“All We are Saying”

In a recent New York Times survey only 36 percent of U.S. adults could correctly locate North Korea on an unlabelled map. Yet according to a recent poll (Chicago Council on Global Affairs) 75 percent of Americans believe that North Korea’s nuclear program is a critical threat to the United States. What does this say about the power of government propaganda on people’s perception of the world? Why is it that North Korea’s nuclear program is in the spotlight when eight other countries have nuclear programs? The alternatives to another war for regime change are many.  The U.S. and South Korea should end their annual military exercises involving tens of thousands of troops which North Korea views as provocative and nothing more than practice runs for a future invasion. (People may not be aware that during the Gulf crisis of August 1990, Iraq was willing to negotiate a withdrawal from Kuwait but the United States blocked any possible diplomatic solution preferring war instead—facts at the time that were largely suppressed both in the U.S. and in the UK.)

War does more to maintain corporate profits than it does in solving foreign policy issues. The corporate winners in war are the same corporations that spend millions lobbying Congress and funding the electoral campaigns of successful political candidates. The solution is to demilitarize and to focus on building links with progressive NGOs, people, and communities around the world whether they belong to perceived rogue states or not. We can point to justifications for invading North Korea but couldn’t we find similar justifications to invade the UK and the U.S.—two of the biggest terrorist states and funders of terrorism across the world.


Louis Shawcross is a freelance writer based in the UK.