U.S. government is the threat to peace in Korea

The writer presented this talk on behalf of the Party for Socialism and Liberation at the Oct. 28 anti-war protest in San Francisco.

I want to talk about another joint project of the Republicans and the Democrats: the demonization campaign being carried out against North Korea.

The idea that North Korea could pose a military threat to the United States or any of its clients is completely absurd.

Just to put that in perspective, the entire Gross Domestic Product of North Korea amounts to less than one-tenth of the Pentagon budget.

That is not to say that there isn’t a very real threat to peace on the Korean Peninsula. There are 28,000 U.S. troops stationed along the border between North and South Korea. And those troops have been threatening the North Korean people ever since the United States failed to take over the entire peninsula in the Korean War.

That goal hasn’t changed. Condoleezza Rice has been saying that the United States doesn’t want the current crisis to escalate. It may well be that the Bush administration doesn’t want a direct military confrontation with North Korea while they are bogged down in Iraq. But we must understand that sanctions are not a diplomatic solution; sanctions are an act of war.

The government of North Korea warned that it would consider additional sanctions a declaration of war. That wasn’t an overreaction on their part.

If there are any questions about that, all we have to do is take a look at Iraq. Over a decade of sanctions completely devastated the economy and the infrastructure of the country. The sanctions took the lives of 1.5 million Iraqis, over half a million of them children. If we understand how devastating the sanctions were, together with the bombing campaigns during the Clinton administration, we see there was full continuity between the Gulf War and the present occupation of Iraq. The Gulf War never really ended.

The same is true of the Korean War. There was a cease fire in 1953, but the United States has undermined all North Korean efforts at negotiating a peace treaty. And we know that is more than just a technicality when the United States has tens of thousands of troops on North Korea’s border.

The Bush administration has been aggressive towards North Korea from the beginning. Early in 2002, Bush named North Korea as part of the “axis of evil.” Then in November of that year, Washington orchestrated a cut-off of foreign oil to North Korea. North Korea had to respond to this aggression, so it resumed its nuclear program as a matter of self-defense. The North Koreans understand that the U.S. ruling class would like to see their government collapse together with their socialist system and open up the country for U.S. corporations.

The U.S.-backed sanctions against North Korea have to be understood as an escalation of a war of aggression that is now 56 years old. Not only that, these sanctions are a call for genocide. When the winter sets in, it’s quite possible that millions will die without heat if the United States succeeds in blocking the flow of energy resources to North Korea.

North Korea has said that, if the U.S. were to normalize relations and drop its threats, the country wouldn’t need a single atomic device.

It’s our obligation, we who live in the heart of the U.S. Empire, to support the right of North Korea and all oppressed nations to develop weapons to defend themselves as long as U.S. imperialism continues to be a threat to the world.

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