GUEST BLOG: Dave Brownz – Trump Plays with Fire in Korea


Trump is reviving Bush junior’s bellicose approach to the DPRK which carries great risks for the whole world.

By revving up the ‘axis of evil’ scenario he risks global destruction for the sake of what: tourism? In his bizarre phone conversation with the Governor of Guam he boasts that the publicity will boost Guam’s hotel occupancy to 110%, and that anyway Trump backs Guam 1000%. A fat lot of comfort that will give to the citizens of Guam many of whom see themselves as ‘pawns’ in the US global game of chess.

China, according an Editorial in the the semi-official Global Times, sees the war of words between Trump and Kim Jong-un as a “Reckless Game”. It states what is likely to be the official China line.

The US and North Korea have both ramped up their threatening rhetoric. The Pentagon has prepared plans for B-1B strategic bombers to make preemptive strikes on North Korea’s missile sites. US Secretary of Defense James Mattis issued an ultimatum to North Korea on Wednesday to “cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and destruction of its people. Meanwhile, North Korea issued plans to fire four intermediate-range missiles to land 30-40 kilometers from Guam and claimed it would finalize the plan by mid-August.”

If these threats are acted on that would seriously escalate the war of words in a shooting match. China would likely not intervene at this level but promises to do so if there is any attempt to invade the DPRK by the US and the ROK.

China should also make clear that if North Korea launches missiles that threaten US soil first and the US retaliates, China will stay neutral. If the US and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so.

TDB Recommends

The prospect of a hot war between China and the US over Korea is dangerous for everyone in the region including New Zealand. It would risk escalation into nuclear war and that war becoming the dreaded WW3. China is currently trying to persuade both Trump and Kim Jong-un to back off. But it could not sit back while the DPRK is directly attacked or invaded. So why is Trump trumping the most belligerent of US Presidents George Bush in the level of threats made against the DPRK?

Is Trump such a maverick that he can’t tell the difference between what is good for business and what is good for humanity? Even ‘casino Capitalism’ requires punters. Clearly there is room for moderating the Bush bellicosity in the direction of Clinton’s negotiated deals on nuclear proliferation. Clinton knew that the DPRK regime was an anachronism, a failed state, and not some threat to US interests. Obama continued this policy recognising that the DPRK was a small fish in its own tank compared with an expansive China. So is this crisis down to Trump’s personality, the back-to-the-Great-USA fundamentalism of his militant support base pushing Trump into war, or is there something deeper driving this?

The global forces that are behind this crisis are those of a renewed rivalry between the declining US imperialist bloc, and the rising China/Russia imperialist bloc. The US has dominated the Pacific since the end of WW2. It defeated Japan and established its allies and bases in the region including the armistice on the 38th parallel in Korea separating the ROK and DPRK. But the US failed to stop the Chinese revolution and having worked hard since Nixon went to China in 1974 to restore capitalism and destroy “communism” eventually got its wish but was unable to reap the prize – a servile client state to inject some life into the US economy.

Instead of succumbing as new colonies of Western imperialism with the end of the cold war, both China and Russia as former ‘workers’ states’, used their state controlled economies to deny the West their prize of conquest. Both opened up to the West but more or less on their own terms. Western investment was quarantined within these state capitalist regimes to benefit the ‘red’ capitalists. Today, both are emerging as rivals to the declining US imperialism. And as is always the case with declining capitalist powers they cannot compete economically so they do so militarily. But today, the US is no longer the ‘hegemonic’ global power facing China’s economic dominance and Russia’s military technology.

So Trump’s foreign policy in Asia, while adventurous, is an inevitable expression of this rise and fall of great powers. Korea is one of a number of flash points around the world between the two imperialist blocs where the US faces the rising influence of China/Russia including Ukraine, Syria, the South China Sea. All these flash points are evidence that the rivalry between the old and new imperialist powers explains what is going on in the world.

More importantly, all these imperialist powers are facing a global, terminal crisis as the global system stagnates. While they are competing in Europe, the Middle East and Asia with economic and political sanctions, and fighting proxy wars, facing termination, these wars must escalate into regional and ultimately global extermination. So what we are seeing in Korea today is the prospect of a cold war on words that spreads to hot wars between nuclear powers.

It is not in the interests of any power to go to world war as it would destroy  not only the enemy but any economic base for survival of the human species. The problem is that such wars can start by accident, or by crazy “Dr Strangelove” actors who push the wrong button. So what can we do to try to stop such a catastrophe?

For a start we should tell our NACT regime not to follow the Australian example of unconditional support for Trump. NZ is a semi-colony of the US AND China. Politically our ruling class it is client of the US, economically it is a client of China. Both are imperialist powers which exploit the NZ economy at the expense of NZ workers. We must be against the intervention of both (all) powers on the Korean Peninsular and refuse to support any request to side with one or other. Not because NZ has an international reputation for peacekeeping which is a lie as our intervention on Afghanistan proves. Our neutrality should be against any war in which a small power becomes a pawn in the fight between two global powers because as a semi-colony ourselves we defend the right of other semi-colonies to be independent of imperialist domination.

So our neutrality does not extend to Korea itself. We are for its self-determination which in simple language means independence from all imperialist powers. During the Korean war the left in NZ was split between the Stalinist, Maoist and Trotskyist left that defended the DPRK as having a legitimate claim to oust the US from the ROK and create a united socialist Korea. The rest of the anti-war movement had illusions in the UN armistice as creating ‘peace’ in denial of the ongoing ‘class war’ that shapes our destinies.

Today we have to take the same stand against China’s threat to intervene to defend the DPRK. This turns Korea into the site of another proxy war between imperialists over who controls Korea. Korean working people must determine their own future in a united Korea. They must be supported by the billions of working people around the world who lives are at stake can change this by organising into a global anti-imperialist movement.

This is why we urgently need a left in NZ that is anti-imperialist through and through rather than pacifist with illusions in the UN. That is the only way to unite workers in both Koreas, China, the US and the rest of the Pacific, against the imperialist regimes and their client regimes that a pushing for war and risking global catastrophe.  In playing with fire in Korea Trump is playing with all of our lives. To survive we need Survival Socialism!


Dave Brownz is TDBs guest Marxist blogger.


    • Yep, Worse the trump and his war hawks is this;

      National running youth boot camps?

      These youth will come out as professional terrorists Frank.

      I should know as I was a National serviceman during the 1960’s a conscript.

      This will harden these potential criminals instead of restoration.

      National need to “treat the cause before the symptom” but they wont.

  1. Every single word you’ve written would go right over the head of The Donald.

    He simply knows war is good for domestic popularity ratings. It worked for Dubya and Maggie Thatcher.

    The lower his poll ratings go, the greater the threat of WW3.

  2. “If the U.S. and South Korea carry out strikes and try to over throw the North Korean regime China will prevent them from doing so.”
    This is the most significant event since the Cuban Missile Crisis ,and the MSM are trying to hide it from their readership.This is the first time in 60 years that there has been a direct threat to the hegamony of the U.S. Empire, and the re-introduction to a multi-polar world. And yet you say Dave,”Today we have to take the same stand against China’s threat to intervene to defend the DPRK.” Why? The world has sat on its hands and watched the U.S Empire attack Serbia,Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya,Syria, Yemen, and threaten to attack Venezuela. And you say we should oppose a country that is willing to defend another country against invasion? I don’t understand your reasoning . Please explain!!

    • Why not support China? Because a war between China and the US would be a direct route to world war. You use the word ‘multi-polar’. That means other ‘great powers’ now exist that put limits a uni-polar US world hegemony. As I argued, the rivalry between these great powers is actually between imperialist powers where the US is attempting to arrest its decline and stop China’s rise by ramping up its military threats.

      Imperialist powers are ruled by a tiny ruling class who are prepared to sacrifice the lives of its working people to defeat their rivals. This will inevitably lead to more wars that threaten the existence of humanity. There is no peaceful outcome here. The Chinese ruling class in defending the DPRK would be defending itself and its own expansionist interests from the US ruling class. The Korean people (along with all humanity) will pay the price for a proxy imperialist war in the Korean peninsular.

      That is why I stated that the solution is for workers to organise internationally to fight ALL imperialism from “below”. That means Korean workers solving the problem of Korean unification themselves; the workers of ROK throwing out the US and re-uniting with the DPRK; the workers in the DPRK throwing out Kim Jong-un and his regime and re-uniting with the ROK. It also means US workers rising up against Trump’s irrational warmongering and forcing US to pull out of occupations and bases, and shutting down its nuclear arsenal. It means Chinese workers rising up against its own ruling class to stop China entering any imperialist war.

      The US ruling class will not be defeated by any other imperialist power. It will be defeated only by the resistance of oppressed nations and people to its invasions and occupation, allied to its own working class organising a revolutionary overthrow of the US state and all of its repressive institutions and building a socialist alternative.

      • Very nice in theory. Why not support China? Well, it’s an expansionist, organ-harvesting military dictatorship, for one thing. This Internationalist idea that workers are somehow universally going to transcend the power of nationalism and/or religion is simply deluded. How about starting small and rising up and removing the (increasingly Chinese) No Zealand ruling class? Not that’s a bit more achievable.

  3. You have grasped onto a Marxist theory ,and then you have fitted your theories over the lives of millions of people who are at severe risk of annihilation .If I was a North Korean I would much prefer military help from China ,than suffer a pre-emptive attack from the U.S.Empire .The U.S has invented , like they usually do, an existential threat from North Korea, namely a miniturized nuclear weapon that can be put on existing North Korean inter ballistic missiles. It actually doesn’t exist , like the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. According to your theory the working classes of China, the U.S, and North Korea should all rise up and seize power from their Capitalist ruling class.Hopefully this will happen in the next six months. Otherwise, its just too bad for the exterminated North Korean masses. I wonder if you would be so keen on your theory if it was your ass on the line ? On the other hand my theory- mutual mass destruction , has stopped Russia/ the Soviet Union and the U.S. from annihilating each other since the 1950’s. This has actually worked-although both were/are capitalist Imperialists. So ,China intervening will have the MMD effect . Comprendre !!!

    • What’s wrong with the working masses opposing the crazy policies of any ruling class that threatens our existence?
      The Koreans were united for centuries before being divided by the Japanese and US invaders.
      Koreans can re-unite by kicking out their ruling elites and their imperialist masters and creating a SROK.
      Of course that means that workers in the imperialist powers have to do their job and remove their ruling classes.
      MMD theory relies on the imperialist ruling classes remaining in power. So they destroy society and nature, and we are supposed to keep them because they are scared of MAD? But what happens when some mad fuck is not scared of MAD?
      You have more faith in the ability of capitalists to rule the world than workers, despite driving us to an early extinction.
      My job is to help fight for the overthrow that class which cannot avoid crises and wars and that will sooner or later destroy humanity unless we build a new socialist sustainable society from coming into being.

  4. I’m certainly with you on the belief that the U.N. is all shit.

    Question: When did Churchill, Stalin, Truman, Chiang-Kai-Shek and Charles De Gaulle sit down and agree on a template for world order that the left thinks any good can come of?

    Also, for those who are of too much of a ‘but muh Trump’ persuasion, it turns out this crisis is actually a result of Obama-period foreign policy. Seems that fostering a coup in Ukraine leads to economically disconnected missile factories seeking new customers…

  5. In the second world war the primary problem was to get rid of Adolf Hitler and his third Reich. When that was achieved, the opportunity was presented for workers to overthrow the capitalist/Imperialist classes. Now we have an Empire hell bent on subjugating all of mankind .They are practicing continual war,regime change,assassination,propaganda warfare.There is only two nations capable of defeating the U.S Empire State sponsor of Terrorism Fourth Reich. Russia and China. The U.S has over 850 foreign military bases. Russia and China have less than a dozen between them. There is an obvious difference in their imperialist inclinations. If you don’t support Russia and China in their attempts to stop the expansion of the U.S. Empire ,you effectively support the U.S.Empire. I may note that Russia has effectively stopped The U.S. regime change in Syria in its tracks.If the U.S carries out its regime change threat in Venezuela, wold you oppose Cuba and Ecuador trying to help its neighbour militarily ?

    • Yeah I took you for a ‘RT socialist’ Pete. You think that Putin can kick Trumps ass while workers stand by as mere spectators?

      Nothing the US or China does in Korea will benefit Koreans

      It will be the working people of Syria and Venezuela who throw out all imperialists and push aside the contending bourgeois factions to complete the socialist revolution.

      In Syria both the US and Russia collaborate to kill those who oppose the Assad dictatorship, but are about to fall out over Kurdistan.

      And in Venezuela US corporations want to take control of oil. But so does China which has loaned billions to develop a stake in heavy crude fields.
      Venezuelan workers will pay the price whichever imperialist power calls the tune.

      But they are capable of defending the the Government from a US coup, without the ‘help’ of China, so long as they build workers militias independent of the Chavista regime and call on workers internationally to fight alongside them for a socialist Venezuela.

      • I have relatives who read the bible daily ,and have indoctrinated themselves into a delusional view of the world,where genocide is okay because it says so in the bible. Unfortunately Dave you have managed to do the same thing. Get your head out of “Das Capital”, and have a real look at the world. Eighty per cent of Syrians support Assad. The Christians, the Druze, the majority of the Sunnis, and of course all the Shiites, all support Assad. Why? Because while he is not particularly democratic,he has always had a secular regime. And that is why the population prefers him to the mercies of Isis, to the glorious Wahhabi Caliphate. And that is basically why the people of Syria have against all odds fought the U.S. Empire regime change to a standstill.[ with help from Russia,Iran, and Hezbollah. ] Please don’t tell me that you have swallowed the White helmet CIA \U.K. Govt. propaganda set-up? Or the the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights which is one guy operating out of a grocer shop in Coventry U.K? Or the numerous U.S. Empire false flag chemical attack incidents ? It is clear that you get your information from pro U.S Empire sources. There are world renowned independent journalists who have disproved what you are saying.Does it not fit into your Marxist playbook, so you disregard it? And if the U.S attacks Venezuela [of course for the oil] it will end up a smoking ruin like Libya, Iraq, and Syria. But you don’t seem to care, because it’s liberation by the workers of Venezuela of the correct Marxist pursuasion ,and/or the International Brigade or nothing. How many hundreds of thousands of Venezuela inhabitants are you happy to sacrifice for your Marxist dream??? Is it possible you are misinterpreting what Marx said ? That in a nuclear age , that Karl Marx could not forsee, the first step is to stop a crazed lunatic Empire from killing us all! When we draw back from the brink of oblivion , we will inevitably move towards a socialist future, for the simple reason that the finite resources of Planet earth will not be able to accomodate the excesses of Capitalism/ Imperialism ,which go hand in hand.So Comrade, we are both aiming for the same place,but I would like to minimise the casualties of the death throes of capitalism !!

Comments are closed.