Monday, August 2, 2010

U.S. Ratchets Up Military Pressure on the DPRK

By Deirdre Griswold
Published Jul 28, 2010 2:24 PM

The U.S. and south Korean militaries are staging their largest joint war exercises in years off the coast of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

By the most amazing twist of logic, the U.S. government and the corporate media are presenting this monstrous display of force as a response to “aggressive behavior” by the DPRK.

Even the label given to this menacing show of naked power — “war games” — is meant to allay fears among the population at home that the Pentagon might be planning to plunge this country into yet another war.

The DPRK has responded with warnings that, whether they are called “games” or “exercises” or “drills,” it takes such threats from Washington very seriously and is ready to fight back in the event of any aggression by the U.S. war machine.

Plowing the sea off the east coast of the DPRK beginning July 25 was a large flotilla headed by the USS George Washington, a Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. One of the largest ships in the U.S. Navy, it is really a floating airport that cost $3.6 billion, took 40 million person hours and six years to construct, weighs 97,000 tons, has a crew of more than 6,000 and holds 75 combat planes. (

Accompanying the George Washington are 20 more ships and submarines, wrote the July 25 New York Times, with a combined 8,000 troops and “an unusually large number of warplanes: more than 200 aircraft, including the F-22 Raptor fighter, which was part of an exercise in South Korea for the first time.”

No wonder that the DPRK needs to prepare for any kind of attack! And this “drill” is but the first in a series of 10 to be conducted by the U.S. and the right-wing government in south Korea before the end of the year.

Koreans won’t surrender — then or now

These very real war threats come exactly 57 years after the DPRK finally forced the U.S. to end its three-year aggression against the north and sign a ceasefire on July 27, 1950. The Korean People’s Army fought so valiantly that the U.S. invaders had to give up their ambition to conquer all of Korea, after having inflicted terrible damage with their technologically superior forces and causing the deaths of 3 million Korean people.

To this day, however, a state of war is still technically in effect. The U.S. refuses to discuss a peace treaty with the DPRK and keeps nearly 30,000 soldiers stationed in the south.

To put further pressure on the DPRK, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, formerly head of the CIA, went to south Korea the week before the war maneuvers began and made sure to be photographed at the demilitarized zone dividing the north and south of Korea. It was meant to be a chilling reminder of the trip made to the very same spot by U.S. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles in 1950, just days before the outbreak of the war.

The Cheonan — a manufactured crisis

The U.S. media, instead of reminding the people of this country of the horrors of that war, have instead been focused for months on a cooked-up “crisis” the Obama administration says was caused by the DPRK. However, the State Department has found it very difficult to get other countries to accept this story, which alleges that the DPRK in March torpedoed the south Korean naval ship Cheonan in waters near the border between north and south, causing it to sink with the loss of 46 crew members.

The DPRK vigorously rejects this story and has demanded that it be allowed to send an inspection team to the south to evaluate what south Korea calls the “evidence.” South Korea won’t let them in. In the first weeks after the Cheonan broke apart and sank in shallow waters, both the military and intelligence authorities in the south had referred to it as an accident and said there was no reason to think the DPRK was involved.

The U.S. media, however, tried hard to give the impression that the U.N. Security Council would pass a resolution condemning the DPRK for the sinking. That didn’t happen. China rejected the U.S. claim that the DPRK was responsible. China also has objected strenuously to the war exercises off Korea, which had originally been planned to take place in the sea west of Korea. This would have put them even closer to the Chinese mainland. The Pentagon still plans to carry out naval maneuvers in the western sea later this year.

An analyst at Dongguk University in Seoul, south Korea, told the media that “For now, both Washington and Seoul seem to believe that they’ve got nothing big to lose by continuing the pressure. What worries me is that the tension is not just between the two Koreas, but also between the biggies, the United States and China.” (New York Times, July 25)

The U.S. talks as though the DPRK were completely isolated. But in a recent regional forum of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Washington failed in its effort to push through a resolution condemning the DPRK for the Cheonan incident.

Unable to whip up other countries to join its offensive against the DPRK, Washington is now going it virtually alone, abetted by the right-wing regime in south Korea that also thrives on anti-communism and is joined at the hip to the Pentagon.

While in south Korea, Clinton announced on July 21 that the U.S. would unilaterally tighten economic sanctions on the DPRK, targeting offshore bank accounts of Korean personnel. However, the north, which has been trying to build socialism ever since its popular revolution drove out the Japanese imperialists in 1945, has weathered much worse than economic sanctions. It will not bow down to U.S. pressure — military, diplomatic or economic.

The days when a few U.S. gunboats could succeed in demolishing the resistance of small countries are over. No amount of saber-rattling can overcome the determination of the Korean people, hardened by generations of struggle and sacrifice against foreign imperialist aggressors, to defend their hard-won sovereignty and independence.

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