Executive Intelligence Review
Subscribe to EIW This article appears in the January 15, 2016 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

Obama Escalates War Confrontation with
China Over North Korean Nuclear Test

by Carl Osgood

[PDF version of this article]

Jan. 11—On Jan. 6, 2016, the government of North Korea announced that it had carried out a successful nuclear test at its facility in Punggye-ri, in a remote area in the northeast of the country, and that the test had been successful in detonating a miniaturized hydrogen bomb.

The issue before us is not the North Korean test. The only real strategic consideration is how that test will be used by the Obama Administration and its British Imperial controllers, to justify further provocations against China, further escalating the ongoing provocations designed to bring the world to a thermonuclear World War III.

The North Korean test comes in the context of the violent implosion of the trans-Atlantic financial system. The British Empire has no intention, as EIR Editor-in-Chief Lyndon LaRouche has repeatedly warned, of letting Asia or any other part of the planet survive that financial collapse. “The point is the intention of the British system, and it is the British system from the top down, and the system that is the cause of this process” of collapse, LaRouche said in remarks to colleagues on Jan. 5. “Now we have the case, in terms of Britain, and the British system setting up a global mass killing of the human population.”

DoD/Glenn Fawcett
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, then Deputy Secretary, meeting with the South Korean Defense Minister Kim Byung-kwan (right) in March 2013. The Obama Administration agenda then, as now, was to push South Korea to join in the missile defense “ring around China.”

In reaction to the North Korean test, the immediate response from the Obama Administration was to blame China for it. On Jan. 7, Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, and then personally appeared in the State Department press briefing room. Kerry declared that he had warned Wang that China’s go-soft approach to influencing North Korea had proven a failure: “Today, in my conversation with the Chinese, I made it clear that [their approach] has not worked and we cannot continue business as usual.”

China responded angrily to Kerry’s suggestion the following day. Speaking at a press conference, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying stated: “The origin and crux of the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula has never been China.” China’s Global Times, owned by the Communist Party’s People’s Daily, took an even tougher stance which was described by the New York Times as a “fiery rebuttal.” The Global Times editorial stated that “in no way will China bear the responsibilities that the U.S., South Korea and Japan should take. . . . The hostilities between them and Pyongyang are actually the source of the nuclear problems. The China-North Korea relationship should not be dragged into antagonism.”

Upping the Nuclear Ante

On Jan. 10, four days after the North Korean test, a U.S. B-52 strategic bomber was flown 1,900 miles, from Andersen Air Force Base on the island of Guam, to South Korea. There it was joined by four fighter aircraft to conduct flyovers and maneuvers near the Osan Air Force Base, a U.S. base in South Korea only 48 miles from the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas.

Although U.S. officials refused to divulge whether the B-52 was carrying nuclear armaments, the aircraft is normally equipped with twelve AGM-86 air-launched nuclear cruise missiles, with yields of up to 150 kilotons each. The bomber is also normally equipped with a wide variety of conventional weapons, including up to fifty-one 500-pound unguided bombs, ten laser-guided bombs, or eight Harpoon anti-ship missiles. The fact that the B-52 is a nuclear capable aircraft, and was directly deployed on the North Korean border, is seen not only as a direct threat to North Korea, but to China as well.

These actions also come in a context where U.S. and South Korean defense officials have been in discussions about the further deployment of U.S. “strategic assets” to South Korea, likely to include an aircraft carrier (the USS Ronald Reagan is in port in Yokosuka, Japan), F-22 stealth fighters, and submarines. The United States is also pressuring Seoul to accept military deployments that it has resisted, for reasons of its relationship with China. The Korea Herald reported that the North’s nuclear test could be used as a catalyst to strengthen the bilateral cooperation between the United States and Japan, and incorporate South Korea into Washington’s efforts to build an anti-China integrated air and missile defense program, or IAMD.

Additionally, it is known that the United States has been pressuring South Korea to install an advanced missile defense asset, called the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), the ultimate target of which would be China.

On its part, the government of North Korea responded to the flyover by saying that it was an action destined to send the United States and North Korea to the “edge of war.” It should also be kept in mind that memories of the Korean War, when the North Korean capital of Pyongyang was “flattened” and almost completely destroyed by American bomber aircraft, are still very much alive in the minds of today’s North Korean leadership.

Some Cowardly, War-Mad Generals

Some elements of the senior leadership of the U.S. military are eagerly playing along with the provocations against Russia and China, unlike the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Martin Dempsey and his team, who fought them. On Jan. 5, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson issued a paper advertised as his “blueprint for a stronger Navy,” in which procuring a new fleet of ballistic-missile submarines is identified as his number one priority.

“This is foundational to our survival as a nation,” Richardson’s paper claims. “From a security standpoint in this day and age, a world-class nuclear capability” is required to be considered a great power, he told the Associated Press in a Dec. 31 interview. Without it, “we could be threatened or coerced by another nation who could hold this nuclear threat over our heads,” he added. “If we don’t reconstitute the undersea leg” of the nuclear triad, “then we’re not even at the table to discuss world affairs as a great power.”

The plan to replace the existing fleet of 14 Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines with twelve new boats, expected to begin entering service in the 2025 time-frame, is one part of a larger plan, estimated by the Congressional Budget Office to cost about $325 billion over 30 years. The plan includes a new bomber for the U.S. Air Force along with a new cruise missile, as well as replacement of the Air Force’s fleet of Minuteman ICBMs.

Further excerpts from Richardson’s plan are illuminating:

For the first time in 25 years, the United States is facing a return to great power competition. Russia and China both seek to be global powers. Their goals are backed by a growing arsenal of high-end warfighting capabilities, many of which are focused specifically on our vulnerabilities, and are increasingly designed from the ground up to leverage the maritime, technological, and information systems.

Richardson states that one issue he wants to focus on is “gray warfare,” an area that falls between peace and full armed conflict. It typically involves some aggression or use of force, but is deliberately ambiguous in nature, “just below the level of conflict.”

On the NATO Front

In Europe, General Philip Breedlove, commander of NATO and of U.S. European Command issued his own provocation in remarks as reported on Jan. 7. In comments to reporters in Stuttgart, Germany, Breedlove complained that the United States has “hugged the bear” for too long, and it’s time to recognize that we are dealing with a revanchist Russia with aggressive tendencies. Breedlove met with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford when Dunford was in Stuttgart a couple of days before, and these remarks appear to have been made shortly after that meeting.

U.S. Air Force/Michael J. Pausic
Gen. Philip Breedlove, Commander of the U.S. European Command and the Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO, speaking at an Air Force Association meeting in 2014.

In what can only be described as wartime propaganda, Breedlove lied that it was Russian President Vladimir Putin who explicitly rejected the outstretched hand of friendship of the United States, stating: “What I would offer is that if you look at Russia’s actions all the way back to ’08—in Georgia, in Nagorno-Karabakh, in Crimea, in the Donbass, and now down in Syria—we see what most call a revanchist Russia that has put force back on the table as an instrument of national power to meet their objectives.”

Breedlove also complained that the U.S. “force posture” in Europe has declined. He is now advocating a more “robust” U.S. military presence in Europe. He noted that the Army has begun deploying a brigade-sized unit to the region, along with 200 M1 Abrams tanks and additional vehicles and weapons.

Breedlove’s ravings were actually contradicted by the semi-official analysis issued by the U.S. Army’s Military Review in its most recent issue, released on Dec. 31. That issue published the full transcript of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s remarks to the UN General Assembly on Sept. 28, as well as an article by Russian Chief of the General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov on the nature of future warfare, accompanied by an analysis by Charles K. Bartles, a Russian language specialist at the Army’s Foreign Military Studies Office.

Lunatics like Breedlove have pointed to Gerasimov’s article as proof of an operational Russian doctrine of “hybrid warfare,” but in his analysis, Bartles refutes that notion, and demonstrates that what Gerasimov was actually describing was how he sees the future threat environment, a threat environment that includes NATO expansion, U.S.-led wars of regime change and so-called color revolutions.

The Seat of Responsibility

It is crystal clear that, whatever the line-up is of U.S. military leaders going along with the Obama Administration’s war provocations against China and Russia, this situation only exists because the United States Congress, which has the responsibility to defend the U.S. Constitution against an out-of-control executive, has failed miserably in its Constitutional obligations.

It is cowardice, and cowardice alone, which is preventing members of Congress from taking action to remove President Obama from office either by impeachment or by invoking the 25th Amendment. Squirm as they might, the escalating threat of global warfare is a product of their own cowardice. Unless some of them decide to act, and soon, they will probably all find themselves dead some fine day, along with most of the rest of us. And with no Internet to tell them that Obama has just launched thermonuclear war.