Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Trump's Dead End

Today is one of those rare occasions when the editorial page of The New York Times is in agreement with the World Socialist Web Site. Donald Trump's flailing response to North Korea's missile tests and Sunday's detonation of a nuclear device is the agent of unification.

In "An Incoherent Strategy on North Korea" the NYT discards the conventional Western portrayal of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as an insane, power-hungry despot:
North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, is certainly playing a dangerous game; Nikki Haley, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, warned Monday that Mr. Kim is “begging for war.” But unless he is completely deranged he must know that war with the United States would be suicide. He seems to regard nuclear weapons as his only guarantee of survival in the face of American hostility.
He has reason to worry: Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the Libyan leader, gave up his nascent nuclear program in 2003 in return for promises of economic integration with the West. But when rebels rose up against him, he was bombed by the United States and its allies, then executed by rebels.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have insisted that the United States is not aiming for regime change. But it could be doing considerably more to lower the temperature and lead the way to a more peaceful solution. On Sunday, Mr. Mattis seemed intent on doing just the opposite, promising a “massive military response” in return for “any threat” — not just an attack but the threat of an attack — against the United States; its territories, like Guam; or its allies. And while Mr. Mattis and Mr. Tillerson have both hinted at dialogue with the North, Mr. Trump tweeted that “talking is not the answer!”
The Times editorial writer might have lifted this notion of the influential nature of Qaddafi's downfall on North Korea's commitment to its nuclear and ballistic missile program from none other than Vladimir Putin. According to WSWS's Alex Lantier in "Danger of global war over Korea shakes Europe":
Speaking at the BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) summit in Xiamen, China, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that aggressive action by the United States and its allies against North Korea could lead to world war: “Ramping up military hysteria in such conditions is senseless; it’s a dead end. It could lead to a global, planetary catastrophe and a huge loss of human life. There is no other way to solve the North Korean nuclear issue, save that of peaceful dialogue.”
Putin made clear that Pyongyang’s reckless pursuit of its nuclear weapons program is a desperate attempt to deter an attack like the 2003 US war of aggression against Iraq or the 2011 NATO war in Libya, in which European powers including France and Britain played leading roles in launching.
He said, “We all remember what happened with Iraq and Saddam Hussein. His children were killed, I think his grandson was shot, the whole country was destroyed and Saddam Hussein was hanged ... We all know how this happened, and people in North Korea remember well what happened in Iraq. They will eat grass but will not stop their program as long as they do not feel safe.”
Everyone is calling for talks except Trump, who is acting as if this is nothing more than a hard-nosed Manhattan real estate deal (with nuclear weapons added). Stock indexes are beginning to factor in the volatility of the situation.

The Saker, in a post, "Make no mistake, the latest US thuggery is a sign of weakness, not strength," devoted to the recent U.S. "raids" on the Russian Consulate in San Francisco and the Russian diplomatic annexes in Washington and New York, captures how bizarre and out of control the situation has become:
This is also really scary. The combination of, on one hand, spineless subservience to the Neocons with intellectual mediocrity, a gross lack of professionalism and the kind of petty thuggery normally associated with street gangs and, on the other hand, nuclear weapons is very scary. In the mean time, the other nuclear armed crazies have just declared that they have a thermonuclear device which they apparently tested yesterday just to show their contempt for Trump and his general minions. I don’t think that they have a hydrogen bomb. I don’t think that they have a real ICBM. I don’t even think that they have real (usable) nuclear warheads. But what if I am wrong? What if they did get a lot of what they claim to have today – such as rocket engines – from the Ukies?
In one corner, the Outstanding Leader, Brilliant Comrade, Young Master and Great Successor, Kim Jong-un and on the other, The Donald, Grab them by the xxxxx and Make ‘Merica Great, the Grand Covfefe Donald Trump. Both armed with nukes.
Scary, scary shit. Really scary.
But even more scary and depressing is that the stronger man of the two is beyond any doubt Kim Jong-un.
All I see in the White House are vacancy signs.
Against the nearly universal call for talks, the neocon hive mind, as well as South Korean President Moon Jai-in, has settled on the idea of increased sanctions targeting Chinese oil sales and Chinese banks. This is no golden-ticket solution because China has ample representation in the United States Government. Chimerica is real.

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