A second summit meeting for the US and North Korea is reportedly scheduled to take place in Vietnam at the end of the month. Expert opinions on where these negotiations are headed range from the insightful to the incredibly naive, with mainstream media consumers consistently finding themselves in the latter category. Trump supporters believe their president is going to pull off some Art of the Deal wizardry and convince Pyongyang to completely denuclearize, and mainstream Democrats believe Trump is being foolish, facilitating the nefarious agendas of an evil dictator. As happens with pretty much all US foreign policy issues these days, the picture is completely obscured by the mass media’s obsessive fixation on Trump.
People who are well-informed tend to say that North Korea will never denuclearize, mainly because its government has no meaningful incentive to do so in a world where Muammar Gaddafi was murdered in the streets as a direct result of US regime change interventionism shortly after relinquishing Libya’s nuclear program. As bad as western sanctions are, they’re nothing compared to what happened to Libya.
I agree that Pyongyang as we have known it will never denuclearize, no matter how charming or threatening Moon and Trump get. There can certainly be peace between the Koreas, but the notion that Pyongyang as we know it will just give up the DPRK’s nuclear weapons is a fairy tale for children and mental midgets. Those words “Pyongyang as we know it” are key, though. There are circumstances under which North Korea could voluntarily give up its nukes, be relieved of sanctions, and be treated like a normal nation by the unipolar world order in the near term. They’re just not circumstances any of us should want.
The way I see it there are approximately three possibilities:
1) North Korea keeps its nukes as an effective deterrent against regime change interventionism,
2) North Korea relinquishes its nukes because the US and all rivals have relinquished their nukes, or
3) North Korea relinquishes its nukes because it entered into the US-centralized power alliance.
The only way North Korea will be treated normally by the unipolar world order is if it joins that unipolar world order. If it allows itself to be absorbed into the blob of the US-centralized empire. If North Korea denuclearizes, that is what will have happened, and that has always been the ultimate goal of the pressures that have been stacked upon it. If Kim Jong-Un is sufficiently different from his predecessors, and if he is presented with the right combination of carrots and sticks, who knows? North Korea has $10 trillion worth of natural resources that it can’t access or sell due to sanctions, and you may be sure there are powerful people in both the east and the west courting Pyongyang to get that wealth into their pockets. Maybe Kim’s power base could be persuaded to consent to relinquishing the DPRK’s sovereignty like so many nations before (including my own) and join the blob to relieve the pressure.
But what would that mean, exactly? It would mean that one more nation which tried to insist on its national sovereignty was bullied and starved into joining the US-centralized empire to survive. The empire would be one nation more, and the remaining unabsorbed multipolarist governments would be one nation less.
The reality is that it is impossible to be truly anti-war without opposing the unipolar global dominance of the United States and its tight network of allies which operates functionally as an empire. It is impossible for this empire to remain dominant without the threat and enforcement of military violence; the carrot of military alliance and the stick of military assault are the glue which holds the empire together. The world can never know peace while this is happening. If you support the continued world dominance of the United States, you can perhaps claim to be against some wars on a case-by-case basis, but you cannot claim to be anti-war or anti-interventionist.
With Venezuela it’s the same as with North Korea: the US-centralized power alliance is bullying a noncompliant nation in a key strategic region into allowing itself to be absorbed into the blob of an empire that is held in place with endless violence. Of course I fully support the sovereign right of the people of Venezuela to shape their nation in accordance with their will, but the Trump administration’s regime change interventionism there has nothing whatsoever to do with the will of the Venezuelan people. The Guaido pretend government that the US is working to install has been built by the engineers of imperialism from the ground up to ensure a Venezuela that is loyal to US interests, which John Bolton himself acknowledges have a lot to do with oil.
If the US succeeds in disrupting the lives of Venezuelans so much that the military shifts alignment and ousts Maduro in desperation, sure the sanctions will end, and maybe things will be better for some (mostly white, wealthier) Venezuelans, but ultimately what will have happened is the empire succeeded in bullying another sovereign nation into relinquishing its sovereignty.
Same with Iran. If Bolton’s crew succeeds in securing regime change in Tehran, the mainstream narrative is that it will mean freedom and democracy and the wind in women’s hair, but what it will primarily mean in reality is that the US-centralized empire succeeded in toppling yet another government of yet another oil-rich nation and installing a puppet regime to complement its Israeli and Gulf state allies, thereby shoring up regional dominance in the Middle East. From there we may be certain that Syria will suffer the same fate.
Anyone who sees that war is wrong should oppose this tooth and claw. The continued growth of the unipolar blob is a movement away from a world of peace and national sovereignty and towards a world of endless military violence enforcing the depraved will of the same thugs who inflicted unforgivable horrors on Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and so many other nations.
The way to prevent nuclear war with North Korea is to leave North Korea alone, stop sanctioning them and stop threatening them. The way to help the people of Venezuela is to end the sanctions which are starving them. The way to help the people of Iran is to end the CIA covert ops and starvation sanctions and stay the hell out of their country. The way to help Syrians is to stop arming and protecting the extremist militias who tried to topple Damascus, end the sanctions, end the illegal occupation, and respect the nation’s sovereignty. The way to advance peace is to oppose the institution that has done more to undermine peace than anyone else in the world, namely the US empire.
Of course we should want everyone to be free from oppression, and of course we should want the world to be free of nuclear weapons. But we shouldn’t support the toppling of foreign governments by a power whose consistent record of disastrous regime change interventionism is established beyond a doubt, and we shouldn’t support that power in bullying sovereign nations into relinquishing their sovereignty to escape brutalization. That is not the kind of world we’re trying to create here. The bigger the warmongering imperial blob grows, the more powerful it gets. If you want a world full of peace and harmony, put your emphasis on opposing the toxic activities of the power most responsible for preventing it.
Reprinted with permission from Medium.com.