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15 August 2017

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Old Microbiologist

Some good points here:http://theweek.com/articles/570764/time-military-leave-south-korea

Greco

The US-led sanctions aside, this is a country that employs millions into slave labor and practices total political control over its society. Is this a place where anyone would want to trade goods? Sanctions or no sanctions, I wouldn't want anything out of this God forsaken hellhole.

And if nobody blinked, then why is Kim now suggesting he won't strike near or at a US territory like he said he had planned? Clearly he has thought things over and has balked. And I don't see where the US has blinked. Trump responded threat for threat, backing down from none, while at the same time he has shown a ready eagerness for a peaceful solution to ending North Korea's nuclear ambitious.

This is a positive development. And Kim will be more careful to avoid making similar threats he can't back up going forward.

walrus

You will never guess what we called the regular temperature weapon lubricant.

Fred

Yeah, Right,

How many decades has North Korea had to diversify its industrial base so that it can build its own tractors and thus free up all that manpower from harvesting rice every year when they know, just know, that the evil South and those American allies are going to rush across the DMZ?

Greco

I respectfully disagree with their position and on the matter of whether they're indeed reasonable.

We don't know if Kim is a nihilist. He's under enormous pressure to maintain control. He may see things as all or nothing for him and that he won't care if he takes millions of others down with him.

And even if assuming he's acting on totally reasonable mertis now, who's to say how reasonable he will be in the future if we allow him to become more emboldened. Ten years from now he may very well fall out of power and someone more dangerous may assume his place.

This is a problem that has been allowed to fester to a point that may soon be no longer acceptable. If North Korea gets a pass now, they and others will become emboldened and act in a manner that is even more egregious and reckless.

I find their position unacceptable. I find their system of governance reprehensible. And we ultimately endanger ourselves if we fail to meet the challenge of confronting them on the strongest of terms.

Could more have been done to discourage where we stand now? Perhaps, but we're here now and we need to force North Korea's weaker hand and get them to back down. This administration has a shown willingness to do that and I think they will succeed in getting North Korea to abandon their plans for a nuclear deterrent while ensuring a tentative, if not lasting peace. That is assuming Kim Jung-Un is a rational and reasonable actor as some may have done well to argue.

Jackrabbit

Didn't China force them both to blink?

My reading of the China statement was that China would defend NK if NK was attacked - with the implication that it would NOT help NK if NK were the aggressor.

Jackrabbit

China's position makes each side wary of being deemed to be the aggressor.

ISL

Dear Colonel,

A third possibility (of which I have no evidence) is that NoKo looked at their test data and realized there is a technical flaw that requires fixing to avoid a high probability of an embarrassing prang. I would not assess this as low probability, but definitely not zero.

dilbert dogbert

Too bad he blinked. Those missiles would have made good and cheap target practice. I assume we have the national technical means to recover the stages of the missiles and find out where the technology came from.

dilbert dogbert

"I find their position unacceptable. I find their system of governance reprehensible. And we ultimately endanger ourselves if we fail to meet the challenge of confronting them on the strongest of terms."

This was advocated during the Cold War. Fortunately we chose "Containment" and a nuclear exchange with the USSR was avoided. I remember JFK, Khrushchev and Cuba and it was a close thing. I don't want to relive that experience in my declining years.

Bandolero

turcopolier

I think it's win-win: both Trump and Kim won.

Trump can credibly claim that his "tough talk" was effective in deterring Kim from launching missiles close to Guam. And Kim can credibly claim that he established the DPRK as a new nuclear weapon power.

SmoothieX12

Fat Thing blinked--that much is clear. He may have been "helped" in blinking by China and Russia, who is second to China in NoKo policies--that is how China goes, Russia follows on this issue. Nobody involved needs any trouble in the neighborhood. With or without American rhetoric it has to be remembered that it was Kim Il Sung who unleashed the war in 1950. Three times he pressed Stalin for support, two times he was refused, on the third Stalin surrendered. We all know the rest. Has to be stated, though, that there were no nice people on both (South and North) sides then--mostly SOBs in political top.

Freudenschade

Col.,

The US and the two Koreas have long been in a Mutual Assured Destruction love triangle. The US just got pulled a little more into the center of the bed, that's all.

Kooshy

Looks like the real behind the seen negotiations that cooled both sides, was rightfully between China and US. Doing Stuff in South China Sea, ends of having proxies thirteen our stuff. I think what Henry Kissinger said about Iran is better fit and applied on US, He said "US (Iran) needs to decide if it wants to be a nation or a cause" sounds like a lot of people in the world are not accepting the post 9/11 formatted US. Like Henry said they see us as a cause and not a nation,

U.S., China Sign Military Agreement To Improve On Communication

http://217.218.67.231/Detail/2017/08/15/531909/China US Fang Dunford agreement direct communication

b

The same arguments were made over China and the Soviet Union.
Deterrence policy won with regard to the Soviet Union and to China. It will also be the policy towards North Korea.

Besides - it is too late now to preempt North Korea. It is a full fledged nuclear weapon state. Get over it.

b

Those who think that B-1B were not the issue at hand over which the recent (secret) negotiations were made should read the NBC piece below which was published on August 9.

The B1-B flights were clearly test runs for a preemptive strike and/or decapitation strike. No wonder North Korea disliked and countered them.

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/north-korea/b-1-bombers-key-u-s-plan-strike-north-korean-n791221
B-1 Bombers Key to a U.S. Plan to Strike North Korean Missile Sites
/quote/
The Pentagon has prepared a specific plan for a preemptive strike on North Korea's missile sites should President Trump order such an attack.

Two senior military officials — and two senior retired officers — told NBC News that key to the plan would be a B-1B heavy bomber attack originating from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam.

Pairs of B-1s have conducted 11 practice runs of a similar mission since the end of May, the last taking place on Monday. The training has accelerated since May, according to officials.
...
/endquote/

North Korea knew this and wanted to end it. Thus the Guam "test" threat and the negotiation offer discussed above. The U.S. agreed to stop the B-1B flights and North Korea put the "test" on hold.

No side lost face. No side won or lost. After building confidence over this issue both are now ready to discuss the less urgent stuff.

BillWade

"Kim Jong Un of North Korea made a very wise and well reasoned decision," Trump wrote on Twitter.

"The alternative would have been both catastrophic and unacceptable!"

Joint US-SK exercises in 5 days.

jonst

and you figure the audience, 'the world', is going to notice these nuances you allege?

A.I.Schmelzer

My own take is that Kim knowlingly made a bogus threat that he could cancel without much loss of face (due to the bomber thing referred to by B) , which makes Trump look stronger and makes Trump hopefully more content.


The North Koreans are fairly weird (associate of mine who worked at MGIMO refered to North Korea as "the one place where you are definitly not going to get laid"), fairly racist and a bit alien (they take ideology at least as serious as the USSR under Stalin, which gives Russians odd vibes), but irrational they are not.
There seems to be a Chruschev like thaw with North Korean aspects in economic terms. The state also cares a bit less about what its citizens are doing then before (Russia is the freest country North Koreans can travel to and work in, and North Korean work crews have currently more liberties then they used to have)

Frankly, if Nukes were distributed according to objective need, North Korea would be first in line. They border 2 Nuclear powers with vastly greater conventional militaries which also have a history of attempting to military dominate Korea (Russia and China), they are at de facto war with 2 countries which could get nuclear weaponry in likely less then a year (South Korea and Japan) and are formally at war with the worlds preeminent nuclear power (USA).

Doesnt mean that the US is evil, North Korea simply doesnt have the means to deterr the USA from attacking, let alone compell the USA into signing a peace treaty. North Koreas abject poverty serves the USA as an example of how long Uncle Sam can fuck you up if he wants to, as such, being in a state of war with them is useful for Washington. Few to none states disliking the US want to be in the situation North Korea is in

US behavior in this aspect is mostly in line with how a hypothetical Russian or Chinese "Super power" would behave if the roles were exchanged. (The USA does other things which, imho, Russia or China would not do if positions were exchanged)

kao_hsien_chih

There is something to be said about b's comments, I think.

While I think we definitely won this round, the dealings with NoKo will not only be long and protracted, but filled with unpredictable turns and twists. There is no set routine, norms, or conventions that limit actions of the participants in the dealings between NoKo, its neighbors, and us and NoKos have been very clever and creative over decades in finding ways to turn up the tension in region. They will no doubt find some other avenue through which to ratcheet things up, even if they might have learned (as I think) that some things are definitely off limits. The game won't be over for a long time, either until the NoKo regime is gone (seems improbable in the near future at the very least--they are survivors of first order) or until some regularized code of conduct, if you will, is established--which they will desperately resist accepting, since that will reduce them to the status of insignificant country with very few leverages that they would normally be.

b

Since when is "the world's" notice relevant in political issues?

Besides - the media slowly, slowly starts to wake up.

CNN: North Korea gives US a clear choice: Restraint or missile launches
http://edition.cnn.com/2017/08/16/opinions/north-korea-us-guam-choice-adam-mount/index.html

turcopolier

b

And so you think the US will be "restrained" by North Korean power? pl

kao_hsien_chih

NoKo is not the world's most economically deprived country. Even if they are close, they would be better off if they didn't waste resources on military and political projects. But, yes, there is a chicken and egg nature to this diversion of efforts: they do this because they think their leadership can get more political advantage by threats and extortions of military nature than by improving the economic lot of their people. In this regard, they have a lot in common with the Borgish leaders in the Western world.

Fred

Pacifica,

"In the US, Wal Mart, Target, and all the other big superstores ... will just waft away into vapor as their suppliers gradually disappear"

Why would they disappear and what will happen to all the then unemployed Chinese nations who used to work at those suppliers?

BillWade

Allies: what you say would be true if we don't retaliate after a NoKor attack on our interests.

Big Box Stores: have been known to eliminate local stores/economies, might be nice to see them go away.

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