« Large numbers of Syrians are returning home. | Main | HARPER: IDENTITY POLITICS--WE ALL LOSE »

15 August 2017


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


I also believe this is exactly right. Many on here have indicated that they have been a rational actor in the face of US belligerence. If one believes that, then it should be accepted that suicide is not an option for them, particularly against an enemy which will undoubtedly suicide even if North Korea were able to get a couple hits in.

Hopefully this is in fact the crescendo from which the parties can begin to deescalate the situation, and try finding an alternate path to resolving this conflict. NoKo has a lot to offer by giving up the nuclear threat they have been able to put together, and if they are a rational actor like many claim, they will take advantage of the situation and use it to negotiate a good deal.


I meant to say undoubtedly survive...


If you think that Kim blinked then the US should blink more often instead of rushing into wars and creating chaos as was done in Ukraine, Libya, Iraq, and Syria.

I also expect more from you than calling Kim a fat kid.

Seamus Padraig

Pyong Yang and Washington have been playing these games for decades. Only the liberal MSM seriously entertained the idea that this was going to erupt into a full-blown war, because ... Trump. Neither side has any interest in a war, and legend to contrary, both Trump and the Norks are rational actors, as are the Chinese.


I imagine it goes something like this: We hold our exercises with our allies on a schedule that is convenient for us. In all the years we've been holding these exercises we have never attacked NK, the reason we haven't attacked is not because they are ready for us, it's because we choose not to, their rice planting season is or is not a concern to us. Their decision to how best use their military is or is not a concern to us. However, when they threaten us we do listen. We may make a show of force in response or we may not. We may not know all their nuclear capabilities or we may know every last detail, their decisions are theirs but they might consider erring on the side of caution. They have decided now on caution.

BSox mentions all the times NoKor has provoked us. That we haven't responded with overwhelming force during those times is a sign of our strength. Perhaps one of those events is when we decided it was now more convenient for us to hold exercises at a less convenient time for NoKor, who knows - I don't.

Kim might launch another missile, that's his decision. We might make him toast before he does that, or while he does it, or after he does it, or not at all. I don't know, B doesn't know, but most importantly, Kim doesn't know.


B, don't you recognize that rice farming is for rice farmers and not GIs, you make us look bad with that propaganda.

Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

There are clearly discussions going on in the background. The US would never admit to negotiating with North Korea, but most of the reason for their petulance is constant muscle flexing by the Americans and South Koreans. They probably ought to just relax. I doubt the US and South Korea would ever launch an attack. There's nothing to be gained from it on any level.


Arius American

you should go elsewhere. For me me, he and North Korea are abominations. pl


Any word on whether the the planned ROK-US maneuvers will be going ahead? It may in fact be Trump that blinked. But the announcement will made in the name of the new South Korean president.



You don't know that Trump "blinked." you are just hoping. pl


IMHO, both Trump and Kim blinked. Perhaps Kim has been waiting for any gesture that allow him to stop the planned missile launch. Perhaps Trump has realized it is foolish and unecessary to proceed with the B1-B missions (the US-South Korean military exercise is still a more important show of force).

They both came out of this potential crisis as loosers. And Trump certainly had gotten us close to the brink of WW3/nuclear war with his exchanges of childish rhetorics with Kim.

SAC Brat

Anyone have Sergey Lavrov's travel or phone logs? He was in SE Asia last week.

A. Pols

Maybe the whole Guam thing was just a head fake and the NOKOs were just engaging in a bit of trolling. After all, if you threaten to do something you have no actual intention of doing, then pretend to back down, what is that other than a prank?
More and more we live in a world of hoaxes.
But what do you all think the latest information about the transfer by Ukrainian interests of RD250 engines to NOKO? The story has the appearance of plausibility and, if true, sure is cause for some awkwardness...

Yeah, Right

The old James Bond dictum springs to mind: once is an accident, twice is happenstance, and three times is.... war.

To decide if those exercises is deliberately timed to be harmful to North Korean rice production we would need to know:
a) How long is the NK rice harvest season?
b) What reasons make it uniquely advantageous for the USA/SK to conduct exercises during that same period, year in and year out.

I don't doubt that nobody wants to get out of bed in the harsh Korean winter to much up the hill and down again. Sure. But I doubt that the North Koreans have given a guarantee that they'll only attack during the summer months, and it'll all be over by Xmas.

That strikes me as the main difficulty with claiming happenstance i.e. of necessity the North Koreans can't change when the rice needs to be harvested, but the USA/SK should be varying the timing of their military exercises.

After all, what if the GIs only find out after the shooting starts that their guns don't work in the cold?


Fat Boy waffled as soon as China announced that if Fat Boy attacks the US.......he is on his own. I attribute Fat Boy's change of attitude to that alone.


Yeah, Right

Ever heard of Arctic Lubricant? pl

Green Zone Café

Just more time for NK to improve its nukes (soon to include thermonuclear), warhead design, reentry vehicles, and missiles.

Aside from the craziness of the Kim regime, more nuke states = more chance of accidental launches. It's gonna happen someday.

What would Colonel Lang do? Strike now before NK more powerful and take the risk of Seoul, maybe Tokyo or more being destroyed, or resign yourself to deterrence?



FYI, in an impoverish totalitarian regime, rice farmers are soldiers, and vice versa. That's reality.

Yeah, Right

No, never heard of it. Though it sounds like something that should be advertised on porn sites.

But the point I made still holds true: military exercises on the Korean peninsular shouldn't just be held in the same month year in, year out. Doing so presupposes a gentleman's agreement about when any war is going to be fought.

And I assume everyone here accepts that such a gentleman's agreement has not been struck with the North Koreans?


Elleman speculated wrongly. And the NYT (Sanger) used that to engage in the usual anti-Russian propaganda.

The North Korean missile motor has one combustion chamber the regular R-250 has two. The outer appearance has similarities with R-250 but is not identical.
North Korea has the capability to develop and manufacture these themselves. Like everyone else they copied parts of existing designs.
Three new piece today seem to confirm what several experts (countering Elleman) said yesterday:

North Korea likely can make missile engines without imports: U.S.

U.S. Believes North Korea Produces Its Own Rocket Engines

North Korea's New High-Performance Missile Engines Likely Weren't Made in Russia or Ukraine


The U.S. uses B1-B flights to "threaten" North Korea and "in response" to North Korean testing. These flights are marketed as special "show of force". They are not routine.

It did so last September:
The United States often sends powerful warplanes to South Korea in times of heightened animosity between the Koreas, but it is still unusual for such aircraft to fly near the rivals' border, the world's most heavily fortified.
U.S. Pacific Command said on its website Wednesday that the flight was the closest a B-1 has ever flown to the border.

It did so recently:
US sends B-1B bombers in show of force after North Korean ICBM test


The North Korean army mostly feeds itself. Many military facilities have fields nearby and the soldiers are engaged in agriculture as well as other types of production (Songun policy).

Additionally the (very short) planting and harvesting seasons demand a peak of labor force - the military units are ordered to help their local communities in these. Readiness requirements during South Korean/U.S. maneuvers collide with these needs.

That is the argument North Korea officially makes to justify its nuclear program. It is intended to replace the too costly conventional deterrence and free up labor force.

You may disagree with that argument but you will have to admit that it is coherent and somewhat reasonable.


Like the Axis of Evil?.....


Would changing San Francisco for Seoul or Tokyo for Seattle make a difference to this logic?.....



IMO we now have to wait to see if they actually make a hostile move and if they continue in their drive to a nuclear armed ICBM. pl

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

February 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
Blog powered by Typepad