[Marxism] Will n. Korea nuke test be big blow to US plans for nuke weapons?

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Sun May 8 22:45:55 MDT 2005


I believe a North Korean nuclear test, if it is really in the offing and
if the regime goes through with it, will be a blow of massive
proportions to the US plans to make nuclear weapons a potentially normal
tour in its police actions against Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and
the Americas.  And it will get an appropriately savage response,
including likely economic sanctions imposed by "civilized humanity" --
the UN or the European Union or whoever.

Of course, proliferation has its dangers for humanity -- a simple fact
that noone can deny -- and proliferation has had such dangers since it
began in the United States. But nothing is more dangerous for the human
race than the US maintaining a monopoly of nuclear weapons. The
continued proliferation of these weapons beyond the United States is one
of the top reasons why the US has been unable to use them since the
incineration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.  Despite the periodic
media orgies about the crazy Pakistanis and Indians, or the North
Koreans, or whoever, who is more than ready to incinerate the world to
satisfy their  "national hatreds," noone else has been so eager as the
US government to win the right to use nuclear weapons in whatever form
as a normal weapon of war.  But they insist on a prerequisite: their
enemies must be deprived of all "weapons of mass destruction" including,
in the case of Venezuela, rifles.

I believe complete nuclear disarmament is a vital goal (and I believe
further proliferation beyond the United States, on the whole, has made
it more possible rather than more difficult, as most seem to take for
granted).
But I believe that the rest of the human race would be ill-advised to
grant the US the preconditions they desire for use of nuclear weapons --
forced nuclear disarmament of their foes.  The price of that mistake
would be much more dangerous than the serious problems posed by the
spread of weapons that can destroy the planet.

If the United States is forced to swallow the nuclear armament of North
Korea, we should assume they will attempt to take out their frustration,
and show their continued dominance, against Iran.  The end to the
US-Israeli monopoly on these weapons would be a big strategic defeat to
the US imperialists, setting limits to what they can do to establish
qualitatively higher levels of US imperialist domination and
exploitation in the region.  Nuclear weapons are no substitute for the
struggle of the masses against the imperialists and for progressive
change in the region, but they have served as a significant deterrent to
US aggression since 1949, when the Soviet Union tested its first A-bomb.
So far, the North Korean case seems to confirm that this partial
deterrent effect is still in operation.

US campaigns and preachments against nuclear weapons deserve no credence
whatever until and unless they are accompanied by substantial acts of
unilateral disarmament, and a renunciation of the use of these weapons
in any form. 
Fred Feldman


New York Times
May 7, 2005
U.S. Warns North Korea Against Nuclear Test
By DAVID E. SANGER 
WASHINGTON, May 6 - The White House warned North Korea on Friday that
conducting a nuclear test would be "a provocative act," and Japan's
foreign minister raised the possibility of requesting United Nations
sanctions against the North.

The White House statement came a day after The New York Times reported
growing concern among administration officials and several intelligence
agencies about signs that North Korea might conduct its first nuclear
test at a site near Kilju in the northeast. 

Several officials confirmed those reports on Friday, and two officials
with access to the information said satellites were also watching the
construction of some platforms and crates hundreds of miles from the
possible test site, near a nuclear reactor at Yongbyon. 

The construction there may suggest that preparations are being made to
remove spent nuclear fuel rods from the reactor, which was turned off
more than a month ago. "It's still something of a mystery," said one of
the officials with access to the report. "It's not clear if this
construction is related to the rods or not."

If the rods are reprocessed, they could yield enough plutonium for a
couple of new nuclear weapons, officials said. But officials have not
ruled out the possibility that the reactor was shut for maintenance or
as part of a ruse by the North to heighten concern that it is proceeding
full steam with its nuclear program.

A few intelligence officials urged caution in interpreting the satellite
evidence. While they acknowledge finding signs of continued activity
near tunnels in the Kilju area, there is clearly some disagreement among
intelligence agencies about whether the latest evidence indicates a
drive toward a test.

"What worries us most is that there is a progression of openness among
the North Koreans about their nuclear capabilities," said one senior
administration official who has been studying the evidence. "They have
unfolded new phases of specificity about what they can do, and they seem
to have been on a long-term path of ending the ambiguity about their
capability." 

Whatever the North's motivations, several governments issued carefully
worded warnings on Friday. Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura of Japan
noted that negotiations had gone nowhere for the past 11 months, and he
added, "If there is no progress we have to think of other options, such
as taking this matter to the United Nations Security Council." He
stopped short of saying what types of sanctions might be sought.

In New York, where a United Nations meeting on the spread of nuclear
weapons is under way, the head of the International Atomic Energy
Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, said the world must exert pressure on the
North not to conduct a test, saying it would have "disastrous political
and environmental consequences."

President Bush's spokesman, Scott McClellan, told reporters on Air Force
One on the way to Latvia: "I don't want to get into discussing
intelligence matters. But what I would say is that if North Korea did
take such a step, that would just be another provocative act that would
further isolate it from the international community."

Military and Pentagon officials said Friday that there was no unusual or
accelerated planning under way for any military action to halt either a
nuclear test or the removal of more nuclear fuel from a North Korean
reactor. North Korea's ability to strike Seoul, the South Korean
capital, with conventional mortar rounds from its emplacements north of
the demilitarized zone between the two countries and to threaten Japan
with missiles has long given the North protection from any American-led
strike. These officials emphasized that a diplomatic solution to North
Korean nuclear ambitions remained the No. 1 choice across the Bush
administration.

At the State Department and the White House, officials said they were
considering a range of options for taking the issue to the United
Nations Security Council. One idea is to establish a quarantine
operation - though the administration says it will not use that word -
that would search shipments in and out of the country for weapons. But
it is unclear whether China or Russia would be willing to allow such a
resolution to pass in the Council.

Officials acknowledged that even if economic sanctions were approved,
there would be no way to enforce them along the Chinese border, where
most of North Korea's trade takes place.

Thom Shanker contributed reporting for this article.



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