In spite of strong objections from China, the US has deployed the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile system — or THAAD — in South Korea. Spokespeople of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea — or the DPRK, widely known as North Korea — expressed outrage at the surprise deployment of the missile system by US forces, which the Russian Security & Defense Committee called “yet another provocation against Russia.” According to Yonhap News, protesters clashed with South Korean police during anti-THAAD demonstrations organized by the residents of Seongju, where the system was deployed. In other words, everyone involved seemed less-than-happy that the US just tossed another huge weapon into an already tense situation with thermo-nuclear potential — well, everyone but the US, anyway.
What is THAAD
& Is It Going to Hurt?
“This system is a defensive system,” explains US Admiral Harry Harris about the $800 million-dollar missile system, which uses infrared seeker technology to track & destroy short & medium-ranged missiles. Manufactured primarily by Lockheed Martin, THAAD is equipped with an X-band radar developed by Raytheon, which is the largest transportable radar of its type.
Why China Is Mad
“We are against anything that might lead to war or chaos”
– Wu Dawei, China’s envoy on North Korea
Despite Admiral Harry Harris’ reassurances that THAAD is “aimed north” & specifically “not west,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry says the radar technology can easily reach China, which undermines their security & does nothing to stop North Korean efforts to develop long-range missiles. Apparently mistaking Trump for someone more reasonable, China urged the US “to stop actions that worsen regional tensions & harm China’s strategic security interests and cancel the deployment of the THAAD system.” Today, when it became clear China’s concerns would be ignored, Beijing announced plans to hold counter-THAAD military exercises with “new weapons.”
Why Russia Is Mad
After Trump blew up a Syrian air base that Russia & allies were using to fight ISIS, they are probably not in the mood for the US to start putting advanced missile systems right by their southern border. A Russian defense official stated that it was “yet another provocation against Russia under the guise of a North Korean threat” — and, to be completely fair, the last time Russia put missiles near the US, we freaked out & nearly plunged the world into a nuclear holocaust. Despite its peaceful resolution, we still call it the “Cuban Missile Crisis.“ So — if you look at it in that context — Russia is actually handling the situation in a fairly mature way.
So far, that is.
Why South Korean Protesters Are Mad
While neighbors voiced opposition from outside of South Korea, demonstrations against THAAD were organized by protesters on the inside of the country, too. Residents of North Gyeongsang Province — where THAAD was deployed — tried to block roads to stop the military convoys from delivering the components for the missile system, waving signs that read “No THAAD, No War” & “Hey, U.S.! Are you friends or occupying troops?”. The controversial deal with the Pentagon to deploy the missile defense system was signed by disgraced former-president, Park Geun-hye, who was ousted by massive protests sparked by evidence of Park’s cronyism & bribe-taking. The country is split, according to South Korean Yonhap News, about whether THAAD should even be deployed at all.
The special election to replace Park Guen-hye are scheduled for May 9th — just 2 weeks from now. Moon Jae-in, the liberal Democratic Party’s popular candidate who is expected to win the elections, has called for the deployment to be postponed until then so the people of South Korea can weigh in on the issue. Moon — and many of Moon’s supporters — favor of a softer approach to North Korea and hope to gradually integrate the two Koreas & re-unify the Peninsula that was divided at the end of World War II.
The South Korean protesters see the surprise move as the US trying to deploy THAAD before the people elect leaders who would likely back out of the US-brokered deal with the devils, Lockheed Martin & Ratheon.
But Who Cares What China, Russia,
North Korea, or South Korea Want?
Not the United States, that’s for damned sure. Which, by the way, is sadly unsurprising. As this writer noted in a recent post, US forces have refused to honor Korean autonomy from the day they arrived in 1945 beneath the shadow of a gun — and, 72 years later, nothing has changed. The US is still celebrating its “freedom” while it sends American soldiers nearly 7,000 miles to safeguard the profit of US weapons manufacturers from foreign demonstrators. US media pundits are still pretending to analyze & puzzle over the “aggressive” rhetoric of North Korean leaders ( though they have never invaded another nation ) while carefully & consistently forgetting to mention the 28,500 soldiers that the US maintains on the North Korean borders, year after year.
Or maybe it’s the world that’s gone crazy — you decide.