Donald Trump is promising “fire and fury” in response to reports that North Korea has developed the ability to miniaturize a nuclear warhead so that it can be placed on a missile. North Korea is vowing to stay the course and fiercely defend its sovereignty.
Since Donald Trump became president, North Korea has conducted a flurry of missile tests, triggering a wave of condemnation by U.S. media and political figures. The reaction contains more than an element of fear-mongering, and it is sometimes implied that armed with an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), North Korea is liable to launch an unprovoked attack on the U.S. mainland.
What tends to be lacking in such reports is any sense of sober reflection, and much confusion is sown concerning the actual state of North Korea’s program. This article takes a closer look at North Korea’s recent missile launches and argues that they pose a threat–not to the safety of the U.S. population, as the corporate media claim, but to the United States’ strategic calculus in the region.
The months ahead may reveal the direction that U.S.-North Korean relations will take under the Trump administration. After eight years of ‘strategic patience’ and the Rebalance to Asia, those relations now stand at their lowest point in decades. Many foreign policy elites are expressing frustration over Washington’s failure to impose its will on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). There are increasing calls for a change in policy, but what kind of change do they have in mind? We may be at the point of a major transition.
Interview with Gregory Elich, Hyun Lee, and Juyeon Rhee
Few countries are as fiercely demonized as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – more commonly known as North Korea. The media presents the country as a dangerous and mysterious pariah that lashes out uncontrollably at its neighbors. But as we should come to expect from the corporate media, this is a total distortion. What’s the real history of U.S.-North Korean relations? As Donald Trump prepares to become the next president of the United States, what does this mean for the prospects of normalization between the U.S. and the DPRK? What’s the situation inside of North Korea? And how does this relate to the geopolitics of the region?
By this time next year, the Yongsan Army Garrison in Seoul will be in the final stage of closing down, as U.S forces shift farther south and consolidate around Pyeongtaek. South Korea intends to convert the site into a series of six parks, but there are unresolved concerns regarding alarming levels of toxic contamination.
In the decade after an oil leak became known in 2001, cleanup efforts by the Seoul Metropolitan Government removed nearly 2,000 tons of oil-contaminated underground water from areas outside of Yongsan. U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) claimed that it rectified the problem at its source in 2006, yet the level of petroleum hydrocarbon pollution in nearby groundwater continued to grow, multiplying by a factor of nearly thirteen times over the last four years. The measured level of contamination outside Yongsan now stands at well over eight thousand times the Korean government safety standard. It can only be presumed that the situation inside the base is substantially worse.
The recent announcement that South Korea had agreed to deployment of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system on its territory marks an important advance in the Obama Administration’s militarized Asia pivot. The THAAD battery threatens to destabilize the military balance of power and draw South Korea into an anti-China alliance with the United States and Japan.Read More »
On July 26, the South Korean government blocked two Korean-American activists from entering the country. Both activists planned to meet with their South Korean counterparts and to participate in a series of events, many of which are in response to the controversial decision to station a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile battery in South Korea.