David Swanson / David Swanson.org & World BEYOND War & RootsAction – 2018-04-30 19:17:41
Peace Comes to Korea: Let’s Understand Why
David Swanson / David Swanson.org
After North and South Korea’s leaders shared a friendly handshake and vowed to work toward wiping away nuclear weapons from the Korean Peninsula, once high-flying defense stocks are taking the hit . . . .
The US’s five largest defense contractors shed about $10.2 billion in value on Friday alone.
Lockheed Martin fell 2.5% to a valuation of about $92.1 billion;
Northrop Grumman slid 3.4% to $56 billion;
General Dynamics shed 3.8% to $60.7 billion;
Raytheon dropped 3.6% to $50.8 billion; and finally,
Boeing slid a much lesser 1% to $200.2 billion.
— Fortune magazine (April 30, 2018)
(April 30, 2018) — When peace shows its face, and weapons companies’ stocks plummet, we have to do more than just cheer. We have to avoid misunderstanding where peace comes from. We have to recognize the forces that want to destroy it. We have to work to make it last and expand.
There’s something very twisted about the belief that the primary cause of tension between the United States and North Korea is what has reduced tension there. On a personal scale I think we could grasp this.
If you yell insults and threats across the street at someone and they return the favor, and this carries on until a third party intervenes and proposes resolving the conflict, you can’t then proclaim that the person you were yelling at finally gave in and shut up because you yelled loudly enough. In fact, proclaiming that runs the risk of starting the yelling back up again.
Applying the same understanding to Korea is hindered by a couple of truly insane but widespread habits of thought. First, there’s the belief that because I’m a US citizen and not an aggressive bully and not interested in any way with North Korea and none of my friends are either, why then the same must be true of the US government.
This mistake is compounded by the notion that history doesn’t matter and the crazy concept of a “national interest” understood as something every one in a nation and its government all share in common. If you own stock in Lockheed Martin and want peace, your interests don’t even line up with your own interests, never mind those of John Bolton and Bill Gates.
Second, there’s the belief that worrying about nuclear apocalypse has gone out of style, that it is just oh so 1980s, because that’s what television makes it seem like, even though the risk has increased and understanding of the risk has changed so that in fact we understand that fewer nukes would do more damage than most people imagined in the1980s.
If history and facts do matter, then we have to take these facts seriously. The United States government divided Korea in half. The United States government imposed a brutal dictatorship on South Korea. The United States’ South Korean dictator helped start a war in which the United States destroyed most of North Korea’s cities.
The United States prevented the war from officially ending or the two Koreas from reuniting for over half a century. The United States imposed brutal sanctions on the people of North Korea for over half a century. The United States threatened North Korea and militarized South Korea over whose military it maintained wartime control for over half a century.
North Korea negotiated a disarmament agreement with the United States in the 1990s and for the most part abided by it, but the United States did not.
The United States called North Korea part of an axis of evil, destroyed one of that axis’s other two members, and has threatened to destroy the third member ever since. And ever since, North Korea has said that it would re-negotiate but has built the weapons it thinks will protect it.
It has said it would renegotiate if the United States will commit to not attacking it again, will stop putting missiles in South Korea, will stop flying practice nuking missions near North Korea. Instead of halting these behaviors, the United States has ramped up the threats, while North Korea has reciprocated.
Now a third party has intervened: the South Korean government, with a big boost from the South Korean people who threw out the previous government which refused to stand up to the United States — and with a big boost from South Korean and North Korean (let’s start just saying Korean) peace activists and peace activists from around the world. South Korea has agreed to no more threats of war and to disarmament.
That will mean, if followed through on, no more practice flights, no more presidential death tweets from hell, no more bases built and weapons installed — in fact the gradual removal of those weapons and bases and troops that are there. (We can of course give every single person impacted a better and better-paying job for less money in peaceful enterprises.)
Now if anyone in the US government wants to take credit for peace, by all means let them. Make it a positive thing to be for peace. Peace is extremely easy to choose when you control the means to war, and we should make those in power consider the advantages to their immediate selves of choosing it.
But if anyone wants to pretend that peace has come about through threats and sanctions, the very things that created the problem, they are risking all of our lives. That’s not hyperbole. That’s what nuclear war means, even a small nuclear war.
And if North Korea gets rid of its nukes, and then the United States attacks it, we can all forget about any small country ever giving up its nukes again anywhere on earth — and we can probably forget the earth.
The United States would never do such a thing, you say, but I would encourage you to ask the Libyans, the Iraqis, the Afghans, Yemenis, Somalis, Vietnamese, most of Latin America, the Filipinos, the . . . well, just ask the other 96%, any of them.
When the United States made a nuclear agreement with Iran, it was an agreement that the United States would stop immorally, illegally, catastrophically, moronically, and sadistically — and bi-partisanly — threatening war on Iran. It wasn’t justified by anything else, although there’s never any harm in ever-greater restrictions on nukes, which ought to be applied globally, not just to Iran.
According to Gallup, most nations polled view the United States as the greatest threat to peace on earth. Certainly the people of Korea (all of Korea) understand that. The people of the United States need to understand it too.
If US government employees swore a Hippocratic oath, the United States would immediately get its missiles, its military, and its nose out of the Korean peninsula and let peace proceed.
David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson’s books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015, 2016, 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.
ACTION ALERT: What Was Unimaginable
Blackrock: If North Korea Can Divest from
Nuclear Weapons, So Can You
Jodie Evans / CODEPINK
(April 30, 2018) — On Friday, as I watched North Korean leader Kim Jong-un gently take the hand of South Korean President Moon Jae-in to walk back and forth across the line that has signified the divide between their two countries for 74 years, I was in tears.
It was just three years ago that 30 international women, drawn together by Christine Ahn, crossed the DMZ with a call for the peace on the Korean peninsula. Medea Benjamin, Ann Wright, and I were there.
We saw the insanity of the separation, a line drawn in Washington DC in 1953that tore apart families, separating parent from child, brother from sister. At that time the leadership of South Korea was not talking to North Korea, and the idea of them meeting was a distant dream. Three years later, the two leaders met and produced a joint peace declaration!
Let’s face it, if Kim Jong-un can give up his nuclear weapons, then it’s time for investment firms like BlackRock to say no to war, too. CODEPINK has been calling for a large-scale movement away from investing in weapons of war because no one should profit from conflict.
The North and South Korean leaders have laid out a path toward a comprehensive peace. They have agreed to phase denuclearization; a peace treaty; reuniting families; connecting rail and roads, and transforming the DMZ into a peace zone.
The agreement between these two nations exemplifies the breadth and depth of what truly peaceful relations would look like. Now we all have to ensure that the United States will also move forward and make the necessary compromises to establish peace on the Korean Peninsula.
After the announcement in Korea, the stocks of US weapons manufacturers plummeted. In just one day, the big five companies lost $10 billion, even though non-military stocks around the world either went up or stayed neutral.
Peace is bad business for the weapons makers and their investors. BlackRock is the largest investment firm in the world. It controls trillions of dollars and has billions invested in weapons manufacturers.
ACTION: Join us in calling for BlackRock to divest from war, and redirect their investments towards the enrichment of our communities and conditions conducive to life.
I am still overwhelmed with joy. We have a real chance for peace in Korea when just months ago we were holding our breaths in fear of a nuclear war. While there’s much work to be done, let’s celebrate peace and the peacemakers, and let’s stop those who profit from war.
Holding hands and creating peace together,
Jodie Evans and the entire CODEPINK Team
Sign the People’s Peace Treaty with North Korea
Alarmed by the threat of a nuclear war between the US and North Korea, concerned US peace groups have come together to send an open message to Washington and Pyongyang that we are strongly opposed to any resumption of the horrific Korean War. What we want is a peace treaty to finally end the lingering Korean War!
Inspired by the Vietnam-era People’s Peace Treaty, we have initiated a People’s Peace Treaty with North Korea, to raise awareness about the past US policy toward North Korea, and to send a clear message that we, the people of the US, do not want another war with North Korea. This is not an actual treaty, but rather a declaration of peace from the people of the United States.
Our goal is to collect many thousands of signatures, and to publicize the People’s Peace Treaty to the people in the US as well as in the rest of the world. Please add your voice for peace by signing the People’s Peace Treaty with North Korea.
ACTION: Click here to add your name, and scroll down to find the names of prominent signers.
People’s Peace Treaty with North Korea
A Message of Peace from the People of the United States
Deeply concerned with the increasing danger of the current military tensions and threats between the Governments of the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (the DPRK, North Korea), which may re-ignite the horrendous fighting in the Korean War by design, mistake or accident;
Recalling that the United States currently possesses about 6,800 nuclear weapons, and has threatened the use of nuclear weapons against North Korea in the past, including the most recent threat made by the US President in his terrifying speech to the United Nations (“totally destroy North Korea”);
Regretting that the US Government has so far refused to negotiate a peace treaty to replace the temporary Korean War Armistice Agreement of 1953, although such a peace treaty has been proposed by the DPRK many times from 1974 on;
Convinced that ending the Korean War officially is an urgent, essential step for the establishment of enduring peace and mutual respect between the US and the DPRK, as well as for the North Korean people’s full enjoyment of their basic human rights to life, peace and development â€“ ending their long sufferings from the harsh economic sanctions imposed on them by the US Government since 1950.
NOW, THEREFORE, as a Concerned Person of the United States of America (or on behalf of a civil society organization), I hereby sign this People’s Peace Treaty with North Korea, dated November 11, 2017, Armistice Day (also Veterans Day in the US), and
1) Declare to the world that the Korean War is over as far as I am concerned, and that I will live in “permanent peace and friendship” with the North Korean people (as promised in the 1882 US-Korea Treaty of Peace, Amity, Commerce and Navigation that opened the diplomatic relations between the US and Korea for the first time);
2) Express my deep apology to the North Korean people for the US Government’s long, cruel and unjust hostility against them, including the near total destruction of North Korea due to the heavy US bombings during the Korean War;
3) Urge Washington and Pyongyang to immediately stop their preemptive (or preventive) conventional/nuclear attack threats against each other and to sign the new UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons;
4) Call upon the US Government to stop its large-scale, joint war drills with the armed forces of the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and Japan, and commence a gradual withdrawal of the US troops and weapons from South Korea;
5) Call upon the US Government to officially end the lingering and costly Korean War by concluding a peace treaty with the DPRK without further delay, to lift all sanctions against the country, and to join the 164 nations that have normal diplomatic relations with the DPRK;
6) Pledge that I will do my best to end the Korean War, and to reach out to the North Korean people â€“ in order to foster greater understanding, reconciliation and friendship.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.