It seems that not everyone in the world was panicked or outraged by the fact that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea carried out its third underground nuclear test on Feb. 12. Many people thought that if the U.S. and other imperialists can stockpile these fearsome weapons, why can’t People’s Korea have some to defend itself against a possible attack?
This view is banned from the capitalist media and legislatures around the world. Nevertheless, the logic of the DPRK’s position has many adherents, especially among oppressed peoples.
For too long, the U.S. in particular has claimed that it has every right in the world to possess thousands of nuclear weapons, enough to blow up the whole world, justifying them as a “deterrent” to war.
Ramsey Clark, founder of the International Action Center, described the horrible, destructive power of the Trident submarine to a large group at Riverside Church in New York who had come to celebrate his 85th birthday and the IAC’s 20th year of struggle on Jan. 12. Just one submarine, he said, carried enough nuclear missiles to totally destroy more than 50 large cities around the world.
How is a small country like the DPRK going to defend itself against such a threat? It is ringed by U.S. bases and ships. If anyone needs a deterrent, it’s the DPRK, which was invaded by the U.S. in the 1950s and still can’t get Washington to sit down and discuss a treaty to end that terrible war.
Workers World has long supported the right of the DPRK to defend itself against U.S. imperialism, including the right to develop a nuclear deterrent. The Koreans do not want another war, as its leader, Kim Jong Un, told basketball superstar Dennis Rodman on his recent visit there. Naturally, neither do we.
U.S. wars proliferate
But the U.S. rulers and their political strategists are no pacifists. They have resorted to military aggression many, many times just in the past decade; think Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Somalia for starters. They picked on countries that couldn’t retaliate.
The DPRK lost 3 million people to U.S. aggression in the 1950s. The country has a keen understanding, born out of bitter experience, of the atrocious lengths to which U.S. imperialism will go in its drive for world domination. It leaders refuse to bow down to sanctions and surrender their ability to respond to an attack.
The U.S. has finagled at least one U.N. Security Council resolution sanctioning the DPRK over its nuclear deterrent. The media are reporting that Washington is in the process of readying another resolution to be passed by the Council. Such resolutions do nothing to secure peace in the world. They only whet the appetite of the biggest aggressor, which has tried to hold the world hostage to its own nuclear arsenal.
But the reactionary grip over “world public opinion” on north Korea is weakening. Voices are speaking out in defense of this much-maligned country that has held onto its socialist goals despite great material obstacles.
One sign of this was a 1,700-word online letter posted by a left group in the People’s Republic of China that congratulated the DPRK on the success of its nuclear test. It appeared on the website of the bookstore belonging to Utopia, which has criticized some Chinese government policies from the left.
According to an article in the Feb. 15 South China Morning Post, which is published in Hong Kong, the Utopia letter praised the DPRK, saying, “The successful test, which was conducted despite pressure from various reactionary forces, proves that the Workers’ Party and comrade Kim possess the capability and resolution to lead the socialist country to prosperity.”
China resisted Test Ban Treaty in 1964
According to the article, “The letter said ‘hostile forces’ led by the United States had been trying to force ‘traitors’ among China’s communist leaders to ‘do something similar to [what happened in] the Soviet Union and betray the party and people’ with their sanctions and smear campaign against Pyongyang. … It also compared the blast to the first nuclear test in China five decades ago and praised the determination of chairman Mao Zedong at the time, which had enhanced China’s international status.”
China had to resist pressures from both the U.S. and the leaders of the USSR to develop its own defensive nuclear program. In 1963 Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev signed a Test Ban Treaty with the U.S. that left China, its most important ally, out in the cold. The ban was supposed to lead to general disarmament, which never happened. In the context of the U.S. war of aggression raging in Vietnam on China’s border, Mao had to make the decision to defy the ban. China tested its first nuclear weapon on Oct. 14, 1964.
Since then, many countries have developed a nuclear capability. Some are U.S. allies, some are not. But only when a country is independent of U.S. pressure is a big fuss made in the capitalist media.
It’s a good sign of maturing political consciousness in the world regarding the hypocrisy of the imperialists that the DPRK is able to break through the isolation that the U.S. tries to impose on it and that more people are speaking up in its defense.