The only real constant to be found in both European and US politics is war. A steady feature of both regions for the past 20+ years has been small, lucrative conflicts waged against countries unable to effectively defend themselves.
It doesn’t seem to matter who’s in office in the US — Republican/Democrat, conservative/liberal — there’s a war machine constantly running. My concern is that there’s a building risk that one day that war machine is going to bust apart. And when it does, the long relative peace that the US and Europe have enjoyed (even as they’ve visited a lot of death and destruction elsewhere) will be shattered.
As I’ve written extensively in the past, as was the case with Russia last fall, this push to war includes a series of carefully-crafted talking points being endlessly repeated over the print and airwaves. It’s an ever-present condition of living in our manufactured reality, where what we are told to care about is beamed at us around the clock in a rather tediously but emotionally-manipulative way on the “news.”
For a short historical review, recall that it wasn’t that long ago that we were asked to be in a near state of panic about:
- Iran’s nuclear capabilities
- Libya’s terrible strongman (who turned out to be way better than the thugs who replaced him)
How many of those are now ‘front and center’ in your concerns? Probably none. Today’s big ‘bogeyman’ is North Korea. Have you wondered why?
The news about North Korea is at a fever pitch. Again, we have to ask, why now?
Trump says ‘major, major’ conflict with North Korea possible, but seeks diplomacy
Apr 28, 2017
The Trump administration on Wednesday declared North Korea “an urgent national security threat and top foreign policy priority.” It said it was focusing on economic and diplomatic pressure, including Chinese cooperation in containing its defiant neighbor and ally, and remained open to negotiations.
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday a major conflict with North Korea is possible in the standoff over its nuclear and missile programs, but he would prefer a diplomatic outcome to the dispute.
“There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely,” Trump told Reuters in an Oval Office interview ahead of his 100th day in office on Saturday.
Nonetheless, Trump said he wanted to peacefully resolve a crisis that has bedeviled multiple U.S. presidents, a path that he and his administration are emphasizing by preparing a variety of new economic sanctions while not taking the military option off the table.
“We’d love to solve things diplomatically but it’s very difficult,” he said.
In other highlights of the 42-minute interview, Trump was cool to speaking again with Taiwan’s president after an earlier telephone call with her angered China.
He also said he wants South Korea to pay the cost of the U.S. THAAD anti-missile defense system, which he estimated at $1 billion, and intends to renegotiate or terminate a U.S. free trade pact with South Korea because of a deep trade deficit with Seoul.
U.S. officials said military strikes remained an option but played down the prospect, though the administration has sent an aircraft carrier and a nuclear-powered submarine to the region in a show of force.
Any direct U.S. military action would run the risk of massive North Korean retaliation and huge casualties in Japan and South Korea and among U.S. forces in both countries.
Okay, let’s parse all that out:
- There are no direct negotiations between the US and North Korea
- Trump is talking tough
- Kim Jong Un is insane
- Trump wants South Korea to pay for a $1 billion US piece of hardware
- Trump wants to renegotiate or terminate the trade pact with South Korea
- If things ‘go hot’, a lot of casualties are expected
- Both China and North Korea are very alarmed by the THAAD anti-missile system the US has installed in South Korea
- The US is maneuvering military assets into the region, including an aircraft carrier and sub, among other displays of suggested force
Let’s see here…what could possibly go wrong?
How about everything?
Here’s some more on the THAAD anti-missile defense system, which wasn’t well received by the locals in South Korea who, for some reason, have no interest in being dragged into a war with their immediate and heavily-militarized neighbors by a careless US administration:
US sets up missile defense in S. Korea as North shows power
Apr 26, 2017
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — In a defiant bit of timing, South Korea announced Wednesday that key parts of a contentious U.S. missile defense system had been installed a day after rival North Korea showed off its military power.
The South’s trumpeting of progress on setting up the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD, comes as high-powered U.S. military assets converge on the Korean Peninsula and as a combative North Korea signals possible nuclear and missile testing.
About 8,000 police officers were mobilized, and the main road leading up to the site in the country’s southeast was blocked earlier Wednesday, Yonhap reported. About 200 residents and protesters rallied against THAAD in front of a local community center, some hurling plastic water bottles.
North Korea conducted live-fire artillery drills on Tuesday, the 85th anniversary of the founding of its million-person strong Korean People’s Army. On the same day, a U.S. guided-missile submarine docked in South Korea. And the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier is also headed toward the peninsula for a joint exercise with South Korea.
The moves to set up THAAD within this year have angered not only North Korea, but also China, the country that the Trump administration hopes to work with to rid the North of nuclear weapons. China, which has grown increasingly frustrated with its ally Pyongyang, and Russia see the system’s powerful radars as a security threat.
I consider having to deploy 8,000 police officers to deter possible protestors as a strong sign of just how unpopular a move it is for the THAAD system to be installed. North Korea is rattling its sabers, the US is moving assets in, China is both alarmed and trying to be helpful at the same time, probably preferring to let a sleeping dog lie.
This is an incredibly volatile moment, especially considering that Kim Jong Un has been anything but rational his entire life. So, again, we have to ask: Why now? Why has beating North Korea into submission become such a sudden national priority?
Before address that, it bears repeating that most of what passes for “news” in the West is actually well-crafted talking points put out by self-interested people who have discovered a fantastic way to remain in power and accumulate wealth. Read more about this in our prior report: We Are Being Played.
Well, that’s true at least as long as we consent to follow along and dutifully remain ignorant of these tricks of persuasion by propaganda. There’s really no good excuse for being fooled, except mental laziness. The tricks of this trade are neither subtle nor difficult to spot.
Meanwhile, the actual things that are deteriorating alarmingly are not even talked about — ever — in the main news outfits. Alarming species extinction rates, the loss of