Is North Korea Really A Threat To United States?

 

Suraj Kumar

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War of Words

The war of words between the United States and North Korea has further intensified crisis on the Korean Peninsula. In his address to the United Nations General Assembly, US President Donald Trump threatens that “The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.  Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.”[1]  

President Trump’s speech went far beyond just arguing for ‘regime change’ and the overthrow of the Kim Jong-un regime but actually stated he would destroy a sovereign state. Since the foundation of the United Nations, no chief executives or diplomats including the previous US presidents have openly called for the annihilation of another state at the floor of UN General Assembly.

In response to this on September 22, 2017, in an unprecedented and personal televised, Kim Jong-un compared the words of US President Donald Trump with the declaration of war on Pyongyang. He stated that “far from making somewhat plausible remarks that can be helpful to defusing tension, he made unprecedented rude nonsense one has never heard from any of his predecessors.  I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire.”[2]

North Korea regime’s repeated threats to use nuclear weapons as well as US’s threat “to totally destroy North Korea” have created an increasingly dangerous situation in the region. According to Washington, Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons destabilise peace and security not only in Korean peninsula bot in Northeast Asia as a whole.

The present US administration is showing unprecedentedly deep interest in the question of the Korean peninsula.

After the nuclear test on September 3, 2017, the US carried out a joint missile launching drill together with South Korea targeting the North Korea and dispatched two of its B-1B strategic bombers into the air above the Korean peninsula to conduct aerial bombardment drill.

Moreover, in a recent move, a dozen senators have co-signed a letter to the US State Department requesting that North Korea be once again added to Washington’s list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Currently, the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terror is short: Iran, Syria and Sudan, the latter of which is appealing to be taken off the list. Despite opposition from Russia and China, the South Korean government formalized the purchase of land for the installation of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system to be deployed in South Korea. Further, the US and South Korea agreed to build a missile defence system together.

Addressing the UN General Assembly on September 25, 2017, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho accused U.S. President Donald Trump of declaring war on his country.

He further stated that “What else could be a bigger threat than the violent remarks such as pouring “fire and fury”, “total destruction” coming from the top authority of the world’s biggest nuclear power. The United States is the country that first produced nuclear weapons and the only country that actually used it, massacring hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians.”[3]

 

UNSC sanction on North Korea

In violation of the UN Security Council’s resolutions, Pyongyang carried out several ballistic missiles and conducted a sixth nuclear test on September 3, 2017. As a result, on September 11, 2017, the 15-member United Nations Security Council (UNSC) passed Resolution 2375 against the North Korea (DPRK) slapping harsh sanctions against the DPRK by branding its nuclear build-up as a “threat” to international peace and security. More recently, it published a press release to urge its implementation. North Korea’s nuclear test deeply disappointed and angered Russian and Chinese leaders, who decided to vote in favour of UNSC resolution against North Korea.

There was once a possibility of denuclearizing North Korea, back in the ’90s.

Moreover, the report prepared by Bank of Korea in 2017 claimed that that North Korea’s economy grew at its fastest pace in 2016, despite the isolated country facing international sanctions aimed at curbing its defiant pursuit of nuclear weapons. Gross domestic product (GDP) in North Korea 2016 rose 3.9 percent from the previous year when the economy contracted due to a drought and low commodity prices.[4]

A few days ago, high-ranking officials of the U.S. administration including the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley said all options including military option are available but they are giving priority to the diplomatic solution. Their remarks are misleading public opinion as if the sanctions against the DPRK are a “peaceful” and “diplomatic” means.

Russian and Chinese Attitude

Both China and the Russian Federation are worried by the aggressive rhetoric and actions of the leaders of the United States and North Korea. However, China and the Russian Federation, while condemning North Korea’s approach to the ongoing crisis, partly blamed the joint-military exercises by the United States and South Korea.

In Russia, government officials and academicians hold mutually contradictory assessments regarding North Korea’s nuclear programs.

Russia does not accept North Korea’s nuclear status, but it has pointed out that the North Korean nuclear issue must be settled exclusively through negotiations.

China regards stability on the Korean peninsula as its primary interest. The Chinese strongly objected to the North Korea exercising its sovereign right to acquire nuclear weapons. After the nuclear test in September 2016, China has warned North Korea to not take action that would, “worsen the situation.” China has also taken some measures to squeeze the North Korea economically. In February 2017, China’s commerce ministry temporarily suspended coal imports from the North Korea through the rest of the year; a move that enhances the effectiveness of existing UN sanctions against people’s Korea. China had previously banned coal imports from the DPRK in April 2016. The state-owned oil giant, China National Petroleum Corporation, also suspended fuel sales to the North Korea in June 2017, citing concerns that the DPRK would fail to pay the company.

Nuclear Weapons and Regime Security

The history of nuclear development in North Korea is more than fifty years old. North Korean scientists began the theoretical study on nuclear questions in the mid-1950s when they started their practical training in the then Soviet Union. From the beginning, the training of North Korean specialists in the Soviet Union was carried out solely in the interests of peaceful use of atomic energy. But in the mid-1970s, Kim Il Sung made a decision to begin work on the development of domestic nuclear weapons capability.

As a result of ideological differences with both Soviet Union and China, North Korean leaders saw their traditional partner with growing suspicion and concluded that development of nuclear deterrent was the only means of ensuring regime security.[5] Further, North Korea’s nuclear activities were one of the factors that contributed to the deterioration of relations between North Korean relations with Russia and China.

In February 2005 the North Korea announced that it manufactured nuclear weapons for self-defence and, according to its plans to strengthen its nuclear deterrent, conducted underground nuclear tests in October 2006, May 2009 and February 2013, and its first H-bomb test in January 2016. North Korea has been testing ballistic missiles for the past few years, stepping up the frequency recently.

North Korea claimed that its nuclear build-up is a just self-defensive measure to cope with the decades-long US nuclear threat to its sovereignty and dignity, security and right to existence. It also asserted its right to hit back in retaliation to any military aggression, as is the right of all sovereign countries.

Washington is certainly aware of North Korean capabilities, otherwise, it would have long devastated the North Korean regime as it has done in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. However, North Korea’s military potential is much bigger than the potential of Yugoslavia, Syria or Iraq.   In relative to these states, North Korea has not only the political will but it has also developed nuclear weapons and ICBM and that their missiles are capable of reaching the mainland of United States. North Korea has made it clear that it will strike all US targets with all means if the US mounted military attacks on North Korea.

Sanctions cut no ice with North Korea

Many in the Western countries perceive that any tough sanctions could not bring the North Korea to its knees. The Trump administration tries to resolve the nuclear issue with sanctions and pressure. It has become clear that the sanctions do not work as they expected. The politics of imposing sanctions does not seem too effective in bringing about political change. This is particularly evident from in case of Iran and North Korea.

Despite the comparable coverage and severity of sanctions, the 2016 North Korea sanction completely failed in altering the target’s nuclear calculus, as manifestly demonstrated in the fifth nuclear test in September 2016 and missile tests that have occurred with greater frequency and higher technical sophistication.

North Korea believes that only nuclear weapons can help the regime maintain its security. The North Korean leadership has already learned a terrible lesson from the voluntary renunciation of the nuclear program by Libyan leader Gaddafi as well as Iraqi President Saddam Hussain and therefore does not want to repeat his destiny.

Songun Politics

North Korea remains the most demonized country in the mainstream media. However, our vision of the North Korean society is superficial and distorted by decades of US and South Korean propaganda.

Every year, the United States carries out massive “Foal Eagle” and “Key Resolve” military exercises alongside South Korean forces that simulate the invasion of the North. This year, the U.S. military went even further and held a nuclear bombing drill, where a U.S. strategic bomber flew right up to the border between North and South Korea as practice for a possible nuclear attack on the North.

Unlike the United States, North Korea has never launched a war of aggression against any country. Since the war 1950-1953 (which was essentially a civil war) neither North nor South Korea has waged war with anyone.

The notion that the DPRK is threatening the superpower United States is disgraceful.

Restoration of Six-Party Talks: The Way Forward

The United States and its allies believed that by imposing sanctions and threatening the regime in North Korea might lead to a revolt against the Kim Jong-un regime but in contrast, this exaggerates the Pyongyang’s nuclear program.

In other words, Unthe United Statesnd its allies have so far failed to denuclearize North Korea. It is also believed that this conflict has no military solution because it is coupled with disastrous consequences for the entire region.

In order to reach a solution in Korean Peninsula, the political and military leaders in both Washington and Pyongyang should refrain from threatening behaviour. The United States has never had official diplomatic relations with North Korea.

The United States should begin bilateral talks with North Korea about the denuclearization of the peninsula which they are avoiding for a long time.

With the current right-wing politics of Trump and his clear imperialist design it seems that US imperialism is entering a new phase of confrontation and conflict globally

Reference:

[1] Donald Trupm (2017). “Remarks by President Trump to the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly”, United Nations, New York, September 19, 2017, https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/09/19/remarks-president-trump-72nd-session-united-nations-general-assembly

[2] Kim Jong Un (2017), “Statement of Chairman of State Affairs Commission of DPRK”, September 22, 2017, http://www.rodong.rep.kp/en/index.php?strPageID=SF01_02_01&newsID=2017-09-22-0002

[3] RI YONG HO (2017), “Statement by H.E. Mr. RI YONG HO, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea at the General Debate of the 72nd  Session of the United Nations General Assembly New York 23rd September 2017”, https://gadebate.un.org/sites/default/files/gastatements/72/kp_en.pdf

[4] Christine Kim & Jane Chung (2017), “North Korea 2016 economic growth at 17-year high despite sanctions – South Korea”, JULY 21, 2017, https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-northkorea-economy-gdp/north-korea-2016-economic-growth-at-17-year-high-despite-sanctions-south-korea-idUKKBN1A6083

[5] Valery Denisov (2000), “ Nuclear Institution and Organisation in North Korea”, in James Clay Moltz and Alexander Y. Mansourov (eds.) The North Korean Nuclear Program: Security, Strategy and New Perspective from Russia, London: Routledge, pp. 21-23.

Image credit: http://thelead.blogs.cnn.com/2013/04/10/the-u-s-vs-north-korea-inside-a-pentagon-war-game/

Open letter by comrades of Party of Communists USA

The comrades who were publishing the journal Ideological Fightback, issued this open letter titled “AN OPEN LETTER TO OUR COMRADES WHO ARE UNEASY AND DISSATISFIED WITH THE CURRENT ANTI-LENINIST SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC DIRECTION OF THE FACTION THAT CALLS ITSELF THE CPUSA”.  In this letter they have exposed the liquidationist and bureaucratic tendency of the existing leadership of CPUSA that has become throughly revisionist, with no chance of returning back to the revolutionary Marxist-Leninist tradition. That is the reason why the comrades have constituted themselves in a new party the Party of Communists USA. Though, we do not support splitting of existing Communist parties, but in such case where the parent party becomes throughly revisionist and anti-ML, it becomes the duty of revolutionary Communists to come out of such entity and wage a fresh struggle from new platform. With the character of CPUSA very clear, we fully support the comrades of Party of Communists USA. On behalf of comrades of Other Aspect we sent our revolutionary greetings to the comrades and hope that under the new party the Communist movement in USA will go to higher level of struggle and a step closer to achieving Socialism.

Red Salute to Party of Communists USA

Long Live Marxism-Leninism

Editorial Board

Other Aspect

idfb

In 1919, our forerunners were members of the Socialist Party, but because of the Socialist Party’s support of American imperialism in WWI and their antagonism to the Bolshevik revolution in Russia in 1917, they left the Socialist Party structure because they had an allegiance to a Marxist-Leninist ideology, not to a structure. Once again, communists are facing the same problem within the party structure. Some people who call themselves “communists” seem to have a loyalty to a structure (the 23rd St. faction). We are not communists unless we follow the science of Marxism-Leninism and its world outlook (which tens of millions continue to support today).

Just as in 1919 when the previous party structure no longer suited the revolutionary conditions in the world, so today the present structure at 23rd Street has incrementally accommodated itself to a social democratic, opportunist “pragmatic” direction.

There are those who have been sitting on the fence, hoping for a change at the upcoming convention in June 2014.

 Over the last few years, many have come to the realization that there will not be any substantial change in our party’s ideological direction.  To those comrades who have seen the party change drastically from pro-Soviet, revolutionary Marxism-Leninism to an anti-Leninist, social democratic accommodation to the bourgeois Democratic Party, we understand your frustration and disappointment.

 The CPUSA, as we knew it, has deserted us.

Ideological Fightback!

Because of the closing of every bookstore around the country, the destruction of every mass organization that the Party built during the 70s (Women for Racial and Economic Equality, National Anti-Imperialist Movement in Solidarity with African Liberation, Trade Unionists for Action and Democracy (TUAD), the destruction of  the printed edition of a party newspaper (The  People’s World / Nuestro Mundo) and magazines (Political Affairs, Jewish Affairs, Black Liberation Journal), allowing the youth league to wither and its  publication (Dynamic) to go out of existence, transformed from a rank and file driven, democratic  centralist  vanguard organization of workers into a top-heavy salaried bureaucracy of petty-bourgeois liberals, we finally realized that there was no turning back.

 We were forced to make a difficult decision, which has been further validated by the condemnation of the new ideological direction of the 23rd St. faction by the leadership of the communist parties of Greece, Mexico, Germany, Canada, Zimbabwe, Hungary, Spain (PCPE) and others. Former and longtime CPUSA members around the country finally agreed that a new party formation was needed to continue the class struggle here in the United States.  Those of us who uphold and support the Soviet experience and historic communist ideology are in the midst of regrouping.

 Since 2011, many of us who had been long-time members of the CPUSA have been part of a movement to nationally coordinate a pre-party formation called the National Council of Communists USA (NCCUSA), with its ideological magazine, Ideological Fightback, its website http://ideologicalfightback.com/and its youth group, the League of Young Communists USA (LYCUSA).  Our continuous growth has culminated in the understanding that the time is indeed ripe for the birth of a new Marxist Leninist party of the working class, agreeing to become the American affiliate of the international communist movement.

This has resulted in the launching of our newspaper,The Worker, and the birth of our new party name, Party of Communists, USA (PCUSA).

 We will not abandon the struggle! We need your valuable experience and dedication.

We must continue to have Marxist-Leninist leadership in the American communist movement. Please contact us so we can continue to work together.

 We look forward to working with you for a bright future of socialism in the USA.

Your comrades in the Party of Communists USA

 partyofcommunistsusa@outlook.com

The Decline of the Garvey Movement

thecommunistby Cyril Briggs

Garveyism, or Negro Zionism, rose on the crest of the wave of discontent and revolutionary ferment which swept the capitalist world as a result of the post-war crisis.

Increased national oppression of the Negroes, arising out of the post-war crisis, together with the democratic slogans thrown out by the liberal-imperialist demagogues during the World War (right of self-determination for all nations, etc.) served to bring to the surface the latent national aspirations of the Negro masses. These aspirations were considerably strengthened with the return of the Negro workers and poor farmers who had been conscripted to “save the world for democracy.” These returned with a wider horizon, new perspectives of human rights and a new confidence in themselves as a result of their experiences and disillusionment in the war. Their return strengthened the morale of the Negro masses and stiffened their resistance. So-called race riots took the place of lynching bees and massacres. The Negro masses were fighting back. In addition, many of the more politically advanced of the Negro workers were looking to the example of the victorious Russian proletariat as the way out of their oppression. The conviction was growing that the proletarian revolution in Russia was the beginning of a world-wide united movement of down-trodden classes and oppressed peoples. Even larger numbers of the Negro masses were becoming more favorable toward the revolutionary labor movement.

Distortion of National Revolutionary Movement
by the Reformists

This growing national revolutionary sentiment was seized upon by the Negro petty bourgeoisie, under the leadership of the demagogue, Marcus Garvey, and diverted into utopian, reactionary, “Back to Africa” channels. There were various other reformist attempts to formulate the demands of the Negro masses and to create a program of action which would appeal to all elements of the dissatisfied Negro people. None of these met with even the partial and temporary success which greeted the Garvey movement.

The leadership of the Garvey Movement consisted of the poorest stratum of the Negro intellectuals – declassed elements, struggling business men and preachers, lawyers without a brief, etc. – who stood more or less close to the Negro masses and felt sharply the effects of the crisis. The movement represented a split-away from the official Negro bourgeois leadership of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People which even then was already linked up with the imperialists.

The main social base of the movement was the Negro agricultural workers and the farming masses groaning under the terrific oppression of peonage and share cropper slavery, and the backward sections of the Negro industrial workers, for the most part recent migrants from the plantations into the industrial centers of the North and South. These saw in the movement an escape from national oppression, a struggle for Negro rights throughout the world, including freedom from the oppression of the southern landlords and for ownership of the land. To the small advanced industrial Negro proletariat, who were experienced in the class struggle, the Garvey movement had little appeal.

While the movement never had the millions organizationally enrolled that its leaders claimed, it did have in 1921, at the time of its second congress, nearly 100,000 members on its books, as revealed in an analysis made by W. A. Domingo[1] of the deliberately confused financial statement given by the leadership to the delegates at the Second Congress. Moreover, the movement exercised a tremendous ideological influence over millions of Negroes outside its ranks.

Reflected Militancy of the Masses in Its Early Stages

The movement began as a radical petty bourgeois national movement, reflecting to a great extent in its early stages the militancy of the toiling masses, and in its demands expressing their readiness for struggle against oppression in the United States. From the very beginning there were two sides inherent to the movement: a democratic side and a reactionary side. In the early stage the democratic side dominated. To get the masses into the movement, the national reformist leaders were forced to resort to demagogy. The pressure of the militant masses in the movement further forced them to adopt progressive slogans. The program of the first congress was full of militant demands expressing the readiness for struggle in the United States.

A Negro mass movement with such perspectives was correctly construed by the imperialists as a direct threat to imperialism, and pressure began to be put on the leadership. A threat of the imperialists, inspired and backed by the leadership of the N.A.A.C.P., to exclude Garvey from the country on his return from a tour of the West Indies brought about the complete and abject capitulation of the national reformist leaders. Crawling on his knees before the imperialists, Garvey enunciated the infamous doctrine that “the Negro must be loyal to all flags under which he lives.” This was a complete negation of the Negro liberation struggle. It was followed by an agreement with the Ku Klux Klan, in which the reformists catered for the support of the southern senators in an attempt to secure the “repatriation” of the Negro masses by deportation to Liberia.

The objective difficulties and subjective weakness of the movement, arising out of reformist leadership and its attempt to harmonize the demands of all the dissatisfied elements among the Negro people, inevitably led to the betrayal of the toiling masses.

Surrendered Right of Self- Determination
of Negro Majorities of U.S. and West Indies

While never actually waging a real struggle for national liberation the movement did make some militant demands in the beginning. However, these demands were soon thrown overboard as the reactionary side of the movement gained dominance. There followed a complete and shameful abandonment and betrayal of the struggles of the Negro masses of the United States and the West Indies. The right of the Negro majorities in the West Indies and in the Black Belt of the United States to determine and control their own government was as completely negated by the Garvey national reformists as by the imperialists. The Garvey movement became a tool of the imperialists. Even its struggle slogans for the liberation of the African peoples, which had always been given main stress, were abandoned and the movement began to peddle the illusion of a peaceful return to Africa.

At first giving expression to the disgust which the Negro masses felt for the religious illusions of liberation through “divine” intervention, etc., the Garvey movement became one of the main social carriers of these illusions among the masses, with Marcus Garvey taking on the role of High Priest after the resignation and defection of the Chaplain-General, Bishop McGuire. Feudal orders, high sounding titles and various commercial adventures were substituted for the struggle demands of the earlier stages.

How completely the reactionary side came to dominate the movement is shown in (1) its acceptance of the Ku Klux Klan viewpoint that the United States is a white man’s country and that the Negro masses living here are rightfully denied all democratic rights; (2) the rejection by the leaders at the 1929 conventions in Jamaica, B.W.I., of a resolution condemning imperialism.

In both cases the betrayals just noted were carried to their logical conclusion, in Garvey’s bid for an alliance with the Ku Klux Klan, and in an article he wrote in the Black Man (Jamaica organ of the movement) shortly after the 1929 convention in which he attacked the Jamaica workers for organizing into unions of the T.U.U.L. to better their conditions. In this article he attacked Communism as a menace to the imperialists and warned the Negro masses of Jamaica that they “would not dare accept and foster something tabooed by the mother country.” So complete was the counterrevolutionary degeneration of the national reformists that the oppressing imperialism was openly accepted by them as their “mother country!” The imperialist oppressors were presented to the masses as “friends who have treated him (the Negro) if not fairly, with some kind of consideration!”

The decline of the movement synchronized with the subsiding of the post war crisis. As a result both of the lessening of the economic pressure on the masses and the awakening of the most militant sections of the membership to the betrayals being carried out by the national reformist behind the gesture of struggle phrases and demagogy, the masses began to drop away from the movement. Relieved of the pressure of the militant masses the movement began to assert more and more its reactionary and anti-democratic side.

Already at the Second Congress it was evident that the national reformists were losing their grip on the masses. As a result of the widespread exposures carried on by the Negro radicals[2] against the dishonest business schemes and consistent betrayals of the national Negro liberation movement by the Garvey reformists, the sympathetic masses outside of the organization were becoming more and more critical of the national reformists. Within the organization itself there was such wide-spread dissatisfaction that the top leadership was forced to make sacrificial goats of several rubber stamp lieutenants. Within a few months of the closing of the Second Congress, the first big mass defections occurred (California, Philadelphia). These revolts, however, were led by reformists and were significant only from the point of view of the growing disintegration of the movement. From 1921, the movement has undergone a continuous process of deterioration and break-up, as the masses increasingly came to realize the treacherous character of the national reformist leaders.

The recent decision of Garvey to sell the Jamaica properties of the organization (pocketing the proceeds) and take up his residence in Europe (far from the masses he has plundered and betrayed), denotes a high stage in the collapse of this reactionary movement, whose dangerous ideology, as pointed out by the C.I., bears not a single democratic trait.

Historically however the movement has certain progressive achievements. It undoubtedly helped to crystallize the national aspirations of the Negro masses. Moreover, the Negro masses achieved a certain political ripening as a result of their experience and disillusionment with this movement.

New Negro Liberation Movement Goes Forward
Under the Hegemony of the Negro Proletariat

The betrayal of these aspirations and the national liberation struggle by the Garvey national reformists was facilitated by (1) the immaturity of the Negro working-class; (2) the weakness both in theoretical and in organizational strength of the revolutionary labor movement in the United States at that time.

Today as the result of large-scale migrations into the industrial centers of large numbers of Negroes from the plantations, a strong Negro proletariat has come into being, developing in the class struggle and freeing themselves of petty bourgeois influences and reformist illusions. Further, as the result of the present crisis and the correct application by the Communist Party of the U.S.A. of the C.I. line on the Negro question, the Negro liberation movement again goes forward, this time under the sign of proletarian hegemony, and wages a relentless fight against imperialism and for unconditional Negro equality, including the right of self-determination of the Negro majorities in the Black Belt of the South, in the West Indies and the Negro peoples of Africa.

Before concluding, it is necessary to emphasize here that the Garvey movement, while in decline and on the verge of collapse, still represents a most dangerous reactionary force, exercising considerable ideological influence over large masses of Negroes. It will not do to ignore this movement which is most dangerous in its disintegration because of the desperate attempts being made by the national reformists leaders to maintain their influence over the Negro masses, either by saving the movement as it is or by luring the dissatisfied masses into other organizations under the control of the national reformists.

The situation affords considerable opportunity for the winning of the Negro masses away from the influence of the reformists and in another article I will deal with the tasks of the Party in relation to the disintegration and decline of the Garvey Movement.

Reprinted from The Communist, June, 1931, pp. 547-552.


[1] In an article in the Crusader Magazine, entitled “Figures Never Lie But Liars Do Figure.”

[2] The Negro radicals referred to are Richard B. Moore, Otto Huiswoud, W.A. Domingo, Cyril Briggs, and Hubert Harrison before his degeneration. Domingo was never a member of the Party. Huiswoud, Briggs and Moore were members of the Communist fraction in the African Blood Brotherhood.

The killing of US ambassador to Libya: who is to blame?

Washington sticks to the stupid policy of using Islamic fundamentalists for its own self-serving agenda. The Islamists who stormed the US embassy in Cairo carried Bin Laden portraits.

The founder of the Al Qaeda terrorist network began his murky career in Afghanistan, where he worked as a CIA agent fighting against the country’s legitimate government and Soviet forces deployed there.

America’s image suffered a major blow following the killing of US ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens in an attack against the American consulate in Benghazi on Tuesday. Throughout time, killing an ambassador has been regarded as a grave insult to the state he represented and has served as a pretext for many wars.

This time, however, there is no one to go into battle against. Ambassador Stevens was killed by those who came to power with American help not long ago. “I keep asking myself,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, in confusion, “how could this have happened in a country that the US helped to liberate?” Apart from asking questions, Washington is sending warships to Libya and neighboring countries and is hastily moving SEAL forces to protect US consulates in troubled countries.

However, US marines will hardly be able to do anything about what can well be described as an unprecedented anti-American uprising which has swept all countries of the Middle East and North Africa and had spread to India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, countries of Central Europe, and even faraway Australia.

The shallow and poorly made film denigrating prophet Muhammad became but a tiny spark triggering an explosion of a devastating force. It’s clear to any sober-minded individual that the “masterpiece” which was definitely watched by no more than a handful of Internet surfers couldn’t have set off millions of people in countries scattered all over the world.

The current unrest is the result of years-long discontent over the US doggedness in forcing American values on the rest of the world. On top of that, Washington sticks to the stupid policy of using Islamic fundamentalists for its own self-serving agenda. The Islamists who stormed the US embassy in Cairo carried Bin Laden portraits.

The founder of the Al Qaeda terrorist network began his murky career in Afghanistan, where he worked as a CIA agent fighting against the country’s legitimate government and Soviet forces deployed there. Given that the US continued to adhere to this tactic in subsequent years, the current lamenting over the unthankful Libyans in connection with the killing of Ambassador Stevens, who participated in person in the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi and was linked to Islamists, is either hypocrisy, or political short-sightedness.

I once asked 16th World Chess Champion Anatoly Karpov how many moves ahead he saw in chess and he answered that depending on the circumstances he calculated two or three, or sometimes six or seven moves ahead. It looks like the unfortunate “grandmasters” from Washington never see more than one move ahead. After invading Iraq and removing Saddam Hussein, the Bush-Cheney team stopped planning any further. As a result, the country has plunged into chaos and has become a terrorism hub and Al Qaeda base, thus being on the brink of falling apart.

Current developments in Europe, which was a US stronghold until now, have thrown Washington into outright confusion. The same is true regarding countries that have seen the Arab Spring, which hopefully, will not grow into an ‘Arab Winter’.

Intrigue-prone Republican candidate Mitt Romney is trying to cash in on the current state of affairs by lashing out at Barack Obama with accusations. Even though the current mess was started by the Bush-Cheney administration, the incumbent leadership will have to sort it out, no matter who comes to power in January next year.

And it will be years before this mess is sorted out eventually.

Image Source Telegraph

 

 

 

Unsung Heroes by Howard Zinn

Howard Zinn

A high school student recently confronted me: “I read in your book A People’s History of the United States about the massacres of Indians, the long history of racism, the persistence of poverty in the richest country in the world, the senseless wars. How can I keep from being thoroughly alienated and depressed?”

It’s a question I’ve heard many times before. Another question often put to me by students is: Don’t we need our national idols? You are taking down all our national heroes- the Founding Fathers, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, John F. Kennedy.

Granted, it is good to have historical figures we can admire and emulate. But why hold up as models the fifty-five rich white men who drafted the Constitution as a way of establishing a government that would protect the interests of their class-slaveholders, merchants, bondholders, land speculators?

Why not recall the humanitarianism of William Penn, an early colonist who made peace with the Delaware Indians instead of warring on them, as other colonial leaders were doing?

Why not John Woolman, who, in the years before the Revolution, refused to pay taxes to support the British wars, and who spoke out against slavery?

Why not Captain Daniel Shays, veteran of the Revolutionary War, who led a revolt of poor farmers in Western Massachusetts against the oppressive taxes levied by the rich who controlled the Massachusetts legislature?

Why go along with the hero-worship, so universal in our history textbooks, of Andrew Jackson, the slaveowner, the killer of Indians? Jackson was the architect of the Trail of Tears, which resulted in the deaths of 4,000 of 16,000 Cherokees who were kicked off their land in Georgia and sent into exile in Oklahoma.

Why not replace him as national icon with John Ross, a Cherokee chief who resisted the dispossession of his people, and whose wife died on the Trail of Tears? Or the Seminole leader Osceola, imprisoned and finally killed for leading a guerrilla campaign against the removal of the Indians?

And while we’re at it, should not the Lincoln Memorial be joined by a memorial to Frederick Douglass, who better represented the struggle against slavery? It was that crusade of black and white abolitionists, growing into a great national movement, that pushed a reluctant Lincoln into finally issuing a half-hearted Emancipation Proclamation, and persuaded Congress to pass the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth amendments.

Take another Presidential hero, Theodore Roosevelt, who is always near the top of the tiresome lists of Our Greatest Presidents. There he is on Mount Rushmore, as a permanent reminder of our historical amnesia about his racism, his militarism, his love of war.

Why not replace him as hero-granted, removing him from Mount Rushmore will take some doing- with MarkTwain? Roosevelt, remember, had congratulated an American general who in 1906 ordered the massacre of 600 men, women, and children on a Philippine island. As vice president of the Anti-Imperialist League, Twain denounced this and continued to point out the cruelties committed in the Philippine war under the slogan “My country, right or wrong.”

As for Woodrow Wilson, another honored figure in the pantheon of American liberalism, shouldn’t we remind his admirers that he insisted on racial segregation in federal buildings, that he bombarded the Mexican coast, sent an occupation army into Haiti and the Dominican Republic, brought our country into the hell of World War I, and put anti-war protesters in prison?

Should we not bring forward as a national hero Emma Goldman, one of those Wilson sent to prison, or Helen Keller, who fearlessly spoke out against the war?

And enough worship of John F. Kennedy, a Cold Warrior who began the covert war in Indochina, went along with the planned invasion of Cuba, and was slow to act against racial segregation in the South.

Should we not replace the portraits of our Presidents, which too often take up all the space on our classroom walls, with the likenesses of grassroots heroes like Fannie Lou Hamer, the Mississippi sharecropper? Mrs. Hamer was evicted from her farm and tortured in prison after she joined the civil rights movement, but she became an eloquent voice for freedom. Or with Ella Baker, whose wise counsel and support guided the young black people in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the militant edge of the civil rights movement in the Deep South?

In the year 1992, the quincentennial of the arrival of Columbus in this hemisphere, there were meetings all over the country to celebrate him, but also, for the first time, to challenge the customary exaltation of the Great Discoverer. I was at a symposium in New Jersey where I pointed to the terrible crimes against the indigenous people of Hispaniola committed by Columbus and his fellow Spaniards. Afterward, the other man on the platform, who was chairman of the New Jersey Columbus Day celebration, said to me: “You don’t understand- we Italian Americans need our heroes.” Yes, I understood the desire for heroes, I said, but why choose a murderer and kidnapper for such an honor? Why not choose Joe DiMaggio, or Toscanini, or Fiorello LaGuardia, or Sacco and Vanzetti? (The man was not persuaded.)

The same misguided values that have made slaveholders, Indian-killers, and militarists the heroes of our history books still operate today. We have heard Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, repeatedly referred to as a war hero. Yes, we must sympathize with McCain’s ordeal as a war prisoner in Vietnam, where he endured cruelties. But must we call someone a hero who participated in the invasion of a far-off country and dropped bombs on men, women, and children?

I came across only one voice in the mainstream press daring to dissent from the general admiration for McCain-that of the poet, novelist, and Boston Globe columnist James Carroll. Carroll contrasted the heroism of McCain, the warrior, to that of Philip Berrigan, who has gone to prison dozens of times for protesting the war in Vietnam and the dangerous nuclear arsenal maintained by our government. Carroll wrote: “Berrigan, in jail, is the truly free man, while McCain remains imprisoned in an unexamined sense of martial honor.”

Our country is full of heroic people who are not Presidents or military leaders or Wall Street wizards, but who are doing something to keep alive the spirit of resistance to injustice and war.

I think of Kathy Kelly and all those other people from Voices in the Wilderness who, in defiance of federal law, have traveled to Iraq more than a dozen times to bring food and medicine to people suffering under the U.S.-imposed sanctions.

I think also of the thousands of students on more than 100 college campuses across the country who are protesting their universities’ connection with sweatshop-produced apparel.

I think of the four McDonald sisters in Minneapolis, all nuns, who have gone to jail repeatedly for protesting against the Alliant Corporation’s production of land mines.

I think, too, of the thousands of people who have traveled to Fort Benning, Georgia, to demand the closing of the murderous School of the Americas.

I think of the West Coast Longshoremen who participated in an eight-hour work stoppage to protest the death sentence levied against Mumia Abu-Jamal.

And so many more.

We all know individuals-most of them unsung, unrecognized-who have, often in the most modest ways, spoken out or acted on their beliefs for a more egalitarian, more just, peace-loving society.

To ward off alienation and gloom, it is only necessary to remember the unremembered heroes of the past, and to look around us for the unnoticed heroes of the present.

—–

The Progressive magazine, June 2000

Source From the site thirdworldtraveler.com