Lewis Diuguid

Global dance for peace ongoing in Middle East, Korean Peninsula

South Korean protesters on Monday staged a rally demanding to stop the joint military exercises, Ulchi Freedom Guardian, or UFG, between the U.S. and South Korea near U.S. Embassy in Seoul, South Korea. South Korea and the United States began annual military drills Monday despite North Korea's threat of nuclear strikes in response to the exercises that it calls an invasion rehearsal. Signs held by the protesters read: “Stop Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise and war exercise.”
South Korean protesters on Monday staged a rally demanding to stop the joint military exercises, Ulchi Freedom Guardian, or UFG, between the U.S. and South Korea near U.S. Embassy in Seoul, South Korea. South Korea and the United States began annual military drills Monday despite North Korea's threat of nuclear strikes in response to the exercises that it calls an invasion rehearsal. Signs held by the protesters read: “Stop Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise and war exercise.” The Associated Press

The global dance for a peace continues to take one step forward and two steps backward.

The positive move came from Iran deciding to pull its permission for Russian planes to fly bombing runs into Syria from an Iranian base. It was only a week ago that Iran approved the deal.

But Iran took the unusual step in backing out of the agreement, saying Russia had been too public and arrogant about the privilege, The New York Times reports.

It’’s good that the deal fell apart because a lot of Western nations worried that Russia and Iran were becoming too cozy in their unified efforts to support Syrian President Bashar Assad in his fight against the Islamic State and other rebel groups.

The U.S., France, Great Britain, Turkey and other nations support the fight against the Islamic State, but in many cases they are backing other rebel forced against Assad. That puts them on different sides from Russia and Iran. It becomes even more dicey when Kurdish rebels are factored in.

Turkey also is experiencing continued unrest after a failed coup in July.

If the goings-on in the Middle East represent a step forward, then a definite couple of steps backward come from North Korea’s threat to use nuclear strikes against the United States and South Korea. It’s in response to the annual military drills by South Korea and the U.S.

Nuclear saber rattling is nothing new from North Korea. But this time it’s occurring after a senior North Korean diplomat based in London, Thae Yong Ho, defected to South Korea. In addition the U.S. has plans to put a high-tech missile defense system in South Korea, The Associated Press reports.

North Korea’s military in response said Monday that it will turn Seoul and Washington, D.C., into “a heap of ashes through a Korean-style pre-emptive nuclear strike” if they show any signs of aggression toward North Korea.

The U.S., South Korean military exercises are defensive in nature. There shouldn’t be any signs of aggression toward North Korea.

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