'No' to Peace

Gambling on 'War Games'

Farooque Chowdhury

The hardcore warmongers aren't happy with the just completed Kim-Trump Singapore summit. The warmongers love warmongering and war as these increase their amount and rate of profit. Reactions to the latest diplomatic development in the Korea region speak this love.

The warmongers feel pain as they find Kim, the North Korean leader, in a favourable position. Hence, to this group, the summit is a failure.

Trump said Kim assured destruction of a "major missile engine testing site" not included in the document signed during their summit. But, the warmongers don't take into account this fact.

Immediately after the summit a part of the mainstream media turned vocal: Trump received nothing from the summit. A few voices claimed: The suspension of US-South Korea military exercise is a victory for China, Russia and North Korea.

The diplomatic progress towards lessening tension in the region is, to the warmongers, an act by Kim, "the dictator" to the warmongers, to befool Trump, "the democracy torch bearer". They claim: Trump has been outmanoeu-vered by Kim.

Immediately after the summit, the seemingly liberals have taken position of a staunch supporter of "no compromise with Kim"—a complete hardcore-con position.

They didn't like that North Korea was having a direct dialogue with the US. To them, Kim is standing equal to Trump, and North Korea has been legitimised. Their liking: Kim has to kneel down before an imperialist master. A great liberal-democratic position!

A number of warmongers listened, in their imagination: Putin was laughing sitting inside the Kremlin.
The liberal-hardcore-cons didn't like Trump's confession: War games in the Korea region are "very expensive" and "very provocative". To them, it's North Korea's voice.

The high cost of and provocation in war games is the fact, which none can ignore. Trump admits: Bombers are flown from Guam. It's a six and a half hours flying, "a long time for these big massive planes to be flying to South Korea to practice and then drop bombs all over the place and then go back to Guam."

The cost is paid by tax payers, many of them are homeless, jobless; many of them are single-mothers; many of them are to work two jobs to have food and pay bills; many of them have spiralled down to poor class from middle class; many of them have lost the much-propagated American Dream.

But, the warmongers want war game, and, if possible, war; they want intervention; they want regime change. They love these in Korea, they love these in Russia, they love these in Venezuela and Nicaragua; and they love these in South Asia.

Hence, mainstream media reports informed: Trump's pledge to cancel military exercises on the Korean Peninsula surprised not only allies in South Korea but also the Pentagon.

The report cited Ulchi Freedom Guardian, one of the largest military exercises in the world. Preparation for the war game is being continued.

Brian McKeon, a senior Pentagon official during the Obama administration, said: "On the face of it, seems like a pretty big concession."

Kathleen Hicks, another senior Pentagon official in the Obama administration, said: Mr Trump's cost argument was misleading since any savings would likely decrease combat readiness.

A group of Democrats are harsh to the development. They feel: Trump has been played by Kim.

Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader, said: "By granting a meeting with Chairman Kim, President Trump has granted a brutal and repressive dictatorship the international legitimacy it has long craved."

Schumer said: Trump has drawn a false equivalency between the "legitimate" joint military exercises by South Korea and the US, and "illegal" North Korean nuclear testing.

Representative Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader, said: "President Trump elevated North Korea to the level of the United States while preserving the regime's status quo."

Senator Marco Rubio, Republican, said he would not support "any 'deal' that doesn't ultimately bring to an end these atrocities under #KimJongun."

Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican, strongly cautioned against another proposal Trump has been weighing reducing the 28,500 US troops stationed in South Korea. "The one thing that I would violently disagree with is removing our troops," he said. "I can't imagine I would vote for any agreement that requires us to withdraw our forces because that would destabilize Asia. That's what China wants. That doesn't make the world more peaceful, it makes it more dangerous."

Senator Bob Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said: It is difficult to determine what of concrete nature has occurred.

The Editorial Board of The Washington Post writes:
"THE SINGAPORE summit was, without question, a triumph for Kim Jong Un and his North Korean regime. A dictator […] was able to parade on the global stage as a legitimate statesman, praised by the president of the United States as 'very talented' and worthy of trust. President Trump offered Mr Kim a major concession, the suspension of US military exercises with South Korea, and spoke of his wish to withdraw US troops from the country. [….]
"By far the most substantive result of the summit was Mr Trump's sudden announcement of a freeze on US-South Korean military exercises—a concession that apparently took the South Korean government and the US military by surprise. [….] Mr Trump has […] used Pyongyang's language in describing the 'war games' as 'provocative.'
"Mr Trump portrayed his concession as an exchange for North Korea's destruction of a test site for missile engines. But that demolition took place before the summit […]
"Compared with that gift, North Korea's commitments […] [are] actually weaker and less specific [….]
"There was no mention in the statement of US terms for disarmament: not a word about verification, or irreversibility, or timelines." ("No more concessions", June 12, 2018)
Noah Rothman, co-editor of the conservative leaning magazine Commentary, calls the summit "a disgrace".

The conservative-leaning Naval War college professor Tom Nichols writes: I just watched a completely clueless President proclaim a special bond with one of the most ruthless murderers in the world, whom he thinks is "a talented man" who "loves his country." If I cringed any harder my spine would snap.

Daniel Serwer, director of the conflict management programme at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies writes: President Trump today agreed to suspend US military exercises with South Korea […] He and Kim Jong-un also got their photo op, which featured a stunning array of American and Democratic People's Republic of Korea flags.

Blake Hounshell, editor, Politico, writes: Waking up this morning, it sure seems like Trump got hosed. Anyone can see differently?

Michael Green, a former senior director for Asia on the National Security Council said: "Then Trump says he'd like to pull US troops out of Asia, which is a real heart-warming development for Beijing and Moscow, who want nothing more than to weaken and eventually unravel our alliances. So this is a pretty stunning development."

Barry McCaffrey, a retired four-star General and a former chief of US Southern Command, believes: "it was entirely inappropriate for President Trump—who has no understanding of nuclear weapons and strategic alliances and was completely unprepared—to meet alone with the North Korean dictator without so much as a note-taker present." "I'm very concerned that Trump signaled that if Kim gives up his nuclear weapons, then the United States will withdraw our troops from South Korea. Once you start that process it's a one-way street of retreat from the Pacific Rim, which would leave our allies to confront a belligerent North Korea and an aggressive and massively armed China alone."

Bonnie Glaser, director of the China Power Project at CSIS said: "Certainly it was astonishing to hear President Trump talk about these exercises as 'war games' and 'provocative,' which is language taken right out of Pyongyang's playbook. Trump's message that he wants to pull US troops out was just further music to China's ears."

Dan Drezner, professor of international politics at the Fletcher School at Tufts University writes: Jesus f**king Christ. Pence has now told Republican senators that military exercises "will continue with South Korea". Probably a good idea to listen to Pence, rather than that hopeless buffoon Trump, as Pence will soon be president.

Pence's press secretary has subsequently called senator Gardner's summary of Pence's message "false":
A CNN source in the Republican meeting says Pence's answer on the war games question was not clear.

Hence, these show the empire's condition: intensified factional fight in the ruling camp is leading to disarray. Is anyone in the empire's status quo camp certain about its actual condition, where one ruling faction claims that a small economy like North Korea, probably equivalent to the size of a part of Oregon, can outmanoeuver the empire?

Yet, a part of the ruling factions in the empire doesn't like China's "suspension for suspension" proposal regarding the Korea region: Suspension of nuclear and missile activities by North Korea in exchange for the suspension of US-South Korea military exercises, which will take away tension from the region. In absence of so-called North Korea nuclear threat, logic for stationing of the US forces in the region and US-led war games will turn irrelevant. But, the warmongering faction dislikes being irrelevant as it doesn't like peace.

[Farooque Chowdhury writes from Dhaka]

Vol. 51, No.2, Jul 15 - 21, 2018