|Pyongyang, North Korea, after firebombing by the United States in the early 1950s|
Those memes equating Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un might make people feel better, but this crisis is strictly Made In USA.
Sure, I have misgivings about the nature of the regime in North Korea, but it must be said that most of what passes for news about the DPRK in the US is transparent and frankly racist nonsense. My general policy is, to quote somebody famous, no investigation no right to speak, which means when confronted by dubious propaganda about North Korea meant to desensitize Americans to the genocidal and aggressive foreign policy of our own government, I choose my words carefully. What most of us need to know about the DPRK is that it is a tiny and relatively poor country that has been deliberately isolated from the world economy for over sixty years. It spent forty years as a brutally enslaved colony of Japan, and half the country has been occupied by American troops ever since. The US and its allies murdered millions of people as they flattened it in a war, actually a thinly disguised war against China, that they couldn't actually win, which is testimony to the resilience of the Korean people. Whether the government in North Korea is something North Koreans like is frankly beside the point. The bottom line must be that Americans don't get to choose how other countries are governed. Now is not really the time to be debating the nature of a society under Washington's lethal sights: now is the time to understand where the real enemies of peace and humanity lie.
The truth is that the US government doesn't care about what kind of government exists in North Korea (and tbh, though Trump's rhetoric is raw and frightening, it's not substantively different than threats made by every single US president since Truman). They don't care about the people in North Korea. Certainly a government that constantly renews blank checks to Saudi Arabia and apartheid Israel, and was the last major international ally of racist white minority ruled South Africa, couldn't be too worried about the people of North Korea. A country that threatens to incinerate an entire population is actually concerned about that population? You BELIEVE that?
This is the thing we must all be clear on: there is no equation between Trump and Kim; there is no equation of "threat" between the tiny DPRK and the massively armed USA. I read a statistic that said DPRK's military budget was less than that of the NYPD. The only actual threat is the one made by the United States. What has actually happened is that the DPRK has "threatened" to defend itself from aggression. The DPRK's posture is entirely provoked by the existential threat that the US's military machine, right on its borders, poses to its right of self-determination. I don't like nukes, but I will not condemn a nation for choosing a desperate option to stop a global bully.
Remember what happened to "crazy" Saddam Hussein, or more importantly, his country after US invasion. To "crazy" Gaddafi or more importantly, his country after US bombing. When you call Kim Jong Un "crazy," you're participating in a racist charade. Tell me the name of another North Korean person why don't you?
There is a country where people are in prison camps, even slave labor camps. There is a country where people are forced to eat garbage, where unemployment is chronic. There is a country where people are killed with total impunity by law enforcement. There is a country where dissent is demonized by the political castes, where dissenters are blacklisted from employment. There is a country which threatens its neighbors, that attacks sovereign nations unprovoked, that sends its armies across the world in blood-orgies of murder. There is a country that steals from others. There is a country whose elections are farces. There is a country where family and financial connections ensure political and social influence. There is a country where warlike mobs can be pushed to bloodlust through chants and manipulation. There is a country whose residents routinely fantasize about how they should "take out" anybody they choose on the world stage. That country is not North Korea, it's the USA.
Let's recognize the real threat and deal with it. We're running out of time. No, Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump are not equal in any way, and your oh-so-funny Kim Jong Un memes are the equivalent of making ching-chong faces; to call them racist is to be making an understatement.
It is without contest. The main threat to humanity is the one in Washington.
(Crossposted from my personal Facebook. I have had plenty to say in the months since the election, none of which involves me changing my mind about my abstention, but for various reasons have decided to cut back on blogging here. But this seemed like a good milestone to add here for the record. I'm not abandoning this blog, I actually refer to it myself a lot, but especially until I finish my book project I can't commit here to return to a regular schedule. Comments always welcome. See you next time!)