Before he was pushed out of the West Wing, former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon said in a purportedly unauthorized interview that what President Trump recently referred to as "phase two" - the dreaded "military option" for confronting North Korea - would inevitably lead to millions of casualties on the South Korean side of the DMZ. And that would be from conventional weapons alone.
And, as noted earlier, after a brief detente that saw the US and North Korea purportedly move closer to dialogue courtesy of the South Korea Olympics, the bellicose rhetoric that had become a near-daily presence in US media headlines is set to make a comeback. And who better to kick things off than Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina senator, former Trump antagonist, and perennial cheerleader for US military intervention virtually everywhere.
Graham told CNN during a brief interview that the devastating collateral damage caused by a US military strike against North Korea would be “worth it."
"All the damage that would come from a war would be worth it in terms of long-term stability and national security," the Republican senator from South Carolina told CNN. "I'm completely convinced that President Trump and his team reject the policy of containment… They've drawn a red line here and it is to never let North Korea build a nuclear-tipped missile to hit America."
In another absurd claim, Graham claims that Americans shouldn't worry about the deadly consequences of a targeted strike in North Korea, because all of the violence and killing will be unfolding over there.
And with that, Graham exposes the hypocrisy at the core of the aggressive foreign policy posturing that has dominated American politics since the days of Henry Kissinger: as long as there are minimal American casualties, the US shouldn't hesitate to intervene in foreign affairs even if (or perhaps especially) it means millions of casualties.
"If there’s going to be a war to stop [Kim Jong-un], it will be over there. If thousands die, they’re going to die over there. They’re not going to die here," he added. "And [Trump] told me that to my face."
"That may be provocative, but not really. When you’re president of the United States, where does your allegiance lie? To the people of the United States."
As we reported earlier, the KCNA referred to the drills that are set to resume next month as bringing "dark clouds of a war to hang over the Korean Peninsula." It also called for the international community to denounce Washington's push to "aggravate the situation on the Korean peninsula at any cost."
And what's worse for the US, North Korea isn't the only foreign adversary engaging in menacing rhetoric. In a surprisingly bellicose speech made yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin unveiled a new long-range ballistic missile that he says is capable of circumventing US anti-ballistic missile protections, a reference to the US-funded missile shield installed by NATO in Eastern Europe.
While we doubt that that Graham's opinion would be changed if faced with the specter of potential Russian involvement as part of a North Korean operation, the fact that US neocons are perfectly willing to risk a nuclear war just to promote the interests of the US military-industrial complex is very concerning, especially now that with the Olympics over, there is little stopping the North Korean conflict from escalating to its next, and much deadlier, phase.