Wednesday, October 11, 2006

'No’ to war against North Korea

You can hardly blame North Korea for developing nuclear weapons, given that the government of the United States has labelled it part of the "axis of evil" and is undoubtedly preparing an Iraq-style, pre-emptive war against the country. Even so, it’s possible that Washington has hyped up what some experts describe as a primitive nuclear test by North Korea precisely to give President Bush the excuse to bomb North Korea in the near future. War is always good for business. And with things going badly in Iraq, an attack on the "mad, bad and dangerous" North Korea might also take voters’ minds off other issues. It could even swing them back behind the discredited Republican Party in the US and New Labour in Britain.

As strategic and military expert Dan Plesch has written: "Far from being crazy, the North Korean policy is quite rational. Faced with a US government that believes the communist regime should be removed from the map, the North Koreans pressed ahead with building a deterrent. George Bush stopped the oil supplies to North Korea that had been part of a framework to end its nuclear programme previously agreed with Bill Clinton." He added: "The background to North Korea's test is that, since the end of the cold war, the nuclear states have tried to impose a double standard, hanging on to nuclear weapons for themselves and their friends while denying them to others. Like alcoholics condemning teenage drinking, the nuclear powers have made the spread of nuclear weapons the terror of our age, distracting attention from their own behaviour. Western leaders refuse to accept that our own actions encourage others to follow suit."

The hypocrisy of Washington and London is obvious. While North Korea and Iran are targeted, India, Pakistan and Israel, all of whom possess not just nuclear weapons but the means to deliver them, are excluded. Japan’s new ultra-nationalist prime minister Shinzo Abe is almost certainly planning to rearm that country with nuclear weapons, with America’s blessing. North Korea is a despotic Stalinist state, of that there is no doubt. But that does not give the US or anyone else the justification to launch a war that could easily spiral out of control. During the 1950-53 Korean War, US forces came face to face with the Chinese army. At one point, US military chiefs urged the use of atomic weapons against the Chinese because American troops faced defeat. The real threat to peace as always comes from the corporate-military complex that runs the White House. An alternative policy of aid and fuel to the hard-pressed North Koreans is totally beyond their will and imagination.

Paul Feldman, communications editors

No comments: