North Korea: Fire, Fury and Fear – Pepe Escobar | Global Research

North Korea: Fire, Fury and Fear 

Alarm bells ringing as rampant speculation breaks out over Pyongyang’s ‘possible’ miniaturized nuclear warheads

Pepe Escobar | Global Research

Beware the dogs of war. The same intel “folks” who brought to you babies pulled from incubators by “evil” Iraqis as well as non-existent WMDs are now peddling the notion that North Korea has produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead able to fit its recently tested ICBM.

That’s the core of an analysis completed in July by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). Additionally, USA intel believes that Pyongyang now has access to up to 60 nuclear weapons. On the ground USA intel on North Korea is virtually non-existent – so these assessments amount to guesswork at best.     

But when we couple the guesswork with an annual 500-page white paper released earlier this week by the Japanese Defense Ministry, alarm bells do start ringing.

The white paper stresses Pyongyang’s “significant headway” in the nuclear race and its “possible” (italics mine) ability to develop miniaturized nuclear warheads able to fit on the tips of its missiles.

This “possible” ability is drowned in outright speculation. As the report states,

“It is conceivable that North Korea’s nuclear weapons program has already considerably advanced and it is possible that North Korea has already achieved the miniaturization of nuclear bombs into warheads and has acquired nuclear warheads.”

Western corporate media would hardly refrain from metastasizing pure speculation into a “North Korea has miniaturized nuclear weapons” frenzy consuming the cable news cycle/ newspaper headlines. Talk about hearts and minds comfortably numbed by the fear factor.

The Japanese white paper, conveniently, also escalated condemnation of China over Beijing’s actions in both the East and South China seas.

So let’s look at the agendas in play. The War Party in the USA, with its myriad connections in the industrial-military-media complex, obviously wants/needs war to keep the machinery oiled. Tokyo, for its part, would much appreciate a pre-emptive USA military attack – and damn the inevitable, massive South Korean casualties that would result from Pyongyang’s counterpunch.

It’s quite enlightening that Tokyo, for all practical purposes, considers China as a “threat” as serious as North Korea; Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera went straight to the point when he said,

“North Korea’s missiles represent a deepening threat. That, along with China’s continued threatening behavior in the East China Sea and South China Sea, is a major concern for Japan.”

Beijing’s response was swift:

Kim Jong-Un, demonized ad infinitum, is not a fool, and is not going to indulge in a ritual seppuku [hara-kiri] unilaterally attacking South Korea, Japan or USA territory. Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal represents the deterrent against regime change that Saddam Hussein and Gaddafi could not count on. There’s only one way to deal with North Korea, as I’ve argued beforeDIPLOMACY. Tell that to Washington and Tokyo.

Meanwhile, there’s United Nations Security Council Resolution 2371. It does target North Korea’s major exports – coal, iron, seafood. Coal accounts for 40% of Pyongyang’s exports, and arguably 10% of GDP.

Yet these new sanctions-package does not touch imports of oil and refined-oil products from China. That’s one of the reasons why Beijing voted in favor.

Beijing’s strategy is a very Asian attempt to find a face-saving solution – and that takes time. UNSC resolution 2371 buys time – and may dissuade the Trump administration, for now, from going heavy metal, with horrible consequences.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi cautiously stated the sanctions are a sign of international opposition to North Korea’s missile and nuclear weapons programs. The last thing Beijing needs is a war right on its borders, also bound to negatively interfere with the expansion of the New Silk Roads, a.k.a. Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Beijing could always work on re-building trust between Pyongyang and Washington. That’s an order taller than the Himalayas. One just needs to look back at the 1994 Agreed Framework, signed during Bill Clinton’s first term.

The framework was supposed to freeze – and even dismantle – Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program and was bound to normalize USA-North Korea relations. A US-led consortium would build two light-water nuclear reactors to compensate for Pyongyang’s loss of nuclear power; sanctions would be lifted; both parties would issue “formal assurances” against the use of nuclear weapons.

Nothing happened. The framework collapsed in 2002 – when North Korea was enshrined in the “axis of evil” by the Cheney regime. Not to mention that the Korean War is still, technically, on; the 1953 armistice was never replaced by a real peace treaty.

So what next? Three reminders.

1) Beware of an engineered false flag, to be blamed on Pyongyang; that would be the perfect pretext for war.

2) The current narrative is eerily similar to the usual suspects blaring since forever that Iran is a heartbeat away from “building a nuclear weapon”.

3) North Korea holds trillions of USA dollars in unexplored mineral wealth. Watch the shadow-play by candidates bound to profit from such juicy loot.

The original source of this article is Asia Times

*******

Analysis// Trump’s Clash With North Korea: Good for Putin, Bad for Netanyahu

Reports of North Korea’s nuclear capabilities unveiled the oversized role Israel holds in the White House war between Bannon and McMaster

Chemi Shalev | Haaretz

 The first American governor of Guam was Jewish. Commander Edward Taussig formally received the western Pacific island in 1899 from a local governor after America’s crushing victory in its war with Spain, which had ruled Guam for the preceding 350 years. Taussig didn’t stay long: He set up the local government and went on to become a rear admiral in the U.S. Navy. He spawned three more generations of top Navy officers, including his son Joseph who, as a vice admiral, outranked him. The names of both Taussig admirals were commemorated on U.S. Navy destroyers; the one named after Edward participated in the Korean War.  

Guam’s Jewish history also includes a massive Rosh Hashanah dinner in 1945 with over 1500 Jewish GIs, many of which took part in the liberation of the island from Japanese occupation in the bloody three week battle that cost 1,800 American and 18,000 Japanese lives. Guam, which is home to 160,000 local U.S. citizens, has served ever since as a forward outpost for the U.S. military in the western Pacific. Nearly a third of its 210 square miles are taken up by the Guam Naval Base, which is home to four nuclear-armed submarines and to Andersen Air Force base, which hosts B-52, B-1B and stealth B-2 bombers.

If war breaks out between the U.S.A. and North Korea, the Andersen bombers will be sent to demolish Pyongyang’s nuclear facilities and to destroy Kim Jong-Un’s regime.

This is just one of the reasons for Kim’s threat this week to launch four Hwasong-12 missiles at Guam which would surround it with “enveloping fire,” whatever that is. This is not the first time the North Korean despot has made direct threats against Guam: In 2013, the U.S. hurried a battery of THAAD anti-missile missiles to the island after he made similar boasts. But Kim is also zeroing in on Guam, rather than his South Korean neighbor or his Japanese enemy, in order to cast it as a symbol of American imperialism in the Pacific. Kim opted to threaten the U.S. territory from which U.S. bombers had taken off to buzz North Korea in recent days and as a direct and personal challenge to Donald Trump, in the same way little boys taunt their friends by waving their fingers in their eyes and proclaiming, “the air belongs to everyone.” He wants to show his people that he is not afraid of the U.S. president or of his threat to rain down “fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

It’s hard to know where Trump got the inspiration for his bombastic warning, which yielded instant analogies between two leaders who are leading their people and rest of the world to disaster.

As Stephen Colbert showed this week, Trump often uses the words “like the world has never seen” to tout his miraculous-but-often-imaginary achievements, but the unfamiliar “fire and fury” part sounded as if it was lifted from one of those fiery speeches made by Mother of Dragons Daenerys Targaryen in the latest season of Game of Thrones.

And while the world recoiled from Trump’s hyperventilating rhetoric, the tone is a familiar one for most Israelis, albeit not from American presidents: Egyptian radio known as the Voice of the United Arab Republic expressed similar unhinged threats against Israel on the eve of the Six-Day War, as did Saddam Hussein in the first Gulf War when he promised to “incinerate half of Israel with fire.”

Enthusiastic Christians awaiting the End of Days, on the other hand, pointed to Isaiah 66:15 “For, behold, the LORD will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire,” a verse that has also been interpreted as a warning to Jews who deny Jesus, as Trump’s inspiration.

Isaiah, then, corroborates the inside-information fatwa put out by Evangelical White House adviser Robert Jeffress by which God himself has given Trump the authority to attack North Korea.

Some of Trump’s supporters linked his inflammatory words to a more relevant but more disturbing precedent. They cited the August 6, 1945 statement issued by President Harry Truman after the bombing of Hiroshima in which he warned Japan that if it did not accept U.S. conditions for surrender “they may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth.” Truman didn’t give the Japanese too much time to think it over, because three days later another bomb was thrown on Nagasaki, with devastating consequences, a decision that remains in dispute today.

Even though Trump’s advisers tried to frame his words as part of some coherent master plan, he did not coordinate his statement with his advisers in advance just as he didn’t consult with them before he tweeted, with no basis in fact, that America’s nuclear arsenal is stronger and more modern than ever.

Secretary of State Tillerson tried to spin it as part of a double-edged strategy in which Trump, in contrast to Teddy Roosevelt’s admonition to talk softly, warns Kim “in the only language he understands” as international sanctions and diplomacy will convince him to come down from the tall tree he’s climbed and to reach an accommodation with Washington.

Given that Kim is an unguided missile himself, one can’t discount the possibility that Tillerson’s effort to put lipstick on a pig might actually be borne out in the end. But for the time being, Trump’s ill-conceived statements have violated the very same international consensus that produced a unanimous UN Security Council decision last week to impose new sanctions on North Korea. They have also backed China into a corner because Beijing cannot be seen as succumbing to Trump’s bluster.

Trump’s damaging outspokenness point to a failure of his new White House Chief of Staff John Kelly to rein the president in. Trump’s statements were seen as yet another outburst of dangerous nonsense from an impulsive and narcissistic president who can’t stand to be out of the media limelight for more than a few hours. Trump had complained that the media wasn’t paying enough attention to the Security Council decision, which was indeed an achievement for Ambassador Nikki Haley and for U.S,A. diplomacy, but then he turned around and stole its thunder for himself.

Nonetheless, Trump’s irresponsible rhetoric is not the only or even main issue. He only poured high octane fuel on an already smoldering fire that has turned into a far more clear and present danger because, contrary to most expert predictions, North Korea is quickly attaining the ability to launch intercontinental ballistic missiles and to arm them, according to a bombshell Washington Post report this week, with nuclear warheads. This report sparked a sense of panic in Washington and sent the Pentagon and the U.S.A. military to update their plans for pre-emptive operations and contingency attacks. It also unveiled another aspect of the White House war of the titans, in which Israel is playing an oversize role. Between National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and general advise Steve Bannon.

Kelly’s arrival was supposed to ease the battle, but the opposite seems to be the case. By backing McMaster from the outset, Kelly stopped an ongoing campaign, spurred by Trump’s expressions of displeasure, to have him replaced by someone more favorable to Bannon. With Kelly’s backing, McMaster proceeded to sack three National Security Council officials who were identified with Bannon and the far right.

The right-wing media that worships Bannon immediately launched an all-out assault against McMaster, aided and abetted, for some reasons, by social media accounts identified with the Kremlin and by Jews identified with the far right, including Jerusalem Post columnist Carolyn Glick and the Zionist Organization of America, often seen as reflecting the views of Sheldon Adelson. They savaged McMaster by providing proof, as it were, of his opposition to the abrogation of the Iran nuclear deal and his continued support for a two-state solution.

Although the White House feud is often seen, in Israel at least, as one that pits nationalist hawks led by Bannon against middle of the road pragmatists such as Kelly and McMaster, it’s only an optical illusion. As far as North Korea is concerned, the opposite is true. McMaster is far more aggressive on Pyongyang, repeatedly describing its nuclear armament as intolerable and reportedly urging some kind of preemptive move. Bannon, on the other hand, wants to push Trump away from a confrontation with Kim Jong Un as part of his isolationist world view and his insistence that the U.S.A. not squander the energy it needs to confront the far bigger danger emanating from China.

Bannon may talk the talk of cancelling the Iran deal in order to curry favor with the Jewish right; but in his view, Tehran poses even less of a threat to U.S.A. security than North Korea and therefore merits even less American intervention.

Some point to the 1994 Agreed Framework worked out between North Korea and the Clinton administration as a precedent that highlights the inadequacy of the nuclear deal with Iran, ignoring fundamental differences between the regimes in Tehran and Pyongyang as well as the GOP sabotage of the deal, first in Congress and later by the Bush administration.

In fact, the counterclaim can also be made that North Korea is behaving much like any other fanatical regime with nuclear ambitions and no treaty-imposed restrictions or supervision in the face of what it views as a hostile world.

One way or another, there can be no doubt that the North Korea crisis could have direct and possibly dramatic ramifications for the future of the Iran nuclear deal, but none of the scenarios bode well for the more aggressive approach favored by Benjamin Netanyahu.

If Trump intends to regroup the international community in order to pressure North Korea, he cannot afford to enrage it by unilaterally reneging on the agreement with Iran. Taking Kim on militarily might send a deterrent message to Iran, but could also divert Washington’s attention away from Iran. And if North Korea responds in force and Kim lights up the Korean Peninsula, the U.S.A. will forget about Iran altogether.

The chief beneficiary of the North Korean mess, perhaps unsurprisingly, has been Moscow.

Vladimir Putin has been content to sit back and watch America get drawn into a conflict it cannot afford to have, to see its outreach towards Beijing hit a serious snag, and to witness the fear and loathing that Trump is inspiring throughout the world.

Russia’s role in sparking suspicions about Trump’s motivation, on the other hand, is at center stage. Trump’s critics can’t decide if his behavior is the result of his usual mix of arrogance and ignorance or perhaps an attempt to divert attention, wag the dog style, away from the ongoing and ever-tightening investigation of his alleged collusion with Russia during the elections.

Such suspicions will only grow if Trump gets drawn into conflict in the Far East, a point that is also relevant for his BFF in the Middle East, Netanyahu – who is normally more cautious than Trump – but as his speech in Tel Aviv this week showed, is no less consumed by paranoia, self-victimization and a strange sense of hubris.

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Comments

  • Rosaliene Bacchus  On August 14, 2017 at 1:49 pm

    Very dangerous development.

  • Clyde Duncan  On August 15, 2017 at 10:52 am

  • Clyde Duncan  On August 15, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    Terrorist Who Beat Deandre Harris With A Pipe in Charlottesville Found On Social Media.

    By durrati | Daily Kos

    “While all attention this weekend was focused on the tragic death of Heather Heyer at the hands of a man named James Alex Fields Jr., another disgusting assault by a white nationalist at the ‘Unite The Right’ rally seemed to go relatively unnoticed.

    A 20-year-old man named Deandre Harris was beaten severely by multiple men who used pipes as their weapons of choice.

    Harris, who moved from Suffolk, Virginia, two years ago for a job opportunity as an instructional assistant in a special education program at a school nearby, was protesting against the ‘Unite The Right’ White Nationalist rally when multiple men approached him and began striking him with pipes while also kicking him.

    Harris suffered a lacerated head, which required eight staples, a broken wrist and a chipped tooth in the attack. Luckily, he will recover just fine, but that certainly doesn’t mean the crime will, or should, go unpunished.

    The attackers were likely expecting to get away without any major repercussions, but thanks to a single photograph of the incident, social media has apparently identified one of Harris’ attackers.

    As the picture of the attack made its way onto Twitter and Facebook, classmates of one of the men recognized him as Daniel Borden of Mason, Ohio.

    This led to social media users finding Borden’s Facebook page (now deleted), which confirmed that Borden appears to be the one in the photograph of the attack.

    Additional images of Borden at the rally have since surfaced, further confirming that he was one of Harris’ attackers.”

    Shaun King: Daniel [Dan] Borden – we found you. Your classmates turned you in. They say this does not surprise them. Your neck moles gave it away.

    No word on whether Borden has been arrested yet, but it’s coming.

    Events like this will haunt you like an unpaid bill – Be Warned

    Great work by all involved!

  • Clyde Duncan  On August 15, 2017 at 4:56 pm

    Angela Merkel Shows How a True Leader Responds to Violent Racism

    By Joan McCarter

    It shouldn’t take a German to show an American president how to respond to racial violence, but Chancellor Angela Merkel does it, making Trump’s refusal to condemn the neo-Nazi terror attack in Charlottesville stand out as that much more deplorable.

    In comments released via her spokesman on Monday, Merkel expressed shock at the “naked racism” seen during clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend.

    “The scenes at the right-wing extremist march were absolutely repulsive — naked racism, anti-Semitism and hate in their most evil form were on display,” Steffan Seibert told reporters, AFP reported.

    “Such images and chants are disgusting wherever they may be and they are diametrically opposed to the political goals of the chancellor and the entire German government.”

    Seibert added that Merkel stood with “those who peacefully oppose such aggressive, far-right views.”

    That’s how you condemn murderous neo-Nazi racists. Since the entire world lived through a war over this once before, it shouldn’t be hard to figure out that there aren’t “many sides” to consider.

    There is good and there is evil on this one, and every day Trump refuses to issue that strong condemnation his true colors show through clearer and clearer.

  • Clyde Duncan  On August 15, 2017 at 11:31 pm

    ASSOCIATION – Beautiful Explanation by Swami Vivekananda:

    Explaining the meaning of ‘Association’ he said:..

    A rain drop from the sky: if it is caught by clean hands, is pure enough for drinking.

    If it falls in the gutter, its value drops so much that it can’t be used even for washing your feet.

    If it falls on a hot surface, it will evaporate…

    If it falls on a lotus leaf, it shines like a pearl and finally,

    if it falls on an oyster, it becomes a pearl…

    The drop is the same, but its existence & worth depends on whom it is associated with.

    …Always be associated with people who are good at heart..

    You will experience your own inner transformation”…

  • Clyde Duncan  On August 16, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    Moon Prefers ‘Sunshine Policy’ to War with North Korea

    M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline

    I seldom write a consecutive blog on the same topic but an exception is in order because I received a few queries from friends on my assessment that a USA military strike on North Korea is inconceivable.

    (See my blog Come in, Kim. Join the club)

    From my life and times as a diplomat in South Korea (1979-1981), I can say that the timing of the decision by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to blast the ICBM was simply perfect – July 28, bang in the middle of the fortnight-long vacation period that South Koreans cherish, last week of July coupled with the first week of August, when schools shut down, children are at home and are clamouring for fun and family outings.

    South Koreans adore children – like any people who have seen an inferno like the Korean War and lost an entire generation.

    So, when President Donald Trump put in an emergency call on Monday to speak to Moon Jae-in, South Korean President, the latter’s office responded that the conversation could take place a week later after Moon got back from vacation. It was a gentle hint to Trump – ‘No sabre rattling, please.’

    Unlike Trump (or Japanese PM Shinzo Abe who is also barely coping with an abysmally low rating), Moon just won a handsome mandate.

    A profound leftist politician, Moon abhors wars. Moon also knows that sabre rattling only makes Kim feel more insecure. Although Pyongyang’s march toward an arsenal of nuclear missiles has grave implications for Seoul, Moon advocates restraint and the South Korean public salutes him.

    Look at Moon’s cabinet team. He put in key positions people with established record of favouring engagement with North Korea:

    Head of National Intelligence Service (Suh Hoon, who helped to arrange the two inter-Korean summits in 2000 and 2007, and spent two years in North Korea);

    Unification Minister (Cho Myoung-gyon who spent his career in the same ministry, working on issues of peaceful unification of the two Koreas and has vast experience in negotiating with Pyongyang);

    National Security Advisor (Moon chose Lee Sang-chul, former general who participated in inter-Korean military dialogues and Six Party Talks on denuclearisation);

    Special Advisor on Unification (Professor Moon Chung-in, stimulating thinker who expounds the provocative idea of ‘PRE-EMPTIVE TALKS’ with North Korea – ie., holding talks even without USA concurrence – who seeks downsizing of military exercises with the USA);

    Vice-Minister of Defence (Seo Joo-seok who recommends increasing military autonomy from the USA and closer alignment with China on North Korea);

    South Korea’s first female Foreign Minister (Kang Kyung-hwa, career diplomat with deep UN experience who used to be interpreter to the charismatic former leftist president Kim Dae-Jung, architect of the ‘SUNSHINE POLICY’).

    An academic at the Ewha Womans University in Seoul, Leif-Eric Easley, recently wrote, “Moon’s appointments suggest strong preferences for engagement over sanctions, diplomacy over military solutions, and working with the UN.

    Just as one does not bring together an all-star team of basketball players to play football, the Moon government was not assembled to contain North Korea.

    One lesson from the (previous leftist) Roh government was that the 2007 inter-Korean summit came too late in the administration’s term for agreements to be implemented. Moon is therefore likely to seek an earlier summit (with Kim).” – Spot on.

    South Korea is a fascinating country. I served there during the historic events – assassination of President Park Chung-hee (October 1979) and the great Gwanju Uprising (May 1980) – which were cataclysmic events that opened the door to the rose garden leading to the transition from brutal military dictatorship to a flourishing democracy.

    (By the way, I was the first Indian diplomat to visit former president Kim Dae-jung when he was under house arrest in Seoul allegedly for being a ‘communist sympathiser’; my wife presented to Mrs. Kim a beautiful painting of Damayanti and the swan in the Mahabharata.)

    Suffice to say, Moon made his point to Trump – ‘Cool it, Mr. President.’ Trump would have felt relieved.

    To my mind, Trump himself is intensely conscious of the horrific consequences of a war. At least a few thousand American lives will be lost – plus collateral damages on regional security, USA-China relations, and the world economy (severely straining the confidence of consumers and investors in the USA and dealing a lethal blow to ‘America First’.)

    Trump enjoys a rare ‘bipartisan consensus’ that war is simply not an option.

    Of course, the risk is there that he is a man of limited patience, attention span and command of policy. But on the other hand, he has the instincts of a businessman who’d carefully weigh gains and losses.

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