Just as North and South Korea achieve important peaceful exchanges, Washington and its NATO allies appear to be moving with determination to sabotage the initiative for averting war on the East Asian peninsula.
Further, the reckless, gratuitous provocations beg the conclusion that the United States is indeed trying to start a war.
Meanwhile, unprecedented accusations this week by US President Donald Trump that Russia is supporting North Korea to evade United Nations sanctions also point to the danger that any conflict could spiral out of control to engulf world nuclear powers.
Moscow rejected the unsubstantiated claims leveled by Trump, saying that Russia is abiding by UN trade restrictions over North Korea, and that the American president’s allegations were “entirely unfounded”.
Trump’s verbal broadside suggests that Washington is trying to undermine the nascent talks between the two Koreas, talks which Russia and China have both applauded as a long-overdue diplomatic effort to resolve the Korean conflict.
Separately, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov deplored a summit held in Vancouver, Canada, earlier this week in which the US and 19 other nations – most of them NATO members – called for sharper sanctions on North Korea that go beyond the remit of the United Nations. The conference, co-hosted by Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, issued a stridently bellicose statement, calling in effect for North Korea to surrender its nuclear weapons or face US-led military action.
Significantly, and pointedly, China and Russia were not invited to the Canadian summit.
Most of the attending states were part of the original US-led military force which fought against North Korea during the 1950-53 war. A war which killed as many as two million North Koreans.
Russia admonished that the conference was “harmful” to current peace talks between North and South Korea. China rebuked the Canadian event as being stuck in “Cold War thinking”.
The anachronism of countries like Britain, Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Netherlands and Norway attending a conference on the Korean crisis while Asia-Pacific powers Russia and China being excluded was noted by Russia’s Sergei Lavrov. The anachronism is not only absurd, he said, it reprises a provocative “war summit” message.
Disturbingly, what the Vancouver gathering demonstrated was the willingness by the US and its allies to circumvent the United Nations Security Council and the previously established regional Six-Party forum involving the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the US.
At the Vancouver event, Tillerson laid out a belligerent agenda that was endorsed by the other attendees. The agenda included the precondition of North Korea giving up its nuclear program unilaterally; and it also flatly rejected the proposal made by Russia and China for a “freeze” in all military activities on the Korean Peninsula as a step to get comprehensive settlement talks going.
Tillerson made the following sinister ultimatum: “We have to recognize that that threat [of North Korea’s nuclear weapons] is growing. And if North Korea does not choose the path of engagement, discussion, negotiation, [that is, surrender] then they themselves will trigger an option [US military action].”
The US diplomat also warned that the American public must be “sober” about the possibility of war breaking out. Tillerson said the risk of such a war on the Korean Peninsula “continues to grow”. This was echoed by President Trump a day later in an interview with the Reuters news agency in which he also warned of possible war. It was the same interview in which Trump blamed Russia for aiding and abetting North Korea.
This sounds like US leaders are intensifying the conditioning of the American public to accept use of the military option, which they have been threatening for the past year in a pre-emptive attack on North Korea.
The Vancouver summit also called for proactive interdiction of international ships suspected of breaching UN sanctions on North Korea. That raises the danger of the US and its allies interfering with Russian and Chinese vessels – which would further escalate tensions.
These reprehensible developments are a reflection of the increasingly Orwellian worldview held by Washington and its partners, whereby “war is presented as peace” and “peace is perceived as war”.
Just this week, North and South Korea held a third round of peace negotiations in as many weeks. Even Western news media hailed “Olympic breakthrough” after the two adversaries agreed to participate in the opening ceremony of the forthcoming winter games next month as a unified nation under a neutral flag.
After two years of no inter-Korean talks and mounting war tensions on the peninsula, surely the quickening pace of peace overtures this month should be welcomed and encouraged. Russia, China and the UN have indeed endorsed the bilateral Korean exchange. Even President Trump said he welcomed it.
Nevertheless, as the Vancouver summit this week shows, the US and its NATO allies appear to be doing everything to torpedo the inter-Korean dialogue. Issuing ultimatums and warning of “military options” seems intended to blow up the delicate dynamic towards confidence and trust.
Two reports this week in the New York Times conveyed the contorted Orwellian mindset gripping Washington and its allies.
First, there was the report: “Military quietly prepares for a last resort: War with North Korea”. The NY Times actually reported extensive Pentagon plans for a preemptive air assault on North Korea involving a “deep attack” manned by 82nd Airborne paratroopers and special forces. The paper spun the provocative war plans as a “last resort”. In other words, war is sold here as peace.
Which raises the question of who is trying to wreck the Olympic Games being held in South Korea in February. For months, Western media have been warning that North Korea was intending to carry out some kind of sabotage. Now, it looks like the sabotage is actually coming from the US, albeit sanitized by the NY Times.
The second report in the NY Times had the telling headline: “Olympic détente upends US strategy on North Korea”.
So, let’s get our head around that display of dubious logic. A peaceful development of détente between two adversaries is somehow presented as a pernicious “upending of US strategy on North Korea”. In other words, peace is sold here as war.
Take for example this choice editorial comment from the NY Times in the second report: “This latest gesture of unity, the most dramatic in a decade, could add to fears in Washington that Pyongyang is making progress on a more far-reaching agenda.”
And what, one wonders, would that “far-reaching agenda” entail?
Again the NY Times elaborates: “White House officials warn that the ultimate goal of [North Korean leader] Mr Kim is to evict American troops from the Korean Peninsula and to reunify the two Koreas under a single flag… For the United States, the fear has been that North Korea’s gestures will drive a wedge between it and its ally, South Korea.”
Only in a perverse Orwellian worldview would an initiative to calm tensions and build peaceful relations be construed as something to “fear” and be opposed to.
Only in a perverse Orwellian worldview would peaceful dialogue provoke plans for pre-emptive war.
But that is precisely the kind of dystopian world that Washington and its lackeys inhabit.