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:
July 28, 2016
Paul Street
Politician Speak at the DNC
Jeffrey St. Clair
Night of the Hollow Men: Notes From the Democratic Convention
Renee Parsons
Blame It on the Russians
Herbert Dyer, Jr.
Is it the Cops or the Cameras? Putting Police Brutality in Historical Context
Russell Mokhiber
Dems Dropping the N Word: When in Trouble, Blame Ralph
Howard Lisnoff
The Elephant in the Living Room
Pepe Escobar
The Real Secret of the South China Sea
Ramzy Baroud
Farewell to Yarmouk: A Palestinian Refugee’s Journey from Izmir to Greece
John Laforge
Wild Turkey with H-Bombs: Failed Coup Raise Calls for Denuclearization
Dave Lindorff
Moving Beyond the Sanders Campaign
Jill Richardson
There’s No Such Thing as a “Free Market”
Patrick Cockburn
Erdogan Moves Against the Gulen Movement in Turkey
Winslow Myers
Beyond Drift
Edward Martin - Mateo Pimentel
Who Are The Real Pariahs This Election?
Jan Oberg
The Clintons Celebrated, But Likely a Disaster for the Rest of the World
Johnny Gaunt
Brexit: the British Working Class has Just Yawned Awake
Mark Weisbrot
Attacking Trump for the Few Sensible Things He Says is Both Bad Politics and Bad Strategy
Thomas Knapp
Election 2016: Think Three’s a Crowd? Try 2,000
Corrine Fletcher
White Silence is Violence: How to be a White Accomplice
July 27, 2016
Richard Moser
The Party’s Over
M. G. Piety
Smoke and Mirrors in Philadelphia
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Humiliation Games: Notes on the Democratic Convention
Arun Gupta
Bernie Sanders’ Political Revolution Splinters Apart
John Eskow
The Loneliness of the American Leftist
Guillermo R. Gil
A Metaphoric Short Circuit: On Michelle Obama’s Speech at the DNC
Norman Pollack
Sanders, Our Tony Blair: A Defamation of Socialism
Claire Rater, Carol Spiegel and Jim Goodman
Consumers Can Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics on Factory Farms
Guy D. Nave
Make America Great Again?
Sam Husseini
Why Sarah Silverman is a Comedienne
Dave Lindorff
No Crooked Sociopaths in the White House
Dan Bacher
The Hired Gun: Jerry Brown Snags Bruce Babbitt as New Point Man For Delta Tunnels
Peter Lee
Trumputin! And the DNC Leak(s)
David Macaray
Interns Are Exploited and Discriminated Against
Brett Warnke
Storm Clouds Over Philly
Ann Garrison
Rwanda, the Clinton Dynasty, and the Case of Dr. Léopold Munyakazi
Chris Zinda
Snakes of Deseret
July 26, 2016
Andrew Levine
Pillory Hillary Now
Kshama Sawant
A Call to Action: Walk Out from the Democratic National Convention!
Russell Mokhiber
The Rabble Rise Together Against Bernie, Barney, Elizabeth and Hillary
Jeffrey St. Clair
Don’t Cry For Me, DNC: Notes From the Democratic Convention
Angie Beeman
Why Doesn’t Middle America Trust Hillary? She Thinks She’s Better Than Us and We Know It
Paul Street
An Update on the Hate…
Fran Shor
Beyond Trump vs Clinton
Ellen Brown
Japan’s “Helicopter Money” Play: Road to Hyperinflation or Cure for Debt Deflation?
Richard W. Behan
The Banana Republic of America: Democracy Be Damned
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail