Karl G. Ombion
ANOTHER classic US-triggered mass hysteria against a small country that has resisted to submit to US hegemonistic rule.
On 16 March 2012, North Korea announced that it would launch an earth observation satellite named Kwangmyongsong (Lodestar) 3, aboard an Unha carrier rocket sometime between the hours of 7 am and noon on a day between 12 and 16 April, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of its state founder, Kim Il Sung, and the attainment of “strong and prosperous” status by the country.
The launch from a base in the north of the country close to the border with China would be pointed south, dropping off its first phase rocket into the Yellow Sea about 160 kilometers to the southwest of South Korea’s Byeonsan peninsula and the second into the ocean about 140 kilometers east of Luzon in the Philippines.
Due notice of the impending launch was issued to the appropriate international maritime, aviation and telecommunication bodies (IMO, ICAO and ITU) and, to mark the occasion, North Korea announced that it would welcome scientific observers and journalists. The 15 April date, in the 100th year according to the calendar of North Korea, has long been declared a landmark in the history of the state, and the launch seems designed to be its climactic event.
Why so much fuss about North Korean’s satellite launch?
Many satellites, military and civil, are launched every year. The US has three of the stationary variety in operation. Russia, Japan, Europe, China and India also operate geostationary satellites, joined in July 2010 by South Korea. Japan conducts fairly regular launches from its Tanegashima space station site, and devotes some of its information gathering capacity to spying on North Korea.
Australian National University emeritus Professor Govan Mccormack said that satellites, of whichever type, are a mark of advanced scientific status and economic development. As a country that especially in recent years has suffered from acute weather irregularities, presumed due to global warming, and is surrounded by satellite-operating states, North Korea has a strong interest in itself joining the select company, both for motives of pride and face as well as for scientific and economic reasons.
He also said that a covert military purpose, development of intercontinental ballistic missile capacity, may be assumed, since the rocketry is virtually the same, only the load and the trajectory differ; but this is true of all satellite-launching countries. North Korea became a signatory to the Outer Space treaty (of 1966) in 2009, and now protests that it alone of the world’s nations cannot be denied the universal right to the scientific exploration of space simply because of that convergence of civil and military technology.
Obviously, the North Korean nuclear problem is the making of US imperialism to cover up its own vast and in fact the biggest possessor of nuclear and satellite weapons of mass destruction. It assumes that it is North Korea that is irrational, aggressive, nuclear obsessed and dangerous, and the US that is rational, globally responsible, and reacting to North Korean excesses. To thus shrink the frame of the problem is to ignore the matrix of a century’s history-colonialism, division, half a century of Korean War, Cold War as well as nuclear proliferation and intimidation-all led by US imperialism.
As a student of international politics, I fully agree with Govan’s observation that US assumption that what it describes as “the North Korean nuclear weapons program” can be dealt with while ignoring the unfinished issues of the Korean War and the Cold War, and even of Japanese imperialism.
Although North Korea is widely regarded as an “outlaw state” and held in contempt by much of the world, it has not in the past 50 years launched any aggressive war, overthrown any democratically elected government, threatened any neighbor with nuclear weapons, torn up any treaty, or attempted to justify the practices of torture and assassination. It is the US government that has since World War II been the aggressive, militarist hegemon, showing contempt for international law, and the author of several wars of aggression against countries that resist US hegemony, as in Indo-China, Vietnam, Japan, Philippines, central American countries, and in recent times, against Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, Libya and now Syria and Iran.
Although there is no doubt that North Korea is facing a lot of economic and political problems, there is little basis for the view that it poses a threat of regional aggression. Obsessed with security and the search for an absolute guarantee of immunity from attack by its enemies, it has become a kind of “porcupine state,” resisting foreign bodies by stiffening its quills, rather than expanding or rampaging.
While the world’s attention focused on whatever might be about to happen on the North Korean launch-pad, huge US and South Korean war games, rehearsals for war, were taking place just off North Korean shores. To Pyongyang, that was provocation, just as to Japan and the US, its April launch was provocation.
Prof. Govan is right in saying that the North Korean state, since its founding in 1948, had constantly faced the concentrated efforts of the global superpowers to isolate, impoverish, and overthrow it. Not of its choosing, it is left with nothing but to develop its internal capacity to stand up against them and defend its sovereignty by all means.
If the Pnoy administration is not careful with this squid tactics of US, it will find itself one day already dragged to another dirty, bloody and costly US-led NATO war of aggression cum “humanitarian wars” in Asia.
To my colleagues in the media and political observers, don’t ride on the hysteria. Don’t take US officials and embassy operatives’ propaganda hook, line and sinker. They are masterful in the art of propaganda and psywar. Do some serious critical research before attempting to make comments or analysis.