Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hands off North Korea!

It is sometimes hard to defend North Korea.

The father-son-grandson line of succession is overtly feudal. I know that we have great Aussie Rules footballers who are the sons of formerly great Aussie Rules footballers, that Jacob Dylan is Bob Dylan’s son and that Charlie Sheen is the son of Martin Sheen. But I’m not convinced that the health of a proletarian dictatorship is established by creating a personal dynasty of the Kim family.

Leaving that aside, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (or North Korea) is entirely in the right in the current beating of imperialist war drums in that corner of the globe.

Before we go any further, just imagine how the US would react if the North Koreans declared that they were to hold annual war games with the Mexicans at Heroica Matamoros, just across the border from Brownsville, Texas. The very idea is preposterous, yet the Western world takes at face value the “normalcy” of the US imperialists leading war games exercises in waters that are claimed by both North and South Korea.

Technically, the North and South are still at war. The DPRK, which is demonized by the same media that promotes imperialism’s right to its war games, has consistently called for a formal Peace Treaty with the South, for direct talks with the US and for normalization of relations with the US.

The US response is the annual preparations for war that openly take the form of simulated invasions of the DPRK.

This is irrespective of whether US imperialism wears a human face (Obama, Clinton) or a death mask (Bush, Rumsfeld).

The western sea border between the North and the South, where the war games are being conducted, has never been agreed to by the North. The so-called Northern Limit Line (NLL) was unilaterally declared by the Commander of the United Nations Command in August 1953 after the matter had been left unresolved in the Korean Armistice Agreement signed a month earlier. The North had proposed that the terrestrial demarcation line (DML) which had been agreed by both sides be extended out to sea with provision for the South to access five islands it claimed through two 3-kilometre wide waterways.

This was unacceptable to the US which used the South’s claims to the islands to create an irregular maritime boundary close to the North Korean shoreline.

Common sense would dictate that both sides avoid any military activity in or around the disputed waters that fall within both boundary proposals.

But US imperialism sees only the opportunity for provocation, for bullying and interference.

It has four main aims.

Firstly it wishes to exacerbate tensions on the Korean peninsula in the hope of destabilizing North Korea.

Secondly, it wants to reassert its superpower military status in unequivocal terms so as to limit Chinese ambitions to emerge as an economic and political rival on the world stage.

Thirdly, it wants to create regional tension so as to justify the maintenance of its huge military base on Okinawa at a time when all political groups on the island want to see it shut down.

And fourthly, it suits the needs of the US military-industrial complex to extort further funds from a worried Congress for purposes of armaments research and production.

Both North Korea and China protested that the war games scheduled for the zone of disputed water was a provocation and should be cancelled.

They pointed out that the presence of a US nuclear “super carrier” the USS George Washington was clearly in violation of agreements to denuclearize the peninsula.

Indeed, the arrogance of the US imperialists knows no bounds. Singing from the hymn sheet of gunboat diplomacy, a US Defense Department spokesperson stated: “Where we exercise, when we exercise, with whom and how, using what assets and so forth, are determined by the US Navy, the Department of Defense, by the United States government.” (Agence France Presse, July 15, 2010).

So the games began as scheduled.

Initial reports in the capitalist press acknowledged that the South had fired first into the disputed zone, and that the North Koreans had responded with shelling of their own.

After this initial slip-up, the responsibility of the South for having fired first was simply disappeared from the media and the manufacturing of public opinion was set in motion with stories of North Korean “aggression”, of North Korean destruction of island villages, of North Korean murder of two marines and two civilians. Photographs and TV footage featured exclusively “evidence” of Northern “aggression” and “attacks”.

Fearlessly departing from their responsibility to provide informed background to the dispute, gutter journalists created “contexts” that placed all the blame on the North. The North, according to this rubbish, “attacked” because of an imminent leadership transfer and the need for the grandson of Kim Il-Sung to be “blooded” before being formally anointed as the new Dear Leader.

The ruling ideas about this conflict are those created to serve the needs and interests of the ruling US imperialists. The capitalist media lazily demonises the North instead of really investigating the incident.

Peace-loving and anti-imperialist forces must unite to condemn the US imperialists and the puppet regime in the South. It is they who must be held accountable for any further bloodshed.

Smash US imperialism!
Hands off North Korea!

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