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At the U.N. recently, Donald Trump followed up on his bloodcurdling threat to unleash on North Korea “fire and fury like the world has never seen” (essentially a warning of nuclear terror) with an even grimmer threat: to “totally destroy” that country. In his histrionic bluntness, Trump was not alone in raising the nuclear issue.... Read More
The descent of US/North Korea “crisis” to the level of schoolyard taunts should be remembered as one of the most bizarre, dangerous, and disgraceful chapters in US foreign policy history. President Trump, who holds the lives of millions of Koreans and Americans in his hands, has taken to calling the North Korean dictator “rocket man... Read More
NEW YORK – Not since Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev banged his fists and waved his shoe at the UN in 1960 has a world leader made such a spectacle of himself as President Donald Trump did this past week at the world organization. Trump vowed to ‘totally destroy’ North Korea, a nation of 25 million,... Read More
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Donald Trump has chosen the wrong career. His flamboyant style would make him a popular and much loved Kabuki actor. The Japanese call it aragoto, literally a “rough business” style of heroic drama, featuring a big bold warrior with red and black makeup and a huge sword. The warrior trumps up to the scene with... Read More
Wall Street Journal’s Solution to North Korea
The editors at the Wall Street Journal have settled on a plan for ending the crisis in North Korea. Starve them to death. I’m not kidding. In an article titled “Options for Removing Kim Jong In” the WSJ’s editorial board suggests that the US use “all of its tools to topple the North Korean regime”... Read More
Donald Trump isn’t going to start a war with North Korea. That’s just not going to happen. Not only does the United States not have the ground forces for such a massive operation but, more important, a war with the North would serve no strategic purpose at all. The US already has the arrangement it... Read More
Russians are concerned about Washington’s arbitrary closing of their San Francisco consulate and the illegal searching of diplomatic properties. There is no question that Washington has violated diplomatic protections and international law. Why did Washington show its outlaw face to the world? Was it to show that as strong as Russia is, Russia cannot protect... Read More
By setting off a 100-kiloton bomb, after firing a missile over Japan, Kim Jong Un has gotten the world's attention. What else does he want? Almost surely not war with America. For no matter what damage Kim could visit on U.S. troops and bases in South Korea, Okinawa and Guam, his country would be destroyed... Read More
Photo by Stefan Krasowski | CC BY 2.0
Here’s what the media isn’t telling you about North Korea’s recent missile tests. Last Monday, the DPRK fired a Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan’s Hokkaido Island. The missile landed in the waters beyond the island harming neither people nor property. The media immediately condemned the test as a “bold and provocative act” that showed... Read More
Old Chinese saying: ‘when elephants battle, ants get crushed.’ Think of the current crisis on the Korean Peninsula in which the government in Seoul has been all but ignored. South Korea’s newly elected president, Moon Jae-in, keeps insisting that the US must not launch war against North Korea without South Korea’s agreement. President Donald Trump... Read More
Like 9/11, Hurricane Harvey brought us together. In awe at the destruction 50 inches of rain did to East Texas and our fourth-largest city and in admiration as cable television showed countless hours of Texans humanely and heroically rescuing and aiding fellow Texans in the worst natural disaster in U.S. history. On display this week... Read More
President Trump’s ability to trigger a nuclear war is "pretty damn scary" said former US intelligence director James Clapper this week. Remember when Trump vowed to "bomb the shit" out of his enemies? I don’t have much respect for Clapper, who brazenly lied to Congress and is a ringleader of the deep government’s efforts to... Read More
The United States and South Korea are currently engaged in large-scale, joint-military war games that simulate an invasion of the North, the destruction of the DPRK’s nuclear weapons sites, and a “decapitation operation” to take out the supreme leader, Kim Jong-un. The objective of the operation is to intensify tensions between North and South thereby... Read More
Photo by DaveBleasdale | CC BY 2.0
There are more parallels between an unfinished 1950s war in Northeast Asia and an ongoing 16-year-old war in the crossroads between Central and South Asia than meet the eye. Let’s start with North Korea. Once again the US/South Korea Hunger Games plow on. It didn’t have to be this way. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov... Read More
The Times They Are A-Changin’ in North Korea
The United States has beaten its head against the wall of North Korea for more than 70 years, and that wall has changed little indeed as a result. The United States, meanwhile, has suffered one headache after another. Over the last several weeks, the head banging has intensified. North Korea has tested a couple of... Read More
If you happen to be a dystopian novelist, as TomDispatch regular John Feffer is, then you’re in business these days. Back in 2015, when Donald Trump's campaign for the presidency was just heating up and Feffer was writing Splinterlands, his vivid look back from the year 2050 at our shattered planet, he named the massive... Read More
"When a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight," Samuel Johnson observed, "it concentrates his mind wonderfully." And the prospect of a future where Kim Jong Un can put a nuclear weapon on a U.S. city is going to cause this nation to reassess the risks and rewards of the American Imperium.... Read More
Saturday, Kim Jong Un tested an ICBM of sufficient range to hit the U.S. mainland. He is now working on its accuracy, and a nuclear warhead small enough to fit atop that missile that can survive re-entry. Unless we believe Kim is a suicidal madman, his goal seems clear. He wants what every nuclear power... Read More
President Trump seems to be impatiently racing toward at least one disastrous war. Maybe two. The big question is who will be first? North Korea or Iran?Over the past several days President Trump has sent two nuclear-capable B-1 bombers over the Korean peninsula to send a clear message that he is ready to attack North... Read More
“I have some pretty severe things we’re thinking about,” Trump said of North Korea at a news conference in Warsaw. “Doesn’t mean we’re going to do them.” What President Trump really meant is that he has painted the US into a corner with all his threats of war and really does not know what to... Read More
Here’s a reasonable question to ask in our unreasonable world: Does Donald Trump even know where North Korea is? The answer matters and if you wonder why I ask, just remember his comment upon landing in Israel after his visit to Saudi Arabia. “We just got back from the Middle East,” he said. In response,... Read More
Readers of China Matters may have noticed there hasn’t been too much to read lately. That’s because since the beginning of the year I’ve been doing a weekly video reports for Newsbud, an online indy media outfit run by Sibel Edmonds. It started with China Watch, a weekly newsprogram that covers key China-related international affairs.... Read More
The North Korean “crisis” is a Washington orchestration. North Korea was last at war 1950-53. N. Korea has not attacked or invaded anyone in 64 years. N. Korea lacks the military strength to attack any country, such as South Korea and Japan, that is protected by the US. Moreover, China would not permit N. Korea... Read More
The United States is not going to launch a preemptive attack on North Korea. The risks far outweigh the rewards and, besides, the US has no intention of getting bogged down in a conflict that doesn’t advance its geopolitical objectives. The saber-rattling is just an attempt to divert attention from the Syria-Jordan border where the... Read More
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The more dangerous America’s crackpot President becomes, the saner the world believes him to be. Just look back at the initial half of his first 100 days: the crazed tweeting, the lies, the fantasies and self-regard of this misogynist leader of the Western world appalled all of us. But the moment he went to war... Read More
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Introduction: US Empire building on a world-scale began during and shortly after WWII. Washington intervened directly in the Chinese civil war (providing arms to Chiang Kai Shek’s army while the Red Army battled the Japanese), backed France’s re-colonization war against the Viet Minh in Indo-China and installed Japanese imperial collaborator-puppet regimes in South Korea, Taiwan... Read More
In my long experience in Washington, vice presidents did not make major foreign policy announcements or threaten other countries with war. Not even Dick Cheney stole this role from the weak president George W. Bush. But yesterday the world witnessed VP Pence threaten North Korea with war. “The sword stands ready,” said Pence as if... Read More
Let’s say you know someone who wears funny blue suits and doesn’t share your views on politics. So you decide to stick this person in a cage and put him on a diet of bread and water until he agrees to change his wardrobe and adjust his thinking. And when he sits quietly on the... Read More
"Why would I call China a currency manipulator when they are working with us on the North Korean problem?" tweeted President Donald Trump on Easter Sunday. Earlier, after discovering "great chemistry" with Chinese President Xi Jinping over "the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake" at Mar-a-Lago, Trump had confided, "I explained ... that a trade... Read More
Photo by Stefan Krasowski | CC BY 2.0
Washington has never made any effort to conceal its contempt for North Korea. In the 64 years since the war ended, the US has done everything in its power to punish, humiliate and inflict pain on the Communist country. Washington has subjected the DPRK to starvation, prevented its government from accessing foreign capital and markets,... Read More
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(A Light-headed discussion of grave affairs)
What’s wrong with gassing your own people? After all, California does it and Oklahoma plans it, and these are fine advanced states. I would not like the Russians to send their howling missiles to Sacramento: they gas their own people. While gassing someone’s else people may be considered a sort of interference in their affairs,... Read More
If Donald Trump can keep his nerve, he will soon have consigned the North Korean nuclear farce to history – and in doing so will have done much to change the narrative of his hitherto faltering presidency. It is his Cuban-missile-crisis moment. Firmness and level-headedness are necessary in equal measure. And a victory will be... Read More
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“If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will.” So thundered President Donald Trump last week. Unfortunately, neither China nor North Korea appeared intimidated by this presidential bombast or Trump’s Tweets. What would ‘we will’ actually entail? This clear threat makes us think seriously about what a second Korean War would be like.... Read More
"If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will." So President Donald Trump warns, amid reports North Korea, in its zeal to build an intercontinental ballistic missile to hit our West Coast, may test another atom bomb. China shares a border with North Korea. We do not. Why then is this our problem... Read More
North Korea: the natural solution. Might Mother Nature solve the North Korean problem for us? She certainly might. I tell people, quite truthfully, that I have been inside North Korea. For extra effect I sometimes add “… as an illegal immigrant.” Visiting my wife’s home province in northeast China sixteen years ago, we took a... Read More
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Panmunjom, the ‘peace village’ on the incredibly tense demilitarized zone (aka DMZ) between North and South Korea, is one of the weirdest places I’ve ever visited. Tough North Korean soldiers lurk about, watched by equally tough South Korean troops in one-way sunglasses and an aggressive judo ‘warrior’ stance. When I was filming at Panmunjom, we... Read More
To back up Defense Secretary "Mad Dog" Mattis' warning last month, that the U.S. "remains steadfast in its commitment" to its allies, President Donald Trump is sending B-1 and B-52 bombers to Korea. Some 300,000 South Korean and 15,000 U.S. troops have begun their annual Foal Eagle joint war exercises that run through April. "The... Read More
Palm Beach – A serious curse on the Democratic Republic of Korea (North Korea or the DPRK) for apparently murdering one of my schoolmates. Very bad form, Pyongyang! My old high school, the Ecole International of Geneva, Switzerland had a zany and interesting collection of cosmopolitan students from everywhere. We had lots of children of... Read More
North Korea has ‘entered the final stage of preparation for the test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile(ICBM)’. So crowed North Korea’s young leader, Kim Jong-un, in his New Year’s Day message aimed at tough-talking US president-elect, Donald Trump. In case there was any doubt about Pyongyang’s meaning, Kim warned his nation would continue to... Read More
I have a piece up at Asia Times on Donald Trump’s North Korea options: waste it, sanction it (and China), or have a burger with Kim Jong Un: Trump, North Korea, bombs, and burgers. “Kinda crippling sanctions” got another workout at the UN on November 30, highlighting a point I made in the piece that... Read More
North Korea’s fifth nuclear test produced an explosion fury and hysteria around the world, more empty threats against the Hermit Kingdom, and a giant sell-off in stock markets by foolish investors. No wonder gleeful North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was having such a big laugh. It’s not often that a small nation of only 24.8... Read More
I consider North Korea to be America’s stalking horse for its China strategy. If I’m right, things aren’t looking too good. I have a piece up at Asia Times, Will We Have to Nuke Asia in Order to Save It? It reviews the recent excitement over the fifth North Korean nuclear test and addresses the... Read More
Children of North Korea
A colossal mass demonstration, well choreographed to the level of ballet but with tens of thousands of participants in the centre of Pyongyang completed and sealed an important and unusual political event in this remote and isolated land of North Korea – the Party Congress. The demo has been followed by a show, so big... Read More
Should Japan and South Korea be permitted to develop nuclear weapons? That was the very good question posed last week by candidate Donald Trump. Washington’s elite and neocon war party threw up their hands in horror at Trump’s heretical question. The media, heavily influenced by neocons who hate Trump’s call for even-handed US policy in... Read More
Happiness is having your very own atomic bomb. This week we saw pictures of beaming North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, examining either a nuclear model or maybe even the real warhead of a miniaturized nuclear weapon. Having a nuclear warhead is not, however, enough to scare your enemies and neighbors. You’ve got to have a... Read More
“Let’s begin 2016…with the thrilling explosion of our first hydrogen bomb, so that the whole world will look up to our socialist, nuclear-armed republic and the great Workers’ Party of Korea!” Kim Jong-un North Koreans may be happy, but the rest of the world certainly is not. Predictably, the US, Japan, China, Australia and South... Read More
Here’s your U.S. foreign policy quiz for the day: Question 1– How many governments has the United States overthrown or tried to overthrow since the Second World War? Answer: 57 (See William Blum.) Question 2– How many of those governments had nuclear weapons? Answer— 0 Does that mean North Korea needs nuclear weapons to deter... Read More
For Xi Jinping, it has been a rough week. Panicked flight from China's currency twice caused a plunge of 7 percent in her stock market, forcing a suspension of trading. Kim Jong Un, the megalomaniac who runs North Korea, ignored Xi's warning and set off a fourth nuclear bomb. While probably not a hydrogen bomb... Read More
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In my opinion, a lot of the mockery of the North Korean nuclear test—the silly little man with his silly little bomb—is racism that reassures. It evokes the explanation for why many poor rural whites adopted a posture of racial exclusion instead of class solidarity with poor rural blacks in the American South: “because 'If... Read More
The reckless use of a charity to sneak spy equipment into North Korea will endanger Christians across the world
Was a Christian non-governmental organization funded by the Pentagon used to smuggle spy equipment into North Korea? Investigative journalist Matthew Cole of the The Intercept has done yeoman’s work in ferreting out the details of what must surely be one of the most ill-conceived military intelligence operations of all time, and that is saying quite... Read More
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A menace grows from Bush’s Korean blind spot.