Editor’s note: An “Era of Peace” has begun.
That’s the news coming out of the Korean Peninsula. Recently, North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un and South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in held a historic peace talk at the border between the two countries.
It was the first such meeting in 11 years. And many people think it will bring an end to their longtime standoff.
Casey Daily Dispatch editor Justin Spittler called Doug Casey to figure out what this means for the region and the rest of the world…
Justin: Doug, what do you make of all this?
Doug: Well, it’s most unusual. Since the armistice in 1953, these two countries have been very bellicose. Trump nearly pushed them to the brink of war. Now, the two sides’ governments are lovey-dovey. North Korea and South Korea are friends again.
It’s hard to know what to believe. Frankly, nobody knows. Probably least of all the braindead and self-serving US “intelligence community,” which has missed absolutely every major development since the end of WW2. All anybody knows is what the media’s saying. And that’s unreliable. Reporters mostly parrot government press releases. Most of what gets repeated is conjecture and speculation.
One meme floating around is that the US employed a new super weapon, dubbed the “Rod from God.” It’s basically a tungsten rod, a foot in diameter and 20 feet long, dropped from orbit. It only uses kinetic energy, so there’s no radioactive fallout, but it’s as devastating as a small nuclear explosion. They say it took out the North’s nuclear capability, and scared them to the negotiating table. An interesting possibility, but I doubt it.
There’s absolutely no way to tell what’s really happening. It’s shrouded in guesswork and secrecy.
One thing is certain: There are lots of territorial disputes between all the countries in the region. And I’m not just talking about China building military platforms in the China Sea. I should note that all people—everywhere—in the world are nationalistic. This is actively encouraged by their governments. But Asians are by far the worst offenders. Just under the surface, most of them pretty much hate and despise each other as far as I can tell. It’s like the Kingston Trio song, “The French hate the Germans, the Germans hate the Dutch,” etc. But on steroids.
Nobody could have predicted the current detente a month ago. No one knows what will happen a month from now, either. Nonetheless, what seems to be the current reality is very good. A couple of months ago, many people were worried—quite reasonably—that WW3 was about to start.
Justin: Yeah, you’re right. Anything could happen. After all, the two sides have been here before. There were peace talks in 1972, 1992, 2000, and 2007. None of those resolved the longstanding tensions between the two countries. Not only that, none of the specifics have been ironed out yet. It’s all up in the air.
Doug: I haven’t been to North Korea, but I have been to the South a couple of times. It’s a highly developed country in all respects. Which is quite amazing, in that during the Korean War the place was leveled. Air Force General Curtis LeMay actually did to North Korea what he threatened to do to North Vietnam. Even more amazing is that North Korea, although it clearly has a very low standard of living, and is very backward in most regards, has real military capabilities.
Most Americans are completely unaware that the US dropped 635,000 tons of bombs on them—compared to only 500,000 on the whole Pacific theatre during WW2. The death toll is guesstimated at 2 million. About 20% of the civilian population—about 10 million at the time—was killed. Every meaningful building in the country was destroyed. Large dams were destroyed, washing away whole regions with tens of thousands of poor ignorant peasants.
For the last 60 years, the North Koreans have been told, 24-7, that the Americans are beasts, devils, responsible for all the death and destruction. And, without getting into an argument about who’s right and who’s wrong, who’s good and who’s evil, it was a pretty easy sale to make.
They’re not friends of the Yankee Imperialist Dogs, or their allies. Japan was already hated for what happened in WW2, and Seoul was painted—correctly, in fact—as a puppet of the Americans. The South, incidentally, was a nasty dictatorship for decades after the war.
What I’m saying is that the North is a horrible place. But it’s not as if we’re angels either. It’s going to take more than a little while to normalize relations.
Justin: Do you think this could possibly ease tensions between the US and China?
Doug: Well, one sine qua non to ease tensions between the US and China is for the United States to pull its troops out. The US wouldn’t like it if the Chinese had 30,000 troops in Mexico, either.
Even more important, the US also needs to stop sailing its carrier groups off the coast of China. That would help defuse the situation. But it wouldn’t change the big trend. And that is that the US is getting weaker while China is getting stronger.
So what’s happening in Korea is just a sideshow. But one I’m happy to see.
Justin: Who deserves credit for this? A lot of folks are saying Trump. South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in even thinks that Trump should get the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in all this.
Doug: If you just look at this one thing, Trump probably should get it. He did something highly intelligent—something previous US presidents have been too stupid to do. He encouraged the two sides to have a conversation.
Trump should be congratulated for that. It helps make up for his continuing—pointless—military involvement in Afghanistan, Iraq, and many other countries. Not least of which are Syria and Yemen. And asking for trouble with Russia.
That said, the Nobel Peace Prize is the most overrated award in the history of man. They gave it to Henry Kissinger, one of the world’s great warmongers. Plus Yitzhak Rabin, Menachem Begin, Yasser Arafat, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson—all of them worse than warmongers, but that’s another subject. Then Al Gore gets one. And Barrack Obama, for doing absolutely nothing. Plus, a lot of political groups, including the EU.
The prize is completely meaningless. An embarrassment, actually.
They ought to get rid of the entire committee that passes these things out, and replace it with people who have some sort of philosophical coherence. Because they give it to everyone from war criminals to Mother Teresa, who was apparently a fraud in her own right. They’re all over the map.
The award is just a public relations stunt. That’s all it is.
Justin: I agree. Plus, as you said, it’s not like Trump isn’t getting involved in other conflicts.
Doug: Trump may have had something to do with what’s happening in Korea. But he’s negating this by sticking America’s nose deeper into the Middle East. This is an area of the world where we have absolutely zero interest, zero knowledge and zero prospects of creating favorable change.
The Middle East is a dog’s breakfast of ethnic groups, religious groups, political groups, and people with vastly different philosophies and agendas. They’ve been mashed together into meaningless nation states, which are falling apart before our eyes.
The US government has zero business there. It should stop dissipating the country’s capital, stop making enemies, and totally withdraw from the Middle East. Let those people sort it by themselves.
Justin: That’s all for today, Doug. Thanks for taking the time to speak with me.
Doug: No problem.
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