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First Step to Resolving Syria Crisis: Distribute Copies of the UN Charter to Washington, London and Paris

April 15, 2018

By Stephen Gowans

A draft resolution, defeated at the UN Security Council on April 14, demanded that the United States and its allies immediately refrain from the use of force in violation of international law.

“It also would have expressed grave concern that such acts had taken place at a time when the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)” had begun a fact-finding mission “to collect evidence in the Syrian city of Douma” of an alleged chemical weapons attack, which formed the ostensible basis of the US, UK, and French (or tripartite) aggression on Syria of the day before.

Syria’s representative to the UN, Bashar Ja’afari[/caption]The representatives of Russia, China, Bolivia and Syria argued for the resolution. Since Western media have given ample coverage to the views of the representatives of the three aggressor states, but only token, superficial coverage of states in opposition to the attacks, I’ve summarized below the arguments of the states in support of the resolution, as reported by the United Nations Press Office.

At the meeting, Vassily A. Nebenzia, Russia’s representative, expressed grave concern that “the United States, supported by its allies, had launched air strikes against Syria” without “a mandate from the Council and in violation of the Charter and international norms,” which prohibits military intervention except in self-defense or with Security Council authorization. The US-orchestrated attacks constituted “an aggressive” and illegal “act against a sovereign State,” Nebenzia charged.

The Russian representative also noted that the aggression had been carried out despite the “OPCW dispatching experts to Syria” to investigate the allegations which the United States, the UK, and France had cited as the basis for their action.

China’s representative Zhaoxu Ma echoed the point, arguing that “the Council must launch an impartial investigation of the suspected chemical weapons attack. Until then, no party must prejudge the outcome, he said, stressing that there was no alternative to political settlement.” He advocated “support for the United Nations as the main mediator” of the dispute, in preference to US-led unilateral efforts conducted outside the framework of international law.

Arguing that the three countries that carried out the attack are “constantly tempted by neo-colonialism”, Russia’s Nebenzia said it “was shameful that, in justifying” its “aggression” the United States had invoked “an article of the United States Constitution”, reminding the US representative that “the international code of behaviour regarding the use of force” is “regulated by the Charter”, not US law.

Nebenzia observed that the attack by the three Western countries had led to the destruction of “scientific facilities in Syria” that “were used for peaceful activities, notably to enhance economic performance. ‘You want Syria to have no economy at all?’ he asked. ‘Throw this country back to the stone age’ and finish off what sanctions had not yet achieved?’”

As to concern for the “suffering of Syrians” the Russian representative accused US, UK and French authorities of “shedding crocodile tears.” “The conflict could end within a day,” he said, if only “Washington, London and Paris” ordered “their hand-picked terrorists to stop fighting Syrian authorities,” a reference to Western countries funding, arming, and equipping Islamist insurgents to wage war on the Syrian government.

Sacha Sergio Llorentty Soliz of Bolvia “decried the air strikes, which” he observed “represented an attack against the OPCW fact-finding mission and the Council’s duty to maintain international peace and security,” to say nothing of “the Charter and the entire international community.” He added that “Bolivia understood that the United States had powerful aircraft carriers, satellites, smart bombs and a huge nuclear weapons arsenal,” but at the same time has “nothing but scorn for international law.”

Syria’s representative Bashar Ja’afari observed “the Secretary-General was exactly right when he had said on 13 April that the cold war was back. Everyone could recall, after the collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the books titled The End of History and The Clash of Civilizations, the gist of which was that the peoples of the world could either follow the United States or be attacked by that country.”

Syria’s representative argued that the “aggressors had decided to intervene directly” in his country to avenge “the defeat of their proxies in eastern Ghouta,” adding “that their actions sent a message to terrorists to continue to use chemical weapons not only in Syria, but elsewhere as well.”

Ja’afari denounced the “United States, United Kingdom and France” as “liars, spoilers and hypocrites who were trying to exploit the Council to justify a policy of interference and colonialism. They had demonstrated their conviction,” he charged, “for the law of the jungle and the law of the strong.”

Alluding to the fact that the three aggressor states had attacked targets they said were involved in the production of chemical weapons, Ja’afari wondered why, if they knew the location of chemical weapons production facilities, “they had not shared” this “information beforehand with OPCW or its fact-finding mission.”

In response to Britain’s and France’s proposal to the Secretary General that a plan of action be developed and implemented to resolve the conflict in Syria, Ja’afari made the following proposal. First, he suggested that “copies of the Charter” be distributed “to the representatives of the United States, United Kingdom and France” to remind them that in “launching 110 missiles against” Damascus “and other targets” in Syria they had conducted “a flagrant violation against Syria’s sovereignty.”

Next, he proposed “an immediate halt to support to armed terrorist groups in Syria by the United States, the United Kingdom and France” followed by “an end to lies” to “justify aggression against his nation.”

Western aggression against Syria, Ja’afari reminded the Security Council, includes the “direct United States military occupation” of “a third of his country”—a violation of “Syrian sovereignty” by “a permanent Council member.”

The illegal occupation was announced in January by then US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who said that US troops would remain in Syria indefinitely to block Syria from recovering its territory east of the Euphrates, which includes most of Syria’s oil and gas resources. The illegal US occupation is accompanied by Israel’s illegal occupation of Syrian territory on the Golan Heights.

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Written by what's left

April 15, 2018 at 4:21 pm

Posted in Syria

Understanding Korea: Presentation & Launch – Stephen Gowans, 7/05/2018, Montréal

Baraka Books April 13, 2018

INVITATION

Livres Baraka vous invite à une conférence de Stephen Gowans et au lancement de son nouveau livre Patriots, Traitors and Empires, The Story of Korea’s Struggle for Freedom le lundi 7 mai à 19 h au Centre Saint-Pierre, Salle 200, 1212, rue Panet, à Montréal.

Depuis plus de 100 ans, les Coréens se battent pour libérer leur pays d’empires étrangers, d’abord le Japon, ensuite les États-Unis. Gowans raconte l’histoire du point de vue des Coréens épris de liberté : la guérilla anti-coloniale, la partition de la Corée par les États-Unis, la guerre classique (1950-53), la confrontation actuelle…

« Stephen Gowans nous offre une étude étonnante et percutante de la Corée moderne. » — Professeur Tim Beal, auteur de Crisis in Korea

***

Baraka Books invites you to a presentation by Stephen Gowans and the launch of his new book, Patriots, Traitors and Empires, The Story of Korea’s Struggle for Freedom, on Monday, May 7, at 7 pm at the Centre Saint-Pierre, Salle 200, 1212, rue Panet, à Montréal.

For more than a century, Koreans have fought to free their country from foreign empires, first Japan, then the US. Gowans tells the story from the point of view of view of those who fought for freedom: the anti-colonial guerrilla war, partition of Korea engineered by the US, conventional war (1950-53), current confrontation…

“Stephen Gowans has written a marvellous and incisive study of modern Korea.” — Professor Tim Beal, author of Crisis in Korea

Conférence en anglais avec traduction consécutive/ Presentation in English with translation
Le lundi 7 mai 19 h à 21 h
RSVP info@barakabooks.com

Written by what's left

April 13, 2018 at 10:53 pm

Posted in north Korea

World War III: What It Is And What It Threatens To Become

April 11, 2018

By Stephen Gowans

World War III is not about to erupt; it has already begun; indeed, it began as long ago as 2015, when Russia, at the request of the Syrian government, intervened in the conflict in that country, whose government was under attack by Islamist insurgents encouraged, armed, and resourced by the United States and its allies.

The war in Syria, one that counts among its participants the United States, Russia, Britain, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Iran, Jordan, Qatar and others, is no less a world war for being confined to the borders of Syria. A world war is not defined by the multiplicity of its theaters but by the multiplicity of its actors.

Ultimately, the war is a conflict over two types of international order: on the one hand, a hierarchy of states, with the United States at the top, endowed with de facto authority to impose its will on all other states; on the other, a network of sovereign and independent states, linked by mutual benefit—a US-dictated global order vs. a democratic UN-defined international order. This is a battle of tyranny versus democracy at the level of international relations.

The war over these two contending conceptions of how the world’s affairs should be organized—the Third World War in action—is now threatening to spill beyond Syria’s borders.

The US president has threatened to attack the Syrian government in response to an alleged chemical weapons incident that is almost certainly a hoax perpetrated by partisan sources, the White Helmets and Syrian American Medical Society. These are jihadi-aligned groups, funded by Western governments, which have an interest in pressuring the United States to maintain its illegal occupation of nearly one-third of Syrian territory, or to provide a pretext for continued or even escalating US intervention in Syria.

The same Western governments that fund the White Helmets and Syrian American Medical Society have openly called for regime change in Damascus and have invested time and money in an effort to bring it about. The two outfits they bankroll are neither independent nor neutral, and can hardly be judged to be trustworthy sources, any more than the United States, and its allies France, the UK, Saudi Arabia and Israel, can be.

Russia has warned the United States not to carry through on its threat to attack the Syrian government. An attack ordered by the US president would violate international law, to say nothing of US domestic law, which vests authority to wage war in Congress. The president does not plan to seek Congress’s authorization.

This, however, is all of a piece. It is difficult to point to any aspect of the US intervention in Syria that has not been illegal, from the occupation of Syrian territory, to the violation of its airspace, to the funding of guerrillas to overthrow its government.

The United States’ newspaper of record, the New York Times, urges the US president to commit another illegal act, namely, to punish Syria militarily, without Security Council or Congressional authorization, for an unverified transgression against international law. The New York Times, thus, no less than other major Western media, has chosen a side in World War III—four-square behind the fight for an international order based on the arbitrary rule of the US administration in preference to a global order based on sovereign and equal states governed by the rule of law.

Russia has vowed to intercept incoming US missiles. Its warning has been met by a belligerent reply from the US president. The situation is fraught with danger. The United States, and its major media, which connive in the likely chemical weapons deception and elevate a planned illegal act of war into a moral crusade, are playing a very dangerous game. They’re willing to bring the world to the brink of a general conflagration to fulfil their vision of a hierarchy of states subordinate to the US administration’s rule—an undisputed global US empire.

Written by what's left

April 11, 2018 at 9:17 pm

Posted in Syria, World War III

Syria Chemical Weapons Attack: The Facts

April 11, 2018

By Stephen Gowans

#1. The fundamental question of whether a chemical weapons (CW) attack took place last Saturday in the Syrian town of Douma has yet to be independently addressed. The Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the one neutral body that is qualified to investigate the use of chemical weapons, has yet to begin its investigation.

#2. While the OPCW can determine whether a chemical attack has occurred, it is beyond its capability to assign responsibility. The allegation that the Syrian government perpetrated a CW attack is not verifiable in principle by a neutral body.

#3. The sole evidence for the claim against the Syrian government consists of allegations from two partisan sources: the White Helmets and Syrian American Medical Society.

#4. Both groups are allied with jihadists seeking to overthrow the Syrian government and both are funded by Western states which openly call for regime change in Damascus. These outfits are neither neutral nor independent.

#5. As parties to the conflict, both groups have an interest in fabricating atrocity stories to defame their enemy and create a pretext for the continued and even escalated intervention of Western militaries in Syria.

#6. As parties to the conflict, Western states have an interest in legitimating the atrocity stories to defame the government they seek to change and to furnish a pretext for their continued and even escalated intervention in Syria.

#7. While early media reports referred to the White Helmets and Syrian American Medical Society as the sources of the allegations, explicit references to these partisan sources have now mostly disappeared from media coverage.

#8. Instead, the White Helmets and Syrian American Medical Society are now referred to by more neutral-sounding terms, such as “medical professionals and human rights groups,” or “relief workers”* disguising their partisan character and creating the illusion that they are independent humanitarian organizations free from a vested interest in the outcome of the conflict.

#9. Following the tenet cui prodest scelus, is fesit (he has committed the crime who has received the profit) suspicion falls more heavily on the White Helmets and Syrian American Medical Society, as perpetrators of a hoax, than on the Syrian government, as perpetrators of a crime. While it’s easy to attribute a motive to the White Helmets and Syrian American Medical Society to fabricate a story, no credible motive or benefit has been adduced to explain why the Syrian government would carry out the alleged CW attack. Those explanations that have been advanced fail on either of two grounds: they’re circular, or implausible and free from evidence.

A favored circular explanation holds that Assad ordered an attack because he’s an “animal.” How do we know he’s an animal? Because he ordered an attack.

Another line of argument attributes the alleged attack to a desire on the part of the Syrian government “to terrorize the population.”** Apart from the reality that no evidence for this claim is adduced, it is wholly unsatisfying as an explanation. Populations can be far more effectively terrorized by carpet bombing (also known, fittingly, as terror bombing.) If the Syrian government sought to terrorize the population, why use chemical weapons, when far more effective means are at hand, ones, morever, that don’t cross a red line?

#10. The bottom line is that there is no independent verification that an attack even took place, let alone that the Syrian government is responsible for one. What’s more, the sources of the allegations are wholly untrustworthy, have an interest in perpetrating a hoax, and no credible motivation has been cited to explain why the Syrian government would undertake the alleged CW attack.

The only reasonable conclusion in light of the above is that there’s not a speck of credible evidence that the Syrian government perpetrated a CW attack at Douma last Saturday, and that there are strong grounds to suspect the White Helmets and Syrian American Medical Society have created a deception.

* See for example “The US presses allies to back military strike on Syria,” The Wall Street Journal, April 10, 2018 or “Russia warns it will shoot down US missiles fired at Syria, target launch sites,” Reuters, April 11, 2018. Two days earlier the Wall Street Journal’s reporting identified the Syrian American Medical Society and the White Helmets as the sources of the allegations, as did The Associated Press and the New York times.

** See for example “Syria gas attack echoes Assad’s gamble that gains outweigh risks,” Wall Street Journal, April 9, 2018.

Written by what's left

April 11, 2018 at 5:06 pm

Posted in Syria

Nonsense about Syria gas attacks reveals US ideology of tyranny

April 11, 2018

By Stephen Gowans

Ideologues of US power, notably those ensconced in the editorial offices of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, believe that the United States has an imprescriptible right to exercise an absolutist tyranny over the world, to define the boundary between civilization and barbarism, and that Washington is unbound by international law, but free to wield it as a tool against the barbarians. In the ideology of US despotism, the compass of civilization includes states that submit to “US leadership”, a euphemized version of “US tyranny,” while states which favor an international order based on the UN Charter’s ideal of the sovereignty and equality of states (Syria, North Korea, Cuba, Iran and Venezuela are among the supporters of this alternative, democratic, order) are relegated to the category of barbarism. Once a state has been located outside of civilization, Western legal traditions—testing accusations against evidence and the assumption of innocence until culpability is credibly demonstrated— no longer apply. The “barbaric” state becomes guilty of all acts of which it is accused, regardless of whether there exists credible evidence to corroborate the accusation.

In a 9 April editorial “In Syria, Trump faces the limits of bluster” The New York Times attributes a global leadership role to the United States, which it urges the Trump administration to exercise by creating “an independent investigation that could lead to prosecution” of the Syrian leadership “in a tribunal like the International Criminal Court,” a court the United States itself rejects and refuses to be bound by.

The New York Times’ editors lay out steps Washington ought to take if “the Syrian regime’s guilt is determined,” but conclude all the same that the Syrian government is guilty on all charges, contrary to the reality that the US State Department, British Foreign Office, and its own reporters, have acknowledged that the chemical attack allegations against the Syrian government are unverified and unconfirmed. What’s more, the sources of the allegations are the White Helmets and Syrian American Medical Society, partisan outfits, funded by Western governments, and allied with anti-government insurgents, who have an interest in fabricating atrocities to defame their enemy and to justify continued and even elevated Western intervention in Syria.

Additionally, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, at a 2 February news conference, admitted that the Pentagon has no evidence that the Syrian military has ever used chemical weapons. This, however, didn’t stop the New York Times’ editors from declaring that Syria has failed to honor its agreement to destroy its chemical weapons under a 2013 pact or that it is responsible “for most of the 85 chemical attacks in the country over the past five years.” A newspaper which proclaims itself to live up to the highest standards of journalism, indeed, to set the gold standard, appears to have no trouble creating facts out of thin air.

The editors lay out steps the Trump administration should take once a legal imprimatur is conferred upon a pre-judgement of guilt. Inevitably, military action is called for. “If a Russian veto prevents Security Council action, then Mr. Trump needs to work with our allies, through NATO or otherwise,” the editors counsel—a call for the US administration to violate international law (again.)

“The use of poison gas,” the newspaper of record observes one paragraph later, “is a war crime under international law,” a curious observation given the editors’ dim view of international law as evidenced by their urging Washington to act without Security Council authorization in order to exercise “America’s traditional leadership role.” It should be recalled that the Third Reich, Fascist Italy, and Imperial Japan also claimed leadership roles, to say nothing of imperial Britain and imperial France, the latter of which is eager to rehabilitate its colonial tyranny over its former Syrian mandate under the guise of punishing the “barbarian” Assad for outrages against civilization.

The Pentagon has the world’s largest stockpile of weaponized poison gas. The point of having it is to possibly use it, despite its prohibition under the very same international law the New York Times condemns Syria (without evidence) of violating. Thus, the ideologues of US tyranny reveal that international law is a matter of significance only to countries the United States defines as its enemies (the barbarians), and not to the United States itself, which is free to act as it pleases against the barbarians, according to its own laws, as the guarantor of a global moral order. Needless to say, the idea that the United States, the principle source of disorder, suffering and decay in the world, has even a soupcon of moral authority, is risible, if not a sick joke—a truth of which most of the world’s population is only too aware.

In 1970, the United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 2625, which, inter alia, declared that “States have the duty to refrain from propaganda for wars of aggression,” a resolution of apparently no significance to the New York Times, which is only too happy to spread propaganda for wars of aggression in the service of a US tyranny which, far from exercising moral authority, continues to spread its dark wings over the whole world, led by a madman at the top of a system of global oppression and exploitation, from which has sprung a program of neo-colonial warfare and escalating confrontation with China and Russia.

Written by what's left

April 10, 2018 at 10:56 pm

Posted in Syria

Eight reasons why the latest Syria chemical weapons attack allegations are almost certainly complete nonsense

April 8, 2018

By Stephen Gowans

There is much ambiguity surrounding the alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma, said to have taken place late Saturday, but there are a few matters that are clear.

First, the reports are “unverified”, according to The Wall Street Journal [1] and British Foreign Office [2] and are unconfirmed, according to the US State Department [3]. What’s more, The New York Times noted that it “was not possible to independently verify the reports,” [4] while The Associated Press added that “the reports could not be independently verified.” [5]

Second, according to The Wall Street Journal, it isn’t “clear who carried out the attack” [6] assuming even that one was carried out.

Third, the “unverified photos and videos” [7] which form the body of (unverified) evidence, were produced by two groups which have an interest in fabricating atrocities to draw the United States more deeply into the Syrian conflict. Both groups, the White Helmets and Syrian American Medical Society, are funded by Western governments [8], which openly seek regime change in Syria and therefore have an interest in producing a humanitarian pretext to justify stepping up their intervention in the country. The Western government-funded White Helmets and Syrian American Medical Society are allied with anti-government jihadists and are active only “in opposition-controlled areas.” [9] They, too, are clearly interested parties.

Fourth, The New York Times indirectly revealed a possible motivation for the two groups to bring forward fabricated atrocity stories. “A new confirmed chemical attack in Syria,” the newspaper noted, “would pose a dilemma for President Trump, who … recently said he wants to get the United States out of Syria.” [10]

Trump’s recent musings about ending the US military occupation of nearly one-third of Syrian territory, including the country’s richest oil fields, was swiftly met by Pentagon opposition, led by US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. The US president reluctantly accepted a continued occupation, so long as it ends in a matter of months rather than years.

Fabricating an atrocity would pressure Trump to maintain the US occupation indefinitely and possibly escalate US military intervention in Syria, much to the pleasure of Islamist insurgents, their White Helmet and Syrian American Medical Society allies, and US war planners.

If that is the intention, the maneuver appears to have met with success. Trump reacted on Twitter to the unverified (and unverifiable) reports, by dehumanizing Syrian president Bashar al-Assad as an “animal,” who the US president said was responsible for a “humanitarian disaster for no reason whatsoever.” That the US State Department acknowledged that the reports were unconfirmed failed to restrain the “shoot-from-the-hip” Trump.

Fifth, a chemical attack by the Syrian government would be manifestly self-defeating, and therefore would seem to be highly unlikely. The Syrian Arab Army is on the cusp of an all but inevitable victory in Eastern Ghouta. Why would it cancel its gains by handing the United States a pretext to continue its military intervention in Syria, in the aftermath of Trump signalling his intention to withdraw US troops?

Sixth, it is difficult to conceive of any military benefit to the Syrian Arab Army of deploying chemical weapons. The Syrian military has more lethal conventional ways of killing than using chemical agents, whose effects are unpredictable and typically small scale. In all the alleged chemical attack incidents in Syria, the claimed number of victims is always smaller than that which could easily be produced by air strikes and artillery. Why, then, would the Syrian government use relatively ineffective chemical weapons, creating a pretext for continued US intervention, when it could use more deadly conventional weapons, without a crossing a red line?

Seventh, much of the discourse about chemical weapons in Syria implicitly assumes the Syrian government has them, despite the country cooperating with the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons to eliminate them years ago.

Finally, allegations of chemical weapons use are routinely made against the Syrian government, and while, through repetition, have been transfigured into received truths, have all proved to be unverified. Jim Mattis acknowledged this at a February 2 news conference.

Q: Just make sure I heard you correctly, you’re saying you think it’s likely they have used it and you’re looking for the evidence? Is that what you said?

SEC. MATTIS: … We do not have evidence of it…we’re looking for evidence of it….

Q: So the likelihood was not what your — you’re not characterizing it as a likelihood? I thought I used — you used that word; I guess I misunderstood you.

SEC. MATTIS: Well, there’s certainly groups that say they’ve used it. And so they think there’s a likelihood, so we’re looking for the evidence.

Q: So there’s credible evidence out there that both sarin and chlorine —

SEC. MATTIS: No, I have not got the evidence, not specifically. I don’t have the evidence.

What I’m saying is that other — that groups on the ground, NGOs, fighters on the ground have said that sarin has been used. So we are looking for evidence. I don’t have evidence, credible or uncredible. [11]

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, but neither is it evidence of guilt. The complete lack of evidence, along with a political context that favors the production of spurious allegations, suggests that the latest chemical weapons claims are—like all that have preceded them—dubious at best.

1. Raja Abdulrahim, “Dozens killed in alleged chemical-weapons attack in Syria,” The Wall Street Journal, April 8, 2018.
2. Ben Hubbard, “Dozens suffocate in Syria as government is accused of chemical attack,” The New York Times, April 8, 2018.
3. Hubbard.
4. Hubbard.
5. Zeina Karam and Philip Issa, “Syrian rescuers say at least 40 people killed in eastern Ghouta has attack,” The Associated Press, April 8, 2018.
6. April 8.
7. Abdulrahim, April 8.
8. Raja Abdulrahim, “Syria airstrikes hit hospitals in rebel territory,” The Wall Street Journal, February 5, 2018; Louisa Loveluck and Erin Cunningham, “Dozens killed in apparent chemical weapons attack on civilians in Syria, rescue workers say,” The Washington Post, April 8, 2018.
9. Abdulrahim, April 8; Abdulrahim, February 5.
10. Hubbard.
11. Media Availability by Secretary Mattis at the Pentagon, Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis, Feb. 2, 2018, https://www.defense.gov/News/Transcripts/Transcript-View/Article/1431844/media-availability-by-secretary-mattis-at-the-pentagon/

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April 8, 2018 at 6:57 pm

Posted in Syria

Tagged with

The Korean Conflict, Reevaluated

By Dan Kovalik

Patriots, Traitors & Empires: The Story of Korea’s Struggle for Freedom, Stephen Gowans’ latest book on the Korean conflict, could not be more timely given the recent tensions on the Korean peninsula as well as the recent overtures being made for peace and reconciliation. The book is also a very good antidote to the anti-DPRK propaganda we have been fed for so many decades.

The Korean conflict, usually thought of as beginning in 1950 and ending in 1953, is one of the least known and understood conflicts in which the US has been involved. Given the lack of knowledge about this conflict, it has been easy to paint the DPRK, usually referred to as North Korea, as a rogue state led by a succession of madmen. As Gowans’ book explains, the real story is much more complex than this and indeed greatly favors the DPRK over the United States which has truly been the villain in this saga.

First of all, Gowans explains that the beginning of the Korean conflict can fairly be said to begin in 1945 when, as WWII was coming to an end, two US generals drew the arbitrary dividing line of Korea at the 38th parallel and when the US began to intervene quite deeply in what quickly became South Korea. The conflict could indeed be said to have begun even sooner as Gowans explains – that is, in 1932 when Kim Il-sung began the Korean armed resistance against the brutal Japanese occupation of Manchuria and Korea.

Kim and his fellow Koreans had much to rebel against. As Gowans reminds us, the Japanese occupation involved impressing Koreans, and Chinese as well, into forced labor as well as into sexual slavery. By 1938, Gowans explains, “30,000 to 40,000 women, mainly Koreans, [were] subjected to regular sexual violence by Japanese soldiers.”

Of course, after WWII was over and fascist Japan defeated, the Koreans reasonably believed that all of this would end and that Korea would proceed as an independent and unified country as it had been for centuries before. However, the US had other plans, as it had for Vietnam which had aspirations quite similar to that of Korea. Thus, as Gowans explains, the US, in the interest of blocking Soviet expansion and preventing countries like Japan and Korea from voluntarily turning to communism or socialism, decided that it was critical to help Japan maintain its economic dominance over parts of Asia, including Korea, or at least the Southern half.

Continued at counterpunch.org .

Written by what's left

April 6, 2018 at 4:48 pm

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