You’d have to laugh – if it were not so grave. The Trump administration says that it is running out of patience for a diplomatic solution to the Korea crisis.
This pseudo piousness comes from a US government that continually refuses to enter into direct negotiations with Kim Jong-un, the leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
By Finian Cunningham
So, how can the US say it is growing weary from diplomatic effort when it hasn’t even bothered to breathe an earnest word of diplomacy – despite being urged to do so by Russia, China, and other world leaders?
French President Emmanuel Macron in a phone call with Russia’s Vladimir Putin was the latest world leader to endorse Moscow’s appeal for negotiations over the Korea crisis.
As Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, pointed out, the latest resolution concerning North Korea, voted on September 11, specifically calls on all parties, including the United States, to open negotiations and commit to finding a peaceful resolution.
Therefore, by not fulfilling diplomatic responsibility, the US is not complying with the UN resolution.
Following another ballistic missile test by North Korea on Friday in defiance of UN resolutions, President Trump’s national security advisor, General HR McMaster claimed that the US was at the end of its tether in seeking diplomacy.
“We’ve been kicking the can down the road, and we’re out of the road,” McMaster told reporters after North Korea launched a ballistic missile that overflew Japan. The distance traveled – 3,700 km – would put the US territory of Guam within a target range.
Trump’s top security advisor then added with familiar sinister intent: “For those who have been commenting on a lack of a military option, there is a military option.”
Meanwhile, the American president was touring the Anderson air force base near Washington where he again boasted of US “overwhelming” military power to wipe out North Korea.
Russia and China have repeatedly called on the US and North Korea to enter into talks to settle the security crisis – a crisis that could stumble into a global catastrophe from nuclear war, as President Putin recently warned.
Moscow and Beijing gave their support to the latest UN resolution (UNSC 2375) based on the obligation demanded by the text for multilateral negotiations.
The resolution also calls for cutting oil exports to North Korea by up to 30 percent (not the blanket ban the US was seeking).
However, if the US is not willing to implement the diplomatic measures called for in the resolution, then why should China or Russia enforce the sanctions on oil trade?
Typically, Washington wants to have its cake and eat it. The US is demanding Russia and China to “take direct action” on North Korea’s economy, but Washington shows no sign of implementing its side of the bargain to enter into diplomatic communications.
Trump and his senior officials keep threatening that “all options are on the table” – meaning a pre-emptive military strike on North Korea, including with the use of nuclear weapons.
It is important to note that North Korea’s nuclear program and missile launches are all about deterrence. Kim Jong-un reiterated after the latest ballistic test that Pyongyang was seeking military “equilibrium” with the US in order to deter it from carrying out a pre-emptive attack.
Apart from Russia, China, Germany, and France, among others, calling for diplomatic talks, many reasonable voices within the US are also urging the same.
Former US President Jimmy Carter, who has visited North Korea on three occasions, has forthrightly stated that Washington must commit to peace and enter into talks with Pyongyang.
The US-based National Campaign to End the Korean War is also advocating direct negotiations for a peaceful resolution. The organization says the key to successful diplomacy is for the US to sign a formal peace treaty with North Korea.
Amazingly, 64 years after the end of the Korean War (1950-53), the US refuses to sign a peace treaty. Technically, the US is still at war with North Korea, having only ever observed a truce to the conflict. With continuous military maneuvers by the US around the Korean Peninsula, this observation of truce is thinly veiled.
From the North Korean point of view, the US could resume a full-scale war at any time. Military drills and gung-ho rhetoric about “decapitation strikes” and “all options” are cause for deep alarm in North Korea, especially given the enormous suffering that it was subjected to by the US during the 1950-53 war.
If Washington were serious about seeking a diplomatic solution in Korea then it would confirm that purported aspiration by signing a long-overdue peace treaty with North Korea. Then, as Russia and China have urged, the parties should engage in comprehensive talks on security concerns.
But this is the crux of the entire matter. Washington does not want peace in Korea.
Tensions, conflict and the shadow of war are essential to US presence in Asia-Pacific. That allows the US to project North Korea as a “bogeyman threat” to American allies in South Korea and Japan, which, in turn, facilitates the massive selling of weapons vital to the US economy.
Just last week, the US sold more of its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missiles to South Korea, even though South Korean President Moon Jae-in previously said he was opposed to installing these weapons. Japan is also moving to purchase more US-made Aegis anti-missile systems.
Moreover, the escalation of US military forces in Asia-Pacific to allegedly “counter the North Korea threat” provides Washington a convenient cover to expand its strategic reach over China and Russia – the two nations which the Pentagon repeatedly labels as its main global adversaries.
China and Russia have expressed their objection to the US missile systems in Asia-Pacific, saying that they disturb the strategic balance.
Nevertheless, the US is proceeding to build up its forces because it is using the North Korea crisis as a politically acceptable stalking horse.
The stark reality is that the US rulers and their military-driven economy do not want peace in Korea. Hence, they refuse to sign a peace treaty or give diplomacy any chance. Conflict with North Korea is simply vital for US corporate capitalism, as well as allowing the US to project its military power over perceived rivals in Russia and China.
The truly abominable issue here is that world peace is being jeopardized in order to satisfy the selfish strategic interest of American rulers. International law, UN resolutions, appeals to reason and diplomacy are being outrageously snubbed by a rogue regime in Washington itching for war.
And then Washington has the audacity to claim its patience for diplomacy is running out. The only thing running out is the world’s tolerance for such American belligerence and arrogance.
This is not just about Korea and Asia-Pacific. The Middle East and North Africa, South Asia, NATO’s expansion in Europe, Ukraine and the Balkans. Venezuela, Cuba and Latin America. Conflicts in every part of the globe, past, and present are correlated with America’s addiction to war. Because peace is anathema to US rulers.