THE LATEST THINKING
The opinions of THE LATEST’s guest contributors are their own.
Are North Korea, Iran and Russia threats to America, or are we threatening them?
The appointment of war hawk John Bolton makes the question all the more important. Congressional Republicans, and most Democrats, with the acquiescence and cooperation of mainstream media, have the gullible public believing that North Korea, Iran and Russia are all major threats to the U.S. Perhaps it is worth considering the threat that America poses to each of these countries.
Before that examination, remember the Cuban missile crisis in the early 1960s. Following the failed Bay of Pigs invasion, plots to assassinate Castro, and the deployment of U.S. ballistic missiles in Italy and Turkey, the Soviet Union agreed to Castro’s request and arrayed missiles in Cuba as a deterrent to further U.S. invasions. Drastic U.S. response followed, precipitating our closest brush with nuclear war.
During the Korean War American planes dropped 635,000 tons of bombs, including 32,557 tons of napalm, more than all the bombs dropped in the entire Pacific theater during WWII. An estimated 3 million Koreans were killed, injured or missing. The entire country was essentially razed to the ground. Following the war, nuclear weapons were positioned in South Korea from 1958 until 1991. To this day about 35,000 US troops are permanently stationed there, and another 40,000 in Japan. Each year, American and South Korean forces engage in massive military exercises. Is it any wonder that North Korea built a disproportionately large military, and developed nuclear weapons?
Turning to Iran, how many Americans know the C.I.A led a coup that ousted the hugely popular Prime Minister Mossadegh, and installed Shah Reza Pahlavi who ruled as a virtual dictator, regularly employing the vicious Savak secret police to quell unrest. Many Americans remember the taking of American hostages during the revolution that overthrew the Shah in 1979, but how many know the U.S. backed Saddam Hussein during the Iraq-Iran war in the 1980's, including supplying weapons, and reconnaissance intelligence understanding Iraq was using chemical weapons (against Iran and against its own Kurdish civilians), the components of which were supplied by America, Germany, The Netherlands, the U.K. and France.
The U.S. has long accused Iran of sponsoring terrorism. True or not, repeated often enough the propagandized accusation gains public traction, even in the absence of concrete evidence. Victim of sanctions decades old and encircled by U.S. military bases (see map), is Iran really threatening America?
Finally, America is again ramping up a Cold War atmosphere with Russia, repetitively citing Russia as a world threat. However, we should ask why the U.S. reneged on a post-Cold War promise not to advance N.A.T.O. bases into Eastern Europe in return for unified Germany becoming a N.A.T.O. member. The following map of U.S. bases does not include those in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. If you were Russian, would you feel threatened? Would we allow Russian bases close to our borders?
The U.S. has more than 800 military bases in approximately 80 countries, regularly conducting exercises. The British, French and Russian have about 30 foreign bases combined. Who is actually threatening who?
OSLO, Norway The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded Friday to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, a group...