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It's easy to ridicule North Korea and it's leaders, especially based on bourgeois commercial mass media reports.  

I would just remind people how skewed, exaggerated, bogus, and absolutely false such reports tend to be, especially when they are deliberately trying to smear anyone who dares to challenge monopoly capital.

True, even independent alternative media and much of the left decry what do seem to be genuinely problematic aspects of North Korean policy and practice.  

I'm not seeking to defend, apologize for, or dismiss such issues...but...

I'm just saying...

Let's get real, about what could be a very dangerous situation.

Consideration of the situation with North Korea cannot be meaningful without consideration of the history, especially including the US attempts to destroy, or failing that, to cripple, the development of socialism, anywhere.

As with virtually every other military conflict the US has engaged in (besides WW1 and WW2), the (undeclared, and thus unconstitutional) "war" against a fledgling independent nation that had declared autonomy from US monopoly capital's proclivity for aggressive imperialist plunder was seen as "necessary", "on principle".

It is "necessary" to prevent any possibility of competition from the emerging socialist notion that the resources of a country belong to that country, for it's own socio-economic development, and not to the US corporations and a few local compradore warlords bribed by the CIA to suppress or sabotage, "by any means necessary", the emergence of a popular democratic revolution for genuine independence.

From these contradictions arise the entire basis for present tensions and conditions  in Korea, and anywhere else this strategy has been brought to bear.

It's just a tad bit disingenuous to encircle, infiltrate, militarily attack, strangle with boycotts and embargos, and to generally do everything conceivably possible, short of nuking them, to destroy or retard the development of a country, and then to point to the inevitable results of that strategy as "proof" that socialism "doesn't work" and is thus undesirable.

Such conditions are not conducive to optimal social, economic, or democratic development.  Being forced into a defensive military posture and martial law just to survive, especially in a context of prolonged international war and/or civil war that have, for the most part, destroyed any prior colonial or native infrastructure, can only make it all that much harder for any country to succeed in establishing a prosperous liberal democracy, which is why "we" impose such harsh conditions on them in the first place.

Is it any wonder that seemingly hostile, paranoid, and corrupt governments tend to emerge under such conditions?

Monopoly capital simply cannot countenance any competition, especially from democracy, which is anathema to the very existence of monopoly capital.

Because they were subjected to that strategy themselves, Russia, China, Cuba, Venezuela, etc., tend to be sympathetic toward Korea, even if they may wish that nation's leaders would be a little less provocative.

I don't know a lot of the details about Korea, past or present.  But one thing I do know is that you can't trust commercial mass media to give you anywhere near an accurate picture.  

I also know that the US government is, on principle, as a very aggressive capitalist country, rarely reasonable in it's demands, propaganda or actions toward socialist countries.

I would also point out that alot of the dealing with Korea occurs on back channels and during informal encounters at the UN, and other indirect economic venues, which are unlikely to reach (or to be accurately represented by) the mass media, and that when "we" do speak directly to or about North Korea, it is always filtered through a virulent and hostile anti-communist perspective.

The commercial mass media image of Korea getting all insulted and hostile and belligerent out of the blue, for no reason at all, or just because they are crazy whack commies, just seems very...suspicious, to me.

I think it's obvious that the US is deliberately and dupliciously provoking and tweaking Korea, to create a useful propaganda "crisis" that "we" can then seek to exploit to our own benefit, including starting another bogus, unconstitutional "war" that will make huge profits for a few people who are already so rich it should be a crime, and will, incidentally, kill millions of people, including hundreds of thousands of our own youth.

Respect, instead of hyped up, contrived fear and loathing, real cooperation instead of vicious sabotage, and a willingness to learn from, and even emulate the more positive aspects of socialism, while helping those nations to put behind them the more negative developments that have resulted from years of US intrigue and interference, would go a long way toward resolving much international crisis.

Virtually all such conflicts are fundamentally based on, rooted in the contradictions between international monopoly capital and the just and legitimate rights and needs of any nation to assert their independence and to use their own national resources for the development of their own society, rather than to be robbed blind and manipulated by brutal neo-colonial puppet governments set up by the CIA for the profit of monopoly capital.

It's time to move forward, into the 21st century, and to quit looking backward, to the "cold" war.  

It's time to reverse US foreign (and domestic) policy, from the present rabid, irrational, psychopathic monopoly capitalist anti-communist perspective that "justifies" support for extreme right wing reactionary conservative fundamentalist forces all over the world to suppress and murder anyone who calls for democracy, civil rights, human rights, labor rights, environmental protection, and national sovereignty, as "damn commies".

It's time that we began supporting instead those popular democratic elements in each country whom we are now paying the reactionaries to viciously suppress.

It's a simple as that.

But that is not going to happen with the present Blue Dog Congress.

It's actually kind of foolish to rant on and on about the outrageous shortcomings of the present administration and Congress.  Nothing we say or do now, around all of the many issues, is going to change the present harsh reality that a long legacy of low voter turnout has created our own unfavorable conditions for real democracy, justice or peace.

The situation we have now is a direct result of low voter turnout, which is the only way that the Republicans and the Blue Dogs manage, by hook and by crook, to "win" anything.

This is NOT a "center-right" nation, it's far more liberal and progressive, in terms of popular opinion, than the Blue Dogs, the Republicans, or the MSM are willing to admit.

The more people who vote, historically, the more progressive the outcome.

That's why the right has done everything in it's considerable power to suppress voter turnout, any way they can, including infiltration of movement groups on the left  to inject "radical" rhetoric about electoral boycott, and to encourage "alternative" guaranteed loser candidates, to split the vote (eg: big money to Nader....go figure).

As long as the more progressive caucuses in Congress are an isolated minority due to low voter turnout, it will be all they can do, through onerous concessions, to keep us from going backward.  It will continue to be two steps backward, or sideways, for every step forward.

Instead of focusing so much on the past, and even the present, we should be looking more to the future.  

I'm not saying suspend all criticism, but let's get real, here, and focus...

2010 and 2012 will be pivotal, in terms of gaining sufficient progressive plurality in Congress, and on down the ladders of power, even to the local city council and board of supervisors, to fundamentally change the present socio-economic paradigm in the US, from one of irrational monopoly capital, against the public interest, to one of genuine democracy, for justice and peace, to save the planet.

Call it whatever you want...but to me, it's all about real democracy.

Nobody anywhere on earth has ever achieved it, yet.  But that doesn't mean it's impossible, or undesirable.  It just means that the anti-democratic opposition tends to be very ruthless, rich, and powerful.

If anyone can achieve real democracy without a civil war, or with just a brief, quickly suppressed civil war (historically, it's always the right wing reactionary conservatives who bring the civil war, anywhere, in their treasonous resistance to democracy), I think the US might be able to do it.  

We should at least try, and hope for the best, even as we prepare for the worst.

Si Se Puede!

All out for 2010 and 2012!

All Power to the People!

Originally posted to radical def on Wed May 27, 2009 at 07:41 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Well (19+ / 0-)

    It's just a tad bit disingenuous to encircle, infiltrate, militarily attack, strangle with boycotts and embargos, and to generally do everything conceivably possible, short of nuking them, to destroy or retard the development of a country, and then to point to the inevitable results of that strategy as "proof" that socialism "doesn't work" and is thus undesirable.

    First, North Korea has done plenty to destroy and retard the development of North Korea, and they have shown nothing but unbroken belligerence to countries that are generally peaceful in the region.  It's North Korea that has persisted in making threats and sending infiltrator teams across the border and built an offensive army (albeit an archaic one) far beyond their needs or ability to sustain economically.

    Second, North Korea isn't a socialist country. It's a totalitarian dictatorship run by a crazy man.  

    Someone is wrong on the Internet! To the Kosmobile!

    by socratic on Wed May 27, 2009 at 07:52:47 PM PDT

  •  North Korea (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rimjob, LanceBoyle, Calfacon, HiKa

    is a feudal monarchy reinvented as a protection racket. The entire goal of North Korea is extort stuff from other nations. Period. The best thing the USA could do is to withdraw its troops, or threaten to, from South Korea. Make it China's problem. China is happy to have the USA shoulder the burden because it keeps South Korea and Japan under control. The USA should tell China privately that it is planning on pulling out of South Korea. I think we would be surprised at what China's response would be.

    Ambition is when you follow your dreams. Insanity is when they follow you.

    by Batfish on Wed May 27, 2009 at 07:54:36 PM PDT

    •  have you considered (0+ / 0-)

      what South Korea's response would be?

      •  We've been drawing down in South Korea (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        for a while now.  American soldiers on the ground have decreased by about 1/3 since 2006, I think.  And just recently, American AH-64 helicopters (anti-tank helicopters) were withdrawn from Korea and replaced by F-16s. F-16s are certainly capable birds, but for an initial response to an armor invasion from the north (or in support of an invasion of the north), they may not be as relevant.

        South Korea's response has been to buy more equipment and to continue to develop a robust arms industry. But they're still not really on an offensive posture.  I don't think they'd do anything nutty.

        Someone is wrong on the Internet! To the Kosmobile!

        by socratic on Wed May 27, 2009 at 08:01:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  a pulldown is (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          different than a pullout. Even now a conflict on the peninsula would result in US casualties and US intervention. Their presence makes the threat credible.

          Their absense means the US can decline to intervene, making conflict more likely.

          And likely changing the relations of the countries wrt China.

          •  That's true (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            though I suspect the thousands of American businesspeople and tourists would have a similar effect, not to mention the endless tons of goods that we buy from Korea. For good or ill, we have extensive ties on the peninsula that go far beyond our military presence.

            China, though, is a fascinating thing to watch.  Five decades ago, they would've been the real worry for us.  Now, they're probably more concerned about Korea than we are, because any threat to regional stability could throw a monkeywrench in their economy, which is large but not (yet) entirely robust.  I suspect, though don't know, that China is pissed at North Korea right now. They might not be too upset if the North Koreans did something to humiliate the US (like seizing another intel ship), but I don't think they'd be too thrilled about all-out war on their back porch.

            Someone is wrong on the Internet! To the Kosmobile!

            by socratic on Wed May 27, 2009 at 08:12:11 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  South Korea (0+ / 0-)

        has to come to grips with the fact that it is in China's orbit not America's. The sooner it comes to terms with that reality the better. North Korea is currently able to leverage its position by attacking the USA and making the issue about the USA. Without a US presence on the peninsula, the game changes. Right now, we are stuck in an unproductive pattern. Time to make some changes. Walking away from the table might be our best option to trigger some realism in Korea, China and Japan.

        Ambition is when you follow your dreams. Insanity is when they follow you.

        by Batfish on Thu May 28, 2009 at 09:33:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Why would you write a diary titled "Re:Korea" (8+ / 0-)

    triggered by recent events in Korea when you yourself write in the very same diary:

    I don't know a lot of the details about Korea, past or present.

    Here's a salient detail: North Korea is not a socialist country; it's a dictatorship where the state set out to elevate Kim Jong Il (and before him, his father Kim Il Sung) to the status of a demigod.

    "It's not enough to be right. You still have to use your nice voice." -said by my then six-year-old daughter; "Love binds us all."-willb48

    by be the change you seek on Wed May 27, 2009 at 07:58:59 PM PDT

    •  I made a point (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LithiumCola, ZenTrainer

      Of tagging this as an opinion piece...

      While candidly admitting lack of a lot of specific info about Korea, I do know quite a bit about the US pattern of practice, all over the world.

      Would anyone here care to challenge that analysis?

      Or is flippant denial and dismissal all you've got?

      How about bringing up some more exemplary symptoms of the crushing isolation we have imposed on those countries, to "prove" your points?

      North Korea, like Viet Nam, and Cuba and China and Russia before them, have, indeed, been deformed, and crippled by the conditions imposed upon them by monopoly capital.

      You can argue til you're blue in the face about what came first, the chicken or the egg...

      But I will have to insist that the most negative manifestations of "socialism" are the direct result of being under relentless, ruthless attack by monopoly capitalism.

      "...a printing press is worth 10,000 rifles..." Ho Chi Minh

      by Radical def on Wed May 27, 2009 at 08:30:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I read the whole diary (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ZenTrainer, Radical def

        and I am in sympathy with 99% of it, particularly, in regards to North Korea, to the preferability of encouraging local agitation for democracy and rights, rather than wanting a belligerent response to NK from the outside.

        And of course it is true that capitalism breeds a worldwide system that regards anything that prevents "the opening of markets" as an enemy to be crushed, resulting in much disinformation being fed to populations in capitalist countries.

        AND, I agree it is the very force of capitalism that is largely responsible for the distortions of socialism into totalitiarianism in the USSR, for example, and North Korea.

        The one thing I disagree with is the idea that North Korea is not really a bad place to live, with a lunatic dictator at the helm, slowly losing power as he dies, in favor of we-don't-know-what successor.

        What we are to do about North Korea is a question best answered by North Korea's citizens, to the extent they are able to speak, and perhaps her neighbors, certainly not us.

        Space. It seems to go on and on forever. But then you get to the end and a gorilla starts throwing barrels at you. -- Fry, Futurama

        by LithiumCola on Wed May 27, 2009 at 08:56:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No, you're wrong (0+ / 0-)

          AND, I agree it is the very force of capitalism that is largely responsible for the distortions of socialism into totalitiarianism in the USSR, for example, and North Korea.

          They did this to themselves. The USA and its allies never had influence over the development of the USSR and NK. How could they? They were well outside the US sphere of influence.

        •  I'm not denying that NK is a mess... (0+ / 0-)

          But I am saying that the bourgeois commercial mass media are congenital liars, and are undoubtedly exaggerating, distorting, making shit up, and leaving out a whole lot of the most salient information, just like they always do, about everything...

          "...a printing press is worth 10,000 rifles..." Ho Chi Minh

          by Radical def on Wed May 27, 2009 at 10:27:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Speaking of getting real... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    yuriwho, caul, citizenx, Radical def, HiKa

    I agree with much of your perspective, and I say that as someone who is fairly familiar with the history of the conflict between the US and North Korea.  But your conclusion that's obvious that the US is deliberately and dupliciously provoking and tweaking Korea, to create a useful propaganda "crisis" that "we" can then seek to exploit to our own benefit, including starting another bogus, unconstitutional "war" that will make huge profits for a few people who are already so rich it should be a crime, and will, incidentally, kill millions of people, including hundreds of thousands of our own youth.

    is not based in reality.

    The US does not want conflict in Korea.  The North Korean military is very powerful, very well-trained and well-equipped, and is likely armed with two or three nuclear weapons.  Seoul is within artillery range of hundreds of already-in-place N. Korean artillery pieces.  Tokyo is within missile range.  Our own forces are worn out and overstretched in Iraq and Afghanistan.  We have just a few thousand troops in Korea, there for symbolic purposes more than anything else.

    A conflict with North Korea would get tens or hundreds of thousands of people killed--most of them citizens of two close allies.  It would cause economic chaos at a time when the world economy is on life support.

    The US doesn't, can't, want a war with the PRK.  Aside from the unacceptable carnage to our allies, we probably couldn't even win militarily, short of nuking them.  Armed conflict with the PRK is nearly unthinkable.

    Actually, the same forces you decry want to keep the PRK right where it is, a contained threat that can be trotted out to justify $70 billion antimissile systems and fast attack cruisers and a 12th nuclear carrier group.  But they don't want war with the PRK any more than they wanted war with the USSR.

    Trust me on this:  if we end up in a war with North Korea it will be because we, or they, make a series of missteps in this very dangerous game.

    War crimes will be prosecuted. War criminals will be punished. And it will be no defense to say, "I was just following orders." -- George W. Bush, May 17, 2003

    by Simian on Wed May 27, 2009 at 07:59:28 PM PDT

    •  I would tend to agree with your perspective... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      caul, ZenTrainer

      But I'm sure there are elements in the US who would love to nuke them.

      As you say, it would be a "comedy" of errors that would lead to actual war, and, most likely, millions of deaths.

      "...a printing press is worth 10,000 rifles..." Ho Chi Minh

      by Radical def on Wed May 27, 2009 at 08:03:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  On the other hand... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        caul, ZenTrainer

        I still think that more conservative, right wing elements are reveling in deliberately provoking and tweaking Korea with insults, dirty tricks and bullshit, just to get a reaction that we can point to as "reason" for continuing and exploiting the present standoff, rather than resolving the conflict.

        "...a printing press is worth 10,000 rifles..." Ho Chi Minh

        by Radical def on Wed May 27, 2009 at 08:06:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  They are not in control anymore (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Wolf Of Aquarius

          remember the last election we had?

          "Everybody does better, when everybody does better" - Paul Wellstone 1997

          by yuriwho on Wed May 27, 2009 at 08:09:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I would beg to differ... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            caul, ZenTrainer

            Even with Obama in office, the Blue Dogs still control Congress...

            And the legacy of the last 30 years will not be erased over night.  Many appointees and entrenched right wing conservatives remain throughout the government, diplomatic corps, military, etc. which the right has assiduously stacked as much as they can, with people sympathetic to their views.

            It's not over yet.  Remember how Carter's rescue operation in Iran all crashed into each other in the middle of the desert, even as Reagan negotiated secretly with the Ayatollah?

            Anti-democratic sabotage and treason, for profit, against the public interest, are not going to just stop, now that Obama is in there, especially with the Blue Dogs in charge.  Indeed, it's more likely to be stepped up, to cripple and discredit him as much as they can.

            "...a printing press is worth 10,000 rifles..." Ho Chi Minh

            by Radical def on Wed May 27, 2009 at 08:21:25 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I think you have a warped view (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              of how the US government works with regard to international relations and hotspot flare-ups like this. When international dissonance occurs, it goes to the top of the state department (Hillary Clinton) and to the White House (Obama, Biden & Rahm) as well as to the heads of intelligence and national security.

              It's not a bunch of Bush holdovers running the show. The example you give of Carters last days as a lame duck president do not compare. I think you have a completely strange sense of reality regarding decision making and policy in the US.

              "Everybody does better, when everybody does better" - Paul Wellstone 1997

              by yuriwho on Wed May 27, 2009 at 08:35:02 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  And yet (0+ / 0-)

                as we watch the Obama Administration is utterly unable to break out of the isolate-and-threaten-then bribe pattern that has proven so profitable for the military-industrial complex for so long.

                War crimes will be prosecuted. War criminals will be punished. And it will be no defense to say, "I was just following orders." -- George W. Bush, May 17, 2003

                by Simian on Thu May 28, 2009 at 01:19:09 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  i heard that (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Simian, Wolf Of Aquarius

          the government recently tunneled under the DMZ and lit off a baby nuke, just to make them look more dangerous.

          I'm pretty sure it was Haliburton, or starbucks.

        •  Exactly my point. (0+ / 0-)

          Maybe a few nutjobs want to nuke them, but the money is in having them be a continuing threat to national security that justifies spending prodigious amounts of money on the military new weapons systems.  And I agree with your other comments--they have bought enough of the Blue Dogs to get their way no matter who is in the White House.  Unless, that is, Obama pulls a rabbit out of a hat and the North Korean threat disappears.

          We could buy KJI and the entire PRK leadership their own private island and a lifetime supply of champagne and caviar for the price of a year's appropriations for ABM defense.  But then we'd be down to just one missile-wielding rogue-state "threat" to American security (Iran) and that leaves little margin for error for the continued maintenance of the military-industrial complex in the style to which it has grown accustomed.

          War crimes will be prosecuted. War criminals will be punished. And it will be no defense to say, "I was just following orders." -- George W. Bush, May 17, 2003

          by Simian on Thu May 28, 2009 at 01:13:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  This diary makes little or no sense to me (6+ / 0-)

    what is your thesis or recommendation for foreign policy to NK? You are aware that NK is fueling the current tensions.

    "Everybody does better, when everybody does better" - Paul Wellstone 1997

    by yuriwho on Wed May 27, 2009 at 07:59:40 PM PDT

  •  I'd take our commercial mass media (7+ / 0-)

    to North Korea's media any day of the week.

    Sometimes, just sometimes, what our media report is somewhat truthful.

    Being a North Korea apologist isn't going to win you many friends here or any other place in the world.

    •  Plus (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rimjob, citizenx, Wolf Of Aquarius

      we have the opportunity to create our own opinions and examine facts in the open in places like, oh, here.  And we have the right to leave the country.  

      About the only thing North Korea does better is boondoggle.  They build an alleged five star hotel/pyramid that is left rotting and unsafe to occupy years after the basic building was "completed" while we bring down the global economy.  Wooo!

      On the other hand, if we switched places, with the DPRK as the top dog, I suspect that the world would be a hell of a lot worse off.

      Someone is wrong on the Internet! To the Kosmobile!

      by socratic on Wed May 27, 2009 at 08:08:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  yeah, we've got it soooo good.... (0+ / 0-)

        I fail to see how our present situation, domestic or foreign, is any reason to brag...yet.  Maybe after 2010 and 2012...

        But for now, all one has to do is scroll through dkos posts, to see that we have our own problems, and they are not small ones.

        Again, I say that the situation and conditions in North Korea have been caused primarily by the isolation and attacks against them, which have deliberately sought to sabotage any and all of the higher principles of independence and democracy that they initially sought in declaring opposition to monopoly capital and neo-colonialism.

        Everything is relative.  Korea was bombed and brutalized back into the stone age.  I'm not trying to deny that.

        The US could, and should, do much better, in terms of mass media, as well as domestic and foreign policy.

        "...a printing press is worth 10,000 rifles..." Ho Chi Minh

        by Radical def on Wed May 27, 2009 at 08:44:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh my, North Korea is such an innocent victim. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Rimjob, socratic, shenderson

          That's going to be news to the Japanese civilians North Korea kidnapped while they were still children. Or the thousands who starved to death because the North Korean government was busy sending all food to the military.

          •  lol...we can go around and around (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Want to talk about the Koreans kidnapped by the Japanese during WW2?

            We could turn this into an I/P diary...

            Korea, like most people who have been severely traumatized, has reacted poorly, inappropriately even, to the situation they found themselves in.

            Does that excuse or justify their behavior?  I don't think so.

            But there are reasons for how people act.  

            You don't cure trauma by inflicting more trauma.  Only a sadist does that.

            And US policy has tended to be sadistic, unprincipled, and illegal, in dealing with anyone who refuses to submit to the imperialist advances of monopoly capital.

            I don't believe we are getting the whole picture about the situation from commercial mass media.

            "...a printing press is worth 10,000 rifles..." Ho Chi Minh

            by Radical def on Wed May 27, 2009 at 09:13:13 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  The point is (5+ / 0-)

          that we have the capacity to change, both forwards and backwards, but historically forwards (grudgingly, haltingly, but forwards).  

          We might not have helped North Korea after the Korean War, but their totalitarian dictatorship has done far, far more to harm their country than anything the US has done.  Of all the things to come out of the Bush II Administration, the phrase "Axis of Evil" may be the most damaging for our international relations, because it so clearly represented the bullshit that came out of the White House during that period.  But of the three countries on the list, North Korea was the closest thing to an actual evil nation that might do us harm: the are run by a madman who is completely divorced from reality, hell bent on acquiring actual weapons of mass destruction, distributing know-how to manufacture them, and rattling sabers at any opportunity.  I feel awful for the North Korean people, but their government is insane and indefensible, and our policies opposing the regime are largely sound.  

          Someone is wrong on the Internet! To the Kosmobile!

          by socratic on Wed May 27, 2009 at 08:55:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Um, North Korea was NOT bombed into the stone age (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Wolf Of Aquarius

          Just so we can clear the way for that.  Truman never condoned it and reigned his people in, and the Korean war, while a significant issue, was followed three times with some of the most massive humanitarian efforts by the west to the east.

          When Ike ended the war (by the way, within 100 days of taking office), one of the things on the table was that Russia considered North Korea an ally and agreed that they would take care of them and that we should butt the heck out.

          It was not US "bombing them into the stone age" that destroyed North Korea, it was that the USSR for decades basically neglected and helped back puppets with China's blessing in the country.  North Korea dwindled into the background, abused by those around them... which isn't always the US.. and in fact, in this case, it wasn't.  But by the 70s, this period of puppets and lack of control in North Korea was bad.  

          But this was not a matter of US strategic policy of any sort to any policy by the US to back them into an economic stone age.  

          In the 1960s an the 1970s, the USSR/US cold war prevented any US action from really meaning anything to North Korea, we can't forget that.  And the USSR made a kind of effort in North Korea through the 60s, but by the 70s, suspicion was serious.. and it still is:

          As an example of the paranoia of North Korean leaders regarding Russia's aims, Kim Dong-su cited the fate of 300 North Korean military officers who had gone to Russia for training. Suspected of hatching a plot to overthrow the regime, he said "they were killed up to the third generation" after getting back to North Korea.

          Now, those who have associated with Russia can find their own government kill them, their families, children, etc.  Which is not really a policy from the US.

          While Kruschev followed through on what they had told Ike and others, and formed outlets in Korea, Leonid Brezhnev had absolutely no use for Korea, and that created the distrust that resulted in the above.

          There are lots of things we can look at US policy as having an impact in, but we have to remember, there are a lot of countries that took a bad beating by the USSR when they were around, and there are still tons of consequences to that.

          •  this is a deep subject... (0+ / 0-)

            Conditions in Russia and China were hardly allowed to develop naturally, or to achieve optimum results, due to the same strategies used against Korea being applied to them.

            So, again, you point to the symptoms caused by relentless attack, isolation, strangling of these countries, to deliberately destroy or cripple them any way we could, as some kind of "proof" that their initial notions of suppressing rampant monopoly capital was somehow non-viable?

            They never had a chance, and we made damn sure of that.

            So, they came out deformed, crippled, even insane.

            How does that excuse our own practice toward them, and toward anyone else who seeks independence, democracy, and freedom from the predation of monopoly capital?  

            "...a printing press is worth 10,000 rifles..." Ho Chi Minh

            by Radical def on Wed May 27, 2009 at 09:22:24 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Whoa, wait.. really? (0+ / 0-)

              I'm wondering if I could have your glasses. So, somehow, China and the USSR developed a warped government as a result of our strategies?  I'm wondering how that came about..I mean, it would involve eight different presidents (FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, LBJ, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan) and assume that our policy was the one that set the tone for the entirety of all global events and that the USSR and China were only filling out reactionary positions to us..

              I can't figure how we can make that argument?  I mean, that argument would invalidate these moments:

              Did Kruschev just decide to challenge Kennedy as a reaction to... (what) US policy?

              Did China only install petty dictatorships in places as a response to LBJ's policy to.. (?)

              When China went after Tibet / Mongolia, as a reaction to Ford/Carter's.. (?)

              I mean, you're basically pleading the case that "they are bad, but what other choice did they have?"  I think that's a pretty pandering argument.  It also assumes no other country on the earth had any impact in any way other then us, and that our terrible actions caused all of this to happen the way that it did.  

              I hate to break this to you, but a lot of these places came out deformed & insane because their leadership was from the beginning deformed and insane.  I mean, I don't think FDR was ever really a giant backer of Stalin's efforts to wipe out tens of millions of people, and I'm not sure what strategy we employed to force them to do it (?)

              Sometimes evil people just happen.  And, oddly, they don't always have to be the result of any US policy.  We just aren't always that super-important to the creation of insanity.

              •  You have to go back further, really... (0+ / 0-)

                to the very beginning, when the US and other western powers supported the czar, tried to invade Russia via proxies, cut off the fledgling revolution from any kind of trade, credit, technical development, etc. etc.

                Then, there's the matter of Hitler, favored client of Ford and other monopoly capitalists, who cultivated and built up the nazi war machine, specifically to sic like a mad dog on Russia.

                It's completely disingenuous, or totally ignorant, for you to try to deny or dismiss the deliberate provocations and harassment the US has employed, consistently, relentlessly, against Russia, from day one, and all the way through the cold-war periods you mention.

                In China (and Vietnam) despite all diplomatic advice and intelligence reports, that the only way the US was going to have any positive influence in that region was to support Mao (and Ho), who were so widely and deeply respected for struggling so resolutely against foreign imperialism, "we" chose to ignore that, and backed instead the most right wing reactionary mercenary elements we could find, to harass and cripple them with prolonged civil war.

                All they initially wanted was democracy and freedom from colonialism.  But rather than help them to develop in a democratic manner, to be free, the US chose instead to support Chang Kai Chek, a corrupt gangster warlord despised by the Chinese people, a collaborator with the Japanese (and various similar CIA clients, in Vietnam).

                Again I say, being forced onto a defensive military footing, forced to impose martial law just to survive, is not conducive to optimal social, economic, or democratic development.

                We could have helped them to develop, but that was not going to happen, as long as monopoly capital owned and controlled the US, and those countries refused to submit to the imperialist neo-colonialism of the US.

                No way could "we" allow them to succeed.  That has been the foundation of US policy, for over 50 years.

                So, yeah, figures like Stalin emerged, and many of the higher principles that those countries were founded on floundered...

                They "failed", and produced deformed monsters..."See?!  That Proves that socialism, ie: democracy, where the public interest comes first, and monopoly capital is suppressed, can Never work, and is the Last thing anyone with a brain could possibly want!"

                What is so hard to grasp, about the real fundamental issue, which is not Stalin, or freakin' Pol Pot (you think Palin and her Joel's Army would give us any better?)...

                It's about monopoly capital, and those who resist it.

                "...a printing press is worth 10,000 rifles..." Ho Chi Minh

                by Radical def on Wed May 27, 2009 at 10:14:22 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Now I fear we've jumped into insanity land.. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  So, it was Ford Motor Company's fault for Hitler, and he was used as a capitalist ploy to fight Russia?  

                  I admit, I'm one of those people who generally believes socialism has a tendency to fail because the human drive - less any government incentive - to prove personal greatness ends up being it's undoing almost every time, ('The tallest blade of grass is the first to be cut by the scythe.')

                  That having been said, I wonder what kind of boogeyman you see in the corner that believes it was American capitalism that propped up Hitler, that apparently excuses every other external force but contends that it was US interaction that led to that...

                  Or that somehow it was capitalism that led to Stalin (not, in fact, his basic murder of those around him)..

                  So, because those countries resisted capitalism, and they were somehow punished, or picked on by some cabal of capitalists who sought to punish them for their position (how I'm uncertain) it gave rise to the leaders they have.

                  So, in reality, we shouldn't blame anyone for their own actions, they were just forced to do those things because Ford Motor Company gave them no choice.  

                  Hmm.  OK.  

                  •  Yeah, well, clearly these are difficult concepts (0+ / 0-)

                    for you to accept, considering your own biased proclivities.

                    But the best you can do, is to resort to adhominem, and call me crazy, lol?

                    Who's crazy, the one who tells it like it really was, or the one who refuses to accept the obvious reality?

                    That it from Ayn Rand?

                    Ford wasn't the only one who supported Hitler.  There were many very rich and powerful industrialists and financiers who did so, including grandaddy Bush.

                    Indeed, they prevailed on the US to stay out of the war, as long as they could.

                    Explain this to me...why did the US wait to cross the channel until Russia had been thoroughly bled, but had kicked Hitler's ass, and was chasing his troops back across Europe?

                    Was it really to deal the coup de grace to Hitler, or was it mainly to stop Russia from occupying all of Europe?

                    "...a printing press is worth 10,000 rifles..." Ho Chi Minh

                    by Radical def on Wed May 27, 2009 at 11:00:13 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  No, it's revisionist history that I scoff at.. (0+ / 0-)

                      Hitler's rise to power had basically NOTHING to do with Ford; in fact, to find any connection beyond conspiracy gurus is strange.  

                      We can consider Ford to be a man of his time and someone who said and did several onerous things; but if you wish to blame him for Hitler, then we'd have to find a serious list of seven degrees.

                      Hitler's rise to power wasn't fueled by dirty capitalists.  Hitler's rise to power was really born out of an oppressed economy that was over-punished post WWI and embargoes that prevented the growth of any job base.  It was the lack  of capitalists that made the people poor, pissed, and ready to jump behind anything to blame others with.  I'd be more then happy to put you in touch with writings from people who were physically there, a long list of books and writings of the people who were present, rather then guessing by those who find axes to grind regarding their own beliefs.

                      Your conclusion in regards to a collusion between FDR and the marketplace to not get involved in the war is an interesting one.  And, on some level, many companies were opposed to ever going to war.  Oddly, there are pacificists in every era, despite the facts on the ground.  But in the case of WWII, a large slice of the American public stayed bitterly opposed to anything revolving around Europe in WWII until significantly after Pearl Harbor.  Many Americans at that time still remembered WWI, and had almost no interest in that, and numerous linked WWI as a prime cause behind the great depression.  And yes, some industry magnets also believed that.  

                      But there was, as near as anything I've ever seen, no real groundwork for any claim of collusion to change up war strategy.

                      And, while I think you're conclusion is bogus, if it had been true, and the goal was partly to let our enemy beat up our enemy and to prevent Russia from taking Europe.. if we actually believed that was a possibility, then I have no problem with Russia getting it's comeupance from Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact fallout.

                •  And to the opinion we should have backed Mao... (0+ / 0-)

                  All I have to say is: INSANITY.

                  Before we go off and lionize Chairman Mao for Christ sake, let's remember he's implicated in the death of around 70 MILLION asians:


                  His brutal assault on outer reaches of China and the harsh whip were insanity that led quite a few Chinese to flee there own country.

                  In November 1965, after altering everyone's lives, Mao set about reshaping history, with the launch of the "Great Purge", later known as the "Cultural Revolution". At Mao's insistence, the nation began to "smash the four olds" - culture, ideas, customs and habits. Centuries-old buildings were razed to the ground and intellectuals were deliberately assigned to work on wrecking crews.

                  No-one was exempt: writers and teachers found themselves persecuted, while operas, plays and films were reinvented as revolutionary propaganda. Madame Mao, who had given birth to two daughters, spearheaded the assault. "Jiang Qing is as deadly as a scorpion," Mao said of the woman who ordered countless executions, including those of actresses who had once won roles she had coveted. She and her political henchmen were dubbed the "Gang of Four", and she became known as the "White Boned Demon".


                  Atrocities multiplied in schools and universities, the natural hotbeds for activists. The Red Guards, gangs of self-appointed idealists, dragged teachers in front of crowds, manhandling and sometimes killing them. They broke into homes to burn books, cut up paintings, and trample records and musical instruments. China became a cultural desert.

                  Even those at the top of Mao's power structure were not immune: the elderly President of China, Liu Shao-chi, died of beatings in captivity, while Madame Mao personally tormented his wife, making the couple's small children witness her brutal beating, then throwing her into solitary confinement for a decade.

                  Had the US done as you seem to encourage, and backed Mao I would be ashamed of my country.  Thankfully, Kennedy & LBJ were smart enough not to do anything with an oppressive whackpot.  Whether or not he was anti-capitalism was kind of less important then the fact that he encouraged brutal, insane medical experiments on his own people, death and torture to those who opposed him, sacking of universities.. so yeah, you're thoughts that we should have backed Mao?  I'm wondering how old you are or where you're getting your thought process from.  Because it's kind of scary.

            •  Conditions in Russia and China (0+ / 0-)

              consisted and still consist largely of three things:  (1) resources (2) average intelligence or cognitive ability and (3) distribution of personalities or temperaments, especially to include average capability for compassion.  It is temperament in its negative features that permanently limits political and economic development of a country.  Communism was cruel because it was spawned in naturally cruel areas of the world.  Capitalism fares no better in such areas.

              •  Naturally cruel areas??! Permanent, you say? (0+ / 0-)

                Hmmm...must be that Asiatic tendency, right?  Racist much?

                The cruel tendency you refer to wouldn't be the Czar, whom the US so staunchly supported, would it?

                Feudalism was indeed cruel and harsh, anywhere.  But it wasn't limited to Russia, and I think the "temperament" of that legacy of cruelty was no less prevalent in Europe, or in the US, when you look at the treatment of blacks, Native Americans, and even the early immigrants from "white" nations.

                Such mindless tortured rationalizations about the inherent evils of communism illustrate my position very well.

                Initially, it was all about democracy, and suppression of the cruel injustices of monopoly capitalism..,.what happened as a result of that struggle was dictated less by any supposed "natural" cruelty of Russians (or Chinese, et al), and more by the natural cruelty of capitalism.  

                Doesn't go down easy, does it?

                "...a printing press is worth 10,000 rifles..." Ho Chi Minh

                by Radical def on Wed May 27, 2009 at 11:27:35 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  Just as a point... (4+ / 0-)

    I admit, I'm one of those who has family who has been to the DMZ, repeatedly, in their service to the country; a brother who resided in the pentagon for 12 years and was in Korea for 4, including a few flights back and forth.  I have family living in Japan, who also has made the trip for similar reasons.

    Let me say this: North Korea's issue is one primarily of their own making.  Yes, the people are repressed.  And yes, it's terrible the situation they are in.  I can agree with you there.  But they are NOT a socialist country.  They aren't even close.  There is almost nowhere in the world that really is, but North Korea is so far away from even the concept ...

    North Korea's prime situation right now is a truly terrifying one.  They have as of today, rescinded their agreement to the 1953 armistice, and laid open threats against South Korea. Before we go farther, we have to point out that in 1953, Eisenhower laid out a brilliant case to drop arms and to form a permanent guarded cease fire.  This was met with a lot of welcome from all sides, and prevented a lot of continued bloodshed.  

    Over the next five years, the US made repeated efforts to keep up talks with North Korea; Eisenhower busted his back over that.  So did Kennedy.  But by the time the Vietnam conflict was heating up under LBJ, it went by the wayside.  

    We tried again in the 70s but even by then, North Korea had become China's pet project,and had developed into a fairly creepy and oppressive state.  

    North Korea began to work a habit of open blackmail - threats of incredible bluster to force agreements.  Because the threats were often completely ridiculous, the US and others had difficulty dealing with what the hell was going on.

    By the 90s, North Korea was so schizophrenic in it's discussion with the world that they managed to fein peace and an attempt to join the world community to turn around the next year in another open attempt at blackmail and threats.  At that point, it was pretty much over for the US and NK to talk directly.

    There are lots of things to disagree with bush over, but one area was pretty much set in stone: North Korea's calls for one-on-one negotiations with the US were over.  Japan had pretty much had it, and demanded to be involved, and without a chair for China at the table, any agreement would be worthless.  

    In the last year, there has been a lot of significant fear within the Japanese mainland.  North Korea openly fired a medium range missile, despite objections.  They have now openly tested a nuclear bomb.

    How far will North Korea sabre rattle?  The bigger fear in Japan is that North Korea is under a pressure table to "do something big" before Kim Jong Il dies.  

    Do I believe any nation is dumb enough to start something?  No.  But the real fear here is that North Korea rescinds it's agreement to the 1953 accord, which they have done, and then announces to invade South Korea.. "stop us, or try, and we'll just nuke Japan.."  They've proven they could do it.

    Sound far fetched?  Sure.  But that's the story that is making the rounds in Japan right now, and it's a significant fear.  Unfortunately, it's not a crazy delusional fear.

    I can fault the media for many things.  And I know they can show us if they travel to North Korea how people live and we would be appalled.  One television station allowed to be broadcast (they even jam open UHF/VHF near the DMZ), only one paper & news of record; people kept without electricity, etc.

    I would feel bad.  But I really don't feel anything but scorn for Kim Jong Il.  He is, as he has shown himself repeatedly to be, a tyrant.  He is no better then a Pol Pot or an Idi Amin.  And if he continues on this sabre rattling with real weapons of mass destruction, then there will be significant consequences for the globe.  And it would not necessarily be us who deals with him.

  •  At the risk of making a fool of myself (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ZenTrainer, Wolf Of Aquarius

    I want to propose giving one thing and one thing only to North Korea: pride.  Not because pride is deserved, but because it is instinctively pursued and prized almost as much as food and sex, and disallowing it breaks communication and produces no good that I can think of.

    I think of pride in relation to nuclear weapons because the same applies to Pakistan, India, and, someday, Iran.  There is nothing like an underground test or two to make people shout "Yes!" and call for drinks all around.  And they are a deterrent.  I think the problem is not first use in war, but the marketing of suitcase bombs.

    The only other advice I can think of is from a brilliant bumper sticker that I saw years ago going north on the 405 freeway in LA: "Never argue with the mentally ill."

  •  You had me at (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Radical def

    "I also know that the US government is, on principle, as a very aggressive capitalist country, rarely reasonable in it's demands, propaganda or actions toward socialist countries."

    Although not just countries with certain governments. Countries with anything we want to have or anything we don't want them to have.

    I say nukes for all or nukes for none.

    Plus Korean food is great. You get all these little bowls fo free stuff with whatever you order.

    We need to stop thinking of North Korean and Iran and a ton of other places as plots of land full of whacked out governments.

    They are places full of all kinds of people including a lot of kids, cats and dogs. Full of culture and tradition that deserve respect, kindness and compassion.

    When will we be a country that operates from that place instead of a place of fear and greed?

    For a while now when I travel, I try to pass as a Canadian. I haven't wanted to be known as coming from the plot of land called America with the whacked out governments we've had.

    I am hoping that this will be one of the changes to come and that I can begin to travel as an American...proudly.

    My dryer has the option of "more dry" or "less dry". Personally, I like to wear my clothes "more dry".

    by ZenTrainer on Wed May 27, 2009 at 11:11:48 PM PDT

    •  The difference between Iran and NK (0+ / 0-)

      Iran may have some whacked out people IN government, but North Korea's government IS whacked out by its very nature.

      From their "Juche" ideology, to the deification of the Kims, its absolute control of the media and the government imposed caste system... North Korea is simply beyond the pale.

      The people are treated as a resource by the government, fear and control are the order of the day.

      I understand your perspective but you should understand that North Korea as an entity is something utterly different from a western mindset.

  •  A few things I'd like to say. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rimjob, tmservo433, citizenx

    And this just isn't to the diarist, but to everyone at this website in general. Many folks this is not going to apply to, and I hope you realize that as you read, but I feel like this needs to be said. I think this is going to be my last post about North Korea on this site because I'm tired of getting stressed out here when I have a life to get to, but here goes. Sorry if it's TL;DR.

    I think it's obvious that the US is deliberately and dupliciously provoking and tweaking Korea, to create a useful propaganda "crisis" that "we" can then seek to exploit to our own benefit, including starting another bogus, unconstitutional "war" that will make huge profits for a few people who are already so rich it should be a crime, and will, incidentally, kill millions of people, including hundreds of thousands of our own youth.

    Excuse me?

    Not only do I think that statement is just ridiculous to begin with, I say this as an American that loves my country, but hey, guess what guys? This is not all about us. I Those of you saying "they're mad that Sotomayor stole their attention!" need to realize something - no one else in the world cares about our Supreme Court other than Americans. I can't believe how many people are trotting this out lately.

    Those of you out there that are thinking this is all the big evil American corporate MSM trying to make another war, I invite you to try different sources.

    Then by all means, feel free to draw your own conclusions afterwards. If nothing else consider it a break from crap like Miss California and pundits taking the claims of war criminal ex-VPs seriously.

    I also don't get the people who basically seem to be saying "well they can't hit America reliably yet, so who cares? Make it China's problem." Not only do I think that a rather awful way to look at allies of the United States' problems, not to mention hard to do when NK keeps dragging the US's name into things, but there are THOUSANDS of American expats in South Korea, Japan, China, etc. Myself included among them (which is why I'm so passionate about this, admittedly). If there are any fellow expats shrugging this off, I wish I had your testicular fortitude, considering how things seem to be escalating a lot more than normal this week. If thinking about that makes it easier for you to squeeze out even a little concern, that would be swell.

    I am not saying "America should bomb the fuck out of them," although several people on this site seem to have confused my hatred of Kim Jong Il's regime for things like threats of war against South Korea and Japan(nuclear or otherwise) and its decades-long habits of kidnapping other countries' people, locking up its own men/women/children in what amount to concentration camps, etc., with me being some sort of flag-waving chickenhawk. I have never said "let's start a war," I am unfortunately more realistic than the folks on the right sporting a war-woody. I've been repeatedly screaming bloody murder about the NK situation because I want to AVOID a war here in Asia.  I hate that the main attention this seems to be getting back home (PLEASE someone prove me wrong on this, I want to be wrong on this) is from neocons that want to use this as an excuse to label Pres. Obama "naive" and start another fight.

    And the people making this all about America, like only American corpses matter, or using this as an opportunity to criticize the previous administration/past US atrocities with no apparent sympathy for the people in East Asia, frankly, make me sick.

    Usually about this time I get someone asking "so what do YOU suggest?" - Honestly? I'm not sure. I appreciate that China and Russia are coming on board and Sec. Clinton seems to be taking a harder stance than a shrug.  I hope they can find a way to calm this down. I see some actions being taken, and I hope they work.

    But I wish it felt like the folks back home at least were shooting us moral support, if nothing else. I think that's what amazes me the most. The incredibly few people kind enough to even say "my heart goes out to the people in East Asia, and I hope this situation is resolved quickly and safely." Maybe that's childish of me, but I think turning this whole thing into an American political talking point is just as childish.

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