East Asia Theater
Now that it has pretty much been confirmed that North Korea did explode a nuclear bomb, if a very small one, comes the news that it may be ready to repeat the feat on short order. Yes, this is deeply disturbing, but Selig Harrison (who has a penchant for saying things the Washington elite doesn't want to hear) warned weeks before the blast that it was coming, and that it would be a tactic by Pyongyang to press Washington for direct negotiations—another possibility we have noted before. If this is true, Bush's intransigence essentially prompted North Korea to cross the nuclear threshold. From AlJazeera, Sept. 23:
As of this writing, some 12 hours after North Korea announced its first test of a nuclear weapon, at an underground site in North Hamgyong province, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has still not moved the hands of the famous Doomsday Clock, which last moved forward in February 2002 and now stands at seven to midnight—just as it did at its unveiling in 1947. Has North Korea indeed now joined the elite "nuclear club," heretofore consisting of the US, Russia, UK, France, China, India, Pakistan and Israel?
The growing repression in China against peasants struggling to keep their lands before the onslaught of "development"—and now against their lawyers—is clearly analogous to peasant struggles raging throughout Latin America. Note the reference to forced sterilizations of peasants in the below story, long a fave tactic against insurgent campesino communities, most recently in southern Mexico. Yet the lefty zines and blogs in the West pay no attention to the Chinese peasant struggle, leaving it to bourgeois organs such as the New York Times. The left in the West seems to fall for the charade that China is still "communist." All of the evidence points to an utterly savage capitalism reigning in the "People's Republic." But the most egregious exponents of the American idiot left go so far as to support the Tiananmen Square massacre as a crackdown on a "counter-revolutionary rebellion." What's really ironic is that these same groups cultivate similar illusions about Islamic fundamentalists like Hezbollah—even as China executes a harsh crackdown on Islamic militants in Uighurstan! From the New York Times, Aug. 18:
Way to go, Mr. Sensitive. From Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 16:
Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visited Yasukuni Shrine in central Tokyo on Tuesday--the 61st anniversary of the end of World War II--writing his name as prime minister in the shrine's visitors' book.
The really amazing thing about China is that both the knee-jerk right-wingers who love to hate it and the idiot leftists who love to love it are both laboring under the illusion that it is Communist. The self-serving capitalist elite that run the country do so in the name of a "Communist Party." But nothing is less Marxist than to assume that this, or the elite's occassional bursts of anti-Western rhetoric, have anything to do with the fundamental economic structure—which is obviously, oppressively capitalist. This illusion is especially surreal in the face of growing, seemingly spontaneous and uncoordinated revolt by Chinese workers and peasants. The left in the West should be offering vigorous solidarity to the rebelling workers and peasants in China. Certainly not cheering on their oppressors. From Forbes via CorpWatch, July 27:
Voice of America reports June 26 that the US will be deploying Patriot missile batteries in Japan under an agreement reached May 1 in response to the supposed threat from North Korea. AFP adds that the US Missile Defence Agency has confirmed that a Forward Based X-band Transportable (FBX-T) radar station is to built at an air base near the village of Shariki, opposite North Korea in northeastern Japan.
The Japanese constitution—ironically imposed at US behest after World War II—states that "land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained." Now Japanese warships participate in US military maneuvers in the Pacific. From AFP, June 22, via Spacewar:
A US warship successfully shot down a target missile warhead over the Pacific Thursday in a test of a sea-based missile defense system, the US military said. A Japanese destroyer performed surveillance and tracking exercises during the test, marking the first time any US ally has taken part in a US missile defense intercept test, the US Missile Defense Agency said.