The United States and Britain – the two countries responsible for so many recent wars and conflicts – are at it again. This time, the diabolical double-act has North Korea in its sights, despite the risk that such an attack could ignite a global nuclear war.
Over the past week, US President Donald Trump has sharpened his bellicose rhetoric towards North Korea, now declaring that “only one thing works” in regard to the security crisis over the Korean Peninsula. That “one thing”, according to Trump, is evidently the “military option”.
For the past several months, the Trump administration has indeed repeatedly threatened the North Korean state led by Kim Jong-un with military force over the latter’s nuclear weapons program. But the American threats have always been conveyed in the context that other options, including diplomacy, were also being considered, or even preferred.
Now Trump is openly admitting that the apparent option of diplomacy is no longer on the table. It’s a belated admission by Trump that the diplomatic option was only ever a cynical charade, not under genuine consideration.
Washington is instead moving towards war with North Korea.
Adding to the gravity of the moment are reports in the British media that Britain’s military chiefs have drawn up plans for deploying forces along with the US against North Korea.
British military chiefs are quoted as saying that they are ready to dispatch a new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, as well as several destroyers and frigates, to the Korean Peninsula in support of its US ally.
Just last week Britain’s defense secretary Michael Fallon also delivered a belligerent speech to the Conservative Party conference in which he declared readiness to order “warships, aircraft and troops” in support of the US and other allies.
Fallon repeated earlier warnings that his government was fully prepared to order a first-strike nuclear attack against North Korea or any other “enemy state”.
The British minister accused North Korea of threatening Britain’s national security, saying that “Manchester and London are closer to Pyongyang than Los Angeles”.
Fallon’s shrill rhetoric echoed the scaremongering claims once made by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair back in 2003 when he justified the imminent Anglo-American war on Iraq because then Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was allegedly capable of mounting a missile attack on Britain “within 45 minutes”. Blair’s war pretext turned out to be a vile fraud.
Britain’s long-standing readiness to join in American military operations around the world is a convenient political-legal cover that gives the impression of “an international coalition” acting in supposed defense of “the international community”.
But the historical record shows that such Anglo-American militarism is nothing other than illegal aggression carried out by Washington and London, which has led to the ruination of whole nations and the unleashing of sectarian conflicts and terrorism. The British-aided American wars against Afghanistan and Iraq in 2001 and 2003 continue to wreak havoc across the Middle East today.
Yet, in spite of these disasters, not to say criminal wars, Britain’s defense secretary “Sir” Michael Fallon arrogantly asserts that “we should not be squeamish” about committing to further military deployments elsewhere, and in particular with regard to North Korea.
This coupling of American and British military power focused on North Korea is an ominous sign that the Anglo-American war machine is cranking up again.
Earlier this month, President Trump issued an extraordinary rebuke to his secretary of state Rex Tillerson over the latter’s public comments about pursuing diplomatic contacts with North Korea. Trump rebuffed Tillerson for “wasting his time” in negotiations with Pyongyang.
Since then Trump has gone on to sharpen the rhetoric to the point now where he is saying the US is considering “only one option” – a military strike on North Korea.
Last week, while hosting US military leaders and their spouses at a dinner in the White House, Trump made the menacing remark that the gathering was the “calm before the storm”. He subsequently refused to clarify what he meant by that cryptic remark.
A couple of days later on October 7, Trump then declared through his usual Twitter feed that diplomacy with North Korea was over. He said the past 25 years of diplomacy under previous administrations had failed, adding, “only one thing will work!”
This is while the US is sending the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier and a full battle group of warships towards the Korean Peninsula to commence joint operations with allied South Korean forces over the coming days.
It also follows this week long-distance practice bombing raids by US strategic B1-B Lancer warplanes over the Korean Peninsula. It was reportedly the first time that these US warplanes were accompanied by both South Korean and Japanese fighter jets in the same maneuver.
When Trump and his officials, including defense secretary James Mattis, have previously warned of using military force against North Korea they have let it be known that the action would be “overwhelming” and “catastrophic”. This can be understood to mean the US using nuclear weapons in any action against Pyongyang.
Trump is now positioning the US on an all-out war footing against North Korea by contriving a situation whereby diplomacy has been forfeited.
This is a heinous travesty. American diplomacy towards North Korea to settle the decades-old conflict on the Peninsula has never been genuinely pursued, not under Trump nor previous administrations.
Trump is accelerating US war plans on North Korea. US Pentagon chief James Mattis this week warned American forces to be ready for action and said military plans were being furnished for Trump. Mattis’ willingness to defer to Trump shows that this is a government policy, not merely the depraved recklessness of a lunatic president.
The fact too that Britain, America’s loyal war accomplice, is concurrently drawing up military contingencies over North Korea is a disturbing indicator of how far the Anglo-American war machine is gearing up.
Both Russia and China have repeatedly urged restraint by all parties. This week, Moscow said the US naval build-up around the Korean Peninsula was a dangerous escalation. Russia also said that the newly deployed US anti-missile THAAD system in South Korea was targeting its territory, as well as that of North Korea and China.
If the US and Britain go ahead with their war plans on North Korea, as seems likely, they will ignite a war that threatens the whole planet.
How quintessentially Anglo-American is the arrogance and criminality.
Finian Cunningham has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. He is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. He is also a musician and songwriter. For nearly 20 years, he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organisations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent.
Strategic Culture Foundation