The US flew B-1B Lancer bombers, escorted by F-15 fighters, off North Korea’s east coast. However, the aircraft remained in international airspace.
In a statement, the Pentagon said the mission was designed to demonstrate “US resolve and [sends] a clear message that the President has many military options to defeat any threat.”
RT discussed this situation with geopolitical analyst and founder of the news website 21st Century Wire Patrick Henningsen.
RT: What message is Washington sending with this bomber deployment?
Patrick Henningsen: They are sending a message of aggression and war. It is certainly the message that Trump’s base, some of them anyway, want to hear. It is the message that the military-industrial complex in the US – all the defense contractors – they want to hear this, it is John McCain’s message, it is James Mattis’ message. This is the message of neoconservative war hawks. That is basically who he is talking to.
In terms of diplomacy, it is completely counterproductive. In terms of China relations, it is very poor form. In terms of military strategy, it is worthless, it is nothing. The other thing is, Obama would have done the same thing. In fact, Obama did exactly the same thing in September, 2016 – he flew a B-1 bomber over South Korea not very far at all, technically from where this was flown today. Of course, it didn’t get any media coverage at the time. But this is just basic US behavior, a government that is dominated by the Pentagon, by the defense industry, by these interests.
RT: Is it a sensible move given how high tensions are at the moment?
PH: The US is the problem in this. South Korea and North Korea have tried different times to initiate some kind of meaningful peace process. And almost at every turn, the US will intervene in one way or another to try to break up that sort of bilateral negotiations between the North and the South. The US has a demilitarized zone between North and South Korea with 30,000 troops and military contractors and civilian personnel based there. They have a base in Okinawa, they have a base in Japan, they have a base in Guam, they have a few bases on the Philippines. From the Korean point of view, the problem is the US. I am sure North and South Korea could eventually work this out to have a peace treaty. But that is not what is happening now. The US is intervening for one simple fact: because the whole Pacific Rim agenda is predicated on poor relations with North Korea and war footing. Otherwise, the US would have no business in the Pacific and the only reason they are there is to counter China. So, North Korea is just theater. This is stage-managed geopolitical theater. It is very dangerous what the US is doing right now, what this president is doing right now, pushing the envelope in a very negative way.
RT: How might Pyongyang react to a provocation like this?
PH: If you listen to the words of Donald Trump at the UNGA, wouldn’t you want a nuclear deterrent as well? He is threatening to destroy a country with 25 million people that live there. And it is an idiotic statement by the US president for the simple reason, if you nuked North Korea, you would also create huge nuclear contamination that would kill so many people in the South. It would make huge areas uninhabitable and parts of China. It is not going to happen. Everyone knows the US is not going to nuke North Korea. What you have here is an exact identical replay of the US relations with Cuba. The US government, though its ridiculous policies and rhetoric, threatening, sanctions and embargos, kept Fidel Castro in power for so many odd years. They are doing exactly the same thing. This is like a replay of Cuba. The US made Fidel Castro who he was, made the conditions that kept him in power. The US government is doing the exact same thing here with North Korea; it is like a replay of history. It doesn’t make sense on so many levels, but this is sort of business as usual for Washington and unfortunately, history will not be on the side of the US in this, because at some point, it has to end. They’ve been there 70 years. They’ve carved out a strip between North Korea and South Korea, which is basically a giant dollar sink for US dollars, for the military-industrial complex. There is no reason for the US to be there and there is no reason for North and South Korea to be pointing guns at each other. The only reason they are is because of the US.
It’s all about money at the end of the day. It’s about a defense budget that has been increased 20 percent to 700 billion dollars; the increase percentage alone is more than the entire annual Russian defense budget… this is about money, this is about profit.