On this day in 1945, the USA dropped a nuclear bomb on the Japanese city of Nagasaki. On the same day 29 years later, a sitting US President was prevailed upon to do the right thing and resign, rather than face certain impeachment. Today, both those memories are coming ominously together as a President who is woefully inept attempts to take the heat off himself by talking the nuclear talk once again.
Those who think this an exaggeration may find comparing the rhetoric of 1945, and that of the present day, instructive. After the bombing of Hiroshima, Harry Truman warned the Japanese that if they did not accept the terms set out in the Potsdam declaration - unconditional surrender - “they may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth”. That rain was another atomic bomb.
After the latest exhibition of sabre-rattling from the North Korean régime, Combover Crybaby Donald Trump told anyone who would listen that Pyongyang should desist from making any more threats against the USA, or “They will be met with fire and the fury like the world has never seen”. The idea that this was some accidental choice of words should be dismissed as fanciful. It was a deliberate allusion to Truman.
The idea of an under-fire leader using some kind of military action as a distraction from problems at home is not a new one, and has been used with varying degrees of success in recent years. It didn’t work for Saddam Hussein when he attempted to annex Kuwait, and nor did it work for Leopoldo Galtieri and the rest of the Argentine Junta over the Falkland Islands. But it did work for Margaret Thatcher.
But here a problem enters: in Kim Jong-un, the US is dealing with a leader yet more egotistical and unstable than Trump, and as the Guardian has put it, with no small restraint, “Experts on North Korea have warned that aggressive rhetoric could backfire on Trump, convincing Kim Jong-un that his regime is in imminent jeopardy and triggering what he sees as a pre-emptive attack”. Kim may not have the capability to send a missile with a functioning, miniaturised nuclear warhead. But on the other hand, he might.
That there are sensible people in the US military standing between Trump and the launching of a nuclear strike may give only limited comfort to those concerned about the escalation of this war of words: there may be no-one able to stand before Kim Jung-un and do likewise, not without being summarily taken away and executed.
So may arrive a moment more likely to result in a nuclear exchange that that which heralded the Cuban missile crisis more than half a century ago. And the power of a modern-day nuclear device would be far, far greater than those dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We have two inept egomaniacs facing one another down. And neither of them has the first idea just how foolish the result of their threatened actions might be.
Still, for now the world keeps turning and life goes on. Let’s hope it stays as boring as that for the foreseeable future.
When I read this headline, I thought it was about Kennedy assassination.
North Korea is indeed a paranoid basket case. But it is so for a very good reason: The awful destruction caused by US/European invasion in the war of 1950-53. A war which,as in Vietnam, was lost, but not before a terrible loss of life. Both wars were an unwarranted imperialist interference in a civil war. The upshot in North Korea is a regime which simply doesn't trust a word coming out of Washington or anywhere else. And when those words are in Yank Cowboy the reaction is even more visceral. Doubtless there will be some crackpots in the Pentagon and Langley who will welcome it all as an opportunity to kick off what they've always wanted.
Truman's atomic bomb attacks on Japan were a war crime of the worst type, as were the fire bombings of Japanese cities. Japan was about to surrender and Truman and his gang knew it - but were intent on preventing the Soviet Union launching its agreed-upon attack on Japan. The atomic attacks were intended as a demonstration to the Soviets of imperial power, nothing more. (In fact no sooner had the ink dried on the German surrender than Churchill ordered work on a plan to atom-bomb Russia. Fortunately there were enough sane minds in the Brit military to quietly shelve it. And in the 2003 DVD "The Fog of War" Robert McNamara finally admitted he and Le May had "...acted like war criminals..." in the fire bombings of Japanese cities).
There is also the false concoction of The Gulf of Tonkin "incident" which finally got the USA into open conflict in Vietnam. A conflict instigated by the Military-Industrial complex Eisenhower warned about when he left office.
In other words, the West has mass-murdering form in this kind of situation.
Trump scarcely matters. He's probably being set up as a willing fall guy. Look to the Pentagon and Langley for the real culprits. Meanwhile, Britain will be its usual yapping poodle, Airstrip One in action.
Twitter is alive with people (and/or bots) who seem to think that "taking out Kim Yong Un" with MOABs and nukes is a viable proposition. This seems foolish. Many millions of innocent people would die in North Korea before Kim Yong Un. And quite possibly the rest of the world too.
And the idea that a country, which has for decades been pouring daft amounts of its entire economy into digging in its defences, would be a push-over for a few Navy Seal Teams is fanciful.
Did someone tell Thump that delivering threats with your arms crossed makes you look like a big boy, playing big boy games?
Or did they just not want him waving his arms around too much anywhere near a big red button?
Either way, he ends up looking like the playground bully who's been given a time out, and told to sit quietly (if only).
Still no one is going to care if Don Junior was talking to the Russians in the middle of a nuclear armageddon.
uk had no atomic weapons in 1945....the us wasn't sharing the secrets yet.
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