Thursday, February 6

Confronting the Empire
Noam Chomsky, ZNet Foreign Policy, February 01, 2003

We are meeting at a moment of world history that is in many ways unique – a moment that is ominous, but also full of hope.

The most powerful state in history has proclaimed, loud and clear, that it intends to rule the world by force, the dimension in which it reigns supreme.
Apart from the conventional bow to noble intentions that is the standard (hence meaningless) accompaniment of coercion, its leaders are committed to pursuit of their “imperial ambition,” as it is frankly described in the leading journal of the foreign policy establishment – critically, an important matter.
They have also declared that they will tolerate no competitors, now or in the future. They evidently believe that the means of violence in their hands are so extraordinary that they can dismiss with contempt anyone who stands in their way.

There is good reason to believe that the war with Iraq is intended, in part, to teach the world some lessons about what lies ahead when the empire decides to strike a blow -- though “war” is hardly the proper term, given the array of forces. ....

....Even before the Bush administration began beating the war drums about Iraq, there were plenty of warnings that its adventurism was going to lead to proliferation of WMD, as well as terror, simply as a deterrent.

Right now, Washington is teaching the world a very ugly and dangerous lesson: if you want to defend yourself from us, you had better mimic North Korea and pose a credible military threat, including WMD.

Otherwise we will demolish you in pursuit of the new “grand strategy” that has caused shudders not only among the usual victims, and in “old Europe,” but right at the heart of the US foreign policy elite, who recognize that “commitment of the US to active military confrontation for decisive national advantage will leave the world more dangerous and the US less secure” – again, quoting respected figures in elite journals.

Evidently, the likely increase of terror and proliferation of WMD is of limited concern to planners in Washington, in the context of their real priorities. Without too much difficulty, one can think of reasons why this might be the case, not very attractive ones. ... (more)


N Korea threatens US with first strike
Pyongyang asserts right to pre-emptive attack as tensions rise over American build-up
Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, February 6, 2003

Pyongyang: North Korea is entitled to launch a pre-emptive strike against the US rather than wait until the American military have finished with Iraq, the North's foreign ministry told the Guardian yesterday.

Warning that the current nuclear crisis is worse than that in 1994, when the peninsula stood on the brink of oblivion, a ministry spokesman called on Britain to use its influence with Washington to avert war.

"The United States says that after Iraq, we are next", said the deputy director Ri Pyong-gap, "but we have our own countermeasures. Pre-emptive attacks are not the exclusive right of the US." [...]
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