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06 September 2017


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Thank you.

A. Pols

I wonder how much suasion this guy can exercise?
Probably not much in the current atmosphere, but does he ever make some good points.
This essay is beautiful...


A great essay.

You say "Mr. Trump has shown no comprehension of the costs of war in a nuclear context. Nor has the general public."

Neither has the US media who are quick to taunt for military action.


Article makes reference to a recent Army War College publication on Korea which is quite different from what we see in the media.


A link is provided.


Dr. George W. Oprisko

Finally............ rational thought!!!!!

I will add my views based upon my 3 years working for the government of China in
Shenzhen, Shanghai, and Bejing...........

The Chinese are determined to build China........... They are conducting foreign
trade and policy as they did during the time of Zung He.......... via cultural
exchanges......... tribute Chinese style..... which means exchange of Chinese goods
and services for those of the tributary state on mutually advantageous terms...

The Chinese and Russians would like to see the Yankees go home.......... ie; leave the
Korean Peninsula...... as was promised at Yalta & Potsdam.......

The DPRK is a useful proxy for both China and Russia......... it is only a matter of time before the SCO discovers the utility of that........ and uses the DPRK
for the purpose of burning up the strike forces of the US in drills and posturing.

Don't think this is so??? Then why are 60% of Navy/Marine fighter aircraft grounded for parts and maintenance? Why is the Navy plagued with collisions at sea??

Currently the US threatens the DPRK, Iran, Venezuela, Russia, China, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq, Zimbabwe, Urugway, Bolivia, Myamar, Thailand, and Ukraine.

Each of the above involves aircraft / ship sorties........

Literally burning up the strike force.......


Fernando L

Excellent analysis. I do wonder what China's reaction would be if Japan declares it will regretfully become a nuclear power so it can have the deterrence it needs just in case North Korea ends up with a nutty fourth generation Kim.

steve g

Thanks to our host for posting both parts of
this essay. Informative but also depressing
in that from my take on what he is outlining
unless someone comes to his or her senses
we are closer to the apocalypse than ever.

Bill Herschel

Thank you for publishing it and Mr. Polk for taking the immense effort to write it.

I am not joking. The only thing that can save us is the stock market. Modern Lemnitzer's are at Trump's ear telling him that he must become a wartime President and cement his popularity by handing out food to displaced Koreans in beautiful photo ops after a glorious American victory over the hated Kim Jong-un.

But if the stock market crashes because punters realize not many iPhone 8's will sell after nuclear war breaks out, Trump touring cocktail parties in East Hampton handing out hors d'oeuvres to the losers is a lot less likely to boost his standing with the electorate. So my advice is sell stock and put the money in FDIC savings accounts and pray there is a crash.


North Korea has learned well the lessons of Iraq and Libya.

The problem with negotiating with NK will be that any concessions will be seen as "weakness" by the neocons dominating both legacy parties.

Not to mention, Trump and his voters glory in his supposed toughness, so they will see anything short of a zero-sum solution as capitulation.

Babak Makkinejad

Nor US population.

Norbert M Salamon

Thank you for the clear exposition of various possibilities on the conflict. On previous posting I indicted that IMHO there will be no war. Your analysis clearly concludes that war is not a rational [or irrational, though maybe suicidal] prospect.
The only issue I miss in the above essay is the investigation [however cursory] of Chinese and Russian probable input aside from their common view of way to proceed with negotiation, NK stop further tests, US stop war games on Korean peninsula.
Again thank you for the effort.


"2. It must commit itself formally and irrevocably to a no-first-strike policy."
How is that possible? It seems to me no US administration feels it self 'irrevocably' bound to anything - the primary aim seems to be to undo the programs of the last lot - assuming they ever managed to achieve anything. The only items of any permanence are Borg policies where they have significant sway in both parties.


This essay reflects what true leadership from the strong looks like.


Echoing Mr. Polk, President Putin warns of "planetary catastrophe"


As articulated in this thoughtful essay, the world needs statesmen. Unfortunately with the exception of Putin there are no statesmen today.

Dave Schuler

As was the case in your first installment I found it highly informative and thought-provoking with many, many valuable insights. Thank you.

One of the things that concerns me is that although each of the parties may be pursuing its interests in a rational manner they do not share an understanding of what is rational. So, for example, how can an American politician let alone an American businessman understand the reasoning of a man who considers himself a living god? This is similar to the handicap that secularist Americans have in understanding people who genuinely believe in the tenets of their religion.

It's hard for me to see how diplomacy can proceed under the circumstances.


"Don't think this is so??? Then why are 60% of Navy/Marine fighter aircraft grounded for parts and maintenance? Why is the Navy plagued with collisions at sea??"

You have knowledge that the armed forces of the USA have been deliberately attacked by Russia, China or both? We just concluded a very successful exercise with South Korea, don't think I saw any NK missiles flying. I'd bet the next exercise has already been scheduled and is being planned.

I believe I heard Trump at least give Kim Jung Un some credit for his "leadership" abilities during the election campaign. I can only imagine what KJU would be doing if HRC were president with the image of her cackling like a fool over Ghaddafi's ugly death. I'd rather have Trump running things. He's confounded his many enemies (domestic) and survived, he'll survive KJU as well.


This is an admirable statement of the dilemma in the abstract, but it does not address one issue that has always seemed important to me - the effect of Korean cultural style. I remember being taught many years ago (by the army) that the real purpose of the American military presence was to prevent the south from invading the north. That Koreans, north or south, have very little capacity for compromise. That every disagreement is expected to resolve with the dominance of one party or the other.

That way of stating it is undoubtedly an exaggeration. But my exposure (limited) to Koreans during the course of my life has not raised any doubt about the fundamental underlying truth of that description.

Which raises two points:

- Regardless of Kim Jong-Un's personality, the entire context of his kingdom may be working against any negotiated compromise.
- The South Koreans always seem to be taken for granted as a stable, under-control factor. They have a lot to lose, but I am not sure how plausible such an assumption of reasonableness might be.


Nonsense. The baby boomers understand the implications, even if not all of them. As no one can grasp all them.


In response to this thoughtful essay I would say we have four choices:

1. Wait till LA (or some similar city/ies) goes up in flames

2. Strike first and take the entire nation out of existence. Albeit risking retaliation.

3. Get out of Korea today and announce to the world we don't give a rats ass what happens in Korea. Announce we have no fight there..unless we are hit first. (my particular choice. And silently conclude the same policy applies to Japan)

4. Muddle through and hope for the best.

But if we are taking advice from the Clappers and Bannons of the world we are in deep trouble.

Babak Makkinejad

The capacity to compromise is not a static quality; it waxes and wanes at different times and in different countries.

Was the Roman Revolution necessary? Or the Spanish Civil War?


Good for you.


Well yes. I was hoping somebody with more current knowledge than mine would jump in.

Babak Makkinejad

Tell that to Rosalyn Carter and not me; I am merely repeating what she said back in 2016.



"start shipping hundreds of thousands of US troops to bolster the US presence in SK." Are you at all familiar with American force structure? we don't have hundreds of thousands of troops to send anywhere. pl


Good history lesson, but the conclusion?
I agree with points 1 and 2.
But, sending tax money to a nuclear armed lunatic who threatens daily to kill me is a non-starter.

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