United Against War And White Supremacy: Korean Americans Speak Out

Screen-shot-2017-10-17-at-8.43.09-AM-1080x675

By Staff of Zoom in Korea – Donald Trump recently responded to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s mention of direct communication channels with North Korea by tweeting, “I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man.” He went on, “Save your energy Rex, we’ll do what has to be done!” Americans are increasingly worried about a possible nuclear war with North Korea. But some appear unconcerned about the potential fallout, as, in the (in)famous words of Trump, “If thousands die, they’re going to die over there.” To Korean Americans, such callousness is dehumanizing to the people of Korea and Asia Pacific. The so-called “thousands over there” are our families and friends. A war in Korea would be devastating to Koreans in diasporas around the world and will almost certainly involve the surrounding region, including China, Japan, and Guam. On October 10, HOBAK (Hella Organized Bay Area Koreans) invited Korean Americans to join a conversation via twitter about U.S. militarism and provocations in Korea and around the world: As tensions continue to rise, and threats of war continue, it is critical to uplift Korean voices and their stories, and to ground ourselves in more comprehensive analyses of the current situation.

Korea? It’s Always Really Been About China!

Screenshot 2017-09-23 at 10.05.52 AM

By Paul Atwood for Counter Punch – How many citizens have ever asked themselves what the United States is doing in Korea in the first place? In November of 1945, two months after the surrender of Japan, Army Chief of Staff General George Marshall spoke to President Truman and the chief figures of his cabinet about his fears of a “the tragic consequences of a divided China” as Chinese Nationalist forces and Communists resumed their struggle for power and Soviet forces seized control of large areas of Manchuria. The resumption of Soviet power in Manchuria Marshall emphasized would result “in the defeat or loss of the major purpose of our war with Japan (emphasis added). What could the general have meant by such a statement? What WAS the “major purpose” of the Pacific war? Most Americans are taught that the foremost reason the United States went to war with Japan was the attack on Pearl Harbor. But the reality was that the U.S. and Japan had been on a collision course since the 1920s and by 1940, in the midst of the global depression, were locked in a mortal struggle over who would ultimately benefit most from the markets and resources of Greater China and East Asia. Japan’s Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere was steadily closing the “Open Door” to American penetration of and access to the profitable riches of Asia at the critical moment.

United States Criticized for Ongoing Korea War Games

Protest outside the White House on August 26, 2017 against Korean war

By Staff for Al Jazeera. US and South Korean troops have begun annual military drills amid heated warnings by North Korea that the exercises will worsen tensions in the region. The Ulchi Freedom Guardian drills, which began on Monday, are largely computer-simulated war games. The exercise brings together as many as 50,000 South Korean soldiers and approximately 17,500 US service members for a simulation of war on the Korean Peninsula. South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in said the drills are defensive in nature. He said the exercises are held regularly because of repeated provocations by North Korea, including two intercontinental ballistic missile tests last month. Pyongyang called the 11-day operation a “reckless” invasion rehearsal that could trigger an “uncontrollable phase of a nuclear war”. China and Russia last week urged the United States to suspend the drills in exchange for North Korea suspending its missile and nuclear tests.

Korea, Afghanistan And The Never Ending War Trap

End the Endless War

By Pepe Escobar for Counterpunch. A China-North Korea mutual defense treaty has been in effect since 1961. Under this framework, Beijing’s response to Trump’s “fire and fury” was a thing of beauty. If Pyongyang attacks, China is neutral. But if the US launches a McMaster-style pre-emptive attack, China intervenes – militarily – on behalf of Pyongyang. As a clincher, Beijing even made it clear that its preference is for the current status quo to remain. Checkmate. Evidence may have been provided by a very important meeting last week between the chairmen of the US and Chinese Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford and General Fang Fenghui. They signed a deal that the Pentagon spun as able to “reduce the risk of miscalculation” in Northeast Asia. And extra evidence in the “they got us” department is that B-1B heavy bomber “decapitation” practice runs – out of Andersen Air Force Base in Guam – have been quietly “suspended”. This crucial, largely unreported fact . . . .

Korean Americans Denounce US War Threats In Coordinated Protests

뉴욕NY시위-8월-14일-낮-12시-10-1080x675

By Staff of Zoom In Korea – On August 14–ahead of the 72nd anniversary of Korea’s liberation from Japanese colonial rule–Korean Americans across the United States rallied to demand the U.S. government stop war provocations against North Korea and start talks towards peace. Korean Americans and other anti-war peace activists in New York, Washington DC, and Los Angeles held coordinated protest actions in their respective regions. Following the impeachment of former South Korean President Park Geun-hye and the election of liberal Moon Jae-in, Korean people around the world had high hopes for the resumption of North-South engagement. Many had expected North, South, and overseas Koreans to come together for a joint conference in Pyongyang or Seoul on August 15 in commemoration of Korea’s liberation. Just as Korea’s liberation was cut short by the arrival of U.S. occupying troops in 1945, however, the prospect of peace on the peninsula is once again thwarted, this time by Trump’s threats of “fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

Korean Unions Call For A Just Energy Transition

koreans

By Staff of System Change Not Climate Change – In a series of landmark statements following the May 2017 election of the pro-reform President Moon Jae-in, Korean energy, transport and public service workers have called for “a just energy transition” allowing the sector to “function as a public asset under public control.” Unions support the new government’s decision to close the country’s aging coal-fired and nuclear power stations, and its planned reconsideration of two new nuclear facilities, Kori 5 and Kori 6. In a statement issued in late July, the Korean Public Service and Transport Workers’ Union (KPTU) and the Korean Labour and Social Network on Energy (KLSNE), a coalition of unions and civil society organizations, said, “We actively support the policy of phasing out coal and nuclear and expanding clean renewable energy.” The statement urged the development of, “A roadmap for energy transition that ensures public accountability and strengthens democratic control of the energy industry.” KPTU andKLSNE also committed “to work together with the public and civil society to achieve a just transition.”

The Korean Missile Crisis Vs. The Cuban Missile Crisis

A submarine missile is paraded across Kim Il Sung Square during a military parade in Pyongyang, North Korea, in April to celebrate the 105th birth anniversary of Kim Il Sung, the country's founder and grandfather of current ruler Kim Jong Un. (Wong Maye-E / AP)

By Paul Street for Truth DIg – One of the more irritating claims made by members of the John F. Kennedy cult holds that JFK heroically saved humanity from annihilation during the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962. In one sense, the claim is true. During the crisis, the president overrode many people in his inner National Security Council “ExComm” circle who favored responding to the Soviet Union’s placement of missiles in Cuba in ways that might well have ignited World War III. But Kennedy sparked the crisis in the first place, and his macho posturing during the hair-raising, 13-day showdown might have sparked global nuclear catastrophe if not for Soviet sanity. The faceoff never would have occurred without young President Kennedy’s aggressive arms escalation, his disregard (inherited from President Eisenhower) for Soviet disarmament offers, and his wish to strangle the great socialist revolution and national independence movement led by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara in Cuba. Kennedy’s determination to look strong was a critical part of why the nearly disastrous missile crisis happened. This was JFK’s key political imperative in the wake of his Bay of Pigs humiliation the previous year, when a poorly planned U.S.-led invasion meant to overthrow the Cuban revolution failed ignominiously.

North Korea: Fire, Fury And Fear

U.S. President Donald Trump said he'd be 'honoured' to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. (Reuters)

By Pepe Escobar for Counter Punch – Beware the dogs of war. The same intel “folks” who brought to you babies pulled from incubators by “evil” Iraqis as well as non-existent WMDs are now peddling the notion that North Korea has produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead able to fit its recently tested ICBM. That’s the core of an analysis completed in July by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). Additionally, US intel believes that Pyongyang now has access to up to 60 nuclear weapons. On the ground US intel on North Korea is virtually non-existent – so these assessments amount to guesswork at best. But when we couple the guesswork with an annual 500-page white paper released earlier this week by the Japanese Defense Ministry, alarm bells do start ringing. The white paper stresses Pyongyang’s “significant headway” in the nuclear race and its “possible” (italics mine) ability to develop miniaturized nuclear warheads able to fit on the tips of its missiles. This “possible” ability is drowned in outright speculation. As the report states, “It is conceivable that North Korea’s nuclear weapons program has already considerably advanced and it is possible that North Korea has already achieved the miniaturization of nuclear bombs into warheads and has acquired nuclear warheads.”

We Need A Mass Movement To Prevent Nuclear Conflict In The Korean Peninsula

US activist Gloria Steinem (center) and Liberian Nobel Peace laureate Leymah Gbowee (right) march with other activists along the military wire fence near the border village of Panmunjom in Paju, South Korea, on May 24, 2015. (Photo: Chung Sung-Jun / Getty Images)

By Simone Chun for Truthout – On August 2, US Sen. Lindsey Graham paraphrased President Donald Trump’s stance on the prospect of conflict in the Korean Peninsula as follows: “If thousands die, they’re going to die over there.” Less than a week later, on August 8, President Trump responded to North Korea’s latest missile test by threatening to unleash “fire and fury” against Pyongyang, raising alarms throughout the international community. These statements were only the latest excerpts of the ongoing hostile dialog between North Korea and the United States since both parties signed an armistice 64 years ago. A peace treaty was never reached. Will Trump’s heightened rhetoric lead the Korean Peninsula to the brink of war anytime soon? Most likely not. As many analysts point out, deterrence still holds in the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia, despite bellicose rhetoric on both sides. The United States knows that North Korea now has the capability and willingness to strike back if attacked. North Korea knows firsthand the overwhelming power of the United States, well proven in the devastation visited on the populace during the Korean War, when more than 30 percent of Koreans were either killed or injured.

Newsletter: When Empires Fall

fp2011hhh

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese. The Pentagon recently released a report, “At Our Own Peril: DoD Risk Assessment in a Post-Primacy World,” which details its concerns about losing access to resources and “resistance to authority” both at home and around the world as governments lose legitimacy. Faced with these changes, the United States could embrace them, become a cooperative member of the world, transition to a lower-waste lower-energy sustainable existence and draw back the military to use those resources to meet domestic needs. Sadly, that is not what the Pentagon has in mind. There is a saying, when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. The US is the biggest empire in the world; therefore, the Pentagon’s solutions are “more surveillance, more propaganda (‘strategic manipulation of perceptions’) and more military expansionism.” The United States’ reign as an Empire is coming to an end. It is up to those of us living in the US to take action to prevent more aggression and demand that the US dismantle its empire in a way that causes the least harm at home and abroad.

North And South Korea Want A Peace Treaty: The US Must Join Them

2017_0721lead

By Christine Ahn for Truthout – Two years ago, I crossed the world’s most fortified border from North to South Korea with 30 women peacemakers from 15 countries, calling for a peace treaty to end the six-decade Korean War. On July 13, I was denied entry into South Korea from the United States as retribution for my peace activism, including the 2015 women’s peace march. As I checked in for my Asiana Airlines flight to Shanghai at San Francisco International Airport, the ticket agent at the counter informed me that I would not be boarding the plane headed first to Seoul Incheon International. The supervisor handed me back my passport and informed me that she had just gotten off the phone with a South Korean government official who had told her I was “denied entry” into the country. “This must be a mistake,” I said. “Is South Korea really going to ban me because I organized a women’s peace walk across the demilitarized zone?” I asked, appealing to her conscience. If there was indeed a travel ban, I thought, it must have been put in place by the disgraced President Park. But she wouldn’t make eye contact with me. She walked away and said there was nothing to be done. I would need to apply for a visa and book a new flight to Shanghai.

South Korea’s Anti-THAAD Fight Continues

1thaad

By Zoom in Korea. South Korea – July 12 marked one year since the beginning of the Seongju residents’ struggle to stop the deployment of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system. So far, the AN/TPY-2 radar — the main component of the THAAD battery that will allow the U.S. to track missile activity in North Korea and China — and two of the six interceptor launchers have made their way into the deployment site. The residents of Seongju and South Korean peace activists are still protesting daily, at times putting their bodies on the line, to block the remaining parts of the THAAD battery from entering the deployment site and call for a reversal of the deployment. Despite the election of a new liberal administration in May, the South Korean government’s response to the protests of Seongju residents has largely remained unchanged.

Protesters Bellow ‘U.S. Out Of Korea’ Just Blocks Away From White House

JARED FELDSCHREIBER
Ji Gephardt [L] and Angie Kim [R] join fellow like-minded protesters during a rally against perceived U.S. militarism in Korea.

By Jared Feldschreiber for The Huffington Post – Approximately 20 demonstrators rallied at Lafayette Park Friday afternoon to protest U.S. involvement in Korea, just as President Moon Jae-In met with his counterpart, Donald Trump in the Oval Office. The protesters uniformly agreed that it is continued U.S. presence and bellicose language coming out of Washington, which has destroyed prospects for peace in Korea. “[President Moon] was elected [in May] with a mandate to change course. He said he would during the election campaign,” Sarah Sloan, with the anti-war Answer Coalition, told me. “We’re saying: ‘live up to it.’ I think he has different pressures on him. We oppose the deployment of THAAD – Terminal High Altitude Area Defense – [which has been deployed in South Korea].” THAAD is an advanced system designed to intercept short, medium, and intermediate-range ballistic missiles during their terminal flight phase. It is believed to be capable of intercepting North Korea’s intermediate-range ballistic missiles, as it is equipped with long-range radar. In July 2016, military officials in South Korea and the U.S. agreed to deploy it to counter threats.

Time For Peace Negotiations In Korea, Not Escalation

Thaad Protest in South Korea

By staff for Center for Peace and Disarmament at People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy. The state of affairs on the Korean Peninsula is more volatile than ever, now that President Park has been impeached and new government is to be constituted through an early presidential election in South Korea. The Trump administration, in the meantime, is fueling the escalating tension even further with messages that it will not rule out a preemptive strike on North Korea, and that it will redeploy strategic nuclear warheads to South Korea if necessary. The situation is further destabilized by the Trump administration’s decision to send an aircraft carrier to waters near the Korean Peninsula. The latest military stance and strategy of Washington, however, completely overlooks the desire of Koreans for peace. The Kim Jong-un government in Pyongyang meanwhile has warned of another upcoming nuclear test it intends to conduct, poised as it is to show off its growing nuclear capabilities. An existing crisis is already escalating in Northeast Asia over the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system that the South Korean and U.S. governments have decided to deploy in South Korea. All these acts of military bravado, taking hostage the lives and peace of Koreans, must cease now. It is time for policymakers to be responsible and return to dialogue and negotiations and stop fueling the growing tensions.

Reunification On The Korean Peninsula: Toward A Peaceful Confederation

Getty Images

By Moon J. Pak for Zoom In Korea – In any serious effort to peacefully unite the two Koreas in the future, there will be big hurdles of history and geopolitics to overcome. Due mainly to its unique geopolitical location, surrounded by large, aggressive and ambitious neighbors, China, Japan, Russia, Mongolia, Manchuria and more recently the neighbor across the Pacific, the U.S., the 4,000-year-old history of Korea is tumultuous, to say the least. The country was invaded, occupied, colonized by all of these neighbors. Although Korea fought back, it has never retaliated and invaded any neighboring countries. Despite thousands of years of troublesome and cruel foreign invasions, Korea has maintained its national, ethnic and cultural identity. In the evolution of modern Korea, this ancient pattern of competing for dominance over Korea repeated itself. China, Russia and Japan struggled over the peninsula, which resulted in the colonialization of the country by Japan in 1910. Japan considered Korea to be its geopolitical stepping-stone to the continent. Japan’s ambition for domination over Asia was permanently thwarted in 1945 with the end of the World War II.