THE WISDOM FUND: News & Views
April 15, 2017
ericmargolis.com

What Would Korean War II Look Like?

A nuclear exchange would expose about a third of the world's economy to nuclear contamination and spread nuclear winter around the globe

by Eric Margolis

"If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will."

So thundered President Donald Trump last week. Unfortunately, neither China nor North Korea appeared intimidated by this presidential bombast or Trump's Tweets.

nuclear explosion What would 'we will' actually entail? This clear threat makes us think seriously about what a second Korean War would be like. Memory of the bloody, indecisive first Koran War, 1950-53, which killed close to 3 million people, has faded. Few Americans have any idea how ferocious a conventional second Korean War could be. They are used to seeing Uncle Sam beat up small, nearly defenseless nations like Iraq, Libya or Syria that dare defy the Pax Americana.

The US could literally blow North Korea off the map using tactical nuclear weapons based in Japan, South Korea and at sea with the 7th Fleet. Or delivered by B-52 and B-1 bombers and cruise missiles. But this would cause clouds of lethal radiation and radioactive dust to blanket Japan, South Korea and heavily industrialized northeast China, including the capital, Beijing.

China would be expected to threaten retaliation against the United States, Japan and South Korea to deter a nuclear war in next door Korea. At the same time, if heavily attacked, a fight-to-the-end North Korea may fire off a number of nuclear-armed medium-range missiles at Tokyo, Osaka, Okinawa and South Korea. These missiles are hidden in caves in the mountains on wheeled transporters and hard to identify and knock out.

This is a huge risk. Such a nuclear exchange would expose about a third of the world's economy to nuclear contamination, not to mention spreading nuclear winter around the globe.

A conventional US attack on North Korea would be far more difficult. . . .

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Eric Margolis, "Why Bribe North Korea But Not Iraq?," Toronto Sun, August 13, 2002

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Michel Chossudovsky, "America's War against the People of Korea: The Historical Record of US War Crimes," globalresearch.ca, July 27, 2013

[Although a peace treaty would serve the interests of the peoples of Northeast Asia, it has little or no intrinsic value for U.S. leaders. From their standpoint, a peace treaty has value only as a carrot to be dangled before North Korea in order to encourage denuclearization.--"The Struggle for a Korean Peace Treaty," counterpunch.org, August 19, 2013]

[In 1882, the United States and thirty-year-old Emperor Gojong of Korea had signed a treaty. The very first article declared that there "shall be perpetual peace and friendship" between Korea and the United States. The U.S. promised to exert its "good offices" to help Gojong if Korea's independence was ever threatened.

Roosevelt later . . . supported Japan's control of Korea.--James Bradley, "The China Mirage: The Hidden History of American Disaster in Asia," Little, Brown and Company, April 21, 2015 (p.66, p.82)]

["As a first step, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) may suspend its nuclear and missile activities in exchange for the suspension of large-scale U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) military exercises," . . .

North Korea has made the very same offer in January 2015. The Obama administration rejected it. North Korea repeated the offer in April 2016 and the Obama administration rejected it again. This March the Chinese government conveyed and supported the long-standing North Korean offer. The U.S. government, now under the Trump administration, immediately rejected it again. The offer, made and rejected three years in a row, is sensible. Its rejection only led to a bigger nuclear arsenal and to more missiles with longer reach that will eventually be able to reach the United States.--Why North Korea Needs Nukes - And How To End That," moonofalabama.org, April 14, 2017

[Will more wars make America great again?--Patrick J. Buchanan, "War Cries Drown Out 'America First'," antiwar.com, April 18, 2017]

[When in 2001, after the events of 9-11, the Bush II neo-conservatives militarized policy and declared North Korea to be an element of the "axis of evil." All bets were now off. In that context North Korea withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, reasoning that nuclear weapons were the only way possible to prevent a full scale attack by the US in the future.--Paul Atwood, "Why Does North Korea Want Nukes?," counterpunch.org, April 21, 2017]

[Now we await the battle for Korea, forgetting that earlier war which drowned the peninsula in blood, American and British as well as Korean and Chinese.--Robert Fisk, "The Madder Trump Gets, the More Seriously the World Takes Him," counterpunch.org, April 25, 2017]

[many in Beijing still see stronger relations with South Korea, at the expense of relations with the north, as being in China's strategic interest.--Christopher Scott, "China wouldn't respond to a US strike on North Korea - how did we get here?," atimes.com, April 26, 2017]

protests Joseph Hincks, "South Koreans Protest U.S. Missile Installation as Tensions Escalate on the Peninsula," time.com, April 26, 2017

Bob Fredericks, "Donald Trump would be 'honored' to meet Kim Jong Un," nypost.com, May 1, 2017

Bill Gertz, "US Commandos Set to Counter North Korean Nuclear Sites," freebeacon.com, May 3, 2017

[For the record, it was the North Koreans, and not the Americans or their South Korean allies, who started the war in June 1950, . . .

According to LeMay, "We went over there and fought the war and eventually burned down every town in North Korea." . . .

MacArthur, who led the United Nations Command during the conflict, wanted to drop "between 30 and 50 atomic bombs"--Mehdi Hasan, "Why Do North Koreans Hate Us?," theintercept.com, May 3, 2017]

Bill Gertz, "US Commandos Set to Counter North Korean Nuclear Sites," freebeacon.com, May 3, 2017

[North Korea has scraped and skimped for decades to build nuclear weapons for the sole reason of deterring a major US attack, including the use by the US of tactical nuclear weapons. Pakistan 'ate grass' for decades to afford nuclear weapons to offset the threat from far more powerful India. Israel uses the same argument to justify its large nuclear arsenal.--Eric Margolis, "End the Korean War," unz.com, July 8, 2017]

"Four things to know about North and South Korea," The Conversation, July 9, 2017

"Can missile defense systems stop a North Korean missile?," The Conversation, July 9, 2017

[In 2002, the then-U.S. president lumped three nations together as an "Axis of Evil" and attacked one of them - Iraq - a year later. The message to Iran and North Korea was simple: race to build a nuclear deterrence to avoid Saddam Hussein's fate.--William Pesek, "World has much riding on South Korea's President Moon," The Conversation, July 12, 2017]

[Does North Korea threaten America? Only because the United States has been next door for nearly seven decades, preparing for war against the North.--Doug Bandow, "The Real Reason North Korea May Start a War," nationalinterest.org, July 26, 2017]

[Kim wants his regime recognized and respected, and the U.S., which carpet-bombed the North from 1950-1953, out of Korea.--Patrick J. Buchanan, "Shall We Fight Them All?," antiwar.com, August 1, 2017]

[It would be, in many respects, 9/11 - but times a hundred.--Harry J Kazianis, "A war with North Korea would be hell - And the aftermath even worse," foxnews.com, August 10, 2017]

PHOTOS: Ed Jones, "Inside North Korea: Extraordinary Pics of Everyday Life," newsweek.com, August 9, 2017

Patrick J. Buchanan, "Is the American Empire Worth the Price?," antiwar.com, August 11, 2017

Theodore A. Postol, Markus Schiller, and Robert Schmucker, "North Korea's 'not quite' ICBM can't hit the lower 48 states," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, August 11, 2017

Nina Burleigh, "NORTH KOREAN MISSILE CLAIMS ARE 'A HOAX'," Newsweek, August 11, 2017

[If Pyongyang attacks, China is neutral. But if the US launches a McMaster-style pre-emptive attack, China intervenes - militarily - on behalf of Pyongyang.--Pepe Escobar, "Korea, Afghanistan and the Never Ending War trap," atimes.com, August 23, 2017]

Jon Schwarz, "North Korea Keeps Saying It Might Give Up Its Nuclear Weapons -- But Most News Outlets Won't Tell You That," theintercept.com, August 25, 2017

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Maryse Godden, "Elite US Navy Seals that killed Osama bin Laden are training South Korean assassination squad to take out Kim Jong-un," thesun.co.uk, September 6, 2017

Christine Kim and Robert Birsel, Robert Parry, "Most South Koreans doubt the North will start a war: poll," consortiumnews.com, September 8, 2017

[One glaring glitch in her presentation was the complete omission of the Agreed Framework period during the 90s. I wonder why. Well, during the Agreed Framework time period of roughly eight years, the North Koreans possessed one or two atom bombs and did not add another to their arsenal. This is significant because it shows that as long as North Korea is at the negotiating table, it isn't busy producing nuclear weapons.--Dennis Morgan, "What Nikki Haley Doesn't Know About the Korean Crisis," counterpunch.org, September 11, 2017]

Gary Leupp, "The Rationality of Kim Jong-un (and His Nukes)," counterpunch.org, September 12, 2017

Pepe Escobar, "The Russia-China plan for North Korea: stability, connectivity," atimes.com, September 12, 2017

Fareed Zakaria, "What if North Korea isn't crazy?," cnn.com, September 16, 2017

David McNeill, "Unknown to most Americans, the US 'totally destroyed' North Korea once before," irishtimes.com, September 20, 2017

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