North Korea and the U.S. as Terror Sponsors

If North Korea is a state sponsor of terrorism by the U.S. legal definition, then, using that same definition, so is the United States.

Bush 2 took North Korea off the state sponsor of terrorism list in 2008. Trump has put it back on.

Is North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism or not? On American soil, the answer is unambiguously “NOT”. Can you name a single act of terrorism perpetrated by North Korea on American soil? There aren’t any.

Internationally, North Korea has a habit of assassinations that do qualify it as a state sponsor of terrorism under the U.S. legal definition of international terrorism. However, the U.S. is a far greater state sponsor of international terrorism under its own definition.

The U.S. definition of international terrorism follows:

“Title 18 of the United States Code (regarding criminal acts and criminal procedure) defines international terrorism as:

(1) [T]he term ‘international terrorism’ means activities that —

(A) involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or of any State;
(B) appear to be intended —

(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and

(C) occur primarily outside the territorial jurisdiction of the United States, or transcend national boundaries in terms of the means by which they are accomplished, the persons they appear intended to intimidate or coerce, or the locale in which their perpetrators operate or seek asylum.”

By this definition, the U.S. has repeatedly engaged in acts of international terrorism in Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya and Yemen, not to mention countries in Central and South America.

The U.S. has no moral high ground to stand on in placing North Korea on a list of state sponsors of terrorism because it too should be on the same list. Morality has little or nothing to do with this list, even though Bush 2 virtually equated it with an “axis of evil”.

Terrorism is neither the target of the list nor its raison d’être. If it were, then the U.S. would first have to inspect and change its own behavior. The list would be much longer and include allies of the U.S.

On the list are states that the U.S. regards as obstacles to its hegemonic ends or thorns in its side. The list provides a convenient way to impose sanctions. The U.S. can threaten countries using the list because being placed on it automatically brings about various sanctions.

The war on terror is three things all in one. It is first a bonanza for companies, bureaucrats, armed forces, politicians, intelligence operations, neocon intellectuals and government officials who lead it, fight it, monitor it, favor it and supply it. They want the war on terror and they benefit from it. Extending it, not winning it, is in their interests. The war on terror is a tool of maintaining and extending U.S. hegemony in foreign countries.

Second, from the perspective of handling the problem of terror and protecting Americans, the war on terror is a wrong response by the U.S. to acts of terrorism. War was never the appropriate response to terrorism. War, as in Iraq, only bred worse terrorist outfits and spread it further afield. We even have the phenomenon of second generation immigrants devising acts of terror on American soil because of the U.S. embrace of a war on terror.

Third, the war on terror is a tool for extending government control over the domestic population. The state-sponsored terrorism list is one of the many means to influence public opinion and keep the population on the side of believing that the war on terror is a necessity that should be continued. It does this by naming “bad guys” and reinforcing the notion that the U.S. and its leaders are the “good guys”. Terrorism or fighting terrorism are really not its point. The point is to maintain the flexibility to pour resources into a war on terror and to gain support for it.


3:00 pm on December 16, 2017