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25 September 2017


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IMO, Rocket Man needs to act simian for his own domestic audience. He's gonna keep developing his nuclear strike capabilities. He's really got no choice. That's his only insurance policy.

Steve Bannon had it right. Unless a US administration is willing to sacrifice millions in Seoul and never be forgiven for that by the Koreans, Rocket Man can keep thumbing his nose.

It seems the South Koreans are already trying to defuse the situation by sending the north humanitarian aid. Another South Korean president had to push back one of the liberals favorite US president who wanted to take out Rocket Man's dad.



'If not, then the ball is now in North Korea's court...'

is that 'the ball' or 'the scat'? cuz all i can see is scat being tossed from both cages. & i'm not so sure there's really any 'taking turns' going on any more :) ...



So Kim Jong Un will stop when he has what, parity? What's to stop the transer of the capability to some other country?

ex-PFC Chuck
"Word[s] matter and President Trump is an expert wordsmith. Despite what some people might think, his characterizations like "Lyin' Ted Cruz", "Crooked Hillary", etc. , struck deep into the subconscious of the American public where they sat and festered, likewise his tweets. "Rocket Man" is no idle jibe coming from such and experienced practitioner, what is Trump thinking?

Bingo! One of the first people of some prominence to predict that Trump would win both the GOP nomination and the presidential election was Scott Adams, the author of the syndicated comic strip Dilbert. He made that prediction on his blog in June or July of 2015, not long after The Donald had announced his candidacy. At the time many people were confident that it was only a matter of days, or weeks at most, until he announced his withdrawal.

Adams describes himself as, among other things, a life-long student of the art of persuasion and asserted that he had never seen anyone so skilled therein. Several of his blog posts dealt with this specific aspect of Trump's campaign. He called such tags "anchors," or something similar. (That word doesn't sound quite right to me but I'm drawing a blank on the term Adams used.) One that he thought was especially effective was "low energy JEB." I agree that "Rocket man" is another effective anchor, whether deliberately thought out or intuitively thrown out there by the Trumpster. As Col. Lang wrote in a comment a day or two ago, when the simians start throwing s**t at each other the danger of one of the getting POed to the point that he throws down the gauntlet increases. But people forget that when the parties are ratcheted up to high DEFCON levels and the DPRK equivalent thereof, the danger of something happening down the chain of command increases as well. Two such incidents (that we know of; there may have been more) happened during the Cuban Missile crisis that came very over the edge. Next time our fate may not be in the hands of such level-headed junior officers.




The genie is out. We're between a rock and a hard place. IMO, the time to solve it was before NorKo capabilities had advanced to this extent. I don't think there was a military option that avoided significant casualties in Seoul. In the article I linked to Bill Clinton wanted to use military force but was prevented by President Kim Young Sam of South Korea.

I think the only reasonable option now is some kind of settlement talks with China, Russia, South Korea and us that allows Rocket Man to keep some deterrence but prevents him from selling it. How to trust that he'll keep his word? And will he trust us?


Trump is trying to goad the DPRK into an openly hostile reaction. That would then justify a U.S. war of "self defense".

The air-zone intrusion is perfect way of doing that. There are various zones, some unilaterally introduced by the UN then under U.S. control, some based on international law, some unilaterally declared by the DPRK.
For the complicate details see this thread:

Trump may hope that the DPRK will take down a B-1B, or at least fire at one, and that the zone issues will not be understood by the media.

Someone checked through the DPRK press releases and found that North Korea had declared something an "act of war" or a "war declaration" some 200 times. We should not put too much weight on that.

A influential former defense minister of Japan said that Mattis would be the one deciding on a war, not Trump. The South Korean president said he would not allow a war to happen. The DPRK has no interest in a war. China has a defense treaty with the DPRK and recently said that it would react if the DPRK were attacked.

I therefore doubt that any war against the DPRK will happen.


Correct me if I am wrong, but hasn't the US pulled out of several nuclear treaties in recent years?

Further, there are 7 or 8 other countries that can, likely have or will, sell their nuclear tech secretly or openly to others. How successful has our control of that been?

Answer to question #1 is partially found in question #2. MAD works when we are talking about Armageddon and there are thinkers involved on both sides. The idea that limited nuclear options exist is strictly a western one, and our walking away from agreements involving nuclear weapons clearly shows that.

This genie has long been out of the bottle, and clearly the course that worked was overall reduction. Limit the threat and the defensive posture is in turn reduced. However, these 'missile shields" which function partially have clearly unbalanced this equation. These systems are not ready for prime time, yet we have based policy on them. That in itself is highly problematic, to put it mildly.

It is a great example of the worship of technology - these systems still do not work effectively, yet we move ahead believing they will and the problems are solvable. Looking at the math in nuclear exchange, the number of shields required to truly be termed a shield quickly shows that the expense is far beyond that of the weapons the shields are intended for.

I cannot tell you what Trump might do, but it is clear what his generals are advising. Acts do speak louder than words, and the "big stick" mindset is firmly a part of Pentagon philosophy. However, with China next door and their stance in this verbalized, we still continue to piss on the boot of a much smaller nation which detests us in a region where there is only an old armistice.

If this does get hot, I can assure you that other countries will attempt to arm up, because if they do not then they have no defense against implementation of policy by other means.


May I remind readers that during the election campaign Trump continuously complained about countries like Japan and South-Korea, which depend on the US-Umbrella without paying? These countries are his problem and not the Baby-dictator. He wants to let things come to a head until Japan and South-Korea are so frightened that they ask the US to leave and make a deal with China and Russia, who will keep an eye on the little dictator and who IMHO have infiltrated North-Korea to saturation and can take away his toys at a moment's notice. When JP & SK ask Trump to leave, he can exit without losing face. Will cost him a bit probably. Remember that 1962 the SU spectecularily left Cuba, but secretly, the US withdrew its rockets from Turkey.


There are certain media types and neocons itching for war to happen....but I agree with you I doubt it will happen....at the end of the day clearer heads will prevail....



"I think the only reasonable option now is some kind of settlement talks ..." .... "How to trust that he'll keep his word? And will he trust us?"
We can't trust them and Kim Jung Un won't keep his word. I'm sure the Koreans will shed just as many tears over Americans killed by Rocket Man as they did over Americans killed by Osama bin Laden's boys. How many dead Americans are you willing to have? I think zero is the right number but doing nothing but the same Panmunjom shuffle while NOKO builds a dozen more ICBMs and the hydrogen bombs to arm them with is about the dumbest damn thing we could do.


I thought "Rocket Man" is a particularly apt moniker.

A nuclear armed North Korea is not a problem to US. It can threaten SoKo (for which it needs no nuclear weapons). It can threaten Japan. But in the end, these are their problems, not ours.

A potentially ICBM armed North Korea is a problem to US, precisely because it enables them to use US as a prop.

The best "solution" is a Chinese-inspired coup that topples Kim Jong Un--in the end, it's the Chinese that is being blackmailed primarily by the North Koreans. But pressuring the Chinese requires making it credible that US should intervene militarily beyond some point--and this is, I suspect what is going on. However, this does run a high probability that things will actually go nuts, though. Plus, it is not clear how much potential for staging a coup the Chinese have vis-a-vis NoKo--the North Koreans began really ratcheting things up after China's allies in (or towards) North Korea have been purged, including Kim Jong Un's brother. Plus, Trump just had to score an own goal lately by publicly thanking the Chinese for their help towards dealing with NoKo--which no doubt is actually considerable, but not something they want publicly recognized.



"A nuclear armed North Korea is not a problem to US."

Your statement is incorrect.

Eric Newhill

KJU is an isolated guy with unchecked power who killed his own brother, killed his uncle. He's a tin horn nut job and he can't be allowed to possess nuclear capabilities that threaten the US. It's not just his own potential use of them against the US. There is also the potential for someone like him to pass the weapons to a third party that would do the job. Believing that KJU is a rational actor in the sense that the USSR was seems like a stretch.

Three US Presidents have punted with regards to NoKo nukes. Clinton played nice with NoKo nuclear development. Did playing nice deter the regime? Nope. They steadily continued development.

I don't understand all the people here blaming Trump for what is happening and whatever will happen. It should be clear that NoKo would become a nuclear armed country regardless of US policy. I really don't see how anyone can believe that is an acceptable - albeit less than optimal - state of affairs.

Yes, a lot of Koreans will perish if war breaks out. That has to be balanced against the potential loss of a US city, like San Francisco or LA.

Who can state with certainty that KJU doesn't plan on invading SoKo anyhow once he has his nuclear arsenal ready to deter US involvement?

This doesn't look to me like a situation where we can afford to say, in retrospect, "Oops. Looks like we misjudged. Our analysis was off".

So yes. I think Trump is pushing KJU to jump bad; hoping that China realizes that he's serious and steps in to take care of the mess they helped create before it all gets too out of hand. Otherwise, the war is on. A very tragic turn of events, but something that was probably inevitable and, at least, it will be over there as opposed to over here. Trump's duty is to protect the US and not Koreans.



So you favor another Korean war. There are many who hold that opinion. You know that there will be US casualties in such a war. It will not be zero dead Americans. What do you believe will be the reaction of the rest of the world, especially the Chinese? Do you care?

different clue

ex-PFC Chuck,

As I remember, Scott Adams called those "stick-in-the-mass-mind" verbal image-words by the name "verbal kill-shots". He may have sometimes called them "verbal head shots", but I believe he usually called them "verbal kill-shots".

Scott Adams is very proud of his own mastery of the persuasional arts and often has fun using them on his own readers ( including on me whenever i read his blog-entries).

Babak Makkinejad

China will do nothing.

If Trump thinks that then he is very very seriously misinformed.

What is he willing to offer China?

And who would believe any commitment that he (or any US President makes) after he discards JCPOA?

Fellow Traveler

Can't find a Korean version of Elton John's song, so not really sure what Kim will think of it.

I did read somewhere that Kim's classmates said he was a big electropop fan.


All intelligence services and all who know the DPRK think the KJU is a rational actor.

Clinton did not play nice with DPRK nuclear development. He made an agreement to restrict it in exchange for fuel deliveries and civil nuclear reactors. The DPRK held to its parts down to the last bit. The U.S. fudged from the beginning. Promised fuel deliveries were never on time and always short. The reactors were never build. Indeed not even the financing was arrange nor and order for the necessary equipment. Then the U.S. declared the DPRK to be part of the axis of evil.
(The agreement btw did not cover Uranium enrichment. Some claim now that DPRK cheated on the agreement by doing enrichment research. That is wrong. Read the agreement, enrichment was not covered.)

"Yes, a lot of Koreans will perish if war breaks out. That has to be balanced against the potential loss of a US city, like San Francisco or LA."

Nice racist attitude you have there. Why not let 10 millions South Korean gooks die. Better than maybe some 100,000 Americans ...)

"Who can state with certainty that KJU doesn't plan on invading SoKo anyhow once he has his nuclear arsenal ready to deter US involvement?"

No one can state anything with certainty. Can you state with certainty that Canada does not plan to invade the U.S.?
Logic and economic facts apply to such estimates. North Korea simple does not have the resources needed for such a campaign.

"This doesn't look to me like a situation where we can afford to say, in retrospect, "Oops. Looks like we misjudged. Our analysis was off"."

The U.S. affords such with lots of issues. Ever thought about climate change? Can we afford to be wrong on that?

If you think that a "war will be over there and not here" you have not be watching. The DPRK has intercontinental missiles and it has fission weapons it can put on top of them. If a war starts they will be in a "use them or lose them" situation. Off they go.


NoKo nukes are not only useful against South Korea and Japan but also against Beijing. To lazy to look it up but Busan is probably father from North Korea than Beijing


To make the statement correct.

A nuclear armed Korea is not a problem for the US if it leaves Korea


What proof have you of Kim being a nutter. Killing your half brothers/uncles etc. is (or was) standard procedure with hereditary rule. Especially if the rules of succession aren't that strict.

SoKo is much stronger military than NoKo so it is very unlikely that NoKo will invade the South.

ps. I think Kutte is right in expecting that Trump is forcing the SoKo to kick the Americans out.

Norbert M Salamon

With respect,
the perennial blame of others [in this case China] for the failure of US foreign policy [to wit: refusal to sign a peace treaty 60+ years after the end of war : which was a draw] and considering that the US was supposed to withdraw from the Korean Peninsula per end of WWII undertakings; is a laughable issue for others not resident of US nor her many vassals.

It is notable that it is not China which had twice yearly pseudo invasion military exercises close to NK's border, nor was it China which broke the last agreement with NK [honor belongs to President Bush].


It would appear to me that there has been a conventional weapon state of MADness on the Korean peninsula for some time, given the relatively short DMZ and the quantity of Tanks, missiles and artillery facing off. However up until now NK has faced the possibility of destruction by the US at anytime without the ability to do much in return. The only brake was if the US were to act it would mean throwing SK under the bus. To remedy this the NK's only recourse was nuclear weapons capable of inflicting enough damage to the US to make an attack prohibitively expensive. It is not MAD it is destruction for NK and potentially some damage for the US but it is deterance. My concern is the US's track record in correctly anticipating the reactions of other states (Korea part 1, Vietnam, Iraq & Syria)is not confidence inspiring. Any miscalcuation in stunts like flying offensive bomber formations in a game of chicken and hoping a retaliation by NK is seen by China as offensive not defensive, on the part of NK, is a reckless gamble played with the entire worlds chips not just the US's.
There are lots of nuclear states and I do not like or trust a number of them but I do not see NK as a particular threat to anyone as long as no body is stupid enough to attempt regieme change. It is the threat of external regieme change that is driving proliferation.


She will do something, the usual lip service and, SANCTIONS that wouldn't change nothing until US agrees to negotiate, actually like what happened with JCPOA. For years US refused to come to table. In Persian this kind of negotiation is called ( pressure from bellow (rectum) negotiation in top ( by mouth).

Keith Harbaugh

b, in what I have read from you,
you have consistently claimed that
the U.S. news media, when it quotes threats from the DPRK,
omits the qualifiers which you have claimed preceded those threats,
qualifiers which amount to "If the U.S. attacks us, this will be the response."
I.e., we won't initiate hostilities,
but if the U.S. is so foolish as to initiate them, there will be a painful response.

But on Saturday, 2017-09-23, it looks like DPRK Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho made a statement that cannot be so justified, per
http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=57707 and many other news sources:

“Due to his lacking basic common knowledge and proper sentiment,
he tried to insult the supreme dignity of my country
by referring it to a rocket.
By doing so, however, he committed an irreversible mistake of
making our rockets' visit to the entire US mainland inevitable all the more,
So the DPRK justifies a nuclear attack on the U.S. simply because an American president
"tried to insult the supreme dignity of my country
by referring it to a rocket".
(Presumably Ri is referring to Trump using the phrase "Rocket Man" to refer to Kim.)
Killing millions of people because Trump insulted Kim?
I sure hope that you don't believe nuclear war can be justified by an insult.
Do you?

And by the way, to those at SST who have tried to equate Trump's statements to those coming from North Korea,
I haven't heard Trump threatening destruction on North Korea simply based on words coming from it.
I think that proves that trying to make an equivalence between Trump and Kim is simply wrong.

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