The continuing infestation of America’s body politic by neoconservatives is resulting in some noted war hawks taking full advantage of President Donald Trump’s lack of a clear-cut US foreign policy to push for something the neocons and their Israeli puppet masters have long desired: a two-front war against North Korea and Iran.
Although it is well-known among world intelligence agencies that Israel has maintained a quiet role in providing surveillance technology to North Korea, that has not stopped Israel and its propaganda machinery from arguing that if North Korea continues to supply nuclear and missile technology to Iran, both countries qualify as “rogue regimes” worthy of a double-barreled US military attack.
Israeli and pro-Israeli contrivances like the US-based Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) are pushing for a rather unthinkable US preemptive strike against North Korea and Iran. In a January 2016 FDD paper, titled “The Iran-North Korea Nuclear Nexus: Unanswered Questions,” the authors strenuously argue for a military response to Iranian-North Korean nuclear and missile cooperation. With pro-Israeli influence peddlers like Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner exercising an inordinate degree of influence in the Oval Office of the White House, even outrageous proposals by right-wing groups like the FDD must be taken seriously.
In two July 3, 2017 tweets, Trump wrote: ”North Korea has just launched another missile. Does this guy [Kim Jong Un] have anything better to do with his life? Hard to believe that South Korea . . . and Japan will put up with this much longer. Perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all!” But China has no desire to destabilize North Korea lest millions of refugees flood over their border into Manchuria, creating a massive humanitarian and economic headache for Beijing.
Kushner and his colleagues in the Friends of the IDF [Israel Defense Force], on whose board he sits and for which he has donated large sums of money, are anxious for a two-pronged US attack on Iran and North Korea. Micha Gefen, a writer for the right-wing Israeli website Israel Rising, attempted to goad the Trump administration into such an attack in an April 2017 article. Gefen wrote: ”It has been known for some time that Iranian missile technology was developed in North Korea. Both regimes see the USA as their number one enemy and have worked together to build a situation where they would pose a serious threat to the USA. To most observers North Korea and Iran are in constant coordination as can be seen from last week’s ballistic missile test in Iran, which followed North Korea’s launch of four missiles near Japan.”
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has pushed back against the false viewpoint that the United States faces existential enemies in Tehran and Pyongyang. Tillerson has publicly pushed back against Trump’s criticism of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran. Tillerson believes the agreement advances the cause of diplomacy with Iran, saying, “There are a lot of alternative means with which we use the agreement to advance our policies and the relationship with Iran.”
The US Congress’s triple action of new economic sanctions against Iran, North Korea, in addition to Russia, is an indication that the neocons are taking full advantage of Trump’s falling opinion poll numbers and his administration’s increasing disfunctionality to advance a multi-front war agenda, one that may even include China. If China becomes a military target of the United States, as is suggested by the rhetoric coming from a few of Trump’s officials, tens of thousands of US deaths abroad resulting in wars with North Korea and Iran will increase to some 20 million with the addition of nuclear-targeted cities like Honolulu, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, New York, Washington, Seattle, Philadelphia, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Denver, and San Diego. While a US nuclear attack on 1.4 billion-strong China would be devastating, it would not be as crushing a blow as compared to what would be experienced by the United States. As China’s Chairman Mao once said, “China might suffer 300 million casualties in an atomic war but would still emerge the victor.”
The leading Republican Party war hawk in South Carolina is Senator Lindsey Graham. Perhaps it is the fact that his close friend Senator John McCain is absent undergoing treatment for brain cancer, that Graham now finds it necessary to beat the drums for war with North Korea and Iran. Usually, the inseparable Graham and McCain jointly issued their threats against other nations, including Iran, Russia, and Syria.
Graham also apparently has a new comrade in Washington when it comes to waging war: Donald Trump. Graham recently told NBC News that Trump told him that “there is a military option to destroy North Korea’s program and North Korea itself.” Graham was responding to North Korea’s test firing of the Hwasong (Mars)-14, a nascent intercontinental ballistic missile that traveled 2300 miles, entering low-earth orbit, before crashing into the sea.
Relishing in Trump’s war chants, Graham added, “If there’s going to be a war to stop him [Kim Jong-un], it will be over there. If thousands die, they’re going to die over there, they’re not going to die here and he’s [Trump] told me that to my face.” US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley echoed Graham’s and Trump’s belligerency by stating that “The time for talk is over.”
For the record, Graham is a retired Air Force Reserve Judge Advocate General (JAG) colonel and, while manning a desk, never experienced more bloodshed than perhaps suffering a few paper cuts.
Graham and Trump are wrong about the number of deaths on the Korean peninsula arising from a preemptive US military strike to “destroy North Korea” or a South Korean military plan to “decapitate” the North Korean leadership by assassinating Kim Jong-un and his closest entourage. Before the first US mushroom clouds appear over Pyongyang, hair-trigger strike orders from the North Korean leadership will result in a massive artillery barrage on the South Korean capital of Seoul.
US military strategists have estimated that one million South Korean residents in metropolitan Seoul will die in what the North calls a “sea of fire” brought about by a massive 10,000 rounds per minute barrage of North Korean artillery rounds and ground rockets. There are an estimated 50,000 American citizens living in South Korea, including 30,000 military personnel, who mostly live in the Seoul region. More than half will likely perish in a North Korean military response on South Korea.
If Pentagon and Seoul war planners believe that “decapitating” the North Korean leadership by detonating nuclear weapons over Pyongyang or killing Kim Jong-un will prevent a North Korean retaliatory strike on the south, they are wrong, dead wrong. Local North Korean artillery and rocket force commanders along the demilitarized zone (DMZ) have independent authority to launch strikes on South Korea, without the need to receive authorization from the government in Pyongyang. North Korean artillery and multiple rocket launchers are well-emplaced in mountainous terrain north of the DMZ and much of these forces would survive a US first strike, one even involving tactical nuclear weapons.
Graham also believes Iran’s nuclear program is the “biggest threat to the world.” Graham has also called for a preemptive US military strike on Iran, a war he believes the US “will win.”
A US war with Iran would result in the activation of Iranian sleeper cells among the Shi’a population in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Iraq, the latter three countries all hosting US bases and the Eastern Province the home of thousands of US oil industry personnel. An Iranian military strike, coupled with a Shi’a cell offensive in the Gulf states, could result in several thousand more US deaths in the event the neocon desire for dual American action against the “rogue regimes” of Iran and North Korea becomes a reality.
There is but one solution for North Korea. Like Pakistan and India, North Korea should be welcomed into the nuclear club. All three nations have shown a desire to play the nuclear weapons first use card in the past and some of Pakistan’s Islamist radicals in the Islamabad government are no more of a threat than Kim in Pyongyang. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has broken with Trump and Graham in stating that the US is not the enemy of North Korea and does not seek regime change in the North. Tillerson also supports the continuing US commitment to the Iranian nuclear deal, no matter how much Israel, Trump, or Kushner and his Friends of the IDF despise it. Tillerson and Trump should recognize that North Korea will never give up its deterrent to only be subjected to the regime-change whims of bellicose Westerners like Graham and others of his ilk.
This article originally appeared in Strategic Culture Foundation on-line journal.
Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).