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09 August 2017

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Imagine

-NK is quite rational. It just has to deal with a different reality.

-US hides/doesn't realize the amount of threatening it does to foreign nations. It is like Dr. Jekyll wondering why all these crazy people around him are so stirred up by this mythical "Mr. Hyde", whom he never sees.

-NK very well understands that the US can make large areas of its small land uninhabitable. This has already been well demonstrated, in the living memories of the older generals, and in the racial memory of their Boomers. Why do you speak of paper tigers? Why does Trump say, They don't respect us because our military looks weak? America flies fake-execution nuke-bombing missions from Guam, oh ha ha we didn't pull the trigger THIS time, you think that they don't know this? Then why are people talking Oh, we need to threaten them more, then maybe they'll understand us better?

It's like this. Imagine you live in Watts, in the bad part, and this guy built like Hollywood Hulk Hogan brings two Uzis and a backup gang into your yard EVERY MONTH, starts yelling "I'm gonna kill you, M-F! I'm gonna kill you, your wife, and your kids!", and unloading clips into the air above your house. The police are gone. You say, "Please, sir, get off my lawn and stop bothering me and my family." He doesn't listen. You crank it up and yell, "Hey, M-F, get off my lawn now or there's going to be big trouble!". He doesn't listen.

So, you go out and buy a shotgun. The next time Hollywood and his New World Order show up, you hold up the shotgun. "Do you see this? You get off my lawn NOW. I don't care if you're built like the Hulk, I don't care if you and your gang can rip my head off. You can't treat me and my family that way."

In the South Central riots of 1992, the white storekeepers were wringing their hands, got their windows beat in and goods looted. The Korean shopkeepers, old, middle-aged guys, got rifles and got up on the roofs of their stores. The Koreans are serious about this stuff. In a way people who have never been invaded have much difficulty getting. Colonel, you and your people have been to war, so I think you'll understand. But others simply don't get it.

Just think, just for 5 seconds, what it would be like to really have your country be invaded.

walrus

Use tactical nukes and you can kiss NATO good bye.

Mark Logan

All,

A little off topic, but I noticed something about Kim. The existence of one daughter has been semi-revealed but the existence or non existence of any other children is a carefully guarded secret, and there has been time for several more. I speculate he views the existence of a male hire as reducing the complications associated with being assassinated by his own generals, in the same way the existence of his slacker brother once did.

Highly insecure, by many accounts drinks heavily, and the Chinese have tightened the screws never before. Magic 8 ball says "Might do anything".

Babak Makkinejad

The United States has weapons eith near or equal lethality to nuclear weapons that are non-Nuclear themselves; a species of thermobaric weapons.

Allen Thomson


Reviewing such matters, a picture showing an F-15 carrying five B61s showed up. The provenance of the picture is unclear, but it appears genuine in light of other information. Though in the age of PhotoShop you can never be totally sure.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C-QNmhzWAAAYF1W.jpg

Augustin L

Donald Chump is a WWE wrestler with low testosterone... He's playing the american electorate to pump (and later dump) is plummeting approval ratings.

Stu Wood

Interesting piece. I had never heard of "Saddam's pre-Gulf War nuclear weapons program was within a year or so of having a detonatable nuclear device when he invaded Kuwait." I thought the Israelis had taken care of his nuclear ambitions when they bombed his nuclear reactor in ? when ever it was.
Does anyone think that we can reach a stalemate with North Korea via the "MAD" doctrine although the NK's do not have anywhere the capability of the previous Soviet Union.

VietnamVet

FB Ali

This analysis is as close to the reality as we can get. The fall of the Soviet Union led to a period where the consequences of a nuclear war were forgotten except possibly in South Asia where nuclear powers have had episodes of shooting at each other. Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) still works. It fails when the first tactical nuclear weapons are ignited. Retaliation is a given. A first strike that does not eliminate all nuclear delivery systems destroys the world.

The argument is that the USA cannot tolerate North Korea having the ability to vaporize Honolulu. However, MAD effectively constrained Joseph Stalin, Mao Tse Tung, John F Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev. MAD will deter Kin Jong-un.

The wild card today is that the American Empire is collapsing. A flailing hegemon is dangerous. A renewed Korean War becomes thinkable no matter the consequences if it ends the ongoing globalist coup against the nationalist Trump Administration.

eakens

Treaties are contracts. And last time I checked if you have to whip one out to see what it days you're already screwed. And oh yeah they're meant to be broken.

turcopolier

Stu Wood

The Israelis with their usual flair for self-promoting BS bombed one little building in the outskirts of Baghdad in about '81. The Iraqis subsequently got busy on a really big scale. pl

turcopolier

Babak

Yes, but you would want to be sure and there probably are not enough of them. After all, you would have to exterminate troops along a couple hundred kilometers of deployment. pl

turcopolier

walrus

I doubt that. Even hypocrites respect power. In any event, good riddance!. pl

turcopolier

PT

I am visualizing a counterforce targeting lay down not a countervalue lay down. pl

turcopolier

HCG

I know it wounds the left to think the worst might be avoided but in the kind of use that I envisioned there would not be a lot offal out anywhere. The big fallout nuclear winter fantasies were always based on a full thermonuclear exchange with multi mega ton weapons. This is not that, necessarily. pl

turcopolier

Clueless Joe

"this would be like casting down the mantle of Defender of the free world to become a tyrant and a mad dog." You mean like Rome? I am always amused by the R2P/State Department belief that among states affection is real. pl

turcopolier

NMS

IMO Russia and China would do nothing if this war is forced on the US/ROK alliance. They would not have voted the way they did in the UN if they were inclined to do anything. pl

BillWade

I would be expecting tactical nukes all along the north side of the DMZ to preclude a massive artillery shelling of Seoul and resultant massive civilian casualties. As for escalation by other powers, who knows - but I think they'd let the initial dust settle first leaving some time for negotiations.

AEL

Are you willing to bet your life on China breaking their word and abrogating the treaty? Because that is exactly what you are betting if you advocate that America "go first" militarily against North Korea.

FB Ali

Paul Robinson, on his website, asks a good question: what happened to the US's National Missile Defence system? After all, George Bush Jr opted out of the ABM Treaty in order to be able to construct this shield to also counter the "danger from ‘rogue states’ armed with nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles".

The US has spent $195+ billion on this shield since 1985, he says. What is there to show for it? His conclusion:

"The military industrial complex is a system of scandalous profligacy and inefficiency, the primary effect of which is not to make the USA (or other countries with similar MICs) any safer but rather to redistribute wealth out of the pockets of the general taxpayer and into the pockets of select constituencies (military personnel, defence contractors, and the like). It is also largely beyond democratic control.

http://tinyurl.com/y8wazxn4

Fellow Traveler

We did something like 100 above ground nuclear tests in Nevada (and a few in Utah?) back in the day. And ~900 underground..

Somehow, Vegas survived.

Dabbler

The commenter needs to slow down a little. Other than cesium, the Hanford wastes listed are stored in underground tanks; The tanks are organized in farms that are disbursed over quite a few square miles. Rancho Seco is roughly 400 miles north of Los Angeles, and the winds at Rancho Seco dont ordinarily blow to the south. Point Beach is located north and east of the corn belt, with prevailing winds normally moving toward the upper part of Michigan's lower peninsula, etc.

More fundamentally, Russia has demonstrated range and accuracy sufficient to threaten the named targets. Perhaps France or China could also do so if they wished. North Korea has not to date fired much farther away from its shores than the sea of Japan, and has not demonstrated the ability to hit anything specific at any appreciable distance.

kao_hsien_chih

"Magic 8 ball says 'Might do anything,'" I think is the dangerous part.

One thing that no one seems to mention is that the entire series of events has been escalating with both sides ratcheting up the pressure. The analogue is not Gulf of Tonkin, but either the run up to the Pearl Harbor or the aftermath of the Archduke's assassination in 1914. Some aspects of personality flaws on the part of Trump and his advisors--the arrogant machismo--may well be contributing the problem, but they have been matched every step of the way by bellicose actions taken by the North Koreans.

Are these actors "rational"? I don't think that means anything: if everyone were "rational" the way people think, there would be no accidents anywhere. World War I would never have happened, Japanese would never have bombed Pearl Harbor, etc. People are, however, "rational" gamblers--they take on huge risks and hope that they hit the jackpot. I think this is North Korean "rationality," of a reckless high-stakes gambler.

I don't think a "negotiated" solution, where NK can seat as an equal, is possible if only because they can blackmail everyone else by threatening to escalate the whole situation to the edge of the cliff and endanger everyone. If a "negotiated" solution is to be worked out, NK ability to escalate the situation whenever they like has to be taken out. But they will never voluntarily give it up, since, without that, they are a fairly inconsequential country without many cards to play with. So the situation continues in a bad equilibrium where everyone distrusts everyone else because they all know that the others will "rationally" cheat. North Korea attempts to "solve" the problem by creating ever bigger crises, while China and SK try to put a fig leaf over things by pretending nothing is going on and paying NK some pittance--which, naturally, NK does not think is enough. And, thanks to our unhelpful involvement in the matters Far Eastern, we are the prop through which NK can escalate the situation. But, if the situation escalates enough, will things stay sober? The very thing that NK is threatening everyone with is that, if the tensions rise enough, things can go completely bonkers beyond anyone's control--and the "rational" thing is to set things up so that, if they don't get what they demand, things really will go completely crazy--so that their threats are taken seriously.

I don't think our goal should be to "solve" North Korea. That's not our job. That's not even our part of the world. But we do have to find some means of extricating ourselves from there, and I don't think we can if NK can threaten us with ICBM, and a warlike conspiracy by US bigwigs is not really needed when NK propaganda screams aloud how they can attack us with ICBM's. A military conflict, not to "solve" NK or change regimes, but to extricate ourselves from the trap, is something that needs to be considered seriously.

Balint Somkuti, PhD

"The last thing American hegemony should do is scare Russia and China into working even more closely together."

By alienating, and turning Russia into a pariah state the US establishment just DID that. The russians wanted to be a partner with EU because in that relation they would have had been the major partner. That did not fit well into the Borg's ideas about being Number One, so they killed the 2008 reset, and did what they did.

In my opinion Russia barely but survived the sanctions, and as a consequence it had no choice (and NO not single handedly V.V. Putin, but the whole leadership) to accept the role of the minor partner in a China relationship.

Oddly enough in a 90's sci-fi game (Full Thrust) the creator John Tuffley (hence Tuffleyverse) forecasted a strong Chinese-Russian alliance called Eurasian Solar Union, even though he thought it would be based on communism. The rest of the timeline is also worth reading.

aleksandar

But NK is ALREADY a nuclear power.
"Cost of a possible war at a later time will be even worse " argument doesn't work.
Nuke NK.
NK nuke Seoul.
And then ?
What endgame ?

Lemur

It's possible China could adopt a non-confrontational military tack in the event of a US strike decapitating the North Korean elite. China might very well prefer to execute a regime change, using the chaos caused by US military action as an excuse. They might send in a 'peace keeping/stabilizing' force designed to set up a buffer zone and establish Chinese suzerainty. Depending on their reaction time, they might be able to grab up to 50% of North Korean territory.

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