by Rick Rozoff
Writer, Dandelion Salad
April 4, 2013
Voice of Russia
April 4, 2013
213,000 military personnel are involved in live fire training “exercises” involving nuclear capable hardware near North Korea’s borders. Hence it is no surprise North Korea feels threatened. Even if North Korea did not exist as the “evil” threat in the region, the United States would need to create a boogey man to justify its pre-planned military expansion in the Asia-Pacific region. Voice of Russia regular contributor Rick Rozoff, from Stop NATO, spoke about these things and more in this interview.
I am speaking with Rick Rozoff, the owner and manager of the Stop NATO website and international mailing list.
Robles: Could we get your views on what is going on currently in North Korea?
Rozoff: Yes, what we are seeing is an intensification of saber-rattling, of gunboat diplomacy, by the United States in the first instance, but standing behind it its two major military allies in the area, the Republic of Korea – South Korea – and Japan.
What is going on currently, as many of your listeners may know, is the second part of a two-part annual military exercise that the United States holds with the South Korean government. And those…It’s two-part as I mentioned. The first is something called Key Resolve, which started in February, is now completed, and currently now, until the end of April, until the last day of April, is basically a field exercise called Eagle Foal.
And all together this joint exercise…The first is a computer simulated, basically a command-post exercise, and the second is a live-fire field exercise, but all together they entail the participation of 13,000 US military personnel, 200,000 South Korean military personnel, troops.
What is most alarming about this year’s, however, is the fact that in recent days the United States deployed two B-2 strategic long-range nuclear bombers. They flew non-stop from the Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri to South Korea to fly over the Korean peninsula. These are nuclear-capable bombers, that is they are capable of dropping nuclear payloads.
The US has also deployed or is in the course of deploying B-52s, which are also long-range strategic bombers used most infamously in the war against Vietnam in the 1960s and early 1970s. And most recently we heard that F-22 stealth fighter jets are also being deployed as part of the exercises, and in addition to the USS McCain Guided Missile Warship which is Aegis class, something we’ve talked about several times on this program; that is, it is equipped to fire Standard Missile-3 interceptor missile.
Robles: The B-2s, was that originally planned as part of the exercises?
Rozoff: I think we can only speculate on whether, or rather at which point the United States decided to deploy the B-2s and whether this was an intentional provocation to up the ante.
The interpretation, of course, in the ever obedient Western media, obedient that is to the government line, is that this is to assure the South Koreans and perhaps Japan as well, the Japanese government, of US resolve vis-à-vis North Korea and such like.
I mean this is blustering. I don’t think we have to take that seriously. What in fact the US is doing is raising the ante substantially, not simply against North Korea. It has been my contention, as you know, John, for years that North Korea is really – I don’t want to make a play on words – a red herring, but it is really a pretext for US military buildup in the Far East and Northeast Asia, aimed not so much at North Korea as at China and Russia.
And what we’ve seen in recent days where the new defense chief Chuck Hagel has announced the deployment of 14 more ground-based midcourse, long-range, interceptor missiles to Alaska. Altogether there will be 30, ostensibly again to exclusively address missile threat from North Korea, which I believe personally is probably exaggerated, I think there is a hyperbolical presentation of the threat posed by North Korea. But nevertheless at the end of the day the US has consummated the Asia-Pacific pivot with a vengeance.
Robles: North Korea is making statements themselves that are extremely bellicose, I guess. If they are saying they are going to hit targets in the US, what would you make of those statements?
Rozoff: I would urge caution on two scores. First of all, I don’t know about the reliability of the translation of the North Koreans statements. That is not to say they have not made what are basically blustering statements.
I think it is very simple for a small nation with a fairly ineffectual military to make threats. The rest of the world doesn’t have to take them tremendously seriously. When the US makes threats, the world should take it eminently seriously because the US has delivered on threats in the past, in the recent past.
I think the most important thing to understand here is it is part of a pattern of behavior, that over the last two and a half years or so, where the US clearly, openly announced that it is going to shift the preponderance of its military might, including first-strike capabilities to the Asia Pacific Region, including 60% of naval forces, submarines and strategic air forces.
So, if North Korea didn’t exist it would almost have to be invented, I would argue, according to that scenario. There has to be some alleged reason, or rationale or threat in the region that would permit the United States, first of all, to increase its own military forces in the area but also to consolidate the creation of an Asia-Pacific analogue of NATO, which has been long in the offing and long in the making.
South Korea, we have to recall, is one of eight countries that roughly a year ago was announced to be part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s latest partnership program, Partners Across the Globe, that’s the name of it. Japan is another. And the Deputy Secretary General of NATO within the last 48-72 hours, I am talking about the former to U.S. ambassador of Russia, Alexander Vershbow, stated openly that if North Korea were to attack the United States, that is an unlikely possibility unless in retaliation, that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization could invoke its Article 5, so-called mutual defense clause, meaning the entire 28-nation North Atlantic Treaty Organization would be at war with North Korea.
Robles: What would you make of the translations? I’ve also read some reports but they’ve pretty much been muffled I think and kind of brushed aside that the actual translations were wrong. But then again North Korea has not issued any redactions to those statements.
Rozoff: Much along the lines of what you’ve just said is that, I’ve read headlines, maybe the opening paragraphs stating that the reports that North Korea was prepared to hit the mainland of the United States, or Guam or Okinawa and so forth. I am sure they are in the event of a war between the two countries, and let’s keep in mind there is a truce, not a peace settlement; technically North Korea, the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea, and the United States are in a state of armed hostilities, there has never been a formal peace settlement, so that when one or the other launches hostilities it is really a resumption of something that happened 60 years ago rather than something entirely new.
Another factor, though, that needs to be addressed is the fact that North Korea is one of only three countries that borders both Russia and China. The other two are Mongolia and Kazakhstan, and the United States and its NATO allies have been extremely aggressive in trying to consolidate their control, including in the military sphere, over both Mongolia and Kazakhstan.
Robles: This was an interview with Rick Rozoff, the owner and manager of the Stop NATO website and international mailing list.
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Well, I hope people take your reports seriously, Rick. There is a major showdown shaping up in the Pacific. All peace activists should be on the alert and taking steps to defuse this highly volatile period.
Accurate clarification of the situation with North Korea and around