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It’s all happening again.

In case you haven’t noticed, the US is about to start another war. Remember George W. Bush and the lead up to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003?

On that occasion it was a carefully calculated move, complete with lies about Saddam Hussein’s arsenal, fabricated intelligence delivered to the United Nations by then Secretary of State, Colin Powell, more lies from Dick Cheney and a compliant Murdoch led media playing along.

The trigger was Iraq’s failure to take a “final opportunity” to disarm itself of alleged nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons that U.S. and British officials called an immediate and intolerable threat to world peace.

There was also the visit to the UN by President Bush warning of the axis of evil, namely, Iraq, Syria and North Korea. This week, another US President, Donald Trump has had his say at the UN, this time not bothering with the scripted diplomatic language of Bush.

Trump uses fighting words. There is no mistaking his intentions. He is preparing to destroy North Korea. His, is a different approach from Bush, who first sort UN approval to invade Iraq. We all saw how well that worked.

It is likely Trump won’t bother with the UN. He has little respect for it and his lack of diplomatic skills or interest in what is politically correct, leaves him open to say it and do it, anyway he sees fit.

The bad boy this time is Kim Jong Un of North Korea, who is demonstrating that he can rile the US’s feathers far more than Saddam Hussein could. With Saddam, it was weapons of mass destruction, which turned out to be bad intelligence. Saddam, never had any.

With Kim, it’s a little different. We know he has nukes. Whether he has the capacity to use them offensively is not clear. But it is likely Trump won’t bother to find out. He’s gearing up for a showdown. His language says it all.

And that now brings us to a point where, with two madmen facing off from either side of the Pacific, the world will soon be holding its collective breath. This time, however, the stakes are much higher.

It’s not the threat that Kim might nuke Japan, South Korea or Guam, because he won’t. We could ignore his continuous, reckless provocation because he knows he can’t win, and truth be told, he’s just blowing off. Just like Saddam.

But he knows that what he is doing aggravates the US. He saw how easily Saddam got under Bush’s skin. President Obama had his measure. He just played along with Kim’s tantrums and dismissed him as a pretentious young upstart, giving him the occasional verbal dressing down.

Sadly, Trump is no Obama. He has no diplomatic skills and also displays less patience. That means his generals are already planning an assault. How and when, is what will occupy most people’s minds. But that’s child’s play compared to the bigger question: How will China and Russia react?

The best guess is: not well. But by how much not well? Both Putin and Xi Jinping are rational, calculating leaders. They are also aware of the unpredictable, irrational and reckless way Trump reacts. If they move to support North Korea, Trump will likely go further and the unknown outcomes could result in Armageddon.

As much as they would protest and threaten Armageddon, one suspects they are unlikely to help North Korea beyond some defensive support. A full scale deployment against the US is unlikely. They may even calculate that a regime change in North Korea could work in their interests.

In the coming months, we can expect a great deal of speculation from world media interests, condemnations from some national leaders and praise from others, as Trump’s spin doctors start the PR campaign. There will also be protests, street marches and fierce debates that make it a left versus right issue. But we in Australia, should think seriously about where we stand.

We should think twice about our position. The ANZUS pact does not require us to automatically join the US in whatever they are planning. Nor should we. This will be a unilateral action by the US because Kim Jong Un has made it personal.

This issue could be resolved diplomatically with the right people in charge, but it probably won’t be. Just as with the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the unknown unknowns are the ones we should be worried about.

Watch as the rhetoric gets stronger and more urgent and see if it’s not all happening again.


18 comments

  1. Denis Bright in Brisbane

    A timely warning from John Kelly about the transition from the war of words to military action in North Korea.

    Russia and China have naval vessels off the Korean Peninsula to anticipate the softer option of a naval blockage of North Korea and perhaps to make military strikes by the US more difficult.

    Negotiations within sanctions against North Korea do have a chance.

    There are waverers in NATO who would support diplomacy over war. These are Portugal, Canada, Greece, Italy, France and Germany as the election approaches on 24 September 2017.

    Outside of NATO in Europe are the more non-aligned states of Ireland, Malta, Austria and Sweden plus the diplomatic role of the Holy See (Vatican) who can play a behind the scenes role.

    The Holy See diplomatic clout in the Philippines,Cuba and across the Latino countries of Central and South America.

    Cuba has welcomed two visits from Pope Francis and but still hosts cultural delegations from North Korea which were both reported favourably in Granma Online.

    Australia, Japan and Israel are core supporters of the US Military but there are a whole 150 countries who do not want their boots on the ground in another Korean conflict.

    Such a conflict would destroy 30 years of globalized capitalism and create havoc in South Korea with the border just 50 kms north of Seoul. Naturally, the new government of Dr Moon in South Korea favours negotiations over war.

    The current tensions in Korea are likely to be game-changers but peace can prevail if moderate leaders speak out and challenge megaphone diplomacy. I may prove to be horribly wrong but I think that a settlement of this issue is likely with guarantees of a nuclear-free East Asia as a positive spin off to the acceptance of development assistance by North Korea.

    Here is a Guardian Report on Pope Francis’ approach to the Korean problems (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/29/pope-francis-north-korea-us-nuclear-war
    ).

    There is a more recent article in Crux (https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2017/09/02/pope-francis-tells-korean-religious-leaders-oppose-rhetoric-hatred/).and another in Rome Reports (
    http://www.romereports.com/en/2017/05/26/south-korea-asks-pope-francis-to-intervene-for-dialogue-with-north/
    ).

    .

    .

  2. Nero Dog

    The reason that North Korea maintains nuclear defenses is because they have been invaded once by the United States and they have observed that the US does not attack countries that have good defense systems. The US has been doing war practice-manoevres in the area for decades, so N Korea has every reason to be scared.

  3. stephengb2014

    From my ignorance about these matters I see two bully boys wanting to control the same turf.

    N Korea has a problem with turf, its not big enpugh and has little reserves of minerals or energy, it needs to expand because its population is expanding.

    If I were in N Korea’s position I would bee looking at the west and saying to self “I need some of what they have”!

    I think that N Korea just because it is a dictatorship has to take what rt can’t trade for because it has nothing to trade with, except human recourse, but it cannot trade that without becoming more like the west.

    I think N Korea is not stupid, it must look south for resources, it is in effect much like Japan was in 1942.

    I also think that N Korea is banking on the USA to only use conventional weapons and I think that is really correct!

    War I think is inevitable

    S G B

  4. Freetasman

    I agree with Nero Dog.
    IMHO, Trump has to take into consideration that if USA use massive weapons the China and Russia border can suffer collateral damage which will be not tolerated by any of the 2 countries.

  5. roma guerin

    The world has just got scarier. For 30 years we have been aware that unless we addressed climate change we would destroy the planet. We might not have to wait now because Trump may do it all by himself. I am hoping the US General (I forget his name) can stop him.

  6. earthflute

    Trump was left this sh..fight by the peaceniks Obama Bushes and the wooses at the UN. They all tried to placate the hermit kingdom and created this mess. They were laughed at by NK and whilst they all patted themslves on the back NK developed their arsenal. With the help of China USSR and Iran.
    Trump has to fix it.
    Diplomacy is still happening behind the scenes but Trump’s belicosing is 100% focussing NK that there is an end game now and it is destruction of NK if that is the way they want to go.
    Good on Trump for having the b…s to stand up to NK China Iran and USSR. This is exactly what was needed to shorten them up.
    If anybody thinks this situation got worse because of Trump.. think again. It was going to happen. Trump has merely said enough bs.

  7. Joseph Carli

    earthflute…you are delusional…”standing up” to those nations in this day and age of nuclear armament is only a facile bluff that both China and Russia are fully aware of..and indeed, one could guess right from the start of the idiots presidency that they would be playing the shithead like a ukulele…Those around the TV stooge will blow the f#cker away before they will let him start a war they will lose, because neither China nor Russia will tolerate the USA playing Hollywood war games on their eastern flank.
    North Korea doesn’t even come into the equation..this entire fiasco is strictly a super-power flexing of muscle, and if you think some comb-over jerk with an IQ level the size of his shoe is going to bluff two superpowers who have had to prepare for the threat of western invasion for the last 70 years, then you are a ranting goose!

  8. Freetasman

    earthflute, Trump like the previous presidents are the number one guilty for what it is happen worldwide.
    The only way to stop USA and their “friends” invading other countries is to have nuclear weapons.
    Trump is full of bullshit and knows that if he cross the line USA will also be in big trouble.
    The only hope is that the Americans remove him from office and that USA stop interfering with the affairs of other countries.

  9. bobrafto

    But we in Australia, should think seriously about where we stand.

    Mal says we are joined at the hip.

  10. Harquebus

    My bet is Venezuela. They are in the process of dumping the U.S. dollar and they’ve got oil.

  11. Zathras

    Bush used 911 as an excuse to continue with the US “Manifest Destiny” process that really started when the USSR shut down.
    Trump is highly likely to move it forward quickly and has already flagged his intended targets.
    He’s deliberately shut down the diplomatic option and the sanctions aren’t working so the military one is almost the only option he has left himself.
    It will be interesting to see China’s reaction to the threat to “totally destroy” Korea and has been strangely silent so far but any conflict will be likely to escalate.

    It’s also amusing that on five occasions, Donald Trump avoided serving the American military in Vietnam because he had a bad foot – an injury that miraculously healed two weeks after the war ended.
    Now, at the United Nations, he boasts he’s Commander-in Chief of a nation that spends 700 billion dollars a year on its military.
    Big words coming from the mouth of a cowardly draft dodger.

  12. Glenn Barry

    Trump is a fool and Turnbull equally so for pledging our support for that imbecile on the North Korean issue.
    Truth be told Turnbull is the worst sycophant that I have ever witnessed.

    This alleged issue with North Korea is realistically only an extension of the first Korean war which the US had hoped would incite Chinese intervention – they had authorised the use of nuclear weapons in that conflict should Chinese troops cross the border into Korea

  13. ace Jones

    Give south korea nuclear weapons let them guard their own turf. proliferation would force china & russia to stop all the NK bullshit.

  14. John

    “[We] expect all nations to uphold these two core sovereign duties, to respect the interests of their own people and the rights of every other sovereign nation.” Trump UN speech.

    “sovereign nation” = a country that obeys the US over its own interests

    “rogue nation” = a country that has actual sovereignty

  15. Archaic

    I certainly agree that the rhetoric around North Korea is very concerning, and that a bombastic tone limits the potential for diplomatic resolution. I am not convinced that the process is as deliberate as under Bush: I simply don’t believe that Trump thinks ahead that far, but tends to be far more reactive. However that raises the potential for limited destructive interventions, such as letting off multiple missiles at Syria despite earlier having decried any intervention there as doomed to failure. I also doubt that Trump has the same network of “hawk” backers pulling his strings as Bush had: there does not seem to be the equivalent of a Rumsfeld, Cheney or Powell in the Trump administration.

    What I hope that we, and our media, have learned from the disastrous events of the past decade is to ask more pointed questions around any such military action. What are the goals? How will we measure success? What is the planned exit strategy? What will be done to reconstruct and reorganise the country? Who will pay for it? What will we do with the likely millions of North Korean refuges and displaced persons that will ensue, given the significant difficulties that already exist for that population in getting enough food etc.?

    These were the questions that we didn’t ask about Afghanistan and Iraq. I wonder if those questions had been raised, and if diversion and evasion had not been tolerated, whether things would still have proceeded as they did. The more a Trump or a Turnbull is asked to detail and justify their proposed military action, the more it emerges that the “plan” is entirely reactive and ill-conceived. It is a far more effective strategy than simply simply opposing the war. Trump’s responses to questions of “we’ll see” expose him as an ignorant fool who hasn’t considered the consequences of his words and actions

  16. HKW

    Most countries have already installed the Federal Reserve Banks.
    There are three countries to go: Syria, Iran and North Korea.

    ALL WARS ARE BANKERS WARS !!

  17. Harquebus

    “We have been shamelessly threatened by the most criminal empire that ever existed and we have the obligation to prepare ourselves to guarantee peace”
    “”Washington could intervene in Venezuela to help its citizens “recover their country”
    “We cannot stand by and watch””
    http://www.newsweek.com/venezuela-prepares-war-us-rifles-missiles-and-well-oiled-tanks-ready-672033

    My money is still on Venezuela. Closer, easier and with potential oil rewards.

    HKW
    I agree. Who is financing the U.S. Govt. debt? The Federal Reserve of course, a cartel of private bankers. Debt conjured from nothing and paid back with working class blood, sweat and tears all to support the lifestyles, privileges and authority of very small minority.

  18. Pingback: It’s all happening again. | THE VIEW FROM MY GARDEN

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