While I hate to dispel the aura of gloom and doom that the various factions – NeverTrumpers, Beltway quasi-libertarians, Californians, etc. – are exuding here in the Age of Trump, I bear really disappointing good news.
To begin with, the nuclear war all and sundry were predicting and warning against, which was supposed to erupt on the Korean peninsula – the result, naturally, of the Orange One’s bombastic provocations – hasn’t happened, and won’t happen. Indeed, the exact opposite is happening. Just as I predicted and called for, the Koreans – North and South – have taken matters into their own hands, opened bilateral negotiations sans the Americans, and made considerable progress:
“North Korean leader Kim Jong Un promised to not use nuclear or conventional weapons against South Korea and expressed willingness to hold talks with the United States on denuclearization, Seoul said on Tuesday after a rare two-day visit to Pyongyang.
“The Hermit Kingdom added that it’s willing to give up its nuclear weapons if military threats against North Korea subsides, South Korea’s presidential national security director Chung Eui-yong said in comments hours after leaving Pyongyang.
“‘The North side clearly affirmed its commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and said it would have no reason to possess nuclear weapons should the safety of its regime be guaranteed and military threats against North Korea removed,’ Chung said in a statement, according to Yonhap News Agency.”
Furthermore a hotline is being established between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in. An April summit will be held at the border.
Kim understands that the military exercises – which have US and South Korean troops simulating an invasion of the North, and not vice-versa as some claim – scheduled to take place (it’s an annual event) will continue: the fact that he’s willing to accept that and still go ahead with these overtures is nothing short of astonishing. It is certainly unprecedented.
Despite the naysayers – John Bolton predictably calls for an attack on North Korea, along with Lindsey Graham, while Eli Lake is skeptical that anything will come of this, just because – what will save the Korean people in the end is their ingrained (and rather fierce) nationalism — their sense of unity, North and South, despite the ideological divisions of the cold war era. Those divisions, both sides realize, are outlived. Whether Washington realizes it is another question.
Yet Washington is here being reduced to the role of an onlooker. After all, it’s their country. As President Trump tweeted: “a serious effort is being made by all parties concerned.” One can only hope that this includes the United States, but I have to say I’m skeptical about that part. Washington’s War Party has stood in the way of a peaceful unified Korean peninsula ever since the conclusion of the Korean war, and I have a hard time believing they are about to start on the path to peace now. In order to overcome the legacy of that war, the South must break decisively with Washington, and ask the US occupation forces to leave. That is the only way to provide for the security of the North and achieve the denuclearization that is the prerequisite for peace.
And if this wasn’t enough, there’s more good news to report!
It looks like the Trump administration is moving to gut the National Endowment for Democracy, one of the War Party’s principal instruments for regime change. Established by Ronald Reagan as a sinecure for the neoconservatives, it has been headed up ever since by one Carl Gershman, the former national chairman of the Young Peoples Socialist League, and a one-time leader of the Social Democrats USA, a pro-interventionist cold war incarnation of the old Socialist Party. Here is Josh Rogin, a third (fourth?) generation neocon bemoaning the Trump administration’s moves, and predicting that the merger with the State Department – a de facto abolition of the NED – won’t get past Congress.
The neocons are nothing if not survivors: they’ve managed to escape being totally shunned despite their disastrous leadership of the Iraq war, and they’re now enjoying a new vogue in “liberal” and even leftist circles on account of their pioneering efforts on behalf of the NeverTrump movement. This attack on their longtime stronghold in government is bound to call out the Furies, and yet in this era of “America First” nationalism and the explicit anti-globalism of some in the higher reaches of the Trump administration, this time they may well be facing a humiliating defeat. The NED is a rich source of grants and other government goodies: for the neocons to lose this is hitting them where they live.
Yes, the good news is breaking out all over! Enjoy it while it lasts …
A Special Message to My Readers
Most of my regular readers – indeed, all of them – know one thing by now: if you’ve come here for the usual bullshit, rah-rah for Our Team conventional wisdom, you’re bound to be disappointed. There are plenty of other places to go for that: I won’t name them, but you get the idea. Here I try to challenge my readers – and myself – and examine the underlying assumptions we’re all supposed to accept. Of course, it would be easy for me to go along with the conventional wisdom and not make any waves: but actually, it would bore me to death. And I guess it would do the same to my readers (at least, I hope it would).
It’s a privilege to be able to do this, and believe you me I don’t take it for granted. It’s made possible by the incredible dedication of the Antiwar.com staff, especially our managing editor and all-around problem-solver Eric Garris, and I don’t lose sight of that for a minute. It’s a privilege and a great responsibility to be able to write this column the way I do, i.e., without regard for what Everyone Else is saying, and often in direct contradiction and opposition to what most of my readers think and believe.
It’s a risky strategy, but I’ve managed – I think! – to pull it off. I’ve been right more than I’ve been wrong: I’ll stand my record up against any of the "mainstream" pundits.
I haven’t been afraid to challenge my readers and myself – but now I’m facing my greatest challenge. Most of my readers are aware of my recent cancer diagnosis: it’s been a real life-changer, to say the least. Thanks to the miracle of modern science, I’m still alive – and thriving – and able to write these words. The latest discoveries in anti-cancer research, which I’m lucky enough to have access to, have allowed me to defy Death – so far.
My diagnosis and condition have given me a whole new perspective on my work, on world affairs, and the affairs of humankind in general. Or, perhaps, they’ve sharpened views I held already but hadn’t really thought all that much about.
What I’ve come to realize is that my job, and Antiwar.com’s mission, has always been to defy Death, to fight Death to the bitter end. For the War Party is truly the Party of Death, and this has been brought home to me rather vividly in my reading of Dan Ellsberg’s The Doomsday Machine, his insider’s account of the nuclear "priesthood" and its rationalizations for mass murder on a scale we can hardly imagine. For what those "priests" were – and are – planning for is the virtual eradication of the human race in a nuclear holocaust initiated by the United States (we are always the initiators in their war scenarios).
We are fighting against Death itself, and its allies here on earth. And we need your help.
Yes, this is a fundraising pitch, although it doesn’t really read like one. But let me tell you: the legions of Death are not lacking in financial resources. Oh no. They have but to ask their sponsors and collaborators, and their coffers are filled to the brim.
We, on the other hand, have no such assurances. We only have you, our readers and loyal supporters, many of whom have stuck with us down through the years – as far back as the Kosovo war! And we – I – am turning to you once again for the support we need to keep going.
So now it’s up to you. The American people are sick and tired of foreign wars: our message of peace and nonintervention has never been more popular. Yet the political class resists the popular will – and the War Party is more determined than ever to lead us down the road to perpetual conflict. We really need your support at this crucial juncture: we can win the battle for peace, the opportunity is there – but we can’t do it without you. That means we need your tax-deductible donations now – because they’ll have double the impact with our matching funds program.
If we all get together and make that final push we can make our goal. Every donation counts, no matter the amount. Please make your tax-deductible contribution today.