FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn Plan to Vote for Ralph Nader

by STEPHEN GOWANS

Picture this: Al-Qaeda offers Washington a “provisional” guarantee not to attack the country or seek to target US interests abroad in return for the US dismantling its military. The agreement would depend on the US giving international inspectors access to US military sites and meeting a series of deadlines for disabling and dismantling its military facilities, and then shipping them out of the country.

Would Washington agree?

Never.

No country would deliberately leave itself defenseless, simply because an enemy promised not to attack, and then only provisionally.

Yet absurd as the proposal is, this is what Washington is offering North Korea.

Under the plan, China, Russia, Japan and South Korea would furnish the Communist country with heavy fuel oil and Washington would offer a “provisional” commitment not to attack or try to topple the North Korean government, in return for North Korea dismantling its nuclear weapons program, giving international inspectors access to nuclear sites and meeting a series of deadlines for disabling and dismantling its nuclear facilities, and then shipping them out of the country.

But once the North Koreans had irreversibly dismantled their nuclear weapons capability, leaving themselves effectively defenseless, what would stop the US from rescinding its “provisional” agreement not to attack?

Nothing.

And it’s not as if US governments have a great record when its comes to trustworthiness.

Washington has already proved itself perfectly willing to break agreements where North Korea is concerned. Under the 1994 Agreed Framework, negotiated by the Clinton administration, North Korea agreed to shut down its nuclear facilities at Yongbyon in return for fuel oil shipments, the construction of two light-water reactors, and normalization of relations.

The nuclear facilities were closed, fuel oil shipments began, and so did construction of the light-water reactors. But Washington did little to normalize relations and construction of the reactors proceeded at a snail’s pace. By 2003, the scheduled completion date, construction work was still in its preliminary stages.

If the Clinton administration had dragged its heels on holding up its end of the agreement, the Bush administration was openly hostile.
Soon enough, Washington was claiming North Korea had admitted to breaking the agreement by secretly pursuing the development of nuclear weapons, an admission the North Koreans denied they had ever made.

Nevertheless, the Bush administration had its justification for cancelling the agreement, one it seems, it manufactured out of whole cloth — an administration speciality. Fuel oil shipments were halted.

Meanwhile, North Korea was included in the list of axis of evil countries. Bush speech writer David Frum, who boasted he’d coined the phrase, said the Communist country was included because it needed to feel a heavy hand.

How much heavier could it get?

North Korea had already struggled through 50 years of US economic sanctions. Its markets and sources of raw materials had disappeared with the collapse of Communism in Russia and Eastern Europe. And the Korean War — never officially ended, a reality attesting to by the 37,000 US troops that remained in the south — forced the country to divert scarce resources to its military.
It was a miracle a Communist North Korea continued to survive — though barely, mired in poverty, the screws turning tighter.

John R. Bolton, the under secretary of state for arms control, let it be known the US intended to play hardball. Asked to clarify US policy toward North Korea, Bolton “strode over to a bookshelf, pulled off a volume and slapped it on the table. It was called ‘The End of North Korea,’ by an American Enterprise Institute colleague. ‘That,’ he said, ‘is our policy.'” (“Absent from the Korea Talks: Bush’s Hard-Liner,” The New York Times, September 2, 2003.)

Critically short of energy, and under a growing threat, North Korea kicked inspectors out of the country, re-opened its nuclear facilities, and withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Soon after, US forces marched on a defenseless Iraq, which had disarmed in compliance with UN — and US — demands. The lesson was clear: Disarm and be invaded.

The lesson wasn’t lost on the North Korean leadership. Nor should it be lost on anyone else. Whoever thinks the US would leave an effectively defenseless North Korea in peace, its Communist system intact, is suffering from a severe delusion.

Washington has never been tolerant of Communist, socialist or economic nationalist regimes, and has always worked to replace them with dependent governments that can guarantee corporate America access to markets, raw materials and low-wage labor. There’s nothing, it seems, more repugnant to Washington policy-makers than a closed economy.

In their book “An End to Evil: How to Win the War of Terror,” Frum and Pentagon-advisor Richard Perle argue that a Communist regime in North Korea would be perfectly acceptable, so long as it allowed the country to be integrated into Western capitalism. The duo’s preference seems to be fit perfectly with preferences expressed in decades of US foreign policy.

So it is that it’s a near certainty that if North Korea disarmed (assuming it has nuclear weapons — no one knows for sure, and North Korea denies it has the uranium weapons program the US insists it has), the “provisional” character of Washington’s nonaggression commitment would soon become evident.

At that point, North Korea would be faced with an ultimatum: Become a satellite of the US, open your economy fully to penetration by US capital, or face the same consequences as Iraq.

Either way, the picture isn’t pretty.

STEPHEN GOWANS is a writer and political activist who lives in Ottawa, Canada. He can be reached at: sr.gowans@sympatico.ca


More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
December 02, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
The Coming War on China
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: The CIA’s Plots to Kill Castro
Paul Street
The Iron Heel at Home: Force Matters
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
Timberg’s Tale: Washington Post Reporter Spreads Blacklist of Independent Journalist Sites
Andrew Levine
Must We Now Rethink the Hillary Question? Absolutely, Not
Joshua Frank
CounterPunch as Russian Propagandists: the Washington Post’s Shallow Smear
David Rosen
The Return of HUAC?
Rob Urie
Race and Class in Trump’s America
Patrick Cockburn
Why Everything You’ve Read About Syria and Iraq Could be Wrong
Caroline Hurley
Anatomy of a Nationalist
Michael Hudson – Steve Keen
Rebel Economists on the Historical Path to a Global Recovery
Ayesha Khan
A Muslim Woman’s Reflections on Trump’s Misogyny
Russell Mokhiber
Sanders Single Payer and Death by Democrat
Roger Harris
The Triumph of Trump and the Specter of Fascism
Steve Horn
Donald Trump’s Swamp: Meet Ten Potential Energy and Climate Cabinet Picks and the Pickers
Louis Proyect
Deepening Contradictions: Identity Politics and Steelworkers
Ralph Nader
Trump and His Betraying Makeover
Stephen Kimber
The Media’s Abysmal Coverage of Castro’s Death
Dan Bacher
WSPA: The West’s Most Powerful Corporate Lobbying Group
Nile Bowie
Will Trump backpedal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership?
Ron Ridenour
Fidel’s Death Brings Forth Great and Sad Memories
Missy Comley Beattie
By Invitation Only
Fred Gardner
Sword of Damocles: Pot Partisans Fear Trump’s DOJ
Renee Parsons
Obama and Propornot
Dean Baker
Cash and Carrier: Trump and Pence Put on a Show
Jack Rasmus
Taming Trump: From Faux Left to Faux Right Populism
Ron Jacobs
Selling Racism—A Lesson From Pretoria
Julian Vigo
The Hijos of Buenos Aires:  When Identity is Political
Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano
By Way of Prologue: On How We Arrived at the Watchtower and What We Saw from There
Dave Lindorff
Is Trump’s Idea To Fix the ‘Rigged System’ by Appointing Crooks Who’ve Played It?
Aidan O'Brien
Fidel and Spain: A Tale of Right and Wrong
Carol Dansereau
Stop Groveling! How to Thwart Trump and Save the World
Kim Nicolini
Moonlight, The Movie
Evan Jones
Behind GE’s Takeover of Alstom Energy
James A Haught
White Evangelicals are Fading, Powerful, Baffling
Barbara Moroncini
Protests and Their Others
Joseph Natoli
The Winds at Their Backs
Cesar Chelala
Poverty is Not Only an Ignored Word
David Swanson
75 Years of Pearl Harbor Lies
Alex Jensen
The Great Deceleration
Nyla Ali Khan
When Faith is the Legacy of One’s Upbringing
Gilbert Mercier
Trump Win: Paradigm Shift or Status Quo?
Stephen Martin
From ‘Too Big to Fail’ to ‘Too Big to Lie’: the End Game of Corporatist Globalization.
Charles R. Larson
Review: Emma Jane Kirby’s “The Optician of Lampedusa”
David Yearsley
Haydn Seek With Hsu
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail