United States Aggression on the Korean Peninsula.

Pyongyang

Pyongyang (credit Wikipedia)

 

The history of American aggression on the Korean Peninsula and in the South Asian theater, filled with unspeakable War crimes, begins in the late ’40s and early ’50s when the new superpower, eager with its ascendance after WWII and its successful deployment of nuclear weapons, clashed with the other victor – and the party primarily responsible for the defeat of Germany – the Soviet Union. Growing tensions quickly developed between the Soviet Union, the United States and Britain about how to divide Europe, the Middle East, South America, Africa and Asia between victors.

 

The United States, having originally agreed to split Japan in half with the Soviet Union, instead occupied it, forgiving Japanese officials for all of their war crimes. The Korean Peninsula – a prior colony of conquered Japan – had already been split between the Soviet Union and the United States when they worked together to oust the Japanese Empire, with the presumed endgame that the powers would slowly meld the peninsula and its people back together as the two superpowers normalized relations. However, tensions in Asia quickly mounted: the US resistance to meeting its treaty obligations in Japan, two false and upset governments in the continued division of Korea, and instability in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam – then all grouped together in a colony of France called French Indochina – turned the Soviet Union and United States and their interests against one another.

 

In modern day Vietnam local people found that French weakness and poverty after its defeat in WWII gave them an opportunity to free themselves of forced military occupation and to establish their own national government. The Soviet Union, more famously anti-colonial than the United States (though similarly guilty itself of occupations), supported the dissolution of the brutal French military occupation and the formation of a self-autonomous democratic government under Ho Chi Minh. For the United States, this would have meant a weaker ally in France, a stronger Soviet Union trade bloc, and limited influence and economic activity itself in Asia.

 

As a result, the United States supported the French military occupation of Vietnam (this eventually turned into the Vietnam war, in which the United States committed innumerable crimes against humanity), in Laos, and genocide in Cambodia. The Korean theater was little different – seeing the United States unilaterally bombard civilian infrastructure to terrorize and starve the Koreans in the Soviet sphere after a ceasefire had been arranged. Ruthlessly, it ran propaganda campaigns to convince the world that the region was now starving not because its agriculture industry had been directly and deliberately crippled by the United States Air Force – but because it remained under the ‘ineffective and corrupt’ Soviet Sphere.

 

United States aggression during the Korean War deserves its own article. This author has chosen to account for the modern history – aggression on the peninsula and its continued warmongering, cyber rattling and state terrorism after the end of the Korean War in 1957 and into the modern relationship the United States has with North Korea.

 

The history of nuclear weapons in the Korea peninsula begins immediately after the Korean War. Illegally breaching article 13(d) of the Korean Armistice Agreement established to conclude the Korean War, the United States sought to introduce nuclear weapons into the Korean conflict – a move widely criticized by the international community. North Korea sought assurances from Russia and China, both nuclear weapon states and positioned on the other side of the Cold War, and attempted to develop a cache of nuclear weapons itself to match Southern capabilities. Parallel to these efforts, the state changed its strategy, creating a deep tunnel system for bombardment proof military mobility and forward deployed conventional munitions against Seoul as a deterrent.

In the 1960s and 70s there were serious setbacks in American foreign policy and blowback from its activities in Cambodia and military failure in Vietnam. The Nixon Administration and the Carter Administration after it came to the conclusion that they could no longer station troops South Korea to protect what was he understood to be internationally recognized as a repressive regime for what amounted to be questionable National Security objectives.

 

Disclosed by a series of reports in the domestic press (at the time termed “Koreagate“), US Congress members had been accepting bribes from South Korean officials to stall and reverse the presidential decisions to withdrawl US troop presence from the ROK. A document declassified in 2012 describes how eventually enormous pressure mounted from Congress and the senior military officials overturned Carters campaign promises and administrative objectives in the region.

 

Meanwhile on the peninsula a series of economic reforms, international loans, and trade with the Western world led to a surge in North Korean prosperity, including conventional military capability that by all accounts would have walked through the ROK – which had itself been experiencing student-led protests, civil unrest, military coups (including the military dictator General Park – father of current president Geun-hye) and international criticism for human rights violations. Kim Il Sung issued a statement about the South’s martial law, corruption and civil unrest in a thinly veiled promise to reunify the peninsula under North Korea leadership were the opportunity to arise:

 

If a revolution takes place in South Korea we, as one and the same nation, will not just look at it with folded arms but will strongly support the South Korean people. If the enemy ignites war recklessly, we shall resolutely answer it with war and completely destroy the aggressors.

 

The 1970’s were very nearly such a time. However the stalled military withdrawl and eventual reversal of US Foreign Policy in 1978 kept not only the full deployed US military presence in South Korea but also the nuclear weapons that had been scheduled for removal at the same time. Into the early 1980’s North Korea found that had misspent its economic acceleration on military modernization since it continued to be overpowered by the as-yet-reluctant-to-leave superpower.

 

Nuclear forces had now been on the peninsula for the better part of three decades, and each decade saw the DPRK deal with the asymmetry in destructive potential a different way. It modernized its conventional forces into a  deterrent, build caverns that would withstand nuclear assault and sought alliances with great powers. However with the seventies seeing superpowers including the USSR shift their focus from Asia to the Middle East, North Korea increasingly lost one of its better strategic assurances and would need to navigate alone. Worse yet was that the United States had stayed to back the Southern neighbours.

 

In this decade North Korea chose to ratify the Non Nuclear-Proliferation Agreement in a bid to force South Korea to do the same, which would result in American warheads exiting the peninsula. The North’s Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center had been constructed in 1963 and operating peaceful nuclear energy since 1965. Originally providing 2 MW of energy, it was upgraded through 4 MW and 6 MW to an 8 MW reactor in 1979 by its national engineers and North Korea had allowed for international inspection of these facilities and had been a voluntary member state of the IAEA since 1974.

 

North Korea linked establishing safeguard measures and inspections with the IAEA (an international nuclear investigative body), a requirement for fulfilling the NPT, to the condition that warheads pointed at them from the South – which had until recently number a thousand nuclear warheads – be removed.

 

The United States did not comply with the North Korean demands to remove their arsenal from South Korea until 1991, and then likely motivated by larger diplomatic priorities than the DPRK. According to the United States Pacific Command history under National Security Directive-64 (a classified document) the Bush Administration order “cleared the way for the actual return of all land-based Naval air delivered and sea-based tactical nuclear weapons to U.S. territory, the withdrawl of all nuclear weapons from Korea, and other withdrawls in Europe.”

 

However news broke that America planned to maintain some nuclear warheads in South Korea. North Korean intelligence had similarly gathered that some warheads were to remain and its administration were not able to obtain strongly worded guarantees from the United States that this was in fact not the case. North Korea insisted that it would allow international inspections only if South Korea did the same, but eventually entered an inspections program even though the South never underwent verification that every nuke had been removed. The removal of warheads stationed for Seoul were quickly followed by a US announcement that it would extend its long-range nuclear umbrella over South Korea, and a rebuke from North Korea that it considered the continued decades long nuclear hostage status state terrorism.

In 1991 North Korea began to develop safeguard measures with the IAEA and had them ratified and implemented in 1992, insisting that South Korea follow suite. However, the IAEA inspection found that the amount of declared plutonium production did not match the amount of nuclear waste in the inspected facilities. North Korea was operating graphine-moderated nuclear facilities which are very difficult to inspect and prone to the sort of uncertainty expressed by the IAEA. The IAEA asked for a special inspections capability to inspect additional facilities, which North Korea denied. The ambiguity of whether this was a deliberate attempt to obfuscate a weapons program (the CIA estimated the amount of material would amount to at most a single warhead) led to further criticism and calls for inspections.

The next year saw North Korea struggle with the IAEA over the terms of its inspections agreement, insisting that the original agreement be binding. Continued disagreements and South Korea’s refusal to enter into an inspections program to prove American nukes had been removed led North Korea to exercise its right to exit the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1993. The new Clinton Administration scrambled diplomats to find a mutually agreeable scenario under which North Korea would choose to stay under treaty obligations.

Negotiation took 16 months. North Korea suspended its exit from the NPT for the duration of the negotiations. However, during the discussions Kim Il-Sung passed away and Kim Jong-Il succeeded him. The output of the negotiations was the “Agreed Framework“. Under the framework North Korea would transition from the proliferation unfriendly graphite-moderated reactors, which are difficult to monitor and produce ready-to-enrich fuel rods as a waste product, with the light-water nuclear reactors which are both easier to prove innocence and more difficult to use clandestinely.

North Korea would immediately turn off its reactors and in the intervening years (the United States promised to deliver light-water reactors by 2003) it would receive oil to replace its lost nuclear energy output (500,000 tons of heavy oil per year). In turn, North Korea would pay for the new reactors over the course of the following 20 years. The Agreed Framework was intended to do more than resolve the nuclear dispute. The US was required by the agreement to provide formal assurances that it would not threaten or use nuclear forces against the DPRK, and the two nations would seek to normalize relations.

For some time the new relationship seemed to take off. Despite hiccups over funding, ordering, and deadlines the relationship between the countries began to normalize. North Korea immediately froze its nuclear reactors. The United States lowered its crippling economic sanctions. The two Koreans met with continually thawing relationships.  In 1997 Kim Dae Jung instituted what became known as the Sunshine Policy: a agreement that North Korea would not engage in any armed provocation, the South would not attempt to annex the North, and the two would engage in increasing mutually beneficial contact. The Sunshine Policy, and its successful implementation, earned the President Kim Dae Jung the 2000 Nobel Peace Prize.

Unfortunately, the United States had been under the impression that between the death of Kim Il-Sung and the economic calamity the country had experienced due to sanctions, the country was fated to collapse without outside intervention, and that this impression had proved incorrect. Senior Clinton Administration officials privately stated that the deal had only been struck because they did not anticipate the need to actually fulfil the obligations.

Indeed, increasingly as target dates for the deal grew closer North Korea demanded America match its promises: the light-water reactors had made no headway. The George W. Bush candidacy had made clear on the campaign trail of its opposition to the Agreed Framework and had made promises to reverse it. The Bush Presidency took to dismantling the agreement over eight years into the ten year agreement, spending months within his own administration to develop an alternative that ultimately based on dubious intelligence. His administration emphasized ensuring that the collapse of the state and subsequent regime change the Clinton Administration expected would be made to happen. When the Swiss offered to make a sale of light-water reactors, pressure from the United States killed the deal. Sanctions were kicked back into high gear and the Bush Administration refused to meet one-on-one with the North to settle the Agreed Framework or advance alternatives.

 

Relations immediately soured between the two nations. The United States Bush Administration’s active policy of regime change, joining of North Korea to a list of state sponsors of terror, escalated sanctions, withdrawal of diplomats and broken Agreed Framework commitments led the DPRK to seek nuclear weapons again. The nation sought to enrich uranium, which was detected in 2002 by the United States. North Korea withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 2003, after delaying 10 years waiting for the US to meet Agreed Framework obligations, in protest of both the US failure to meet commitments and emerging Bush era regime change operations targeting the country. In leaving the NPT, North Korea joined non-signatory states such as Israel (who had also eventually developed nuclear weapons).

 

A Bush Administration mired in the Iraq war – a war for which it had falsified nuclear weapon charges to invade – had neither desire nor the relationship to work online with the Kim Jong Il Administration on another treaty. The primary diplomatic effort to keep the North from becoming a nuclear state involved six nations: the so-called Six-Party Talks. Japan, South Korea, Russia, China, North Korea and the United States – three nuclear states, two of the largest US security allies, and the regime – would meet 11 times over the next six years.  The nations present bargained that North Korea abandon its pursuit of nuclear capabilities and rejoin the NPT, while North Korea bargained for a security garuntees against United States invasion, right to use peaceful nuclear energy, the light water reactors it had expected from the Agreed Framework, and normalized economic and diplomatic relations.

 

North Korea made it a condition that any deal include a non-aggression pact with the United States. This was rejected outright by the superpower. The first round of talks made no progress. When talks resumed six months later, the People’s Republic again reiterated that a non-aggression pact was pivotal to its drawing down a nuclear deterrent. The Bush Administration suggested it would be open to providing informal assurances that did not amount to a legally binding non-aggression pact, but made it a condition that North Korea dismantle its weapons program first. The government in the North insisted on legally binding arrangements and that both parties implement, in steps, their commitments at the same time. The second session ended with all parties reaffirming commitment to a denuclearized peninsula and a date for another meeting, but no concrete arrangements.

 

The next two talks, spanning nearly two years, were complicated by re-election in the United States. Kim Jong Il and Kim Kye-gwan wanted to wait for the elections, and then for the second Bush Administration term to publish its foreign policy toward the region. Seeking to reaffirm talks, the United States announced that it recognized the sovereignty of North Korea and publicly committed that it would not seek to invade. In 2005, in the fourth meeting, the two nations preliminarily agreed to pursue a lockstep implementation. It output a joint publication with all parties enshrining a deproliferation of the peninsula on both the North and South side, Northern right to nuclear energy, future light-water reactor procurement, and instilled “the DPRK and the United States undertook to respect each other’s sovereignty, exist peacefully together, and take steps to normalize their relations subject to their respective bilateral policies.”

 

 

Normalized economic relations had been a North Korean priority. Challenge of this new regime of financial warfare, which had halted a large portion of the Foreign Exchange the country needed to run international trade, led North Korea to boycott not only the next scheduled Six Party talks, but stalled its progress on dismantling its nuclear program – indeed renewing efforts on it – on the condition that the United States meet its treaty commitments to disengage from economic warfare. A highly strained relationship continued into the next year. In October 2006 the  People’s Republic performed its first successful nuclear test.

 

The response from Security Council members was swift; passing Security Council Resolution 1718 took only a few days. The resolution condemned North Korea for the test, required it return to the Six Party talks, and in the interim instituted a world-wide ban on all trade with the DPRK excluding only necessity goods.

 

If a global ban on trade was a stick, the United States promise to return seized money and remove the nation from sanctions programs were a carrot. The Bush Administration advanced promises it would remove the North from its State Sponsors of Terror list, widely known for its use as an international political tool as opposed to faithfully tracking state terror activity – and legal justification for a range of attrition warfare programs. North Korea was recognized to have been unfairly placed on the list having only ever played a very minor role in state terrorism, and having been engaged in no such activity for 20 years.

 

Talks and implementation of agreed protocols were delayed when the United States did not deliver on its promise to return the seized funds, citing a lack of time to complete the transfer and continued to extralegally sanction banks that invested with North Korea (indeed to this day). The United States made it a de facto condition that nuclear programs be frozen before funds were returned – while North Korea insisted that the illegal seizure be reversed and the United States side of the agreement be completed before resumption. The disagreement delayed further talks and agreed implementation for some time. When the funds were finally returned (Russia volunteered to transfer the funds) North Korea dutifully resumed their implementation and in June 2007 international inspections confirmed the plants had been frozen.

 

Although missing its deadline to remove North Korea from the state sponsors list in August, the State Department eventually – in October – made good by its commitment. Eventually the United States fulfilled its obligation to drop North Korea from its list of State Terror Sponsors. Domestic media characterized the Bush Administration’s fulfilled promise as a lame-duck, legacy-building stopgap not aimed at peaceful resolution but instead at ‘passing the buck’ to the next Presidential office. That may very well be true. When in early 2009 North Korea launched an entirely peaceful communications satellite into orbit, the United States led the charge to indict it for breaking Security Council Resolution 1718 and in a presidential address re-invoked the sanctions program. North Korea cited the International Outer Space Treaty, which gives signatory sovereignty nations rights to peaceful activities in space and in orbit.

Later, President Obama would try to justify adding North Korea back to the Terrorism Sponsor list for its involvement in the SONY hackwhich the DPRK undertook as a deterrent program against the CIA and State Department’s involvement in having Kim Jong Un assassinated in The Interview. Indeed, the DPRK hacker group that executed the SONY attack was organized to digitally punish companies for state sponsored propaganda against the regime.

 

This had been a general pattern of the United States. It’s sanctions of North Korea cover dual-use technologies. North Korea’s school system is robbed of pencils containing graphite over paranoid fears that the graphite from those pencils could be extracted and processed into nuclear enrichment material. A ban on materials to produce syringes (because syringes can obsensively be used to research biological weapons – though even the US hasn’t accused North Korea of intending to do so) led to a lack of supply of syringes, which in turn have led to humanitarian crises. It’s has not been allowed to trade any technologies, materials – even scraps and spare parts – to keep its industry alive. It’s economic and financial blockades, and refusal to onboard the nation into the global economy after the fall of the Soviet Bloc, have made an otherwise healthy economy falter. Constant military threats and regime change operations have required North Korea to spend substancial portions of its economy on deterrent programs.

 

The United States makes agreements with North Korea, but doesn’t come through with its obligations, or delays them when the peninsula starts to see progress. At the same time, the United States exercises new creative forms of financial strangulation within the letter of the agreements, but against their spirit. North Korea, who has made US economic sanctions an issue since the late 1950’s but increasingly since the fall of the Soviet Union and its trading bloc, has sought continually to open its economy to the world. For the past decade, for example, North Korea has been trying to develop special economic zones for foreign direct investment that would bypass the current list of economic blockages that prevent it from interacting with the global economy. Furthermore, they have a good track record in enhancing the prosperity of countries. The United States of course has sought new policies that would deter possible investors. Counter strategy has been to cut off the investment to these economic zones, such as the Kaesong Industrial Complex.

 

The effect of these sorts of sanctions are well known. Health professionals regularly call for the sanctions to take into account the subsequent human toll. Amnesty International and independent human rights organizations estimate that the 1997 sanctions against Iraq caused the starvation to death of 500,000 children and in total between sanctions and bombing civilian area 4% of its entire population. The United States has been in economic attrition warfare with North Korea for over 60 years, with sanctions and embargoes first applied as part of the war effort in 1950 and never lifted since. The President George W. Bush Administration called North Korea “the most sanctioned nation in the world.” Yet the United States rejects the premise outright that the sanctions have anything to do with the quality of life in the peninsula – preferring instead the hypothesis that it is due to “economic mismanagement.”

 

A new round of sanctions applied to the North over its communications satellite led it to the unravelling of the Six Party Talks. The reinvigoration of sanctions over non-nuclear activity, indeed in the midst of full compliance by the state, led North Korea to withdraw from the treaty and commit to reversing its prior denuclearization. The ROK and US alliance responded by committed to a Proliferation Security Initiative, which the State Department describes as “interdiction of transfers” and “financial tools to disrupt this dangerous trade”. The United Nations escalated the sanctions against North Korea, who responded by deepening its commitment to defensive nuclear weaponry.

 

Rapidly through the rest of the year, the first year the Obama Administration had bilateral diplomatic interface with Pyongyang, tensions rose. In South Korea the former president Roh Moo-hyun, who had embraced and continued the nobel peace prizing winning Sunshine Policy of Kim Dae-jung, left office and was replaced by Lee Myung-bak. The new South Korean president was quickly mired in “the South Korean Watergate” in which he endorsed surveillance, covert police pressure and censorship of individuals critical of his administration and policies.

 

Lee Myung-bak immediately reversed Kim and Roh’s Sunshine Policy. Whereas the Sunshine Policy was tit-for-tat diplomacy: cooperate to build more cooperation, demilitarize to induce demilitarization, Lee’s new Foreign Policy was to build a stronger military alliance and refuse to deescalate it until North Korea did on its own first. He withdrew from a bilateral non-aggression pact signed by Roh, withdrew from a treaty whereby families from the North and South had been reuniting in neutral territory, officially dissolved the Sunshine Policy and expanded security cooperation with the United States.

 

Unable to work with a recalcitrant South Korea, pretextual sanctions, and continual streams of levers intended to block all chances for economic reform in the country – all counter to the obligations of the US-ROK alliance, North Korea stated in April 14 of 2009 that it would be withdrawing permanently from the Six Party Talks and would instead continue to pursue nuclear power. Charles L. Pritchard, the US State Department’s diplomat for North Korea until the Bush Administration, detailed how ‘hard-liners’ who sought to use military and economic pressure to coerce the regime into compliance or to see its collapse had operated simultaneously with peace-building diplomacy – sending mixed signals to the regime and ultimately curdling its trust. Pritchard assesses that normalization of relations would have worked, as North Korea had been deeply committed to denuclearization of its neighborhood. This is not a unique criticism – the schizophrenic and violent approach to North Korean diplomacy and its ultimate (legal) decision to become a nuclear state is widely regarded as a Bush Administration policy failure.

 

On April 25th, 2009 North Korea announced it would be reopening its nuclear facilities. In late May of the same year it performed its second-ever nuclear test at its underground facility near P’unggye, which were met with yet more UNSC sanctions and South Korea joining an illegal Security Initiative, which North Korea considered a violation of treaty commitments. In 2010 the North floated a permanent peace treaty between the North and South, modernized to apply to current affairs and stronger than the prior disarmament treaty, but the United States has stated disinterest in discussing a peace treaty unless North Korea first sheds its military deterrents.

 

The second half of the Obama Administration, in fact most of it, has been in trying to build enough trust with the country to resume Six-Party talks.

 

In the transition between 2011 and 2012 the former leader Kim Jong-Il passed and North Korea welcomed its new president Kim Jong Un. The new head of state has made it his goal to legitimize North Korea as an equal peaceful nuclear power and to modernize the North Korean economy. The patterns, though, have been the same. North Korea launched a commercial weather and crop surveillance satellite, the Kwangmyŏngsŏng-3 and subsequent Unit 2, successfully registering it with the United Nations as a crop surveying instrument, as making it the 10th nation in the world to successfully deploy a satellite into orbit (ahead of South Korea, which has not yet developed the technology). The United Nations Security Council responded with additional sanctions, citing that satellite launch technology – though entirely peaceful – could possibly be repurposed for military capabilities. Similar ballistic missile programs have not been condemned in the South. In April of 2014, South Korea demonstrated its capability to strike most population centers in the North with missiles that could deliver 2,200 lb of explosive payload. When it tried and failed to launch a satellite in three subsequent orbital delivery attempts, it garnered neither the fear-mongering propaganda, buffoonery propaganda, or international sanctions of its Northern neighbor.

 

In 2013, North Korea announced and then tested additional nuclear warheads and announced and then restarted it’s heavy water program in Yongbyon. The international response has been to call for North Korea to come into compliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty, for which the North legally left signatory status and has since not been bound for 10 years. 2014 and 2015 saw the development of ballistic missile capabilities from submarines, and the States have worried that this could eventually lead to a North Korean nuclear triad.

 

We get to see how 2016 unfolds. In December 2015, North Korea announced it would be testing a Hydrogen Bomb, and in January successfully executed a hydrogen bomb test, though the United States refused to officially acknowledge the test as successful or to officially recognize the North as a nuclear state.
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14 comments

  1. Quick comment. I temporarily took down the photo. That guy who took it looks like he does it commercially. It’s possible he could get touchy about it being embedded.

    1. Cool. Thanks. Changed it.

      1. Not to be a pain, but do you have the copyright for that one? There’s nothing like a photographer calling you up at 7 in the morning to ruin your whole day. Pyongyang’s not an place to get to and I would assume people who take photos of it are pretty particular about where they get posted.

        1. Perfectly understand. Updated with credit to the photographer.

          1. I hate doing this but I had to take that one down too. It violated FT’s copyright.

            http://help.ft.com/tools-services/copyright-policy/#axzz44WU8zxW8

            I put up a photo from the Wikipedia page. Most of those are safe.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Image_use_policy

            1. Thanks! Sorry for the hassle. I think that’s a really good alternative image.

              1. Yeah. I got careless with some images over the last few years and learned how fast the shit can hit the fan if you don’t pay attention to copyright. The thing is, if a photographer works for Reuters or the AP he’s probably struggling these days. Those photos of Pyongyang are probably an important source of income and I don’t want to shit on anybody’s livelihood.

  2. No wonder everybody hates us. The US needs to start playing nice before all our enemies decide to gang up on us.

    1. The current strategy is one Machiavelli suggested: inspire love where you can, but inspire fear everywhere. So long as you can keep enemies divided they can individually be conquered. And you do that by making the risk assessment for each of your enemies great enough to where they question whether they should commit.

      The Wolfowitz Doctrine – one of the important disclosures from the Pentagon Papers scandal – described the United States Grand Strategy, which still hadn’t changed much. The doctrine specifically called for encouraging our enemies (think the Middle East) to fight one another by arming them and incentivizing them to combat – while crushing, in totality, any country that denies our commands so as to set a reputation of fear and power for others.

      The neo-liberals and neo-cons have sought to do this more and more with intelligence work, propaganda and clandestine operations (e.g. regime change, economic warfare, sponsorship of terrorism, assassination: “modern low intensity conflict”), while the old hardliners prefer the old fashioned way of carpet-bombing. That’s the primary axis of debate: not what to do, or how to destroy countries, but what way to go about it.

      1. Exactly. Not the peace-loving desire of those who thought they were getting “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” is it? This American dream has become a nightmare, and probably no one feels more betrayed than I do. I’m glad for the generally civilizing influence of (some) women on the world stage. Maybe this will make a difference in the future.

        I believe in leading by example, that is practicing what we preach. If we can’t even practice genuine democracy and keep the peace at home, how dare we presume to inflict our hypocritical dogma on the world?

        1. If you force the question to be answered by the highest levels of decision making the answer you’ll get is “we’re aiming to get peace, but it can only be achieved through war.”

          But examining the motivations – for example the current series of activity in Asia (the so called American pivot) have everything to do with ‘maintaining world power’.

          If you push that question hard enough the answer you’ll get is that “we need to maintain world power for peace through war”.

          Basically, the type of peace and prosperty that America pursues (it absolutely does pursue peace and prosperty) is a conditional one: it only adknowledges peace and prosperty for which it is victor.

          1. The only peace that will be attained by war is total annihilation. The barbarians who have commandeered the world’s resources and its human capital are desperately trying to maintain relevance and fighting among themselves for the few remaining shreds of credibility. Moral bankruptcy has become the norm.

            Individuals have been conned into believing so-called “leaders” have superior knowledge or wisdom, but current events are proving otherwise.

          2. Another thought: Who are those in “the highest levels of decision-making”? I contend these are Shape Shifting Alien Reptiles, nameless, faceless beings who exist between dimensions for the purpose of sapping vital human energy and transporting it to their home dimension. (An idea from David Icke’s “Tales from the Time Loop.”)

            While Icke’s version may be too surrealistic for some, the concept of warring for peace is timeless, spanning all the lifetimes of the people who have made that questionable argument. Current warmongers in the “highest levels of decision making” are not making decisions but following history. If they were truly making decisions, they would expand beyond the cultural box. They would see that you don’t stop war by hating war but by loving peace. Then all thought and energy turn towards finding peaceful solutions.

            1. Unfortunately, those people are our flesh and blood. And the decisions they make do benefit us. We aren’t at the top of the pecking order, but we do get scraps – like citizens from any empire in history.

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