North Korea’s supreme leader Kim Jong-un is not looking for a war. If we want to understand the motives behind his shocking threats – surpassed only by his US counterparts – we have to look past the Western media pundits and political figures dismissing him as “a crazy fat kid”.

Many statements in the Western press against the North Korean regime are exaggerations or fabrications with a kernel of truth, as part of the usual propaganda treatment that the Western establishment reserves for the ‘objectionables’. As far as we know, Kim Jong-un is a dictator who, following in the steps of his father and grandfather, holds tight control of his country, and who executed his uncle Jang Song-thaek (and possibly his uncle’s family) back in 2013 after accusing him of treason and attempting a military coup.

But as ruthless as he may be, there is no reason to think Kim Jong-un would be willing to engage in nuclear war with the United States. Kim Jong-un and his father cannot have missed the way in which the US and their allies destroyed Iraq and Libya, despite Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi’s attempts to appease the West, and have surely learned from those lessons.

Faced with allegations of the development of weapons of mass destruction, Hussein cooperated with UN weapons inspectors for months between 2002 and 2003. In true psycho fashion, the Bush government demanded that Saddam prove a negative; either produce the WMDs or be bombed for hiding them. The idea that there may not have been any WMDs was never considered because, well, that would have spoiled the shock and awe party. So Iraq was bombed and invaded in March 2003 and Hussein was captured and executed in 2005.

Seeing what happened to Iraq, Gaddafi too gave up his weapons of mass destruction. His attempts at reconciliation with the West resulted in the US removing Libya from its list of states sponsoring terrorism in 2006 and an offer in 2008 from Italy of $5 billion in historical reparations, as well as lucrative trade deals. In the interest of peace with Europe, Gaddafi even paid compensation for the Lockerbie bombing and other terror attacks for which no Libyan was responsible.

For a while, European leaders praised Libya as a “model” country, but that did not last. In February 2011, al-Qaeda mercenaries entered Libya to stage a “revolution”. In reality, these mercenaries were armed, funded and trained by the US government. This overt support for the terrorists coincided with an 8 month-long US, British, French and several other powers bombing of the Libyan people. The result was the destruction of the country and the lynching of Colonel Gaddafi; a most brutal turn of events that Hillary Clinton celebrated by gleefully declaring: “We came, we saw, he died!

Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un

These events made it clear to North Korea that if you are on the US list of ‘objectionables’ you simply cannot reason your way out of it. In fact, the North Korean government already had personal experience of this dynamic. In April 2016 Obama rejected an offer from North Korea to suspend its nuclear program if the US agreed to suspend military exercises with South Korea. Who can blame Kim Jong-un for concluding that North Korea’s nuclear program is just a ruse used by warmongers in the US who are determined to destroy his country no matter what.

There is also the little detail of the US murdering between 2 and 3 million North Koreans back in 1950-51 (20-30% of the population) by dropping more bombs than it had dropped in the whole Pacific theatre in World War 2. This included 20,000 tonnes of napalm. Can we blame Kim Jong-un for barking as loud as he can in the hope of being left alone? After all, that is the whole point of nuclear weapons: deterrence.

Does anyone think that if North Korea managed to produce a few nukes and the capability to fly them to Guam or some other US territory or even the US mainland itself, that it would do so in full knowledge of the fact that, while it might obliterate Guam or a US city, North Korea and every person living there would be completely incinerated in a barrage of US minutemen missiles in response? Obviously this is not North Korea’s plan because the North Korean leadership does not have a death wish.

North Korean nukes are a means to avoid a Libya-style NATO bombing campaign and bargaining chips once he is sitting at the negotiating table. As Mike Whitney writes:

“What they [North Koreans] want is to preserve their regime, procure security guarantees from Washington, lift the embargo, normalize relations with the South, extricate the US from the political affairs of the peninsula, and (hopefully) end the irritating and endlessly provocative 64 year US occupation.”

Does Donald Trump realize that Kim Jong-un is playing the Art of the Deal game with him? Perhaps, but by now it doesn’t really matter. For the last nine months, Trump had been trying to assert himself in the face of the bureaucratic structure in Washington that is used to dictating the agenda; the so-called ‘Deep State’. But it is apparent that Trump has lost that particular battle and is now in the same position as all his predecessors. Vladimir Putin explained this quite well in an interview with Le Figaro:

“[Putin] has revealed that a US president is more often than not just a figurehead of government. A certain person may be elected by the public on the basis of his merit and ideals – but rarely is this person able to formulate policy. Putin explained that the ‘bureaucracy’ in the US, which is more commonly known as the Deep State, is very powerful and as such does not allow any real change in direction.

“Presidents come and go, but the politics remains the same.” As such, an individual, who may have his own genuine ideas, is elected into the White House only to satisfy the illusion of a democratic process taking place. In reality, “men in dark suits”, who remain anonymous to the voting public, continue to pursue the well-established interests of the US elite with each incoming administration.”

Here are some signs that show that Trump has finally bent the knee to the Deep State:

  • Trump reluctantly signs new Russia sanctions law imposed by Congress, calling it “significantly flawed”.
  • Trump makes a U-turn on his campaign promise to pull out of Afghanistan; troops are to remain for an indefinite term. He explained: “My original instinct was to pull out… But all my life I’ve heard that decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in the Oval Office; in other words, when you’re President of the United States.”
  • US Defense Secretary James Mattis visits Ukraine and considers supplying it with additional weapons.
  • Chief White House Strategist Steve Bannon leaves the White House as the military increases their influence within the administration. Later he complained that the “original sin” of the Trump administration was “embracing the establishment”.
  • Counterterrorism advisor Sebastian Gorka leaves the White House over concerns that staffers who truly wanted to “make America great again” were being “undermined”.
  • Trump signs an executive order imposing new financial sanctions against the Venezuelan government.

The question should be: Why is the Deep State threatening North Korea through Trump with “fire and fury”? I do not think the US wants a war with North Korea either at the moment. They are way too close to China for a relatively cost-free bomb-and-plunder operation as they did in Iraq and Libya. China is a regional superpower and has made its position clear via its state-sponsored newspaper Global Times: They will not allow the US and South Korea to strike North Korea and try to overthrow the leadership, but will remain neutral if Pyongyang launches missiles at American targets first.

US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley informed via Twitter they are “looking” at North Korea’s business partners:

Does that mean they will impose sanctions on China? It seems unlikely, but if so, I wish them luck upsetting a country that holds over $1 trillion in U.S. debt. There is more than one way China could hurt the US economically, and in fact they might already be planning just that.

Although the US knows it cannot confront China and Russia directly, they still seek to weaken them as much as possible and thwart their expansion at every opportunity. The war rhetoric against North Korea provides the excuse for the US to militarize that region of Asia even further in order to encircle China in the same way they have been surrounding Russia with NATO bases and missiles in Eastern Europe. They can also take the opportunity to make vast profits through the sale of a lot more weapons to South Korea and Japan:

Since neither side actually wants to engage militarily – at least not yet – does that mean there will be no war between the US and North Korea in the near future? Unfortunately there are no guarantees. Putin was absolutely correct when he recently declared:

Ramping up military hysteria in such conditions is senseless; it’s a dead end,” he added. “It could lead to a global, planetary catastrophe and a huge loss of human life. There is no other way to solve the North Korean nuclear issue, save that of peaceful dialogue.”

If those involved keep escalating their words and behavior, accidents could happen. Someone could make the wrong call, pull a trigger or push a button leading to consequences the entire world may regret.