Power and Terror image
Noam Chomsky on the Post - Iraq world - 7/22/03
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Q So the obstruction of that process, in a sense, is pushing North Korea against the wall, isn't it? And pushing them to develop nuclear weapons whether they want to or not?
A It is pushing them in that direction. You can see it. You can ask whether that's the conscious intent of that or not. We can't say. We don't have television cameras in the internal planning meetings. But, it certainly looks like that. I think there must be internal debates going on, recognizing that this is dangerous. On the other hand, if we let integration develop, that's also dangerous. They've got to make a choice. And there are similar questions about Europe and have been for years. Kissinger's statement wasn't out of the blue. That goes back a long time.

The United States has always been quite ambivalent about European unification. It favored it, in that Europe is a huge market. The basis of contemporary multinational industry and enterprise is the European market. The U.S. multinationals flourished on the European integration, so they're very much in favor of it.

On the other hand, they're worried about it, for the reasons that Kissinger mentioned. He was neither the first nor the last. This hysteria about new and old Europe is in large part a reflection of that. It's not the "disobedience" of France and Germany [that is at issue].. Their unwillingness to follow U.S. orders is regarded as very threatening. Who knows what they'll do next? That's one of the reasons why the United States is so interested in expanding the European Union and NATO to include the Eastern European countries. It is assumed, probably rightly, that they will be more submissive to U.S. demands than the old centers of European power are. They're kind of Trojan horse by which U.S. power can intervene.

And it's also hoped that they'll help undermine the European social market, which the U.S. doesn't like at all, of course. They are a source of cheap labor-- kind of a European Mexico-- that can undermine the more progressive structure of the European social market system. All of this ties together, and it's a complicated affair.

Meanwhile, the U.S. is shifting its military basing system from Central Europe towards the Middle East and Central Asia. Bases are moving from Germany to Bulgaria and Romania. Probably the major result of the Afghan war, from the U.S. point of view, is that the U.S. ends up with a strong military position in Central Asia, which is a benefit to U.S. corporations in the so-called Great Game, over who controls its resources, but, more important than that, it helps surround the far more significant Persian Gulf energy system, which is the main one in the world.

The U.S. military basing system, from Okinawa and Guam up to the Azores, has been focused, to a large extent, on the Middle East. And the same is true of the Central European ones. Now that's moving closer to the region. Until the Afghan War, the U.S. had only one reliable military base near the Persian Gulf, namely the British island of Diego Garcia. The population was kicked out [of the island]. The British courts ordered the government to allow them to return, but the U.S. just refused. That's a military base, but it was a small base in the middle of the ocean. Now they've got bases in Afghanistan, in Central Asia, and probably pretty soon in Iraq, and surrounding ones in Eastern Europe. The bases are moving toward the region that's of crucial significance for strategic domination of the world.
Q They're also moving from South Korea and Okinawa toward frontline positions.
A South Korea is interesting. It's a little ominous. The part of the North Korean deterrent that's prevented a U.S. attack on North Korea is not nuclear weapons. It's massed artillery right along the DMZ, which is aimed at Seoul and at American troops. That's the deterrent. But the American troops are being withdrawn to the south, and that's causing a lot of concern in both Koreas and in the region as to whether it's a signal that the U.S. might attack, with its own soldiers out of artillery range. Pretty cynical, and I don't believe it, but it's something to worry about.

I'm sure that, meanwhile, the Pentagon is working very hard on precision-guided weapons and other methods for destroying that artillery to the north of the DMZ. And if they can figure out how to do that, then North Korea would be vulnerable. North Korea is not protecting itself with nuclear weapons.
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