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Hart writes: "The standard is pretty clear: Statements by North Korea says are threatening provocations, while when the U.S. pretends to drop nuclear bombs just across your border, well, that's just how you 'respond to provocation.'"

Is this time any different than the last 60 years? (photo: Sky News)
Is this time any different than the last 60 years? (photo: Sky News)



North Korea 'Rattles Sabres,' US Pretends to Drop Nuclear Bombs on Them

By Peter Hart, Fair

04 April 13

 

t's not easy to figure out what's going on with North Korea. We hear that new leader Kim Jong-Un is making threats to attack the United States, South Korea or both - and that's leading to some rather alarming, and alarmist, coverage.

As ABC World News reporter Martha Raddatz put it (3/31/13): "The threats have been coming almost every day, and each day become more menacing, the threat of missile strikes on the U.S., invading armies into South Korea and nuclear attacks."

The dominant narrative would have you believe that the United States was basically minding its own business when North Korea began lashing out. On CBS Evening News (3/29/13), Major Garrett explained:

North Korean saber-rattling is common every spring when the United States and South Korea engage in military exercises.

So there are "exercises" right next door, conducted by the world's most powerful military, which possesses thousands of nuclear weapons; and then there's menacing saber-rattling.

While North Korea's apparent threats are obviously troubling, one doesn't have to be paranoid to take offense at those military drills. As Christine Hong and Hyun Lee wrote (Foreign Policy in Focus, 2/15/13):

The drama unfolding on the other side of the 38th parallel attests to an underreported escalation of military force on the part of the United States and South Korea. In fact, on the very day that Kim visited Mu Island, 80,000 U.S. and South Korean troops were gearing up for the annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian. For the first time in its history, this war exercise included a simulation of a pre-emptive attack by South Korean artillery units in an all-out war scenario against North Korea. Ostensibly a defensive exercise in preparation for an attack by the north, the joint U.S./South Korea war games have taken on a decidedly offensive characteristic since Kim Jong Il's death. What's more, a South Korean military official discussing the exercise raised red flags by mentioning the possibility of responding to potential North Korean provocation with asymmetric retaliation, a direct violation of UN rules of engagement in warfare.

In other words, there are some real world events that might bother North Korea's leadership - no matter what one might think about the level of North Korean paranoia. On much of the U.S. television coverage, the threats are virtually all coming from one side, without any explanation, and the United States is merely on the scene to bring down the level of tension.  As ABC's Raddatz (3/31/13) explained:

The U.S., which launched two nuclear-capable B-2 stealth bombers last week to carry out a practice bombing run less than 50 miles from North Korea, says it will continue to respond to provocation.
blockquote>The U.S. will not say specifically what those counter-provocation measures may be. But an indication of how serious they are, the Pentagon says they hope they never have to put them into effect.

Again, the standard is pretty clear: Statements by North Korea says are threatening provocations, while when the U.S. pretends to drop nuclear bombs just across your border, well, that's just how you "respond to provocation."

While it is certainly difficult to get a sense of what exactly the North Koreans are actually saying, one of the most interesting takes came from B.R. Myers, a professor at Dongseo University in South Korea. He was quoted by a New York Times blog (Lede, 3/29/13):

We need to keep in mind that North and South Korea are not so much trading outright threats as trading blustering vows of how they would retaliate if attacked. The North says, "If the U.S. or South Korea dare infringe on our territory, we will reduce their territory to ashes," and Seoul responds by saying it will retaliate by bombing Kim Il-sung statues. And so it goes.
I think the international press is distorting the reality somewhat by simply publishing the second half of all these conditional sentences. And I have to say from watching North Korea's evening news broadcasts for the past week or so, the North Korean media are not quite as wrapped up in this war mood as one might think. The announcers spend the first 10 minutes or so reporting on peaceful matters before they start ranting about the enemy.

That's important context.

Meanwhile, NBC reporter Richard Engel (NBC Nightly News, 4/1/13) told viewers that "if you watch North Korean state TV, the country looks like it's at war." And he closed:

The world's last Stalinist state talking war to stay in power. Pyongyang's secrecy makes the old Soviet Kremlin look transparent. North Korea appears to want to pick a fight and the U.S. says if it comes to that, it is ready.
 

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-18 # randyjet 2013-04-04 06:49
You HAVE to be kidding! ALL militaries conduct war games as a regular and NEEDED part of readiness. The North Koreans do the SAME thing by the way. Not only that,but they actually openned active warfare by sinking a South Korean ship. I think that the US or South Korea should have responded by sinking the North Korean Navy. I guess the Japanese in your view were simply making a good will visit to Hawaii when the war mongering American imperialists responded by firing on them. The Japanese pilots were so startled by this that they accidentally dropped their bombs. That is how YOU would treat the Pearl Harbor attack. This is simply gibberish that has no factual basis. I hope the US networks now run a TV special about how the US will NUKE all of NOrth Korea in response to their TV show showing Korean attacks on New York. THEN you might have some parity to complain about. But that would ONLY be parity NOT provocation.
 
 
+11 # Jim Rocket 2013-04-04 08:13
I wondered what Paul Wolfowitz has been up to lately. It seems he's blogging under the name of randyjet.
 
 
+20 # HowardMH 2013-04-04 07:54
When you see a rabid bear you don’t go smack him in the mouth for a 10 pound salmon and hope he goes away. You keep your mouth shut until he calms down. The pentagon had no good reason to send B2 bombers over South Korea just below the border with North Korea unless it was to antagonise a very immature idiot and give him more reason to do what he has done. As they say, “Stupid Is as Stupid Does”, and there is obviously a whole lot of stupid in the Pentagon. The war machine is getting a little worried because the Afghanistan war is winding down and they are not making as much money as they have been for the last 10 years.
 
 
+3 # Jim Rocket 2013-04-04 08:21
Unlike Iraq and Afghanistan, North Korea is not a push-over. Of course the people pushing for regime change there will not be doing any of the fighting if it, God forbid, comes to that. Not to mention the high cost that the people in the northern parts of South Korea will pay.
Journalist Eric Margolis is usually an interesting and informed writer on strategic issues. http://ericmargolis.com/2013/03/war-risk-rises-sharply-in-korea/
 
 
+8 # reiverpacific 2013-04-04 08:25
The US owner-media must be salivating at the potential advertising revenues possible if they can capture another provoked "Shock and awe" with a wholly indoctrinated country run by the idiot-spawn of the "Glorious leader" now pushin' up the daisies somewhere, who more resembles Don Quixoté tilting at windmills than a true warrior -but not as funny.
Provocation has been part of the US tactic to start wars with somebody-anybod y for a long-long time.
Why o' why does the US need a military force that exceeds the next 26 nations COMBINED (including N.K.'s only ally, China) under the pretense that it's a "Department of Defense"?
Also, there are numerous tunnels between North and South Korea to accommodate four abreast soldiers. so they aren't just about to lie down and roll over, with US bases in South Korea itself being a provocation and interference to any potential merging of the two countries as Germany did.
I'm not supporting the looney-tunes regime in the North; just pointing out that they are not as helpless as Americans tend to smugly take for granted.
And y'know the US and NK have another thing in common; they build up the military as their main priority, whilst many of their own citizens are starving.
Think about it.
 
 
+3 # barbaratodish 2013-04-04 08:48
How ABSURD to think that North Korea CAN provoke the United States! Why, even the United States cannot provke the United States, because the United States, is no longer the United States! The United States is now, and has been for some time, The OP, The One Percent!
 
 
+1 # reiverpacific 2013-04-04 13:20
Quoting barbaratodish:
How ABSURD to think that North Korea CAN provoke the United States! Why, even the United States cannot provke the United States, because the United States, is no longer the United States! The United States is now, and has been for some time, The OP, The One Percent!

I tend to call it the FSA -"Fragmented States of Amnesia".
 
 
+3 # angelfish 2013-04-04 10:52
This Lunatic in North Korea is a carbon copy of his senile Father! He has NO problem starving his OWN people to death to support his Army and the Hawks in THIS Country would do the same, if allowed! China bears some responsibility for this "Toy Soldier" and, I would think, will take him OUT if he causes ANY kind of a ruckus. North Korea has the FOURTH largest Army in the World, however, so it might not be such an easy task. We don't want or need another War with a Lunatic. I hope the Powers that be are smart enough to avoid one at all costs!
 
 
+2 # Richard1908 2013-04-04 16:00
Hell, roaming' around the world with our bloated military smackin' everything and everyone around - it's the American Way. Almighty God told us so.
 
 
0 # Rick Levy 2013-04-04 17:22
Yep, the U.S. has treated North Korea very shabbily and must stop threatening to attack this bastion of democracy and peace.
 
 
-1 # Richard1908 2013-04-04 20:13
Quoting Rick Levy:
Yep, the U.S. has treated North Korea very shabbily and must stop threatening to attack this bastion of democracy and peace.


Gosh, and silly me thought the whole history of the Korean Peninsula is to do with US foreign policy to restrain and surround those evil Chinese Communists.
 
 
+1 # Activista 2013-04-05 12:57
We spent billions on "Star Wars" - and it is useless even against primitive North Korea ... another profit for militarism ..
Does Israel's Iron Dome Success Mean Ronald Reagan's 'Star Wars ...
www.theblaze.com/.../does-israels-iron-dome-success-mean-ro...Nov 20, 2012 – Does Iron Dome Success in Israel Mean Ronald Reagan Star Wars ... in the 1980s, and Israeli critics focused on the price—around $50,000 for ...
 

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