North Korea and the threat of nuclear annihilation



I: An American Consensus on North Korea

(First of three of four parts)

If there is anything that has been established with absolute veracity since the ascendancy of Donald J. Trump to the White House, it is that the American President is a consummate liar. The man who has been shouting himself hoarse with denunciations of ‘fake news’ is by far the most profligate proponent, initiator, and consumer of fake news. (He denies being hooked to television, and more particularly to that den of troglodytes known as Fox News, but all the evidence points to the contrary.) But all this is no news at all, not nearly one year into his presidency. He has made liars of others as well, which is not a lesser offense and is certainly more ominous in its implications. The Washington Post on October 10th reported that, in the 263 days since he had held office, Trump had advanced 1318 false or misleading claims; that number of “false claims” now most likely stands at 2000, though, considering that Trump has only to open his mouth and out comes a lie, it would make more sense to keep a count of the non-falsehoods that have emanated from him. Any other exercise would be superfluous.

Tragically, some liberals—it is not difficult being a liberal in the United States, even in these rugged times, if one accepts that minimally it only requires that one not be deranged, intellectually imbecilic, and morally bankrupt—are now beginning to think of the 43rd President, who has recently attacked Trump without mentioning him by name as someone who is leading the country into a precipitous decline as a respected world power, as a “decent” man. They have evidently forgotten, or think it of no consequence, that Bush and his cohorts celebrated bombing Afghanistan, as they would say, into oblivion; if this savagery was not enough, the fiction of “Weapons of Mass Destruction” (WMD) was deployed to enlist “the international community” in an illegal war against Iraq, the consequences of which can be seen in the incessant turmoil into which Iraq and much of the Middle East has been plunged since early 2003 and the birthing of that Frankenstein monster called by various names, among them ISIS, ISIL, and Daesh.

It says something about the United States that the war-mongering George W. Bush has now been rapidly elevated as a voice of moderation and prudence. However, whatever the supposed differences between Bush and Obama, or between the Republican establishment and what is commonly and mistakenly described as its radical “fringe”—which, it must be said unequivocally, is far more than a fringe—comprised of white supremacists, xenophobic nationalists, militarists, and Tea Party ideologues, there are a number of issues on which there is an unanimity of opinion, none as important as the threat that North Korea is purported to represent to the United States. True, a great many American politicians and commentators have criticized Trump for his intemperate use of language in discussions around North Korea, and some thought his use of Twitter to threaten war against a sovereign state was injudicious. Something as mighty as the annihilation of a nation-state should surely not be promised through a Twitter feed, no?

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