Korea Solution Needs US to Sign a Peace Treaty by Finian Cunningham + Wilkerson: Trump a ‘Diplomatic Fiasco’ at the UN

No War, Negotiate Peace

Image by cool revolution via Flickr

by Finian Cunningham
Writer, Dandelion Salad
East Africa
Crossposted from Strategic Culture Foundation
September 19, 2017

Germany and France have backed the stance of Russia and China for negotiations to avert the Korea crisis. South Korea and Japan also seem to be amenable to recent calls by Russian President Vladimir Putin for exclusively diplomatic efforts. Any other option in the alarming standoff with North Korea over its nuclear weapons program portends disaster.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has endorsed the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran as a model for possible negotiations.

That puts the United States on the margin of international consensus, with its repeated threats to use military force as an option against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea).

Last week, following another North Korean ballistic missile test that overflew Japan, US President Donald Trump’s top national security adviser reiterated Washington’s self-declared right to use pre-emptive military force, tacitly including the deployment of nuclear weapons.

“For those who have been commenting on a lack of a military option, there is a military option”, said General HR McMaster to reporters in Washington.

While McMaster and President Trump, as well as Pentagon chief James Mattis, have said on other occasions that the US would prefer to seek a diplomatic solution to the Korea crisis, such purported preferences do not inspire confidence.

For a start, the whole doctrine of “pre-emptive” or “preventive” war is a violation of international law, if not outrightly criminal. The concept was earlier formulated by Nazi Germany as a pretext for aggression, and was duly criminalized at the Nuremberg Trials. Today, the United States stands alone as the only nation to invoke the self-declared prerogative to use military violence in “self-defense”.

Also, when Washington talks about a “diplomatic solution” what it is referring to is a unilateral “denuclearization” by North Korea. There is absolutely no indication from the US that it reciprocates a responsibility to stand down its “overwhelming” military power aimed at the Korean Peninsula. Thus, what Washington means by “peace” is a one-sided surrender by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

For this reason, international calls for diplomacy and negotiations have to be underpinned by a proper foundational premise.

The proper starting point is for the US to finally sign a full peace treaty with North Korea to mark the definitive end of the Korean War. It seems almost bizarre that 64 years after the end of that war (1950-53), the US refuses to commit to a peace treaty. The matter is hardly permitted into public discourse by the US government and Western news media. Even though the issue is key to finding a peaceful solution.

The absence of a binding peace settlement means that, technically, the US and North Korea still view each other at being in a state of war. This gives profound substance to North Korea’s existential fears over the US continually conducting “war games” around the peninsula.

Former US President Jimmy Carter and former US ambassador to South Korea James Laney have both recognized the fundamental onus on Washington of now, at last, having to abide by international norms towards Korea.

The US-based Campaign to End the Korean War quotes ambassador Laney as saying:

“One of the things that have bedeviled all talks until now is the unresolved status of the Korean War. A peace treaty would provide a baseline for relationships, eliminating the question of the other’s legitimacy and its right to exist. Absent such a peace treaty, every dispute presents afresh the question of the other side’s legitimacy. Only with a treaty in place will both sides be relieved of the political demand to see each move as conferring approval or not.”

Nevertheless, despite these reasonable voices from within the US, the dominant position of Washington is one of strong-arming North Korea to capitulate to American demands – or face the threat of catastrophic military force.

Such an American position is totally unacceptable to international norms. Russia, China and Europe must take a firm stand and let Washington know in no uncertain terms that its unilateralism is unacceptable, and at worst, a reckless collision course for a nuclear war.

Diplomats from Russia and China last week both condemned US threats of violence against North Korea, as well as censuring Pyongyang for its missile tests.

Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, pointed out that the latest UN resolution 2375 voted on September 11 explicitly calls on all parties, including the United States, to re-engage in multilateral talks. Those talks involving North Korea were abandoned during the GW Bush administration more than a decade ago. How is that dereliction of diplomacy by Washington even remotely acceptable?

But, again, the push for diplomacy and negotiations must be founded on a proper and viable premise.

This is where German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s proposal to pursue a P5+1 formula comes unstuck. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) signed in July 2015 between the US, Russia, China, Europe and Iran has been continually undermined by the Trump administration.

Iran committed to stringent limits on its nuclear energy program in return for sanctions relief. The UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, has filed seven reports since January 2016 confirming Iran’s full compliance with the JCPOA.

Yet, the Trump administration is threatening to scrap its participation in the internationally binding nuclear accord with Iran. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has made the wholly irrational claim that Iran’s “technical compliance” with the JCPOA is not enough. He and US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, have said that Iran “is not living up to the spirit of the deal”. Absurdly, Washington is claiming that Iran’s support for the Syrian state in its war to defeat US-backed terror groups is grounds for resiling from the JCPOA.

President Trump has called it the “worst deal ever”. He said that a White House review due next month may finally signal the US walking away from it. If that happens, Washington will be able to reimpose sanctions on Iran, and extend those sanctions to Europe, Russia and China for doing legitimate business with the Islamic Republic.

Clearly, the US rulers cannot be trusted. If they cannot comply with obligations under an international legal agreement, which has been ratified by the UN Security Council, then any residual trust in US diplomacy is completely shattered.

North Korea has no doubt taken note of the US bad faith over Iran. Pyongyang has already pointed to the grim fate of Iraq and Libya which were invaded and destroyed by the US when it became evident neither possessed chemical or nuclear weapons.

Western corporate news media tend to portray North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as “crazy”. The reality is that Kim would be crazy if he were to somehow surrender the country’s nuclear weapons under prevailing conditions.

Washington’s hints at diplomacy are threadbare and have no credibility. Any proposed negotiations to genuinely resolve the Korean crisis must start with the US signing a peace treaty with North Korea and foreswearing the use of any military force. Any other format is bereft of confidence building, as the Iranian nuclear deal is unfortunately showing.

A declaration by the US that the Korean War is over is a bare minimum requirement in order to begin peace and security talks. Even then it still not failsafe given Washington’s perfidy.

However, anything less than a peace treaty signed by the US is not feasible to end the spiral of conflict over Korea.

Incredible as it seems, the demand on the US is to simply abide by international law and to stop using aggression as a foreign policy. How damning is that.


Finian Cunningham, is a columnist at the Strategic Culture Foundation and a Writer on Dandelion Salad. He can be reached at cunninghamfinian@gmail.com.

[DS added the video reports.]

Wilkerson: Trump a ‘Diplomatic Fiasco’ at the UN

TheRealNews on Sep 18, 2017

Col. Larry Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell, talks about Trump’s speech before the UN General Assembly and explains why Ambassador Nikki Haley’s remarks on the Iran nuclear deal scare him.

Transcript

At UN, Trump Continues Assault on Iran Nuclear Deal

TheRealNews on Sep 19, 2017

At the UN General Assembly, President Trump again threatened the Iran nuclear deal. If he follows through, he’ll do so with bipartisan Congressional help, says author and NIAC president Trita Parsi.

Transcript

Trump’s Threat to ‘Totally Destroy’ North Korea is Illegal

TheRealNews on Sep 19, 2017

Donald Trump’s comments at the UN General Assembly violate international law, and the world should hold him to account, says Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies.

Transcript

from the archives:

John Pilger: The Problem is Not North Korea, Not Russia, Not China, The Problem is The United States

Can Another War in Korea Be Avoided? by Ariel Ky + Gareth Porter: The US has a Dominance Problem

This Time The Target Is North Korea by Felicity Arbuthnot + Bruce Gagnon: This Whole Pivot is Aimed at Russia and China

Paul Street: This is the Most Inflammatory Rhetoric I’ve Heard From a US President in My Lifetime

Has Trump Threatened Nuclear War on North Korea?

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16 thoughts on “Korea Solution Needs US to Sign a Peace Treaty by Finian Cunningham + Wilkerson: Trump a ‘Diplomatic Fiasco’ at the UN

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  7. A lot to comment on here. First up, I’d like to commend Larry Wilkerson’s excellent conversation with Sharmini Peries ~ whose professional background, by the way, is substantial (confer http://therealnews.com/t2/about-us/staff)

    Re Jerry’s remarks about international banking and its connections with Israel: I think that issue demands extremely careful scrutiny. Few matters can be as complex as global banking and finance generally, other than the bewildering number of current discourses prevalent in the world of quantum theory and research.

    Two points may be relevant here however. The first is that so long as Israel is “good for business,” it will attract favorable attention from venture capital, and altho’ ultimate ‘ownership’ of those investments may, more often than not, be ‘discreetly’ disguised, that does not mean they are necessarily ideologically motivated. We should not neglect to note for example, who are the alleged major “legal” property and land-owners internationally ~ namely the British “Crown” and the Vatican.

    The second point is arguably at the core of most prejudicial attitudes that only serve to encourage bigotry, imprecision and poor reasoning. It is the illogical assumption that if many leading professionals, particularly those engaged in finance, may be culturally Jewish, it follows that ‘Jews’ control everything, and all Jews are therefore disposed to serve the cause of “international Jewry” that is seamlessly consistent with ‘Zionist’ ambition.

    This is clearly nonsensical, ahistoric, illogical and absurd. Many ‘successful’ and accomplished individuals have neither enjoyed an unfair advantage socially or culturally, nor do they appear to have achieved due to sinister ambition; but they have accomplished what they have attained against the odds, through sheer determination and hard work ~ whether we “approve” of their efforts or not. There is a world of difference.

    • Finian ~ cogent as ever.

      Trump at the UN with his token female asset ~ the precocious (?) child of Sikh immigrants ~ was expected to be a grotesque embarrassment; so no surprises there. It has been a predictable (& cringingly) awful episode, backed up by Netanyahu’s despicably vulgar, profoundly bigoted and racist arrogance. However, in the next Real News interview Aaron Mate raises a crucially relevant observation, that even within the Israeli security establishment, realists have accepted the pragmatic advantages of the JCPOA.

      As for the blood-chilling rhetoric (about genocidal devastation) from the orange windbag…that is sheer hyperbolic, gauchely Narcissistic, stupidity. Phyllis Bennis, interesting as always, is exact: blatantly advocating mass murder in the presence of the General Assembly was “unprecedented.” I mean, who actually writes such sensationalist and worthless drivel for this inflated caricature?

      Sanctioning and advocating violence on this scale (even as only a threat,) must surely be a war-crime in and of itself; because it is a literal incitement & potential invitation to unwarranted and disproportionate aggression. If it were not for the fact that Pence is such a loathsome and lethal alternative, I’d say Trump’s callous, wildly reckless and egocentric grandstanding would more than justify having him locked up.

      Bloated dogmatic militarism is repulsive enough, but crowing with plutocratic bluster and sanctimonious intimidation over it is simply vile. Trump may now justly claim the obscene distinction and disreputable privilege of being the self-obsessed, illiterate biophobe who has ‘presided’ over the complete evisceration of the last, plausible vestiges of American moral and intellectual values…

    • David/Lo,
      Man, mention the name Rothschild around here and all hell breaks loose. Firstly, in the initial comment we never wrote “Jews control the world”, and responded when the suggestion we did was raised. Perhaps getting your opinions or assessments of the extent to which the Rothschild dynasty influences world affairs might help clarify this discussion. We’re all certainly aware the 1917 Balfour Agreement which birthed events leading to the creation of the state of Israel was arranged by a Rothschild,

      Let’s put it this way: if another family – say an Irish family named O’Sullivan – had beaten the Rothschilds in banking competition back in the 18th century and, instead of the Rothschilds, the name O’Sullivan held the same wide public awareness today as in control of central banking, O’Sullivan would have been referenced in our initial comment. The point is that people actually reside at the top of the so-called money “pyramid” – whether Jewish, Irish, Jamaican, or etc. – and it appears safe to say certain numbers of those carry the name Rothschild. That is not an expression of anti-Semitism, but simply the fact.

      So, how large a factor do you think the Rothschilds are in world affairs generally, and in particular with regard to the 70-year Israel-Palestine human rights catastrophe? Or, perhaps there’s just nobody responsible for the Israel-Palestine conflict and its history of apartheid conditions for the Palestinians?

      • I respect and value your input Jerry, and my comment was not intended as a criticism directed at you personally, but more of an assertion of the general need for contextual and proportionate evaluations of all the pertinent facts. I’m sure, you’re aware that I am no friend of prejudice, nor can I condone any crimes against humanity or Nature.

        There is a real danger in my opinion, of becoming both judge and jury in the court of internet opinion; so it is certainly worth exercising extreme caution, lest we assume that all the facts are actually known. Chris Hedge’s recent conversation with Eric Foner illustrates this concern rather well I think….the more we genuinely know, that can be thoroughly verified with hard evidence, the better equipped we are to formulate careful assessments and make prudent decisions.

        Informed skepticism is essential in my opinion; as all opinions need to be able to withstand the test of both time and exhaustive forensic analysis.

        • David,
          Chris Hedges ignores, for whatever reasons, the massively important false flag operation which occurred on September 11, 2001. We shared our concerns about his failure to grapple with 9/11 seriously in the comments section linked with an address by Hedges posted at Truthdig’s YouTube platform, the video thus far receiving 200,000 views. It’s interesting to note that subsequently Truthdig posted an interview of John Kiriakou and asked for his perspective on 9/11. Kiriakou essentially deferred to Cofer Black, apparently Kiriakou’s superior while at the CIA, then in the interview noted Building 7’s collapse was suspicious, but went with the government narrative that Buildings 1 and 2 were hit by terrorist hijacked planes.

          The Truthdig interview of Kiriakou was disappointing with regard to examining 9/11 as only a few minutes were spent on the issue, basically 9/11 was only skimmed over. One was left with questions about the Truthdig organization, particularly with respect to their having any internal self-imposed limits on how far and deep they’re willing to report. Interesting to note is that atttorney, professor of World Affairs at UC-Santa Cruz and head of the Iran-Contra legal team in the 1980’s Daniel Sheehan noted Cofer Black in one of his university lectures, posted at “Romero Institute” YouTube channel.

          Paraphrasing, Daniel Sheehan shared with his students his concern about Cofer Black, suggesting Black was “someone to watch closely”. It’s possible Truthdig is what’s called a “limited hangout”, providing a self-limited level of truth – but not the total truth.

          Having watched the Hedges-Foner interview you referenced, one particular segment stood out, the few minutes touching on Martin Luther King, and perhaps verifies the self-imposed truth restraints of Mr. Hedges, in addition to 9/11. It was disappointing the fact a civil trial in 1999 of the King assassination led by William Pepper on behalf of the King family didn’t get mentioned. That trial resulted in the jury finding it was not James Earl Ray – but military/intelligence entities in the government – who killed Martin Luther King.

          William Pepper was a friend of Martin Luther King in the last year of King’s life, the story about the 1999 Memphis civil trial has been virtually universally ignored or censored, students reading history books are receiving lies about MLK, and Hedges and Foner failed to mention the scandalous implications, much less the name William Pepper.

  8. Mr. Trump’s using the words “that deal” when talking about the JCPOA reflects much about his and Mr. Netanyahu’s agreed upon agenda moving forward, and unfortunately is a disturbing sign as relates to war and peace on Earth. The host Aaron may have inaccurately perceived there being a difference between Obama and Trump regarding JCPOA, as Trump became the multi-billionaires’ choice only after the reputation of Hillary Clinton sunk due to WikiLeaks revelations, most importantly emails revealing her knowledge of Saudi/Qatari state sponsorship of ISIS.

    At that point Clinton as president was untenable for the super-rich, whereupon plan A (Clinton) was dropped and plan B (Trump) was arranged. If one searches for any form of world peace plan or proposal originating from the Rothschild banking dynasty of israel, the result is one is left empty-handed. That just about says it all.

      • Hello Lo,
        Not specifically any group of people, but those major shareholders of the world’s largest and most powerful central banking institutions. no matter their nationality. While certain dynastic, multi-generational banking families arrange for their media corporations to suppress the fact they are indeed at the “top of the pyramid” after accumulating more wealth than any other on Earth, the Rothschild group seems to receive the most attention during discussions focused on who in the world has the real decision-making power, particularly with regard to war and peace .
        It has become near common knowledge, for example, that the reason Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi were overthrown, murdered and their countries destroyed in illegal wars of aggression was their choosing to conduct business outside the financial monopolies whose requirement was the dollar.

        Barack Obama’s Department of Justice – Eric Holder, Loretta Lynch, etc. – chose to let HSBC executives off the hook without prison time for large-scale drug money laundering, on orders from the OWNERS of the Bank for International Settlements. One of Hillary Clinton’s closest friends is Lynn Rothschild. People might consider Clinton’s disgusting glee (“We came, we saw, he died!”) after Gaddafi was murdered. Bill and Hillary Clinton spent vacations with Henry (Rockefeller) and Nancy Kissinger. Donald Trump’s administration includes Goldman Sachs men in charge of the nation’s finances. … So it goes ..

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