US Imperialism threatens Korea

ct-donald-trump-korean-peninsula-dmz-20171101.jpgby Andy Raba

 

The arrival of Donald Trump into the Whitehouse has escalated tensions on the Korean peninsula. In recent months, Trump has goaded the North Korean regime on an almost daily basis. In August, he threatened to unleash “fire, fury and frankly power” if the North does not halt their nuclear weapons programme. In September, at the U.N, he threatened to “totally destroy North Korea” and to make “Kim Jong-Un disappear.” After the latest round of UN sanctions forced Koreans to queue for gas, Trump tweeted, “Too bad!” And finally, on September 19th, he launched a massive show of force by sending 14 fighter jets and bombers on a live-fire drill near the border. Trump’s ongoing suite of provocations are part of his bid to appear effective in dealing with America’s overseas headaches. He has signalled that he is finished with Obama’s “strategic patience” policy. The new approach will be one of “maximum pressure and engagement.”

 

Trump’s lurid, off-hand militarism is an awful addition to the Korean crisis. The constant stream of threats creates a climate of fear that inflames the conflict and terrorizes ordinary Koreans. The degree of tension that already exists on the peninsula means that Trump’s aggressive behaviour could easily spark a larger confrontation. Yet, whilst it is important to register the distinct threat that Trump poses, his behaviour is by no means unprecedented. In fact, Trump’s racist sabre-rattling draws on a long history of US pressure and provocation against the North. For the past nine years, the Obama-Clinton administration has held the embattled state in a stranglehold of economic sanctions accompanied by threats of military annihilation. Throughout his presidency, Obama routinely threatened Kim Jong-Un with total destruction. In 2016, he warned that “the US could, obviously, destroy North Korea with its arsenals.” And from 2012 onwards, Obama massively expanded the “Foal Eagle War Games,” which take place each year in neighbouring South Korea. In 2013, in a move to provoke and intimidate the North, Obama deployed nuclear-bomb capable B-2 and B-52 bombers, F-22 fighter jets, a nuclear-powered attack submarine and four guided missile carrier destroyers. These deployments were on top of exercises and simulated invasions of the North which involved 10,000 US soldiers and more than 200,000 South Korean troops. Judged as rhetoricians, Trump and Obama are certainly poles apart. Judged as defenders of US interests abroad, they share much the same perspective.

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