Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. A generous donor is matching all donations of $100 or more! So please donate now to double your punch!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Fire and Fury: Six Places the US Could Invade That Aren’t North Korea

Photo by DVIDSHUB | CC BY 2.0

Historians rarely like to predict the future. Nobody likes to be proven wrong, and saying I told you so is often cold comfort. But with mainstream media outlets in hysterics over the imminent threat of war in the Western Pacific, a little perspective would not go astray right now.

The US is not about to invade North Korea. Period. It has nothing to gain and everything to lose by doing so. Pyongyang poses no immediate threat. It has no long range ICBMs or miniaturised warheads, and is a long way, maybe decades away from having them. Besides, why provoke China and Russia with a firefight so close to their borders? Why risk starting a war which would almost certainly spill over into South Korea and Japan, two of the world’s biggest economies? No, Washington will simply learn to deal with the fact that the DPRK now has a limited defensive capability and isn’t about be bullied into submission.

And why shouldn’t it have a defensive capability? Ghaddafi surrendered Libya’s WMD in 2003 and look what happened to Libya. Iraqi peace initiatives failed to stave off the destruction of that country at the hands of a maniacal US led coalition. Put yourself in Kim’s position, leader of a country once the victim of one of the bloodiest wars of American aggression in history, of which US General Curtis Le May later recalled: “We burned down just about every city in North Korea and South Korea both. We killed off over a million civilian Koreans and drove several million more from their homes.” Thankfully the doctrine of pre-emptive warfare, or its latest iteration, preventative war, is reserved for the US alone. North Korea is not about to fire the first shot, as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson well knows, recently reassuring Americans not to worry about North Korea and to “sleep well”.

So why all the bluff and bluster? One might well speculate. Could it simply be to make Trump appear presidential in the face of sliding approval ratings? Or perhaps to restore the balance of US belligerency after the strategic withdrawal from Syria? Or could it possibly be to provide cover for military adventures elsewhere? In November 2008, at a time when all attention was focused on the Mumbai bombings, Israel seized the opportunity to launch an attack on Gaza which escaped media scrutiny. There are murmurs at the time of writing that Israel may be planning another ground invasion of Gaza, and possible occupation of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula under the pretext of fighting ISIS. Would the US come to the aid of its client regime in such a scenario? It’s certainly one to keep an eye on.

The overwhelming success of the constituent assembly plebiscite in Venezuela has also provoked a strong reaction from the White House, with the bigly commander-in-chief now openly threatening military action. It’s ironic that Maduro is branded a “dictator” by many of Washington’s allies, including the unelected president of Brazil, Michel Temer. More bizarre that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, representing the Saudi regime which continues to commit war crimes in Yemen, should come forward to condemn the ‘breakdown of the rule of law in Venezuela’. News of human rights violations has spread far and wide through the corporate press, sparking calls for intervention.

Speaking of Yemen, the doubling down on the genocidal attacks on the people of this war torn state in recent weeks has also been underreported, with the US committing ground troops to ostensibly take part in “intelligence sharing”, whatever that means in today’s Pentagon doublespeak. As if years of war, famine, displacement, and poverty weren’t enough, the people of Yemen now have to contend with an outbreak of Cholera which has so far affected 300 000. Yemen is of vital geostrategic interest to war profiteers seeking easy access to Ethiopia’s untapped oil and gas reserves, and the Port of Aden and soon to be completed Bridge of Horns will provide an alternative trade route to the Strait of Hormuz, currently controlled by Iran.

Relations between the Philippines and US have soured significantly since the populist leader Rodrigo Duterte assumed power last year. Duterte’s moves toward an independent foreign policy favouring ties with Russia and China have earned the ire of Washington, and there are rumours of a possible coup attempt against him, which could once again assume the guise of “humanitarian intervention”, based on his alleged human rights abuses in his ongoing War on Drugs and Criminality. Alternately, reports are surfacing that the US may intervene in Marawi against ISIS. In either case, regime change will be high on the agenda.

Moving further west, all signs point to preparation for a regime change operation in Thailand as the US seeks to assert a united Southeast Asian front to counter China’s rise. A provisional military government has held power in Thailand since the ouster of President Yingluck Shinawatra in 2014. The Shinawatra family have deep ties the US establishment, dating back to Thaksin Shinawatra’s time as adviser to US-based equity firm, the Carlyle Group. In the 2011 elections, Yingluck openly ran as a proxy for her brother Thaksin, a criminal fugitive living in Dubai.

Finally there is Ukraine, where the government of Petro Poroshenko indicated recently that it ‘has not ruled out’ a military drive to take the eastern province of Donbass by force. This comes on the heels of a New York Times story titled Russia’s Military Drills near NATO Border Raise Fears of Aggression. (Err, pardon? Since when does NATO have a border???) Anyway, just the usual baseless McCarthyite bluster to which we’re all well accustomed. During his recent tour of Estonia and Georgia US Vice President Mike Pence also reaffirmed America’s readiness to defend Baltic countries against, you guessed it, “Russian aggression.”

As a president who was elected on an anti-war platform (his promise of no more regime change earned him a standing ovation at the 2016 Republican National Convention), Trump should probably be commended for his efforts to date. But if history is anything to go by (hardly an ‘if’), it won’t be long before American bombs of freedom and democracy begin falling on unsuspecting civilians in some part of the world where the US has no business being. While there are any number of theatres where a military option could readily be used, the Korean Peninsula is not likely to be one of them, and herein lies the ultimate irony: For all the scaremongering about weapons of mass destruction, had Iraq or Libya had a nuclear deterrent, the US would not have invaded them either.

More articles by:
October 23, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
The Middle East, Not Russia, Will Prove Trump’s Downfall
Ipek S. Burnett
The Assault on The New Colossus: Trump’s Threat to Close the U.S.-Mexican Border
Mary Troy Johnston
The War on Terror is the Reign of Terror
Maximilian Werner
The Rhetoric and Reality of Death by Grizzly
David Macaray
Teamsters, Hells Angels, and Self-Determination
Jeffrey Sommers
“No People, Big Problem”: Democracy and Its Discontents In Latvia
Dean Baker
Looking for the Next Crisis: the Not Very Scary World of CLOs
Binoy Kampmark
Leaking for Change: ASIO, Jakarta, and Australia’s Jerusalem Problem
Chris Wright
The Necessity of “Lesser-Evil” Voting
Muhammad Othman
Daunting Challenge for Activists: The Cook Customer “Connection”
Don Fitz
A Debate for Auditor: What the Papers Wouldn’t Say
October 22, 2018
Henry Giroux
Neoliberalism in the Age of Pedagogical Terrorism
Melvin Goodman
Washington’s Latest Cold War Maneuver: Pulling Out of the INF
David Mattson
Basket of Deplorables Revisited: Grizzly Bears at the Mercy of Wyoming
Michelle Renee Matisons
Hurricane War Zone Further Immiserates Florida Panhandle, Panama City
Tom Gill
A Storm is Brewing in Europe: Italy and Its Public Finances Are at the Center of It
Suyapa Portillo Villeda
An Illegitimate, US-Backed Regime is Fueling the Honduran Refugee Crisis
Christopher Brauchli
The Liars’ Bench
Gary Leupp
Will Trump Split the World by Endorsing a Bold-Faced Lie?
Michael Howard
The New York Times’ Animal Cruelty Fetish
Alice Slater
Time Out for Nukes!
Geoff Dutton
Yes, Virginia, There are Conspiracies—I Think
Daniel Warner
Davos in the Desert: To Attend or Not, That is Not the Question
Priti Gulati Cox – Stan Cox
Mothers of Exiles: For Many, the Child-Separation Ordeal May Never End
Manuel E. Yepe
Pence v. China: Cold War 2.0 May Have Just Begun
Raouf Halaby
Of Pith Helmets and Sartorial Colonialism
Dan Carey
Aspirational Goals  
Wim Laven
Intentional or Incompetence—Voter Suppression Where We Live
Weekend Edition
October 19, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jason Hirthler
The Pieties of the Liberal Class
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Day in My Life at CounterPunch
Paul Street
“Male Energy,” Authoritarian Whiteness and Creeping Fascism in the Age of Trump
Nick Pemberton
Reflections on Chomsky’s Voting Strategy: Why The Democratic Party Can’t Be Saved
John Davis
The Last History of the United States
Yigal Bronner
The Road to Khan al-Akhmar
Robert Hunziker
The Negan Syndrome
Andrew Levine
Democrats Ahead: Progressives Beware
Rannie Amiri
There is No “Proxy War” in Yemen
David Rosen
America’s Lost Souls: the 21st Century Lumpen-Proletariat?
Joseph Natoli
The Age of Misrepresentations
Ron Jacobs
History Is Not Kind
John Laforge
White House Radiation: Weakened Regulations Would Save Industry Billions
Ramzy Baroud
The UN ‘Sheriff’: Nikki Haley Elevated Israel, Damaged US Standing
Robert Fantina
Trump, Human Rights and the Middle East
Anthony Pahnke – Jim Goodman
NAFTA 2.0 Will Help Corporations More Than Farmers
Jill Richardson
Identity Crisis: Elizabeth Warren’s Claims Cherokee Heritage
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail