for that link, I’ve bookmarked it for reference. You’re exactly right to keep our focus here on economics and sustainability. These are the subjects of our contemporary reality and as a society we must understand the underlying reality of the terminology so that when we’re confronted with Warring problems like the subject of this article we can find a better solution than War. A Department of Peace; at least as aggressive as the Pentagon and State Department.

  6. Realist
    July 17, 2017 at 8:53 am

    We’ve seen this tendency of the United States to define both sides of the debate in hot spots around the world, rather than dealing with what is real. The other side, be it in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Yugoslavia, Russia, Iran or a dozen other places, is always demonized and has motives, goals and capabilities ascribed to the country that are a far remove from reality. They are always painted as an existential threat to the community of civilised nations, including even the United States when, in fact, most of these places do not have the means or the desire to project power very far beyond their own borders, Russia and China being the only two exceptions on the planet, and even they clearly do not want to war with us nor do they have the capacity to match us unless the end game becomes full out nuclear Armageddon in which case there will be no winner.

    No country is stupid or crazed enough to want a war that will ensure their own annihilation even if they can have the satisfaction of annihilating us in the bargain. The fanatics from the bipartisan War Party will say I have no basis for making the latter claim, that they have a knowledge and understanding of these other peoples from afar (Dammit, John McCain surely knows the every thought of Vladimir Putin, Bashar al-Assad and Hassan Rouhani!) of which even the foreign actors themselves are unaware, or, as sane men have yet to formulate, which really scares me about the values, motives and potential actions of our leaders. Our leaders seem to think they must enjoy limitless prerogatives to make threats while everyone else must show limitless restraint in the face of provocation. Frankly, they are the type of arrogant SOB’s a normal person would like to take a poke at. I’m fed up with the way they put our lives at risk every day of the week, counting on the “foreign thugs and savages” to show the good sense we refuse to exhibit.

    • Joe Tedesky
      July 17, 2017 at 9:17 am

      This only comes about due to the fact that in order for the U.S. to remain exceptional the U.S. must damp down the undesirables of our world. We know these nations, such as N Korea, have looney leaders, unlike our U.S. leadership which is groomed on intellect and show maturity of sound mind everyday.

      Now, you could go to sleep tonight believing all this noise over such rogue nations is an effort by our U.S. Government to keep all of us Americans safe, or you could admit that all this all the time crisis is a good way to sell THAAD Missile Systems. No matter in each case, it’s the American way….hoorah!

    • Bob Van Noy
      July 18, 2017 at 7:54 am

      Nice reply Realist. The Bipartisan War Party, the new name for the Neocons, perfect. Honestly I think that at one of their meetings, Cheney showed them the tunnel under the White House where they can live together and thrive for about 30,000 years. It must have been convincing.

    • Joe Wallace
      July 19, 2017 at 5:47 pm

      Realist:

      Very nicely put, especially:

      “We’ve seen this tendency of the United States to define both sides of the debate in hot spots around the world, rather than dealing with what is real.” That’s why we don’t negotiate. We do the thinking for the other side, which apparently can’t think for itself. Then, after we’ve “think-tanked” their supposed stance, we unilaterally decide that diplomacy would be unproductive.
      and
      “Our leaders seem to think they must enjoy limitless prerogatives to make threats while everyone else must show limitless restraint in the face of provocation. Frankly, they are the type of arrogant SOB’s a normal person would like to take a poke at. I’m fed up with the way they put our lives at risk every day of the week, counting on the “foreign thugs and savages” to show the good sense we refuse to exhibit.” Americans underestimate how much our government is resented for its ignorance, hubris, and bullying. We are too often the barbarians, not the foreigners who oppose us. I marvel that Putin, after all the provocations he has endured, persists in calling the U.S. his “partner.” Uncle Sam’s behavior calls to mind the German word “backpfeifengesicht” – a face in need of a good punch; a face in need of a fist.

  7. Paxman
    July 17, 2017 at 9:29 am

    Hi
    Kim Jong Un was educated in Switzerland. He is an agent of Zion

    https://m.journal-neo.org/2016/11/01/north-korea-is-an-pentagon-vassal-state/

    • Anon
      July 17, 2017 at 10:11 am

      Give us your argument that there could be any zionist goal served in North Korea.
      Your statement has zero credibility as it is, and appears to be zionist trolling.

  8. Paxman
    July 17, 2017 at 9:30 am

    A short history of the US flag…

    http://www.helpfreetheearth.com/news304_anthems.html

  9. j. D. D.
    July 17, 2017 at 9:33 am

    The author correctly states that Clinton’s “Agreed Framework” was sabotaged by Bush/Cheney. Part of that framework was the construction of a light water reactor which could produce electricity, but not weapons grade Plutonium. Another facet was the construction of a trans- border railway link, and construction of a N. Korean industrial park managed by S. Korea and employing N. Korean skilled labor. Those plans were killed by Obama, who preferred of economic sanctions, threats, and deployment of THAD, which is useless against an attack on Seoul’s 25 million people. Hopefully, this President, who has courageously pursued a policy of peace with Russia and China, will restart multi-party negotiations and pickup where President Clinton left off.

  10. Divided we cannot conquer
    July 17, 2017 at 9:36 am

    The American people voted Trump to stop endless threats, wars, gifts of American resources to foreign nations, foreign USA engagements, USA support for foreign anything, massive military budgets and accumulating national debt . The oil and gas brigades voted Hillary as their means to continue USA war and regime change support for brigade control of all gas, oil and natural [GON] resources.

    The five or fewer owned global mass media falsely claim “Trump has been forced to” engage war as a matter of doing USA business but wars and military buildups are about LNG and hydrocarbon pipelines.. Wilson, Hare, and Snyder say the best course of action is to side with the governed Americans who voted Trump to handle the war-seeking Pharaohs and their false and misleading propaganda. On June 28 Trump experts challenged Trump to over rule media, avoid war profiteering pharaohs, and to accord his post-election actions w\ election campaign promises.

    Inviting North Korea into the Nuclear Club and treating N. Korea as a nation among nations and engaging all of the nations in eliminating nuclear weapons is the future, the question is:will Trump remain an anachronism?

    • Sam F
      July 17, 2017 at 10:23 am

      I doubt that “wars and military buildups are about LNG and hydrocarbon pipelines” although those interests influence policy. The US has no interest in the Qatar-Turkey pipeline, and in fact Qatar is a competitor, so the bribes to politicians should be similar either way. The only politician benefit of demanding such a pipeline is bribes from Israel and US zionists, who seek to disrupt Russia and Iran to break the Shiite link to Syria and Lebanon.

  11. Paxman
    July 17, 2017 at 10:16 am
  12. Drew Hunkins
    July 17, 2017 at 10:29 am

    North Korea’s been acting very rationally over the last couple of years, very rationally indeed.

    What Pyongyang has witnessed since the dissolution of the USSR is a rapacious and imperialist Washington attacking each and every independent state that 1.) runs its state economy to the benefit of its people and not the predators and parasites on Wall Street, the Fortune 500, and the City of London, 2.) offers diplomatic support to the Palestinians and criticizes the grotesque violence and land grabs Tel Aviv routinely carries out, and 3.) does NOT possess nuclear weapons.

    If you’re an independent state, watch out! Washington-Zio militarists and the state-corporate media nexus will target you unmercifully with a demonization campaign like no other, with the ultimate goal being regime change via proxy forces or actual imperial soldiers.

    Be it Panama, Somalia, Iraq I, Yugoslavia-Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq II, Libya and Syria, Pyongyang understands the paradigm Washington imperialists are intent on carrying out no matter what the cost. The militarists and Zio madmen running the show in Washington are currently putting the world on the brink of nuclear war. No matter, they will carry out capitalist imperial dictates until their last breath.

    Kim Jong Un fully understands that the only way to possibly stave off a violent and bloody attack from the Western militarists is to demonstrate that a state has thermo nuclear weapons capability. Only then will the greedheads and moneybags of Washington even consider backing off.

    Although 95% of them don’t even realize it, the people of the world are paying dearly for the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The Washington-New York capitalists and Zionists have really taken the gloves off. No longer is there a competing socio-economic state to act as a bulwark of sorts and to demonstrate a relatively decent social welfare state.

    Kim Jong Un is cognizant of the fact that he’s virtually all alone running an independent state that could easily be bombed, occupied, and obliterated by Western militarists, ergo he fully understands he has to demonstrate he’s capable of acting the madman, not unlike Israeli objectives for decades. Act like a madman so they leave one alone, in the former case it’s a matter of survival, in the latter case it’s a cynical ploy to run an apartheid regime hell bent on ethnic cleansing every 6 to 7 years.

    • mike k
      July 17, 2017 at 11:40 am

      Considering that the US almost succeeded in totally destroying North Korea in the recent past, their precautionary stance makes a lot of sense. Our saturation bombing that killed millions of their people and leveled almost every structure above ground taught them a lesson that they have obviously understood.

    • Desert Dave
      July 17, 2017 at 12:09 pm

      And he remembers the devastation Washington visited upon N. Korea in the 50’s.

    • backwardsevolution
      July 17, 2017 at 1:46 pm

      Drew – “…the people of the world are paying dearly for the dissolution of the Soviet Union.” Just as the people have paid dearly for the dissolution of the gold standard. In both cases, the criminals have gone to town.

    • Dave P.
      July 18, 2017 at 1:43 am

      Drew – “…the people of the world are paying dearly for the dissolution of the Soviet Union.” It is ironical that all the colonized countries in Asia, Africa and elsewhere winning their freedom – sometimes after a bloody fight – from the Western Imperialist Powers was facilitated largely by the rise of Soviet Union (Russia) during the last century. The West is bent upon colonizing, economically and politically, the vulnerable Nations of the World – who refuse to submit to their dictates – again by Military means. And once again it fell on the shoulders of Russia to defend their freedom. Of course, Russia itself is in the fight to defend it’s own sovereignty.

      And we have been hearing for so long now from political leaders and others: ” We are defending freedom and democracy” all over the World. What a sea of lies we all live in !

  13. Catcher in the Wild
    July 17, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    Thanks Ann! & I’ll add this psychologist’s diagnosis of American Madness: my comment on today’s nytimes “Red Century” op-ed:
    41 Comments

    Click here to read the best Times comments from the past week.

    Thank you for your submission. We’ll notify you at jr***@comcast.net when your comment has been approved.
    Catcher in the Wild Plainfield, NH Pending Approval

    AH THE TIMES’ FROZEN MINDSET: “THE RED CENTURY” SERIES PROVIDES A CLUE TO ITS RUSSOPHOBIA. NEVER MIND THAT SOVIET-STYLE COMMUNISM DIED 25 YEARS AGO, THE TIMES HAS RESURRECTED IT AS “RED RUSSIA”…GRIPING THE COUNTRY IN A “McCARTHISM”-STYLE HYSTERIA .WHICH HAS MORPHED INTO AN OBSESSIVE “RUSSIAGATE” AS A CLUB TO DESTROY OR DRIVE TRUMP FROM OFFICE…AND IN THE PROCESS IS PUSHING THE US EVER CLOSER TO HOT CONFLICT WITH RUSSIA.
    NEVER MIND THAT THE RENOWNED PSYCHIATRIST, ROBERT J. LIFTON DIAGNOSED THIS ALL-ENCOMPASSING DISORDER, the “SUPER POWER SYNDROME: AMERICA’S APOCALYPTIC CONFRONTATION WITH THE WORLD” IN 2003, WHICH RECEIVED THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD…AFTER THE MADNESS OF THE US INVASION OF IRAQ…BUT BEFORE THE SAME MADNESS DROVE US INTO LIBYA, SYRIA…NOW TOWARD RUSSIA. WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO BREAK THE SPELL? SHOCK THERAPY TO BRING THE MEDIA, THE GOVERNMENT, THE COUNTRY TO ITS SENSES?
    A warning from a psychologist who was clinically-trained in the Dartmouth Dept. of Psychiatry, who then practiced in the UNC-Chapel Hill Dept. of Psychiatry…and had lived through the 50’s McCarthyism, a product of the 1st Cold War Anti-Communist Hysteria & the 60’s Cuban Missile-Brink of Nuclear War Crisis precipitated by our own folly: macho Kennedy’s Bay of Pigs Invasion. Wake up America! It’s our arrogant Global Hegemony which has led to our dysfunctional government & our bought-off-by-the-1% democracy. THE ENEMY IS US…NOT THE RUSSIANS!

    • Bob Van Noy
      July 17, 2017 at 3:06 pm

      Thank you Catcher in the Wild. Beautifully Done and inventive too!

  14. Mild-ly Facetious
    July 17, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    Will Trump open his @heart to Koreans (north & south) after watching their young ladies dominate the $$ richest LPGA tournament on his golf course in New Jersey? – @rhetorical question –

    A 17yr old novice placed 2nd so that those in the top five or six cashed checks larger than the normal winners purse.

    Would you offer to build a beautiful golf course in the Korean DMZ, President Trump? Encourage Koreans on both sides of the DMZ to come together for golf or volleyball, or ping-pong tournaments, or soccer matches – or picnics, carnivals, chess matches, badminton.?

    How about a jazz or rock or philharmonic festival or the filming of a movie f/ north&south Koreans embracing…?

    Or are you hyper into maintaining the DIVIDE so as to maintain our military presence, close to China?

    Do you, Mr. Trump, preside over a Democracy? A Republic? or a Mopocracy, as our 16th president accurately described the governing party of the Rebellious Confederacy.

    That Mobocratic Spirit has the power in America these daze under Trump and the ESTABLISHED Oligarchy. There is No Restraint against their Domineering Power in the world.

    Mob-o-crats rule by brute force and propaganda.

    The US is the world’s Greatest Purveyor of Violence , and, Mob-O-Crats control the world today,
    in this dystopian nightmare wherein the southern confederates have – in essence – defeated the northern “yankees”.

  15. July 17, 2017 at 3:34 pm

    You Good Americans seem to have forgotten “Izzy” I. M. Stone’s book The Hidden History of the Korean War (1952 I think) if you need to better understand what is happening today……
    Costs a fortune at Amazons (no wonder they are in cahoots with the CIA I read somewhere)

    • Mild-ly Facetious
      July 17, 2017 at 4:04 pm

      I appreciate the heads-up, andreas w mytze.

  16. Mild-ly Facetious
    July 17, 2017 at 4:19 pm

    The Hidden History of the Korean War: 1950–1951 (A Nonconformist History of Our Times #2)
    by I.F. Stone

    In 1945 US troops arrived in Korea for what would become America’s longest-lasting conflict. While history books claim without equivocation that the war lasted from 1950 to 1953, those who have actually served there know better.

    By closely analyzing US intelligence before June 25, 1950 (the war’s official start), and the actions of key players like John Foster Dulles, General Douglas MacArthur, and Chiang Kai-shek, the great investigative reporter I. F. Stone demolishes the official story of America’s “forgotten war” by shedding new light on the tangled sequence of events that led to it.

    http://www.jstor.org/stable/442609?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

  17. Mild-ly Facetious
    July 17, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    CHIANG KAI-SHEK

    Chinese military and political leader Chiang Kai-shek joined the Chinese Nationalist Party (known as the Kuomintang, or KMT) in 1918. Succeeding party founder Sun Yat-sen as KMT leader in 1925, he expelled Chinese communists from the party and led a successful unification of China. Despite a professed focus on reform, Chiang’s government concentrated on battling Communism within China as well as confronting Japanese aggression. When the Allies declared war on Japan in 1941, China took its place among the Big Four. Civil war broke out in 1946, ending in a victory by Mao Zedong’s Communist forces and the creation of the People’s Republic of China. From 1949 until his death, Chiang led the KMT government in exile in Taiwan, which many countries continued to recognize as China’s legitimate government.

    [ Trump just made Billion dollar weapons deal with Taiwan ] –

    A very mob-o-cratic theory of control&contain via economic warfare.
    (Cyber Warfare is, right now, any mobs’ terrain from any spot-in-the-world.)

    In perilous times, fractional seconds can explode into sudden death, it happens all the time in manifold whole-world places.

    The big picture eludes us by way of the enormous distraction of choices
    within the very picture phone world we enjoy as freedom/aka “no worries”

  18. Zachary Smith
    July 17, 2017 at 5:21 pm

    From the essay:

    Bruce Cumings, Korean War historian, author of The Korean War: A History and University of Chicago history professor, said at the symposium that the Clinton administration achieved very important goals with North Korea, including “North Korea freezing its plutonium production for eight years (1994–2002) and, in October 2000, indirectly working out a deal to buy all of North Korea’s medium and long-range missiles — and signing an agreement with North Korean General Jo Myong-rok in a meeting in the White House stating that neither country would bear ‘hostile intent’ toward the other.”

    Neocon Truculence

    But the George W. Bush administration — led by Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Undersecretary of State John Bolton — “actively sought to torpedo the Agreed Framework” and succeeded in pushing aside the agreements negotiated by the Clinton administration thereby destroying the 1994 freeze and refusing to acknowledge the Clinton-Jo pledge of “no hostile intent,” particularly since the pledge was made by allowing a North Korean general inside the White House.

    My take: Clinton negotiated a marvelous agreement which Bush sabotaged.

    Now take a look at the wiki at Agreed Framework. Shortly after the agreement was negotiated, the Republicans took over the House of Representatives in 1994. They promptly killed any implementation of the agreement. Assigning blame to GWB seems quite unreasonable when other knuckle-dragging rethugs were responsible. But at least there was a period of quiet for North Korea, a period during which they could do a lot of out-of-sight work and research on their various programs. During this time the Clinton Administration was busy destroying another nation.

    Lesley Stahl on U.S. sanctions against Iraq: We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?

    Secretary of State Madeleine Albright: I think this is a very hard choice, but the price—we think the price is worth it.

    —60 Minutes (5/12/96)

    Everybody was happy – NK bought time and the US kept the news spotlight on Evil Iraq.

    Now for the present situation. I’d ask author Ann Wright what there is to negotiate/talk about. There is no evidence that anybody in the Trump Administration is qualified to tie their shoe laces without adult supervision. Neither Republican nor Democratic neocons in Congress are likely to show a bit of grown-up responsibility regarding any negotiations. North Korea has gotten to some advanced stages of its weapons work, and can reasonably dream of becoming a full-fledged nuclear power ranking with France or Great Britain. Combine that with a very understandable distrust of the US, and what reason have THEY to talk?

    In my humble opinion curbing North Korea is going to require a lot of help from China and Russia, and can anyone give a good reason why either of them would help the US in any way?

    • backwardsevolution
      July 18, 2017 at 5:46 am

      Zachary – yes, why would North Korea ever trust the U.S. They told the Russians that they wouldn’t advance towards their borders, and look what happened. They just do as they please. If I were the North Korean leader, I’d do the same. The country is much safer this way.

  19. Mild-ly Facetious
    July 17, 2017 at 7:00 pm

    And William Perry, another former US Secretary of Defense has expressed willingness to accept a “frozen” NK nuclear arsenal — in hopes of someday talking them out of it.

    The “live it with it” proponents describe a scenario of South Korea’s capital Seoul in flames and cite the sheer difficulty and human cost of war on the Korean peninsula, citing the Korean War as evidence of what war would be like.

    They then declare there are no good options, and pronounce a nuclear armed North Korea to be unavoidable.

    So Why Not Seek Peace, and Pursue It?

    • mike k
      July 17, 2017 at 7:58 pm

      Some of us seek peace, but the warmongers are winning the support, or at least the acquiescence of the people. They have conned the public into shooting themselves in the feet and many other parts with all this war making, which only profit’s the few. This scam has been going on throughout our history. Will we ever learn? We all better wise up pretty quick, or we are going to be toast very soon.

      • mike k
        July 17, 2017 at 8:02 pm

        The idiots that buy the patriotic bullshit deserve a big part of the credit for keeping us in perpetual war. Our brave men and women protecting us from ????? Who are these folks really serving? You guessed it – the people at the top.

  20. David A Hart
    July 17, 2017 at 7:03 pm

    US meddling in Korean affairs began clear back in 1866, with the arrival of the gunship USS General Sherman wanting permission to sail up the Taedong River in present day Pyongyang, but ending in the sinking of the ship and death of every crew member. Korea and the US signed a trade treaty in 1882, which “guaranteed” the security of Korea–that is, until Theodore Roosevelt instructed his War Secretary William Taft to negotiate with Japanese Prime Minister Katsura Taro about Japanese desire to rule over Korea in 1905. The US sold out Korea to the Japanese, so we could have free reign in the Philippines. The colonization of Korea directly led to the division of the country at the end of WWII (by the US, of course), and we have been calling the shots in South Korea ever since. Dr. Tim Beal, Korean expert from New Zealand, has written an excellent paper on the entire situation in East Asia, in which he says “North Korea’s major threat to the US is not its nuclear weapons but its proposal for a peace treaty. If North Korea, by developing a nuclear deterrent, by building a formidable, but primarily defensive, military, by refusing to buckle down under sanctions and having the temerity to launch satellites – if North Korea by doing all this is able to force the US into accepting peaceful coexistence then its example might be followed by others. The one thing empires detest above all else is independence; that and its brother, rebellion. It was for this crime that the Roman Empire reserved crucifixion. North Korea’s success would also have implications for China and Russia in their struggle with the US.” You can read his excellent essay here: http://apjjf.org/2016/22/Beal.html as well as a fantastic historical overview of Korean history–specifically the US history in sabotaging any meaningful attempts at peace or unification of the Korean peninsula by S. Brian Willson at http://www.brianwillson.com/brief-history-us-sabotage-of-korean-peace-and-reunification/

  21. July 17, 2017 at 9:56 pm

    The long shadow of the neo-cons and their PNAC! Selling arms will “Make America great again” perhaps but only for the 0.1% elite who benefit from war; the Banks, the defense contractors and the currency manipulators. Stopping China responding to a US first strike by having more bases on Sth Korean peninsula, close to Beijing, is the real aim of the Nth Korea beat-up. Similarly the Polish troop buildup and the West Ukraine CIA engineered regime change, help to paralyze Russias response-ability to Firs strikes by the US. Meanwhile climate change and inequality accelerate.

    • Bob Van Noy
      July 18, 2017 at 8:22 am

      Thank you Dr. Elliott and great web site!

    • Hawaii guy
      July 18, 2017 at 8:18 pm

      Russia and China aren’t worried about losing a war with the West, everyone loses in that scenario. Russia and China know the US has no military reserves, and the Kardashian generation are just going to get slaughtered, if they can even find uniforms big enough for them. As to climate change, that’s a bigger scam than Russia hacking the DNC. It’s a solar system wide change, it never stops changing. There is nothing humanity can do to effect any kind of significant damage to the earth’s atmosphere. The sun can produce more damage in a single burst than we could in fifty years of pollution.

  22. Hawaii guy
    July 18, 2017 at 8:12 pm

    I made this exact argument years ago. The only protection a country has is wmds its the only thing the armchair generals are afraid of. Of they can ruin or kill too close to there Princess palaces in the Pentagon, they’ll leave you alone.

  23. Mild-ly Facetious
    July 19, 2017 at 9:36 am

    South Korea Invites North Korea to Hold Military Talks at DMZ on Friday

    JUL 18, 2017

    In a surprise move, South Korea has reached out to North Korea with an offer to hold military talks this Friday at the Demilitarized Zone between the two countries. The U.S., Japan and the European Union, on the other hand, are pushing for heavier sanctions against North Korea.

    The South Korean overture comes as South Korea refused to allow peace activist Christine Ahn, who was born in South Korea, into the country, where she was slated to meet with women’s peace groups. South Korea said she’d been denied entry on the grounds she might “hurt the national interests and public safety.”

    This is Christine Ahn, speaking earlier this month about the prospects for de-escalating tensions between South Korea, North Korea and the United States: “Right now, the most viable proposal that is on the table, that has now—as you mentioned earlier, is backed by both China and Russia, but it originally came from the North Koreans in 2015, was to halt the U.S. and South Korean military exercises in exchange for freezing North Korea’s nuclear and long-range missile program. — Now, that is the deal that should be seriously considered, but the Trump administration is not accepting it.”

  24. July 19, 2017 at 11:15 pm

    US policy in Libya and Iraq shows the foolishness of placing any reliance on Washington DC. In the world as we have developed it, trust is absent, kindness is weakness and looking after yourself is the only safe course for an independent nation.

    Where was it they used to have flags saying “Don’t tread on me.” Might as well be everywhere now

    I suppose the neocon infection in US policy will work itself out, probably in tandem with the decline in the control of global monetary exchange, then there will be a chance to restore propriety and fair dealing in international affairs. Until then, keep on researching cyber war and anti-matter containment for the next versions of unregulated WMD. Testosterone for ever.

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