FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Rep. Gabbard Speaks Truth to Power About the Real Reason Korea Has Nukes

Photo by AFGE | CC BY 2.0

We already knew that Tulsi Gabbard was courageous, when the Democratic congresswoman from Hawaii resigned from her position as vice chair of the Democratic National Committee in disgust during the primary season in 2016, declaring publicly what we now know to have been true — that the DNC was manipulating the primaries to favor Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders — was courageous. Now as basically the only member of Congress with the guts to call out the US as the cause of our current knife-edge threat of a nuclear war, she’s demonstrated her courage again.

Gabbard, [1]interviewed on ABC News, declared unambiguously that the reason that North Korea has worked so diligently to develop nuclear weapons and missiles capable of delivering them to the US is that the United States over several decades and under a number of presidents, has had a policy of “regime change,” and a history of violently attempting to overthrow governments that it doesn’t like. As she put it in an interview over the weekend with ABC news host George Stephanopolos, “Our country’s history of regime-change wars has led countries like North Korea to develop and hold on to these nuclear weapons because they see it as their only deterrent against regime change.”

Rep. Gabbard, who has been calling for the US to negotiate directly “and without pre-conditions” with North Korea to resolve the crisis, says the US also needs to recognize the reality that North Korea already has nuclear weapons and is not going to give them up unless it feels secure from US attack.

She is firm in saying that the US history of overthrowing Libyan leader Muamar Gaddafi after first convincing him that if he dropped his efforts to develop a nuclear weapon they would not attempt to overthrow his government, and then invading and overthrowing him, and of invading and overthrowing Saddam Hussein after trumping up a fake claim that he was attempting to develop nuclear weapons, will make it all the harder to convince North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to agree to halt or scale back, much less eliminate his nuclear weapons and missile arsenal. She adds that President Trump’s current threat to cancel an agreement reached by his predecessor, President Barack Obama and the leaders of Iran to terminate their nuclear fuel enrichment program in return for the US dropping sanctions on that country will also undermine any future efforts by the US to reach negotiated agreements on weapons and nuclear disarmament with Kim and any other countries that might seek to go nuclear.

It was all a little more than Stephanopolos, once a press spokesman for the administration of President Bill Clinton, who asked her, feigning incredulity, “Just to be clear, are you saying that Kim Jong-un’s nuclear arsenal is our fault?”

That’s the point in an interview where your typical American pol would backpedal like mad to defend the sanctity of American exceptionalism, but Gabbard remained as forthright and direct as her analysis was correct, replying, “What I’m saying is the Democratic and Republican administrations for decades, going back over 20 years, failed to recognize the seriousness of this threat, failed to remove it, and we know that North Korea has these nuclear weapons because they see how the US in Libya, for example, guaranteed Gaddafi ‘We’re not going to go after you. You should get rid of your nuclear weapons.’ He did, and then we went ahead and led an attack that toppled Gaddafi.”

Of course Rep. Gabbard is correct. A country that acts unilaterally, violating international law by overthrowing the governments of sovereign nations and that lies about its intentions when negotiating, is a country that will never be able again to negotiate to solve international problems. It will only have force remaining as a tool (and we’ve seen in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria how costly and ineffective a tool US force is these days). But as Gabbard also says, pointing to the chaos and panic that ensued when Hawaiians were given what appeared to be an alert about an actual nuclear missile attack on the islands by North Korea, when dealing with a nuclear power — even one as small as North Korea — force is simply not an option. There is only negotiation. And because nuclear weapons are so destructive, the size and power of the parties is irrelevant in such negotiations — it is inevitably a negotiation between equals.

Brava for this singularly courageous and outspoken member of Congress! Once again she has proven that she stands head and shoulders above her colleagues, Republican and Democrat, in the Capitol, just as she did when she quit the DNC and outed it for its perfidy in stealing the primaries for Hillary Clinton.

This Samoan American, elected to the House in 2013 from Hawaii, also, by the way, has been courageously calling for the US to “get out of Syria,” where she correctly notes it has been supporting Al Qaeda-linked terrorist groups — another position that puts her at odds with almost all of her congressional colleagues who are afraid to challenge US militarism. At the same time, she also happens to be a major in the US Army, a member of the Hawaiian National Guard, and is a member of the House Armed Services Committee. She served a tour in Iraq in 2006 and volunteered for a second tour in the Middle East in 2009, again making her a standout among all the chicken hawks of both parties in Congress and the White House.

As far as I’m concerned, Gabbard, not Opra, is the person Democrats should be talking about as the ideal candidate for 2020 to give Trump the boot.

More articles by:

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

Weekend Edition
June 22, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Karl Grossman
Star Wars Redux: Trump’s Space Force
Andrew Levine
Strange Bedfellows
Jeffrey St. Clair
Intolerable Opinions in an Intolerant Time
Paul Street
None of Us are Free, One of Us is Chained
Edward Curtin
Slow Suicide and the Abandonment of the World
Celina Stien-della Croce
The ‘Soft Coup’ and the Attack on the Brazilian People 
James Bovard
Pro-War Media Deserve Slamming, Not Sainthood
Louisa Willcox
My Friend Margot Kidder: Sharing a Love of Dogs, the Wild, and Speaking Truth to Power
David Rosen
Trump’s War on Sex
Mir Alikhan
Trump, North Korea, and the Death of IR Theory
Christopher Jones
Neoliberalism, Pipelines, and Canadian Political Economy
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Why is Tariq Ramadan Imprisoned?
Robert Fantina
MAGA, Trump Style
Linn Washington Jr.
Justice System Abuses Mothers with No Apologies
Martha Rosenberg
Questions About a Popular Antibiotic Class
Ida Audeh
A Watershed Moment in Palestinian History: Interview with Jamal Juma’
Edward Hunt
The Afghan War is Killing More People Than Ever
Geoff Dutton
Electrocuting Oral Tradition
Don Fitz
When Cuban Polyclinics Were Born
Ramzy Baroud
End the Wars to Halt the Refugee Crisis
Ralph Nader
The Unsurpassed Power trip by an Insuperable Control Freak
Lara Merling
The Pain of Puerto Ricans is a Profit Source for Creditors
James Jordan
Struggle and Defiance at Colombia’s Feast of Pestilence
Tamara Pearson
Indifference to a Hellish World
Kathy Kelly
Hungering for Nuclear Disarmament
Jessicah Pierre
Celebrating the End of Slavery, With One Big Asterisk
Rohullah Naderi
The Ever-Shrinking Space for Hazara Ethnic Group
Binoy Kampmark
Leaving the UN Human Rights Council
Nomi Prins 
How Trump’s Trade Wars Could Lead to a Great Depression
Robert Fisk
Can Former Lebanese MP Mustafa Alloush Turn Even the Coldest of Middle Eastern Sceptics into an Optimist?
Franklin Lamb
Could “Tough Love” Salvage Lebanon?
George Ochenski
Why Wild Horse Island is Still Wild
Ann Garrison
Nikki Haley: Damn the UNHRC and the Rest of You Too
Jonah Raskin
What’s Hippie Food? A Culinary Quest for the Real Deal
Raouf Halaby
Give It Up, Ya Mahmoud
Brian Wakamo
We Subsidize the Wrong Kind of Agriculture
Patrick Higgins
Children in Cages Create Glimmers of the Moral Reserve
Patrick Bobilin
What Does Optimism Look Like Now?
Don Qaswa
A Reduction of Economic Warfare and Bombing Might Help 
Robin Carver
Why We Still Need Pride Parades
Jill Richardson
Immigrant Kids are Suffering From Trauma That Will Last for Years
Thomas Mountain
USA’s “Soft” Coup in Ethiopia?
Jim Hightower
Big Oil’s Man in Foreign Policy
Louis Proyect
Civilization and Its Absence
David Yearsley
Midsummer Music Even the Nazis Couldn’t Stamp Out
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail