Green Party 2016 presidential nominee Jill Stein argued that the tensions with North Korea over its nuclear program were brought on by the “culmination of a foreign policy based on economic and military domination by the U.S.”
Stein said the intermediate-range ballistic missile North Korea launched over Japan on Aug. 29 was “extremely terrifying” to the Japanese but she suggested that it’s a taste of what life is like for North Koreans.
“You can imagine what it’s like living in North Korea where essentially a mock war is being almost continuously rehearsed against the people of North Korea – you know, that’s not to say the leader of North Korea is anything but a brutal dictator. Nonetheless, the policies of pursing missiles and nuclear weapons unfortunately has been a policy of deterrence,” Stein said on a webcast called “Stop U.S. THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) and War Threats in Korea,” which was organized by the anti-war group CODE Pink on Wednesday evening, before Pyongyang’s latest nuclear test.
“This has been a two-way street and, in fact, it’s been a series of provocations, missile and nuclear development, and testing that was a response to the war exercises which have gone on, actually, for decades and even going back to the end of the Korean War, which was basically a stalemate that ended after millions of people had been killed and essentially North Korea was basically leveled and turned into a wasteland, a very devastating war, a truce was established – or, shall we say, a ceasefire was established – but that armistice was almost immediately violated by the United States, which refused to withdraw our troops. That was part of the agreement,” she added.
Stein said the tensions between North Korea and the U.S. have not ramped up by accident.
“We were supposed to withdraw our troops; that never happened and we also brought in nuclear weapons… we were in flagrant violation of that treaty, which was provocating North Korea. So it’s basically been a series of provocations that have a decades-long history and it’s clear that where we are now, I just want to emphasize this, that where are now is not an accident,” she said. “Where we are now is essentially the culmination of a foreign policy based on economic and military domination by the U.S. and this isn’t working and it’s going up in flames, shall we say, in many areas around the world and that crisis has reached nuclear proportions.”
Stein explained that she’s speaking out about the “crisis” on the Korean peninsula because it is “potentially WWIII in the making.” She called the THAAD anti-missile system, which the U.S. and South Korea agreed to last year and began deploying this spring, a “destabilizing, wasteful, dangerous and provocative piece of war technology forcing the arms race into ever worse extremes.”
Stein compared the North Korea situation to U.S.-backed regime change in Libya and Iraq, which she said turned out to be “absolutely catastrophic.” Stein argued that the U.S. has “no choice but to pursue diplomacy” and ultimately the “demilitarization” of the Korean peninsula.
“What we’ve accomplished with regime change, essentially, has been worse terrorist threats, endless wars which we are still stuck in, massive death and destruction, inordinate costs which are bankrupting us at home as well. But we just create failed states, mass refugee migrations and worse terrorist threats,” Stein said.
“So it hasn’t worked in the Middle East. Now you bring that model to the Korean peninsula – that regime-change model is complicated by the fact that we now have nuclear weapons thrown in here. And we also have great powers – that is Russia and China – who very much do not want the U.S. on China’s border, so we have no choice here,” she added.
Stein said the first step to solving the North Korea situation is to “freeze the war games” in exchange for a freeze on the North Korean missile and nuclear programs in addition to removing the THAAD missile shield. She called for “negotiation not escalation.”
“This is not difficult to do,” she said. “We actually came really close to doing it until the war games basically went ahead and provoked the latest round of missile tests, but it should be done and it can be done.”