The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

North Korea Is a Threat to the U.S.?
No—Just the Opposite!

Oct 16, 2006

In early October, North Korea announced that it had detonated a nuclear bomb underground. The big Western powers, especially the United States, cried out in horror.

What hypocrisy! The very same governments that condemned North Korea have thousands and thousands of their own nuclear weapons. Neither did they make the same outcry when Israel, India, and Pakistan tested their own nuclear weapons–obviously because these governments are U.S. allies.

The United States pretends that North Korea is a threat. But the reality is that the U.S. systematically threatens North Korea.

The U.S. has over 100,000 troops stationed in South Korea and Japan, the nearest neighbors of North Korea. For over 50 years, the West has imposed an almost complete economic blockade, destroying the Korean economy and pushing the population to the edge of starvation and misery.

This policy is nothing but a continuation of what has been done to Korea throughout the 20th century. For more than 30 years, the Japanese occupied Korea. After World War II ended, the U.S. promised there would be an independent and united Korea. But with the advent of the Cold War, it decided to split the country, with one half under the influence of the USSR and the other under the U.S. Of course, the Koreans were not consulted. So when they tried to unite their own country, the U.S. sent in troops, thus beginning the Korean war. During this war from 1950 through 1953, the U.S. threatened Korea with nuclear annihilation. Close to three million Koreans lost their lives. All this took place in a peninsula about the size of Utah. Until 1991, the U.S. also maintained battlefield tactical nuclear weapons and nuclear-tipped rockets in South Korea.

After the war, North Korea’s two main trading partners were the USSR and China. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, North Korea was almost completely isolated. More than ever, the North Korean government tried to normalize relations with the U.S., especially trade ties.

Under the Clinton administration, the U.S. government agreed to normalization–sometime in the future–if the energy-starved North Koreans halted the building of nuclear power plants.

But the Bush administration changed the plan. In 2002, the U.S. government accused North Korea of carrying out a secret nuclear weapons program. The Bush administration then made North Korea part of the “axis of evil.” The underlying threat was that the U.S. might go to war against North Korea.

So the North Koreans openly began a nuclear weapons program. That’s what they had been accused of. Yet they made it clear that their aim was still normalized relations and an end to the embargo, especially from the United States.

Certainly Kim Jong Il is a hideous dictator. Certainly his rule, like the rule of his father Kim Il Sung, has weighed heavily on 23 million North Koreans.

But the biggest criminals, by far, are the big powers, starting with the U.S. government.