US Dominated Security Council Tightens Savage Sanctions on North Korea, Intentional Provocations to War
By Carla Stea
On September 24, 2017, The New York Times published the following letter written by Donald P. Gregg, C.I.A. officer in Vietnam, 1970-1973; C.I.A. station chief in Seoul from 1973 to 1975; and U.S. Ambassador to South Korea from 1989 to 1993: excerpts from his letter follow:
“I can’t help thinking about the lessons from Vietnam that might apply today to North Korea. I fear that we are headed down a 2017 version of ‘ignorance alley’ in our dealings with Pyongyang; we do not know what North Korea wants today, because we have not asked its leaders that question directly in several years. When we assume that we are always right, and our opponents always wrong, we overlook the need to ask questions. And as Vietnam demonstrated, in such a scenario, misguided decisions result.”
Another United States official, Assistant Secretary of Defense John T. McNaughton wrote during the Vietnam War:
“A feeling is widely and strongly held that ‘the Establishment’ is out of its mind. The feeling is that we are trying to impose some U.S. image on distant peoples we cannot understand (any more than we can the younger generation here at home), and that we are carrying the thing to absurd lengths. Related to this feeling is the increased polarization that is taking place in the United States with seeds of the worst split in our people in more than a century.” McNaughton wrote this to Secretary McNamara in early May, 1967. (Less than two months later, McNaughton, his wife and their son died in a plane collision near Asheville, North Carolina, a week before he was to be sworn in as Secretary of the Navy.) John McNaughton’s words, regarding the United States’ behavior toward Vietnam, are a precise description of the United States’ behavior toward North Korea at this very moment.
PART 1: North Korea and North Vietnam: The Deadly Chronicle of Western Imperialism
One can take passages from “The Pentagon Papers” and simply replace the name “North Vietnam” with “North Korea,” and we have an exact description of United States aggression toward North Korea today; this juxtaposition, on page 580 of the Bantam Edition of “The Pentagon Papers,” would read as follows:
“There may be a limit beyond which many Americans and much of the world will not permit the United States to go. The picture of the world’s greatest superpower trying to pound a tiny backward nation into submission on an issue whose merits are hotly disputed, is not a pretty one. It could conceivably produce a costly distortion in the American national consciousness and in the world image of the United States—especially if the damage to North Korea is complete enough to be ‘successful.’ The most important risk, however, is the likely Russian, Chinese and North Korean reaction to intensified US air attacks, harbor-mining, and ground actions against North Korea.”
It seems as though little has changed in the United States’ attitude toward the world since the Vietnam War, or more precisely, since the death of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Many participants in this year’s United Nations General Assembly were shocked and horrified when President Trump suggested, on September 19, 2017;
“we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.”
I have highlighted these words because any suggestion that North Korea would initiate military action is deliberate obfuscation. The DPRK has never sought to impose itself beyond its borders, and has sought only to protect itself from a repetition of the holocaust it suffered during 1950-1953, the intentional slaughter, by the United States military, and its United Nations cohorts, of more than three million North Korean citizens, and the total devastation of the entire country.
I have described the US, the UK and France as “rogue states” and it is imperative to also highlight the unconscionable hypocrisy of both the United States’ position and that of the United Nations Security Council in criticizing North Korea for its nuclear tests:
Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty states:
“Each of the parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”
With unmitigated arrogance, on July 7, 2017, following the adoption of the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the US, the UK and France issued the following joint press statement:
“France, the United Kingdom and the United States have not taken part in the negotiation of the treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons. We do not intend to sign, ratify or ever become party to it.”
This statement is in scandalous violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and these rogue nuclear powers unscrupulously flaunt their violation and impose their will. The United States, alone, possesses almost 5,000 nuclear weapons and is investing one trillion dollars more in upgrading them. Together with the nuclear arsenals of the UK and France, these rogue states possess the capacity to annihilate the entire earth multiple times. Their demonization of North Korea is a manifestation of their own psychotic obsession with domination, which itself is jeopardizing all life on earth.
Article 1 of the NPT states:
“Each nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to transfer to any recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly; and not in any way to assist, encourage, or induce any non-nuclear-weapon State to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, or control over such weapons or explosive devices.”
The US, in reckless violation of the NPT, has transferred its B61-12 nuclear bombs to five non-nuclear weapon states: Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Turkey, all members of NATO. The United States has also placed nuclear-powered submarines in the territory of South Korea, terrorizing the DPRK.
Trump’s speech to the UN General Assembly is filled almost entirely with hackneyed propaganda, but the speech is enormously dangerous, because the US economy is weak and failing, and the classic capitalist remedy for economic disaster is war. There is every indication that the US is preparing the American public to accept, at least initially, the horrific consequences of an attack on North Korea. Many of Trump’s advisers share the appalling assumption that there may be millions of deaths resulting, but the deaths will be “over there”!
On September 23, 2017, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho eloquently stated, in reply to Trump’s dangerously provocative remarks, that:
“Article 1 of the Charter of the United Nations stipulates ‘to bring about by peaceful means and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace. Due to high-handedness and arbitrariness of one particular big power however, at present the purpose and principles of the UN Charter and other established basic principles of international relations are now wantonly ignored in the UN arena. Abnormal acts of justifying and legitimizing high-handedness and arbitrariness and the acts of violating truth and justice are connived at or tolerated. The most rampant violation of international justice can be seen on the Korean peninsula. Unprecedented acts of injustice such as imposing harsh sanctions on a victim for the reason that the victim chose to stand up to the offender are openly committed in the name of the UN.”
In the section of letters to the editor of The New York Time, September 24, 2017 is another witness to the horrors of imperialism, (“the highest stage of capitalism,”) during the Vietnam War, a prelude, and a warning to persons of conscience of what capitalism probably intends for North Korea. The letter was written by Anh Le, of San Francisco and states:
“During the French-Indochina War, my father, a highly educated Vietnamese man was imprisoned and tortured by the French for two years. My mother was raped.”
AnLe’s letter continues:
“(the war) was waged based on a Cold War mentality, a misguided American foreign policy, and anti-Communist propaganda from the White House, Congress, the Pentagon and a series of propped-up governments in Saigon. Americans were deceived and misled by their government with the ‘domino theory’ and the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. Vietnamese were seen as the enemy, ‘gooks’ or ‘dinks.’ The My Lai Massacre was not an aberration. Napalm, Agent Orange, cluster bombs, destruction of villages and towns, rapes, tortures, Kim Phuc, the naked young girl running down the country road and screaming with pain from the napalm on her body, are seared in our collective conscience.”
These excruciating methods of torture of Vietnam, just described in a letter, by a Vietnamese victim, to The New York Times, are essentially what the UN Security Council is preparing for the North Korean people to suffer. While the Security Council boasts and congratulates itself on its “consensus” on the barbarous sanctions, it enables and nourishes the arrogance and aggression of the US and its proxies, which then cite this same “consensus” to justify escalating its relentless march toward war against North Korea, and ultimately against China and Russia. Many onlookers within the United Nations, including journalists with no ax to grind, are alarmed at the likelihood of a war against North Korea, spreading uncontrollably, and question the complicity of Russia and China in supporting these provocative sanctions. Some “laid back” but extremely astute American journalists are perplexed at the passivity of China and Russia, whose double vetoes prevented Syria from suffering the obliteration inflicted upon Iraq and Libya, with the Security Council’s blessing. One Ambassador from the Middle East pointed out that Russia and China used their veto power to protect Syria from becoming a failed state, but today are failing to use their veto power (in his own words) “now that it is really needed” to prevent a nuclear war in Asia. Unless these heinous sanctions inflicted on North Korea are opposed by those who have the power to do so, North Korea will continue to suffer intolerable provocations, and war may become inevitable, sooner rather than later.
No doubt, China is aware that on September 27, 2017 General Joseph Dunford, reappointed as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that China will become “the greatest threat to our nation by about 2025….Chinese President Xi Jinping’s military reforms and plans for economic expansion have presented a challenge to U.S. hegemony.”
In 1950 the US-ROK axis attacked and almost extinguished North Korea as a nation and as a people. There were many who considered that war as the prelude to an attack on China, with the goal of replacing the communist government of Mao Tse-tung with the fascist government of Chaing Kai-chek. Senator Joseph McCarthy was terrorizing the American people with his anti-communist psychopathology, and Truman, John Foster Dulles, and General MacArthur attacked North Korea with the ultimate goal of attacking and demolishing the People’s Republic of China. The American aggressors were humiliated by the defeat they were handed by the peoples of North Korea and China, who preferred their communist systems to the brutal injustices of capitalism, and fought with heroic courage and determination to defend their chosen way of life, much to the chagrin of the arrogant Americans. South Korea was, and remains a colony of the US, and atrocities committed within the ROK have been exposed throughout the years. It now seems that nothing has changed, and the goals of US-NATO are the same now as they were from the Truman Doctrine in 1947 up to today. But while it is convenient to denounce Trump as an aberration, Trump is simply the symptom of a system that is failing to provide a decent life for its people, and may inevitably resort to war as its only option, as it is either unwilling or incapable of change to meet the needs of its citizens, and the demands of its oligarchy.
PART 2: Alternative to Annihilating War
On September 27, 2017, the Baltimore Sun published a “Plan B” by Dave Anderson, an alternative to war:
“The chief reason that North Korea keeps testing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles is self-defense. They rightly fear that the United States and our allies would dismantle the current regime if we could. During the Korean War the United States destroyed 80 percent of North Korea……It is just not logical to presume that there are conditions under which they would give up the very weapons they believe are critical to their survival, and President Trump’s recent remarks about destroying North Korea or hinting at regime change have only made that more true….What should the United States do? There are many possibilities, but all good ones rely on publicly recognizing North Korea as a nuclear power and publicly dropping the goal of creating a denuclearized Korean peninsula. ….What is holding up peaceful relations between the United States and North Korea is just these two points. President Trump is not willing to treat North Korea as a nuclear power, and as a result he and the Congress continue to sanction North Korea, and he personally continues to threaten North Korea. It is time for the United States to stop trying not to lose face against a foe who needs to be recognized as a player on the world stage. They don’t want to lose face either, and it is time for us, the bigger country in this dispute, to act like the bigger, more powerful country. North Korea is surrounded by countries that either have nuclear weapons – China and Russia – or are protected by countries (i.e. the United States) that have nuclear weapons and will defend them. A fair question is: Why should North Korea not have a right to have nuclear weapons, too? Once we get over this hurdle, then the way will be cleared to figure out the best way to make peace with North Korea. And if we do not get over this hurdle, then we risk a major war in the Korean Peninsula and even World War III.”
PART 3: Will China Repeat Gorbachev’s Disastrous Mistake?
According to AFP, Jia Qingguo, Dean of the School of International Studies at Peking University, is urging China’s abandonment of North Korea. According to this report, it is suggested that China abandon North Korea, and expects the United States to permit it to “manage” a collapsed DPRK, as well as expecting US withdrawal from the Korean Peninsula, and removal of the THAAD missiles from South Korea. If these reports are accurate, and suggest significant trends in China’s thinking, they indicate staggering naivete by the Chinese leadership, and indicate it is following Gorbachev’s gullible path which led to the disastrous collapse of the Soviet Union. In so betraying North Korea, China would squander both credibility and moral authority, and would, in fact, betray those great Chinese leaders of the first half of the Twentieth Century whose enormous sacrifices created the foundation that enabled China to become the great power it is today. China would actually be embracing a “lose-lose” situation. One wonders what will result from Trump’s upcoming visit to China, and meeting with Xi Jinping. Will the siren song that seduced Mikhail Gorbachev succeed in luring China to its destruction?
* Carla Stea is Global Research’s correspondent at United Nations Headquarters, New York, N.Y.