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News Link • WAR: About that War

An Attack on Iran or North Korea Wouldn't Be Putting 'America First'

• Ron Paul Institute - by james george jatras

As it's unlikely either of those countries will attack the United States since it would be suicidal, the question of war really means: are we going to attack them?

There are those who say all the tub-thumping emanating from Washington is just bluster. For example, Justin Raimondo of writes that President Donald Trump is just engaging in "rhetorical pyrotechnics and scor[ing] political points with certain [domestic] constituencies while maintaining the status quo: in short, he gets to engage in what is essentially a theatrical performance entirely unrelated to what is actually occurring on the ground. His enemies, mistaking rhetoric for reality, have risen to the bait."

I hope Raimondo is right but I fear otherwise. Underlying his analysis is the all-too-factual reality that attacking either country would result in catastrophe. "Millions would die, on both sides of the demilitarized zone," if we were to move first, he writes. "For this reason, the US – despite Trump's tweets – is not going to launch an attack on North Korea." Similar logic applies to Iran.

Unfortunately, if a prudent assessment of costs and benefits had guided American policy in recent years, none of our other wars of choice would have taken place either – yet they did. The fact that foreseeable consequences may appear "unthinkable" to rational minds does not mean they are not regarded as quite thinkable to those making the decisions.

The potential for war is not, as Trump's enemies and even some of his lesser-informed supporters would have us think, the product of his populism or nationalism. Quite the contrary, in 2016, Trump excoriated the globalist establishment's interventions under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria. Now he's adopted those very same policies clothed in Trumpish "America First!" bombast. Why he has done that is unclear and in the end not particularly relevant to what happens next.

To be sure, I do not think that the generals and globalists who now guide Trump's policies want war with either country, but they are willing to risk war to get what they want. On Korea, they insist on North Korea's denuclearization, which would likely set the stage for regime change in Pyongyang – which Kim Jong-un well knows, and why he will never agree to it. "The 'America First' solution is clear: Kim's threat to the U.S. is present only for as long as America remains engaged in Korean affairs," writes Srdja Trifkovic. "Disengage, and it disappears." But Washington will not countenance ever giving up the U.S. military foothold on the Korean peninsula. To keep it, they would rather put in jeopardy the almost 30,000 American personnel in South Korea and the lives of countless Koreans on both side of the 38th parallel.

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