In an interview with Muslim Press, political activist Paul Larudee said U.S. threats against North Korea “is intended for other nations who might aspire to nuclear weapons, which have become the only effective deterrent against powerful international bullies.”
“It's highly unlikely that North Korea or the U.S. will initiate a conflict that results in the use of nuclear weapons, because the consequences are unacceptable to both nations and the potential gains are not worth the price,” he added.
Here’s the full transcript of the interview:
Muslim Press: U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea during his speech at the UN. What’s he pursuing through such threats?
Paul Larudee: Trump is a bully. This is "saber rattling" at its most basic. Its purpose is to intimidate, but I doubt that it will have much effect on North Korea, which is beyond threats. The intimidation is intended for other nations who might aspire to nuclear weapons, which have become the only effective deterrent against powerful international bullies.
MP: What could be the consequences of such remarks? How likely is an armed conflict between the U.S. and North Korea?
Paul Larudee: It's not inconceivable that these remarks might lead to war, but North Korea has been effective in creating a national defense that no other nation will want to try to break. It's highly unlikely that North Korea or the U.S. will initiate a conflict that results in the use of nuclear weapons, because the consequences are unacceptable to both nations and the potential gains are not worth the price.
MP: Is the U.S. president likely to end the Iran nuclear deal? If so, what would that result in?
Paul Larudee: Trump should have fired all the neoconservatives in government at the beginning of his term, when he might have had a chance to do so. Now he is their prisoner, and unfortunately, this is also an issue on which he and they do not disagree much, however dysfunctional and destructive it might be. It is not impossible that he and the neocons have enough power in U.S. political circles to end the agreement. Israel is against it, along with their new friend, Saudi Arabia, and both would like Iran to be the next country to suffer devastation like Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria and Yemen.
Nevertheless, I doubt that even the U.S. will take on a large country like Iran, which has strategic connections to Russia, China and other potential regional partners. But of course, that doesn't mean that the agreement can't be scuttled. In that case, however, the international community will probably be less likely to join the U.S. in imposing international sanctions on Iran. When a viable, working agreement is abrogated by the U.S. in the absence of any justification, the U.S. is likely to find few partners, and Iran will probably continue to have working relationships with countries other than the U.S.
Paul Larudee is a political activist who is a major figure in the pro-Palestinian movement. Based in the San Francisco Bay area, he is involved with the International Solidarity Movement and was a founder of the Free Gaza Movement and the Free Palestine Movement.