Washington finds new excuses to park its missile shields on Russia and China's doorstep
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
The conservative and opinionated ABC commentator Chris Uhlmann made it into the international news recently for his scathing condemnation of Donald Trump, as someone with “no desire and no capacity to lead the world”. In his assessment, Trump’s behaviour would see the US rapidly declining as a world leader, and neglecting its duties as global policeman. In common with nearly all his countrymen, Uhlmann evidently saw this as undesirable, and feared that it would also threaten Australia’s national security.
Australia of course basks under America’s nuclear umbrella, in return for certain services. As a natural consequence for hosting a major US satellite base, and the advance guard for increasing its “strategic depth” in SE Asia, Australia has made itself a target for the countries threatened by US aggression in the region.
Uhlmann was interviewed for the Australian state broadcaster’s Insiders programme from Hamburg, after Trump had the honour of meeting Putin, and had jetted home to issue a celebratory tweet. Clearly this was too much for the Putin-denying Uhlmann, who wasn’t shy in explaining what the G20 leaders should have talked about – North Korea!
North Korea of course had launched a celebratory missile on July 4th, just in time to set the agenda for the G20 meeting, and make everyone forget what it was they were supposed to be talking about – Syrian chemical weapons! Or at least that’s what you might have thought, if you didn’t know the “story of Khan Shaikoun”.
For those who do know the story – which was revealed by US intelligence sources to Seymour Hersh, and concealed from the Western public by their leaders and media – it was yet another surprise that the question of what to do about Assad was never asked, and as far as anyone could see not discussed.
In fact it was so stunning that a subject which only a week earlier was the issue, could be pushed out of view by North Korea’s antics, - that some ludicrous conspiracy theory came to mind. Had North Korea been infiltrated by the CIA? Is Kim Jong Un in league with the Pentagon and the US defence industry?
Because of course no-one in the Western power elite wanted to talk about Assad and his chemical weapons anymore, and so grasped at this story like a drowning man. But then when the G20 began all that anyone seemed to want to talk about was Trump’s meeting with Putin.
What was Putin going to say to Trump for having launched an illegal and lethal missile strike on Syria on false pretences? Had Donald read Seymour Hersh’s article – not all 500 Twitter messages worth, but the bit about himself - how he just wouldn’t listen, because he’d seen the dead children on TV and Syria had to be punished?
Sadly we don’t know what Putin had to say to Trump at their meeting, though we know an awful lot more than anyone who listens to the Western media, who have things generally back to front – Putin was there to answer Trump’s questions, with the most important one being why Putin won’t admit to interfering in the US election. And he just won’t!
It would be nice to think that the so-called election-meddling wasn’t mentioned, other than in the context of Ukraine or Syria, Libya or Yemen. The thought that Donald Trump himself might believe that Putin helped get him elected is very disturbing! But there were other important things for the two men to talk about, and none more important than America’s current acceleration of aggressive moves against both Russia and China.
Which is where North Korea comes in!
The Khan Shaikoun “fiasco” wasn’t the only thing Trump needed to understand, from someone he has to believe – because there’s also a problem with the intelligence on North Korea’s missile launch.
The Russian Defence Ministry released its own satellite surveillance monitoring and estimates of North Korea’s controversial launching of an Intercontinental ballistic missile, information that would probably have been available for the G20 meeting. The observations are highly revealing – or one might say embarrassing – showing that North Korea’s “game-changing” missile launch was nothing of the sort.
According to the Russian data, the Hwasong-14 missile reached a maximum altitude of 535 kms – about the same as the horizontal distance travelled, and classifying it only as a medium range ballistic missile. This is in stark contrast to the claims of both North Korea and the Pentagon, that the missile reached an altitude of 2,800 kms in a near vertical ascent, making it capable of travelling a horizontal distance of up to 6000 kms when fired in a different trajectory, and which would make parts of US and Australian territory potential targets.
Just to be clear:
“A Voronezh-type radar station deployed in the Irkutsk region monitored the launch of the Hwasong-14 medium-range ballistic missile (IRBM) from North Korea, which flew a distance of 510 kilometers (317 miles) in 14 minutes, reaching an altitude of 535 kilometers (332 miles), before landing in the Sea of Japan,” reads a letter from Russia’s UN mission addressed to the UN’s secretary-general and the chairman of the Security Council.
Following the now-proven-false claims from the US and North Korea, that went ballistic around the Western world, Australia’s former PM Kevin Rudd declared that Australia must now consider a missile defence system ‘as protection from a nuclear-armed North Korea’. For Rudd – a Mandarin speaker and former shadow foreign minister who had always opposed such self-defeating provocation of Australia’s most important trading partner – this was a significant change in position, and announced in time for Saturday’s press to be full of articles and comment on the “new” threat to Australia from a North Korean nuclear missile strike.
“Ballistic Missile defence system needed” screamed the headlines!
Thus the frustration of Chris Uhlmann that North Korea didn’t get discussed at the G20, leaving Australians exposed to the whims of a mad dictator, who could somehow cobble together a nuclear warhead in no time, and fire it off in the general direction of Australia… as a suicide note!
But leaving aside the hysteria, and general dementia that seems to have overtaken the Western commentariat, there is something far more serious and dark going on here.
For how many years has the US been threatening Russia using the “nuclear threat from Iran” as a pretext for installing missile defence bases along Russia’s borders? And then going ahead and installing them in Romania only months after the celebrated resolution of the Iranian nuclear (non) issue.
And this serial killer nation is now playing exactly the same trick again, using the threat of North Korean nuclear missiles as a pretext to install its missile defence system against China. The deployment of the THAAD missile system in South Korea had to be initiated in a hurry because the likely change of government would stymie it. Provocative naval exercises evidently helped trigger the needed North Korean missile launch before the election, even as the now elected Moon Jae-in was talking diplomacy and peace with his neighbours.
Clearly the US won’t have the same problem with its ally Australia, whose leaders and media have all swallowed the “North Korean ICBM threat” hook line and sinker.
But thanks to Russian pravda it is now clear there is no such threat because North Korea still doesn’t have a missile capable of reaching Australia, nor a nuclear warhead to use on it, nor a reason to launch it without extreme provocation. And it’s also clearer than ever that the greatest threat to our security comes from our closest ally, who with Trump-like pig-headedness seems intent on pushing both Russia and China to the crisis point of nuclear confrontation, even just as a marketing ploy for its defensive missile systems.
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
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