Monthly Archives: May 2018

Peace in Korea doesn’t serve US interests

“Kim threatens to abandon talks with Trump.” That’s the message my newspaper wants me to focus on. I’m supposed to get the impression that Kim Jong-un is a whimsical, unpredictable dictator impossible to negotiate with. North Korea’s real reason is mentioned only in passing, and as if it was just a prevarication.

I watched TV with some friends the day the presidents of North and South Korea embraced and walked across the border back and forth. My first reaction was: “US will not allow that to go any further”. I didn’t have to wait many days to have that prediction come true.

The means by which US showed its intention was to launch a military maneuver in the South, in the middle of a sensitive peace process, fully aware of what reaction to expect from North Korea. That was a demonstration of arrogant condescension beyond decency, but an action our “civilized media” hardly observed.

There is no possible interpretation of this brazen action other than that the United States don’t want peace in Korea. Short of unconditional surrender, regime change and North Korea joining the other US puppet states, there will be no peace. That’s a low-odds estimate.

Peace in Korea could threaten one of US’s important strong-holds in a region where the Chinese competition becomes increasingly critical. And the US military-industrial complex will have nothing to gain from peace, either.

A no-brainer guess is that US will keep the Israeli-like, perpetual and low-intensive conflict alive in Korea. That will best serve the interests of the global hegemon. Peace-loving people may perhaps have to wait for the 90 percent of world’s population that don’t live in US or EU to put an end to war-mongering (and join China in peacefully “conquering” the world with aid, investment and trade).

What about whataboutism? It’s not a simple club to hit others with.

It has become equally popular to use whataboutism in defense of one’s own errors as to attack those who do. But the concept is not one-dimensional; it’s use can be motivated under some circumstances.

The moral implications of the crimes my country commits are not affected in any way by whatever crimes other countries are guilty of. Thus “what about the crimes of others” has no moral legitimacy. The other way around though, the question becomes more interesting.

Chomsky has taught us the basic principle of moral universalism, found in all religions and cultures. It’s so fundamental that it must have its roots deep in our genes. It simply says that we must apply to ourselves the same standards we apply to others. Those who don’t do so “plainly cannot be taken seriously when they speak of appropriateness of response; or of right and wrong, good and evil.”

So when our media and politicians excel in condemnations of other governments, the question “what about our own crimes” is not just legitimate, its compulsory for everybody who wants to have “a moral leg to stand on”. Clearly, a government who has ordered (and ignored) the killing of thousands cannot condemn some other government for murdering a dozen. It must first rectify its own misdeeds.

That’s not to say that atrocities can’t be discussed and even compared. Some murderous regimes are certainly worse than others. Mechanism that foster militarism is definitely important to discuss, regardless of whom it concerns. And there are naturally many other aspects of violence in the world that should be penetrated and analyzed.

But one thing is self-evidently impossible: I cannot morally condemn others for the same crime a committed myself.

False information in serious media is poisonous

Western propaganda about the despicable Communist hordes during the first Cold War was a no-brainer. There was no Internet; the Russian language was understood by no one but a few pundits, who used their skills to pick detached sentences from Russian media out of context to create the correct misimpression. The demonization went on as if Stalin never died.

Today it’s hard to even fathom such a propaganda-friendly environment. Technology has change the world radically. Now the Internet is a potent tool for enlightened, intelligent progressives to reach out to interested listeners and viewers globally. Measured against all the fact-based and rational information online, much of mainstream media products appear as propagandist demagoguery.

It’s hardly surprising that our self-sufficient media have painted a picture in which “fake news” and “disinformation” are characteristic of the Internet. They find the claim easy to “prove” by citing some knuckleheads or conspiracy theorists, of which there certainly are a few. (Spam is everywhere but is easily disclosed even by young teenagers.)

But the real purpose of defaming Internet is the threat from innumerable, informative sites, often free of charge at that. Already the media carriers – printed paper and fixed TV schedules – are rapidly becoming outdated. The young generation stick to their laptops for most of their communication and media consumption. What already has started to happen is that corporations move their advertising from the old to the new media, which will increase the pressure on newspapers and old-time television.

It could seem as if traditional media have the upper hand in the combat against dissident truths. People tend to believe the same old faces, backed by huge recourses with which to produce impressive presentations – on the surface. And some people certainly are sincere conservatives, though often against their own real interests.

But when corporate media slowly is pressured into the Internet world the level field may perhaps be leveled for the dissident sources. Propaganda lies don’t live forever and truths can’t be suppressed forever. Progressives just have to keep on working and never give up. Enlightenment, knowledge and truths will prevail, though it may take some time.

It took the Catholic Church 400 years to accept Galilei’s description of the solar system. Our corporate, conservative careerists are not that persevering. We just have to keep on grinding to separate the truths from the lies.

Human Rights is for others to abide by

Volvo Cars is about to start a new factory in Charleston, South Carolina, employing around 4,000 people who will produce the new S 60 model. The Swedish union tradition is set out to meet the South Carolina union busting tradition. Let’s see how that turns out.

Nikki Hailey, now famous for saying peculiar things as US representative in the UN Security Assembly, is a former governor of South Carolina. In that position she maintained that her state would welcome more manufacturing jobs, but no unions.

– We dissuade all corporations with unionized employees to come to South Carolina, Haley said to USA Today.

There is nothing decided on the matter yet. According to Dagens Nyheter there are discussions going on with United Auto Workers. The factory will be inaugurated next month so the outcome is probably to be expected in a near future.

The corresponding Swedish union, which has very good relations with Volvo Cars, has urged the company not to take part in any union busting operations.

Maybe the most serious allegation that United States and other countries in the (so called) free world direct against China is that it has no respect for human rights. But there is more to human rights than just freedom of speech, for instance Article 23, mom. 4 in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, which states:

Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.”

Gore Vidal once said that England invented hypocrisy. Since then the western world seem to have perfected the grisly concept.

 

Kim playing chess with Trump

How far from simple common sense have we come when we hear from our media about the possibility that the Peace prize could be given to Trump. The peculiar rationale would be that Trump has put pressure on Kim Jong-Un to make him compliant enough to cancel his nuclear weapons program.

Are we blind or is it just that Asians on average have a few points higher IQ than we? The whole scenario is of course a strategic triumph for the North Koreans. They have an enemy that never have hidden their wish to defeat or even obliterate them. This enemy is the strongest military power in history, performing regular maneuvers in which nuclear attacks on North Korea are simulated.

Despite its strength, this overwhelming power prefers to attack defenseless countries, for every possible aim (except legal once). The militaristic nation in question has declared North Korea one of its prime enemies. What would a North Korean leader with his head screwed on do in that situation?

He would to begin with see to it that his country gained enough military strength (to avoid the fate of Iraq and all the other victims of the merciless aggressor). A nuclear weapons program is the ultimate deterrence. Any aggressor is forced to think twice before doing anything stupid.

When the nuclear weapons are functional, and the defender has shown to the world that they have missiles to carry the warheads all the way to their most threatening adversary, there is a position of strength from which to negotiate. And so did North Korea.

One possible outcome of such negotiations could be that United States takes its military forces out of South Korea, an important prerequisite for a peace treaty. Without nuclear weapons as a trump card (sorry!) in the talks an outcome like that would certainly be unthinkable.

This seemingly self-evident scenario is obviously too difficult for western media to grasp. Or more likely perhaps: they don’t want to grasp it. It’s important to stick to the dramaturgy of children’s fairy-tales: the evil one is always evil and cannot do anything benign. The good ones are us.