Annoyed with repeated missile launch by the military of Pyongyang, the super power USA with largest arsenals of missiles and WMD has urged all nations to cut diplomatic and trade ties with North Korea after the country’s latest high powered ballistic missile test.
Speaking at the UN Security Council, US envoy Nikki Haley said President Trump had asked his Chinese counterpart to cut off oil supplies to Pyongyang. She said the US did not seek conflict but that North Korea’s regime would be “utterly destroyed” if war broke out.
The warning came after Pyongyang tested its first missile in two months. North Korea said the missile fired on Wednesday, which it said reached an altitude of about 4,475km (2,780 miles) – more than 10 times the height of the International Space Station – carried a warhead capable of re-entering the earth’s atmosphere. The claim, however, was not proven and experts have cast doubt on the country’s ability to master such technology.
However North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un called the launch “impeccable” and a “breakthrough”.
The test – one of several this year – has been condemned by the international community and the UN Security Council called an emergency meeting. Ms Haley warned that “continued acts of aggression” were only serving to further destabilize the region.
Russia’s UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said Pyongyang should stop its missile and nuclear tests but also called on Washington to cancel military exercises with South Korea planned for December as it would “inflame an already explosive situation”.
China also suggested the North should stop the tests in return for a halt to US military exercises – a proposal Washington rejected in the past. “We need China to do more,” Ms Haley said. “President Trump called President Xi this morning and told him that we’ve come to the point where China must cut off the oil for North Korea.” “We know the main driver of its nuclear production is oil,” she said. “The major supplier of that oil is China.”
China is North Korea’s biggest ally as well as most important trading partner and Pyongyang is thought to be dependent on China for much of its oil supplies.
Earlier on Wednesday, the White House said that President Trump spoke to Xi Jinping by telephone, urging him to “use all available levers to convince North Korea to end its provocations and return to the path of denuclearization”.
Speaking in Missouri about tax reform, the US leader derided Kim, describing him as a “sick puppy” and “little rocket man”. Xi responded by telling Trump it was Beijing’s “unswerving goal to maintain peace and stability in north-east Asia and denuclearize the Korean peninsula,” Chinese news agency Xinhua reported.
Experts say the height reached by the inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) indicates Washington could be within range, although North Korea is yet to prove it has reached its aim of miniaturizing a nuclear warhead. The Hwasong-15 missile, described as North Korea’s “most powerful”, was launched in darkness early on Wednesday. It landed in Japanese waters but flew higher than any other missile the North had previously tested.
The warning from the South Korean President Moon Jae-in of the potential threat from North Korean chemical and biological weapons is timely, underscoring that Pyongyang has invested heavily in a variety of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs. Moon also warned of the danger of a North Korean electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) attack that could cripple a country’s electrical grid and critical infrastructure.
While attention focuses on Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program and the long-range missiles capable of delivering a nuclear warhead, it may have other secretive WMD programs as well. USA knows that.
North Korea makes no secret of its nuclear weapons ambitions. In marked contrast, it does not admit to having chemical or biological weapons. It has signed up to a treaty banning biological weapons, but it has not acceded to the equivalent agreement banning chemical weapons.
USA and South Korean experts believe that, in fact, North Korea does have a significant chemical weapons programme, with stockpiles of munitions containing nerve, choking and blister agents; such substances as phosgene; hydrogen cyanide; mustard; and sarin.
North Korea has a huge artillery and rocket force capable of delivering such munitions, though it remains unclear if it is able to produce chemical warheads that would survive the stresses of a flight on a ballistic missile. Much less is known about North Korea’s activities in the biological weapons field. South Korean intelligence believes that the North is well-able to produce and weaponize pathogens like anthrax, botulism and typhus, but it is far from clear if these programmes have gone beyond the research stage.
Crippled infrastructure that might not be repairable for months could lead to death, chaos and lawlessness on a vast scale. In 2008, a US commission investigating the threat concluded that “the electromagnetic pulse generated by a high-altitude nuclear explosion is one of a small number of threats that can hold our society at risk of catastrophic consequences”. Experts differ on the likelihood of such an attack emanating from North Korea, whatever the threats. They argue that Pyongyang would be risking catastrophic reprisal and potentially the end of the regime.
Fearing a possible US attack, North Korea’s programs advance. A senior US general warns that Pyongyang’s recent test may well have been a hydrogen bomb, marking a significant advance in the North’s capabilities.
Though South Korea has by far the qualitative edge and it is of course backed up by the extensive strike power of the US military, North Korea’s military has the numerical advantage over the South and is deployed close to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) marking the boundary between the two Koreas. It is frequently suggested that North Korean artillery and rocket forces (its strongest card) could level the South Korean capital Seoul within hours of the outbreak of a conflict.
North Korea is an impoverished but highly militarized state. It is isolated by US led western powers. Its leadership has one essential goal – survival. That is why they have placed huge resources in their nuclear and missile programs as the ultimate insurance policy for the regime.
Any use of its nuclear capability would be catastrophic – especially so for North Korea itself. The regime would not survive the ensuing conflict. But this awful prospect is not necessarily the immediate worry. It is the threat of the escalating war of words between Washington and Pyongyang moving from rhetoric to reality.
Trump talks too much and can harm the US interests by using the Zionist techniques.
Meanwhile, stressing anti-Islamism as the core stem of western civilization, Donald Trump has told UK Prime Minister Theresa May to focus on Islamic “terrorism” in the UK after she criticised his sharing of far-right videos. “Don’t focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom,” Trump tweeted. He means Radical Islamic Terrorism alone can bring the western powers together and target Muslim nations and once they move away from that theme, they would find themselves weakened and shaken. The US president had earlier retweeted three inflammatory videos posted online by a British far-right group.
Mrs May’s spokesman said it was “wrong for the president to have done this”. The USA and the UK are close allies and often described as having a “special relationship”. Theresa May was the first foreign leader to visit the Trump White House.
Macron, Trump and Iran’s future
The incident of the city of Strasbourg in France was a very primitive scenario for facing the deep social and political crisis that the Macron government is facing.
As predicted, French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner announced that the “terrorist”, who “apparently” was responsible for the shooting in Strasbourg, at 9 p.m. on Thursday, December 13th was killed in a street clash with three policemen. Shortly thereafter, ISIS released a statement, claiming responsibility for the shooting and killing of Strasbourg.
The extent and depth of the crisis in France is such that it does not allow the creation of a tense security and repression under the pretext of “terrorism”. Contrary, the scenario of Macron and Castaner, which, regardless of its tragic human dimensions, resembles Louis de Funès comedies, adds to the severity of the crisis.
On the other hand, on Thursday, the United States Senate unanimously condemned Mohamed bin Salman for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and called on Trump to end support for the Saudi war in Yemen.
This is a major change in the US policy that occurred in the final days of the 115th Congress, a congress that is run by both the Senate and the House of Representatives under the control of the Republican Party. The incident shows that Trump will be greatly affected by the start of the 116th Congressional Congress on January 3, 2019, where the House of Representatives will be controlled by the Democratic Party.
Robert Muller’s investigation on Russia’s role in the 2016 US presidential election is also underway.
In addition, there is concern over the US stock market. The current Inverted Yield Curve shows that the number of short-term bank deposits is more than long-term deposits. Financial analysts consider the Inverted Yield Curve a serious indication of the probability of a recession and a financial crisis because it reflects lack of confidence of Americans in the future of their bank savings.
Accordingly, some conservative analysts, such as Michael Wilson, senior strategist at Morgan Stanley Bank, predicted a 50 percent market downturn in 2019. If so, the “golden age”, which began in the second semester of 2009, with the first year of the Obama Administration, ended in the first two years of the Trump Administration. Such conditions will have serious implications for US foreign policy.
In the turn of events, this incident will once again provide Iran with a historic opportunity to work alongside its dynamic and tactful foreign policy, with the advent of fundamental domestic reforms, to modernize the economic system that was launched forty years ago.
First published in our partner MNA
American (And Global) Oligarchy Rapidly Moving Towards Monarchy
Many people do not realize that the proverbial “noose” of civil rights, civil liberties and property rights are rapidly coming to an end, in large part because of the unholy alliance by and between government and the global oligarchs (international banks and major corporations).
For example, people don’t realize that current U.S. federal law permits all banks and credit unions (such as Chase Bank owned by CEO Jamie Dimon) to close any account, at any time, and for any reason, even when their own employees commit fraud, make mistakes, commit unethical acts or otherwise screw the banking customer over for personal or political reasons, and that customer then files a legitimate complaint.
The financial institution is not required to divulge the reason(s) for account closure to the customer.
Now, when a business account is closed by a bank, the bank can (and will) retain the funds in the account for 90 to 180 days in order for checks, debits, chargebacks, etc. to post to the business account before the bank will mail the business customer the remaining proceeds from the account.
However the account holder is of course not allowed access to their own hard-earned funds at all.
What this means is that these banks and credit unions have been given a universal right to steal any and all monies placed within their coffers by anyone at all, which can then be “confiscated” for any reason.
It is even so absurd that these banks and credit unions, even after they have seized or stolen your money/property, do not even have to give you a reason, and can then ban you for life from ever getting your money/property back.
This same reasoning applies to nearly all of the major businesses and corporations, wherein due process has gone the way of the extinct “dodo bird.”
This is what it means, when an administration (in this case Republican) talks about “bank deregulation.”
In many ways, Democrats had the right idea over Republicans when they created and enacted such banking regulatory agencies such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”), recently gutted and decapitated by the Trump Administration and his coterie of bought and paid for Republican conservatives.
The problem is that the same global Oligarchs and International Banking Cartels that controlled the Democrats, and enacted even more stifling Communist type regulation to further control, cull, and choke off the American (and global) population (think Obama’s “Operation Chokepoint”), simply use Republican “deregulation” as another mechanism to screw over, steal from, and rob the working and middle class, by allowing these international banking cartels, credit unions, and corporations to completely do whatever they want, to anyone, for any reason, in the absence of any regulation.
Herein lies the rub, and there has to be a middle ground, but only if the American people (and their global population counterparts) push back and vociferously tell their elected leaders to take legal and equitable action against these global thieves and criminals.
War, Anniversaries and Lessons Never Learned
On December 7, 1941, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and the U.S. entered the Second World War. A war of horrors, it normalized the intensive, barbaric bombing of civilian populations. If the Spanish Civil War gave us Guernica and Picasso’s wrenching painting, WW2 offered up worse: London, Berlin, Dresden to name a few, the latter eloquently described in Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughter House Five.” Against Japan, the firebombing of Tokyo, and above all the revulsion of Hiroshima and Nagasaki radiated a foretaste of ending life on the planet.
Reparations demanded from Germany had led to the rise of Adolf Hitler and a thirst for revenge. Thus Hitler demanded France’s 1940 surrender in the same railway carriage where the humiliating armistice was signed in 1918.
If the war to end all wars — its centenary remembrance a month ago — killed 20 million plus, the successor tripled the score. Disrupted agriculture, severed supply chains, fleeing civilians, starvation and misery; civilian deaths constituting an inordinate majority in our supposedly civilized world.
One of the young men baling out of a burning bomber was George H. W. Bush. He was rescued but his crew who also baled out were never found, a thought that is said to have haunted him for the rest of his life. He went on to serve eight years as vice-president under Ronald Reagan and then four more as president. Last week he passed away and was honored with a state funeral service in Washington National Cathedral.
His legacy includes the first Iraq war and the liberation of Kuwait. While he avoided the hornet’s nest of ethnic and religious divisions in Iraq itself, the war’s repercussions led to the Clinton sanctions and the deaths of half a million children. The UN representative overseeing the limited oil-for-food program, Irishman Denis Halliday, resigned in disgust. Not to forget the infamous answer by Clinton’s Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Asked by Leslie Stahl if it was worth the lives of 500,000 children … more than that died in Hiroshima, she answered: “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price — we think the price is worth it.” (CBS 60 Minutes program, May 12, 1996).
Note the “we” in her answer. Who else does that include but our “I-feel-your-pain” Bill Clinton. Hypocrisy, arm-twisted donations to the Clinton Foundation while wife Hillary was Secretary of State in the Obama administration; her shunning of the official and secure State Department email server in favor of a personal server installed at her request and the subsequent selective release of emails. Well who cares about verifiable history these days anyway as the following demonstrates.
Yes, there was another anniversary this week for a different kind of war. This time in India. After securing freedom from the British, a secular tradition was proudly espoused by the patrician Nehru and the epitome of nonviolence, Gandhi. It is now in the process of being trampled in a war against minorities. The communal war includes the massacre of Muslims in Gujarat for which Narendra Modi was barred from the U.S., a ban lifted only when he became prime minister. He, his party and his allies have been also responsible for the destruction of the Babri Mosque. An organized Hindu mob tore it down on December 6, 1992; hence the shameful anniversary. Built on the orders of the first Mughal emperor Babur, its purpose was to cement relations with Hindu rajas by also sanctifying for Muslims a place holy to Hindus and held traditionally to be the birthplace of Rama — famous from Hindu epics for fighting evil with the assistance of a monkey god’s army … although one is advised to avoid close contact with temple monkeys when visiting.
As the first Mughal, Babur’s hold on India was tenuous and he actively sought alliances with Hindu rulers of small states against the pathans whose sultan he had just defeated. That affinity continued during the entirety of Mughal rule and one manifestation was frequent intermarriage with Rajputs. Several emperors had Hindu mothers including Shah Jahan the builder of the Taj Mahal. In the end, Babur’s fears were warranted because Sher Shah Suri did marshal those pathan forces and throw out his son Humayun, the second Mughal ruler. It was only Sher Shah’s untimely death during the capture of Kalinjar (a Hindu fort then held by Raja Kirat Singh) that made Humayun’s return possible.
The destruction of the mosque was a historical wrong if ever there was one, but then Mr. Modi has never been bothered by history. He is also not bothered that his party’s fairy tale revision of school history books is a scandal. For similar reasons, Indian history on Wikipedia is too frequently tarnished, requiring verification from other sources to be properly informed.
The wrongs of communities, just as the wrongs of war, can lead to repercussions unanticipated and cataclysmic. Yugoslavia is an example in living memory. Clearly, any ruler of a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural country contemplating a path of communal dominance must take note before he is hoisted with his own petard.
Author’s Note: This article first appeared on Counterpunch.org
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