Peace and War

2017
Apr
03

U.S. Out of Korea

Tag: Peace and War

My biggest concern is not the embarrassment of a U.S. public afraid of the tiny impoverished nation of North Korea. If that embarrassed me, how would I survive what U.S. culture makes of ISIS, or -- for that matter -- the election of Donald Trump? My biggest concern is that U.S. war profiteers may end up using Korea to get us all killed.

The United States bombed the living hell out of North Korea, and -- in hopes that nothing would survive -- dropped diseased insects on the place, hoping to start plagues. One bit of later collateral damage was the release of Lyme disease in Lyme, but Hollywood came out of it with the concepts of brainwashing and Manchurian candidates, so some might call it a fair trade.

The United States has thus far refused to ever end the war, sign a peace, or allow reconciliation. Southern and Northern efforts toward peace have been thwarted. Northern proposals (echoed by China) to halt nuclear testing if the U.S. will halt the "exercises" in which it practices for the nuclear bombing of the North have been mocked and scorned. North Korea has committed to no first use, as has China. The U.S. has proposed first use and made plans for it, while heavily militarizing South Korea, building a new base on Jeju Island, sending armed drones to the border, and installing THAAD.

Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, formerly Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), is part of what the United States calls "missile defense" and much of the world thinks of as missile offense. The U.S. calls it a (highly profitable) tool to protect South Korea from the attack that the North is not threatening. China sees it as part of U.S. efforts to encircle China and to be prepared to strike first and to minimize the Chinese response.

Giving not a rat's rear what China or North Korea or even South Korea has to say, distracted by its efforts to stir up World War III with Russia, and obsessed with prolonging its numerous wars in the Middle East and Africa, the United States simply pushes ahead.

On Wednesday, April 5, a group of South Koreans plans to demonstrate against the current course in front of the White House in Washington, D.C. One of them, Rea-kyung Lee, Chairman of the board of the Tomorrow Association, provided me with a statement that I paraphrase thus:

"The Korean people will be closely watching how U.S. President Trump and the Chinese National Chairman Xi Jin Ping deal with the deployment of THAAD onto the Korean Peninsula when they meet in the United States on April 6 and 7.

"The United States is unilaterally imposing THAAD deployment without any normal and proper agreement with South Korea. The former Korean president who initiated the process has recently been impeached for corruption. A new election is planned for early May. Meanwhile, China is imposing sanctions on South Korea in retaliation.

"The United States must halt THAAD deployment. China must end sanctions.

"The democratic citizens of South Korea have ousted a corrupt president using peaceful, non-violent candlelight demonstrations. The hurdles still faced are long-standing. Following the period of Japanese imperialism, the Korean people desired to establish an independent and unified nation, but were frustrated by the U.S.-Soviet military occupations of the peninsula, and the war between the United States and China.

"The residents of the Korean peninsula have been being forced to undergo the tragic status of national division, while constantly experiencing daily life under the threat of war for more than 70 years. The U.S. and China, in fighting for supremacy over the Korean peninsula, should not repeat such historical crimes."

Two ways to help:

1. Join the demonstration at the White House from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on April 5.

2. Attend the conference and demonstration planned for April 7-9 in Huntsville, Alabama.

2017
Apr
03

Talk Nation Radio: Vijay Prashad on U.S. war making

Tag: Peace and War, Talk Nation Radio

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-vijay-prashad-on-us-war-making

Vijay Prashad is Professor of International Studies at Trinity College in Hartford CT. He is the author of over twenty books, most recently The Death of the Nation and the Future of the Arab Revolution. He reports regularly for Frontline and The Hindu (India), BirGün (Turkey) and Alternet (United States). He is the Chief Editor of LeftWord Books (New Delhi). We discuss his recent articles on George W. Bush, Trump, Syria, Iraq, and attacks on U.S. immigrants.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.Producer: David Swanson.Music by Duke Ellington.

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.Pacifica stations can also download from Audioport.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete athttp://TalkNationRadio.org

and athttps://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/tracks

2017
Apr
01

Let Trump Golf, Let the Public Draft the Budget

Tag: Peace and War, Political Ideas, Public Budgets

One idea behind a representative government is to approximate what the public as a whole would do if it had the time to sit down and consider each matter itself. Of course the entire U.S. public does not have that time. But when a random sample of the public is asked to take the time on one topic, its results typically line up with opinion polls, not to mention basic human decency, far more closely than does the work of the Congress or the White House.

An example is found in the matter of the fiscal year 2018 federal budget. This can be a tricky topic to poll the public on, principally because most of the public has little idea what the budget looks like, and most discussions of the budget only make matters worse. Passionate pleas not to cut this or that valuable program leave people imagining that such programs make up a significant part of the budget, and that the White House proposal would shrink the government by cutting such programs.

In fact, only one item makes up a significant part of the discretionary budget -- over half of it, in fact -- and President Donald Trump's proposal is for the same size government, but with funding moved out of virtually everywhere else and into this one budget item: the military. Trump's budget proposal would push military spending up to above 60% of discretionary spending (not counting secret budgets, of course).

What would be the point of asking for budget recommendations from people who believe that military spending is 10% and foreign aid 20% of the budget? How responsible would that be? If the public were to decree that we must "increase" military spending to 15% of the budget, how would we implement that policy?

A democratic solution to this conundrum, short of an improved communications system, has been found by the staff of the Program for Public Consultation at the University of Maryland. They simply show people the current 2017 budget, so that they know what it is, and ask them how to improve it. The results would only shock an elected "representative."

"By far the biggest gap," the researchers report, "is for ... military spending. Overall the Trump administration favors a $53.4 billion increase while the public favors a $41 billion cut – a $94.4 billion gap." And, of course, Trump favors cuts to pay for his militarism that the public opposes: on education, public housing, the State Department, medical research, the environment, and mass transit.

I'm with the public on this and every other topic I know of. A sample of informed public opinion should override any veto, filibuster, house resolution, or executive order as far as I'm concerned. We'd all be better off.

Dumping $700 billion into a never-audited department named "defense," against the will of the public, is certainly not defensive of democracy. Neither is it defensive of anything else. Only 20 countries reach $10 billion in annual military spending, nine of them NATO members, 8 more U.S. allies, and 3 potential allies if not treated with such hostility. One of them, Russia, has cut its military in the past 3 years from $70 billion to $48 billion. Somehow that's the government considered so terrifying in Washington, D.C., that all you'd have to do to stop Trump's budget would be to claim 1,000 times on television that a Russian wrote it.

That's going to be my Plan B. First let's try this. I suggest we cut the President some slack. Let him go golfing more often. The public can handle the government just fine.

2017
Mar
26

Liberalism's Communications Problem

Tag: Media, Peace and War, Political Ideas, Public Budgets

Liberals in the United States are relatively educated, yet extremely inarticulate when it comes to Trump, his budget proposal, or the U.S. military.

In a typical email, Moveon.org sent out the message this week that nobody should confirm a Supreme Court nominee until it's determined that Trump is a "legitimate president." Until then, the U.S. military should go on slaughtering families for him? And once he's "legitimate" then a horrible fascist Supreme Court nominee should be approved? And what would it take for Trump to become "legitimate." According to the email, it would take proving that Trump didn't collaborate with Putin to rig the U.S. election. According to the linked video, it would take that plus seeing Trump's tax returns, plus proving that Trump is not violating the foreign emoluments clause. All three demands are given a xenophobic slant.

2017
Mar
24

The Middle East for Dummies

Tag: Peace and War

The first point I'd like to touch on is the idea that the Middle East is a culturally violent place that can be made less violent by bombing it. The first problem with this is that bombing places makes them more violent, not less. Nobody is shocked or awed into nonviolence, not 14 years ago and not for the past century. The second problem is that the Middle East's violence cannot be compared with that of other cultures without figuring out how to factor out the influence of the West. A hundred years ago, Britain and France carved up Western Asia, and not to spread democracy.

World Beyond War

RootsAction.org

War Is A Crime

Talk Nation Radio

There Is No Way To Peace

Peace is the way.

This site is maintained by a union shop at MayFirst.org