By Finian Cunningham: The Western media would have us believe that North Korea and its nuclear arsenal is the world’s number one threat. The continual depiction of a "rogue" state in the Western media plays into the US agenda of a pre-emptive attack on North Korea.But let’s get this straight. North Korea has an estimated 10-20 total number of nuclear warheads, according to the latest annual report from the respected Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). That represents a minuscule fraction – some 0.1 per cent – of the world’s total stockpile of nuclear weapons.
The United States has a nuclear arsenal of some 5,000 weapons – more than 300 times the size of North Korea’s. The US along with Russia (also 5,000 warheads) account for 93 per cent of the world’s total inventory of nuclear weapons.
What distinguishes the US are the following pertinent facts. (Yet these facts are rarely if ever considered in Western media news coverage.)
It was the first country to develop such weapons of mass destruction, in 1945. Russia, the second country, developed its first atomic bomb four years later in 1949.
The US is the only country to have used nuclear weapons, when it dropped two atomic bombs on Japan – just three weeks after it successfully tested the weapon in the New Mexico desert on July 16, 1945. The attacks on Japan killed at least 200,000 civilians.
Official US justifications about swiftly ending the Pacific War with Japan are dubious and arguably irrelevant to the immoral barbarity.
Since the end of the Second World War, the US has engaged in dozens of wars in dozens of countries, according to respected historians such as William Blum, with an estimated death toll of 20 million. Since the end of the Cold War with the Soviet Union, the US has been in a state of permanent war over the past two decades, carrying out aerial bombardments in up to seven countries simultaneously. Official US justifications for these wars are dubious if not contemptible.
The incontestable fact is that the US is the biggest serial violator of international law with the blood of millions of civilians on its hands. It is arguable that Nazi Germany’s Third Reich was succeeded by a Fourth Reich in the US.
The US may not have used nuclear bombs since the mass destruction carried out in Japan in 1945. But in spite of the heinous shame of its unique criminality, American leaders continually reserve the right to threaten other nations with nuclear annihilation. The oft-repeated phrase "all options on the table" is the Orwellian language used by the US to refer to its self-ordained prerogative to use nuclear weapons, codified in its "first-strike doctrine."
US President Donald Trump routinely invokes the veiled threat of nuclear annihilation against North Korea. His warning of "fire and fury like the world has never seen before" is a chilling reference. While Trump’s senior administration have sought to temper his comments with vaguely worded possible diplomacy, they too at other times openly use the "all options on the table" nuclear threat.
North Korea’s defiant testing of ballistic missiles is wrongly presented by Western media in complete isolation from the crucial context of the United States habitually threatening Pyongyang with pre-emptive war.Both Russia and China have rebuked the US for its current display of military force during its annual “war games” on the Korean Peninsula as being destabilizing. But with incorrigible arrogance, Washington insists on its right to conduct such “defensive” maneuvers, and the Western media dutifully indulge this irrational distortion.
North Korea has not been at war with any country since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War when it fought against the US-backed South. By contrast, the US has gone on to launch wars against dozens of countries under various pretexts, as well as retain a war-footing against North Korea by refusing to sign a peace treaty. If that’s because Kim Jong-un is a "dictator," then what about Saudi Arabia?Nearly 50 years after signing the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which mandates nuclear weapons states to disarm, the US is the process of upgrading its nuclear arsenal at a cost of $400 billion over the next 10 years, or at least $1,000 billion over the next 30 years, according to SIPRI. (That financial outlay will no doubt bring cheer to the millions of survivors of Hurricane Harvey.)
Out of the 193 member states of the United Nations, only nine are believed to possess nuclear weapons. The US, Russia, China, Britain, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel. All of them are in the process of upgrading their nuclear stockpiles, not disarming.
Russia, being a top nuclear power along with the US, has an onerous responsibility to lead the world towards nuclear disarmament.
But there is a huge difference between Russia and the US. The record shows that Russia is not a warmongering state, nor a systematic violator of international law from waging wars of aggression on other nations. Unlike Washington, Moscow has never verbally threatened anyone with a nuclear first strike.
In the current crisis between the US and North Korea, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reiterated again this week that diplomacy and dialogue was the only permissible option. Lavrov said that the day after US President Trump made the sinister comment that "talking was not a solution."
It is the function of Western news media to present the world in a form that is favorable to Western governments. Put less delicately, the Western media’s function is to distort the world in a way that justifies conduct by Western governments which would otherwise cause outrage due to flagrant violation of international law.
Two instances of that can be seen from the way the US and its NATO partners invaded and destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan under bogus pretexts. Another instance is the way the US and its NATO allies sought to destroy Syria with a covert war of regime change involving the sponsorship of terrorist proxies.
In every case, the Western media distort and sanitize the criminal conduct of their governments.
The crisis with North Korea is another classic case of Western media distorting reality and audaciously inverting the problem.
The objective facts clearly show that, by far, the biggest threat to world security – perhaps even world survival – is the United States with its track record of war-making and systematic decimation of international law.
For every nuclear warhead suspected to be in North Korea’s possession, the United States has nearly 333 weapons, each one manifold more destructive than those dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The US, uniquely, continues to arrogate the right to drop nuclear bombs on civilians. The US is holding massive military maneuvers on North Korea’s border, not the other way around. It refuses to hold talks for mutual disarmament.
Only in a thoroughly Orwellian brainwashed world, as presented by the Western media, could North Korea be viewed as "the threat."
Infernally, not only is such a warped view of the world making a catastrophic war more likely, it is also precluding the morally rational option of a diplomatic, peaceful solution.