Korea, the Pentagon and the nuclear issue

By Sam Marcy (March 31, 1994)
All facts and personages of great importance in world history, wrote Karl Marx in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, occur twice: the first time as tragedy and the second as farce.

The 1950-53 Korean War and the attempt of the U.S. to begin the subjugation of the Asian continent can only be regarded as a great tragic event, considering the millions of casualties in the struggle. On the U.S. side alone, there were more than 50,000 deaths.

But now comes the attempt of the U.S. government to cast the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea--the socialist government in the north--in the role of a villain attempting to subjugate south Korea. What a farce that is! It is one of those flights of imagination permissible to novelists, perhaps, but not historians.

At the present moment, the U.S. is resorting to truly desperate means to try and demonstrate that the DPRK is engaged, both secretly and overtly, in a villainous scheme to become a nuclear power without the authorization of Washington and Wall Street.

What is the IAEA?

What is the truth about the controversy between the U.S. and the DPRK?

Some years ago, the U.S. decided to set up an international committee whose purpose was to monitor nuclear technology that had a potential for developing weapons. The U.S. persuaded such imperialist powers as Britain and France to be part of it, and included most Western capitalist countries.

This International Atomic Energy Agency over a period of time took upon itself powers not defined at the time of its formation, powers that no government has delegated to it. Its finances come from the contributions of the capitalist powers.

Slowly, it became an agency that not merely gathered technical and scientific information to be made available to the world, but that also demanded of non-nuclear powers information and reports on the status of their atomic capability.

Insofar as this was confined to the capitalist world, mostly the imperialist powers, it aroused little attention. But when the IAEA began to take upon itself the responsibility for monitoring the oppressed Third World countries, its purpose as an arm of imperialism came out in the open.

It is to the good fortune of China that it has been a strong and vigorous socialist state and was able to withstand the Korean War without being subjected to an invasion by the U.S. However, no peace agreement was ever signed between the U.S. and the DPRK. The Pentagon kept 40,000 troops stationed permanently in the south of Korea, and the threat of renewed fighting was always present.

When China announced in 1964 that it had exploded an atomic bomb, it seemingly shocked the whole world. But in reality there was jubilation among oppressed countries.

When it was announced at a memorable UN session, representatives of Third World countries literally jumped to their feet with joy. China had accomplished what the imperialists had tried in every way to obstruct. The imperialists had no alternative but to accept China as a nuclear power.

Do the imperialist powers still have the political authority, for example through the UN, to obstruct an oppressed country from achieving its own nuclear capability without the authorization of Washington and Wall Street?

The DPRK has reached a state in its economic and industrial-technological development where it can move rather rapidly in the field of nuclear development, and has done so in the field of nuclear power. It may possibly have the ability to develop a nuclear bomb.

Sovereignty of DPRK

The DPRK, among other Third World countries, had agreed to give the IAEA information and allow the agency to inspect its nuclear premises. But it is strictly up to Korea to decide how far foreign capitalist representatives may go in inspecting nuclear facilities in its own country.

The DPRK has been cooperative with the IAEA, up to a point. But in the opinion of the Koreans, these inspectors, all of them from the capitalist West, then began to go further than what the Korean government had agreed was necessary to fulfill its obligations under the IAEA agreement.

It would have been right and proper at that point for these inspectors to abide by the Korean decision. And it was essential for the Western capitalist countries to respect the Korean decision. The Korean government is the ultimate authority on who comes and goes to inspect any of the facilities in the DPRK, nuclear or otherwise. This is necessary to sustain its sovereign status as an independent country.

Who, then, is opposing all this? The U.S. government, and most prominently and vociferously the Pentagon, supported by the State Department.

What are they up to? A rerun of the Korean War?

The U.S. government was able to corral, confuse, bamboozle and in every way lie about who started the fighting in Korea in 1950. It spread fear and confusion in the world media that the USSR and People's China had instigated the DPRK to commence the struggle and were setting the stage for "a classic battle between communism and freedom."

Under present circumstances, such deception is not available to the U.S. government. China has its own independent position in foreign affairs. Its relation to the DPRK is conducted as that of a friendly neighbor, if not a socialist ally.

So far as the USSR is concerned, it is gone. The influence of Russia as a bourgeois state is at the present time minimal in Korea.

So the Pentagon has succumbed to the dream of corralling the entire Korean peninsula as a stepping stone to a new phase in its attempt to take over the Asian mainland.

It is from this world perspective that we have to understand the position of the DPRK in guarding its own sovereignty and not succumbing to either the wiles or the military threats of the U.S.

In a socialist order, the exchange of vital technical and scientific data is the ABC of friendship and fraternal relations. Under imperialism, it can easily become the pivot for a world conflagration.

This is what has to be watched in the case of Korea. The progressive and working class forces in this country have to support the just cause of the DPRK. In doing so they are defending the most vital interests of the working class and oppressed masses right here.

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