One Warhead gives birth to others.
The subject of these series of post is to EXAM THE PRESENT DAY NEED FOR NUCLEAR WEAPONS.
In doing so I have decided to exam the eight countries that make up the so-called Nuclear Club ( Sovereign states that have successfully detonated a Nuclear Weapon.) It is not my purpose here to condone or oppose but to show what I think is the reasons why they are maintaining a nuclear deterrent that can never be used without causing self-destruction. The posts give a brief outline on each country reasons for doing so.
Let’s look at North Korea: Officially the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)
North Korea and Finland are separated by one country.
North Korea has long been vilified and condemned by the Western press as bellicose, provocative and unpredictable, it’s difficult to cut through the fog of vituperation that obscures any kind of dispassionate understanding of the country to grasp that the DPRK represents something praiseworthy.
The North represents the traditions of struggle against foreign domination, both political and economic, while the South represents the tradition of submission to and collaboration with a foreign hegemony. Significantly, there are no foreign troops stationed in North Korea, but are in South Korea.
No nation in the world has been exposed to the nuclear threat so directly and for so long as the Koreans both North and South.
North Korea’s regime is often casually dismissed as “crazy.” Indeed, the existence of a hermetically sealed state — a combination of communism and national fascism — so closed-off to the outside world that the Internet does not exist except for a privileged few, strikes outside observers as beyond belief.
Many aspects of North Korean totalitarianism, especially the personality cult surrounding its leader, Kim Jong Un, and trade and agricultural policies that cause widespread shortages, may border on the insane. But in one key aspect, in particular, there is nothing insane about its nuclear weapons program. North Korea’s nuclear program makes perfect sense it would be crazy to give up its nuclear capability.
The reason is simple.
No country exploits the political utility of nuclear weapons as vigorously as the United States does.
In pursuing its foreign policy goals, Washington threatened other countries with nuclear attack on 25 separate occasions between 1970 and 2010, and 14 occasions between 1990 and 2010. On six of these occasions, the United States threatened the DPRK. (The United States’ record of issuing threats of nuclear attack against other countries over this period is: Iraq, 7; China, 4; the USSR, 4; Libya, 2; Iran, 1; Syria. Significantly, all these countries, like the DPRK, were under communist or economically nationalist governance when the threats were made.)
Since early in the 1950s, the US has turned South Korea into the biggest nuclear arsenal in the Far East, gravely threatening the DPRK through ceaseless manoeuvres for a nuclear war. It has worked hard to deprive the DPRK of its sovereignty and its right to exist and develop….thereby doing tremendous damage to its socialist economic construction and the improvement of the standard of people’s living.”
The breadth and depth of US economic warfare against North Korea can be summed up in two sentences:
• North Korea is “the most sanctioned nation in the world” — George W. Bush.
• ”There are few sanctions left to apply.” – The New York Times.
You could ask why is it incumbent on North Korea alone to disarm? Why not the United States too?
From a North Korean point of view its nuclear arsenal does not increase the chances of war—it reduces the likelihood that the United States and its South Korean marionette will attempt to bring down the communist government in Pyongyang by force.
This is to be welcomed by anyone who opposes imperialist military interventions and supports the right of people to organize its affairs free from foreign domination; and has an interest in the survival of one of the few top-to-bottom, actually existing, alternatives to the global capitalist system of oppression, exploitation, and foreign domination.
If territories aren’t voluntarily opened to capital penetration through trade and investment agreements, their doors are battered down by the Pentagon, the enforcer of last resort of a world economic order supporting, as its first commitment, the profit-making interests of the US ruling class.
Its attitude can be summed up one word: Libya.
American behavior toward Libya over the past decade may have convinced North Korea’s ruling elite never to negotiate away its nukes. And that is true no matter what the Iranians may do.
In 1945, when Japan was defeated in World War II, Korea was divided into two occupied zones, with the north occupied by the Soviet Union and the south by the United States. The two countries remain officially at war because a formal peace treaty was never signed. Both states were accepted into the United Nations in 1991. The tradition of struggle against oppression and foreign domination, rooted in the experience of a majority of Koreans dating back to the end of WWII and the period of Japanese colonial rule.
Korea as a divided half-state is a relatively recent invention.
For the North Korean elite, the goal isn’t necessarily a North Korea kept alive through Western investment — it is a unified Korea under the North’s leadership. But opening up the regime would likely lead to the reverse: the collapse of the North’s elite and the absorption by the South.
North Korea conducted its first underground test of a nuclear weapon in 2006.
It has fewer than 10 functional nuclear devices — compared to the more than 7,650 warheads in the U.S. arsenal.
North Korea’s main priority is its military, which it spends an inordinate amount of money on, disproportionate to its GDP.
A February 21, 2013 comment by Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency (“Nuclear test part of DPRK’s substantial countermeasures to defend its sovereignty”) noted that, “The tragic consequences in those countries which abandoned halfway their nuclear programs, yielding to the high-handed practices and pressure of the U.S. in recent years, clearly prove that the DPRK was very far-sighted and just when it made the option. They also teach the truth that the U.S. nuclear blackmail should be countered with substantial countermeasures, not with compromise or retreat.”
It’s also possible that much of Pyongyang’s rhetoric is meaningless, or a blustery show meant for domestic consumption. Considering, however, that just yesterday a top North Korean military official threatened a nuclear strike on the White House, it might be a bit too early to be so complacent, especially with U.S. foreign policy in so many difficult binds across the globe.
For Kim Jong Un is clear: that while his safety with nuclear weapons is clearly uncertain, he would be even less safe if he gave them up. The best chance that Koreans in the north have for preserving their sovereignty is to build nuclear weapons to deter an US military conquest.
Whether Pyongyang has or doesn’t have nuclear weapons makes little difference to US national security. Since the threat to the United States of a nuclear-armed North Korea is about the same as a disarmed North Korea—approximately zero.
Since a North Korean first-strike would be suicidal (and this is not lost on the North Korean leadership), North Korea’s nuclear weapons capability is a defensive threat alone. U.S. strategy is outdated and overstates the risk from North Korea. The United States is not threatened by North Korea.
However North Korea remains the only nation with which China maintains a defense treaty which requires assistance if Pyongyang comes under “armed attack from any state.
It is the world’s most militarized society, with a total of 9,495,000 active, reserve, and paramilitary personnel. Its active duty army of 1.21 million is the 4th largest in the world, after China, the U.S., and India. It is a nuclear-weapons state and has an active space program. As a result of its isolation, it is sometimes known as the “hermit kingdom”. All images of the country depict the whole peninsula, what today is North and South Korea combined. In their view, they are proud Koreans, living in Korea, the south half of which is unfortunately currently occupied by the Imperialist Americans.
It’s not cool to call North Korea “North Korea.” The correct term is, “Korea.”
A report from the United Nations details human rights atrocities taking place in North Korea. Though the North Korean government denies it, nearly 200,000 political prisoners are reportedly held in camps against their will and without trial.
These days we all like to think that gone are the days when some deranged idiot might presses the button.
Welcome to life as we know it.
The disarming of countries that deny the US ruling class access to markets, natural resources, and investment opportunities, in order to use these for their own development, doesn’t reduce the risk of wars of conquest—it makes them all the more certain.
The elimination of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in Iraq didn’t reduce the chances of US military intervention in that country—it increased them. Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s voluntary elimination of his WMD didn’t prevent a NATO assault on Libya—it cleared the way for it.
Four years after the United States dropped atomic bombs on Japan in August 1945, the Soviet Union detonated its first nuclear device the United Kingdom (1952), France (1960), and China (1964) followed.
Nuclear weapons also have political utility for countries menaced by nuclear and other military threats. They raise the stakes for countries seeking to use their militaries for conquest, and therefore reduce the chances of military intervention.
There is little doubt that the US military intervention in Iraq and NATO intervention in Libya would not have been carried out had the targets not disarmed and cleared the way for outside forces to intervene with impunity.
These radical views locates the cause of wars of conquest since the rise of capitalism in the drive for profits. This compulsion chases the goods, services and capital of corporate-dominated societies over the face of the globe to settle everywhere, nestle everywhere, and establish connections everywhere, irrespective of the wishes, interests, development needs and welfare of the natives.
Where does leave us on our Journey of the so-called Nuclear Club?
The two superpowers – China and the United States – that could put pressure on North Korea have done virtually nothing to bring about a change.
The Cold War–style stand-off, peaceful as it has largely been, cannot last indefinitely. Meanwhile, the inhuman suffering of North Koreans continues.
Nuclear weapons constitute an indelible part of the legacy of both Kims. There is no evidence that there are forces within the country prepared to envision a future without a nuclear identity. Both Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il were determined to build and sustain, no matter what the costs and consequences. North Korea’s history is the history of the Kim dynasty.
If the United States has the ability to take a more calculated and dispassionate look at North Korea’s future. A soft landing involving a gradual liberalization of the North Korean economy along with the creation of some personal freedoms until it peacefully reunifies with the South is
It is the least visited country in the world, but it can’t remain hidden in an increasingly interconnected world. Google Earth spotted a Mosque.
I may have glosses over some important historical details, some disturbing history but I am sure you get the gist.
They are the constant, painful reminders of North Korea’s profound alienation from the international system. All in the name of a regime that with formidable nuclear arsenals and the means of delivering warheads that remains the Genie in the Nuclear Club.
Nuclear weapons can be used to extort political concessions from non-nuclear-armed states through terror and intimidation, but the removal of World Inequalities can get rid of the need to have them in the first place.