The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea stands out. But it is not because the secretive Stalinist regime is a nuclear pariah threatening global security, as the Western corporate media would have us believe by Finian Cunningham
No, North Korea stands out for being a beacon of rationality and, incredible as it may seem, peace.
Bear in mind the following features:
No other state on earth has endured a trade embargo or a gamut of diplomatic, financial and economic sanctions more than North Korea. For more than 63 years, since the beginning of the Korean War (1950-53), the DPRK has been frozen out of normal relations with other international states because of a trade embargo imposed by Washington. This illegal straightjacket has been tightened several times down through the decades with resolutions and sanctions implemented by the UN Security Council – the latest being instigated last Friday.
Iran has endured more than 30 years of US-led sanctions, while Cuba has had to live with five decades of a US-led blockade. North Korea, therefore, has the dubious distinction of being the country that has been most cut off from the international community and all the vital opportunities that come with such normal contact for beneficial development.
The latest round of sanctions at the UN, initiated once again by the US, aims to make all remaining international conduct by North Korea next to impossible. As well as complete blackout of financial transactions, North Korea’s shipping and air transport are to be impounded if they do not comply with unilateral inspections at any point.
The second distinguishing feature of North Korea is that no other state has been threatened on more occasions with nuclear annihilation. Not even Iran, despite despicable threats from the US and Israel, can out-claim North Korea on this level of criminal aggression towards its people.
All threats of nuclear extinction made against North Korea have come from one source – the United States of America. On just one of these nefarious occasions, in 1995, former US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Colin Powell quipped that North Korea would be turned into a “charcoal briquette”.
Yet in the Orwellian world of Western governments and their dutiful news media, reality is turned upside down. Selective amnesia and selective reporting convey the public image that it is North Korea who is the aggressor and insane nuclear threat while the US is the voice of reason, peace and legality.
This past week, Western media have quickly highlighted North Korea’s threats of “pre-emptive nuclear strikes” against South Korea and its American patron following the latest round of UN sanctions. The subtle bias inculcates the notion that North Korea is some kind of crazed pariah, while the US and its South Korean ally are as innocent as white doves.
Britain’s Guardian newspaper headlined: “North Korea urged to halt ‘provocative actions’ in wake of sanctions”. While CNN reported: “Even by North Korean standards, the threats this week by leader Kim Jong Un have been incredibly provocative, making the situation on the Korean Peninsula more worrisome.”
The Guardian quoted a White House spokesman saying: “North Korea’s threats are not helpful. We have consistently called on North Korea to improve relations with its neighbours, including South Korea.”
One would never guess the true nature of the conflict on the Korean Peninsula and its very real threat to global security from a reading of the Western mainstream media. All history of the Korean conflict has been whitewashed of salient facts.
Take just the recent history over the last months. The latest sanctions imposed on North Korea are said to be in response to the DPRK’s underground nuclear bomb test on 12 February. But that test was carried out after the country was threatened with sanctions in January following its successful launch of a long-range missile into outer space in December. That missile was not armed, threatened no-one and helped put a civilian satellite into orbit. Quite an achievement that should be lauded not condemned as the action of a criminal miscreant state.
What we have here is a long cycle of US-led provocation and North Korean counter-provocation. But the dynamic is only ever presented as an irrational series of provocations by Pyongyang.
The nuclear test last month by the DPRK is its third. Previously, there were tests in 2009 and 2006. Both the Obama administrations and its George W Bush predecessors have scuttled disarmament negotiations between North Korea and China on one side and the US, South Korea and Japan on the other.
Contrary to the spin put out by Washington and the Western media, North Korea has engaged fully in earlier talks, but every time it is the US that has jettisoned the dialogue. That suggests that Washington is not serious about disarmament on the Korean Peninsula. Why not? Because by continually fanning the conflict and tensions, Washington buys itself an excuse to maintain its military and nuclear presence on the Korean Peninsula, carrying out its endless war games and adding pressure on its main target – China.
And let’s remember that North Korea only embarked on its nuclear program following earlier threats of nuclear devastation by the US in 1993, after which the DPRK gave notice that it was quitting the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Nuclear weapons were first introduced into the Peninsula by the Americans in 1950 and have been maintained there ever since – contrary to popular opposition to such US warheads, on both sides of the Korean border.
Going further back in history is crucial to understanding the roots of the conflict in Korea and why the North appears to have such a militant position. The Peninsula was partitioned at the behest of the US in 1948 following World War II to thwart the popular Korean resistance against Japanese fascism that had brutally colonized the country. In the newly created South Korea state, the US went about suppressing the socialist resistance allied to compatriots in the North, and installing remnants of the pro-Japanese puppets and quislings.
When the war broke out between North and South in 1950, the US mobilized its military, including nuclear weapons, in support of the South. China and Russia gave its backing to the North. But the indiscriminate violence inflicted by the US on the northern population through a 37-month non-stop aerial bombardment far exceeds any aggression that may have emanated from the North. Using saturation bombing with incendiaries and napalm, it is estimated that one-third of the entire civilian population in North Korea – some three million people – was killed by US air force bombers. Every city and major town in the North was completely destroyed.
The northern population ended up living in deep mountain caves in order to survive from the hell unleashed by the American air force. On at least one occasion, then US President Harry Truman and his General Douglas MacArthur were a hair’s breadth from launching multiple nuclear strikes on the North.
Since then, the Korean War has never ended technically. The armistice that the two divided entities signed in July 1953 is only an agreed cessation of fire. Thus, the people of North Korea have lived under the shadow of destruction from American napalm, incendiary firestorms and nuclear bombs.
Given the economic, political and military stranglehold that Washington maintains on North Korea it is hardly surprising that the latter has suffered from retarded development and remains fiery in its military policy.
US government and media never let the world forget about 3,000 people killed on 9/11. That event has justified American-led wars all over the planet. Yet, during the 1950-53 war, North Korea lost 3 million of its people – a thousand-fold more than America on 9/11 – and at the hands of the same superpower that has continued to threaten it with nuclear obliteration ever since. And when North Korea, for understandable reasons, issues belligerent warnings, as it has done in recent days, the Western media portray it a delinquent rogue state.
However, North Korea’s insistence on having nuclear weapons and the right to use them is based on rational and even sound moral judgment.
With an objective understanding of history, it is the United States which is seen to be the rogue state that is a threat to global security. Not only that, the US is a depraved coward that only attacks countries that it knows does not have nuclear weapons or weapons of mass destruction. Iraq, Libya and Syria come to mind.
We can be quite sure that if North Korea did not possess nuclear capability, it would have been attacked by US forces by now and destroyed. North Korea’s nuclear weapons are probably the only thing restraining Washington in its criminal propensity to gratuitously attack other nations. In that way, ironically, North Korea and its nuclear defences have managed to sustain peace in East Asia in the face of relentless US aggression.
Finian Cunningham, originally from Belfast, Ireland, was born in 1963. He is a prominent expert in international affairs. The author and media commentator was expelled from Bahrain in June 2011 for his critical journalism in which he highlighted human rights violations by the Western-backed regime. He is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in journalism.