let’s not start a war while attention is elsewhere

The world on the brink
WSWS, Aug 12 2017

The world is daily and hourly edging closer to the brink of nuclear war, as Pres Trump maintains a constant stream of extraordinarily inflammatory and reckless threats against North Korea. Such bellicose language coming from the man in charge of the most powerful military force on the planet is generating increasing shock and fear that war with nuclear weapons could break out at any moment. Having tweeted yesterday morning that the military option is now “locked and loaded should NK act unwisely,” Trump followed up with images of B-1 strategic bombers and a message from PACOM that these warplanes were ready to fulfill their “Fight Tonight” mission in Korea. Just hours later, Trump rebuked Angela Merkel for criticising the “escalation of rhetoric,” declaring:

I hope they understand the gravity of the situation of what I said, and what I said is what I mean.

He again menaced Kim Jong-un, warning that if he utters one more overt threat, “he will truly regret it.” With the danger of war looming with ever greater menace over the world’s population, it is natural to think, or at least hope, that what is involved is just a war of words, and that somehow a means will be found to pull back from the precipice. It is necessary, however, to look reality in the face. Comparisons are being made to the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, the closest the world has come to nuclear war. But that tense and precarious confrontation was finally resolved and nuclear arsenals stood down because neither the Pindo nor the Russian leader wanted to unleash a nuclear exchange. The same cannot be said today. At least one side, the Trump administration, is primed and prepared to engulf the other side in “fire and fury like the world has never seen.” Moreover, whether intentionally or not, Trump is recklessly goading NK into making a desperate military move. Trump has said absolutely nothing to reassure Kim that Pindostan wants a negotiated settlement or anything short of complete and abject capitulation. And as the prospect of conflict increasingly seems inevitable, military logic increasingly takes over. If the highly unstable Pyongyang regime believes that a massive Pindosi attack is imminent, it could decide to launch its own pre-emptive strike rather than have its capacity to retaliate completely destroyed. In its recklessness, the Trump administration is proceeding with indifference and disregard for what would be unleashed by a war against NK. Unlike the Korean War of 1950–53, which cost the lives of millions on both sides of the NK-SK border, a new conflict would be unlikely to be confined to the Korean Peninsula.

The threat of nuclear war is not simply the product of a fascist madman in the White House, but arises out of immense geopolitical tensions fueled by the deep economic crisis of Pindo and global capitalism. Trump has the backing of powerful sections of the military and political elites in Faschingstein who have been pressing for Pindostan to challenge and if necessary go to war with China, regarded as the chief obstacle to Pindosi global dominance. The present crisis is the outcome of the political climate prepared by a quarter-century of continuous wars by Pindo imperialism in the MENACA, as Faschingstein sought to use its military might to overcome its historic economic decline. It has become a virtual article of faith in Pindosi ruling circles that all of their problems on the international arena can be resolved through military action. The ground for war against NK was prepared by the Obama administration, which as part of its “pivot to Asia” against China, authorised a huge military build-up throughout the Indo-Pacific. The Pentagon has now stationed its most advanced weaponry in Asia, along with 60% of its air and naval forces, and secured new basing agreements throughout the region. The Pentagon could immediately call on more than 28k USAF, Naval, Marine and SOF personnel based in SK as well as many more forces from its bases in Japan and Guam. Moreover, in the event of a war with NK, Pindostan would assume operational control of the SK military, with its 625k personnel and 3.1m reservists. Any war on the Korean Peninsula poses great dangers not only for China but also for Russia, as both countries share borders with NK. The criminal irresponsibility of the Trump administration is underscored by the fact that it is prepared to initiate a war in what has been a dangerous flashpoint throughout the past century. It cannot be assumed that China or Russia will simply sit by while Pindostan starts a firestorm in their backyard that will grossly undermine their own security. Having just voted in the UNSC for harsh new sanctions on NK, Beijing and Moscow can only regard Trump’s warmongering this week as a betrayal. China intervened in the first Korean War as Pindosi troops approached its border, and it could do so again. An editorial in Global Times insisted that Beijing had to “respond with a firm hand” to defend its interests. While urging that China remain neutral if NK launches a first strike, it warned:

If Pindostan and SK carry out strikes and try to overthrow the NK regime … China will prevent them from doing so.

It cannot be ruled out that a way will be devised to defuse the immediate crisis on the Korean Peninsula, at least temporarily. However, the Rubicon has been crossed. Pindostan has made clear that it is no longer constrained by previous understandings on the use of nuclear weapons and is willing to wage nuclear war, in this case against an impoverished, backward and poorly-armed enemy. Around the world, rivals and allies alike will be compelled to alter their strategic and military planning accordingly to ensure they can defend their vital interests.

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