On Thursday April 6, US President Trump ordered US warships in the Persian Gulf to launch a unilateral and totally unexpected cruise missile strike on a Syrian airbase in Idlib in retaliation for Syria’s alleged use of chemical weapons in the rebel-held province. The attack was undertaken without consulting Russia – a major player in the Syrian civil war.
The Daily Mirror in its editorial on April 10, 2017 said, “The attack on Syria did not make the world a safer place… ‘a world defined by Mr. Trump’s impulses cannot be a safe one…”
On the day the editorial was published, Trump deployed the Carl Vinson strike group, which includes an aircraft carrier to provide a presence near the Korean peninsula in reaction to the North Korean regime firing missiles into the sea off Japan – a unilateral action in a region well away from the US, further upping tensions in the Asian region.
While the head of the Catholics – Pope Francis washed and kissed the feet of prisoners including three women at a maximum security prison in Italy symbolising the sowing of love among peoples, another so-called Christian, the US president, hours later without warning or provocation dropped a hitherto untested bomb which the US itself describes as the ‘Mother Of All Bombs’ and only second to a nuclear weapon in its destructive power in Afghanistan.
Another instance of the ‘democratic’ West testing its weaponry on vulnerable people of a different colour, religion and in an area where the fallout does not adversely affect Americans.
Yesterday, April 17 US Vice President Mike Pence visited the demilitarized zone between the two Koreas and warned North Korea not to test US military might by pursuing its nuclear weapons programme, citing recent strikes in Syria and Afghanistan as proof of American “strength and resolve.”
Unlike President Donald Trump’s unpredictability and his positions on North Korea and Russia which are causing global instability, according to Jean-Pierre Raffarin, a former French prime minister, North Korea’s nuclear programme while being a source of concern over the years, is neither unpredictable nor irrational.
In fact North Korea has stubbornly progressed with its programme of developing a nuclear deterrent. With monotonous regularity it has threatened its ‘enemies’ with dire consequences. It has tested nuclear devices and carried out missile tests – quite a few ending in failure.
But it has never used missiles or nuclear weapons against its ‘arch-enemies’ South Korea or Japan. Quite in contrast to the US which live tested its first nuclear weapon on a helpless civilian Japanese population during the closing stages of World War II which killed hundreds of thousands of civilians in a matter of minutes and left hundreds of thousands of others injured and two cities completely destroyed.
The North Korean presidents have proved to be more mature than their US counterparts despite the fact their nuclear programmes have been at the cost of the North Korean people’s own well-being.
On the other hand Trump’s unpredictability is a major source of worry to China. The unilateral strike in Syria created a precedent and the Chinese fear that the US under Trump could unleash a similar attack on North Korea. The Chinese realize the North Korean leadership’s reaction would be hugely different to that of the Syrians.China is aware of what North Korea can do. It also knows that it cannot control or manage a North Korea risk.
To the Chinese the greatest risk, as former French prime minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin sees it is Trump’s instability factor. Trump’s comment to CNN at the White House Egg Roll that North Korea has “gotta behave” clearly shows his gung-ho attitude towards the Asian people. He appears ready to trigger a nuclear confrontation in that region.
The US dropped its atom bombs on Japanese civilians killing hundreds of thousands in seconds. Today it seems the US needs a place to check out its anti-missile systems, even though it may be at the cost of more Asian lives.
To Mr. Trump, to the people of the US and the arms dealers, who back this US president and are egging him on, we say “ASIAN LIVES MATTER” get your battleships, nuclear carrying submarines, air force, and army out of our part of the world.
The days of battleship diplomacy are long gone. A nuclear conflagration will leave no winners only a planet destroyed.
Daily Mirror, April 20, 2017