North Korea


North Korean General: ‘War Is Inevitable’
ABC News, 2006-10-19

If President Bush continues to ask North Korea to "kneel,"
war "will be inevitable,"
and it would begin on the Korean Peninsula,
North Korean Gen. Ri Chan Bok told "Good Morning America" anchor Diane Sawyer.


To Prod N. Korea, U.S. Relents in Counterfeiting Case
By Glenn Kessler
Washington Post, 2007-04-11


How North Korea could kill 90 percent of Americans
By R. James Woolsey and Dr. Peter Vincent Pry
The Hill Opinion, 2017-03-29

The mainstream media, and some officials who should know better, continue to allege North Korea does not yet have capability to deliver on its repeated threats to strike the U.S. with nuclear weapons. False reassurance is given to the American people that North Korea has not “demonstrated” that it can miniaturize a nuclear warhead small enough for missile delivery, or build a reentry vehicle for an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of penetrating the atmosphere to blast a U.S. city.

Yet any nation that has built nuclear weapons and long-range missiles, as North Korea has done, can easily overcome the relatively much simpler technological challenge of warhead miniaturization and reentry vehicle design.


Why do the press and public officials ignore or under-report these facts? Perhaps no administration wants to acknowledge that North Korea is an existential threat on their watch.

Whatever the motives for obfuscating the North Korean nuclear threat, the need to protect the American people is immediate and urgent:

The U.S. must be prepared to preempt North Korea by any means necessary—including nuclear weapons.

Launch a crash program to harden against EMP attack the U.S. electric grid to preserve American civilization and hundreds of millions of lives. This could be part of President Trump’s infrastructure modernization project.

Beef up national missile defenses. Revive President Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), the unfairly derided “Star Wars.” Space-based missile defenses could still render nuclear missiles obsolete and offer a permanent, peaceful, solution to problems like North Korea.

Ambassador R. James Woolsey was the Director of Central Intelligence from 1993-95. Dr. Peter Vincent Pry is chief of staff of the Congressional EMP Commission, served in the House Armed Services Committee and the CIA.

Why Is Kim Jong Un Our Problem?
by Patrick Buchanan
buchanan.org, 2017-04-03

“If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will.”

So President Donald Trump warns, amid reports North Korea, in its zeal to build an intercontinental ballistic missile to hit our West Coast, may test another atom bomb.

China shares a border with North Korea. We do not.

Why then is this our problem to “solve”? And why is North Korea building a rocket that can cross the Pacific and strike Seattle or Los Angeles?

Is Kim Jong Un mad?

No. He is targeting us because we have 28,500 troops on his border. If U.S. air, naval, missile and ground forces were not in and around Korea, and if we were not treaty-bound to fight alongside South Korea, there would be no reason for Kim to build rockets to threaten a distant superpower that could reduce his hermit kingdom to ashes.

While immensely beneficial to Seoul, is this U.S. guarantee to fight Korean War II, 64 years after the first wise? Russia, China and Japan retain the freedom to decide whether and how to react, should war break out. Why do we not?

Would it not be better for us if we, too, retained full freedom of action to decide how to respond, should the North attack?

During the August 2008 war between Russia and Georgia, despite John McCain’s channeling Patrick Henry — “We are all Georgians now!” — George W. Bush decided to take a pass on war. When a mob in Kiev overthrew the pro-Russian government, Vladimir Putin secured his Sebastopol naval base by annexing Crimea.

Had Georgia and Ukraine been in NATO, we would have been, in both cases, eyeball to eyeball with a nuclear-armed Russia.

Which brings us to the point:

The United States is in rising danger of being dragged into wars in half a dozen places, because we have committed ourselves to fight for scores of nations with little or no link to vital U.S. interests.

While our first president said in his Farewell Address that we might “trust to temporary alliances” in extraordinary emergencies, he added, “It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world.”

Alliances, Washington believed, were transmission belts of war. Yet no nation in history has handed out so many war guarantees to so many “allies” on so many continents, as has the United States.

To honor commitments to the Baltic States, we have moved U.S. troops to the Russian border. To prevent China from annexing disputed rocks and reefs in the South and East China Seas, our Navy is prepared to go to war — to back the territorial claims of Tokyo and Manila.


[I]f we do not begin to rescind these war guarantees we have handed out since the 1940s, the odds are high that one of them will one day drag us into a great war, after which, if we survive, all these alliances will be dissolved in disillusionment.

What John Foster Dulles called for, over half a century ago, an “agonizing reappraisal” of America’s alliances, is long, long overdue.

[Pat Buchanan really belongs in the Trump White House as a senior advisor.
Too bad Jared Kushner has that role; wouldn't Buchanan be far batter?]

War Cries Drown Out ‘America First’
by Patrick Buchanan
buchanan.org, 2017-04-17


Earlier, after discovering “great chemistry” with Chinese President Xi Jinping over “the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake” at Mar-a-Lago, Trump had confided, “I explained … that a trade deal with the U.S. will be far better for them if they solve the North Korean problem!”

“America First” thus takes a back seat to big-power diplomacy with Beijing. One wonders: How much will Xi end up bilking us for his squeezing of Kim Jong Un?

Trump once seemed to understand how America had been taken to the cleaners during and after the Cold War. While allies supported us diplomatically, they piled up huge trade surpluses at our expense and became virtual free-riders off the U.S. defense effort.

No nations were more successful at this than South Korea and Japan. Now Xi is playing the game — and perhaps playing Trump.

What is the “North Korean problem” Beijing will help solve in return for more indulgent consideration on future U.S.-China trade deals?

North Korea’s nuclear arsenal. As 80 percent of Pyongyang’s trade comes through China, Trump believes that Beijing can force Kim to stop testing missiles and atomic bombs before he produces an intercontinental ballistic missile that could hit the U.S.

But what is to prevent Xi from pocketing Trump’s concessions and continuing on the strategic course China has long pursued?

For in many ways, Pyongyang’s goals parallel China’s.

Neither could want an all-out war on the Korean Peninsula.
For Kim, this would devastate his country, bring down his regime, and cost him his life.
For China, war could mean millions of Koreans crossing the Yalu into Manchuria
and a disruption of Beijing’s march to Asian hegemony.

A continuing crisis on the peninsula,
however, with Trump and the U.S. relying on Beijing’s help,
could leave Xi in the catbird seat.


How did we get to this point?

Why, 64 years after the Korean War, a quarter-century after the Cold War, are we still obliged to go to war to defend South Korea from a North with one-half the South’s population and 3 percent of its gross domestic product?

Why are we, on the far side of the Pacific, still responsible for containing North Korea when two of its neighbors — Russia and China — are nuclear powers and South Korea and Japan could field nuclear and conventional forces far superior to Kim’s?

How long into the future will containing militarist dictators in Pyongyang with nuclear missiles be America’s primary responsibility?


Why does North Korea hate the United States?
Let’s go back to the Korean War.

By Anna Fifield
Washington Post, 2017-05-17

SEOUL — Any day of the week, the North Korean propaganda machine can be relied upon to spew out anti-American vitriol using some formulation of “imperialist” and “aggressor” and “hostile.”

The Kim family has kept a tight grip on North Korea for some seven decades by perpetuating the idea that the Americans are out to get them. From the earliest age, North Korean children are taught “cunning American wolves” — illustrated by fair-haired, pale-skinned men with huge noses — want to kill them.

[North Korea showed off a lot of missiles. What might be its targets?]

Kindergartens and child-care centers are decorated with animals holding grenades and machine guns. Cartoons show plucky squirrel soldiers (North Koreans) triumphing over the cunning wolves (Americans).

“North Koreans live in a war mentality, and this anti-American propaganda is war-time propaganda,” said Tatiana Gabroussenko, an expert in North Korean propaganda who teaches at Korea University in Seoul.

The thing is: there is some element of truth to the North Korean version of events. It’s only a kernel, and it is grossly exaggerated, but North Koreans remember very well what most Americans have forgotten (or never knew): that the Korean War was a brutal one.

‘Utter ruin and devastation’

“Korea is called the forgotten war, and part of what has been forgotten is the utter ruin and devastation that we rained down on the North Korean people,” said John Delury, a professor in the international relations department at Yonsei University in Seoul. “But this has been ingrained into the North Korean psyche.”

First: a little history.

The Korean Peninsula, previously occupied by Japan, was divided at the end of World War II. Dean Rusk — an Army colonel at the time, who went on to become secretary of state — got a map and basically drew a line across at the 38th parallel. To the Americans’ surprise, the Soviet Union agreed to the line, and the communist-backed North and the American-backed South were established in 1948 as a “temporary measure.”

On June 25, 1950, Kim Il Sung, installed by the Soviets to lead North Korea, decided to try to reunify the peninsula by force, invading the South. (Although in the North Korean version of events, the South and their imperialist patrons started it.)

The push south was surprisingly successful until Gen. Douglas MacArthur landed his troops on the mudflats at Incheon, sending the northern troops back. Then the Chinese got involved, managing to push them back to roughly where they started, on the 38th parallel.

All this happened within the first six months or so. For the next two-and-a-half years, neither side was able to make any headway. The war was drawn to a close in 1953, after exacting a bloody toll.

“The number of Korean dead, injured or missing by war’s end approached three million, 10 percent of the overall population,” Charles K. Armstrong, a professor of Korean history at Columbia University, wrote in an essay. “The majority of those killed were in the North, which had half of the population of the South.”

But the war ended with an armistice, not with a peace treaty. That means that, to this day, North and South Korea remain in a technical state of war.

Making the war ‘a most unpopular affair’ for the North Koreans

American military leaders at the time called the Korean War a “limited war” because they did not let it expand outside the Korean Peninsula. But on the peninsula, it was total devastation, particularly for the North.

The United States dropped 635,000 tons of bombs in Korea, not counting the 32,557 tons of napalm, Bruce Cumings, a University of Chicago professor who’s written several books on North Korea, wrote in “The Korean War: A History.” This compared with 503,000 tons in the entire Pacific theater in World War II.

“If we keep on tearing the place apart, we can make it a most unpopular affair for the North Koreans,” Defense Secretary Robert Lovett said after the napalm and aerial bombing campaigns of 1950 and 1951, according to Cumings. “We ought to go right ahead,” Lovett said.

Rusk said the United States bombed “everything that moved in North Korea, every brick standing on top of another.” After running low on urban targets, U.S. bombers destroyed hydroelectric and irrigation dams in the later stages of the war, flooding farmland and destroying crops, former Post correspondent Blaine Harden wrote on these pages in 2015.

Air Force commanders complained that they’d run out of targets.

“The physical destruction and loss of life on both sides was almost beyond comprehension, but the North suffered the greater damage, due to American saturation bombing and the scorched-earth policy of the retreating U.N. forces,” Armstrong of Columbia wrote.

Fueling the North Korean narrative

The Kim regime keeps its people afraid by constantly blaming the United States for its situation, especially sanctions for its economic plight. But this also helps it unify the populace against a supposed external threat.

“Anti-Americanism is an ideological tool of the government,” said Peter Ward, a North Korea researcher affiliated with the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul. “They need an enemy and a villain to blame for the division of the country, a scapegoat for the situation they are in.”

When the United States loses, it’s less likely to become the bogeyman, Ward said. “Look at Vietnam. Americans used much more napalm on the Vietnamese, but they’re on good terms today."

As tensions between North Korea and the United States have escalated in recent months, the North has turned up the volume on its propaganda machine, in addition to launching a series of missiles.

In response, President Trump has repeatedly threatened to use force to punish North Korea (although he has also said he’d be “honored” to meet Kim Jong Un.)

“When a new and untested American president starts dangling out the prospect of a surprise missile attack as the solution to the North Korean problem, it plays directly into their worst narrative that the regime tells its people,” Delury said.

And the worst narrative is bad.

From the very real events of the Korean War, North Korea’s propagandists have created a version of history that is designed to keep the shock and horror alive more than six decades later.

North Korea’s discourse on the Korean War — which it calls the “Victorious Fatherland Liberation War” — was constructed along the lines of Soviet propaganda against Nazi Germany during and after World War II.

“North Korea’s propaganda writers were educated in the Soviet Union,” which portrayed its defense against the German invasion as “The Great Patriotic War,” said Gabroussenko, who grew up in the U.S.S.R. “So, according to the North Korean version of the Korean War, they were also fighting a great patriotic war against American intruders.”

Take the Sinchon Museum of American War Atrocities south of Pyongyang, one of many museums in North Korea designed to keep the regime’s narrative alive. It recalls what North Korea says was a massacre carried out by U.S. troops.

There was fighting and death in Sinchon during the Korean War, but North Korea is widely held to have vastly exaggerated them with its claim that 35,000 “martyrs” were killed by U.S. soldiers during a massacre there.

This is one of what Ward calls the “fake atrocities” that North Korea has created to bolster anti-American nationalism.

Kim Jong Un has visited it several times since he became leader at the end of 2011. During a visit after a major expansion of the museum in July 2015, turning it into “a center for anti-U.S. class education,” Kim celebrated “the victory day when the Korean people defeated the U.S. imperialists.”

“No matter how crafty the U.S. imperialists become in their moves to cover up their crimes, they can never erase the traces of massacre of Koreans left in this land,” Kim said, according to a state media report.

He also ordered his cadres to “intensify the anti-imperialist and anti-U.S. education.” The Korean Central News Agency reported in March, that “more than 18,000 service personnel, working people and youths and students visited the museum” in the first 10 days of the month, “their hearts burning with the resolution to punish the U.S. imperialists and the South Korean warmongers.”

Is the American Empire Worth the Price?
by Patrick Buchanan
buchanan.org, 2017-08-10


Why not move U.S. forces off the peninsula, let South Korean troops replace them, sell Seoul all the modern weapons it needs, and let Seoul build its own nuclear arsenal to deter the North?

Remove any incentive for Kim to attack us, except to invite his own suicide. And tell China: Halt Kim’s ICBM program, or we will help South Korea and Japan become nuclear powers like Britain and France.

Given the rising risk of our war guarantees, from the eastern Baltic to the Korean DMZ — and the paltry rewards of the American Imperium — we are being bled from Libya to Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen — a true America First foreign policy is going to become increasingly attractive.


What North Korea told a U.N. envoy trying to prevent war
by David Ignatius
Washington Post Opinion, 2017-12-18

A senior U.N. envoy who visited Pyongyang this month carrying a pressing appeal for diplomacy
was told by his North Korean hosts that
it was “too early”
for steps that might ease the confrontation over their nuclear program.

“There was no sense of urgency” among North Korean officials,
said one source familiar with the Dec. 5 to 9 journey by Jeffrey Feltman,
the U.N. undersecretary for political affairs and a former senior U.S. diplomat.
His trip, which has received relatively little attention,
was the first to Pyongyang by a high-level U.N. official in six years.


Feltman made three requests of the North Koreans during his 15½ hours of talks, sources said.
  • He proposed that they reopen military-to-military channels that were cut in 2009,
    so that the risk of accidental war might be reduced;
  • he urged them to signal that they were ready to engage the United States in talks,
    following their Nov. 29 proclamation that North Korea had completed its “state nuclear force”; and
  • he asked them to implement Security Council resolutions condemning their weapons programs.
To dramatize his message about the risk of unintended conflict,
Feltman gave North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho
a copy of historian Christopher Clark’s study,
“The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914.”

Feltman was carrying a letter from U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un,
arguing that Pyongyang’s attempt to gain nuclear deterrence could produce the very conflict that it seeks to avoid.
Feltman’s message was reviewed before the trip
by the United States, China, Japan, South Korea and Russia,
the nations that joined in the “Six-Party Talks” with North Korea from 2003 to 2009
that sought unsuccessfully to halt its nuclear program.


The North Koreans engaged in spirited exchanges with Feltman,
posing many questions about U.S. decision-making, the sources said.
they were elusive when asked to explain
how they wanted the United States to change its “hostile” policy toward the regime,

and what they meant in the Nov. 29 announcement
that North Korea had completed its state nuclear force.

The North Koreans evidently want to bargain,
but from a position of maximum strength.
They agreed, for example, that
a restoration of military-to-military contacts would at some point be necessary,
but not yet.
They also agreed that
denuclearization is the ultimate long-term goal for Korea,
but not yet.
And they expressed interest in a follow-up meeting,
though nothing specific is planned.


How Cheney and His Allies Created the North Korea Nuclear Missile Crisis
by Gareth Porter
antiwar.com, 2017-12-28