Middle East

The Americas?


The phrase “a Pig War” used in the title of this article has been mentioned in a number of previously published articles. Today, in view of another episode of escalation of inter-Korean relations, this phenomenon will be explained in detail. First, let us look at the causes of the new wave of antagonism. If we focus on the role of mutual demonization and agitation, we will notice that a few factors heavily contribute to the transformation of a misunderstanding into a hostility.

First, demonization drastically reduces the chances for the resumption of the inter-Korean dialogue. And there is a certain logic behind that, “How can we engage in negotiations, or maintain “hot lines,” or the system of mutual awareness with them, a true embodiment of evil?” Consequently, the tools that are normally employed in the settlement of misunderstandings preventing them from descending into conflicts prove to be ineffective in a situation of mutual distrust.
Secondly, demonization is the root cause of distorted reality that manifests itself in several ways. First, any activity of the other party will be (incorrectly) interpreted as harmful based on the assumption that the other party is a bunch of “bloodthirsty ill-wishers.” Accordingly, any activity will be viewed as a preparation for a provocation or as a provocation in progress.

At the same time, analysis and expert examinations are twisted to play the role of yet another cog in the propaganda machine. Naturally, in the situation of mutual resentment, those trying to voice the true state of affairs will be silenced and those “greasing the wheel of propaganda machine” will be in trend. What does the world see as a result? A phenomenon where people first invent a propaganda construct and then uphold it as the ultimate truth. And it is nearly impossible to convince them to abandon their delusion.

Demonization also leads to a mutual agitation manifested in two ways. First, both parties act on the principle of an asymmetrical response, i.e., they harshly retaliate for any minor provocation. In other words, when a country is on the “red alert,” the shoot-and-kill tactic is applied each time something seems to be suspicious.

Second, mutual agitation creates a stressful environment for the parties to the conflict. The lower strata of the society experiences the most severe pressure. That, in turn, increases the chances of an inadequate reaction to some strange or unusual events.

As a result, the likelihood of a conflict triggered by an insignificant or engineered cause increases tremendously and is often referred to as “the Pig War.”

Here is a hypothetical situation. Let us speculate how things will develop in it. A pig is rustling in the bushes of a demilitarized zone. There are military personnel on either side of the zone. They have long been on the verge of a nervous break and have been subconsciously waiting for an enemy provocation. They are ready to leap into action to settle accounts with the scoundrels from the other side of the demilitarization zone.

One of the parties (it does not matter which one) loses the nerve and, having decided that it is not a pig in the bushes, but creeping saboteurs, opens fire. Having heard shots coming from the other side, the other party returns fire. It also reports to its leadership that it has (in compliance with the instructions) harshly retaliated for a provocation.

The party that started shooting at the pig and received a return fire also retaliates severely, while reporting to its commanders that it has been attacked without a declaration of war. In the aftermath, each party actively blames the other party for being attacked for no apparent reason. Then zealous military steps in: “Won’t you finally give us a chance to teach these scoundrels a lesson!” Then politicians join the choir: “This time we must not soften the issue and let them get away with it! We cannot afford to act as some weaklings. We must keep up our country’s prestige in the eyes of the public!” But situation is such as there is no way to determine what triggered this turmoil. On the other hand, nobody really cares to find out either. Because those who were wishing for a turmoil are now rubbing their hands.

Another point is that in these circumstances the overall picture of the political situation and military power of the opponent’s country can be significantly distorted. Ideological “blinders” can grant tremendous assistance as well. As a result, the parties might find themselves in a very unpleasant situation. For example, the South might believe that the “senseless bloody regime” of the North is about to collapse and that it really makes plans to attack the defenseless South. The South might also believe that there is a strong Christian opposition in the country and that mass protests are about to erupt. Basing their assumptions on these imaginary believes, they would expect that intervention of South Korean or American military aiming at the elimination of nuclear sites or the top country officials would gain support of the country’s population, or would, at least, resemble the plot of a Korean action movie. The North, in its turn, might believe that fancy reports about South Korean indestructible might are just reports, that the change of the puppet regime is inevitable and that the highly praised warriors of the US Army are cowards unable to fight without high-tech bathrooms and a 24-hour supply of ice cream. As a result, both parties would be preparing for an armed conflict not with the real North or South, but with some fictitious characters from the distorted “cartoon/propaganda reality.”

That seems like quite a realistic scenario for the initiation of a conflict. And it would be very difficult to discern where the fiction ends and the reality begins. Because at some point the damage suffered by each party would be so significant that nobody would be able to walk away by just saying “oh, we are sorry, it was just a misunderstanding” without losing their face. And that means that it would not matter anymore who initiated the fire. The winner’s version would go down in the history books.

The readers could notice that the topic of risk of “irrational factors” and the role of an accident, which is much more serious than it might seem, has been brought up in our articles on numerous occasions. It was zoomed in to show that despite majority of people think of politics as of something orderly, planned in advance and targeting long-term political goals, in reality things sometimes happen chaotically. And if ordinary people cannot understand something, they immediately classify the situation as an intricate combination of moves devised by some cunning politicians. In this context even “the Pig War” described above could be interpreted as a crafty design developed by the top officials. And this is why the irrational factor is so serious and so dangerous. And this is why the readers are reminded of it whenever it is appropriate to bring this subject up.

written by : Konsantin Asmolov [Konstantin Asmolov, Ph.D, Chief Research Fellow of the Center for Korean Studies, Institute of Far Eastern Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”]

North Korea said Monday that its nuclear forces are prepared to carry out a preemptive strike "against the mainland" US and South Korea, if this is necessary for the security of the country, reported the news agency KCNA, quoted by AFP.

"The pre-emptive nuclear attack justice will be carried out according to the statement by the head of the KPA," reads a statement from the North Korean Defense quoted by the Korean Central News Agency.

With this threat Pyongyang has reacted to the announcement of the South Korean authorities on joint military drills with the US, which have historical significance because of its magnitude. Maneuvers, were inaugurated on Monday, March 7 and will run until March 18, involved some 300,000 South Korean soldiers and about 15,000 US military. 

The announcement follows a series of provocative actions by North Korea on the right after the Security Council of the UN approved a list of sanctions against Pyongyang, the most severe in 20 years of tense relations with the communist country Peninsula.This move came in response to the nuclear test and launching a rocket with a satellite made by Pyongyang. Pyongyang has rejected Friday the Security Council resolution of UN sanctions against the country and has expressed its intention to further develop its nuclear program.In the operation 'Kill Kim'?Seoul military sources quoted by Yonhap news agency have reported that the US joint exercises and South Korea also contain a precise plan attacks against senior political and military positions of Pyongyang.

This is the 5015 operating plan, which also details how Seoul and its allies can detect, disrupt and destroy the nuclear arsenal of the communist country in case of war breaking out on the Korean peninsula, the agency said.

Infographic: The range missile North Korea
On March 3 North Korean leader ordered by a decree prepare nuclear forces in the country to carry out an attack at any time if necessary.

The North Korean missiles have a range of between a few and 10,000 kilometers and can reach most of the countries of Europe, Asia and North America. The only continent that seems to be safe from North Korean missiles is South America. These ballistic missiles potentially allow launch nuclear warheads.

The move is a breach of UN sanctions barring the country from using long-range missile technology. North Korea had notified UN agencies that it planned to launch a rocket carrying an Earth observation satellite, triggering opposition from governments that see it as a long-range missile test. Earlier this week Washington-based 38 North, a North Korea-monitoring project said satellite images revealed tankers arriving at the rocket site. It said the presence of the trucks likely indicated the filling of tanks within bunkers at the site rather than a rocket itself. On Friday, US President Barack Obama spoke that a North Korean launch would represent a "provocative and destabilising action".

The launch, which South Korean officials confirmed early on Sunday morning, follows North Korea's claim last month that it had tested a hydrogen bomb.

The move will be considered a further provocation by Washington and its allies and likely draw more sanctions and condemnation from the United Nations.

The massacre of the rural population of Vietnam by U.S
Rocket and nuclear tests are seen as crucial steps toward the country's ultimate goal of a nuclear armed long-range missile arsenal.

Their weapons programs are necessary to defend itself against what it calls decades of US hostility.

Leader Kim Jong Un has overseen two of the four nuclear tests and three long-range rocket tests since taking over after the death of his father Kim Jong Il in late 2011.

North Korea says its rocket launches are satellite missions, but the US, South Korea and others say they are a covert test of ballistic missile technology.

The UN Security Council has attempted to prohibit North Korea from nuclear and ballistic missile activity.

In 2013 North Korea also did a nuclear test and unnerved the international community by orchestrating an escalating campaign of military might including threats to fire nuclear missiles at the US and Seoul.

The Korean border is the world's most heavily armed and the rivals' navies occasionally trade gunfire near a disputed boundary in the Yellow Sea.

North Korea has spent decades trying to develop operational nuclear weapons.

North Korea's widely-condemned launch of a long-range rocket could happen within a matter of hours, after Pyongyang shortened and brought forward the start of the launch window to Sunday morning.

An updated notification sent by Pyongyang to UN agencies on Saturday -- a copy of which was released by the South Korean government -- said the launch would now take place between February 7-14.

The initial window announced by the North on Tuesday had been February 8-25.
The planned satellite launch has been slammed by the international community as a disguised ballistic missile test that amounts to another serious violation of UN resolutions, following the North's nuclear test last month.

The brief updated notice sent by Pyongyang offered no reason for the date change.
"The Seoul government believes that (North Korea) completed its launch preparation, such as fuelling the rocket after erecting it on a launch pad after considering various circumstances,"South Korean news agency Yonhap quoted a defence ministry official as saying late Saturday.

South Korea's military was on alert and ready to respond, Yonhap reported another ministry official as saying.

Any launch would now take place before the February 16 birthday of late leader Kim Jong-Il, the father of current leader Kim Jong-Un.

The North insists its space programme is purely scientific in nature, but the United States and allies, including South Korea, say its rocket launches are aimed at developing an inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of striking the US mainland.

UN sanctions prohibit North Korea from any launch using ballistic missile technology.

-- Superbowl launch? --

While the prospective launch dates were changed, there was no amendment to the 7:00am-midday (2230-0330 GMT) daily window.

That means the rocket could blast off during the biggest annual US sports event of the year -- the Superbowl, which kicks of at 8:00am Monday, Pyongyang time.

Predictions of an imminent launch have been bolstered by recent satellite images of fuel tankers at the Sohae satellite launch complex in northwestern North Korea.

The US and its allies have warned Pyongyang it would pay a heavy price for pushing ahead with the launch, but analysts say the North's timing has been carefully calculated to minimise the repercussions.
With the international community still struggling to find a united response to the North's January 6 nuclear test, the rocket launch -- while provocative -- is unlikely to substantially up the punitive ante.
North Korea last launched a long-range rocket in December 2012, placing an Earth observation satellite in orbit.

Western intelligence experts said that satellite had never functioned properly, and argued that this proved the mission's scientific veneer was a sham.

-- Same 2012 carrier --

The flight plan coordinates for the upcoming launch are almost identical to those followed by the three-stage Unha-3 rocket launched in 2012 -- suggesting the same carrier would be used again.
The separated first stage was predicted to fall in the Yellow Sea off the west coast of South Korea, followed by a second stage splashdown in the Philippine Sea.

Despite Pyongyang’s bellicose claims to the contrary, the North is still seen as being years away from developing a credible inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM).

Orbital rocket launches, experts say, are relatively straightforward compared to the challenge of mastering the re-entry technology required to deliver a payload as far away as the United States.
The US-led campaign to impose harsh new sanctions on North Korea over its latest nuclear test have faced opposition from the North's main diplomatic protector, China.

On Friday, both US President Barack Obama and South Korean President Park Geun-Hye spoke by phone with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, urging him to back punitive measures against Pyongyang.
While infuriated by North Korea's refusal to curb its nuclear ambitions, China's overriding concern is avoiding a collapse of the regime in Pyongyang and the possibility of a US-allied unified Korea on its border.

Whenever the US condemns anything, and everything, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is doing, it’s not hard to see through the real motives of the US. The US is having the UN condemn and impose sanctions on the DPRK as they claim that the DPRK is violating human rights, without any actual evidence. The US’s own human rights records are very poor and it’s surprising to see how the US have threated some of its allies who have been proved to violate human rights. For example, the US was always a good ally and trade partner of the racist apartheid regime in South Africa. The US together with its allies France and Britain vetoed a UN resolution passed by the UN General Assembly to eject South Africa from the UN due to it’s proven human rights violations. When the Sharpeville Massacre took place on 21 March 1960, when the South African racist police opened fire on a crowd of black protestors who protested against new segration laws and worsened conditions for the black majority, that was imposed on them by the white minority dictatorship. 180 people where wounded and 69 where murdered when the racist police opened fire on the crowd and many where shot in the back while they were running away from the shooting. As the US, France and Britain were allies of the apartheid regime and they were all key trade associates of South Africa, the Axis powers vetoed the resolution that had a majority of the UN General Assembly behind it. If the DPRK would open up its market to the imperialists and let US multinational companies exploit the natural resources of the DPRK, the US imperialists would stop talking about human rights, as they are not interested in it at all.

The DPRK supported and trained different liberation movements of the oppressed people in Africa, while the US always stood by the side of the oppressors in order to exploit Africa. The motive of the DPRK is based on independence for the masses, while the main motive of the US is to spread imperialism and to make profit, no matter how many that will have to suffer due to the foreign policies of the US. That is why the US is a genocidal state by nature and that is why the US have allies such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Israel, just to mention a few, who are also genocidal violators of human rights.
A North Korean Unha 3 rocket lifts off on December 12, 2012
A North Korean Unha 3 rocket lifts off on December 12, 2012

North Korea has begun informing international organizations of its intention to launch an earth observation satellite sometime between February 8 and 25.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London said it had received notice of the launch and would be issuing an advisory to its members. Such notifications are commonplace for space launches or missile tests and serve as warnings to ships and aircraft to stay away from areas through which the rocket will fly or fall.

The launch notification named the satellite as “Kwangmyongsong,” (광명성) which is the same name given to previous satellites that were built by the country.

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) said it had also received a notification. The letter, which came through the DPRK’s mission to the United Nations in New York, indicated the satellite would have a lifetime of 4 years.

Here’s the notification to the IMO:
160202-imo-1 160202-imo-2

North Korea jointly developed rocket boosters with Iran – and the technology could be deployed in a long-range ballistic missile launch, an analyst said. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI

SEOUL, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- North Korea jointly developed rocket boosters with Iran – and the technology could be deployed in a long-range ballistic missile launch.

Jeffrey Lewis, a North Korea analyst at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, Calif., said that the movement of vehicles near North Korea's launch site indicates a ballistic missile launch is highly possible, Jiji Press reported.

Lewis told Japan press North Korea could launch a rocket similar in size to the Unha-3, which was fired in December 2012, but added the possibility Pyongyang could launch another rocket, equipped with a 80-ton rocket booster developed in cooperation with Iran, cannot be ruled out.

On Monday North Korea notified a United Nations agency of its plan to launch a satellite in February, but the plan could be a cover for a test of Pyongyang's ballistic missile technology.

Other reports indicate North Korea has not stopped developing its nuclear weapons program.
The Institute for Science and International Security in Washington, D.C., said in a report issued Monday recent satellite imagery of North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear complex showed the construction of a new nuclear facility on the premises, Yonhap reported.
"The precise purpose of this site remains unknown. However, it is of interest because the signatures visible through a historical analysis of satellite imagery are consistent with an isotope separation facility, including tritium separation," the report read, referring to satellite images from Jan. 25.

In a previous report, the institute stated Pyongyang has enough nuclear material to build 22 nuclear weapons, and is in possession of 66-88 pounds of separated plutonium.