Will World War III kick off this week because of the bellicose actions of a buffoonish leader with a dodgy hair-cut and his sinister nuclear-armed warmongering rogue state? Or, can Donald Trump and the US be deterred?
Of course, in State Department-friendly Western media, it’s North Korea and its leadership who are routinely portrayed as the nut jobs. But you don’t have to carry a torch for the North Korean government or be a card-carrying member of the Kim Jong-un Appreciation Society to acknowledge that the country’s leadership has actually been behaving very rationally. Because recent history tells us that the best way to deter an attack from the US and its allies is not to disarm, dress up as John Lennon and make statements about how much you desire peace, but to do the exact opposite.
Consider what happened to Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya. Like the DPRK, all three were US ‘target states’. And all three were destroyed and their leaders killed. Do we honestly think these countries would have been attacked had they possessed nukes or missiles that could reach US targets? Of course not. Detailed analysis of these conflicts shows us that the Empire gets its way through a mixture of bluff followed by the use of military force, but only when it believes the risks are minimal, or non-existent. If it believes the risks are too high, it backs off and starts talking about the need for ‘dialogue’ and ‘diplomacy’.
To understand how the global hegemon acts in the international arena we don’t need to study huge academic textbooks, only remember what happens in the school playground.
In 1999, Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic not only lacked ICBMs, but strong international allies who were prepared to stand by his country in its hour of need. Even though the Russian military were champing at the bit to help their historical Slavic allies in Belgrade, Yeltsin and the ruling elite in Russia were purportedly given financial inducements to stay out. Whether or not that is true, a new IMF loan was conveniently agreed just a week after NATO began its illegal aerial bombing campaign.