Finding Delight in Avoiding War With North Korea
–by John Lewallen
I’m here on a beautiful day in Mendocino County, California. For me, my sense that the risk of nuclear war is rather high just now is exacerbating my delight in my wife, my friends, and the delightful world we share. Psychologically, it is to me like the Reagan years. We made it through Reagan and we can make it now!
I’m inviting you to come with me as I find delight in trying to understand the ecology of the nuclear weapons industry, and to join with people worldwide to avoid nuclear war and eventually eliminate the threat of nuclear war completely. I’m 75 now, which is about the same age as the era of nuclear weapons. All my life I have felt the terror of impending nuclear war, and have avoided despair by studying nuclear confrontation and working with activists to reduce the threat of nuclear war. So far, so good! There hasn’t been a nuclear weapon detonated in battle since the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan, in 1945.
I’d love to hear from people who are thinking and organizing to avoid nuclear war. May we enjoy each amazing day on this Earth free of nuclear war!
I’ll be a bit loose and reflective in this writing. It is urgent right now to advocate for no war with North Korea! The president said that North Korea would be able to strike the United States with nuclear missiles “in a few months” in his State of the Union Address a few days ago. Vice President Pence is in Japan demanding that North Korea give up its nuclear weapons. The implication of impending U.S. military attack on North Korea soon is obvious.
All my heart and soul is with the Koreans at the Olympics in Seoul, especially the five hundred peaceful envoys from North Korea. It is a macabre nightmare that the U.S. is imposing what Pence called the “heaviest sanctions ever” on North Korea, and organizing nations in Vancouver.B.C. for a possible military attack on North Korea (China and Russia, not invited, denounced this rally of Korean War allies as “Cold War mentality”). At the same time. North and South Korea are earnestly beginning peace talks. The U.S. should stop threatening and sanctioning North Korea, and begin peace talks to end the Korean War.
When the 1953 armistice in Korea stopped the bombing which had completely leveled North Korea, neither North Korea nor its ally, China, had nuclear weapons which could reach the United States. Now both these nations have focused on having nuclear weapons primarily to deter attack from the U.S., to prevent exactly the sort of “nuclear blackmail” President Trump is using to demand that North Korea give up its nuclear weapons. Yet President Trump and other “experts” believe they can keep any war in Korea, as he has said, “over there.”
The idea that North Korea can’t reach the United States with a thermonuclear weapon yet is a catastrophically dangerous misconception. Here’s the lead paragraph from Professor Scott D. Sagan’s article “The Korean Missile Crisis” in the Nov/Dec. 2017 Foreign Affairs :
“It is time for the U.S. government to admit that it has failed to prevent North Korea from acquiring nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles that can reach the United States…The gravest danger now is that North Korea, South Korea, and the United States will stumble into a catastrophic war that none of them wants.”
We’re being dragged into a war with North Korea by President Trump and everyone who follows his military orders, and it’s time to start kicking and screaming! Trump et.al. are playing it like it is a Western movie: the North Korean “bad guys” are holed up in the barn and threatening to kill attackers and hostages, and theU.S. “good guys” are screaming ”Drop your weapons and come out hands up—you’re surrounded and cut off from supplies!”
The real world is an integrated global society utterly dependent on interconnected, computer-dependent systems worldwide. Now North Korea has the ability to use a high-altitude nuclear EMP weapon, one bomb, to damage or destroy computerized civilization throughout the continental United States, and in satellites in line of sight of the blast. This was the first thing mentioned by the North Koreans when they tested what they said was their first thermonuclear bomb on Sept 3 last year: now we could do a high-altitude EMP attack!
Also, China has strongly hinted in public that it would intervene to prevent the U.S., from overthrowing the North Korean Government, if the U.S. launched a first-strike on North Korea (see my post “China Draws Red Lines to Restrain Both U.S. and North Korea”). China is fully able to disable the U.S. in many ways, military, economic, and financial.
It is virtually unthinkable that North Korea would launch a first-strike against the U.S. North Korea was leveled by U.S. bombers by 1953, and will do anything to avoid being destroyed again. They clearly believe in classical Nuclear Deterrence Theory: They believe only way they can deter overwhelming attack by the United States is by having “Second-Strike Threat Credibility”, defined as being able to strike the United States causing unacceptable losses even if they suffer a U.S. first- strike completely disabling their nuclear forces on land.
Trump et.al. are blindly focused on seizing land-based nuclear facilities in North Korea, ignoring nuclear weapons and missiles possibly in orbit, on submarines, smuggled into the U.S., or delivered some other way. Unfortunately, deterrence theory is effective only against rational and sane commanders, and Trump seems simply not to believe in thermonuclear EMP weapons. Question: Is this why North Korea has threatened to do an atmospheric H-bomb test, which inevitably would put out some damaging EMP, maybe a lot of it?
Let’s all cheer on the Koreans who are struggling for peace in their homeland, and demand that the U.S. immediately stop all war threats against North Korea. With the North Koreans believing they absolutely need a nuclear force capable of reaching the U.S. to effectively deter being attacked, and the U.S. threatening to attack unless they give up their nuclear weapons, it’s a nightmare showdown that must stop to prevent a war of “suicidal omnicide,” a thermonuclear exchange destroying the U.S. and possibly much more. Let’s have a great time working in loving nonviolence to end this threat to our lives and homes.
Finding Delight in Avoiding War With North Korea