Wednesday, August 2, 2017

War Children, It's Just a Nuclear Bomb Away...

History seems to repeat itself in acts of insanity again and again. I was reminded of this today when I saw so many Democrats on Facebook climbing all over themselves to support the Trump government and the US military industrial complex's North Korea policy.

The posts of these Democratic hawks are always the same. They are characteriesed by confusion, conflation, and cliches. They, for instance, condemn anyone who speaks out about the American imperial demonisation not realising that condemning the imperial warmongering against North Korea IS NOT a statement of support for the North Korean monarchical regime. It is an attack on a practise that is as old as the rise of large scale agricultural "civilisation", the demonisation of the enemy "other" in preparation for war broadly defined.

Their posts are confused about technological capabilities. Yes North Korea has nuclear weapons. They apparently got the ability to make nukes from Pakistan. Yes North Korea can launch nuclear weapons. We don't know how many nuclear weapons North Korea has. We do know that the US, the only country to actually use nuclear weapons in war, has hundreds and has the capability to hit North Korea again and again. We really don't know, however, about the capabilities of North Korean weapons. We have, of course, heard all this before, specifically about Iraq. Iraq's nuclear weapons, of course, were fictional. Iraq's real missiles could barely hit Israel.

Their posts forget the doctrine of mutual assured destruction that was at the heart of American imperial Cold War policy. In this Strangelovian scenario one had nuclear weapons so someone else didn't use nuclear weapons against you. The underlying assumption was that nuclear weapons would and could not be used by any actor with them because it would lead to mutual assured destruction. It is certainly reasonable, in a world where the US has invaded Grenada, Libya, and Iraq twice, to pick a few of many examples of overt attack, to assert that North Korea is playing by the same rules in order to protect itself from a country that has the largest military in the world by far, the United States. Not allowing another country the same weapons of "self-defence" you have, by the way, is a clear example of ethnocentric and nationalist hypocrisy.

You might hear someone claim that the North Koreans are not "rational", whatever that means, and are not playing by MAD rules as the US and USSR were. This, however, is an assumption, driven by ideology not a reality. It is also an assumption that is problematised by the fact that some of us are old enough to remember the days when Soviets were accused of being "irrational".

Finally, there is the same old ideologically driven binary in form amnesia about the fact that the US is the latest in a long line of imperialist powers that stretches back to ancient China and the city-states of ancient Mesopotamia. Meanwhile, the American government and the American and European media play the masses as suckers...