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Issue #1791      August 23, 2017

Stop drift to war

Donald Trump’s “fire and fury” statement, directed at the Democratic People’s Republic of (North) Korea, and reinforced by even more intemperate language last Thursday, is the height of irresponsibility and increases the danger that some unforeseen incident will lead to a major war on and around the Korean Peninsula.

The DPRK is pursuing a nuclear weapons program because they think it is the only way to ensure national sovereignty and prevent an overthrow of their government by the United States.

Trump’s erratic and unstable behaviour, the alt-right gang with fascist ties who surround him, the presence of so many hard-line military figures, the calls for military action by far right extremists in and out of government, and the many lies, distortions and hysteria promoted by media sources, increase the danger exponentially.

Trump’s bellicose statements and policies are being repudiated around the world. Seventy-five percent of the American people want to exhaust all options diplomatically and nearly 60 percent oppose a pre-emptive military strike. Only a global outcry for peace will stop the drift to war.

The Communist Party of the USA stands in solidarity with the peoples of North and South Korea and with all those who seek a diplomatic, peaceful solution to the crisis on the Korean Peninsula.

War would be catastrophic for the inhabitants of both Koreas, for the region, for the United States and for the world. In addition to direct casualties caused by combat activities by the belligerents, there would be mass starvation and a huge refugee crisis, in a world already awash in refugees. The economic damage would be incalculable. The lesson of the “regime change” war in Iraq should not be forgotten.

Many people are not familiar with the context of the present conflict.

From 1910 to 1945, the Japanese Empire occupied Korea, imposing an especially cruel and exploitative regime. This regime was bravely resisted by the Korean people. After World War II, when the Japanese were defeated, the peninsula was divided and the United States and the USSR supported different factions in the South and North of the country respectively.

In the South, the United States supported a despotic right-wing regime, headed by Syngman Rhee, in which officials who had collaborated with the Japanese occupation continued serving. Rhee’s regime carried out violent repression of all dissent. In the North, the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China supported the government led by Kim Il-Sung, which embarked on a socialist oriented path.

The Korean people sought reunification of their country, but this was blocked, principally, by the United States. This was the root of the Korean War of 1950 to 1952.

The Korean War devastated both North and South Korea, but its impact on the North was far worse. Saturation bombing raids by the US and its allies, acting in the name of the United Nations at that time, levelled the North’s infrastructure, stopping its economy and killing hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of innocent civilians, in addition to loss of life of military personnel of both Koreas, of the US and its allies, and of China. The United States dropped more bombs on North Korea than it did in all of the Pacific theatre of the Second World War.

Over two million Koreans and 50,000 US military personnel died in the conflict.

The Korean War never ended. In 1953, actual fighting was stopped by an armistice but no peace treaty formally ending the war has ever been signed. Many of the regimes in the South that the United States subsequently supported used the fear of the North to perpetuate themselves in power and to suppress all dissent against their despotic and corrupt policies.

The DPRK is pursuing a nuclear weapons program because they think it is the only way to ensure national sovereignty and prevent an overthrow of their government by the United States, a concern heightened by “regime change” in Iraq and Libya. In fact the DPRK has vowed to put their nuclear weapons systems on the negotiating table if the US threat to their country ends.

However, the testing of nuclear weapons and delivery systems by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and threats to use them won’t guarantee a peaceful resolution of the present tension, especially given the current occupant of the White House.

The 1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons was a major step forward for humanity. However, the United States and its allies have resisted all attempts to take the next logical step of achieving worldwide nuclear disarmament, and have confined themselves to stopping any other countries from joining the “nuclear club.” This will not make things any safer – on the contrary – the real safety lies in abolishing nuclear weapons altogether. It is incumbent on all nations, including the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, to do the utmost to achieve this goal. But the United States and its allies have not supported such a goal up to now.

On December 23, 2016, the United Nations General Assembly voted 113 to 35, with 13 abstentions, to begin the process of creating a treaty calling for nuclear disarmament. The United States voted “no”; all its NATO allies either voted “no” or abstained. Of the other nuclear powers, China, India and Pakistan abstained, while France, Israel, Russia and the United Kingdom voted “no”. The DPRK voted “yes” in committee, but its vote in the plenum is not recorded. South Korea, then under a far right wing government, voted “no”. Then on July 7, 2017, the draft treaty was approved in the General Assembly by a margin of 122 voting “yes”, 1 voting “no” and one abstention. This time, the United States and most of its allies (and both Koreas) simply did not vote. No wonder so many people around the world see our government’s stance as hypocritical!

The Communist Party USA expresses its firm solidarity with the people of both Koreas and of the United States in this dangerous situation. We call upon the people of this country to exert pressure on the Trump administration and the United States Congress to carry out a radical change of course, by adopting the following measures;

  • Put an end to all provocative acts, including fiery, sabre rattling speeches and military manoeuvres in and around the Korean Peninsula.
  • Renounce first use of nuclear weapons; no pre-emptive military strikes.
  • Renounce the policy of bringing about “regime” change in other countries; the nature and personnel of a government are exclusively the affair of the people of the country in question.
  • Remove all US military bases in the area and in other countries worldwide.
  • Return to the position that the disagreements and frictions in the area, whether economic, political or military, should be solved by peaceful negotiations between the two Koreas, without self-interested outside interference.
  • Oppose sanctions that end up hurting ordinary people while also contributing to tensions.
  • Join the vast majority of humanity by ending US opposition to nuclear disarmament efforts, as stipulated in the new United Nations Treaty “On the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.”
  • Actively support the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, by signing onto it and facilitating its implementation.

Communist Party USA

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