Nuclear blackmail
Mon Oct 9, 2006 18:25

Nuclear blackmail
By Eric S. Margolis

10/08/06 "Khaleej Times" -- -- NORTH Korea’s announcement this week it would shortly conduct an underground nuclear test provoked a 10-megaton explosion of international anger and threats against the isolated Stalinist regime.

A senior US State Department official warned, "we are not going to accept a nuclear North Korea." But that, of course, is just what Washington has been doing ever since CIA disclosed in 2003 that North Korea had up to five operational nuclear weapons, and more in development.

That also was the same year President George Bush launched an invasion of Iraq, ostensibly to protect America from nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction that it, in fact, not possess. Three hundred sixty billion dollars later, this unnecessary war in Iraq goes on.

North Korea has repeatedly stated it is developing uranium and plutonium-based nuclear weapons, and medium and intercontinental-range missiles to carry them.

In 2005, CIA’s then director, George Tenet, confirmed North Korea’s Taepo-dong ICBM was theoretically able to deliver a nuclear warhead to North America. North Korea’s eccentric ‘Dear Leader,’ Kim Jong-il, has made an art of using nuclear blackmail to squeeze money out of South Korea, Japan and the West.

Nuclear threats are North Korea’s only remaining exports. A US-led coalition has shut down its exports of missiles to the Mideast, counterfeiting US currency, and black market amphetamine sales to Japan. So, what is the tough-talking Bush Administration going to do about North Korea? Probably not much.

The US and Japan have already imposed a de facto naval blockade on North Korea, and conducted military exercise in its region. US military strikes against North Korea would be unlikely to destroy its deeply-buried nuclear weapons - if they could even be located.

The Pentagon estimates that a US invasion of North Korea would cost 500,000 American casualties. Since North Korea has buried many vital industries and military facilities deep underground, US air strikes would have limited success.

Moreover, any attacks on North Korea would quickly make South Korea and Japan targets of North Korea’s medium-ranged missiles. Seoul’s ten million people are within range of North Korean long-ranged artillery and missiles batteries behind the DMZ.

Amid all the international hysteria over North Korea, it’s important to understand that the ‘Dear Leader’s’ nuclear programs are primarily defensive. Their goal is to protect North Korea from a long-feared US attack, not to attack the US or Japan. Attacking the US would bring massive American nuclear retaliation. Kim Jong-il and his Politburo are not anxious to commit suicide or see their nation vaporised. In reality, America’s real concern about North Korea’s nuclear weapons is exactly the same as those about Iran. Possession of nuclear weapons by these states would limit US power to impose its will militarily or diplomatically in their regions.

North Korea has repeatedly agreed to junk its nuclear weapons provided the US does three things: 1. deal directly with Pyongyang, which Washington refuses to do; 2. provide security guarantees that the US will not attack North Korea; 3. provide economic aid. The Bush Administration’s hard-line neoconservatives refuse to ‘validate’ North Korea’s totalitarian regime through direct talks. Neocons are determined to overthrow Kim Jong-il. But Washington has no qualms about dealing with other despotic regimes in the Mideast and Central Asia.

South Korea’s biggest fears are a US-North Korean war that would devastate it; and an economic implosion of North Korea sending millions of starving refugees to south. So Seoul keeps North Korea on life support, while trying to calm American militancy.

Japan wants to deter a united Korea as long as possible, rightly fearing it would one day constitute a major economic and military threat. Shinzo Abe, Japan’s new conservative prime minister, has taken a tough line towards North Korea but has also just apparently buried the hatchet with China over his predecessor’s inflammatory visits to the Tokyo’s Yasukuni war shrine.

However, the stalemated situation abruptly changed this week when China dropped its former indulgent attitude to North Korea’s nuclear programme and issued a very stern, eve ominous warning to Pyongyang not to conduct nuclear tests.

The Dear Leader likes to do zany things, but offending China, his patron, closest ally and, most important, sole source of oil, would seem too much even for him. But with Kim, a great admirer of James Bond villains like Dr No and SPECTRE, one never quite knows.

One thing is clear: money, lots of it, not war, is the most effective way of making North Korea behave. Bribery is always far, far cheaper than war.

Eric S Margolis is a veteran US journalist and contributing foreign editor of the Toronto Sun. He can be reached at

2006 Khaleej Times All Rights Reserved.



Welcome to the Nuclear Club!

By Norman Solomon

Rest assured that while President Bush was at a podium in the White House on Monday denouncing the North Korean nuclear test as a "provocative act," Karl Rove was hard at work to fine-tune plans for a rhetorical onslaught linking this crisis to the "war on terror."

Ambling towards Disaster; Bush’s North Korea Policy

By Mike Whitney

It took 6 years of relentless threats, sanctions and belligerence, but Bush finally succeeded in pushing Kim Jong-Il to build North Korea’s first nuclear bomb. Now, Kim can just add a few finishing touches to his ballistic-missile delivery system, the Taepo-dong ICBM, and he’ll be able to wipe out the 9 western states with a flip of the switch.

Bush’s Nuclear Apocalypse

By Chris Hedges

The aircraft carrier Eisenhower, accompanied by the guided-missile cruiser USS Anzio, guided-missile destroyer USS Ramage, guided-missile destroyer USS Mason and the fast-attack submarine USS Newport News, is, as I write, making its way to the Straits of Hormuz off Iran. The ships will be in place to strike Iran by the end of the month. It may be a bluff. It may be a feint. It may be a simple show of American power. But I doubt it.

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Propaganda machines are dangerous, even more so in a democracy than in a totalitarian regime, because their goal is to confuse, disinform, lie, raise fear and manipulate the opinions of the people.

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Where are the voices of moral righteousness that the world has always depended upon to rein in the evil forces of conquering warlords? The teachers and professors - why are they silent? The virtuous - the clergy and elders of church and mosque and synagogue - who covered their mouths with duct tape and broke their pens and keyboards?

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Friend---it is going to take us (me and you) to effect any changes in this country. From the anti-slavery movement to the Civil Rights movement, to every good movement in between, it has been we the people demanding these changes and not resting until we got them. Good comes from the bottom up---crap rolls down hill. I am tired of getting crapped on by our government.

N Korea 'may be preparing second test':

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US push for air strikes:

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In case you missed it:

The Two Faces Of Rumsfeld:

Director of a company which wins $200m contract to sell nuclear reactors to North Korea. 2002: declares North Korea a terrorist state, part of the axis of evil and a target for regime change

In case you missed it:

The Cold Test:

What the Administration knew about Pakistan and the North Korean nuclear program.

In case you missed it:

Khan 'gave N Korea centrifuges' :

Disgraced Pakistani scientist AQ Khan supplied North Korea with centrifuges and their designs, President Pervez Musharraf has confirmed.

Britain says Pakistan is hiding Taliban chief:

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More than 75 killed by clashes, bomb in Afghanistan:

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Blast in east Afghanistan kills 3 officials :

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wo major American Jewish organizations helped block a prominent New York University historian from speaking at the Polish consulate here last week, saying the academic was too critical of Israel and American Jewry.

Video Debate : The Israeli Lobby: Does it Have Too Much Influence on US Foreign Policy?:

John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt published an article in the London Review of Books. Entitled “The Israel Lobby: Does it Have too Much Influence on US Foreign Policy,” it drew swift charges of anti-Semitism in the editorial pages of American newspapers.

Iran vows retaliation if sanctions imposed: -

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vowed to impose retaliatory sanctions on world powers if Iran is penalised by the UN Security Council over its nuclear programme, state media reported.

Putin silent as fiercest critic is murdered :

A crowd of protesters gathered in central Moscow on Sunday to express their anger at the assassination of the crusading journalist Anna Politkovskaya, who at the weekend became the 13th Russian journalist to be killed in a contract-style killing since President Vladimir Putin came to power in 2000.

Police 'exaggerated evidence' against British 9/11 suspect:

POLICE and prosecutors are facing allegations that they misled a judge and grossly exaggerated evidence against the only man to be detained in Britain over September 11,,2-2395400,00.html

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Should presidents be allowed to serve more than 2 terms?:

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