Is North Korea China’s Israel?

This piece has been cross-posted from Helena’s vintage personal blog, Just World News.

Over the New Year’s break, North Korea’s military test-fired some short-range (350-400 kilometer) ballistic missiles, while the country’s news agency reported that it was testing a new 600 mm multiple rocket launcher system capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

On Saturday, the often erratic-seeming North Korean leader Kim Jong-un expressed his commitment, “to respond with nuke for nuke and an all-out confrontation for an all-out confrontation.” He said he had ordered more powerful weapons to “absolutely overwhelm the U.S. imperialist aggressive forces and their puppet army.”

But actually, just how erratic is Kim? His recent actions and comments came in the context of South Korea having undertaken unprecedentedly broad joint exercises with the U.S. military, in and around its terrain. And yesterday, the press secretary of South Korean President Yoon Yoon Suk-yeol said that, “In order to respond to the North Korean nuclear weapons, the two countries [South Korea and the United States] are discussing ways to share information on the operation of U.S.-owned nuclear assets, and joint planning and execution of them accordingly.”

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My recent writings on imperialism, settler-colonialism, the Ukraine crisis, etc…

At some point, I want to go back and take a gallop through my intellectual history going back to the 1970s. (Interested folks can see some some aspects of that at my Wikipedia page.) But here, I just want to pull together some of the more worthwhile of the pieces I’ve written over the past 18 months. This was a period in which (a) I was figuring out more and better how to regain my own voice as a writer/thinker/analyst after spending 12-plus years working mainly to amplify the voices of others, and (b) I was struck by a fairly evident sign of ageing in the form of a retina problem that started in early November 2021.

So here’s the best of what I produced over the past 18 months:

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Communique #1: The West and the Rest

The world that those of us in the over-65 age cohort are bequeathing to coming generations is one that faces two threats that threaten all of humankind: one from climate change, and one from nuclear weapons.

Understanding how we– the eight billion human souls on earth today– arrived at this situation is crucial, if we want to plan how to avert or minimize these threats.

On climate change, we need to recognize that countries of West-European heritage were responsible for most of the historic carbon emissions whose effects still plague our climate until today. And these countries continue to spew out emissions at a rate that, per capita, is very much higher than that generated by any countries of the Global South (including China.)

(Click on the image to see the Union of Concerned Scientist’s great web-page with this and other helpful graphics. Others can be found on English-Wikipedia here.)

On the risks from nuclear weapons, we know that the vast bulk of the world’s nuclear arsenals were developed and built by, and are still held by, states of West-European heritage.

And who has borne the harms from these two scourges? The harms that anthropogenic climate change has already caused have been borne disproportionately by peoples not of West-European heritage. And over coming decades, the forecasted effects of climate change will affect all of humanity, but will continue to inflict the gravest harm on the peoples of the Global South.

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