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Korea saber-rattling

If this a smoke screen for deployment of  THAAD  systems in Korea, directed against Russia and China strategic arsenal

 

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THAAD deployment begins in South Korea on Tuesday, 7 Mar 2017

China is lashing out at South Korea and Washington for the deployment of a powerful missile defense system known as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD, deposited at the Osan Air Base in South Korea on Monday evening.

The deployment of THAAD follows several ballistic missile tests by North Korea in recent months, including the launch of four missiles on Monday , three of which landed in the sea off the coast of Japan. Though THAAD would help South Korea protect itself from a North Korean missile attack, China is vocally protesting the deployment of the system, claiming it upsets the "strategic equilibrium" in the region because its radar will allow the United States to detect and track missiles launched from China.

North Korean provocations aside, THAAD's arrival on the Korean Peninsula comes amid heightened tensions between the new U.S. administration and China, as well as uncertainty surrounding the U.S. military's commitment to its security relationships in the region and around the world. Within that context, THAAD's deployment packs a significant amount of symbolic firepower alongside its battery of interceptor missiles.

Already there has been a blacklash. Liu Yuan, a retired Chinese general who is generally outspoken on Chinese security matters, wrote for China's state-run Global Times that the Chinese military could conduct a "surgical hard-kill operation that would destroy the target, paralyzing it and making it unable to hit back."

Though such military actions are unlikely, China has already forced the closing of 23 stores owned by Lotte, one of South Korea's huge family-run conglomerates (Lotte agreed to turn over a parcel of land in South Korea on which the THAAD system would be placed). State media has also encouraged Chinese citizens to boycott South Korean products, a move that, if effective, could rob major South Korean companies, like Samsung and Hyundai, of a massive consumer market.

South Korea is reportedly considering filing a complaint with the World Trade Organization over China's economic retaliation. The commercial ramifications of THAAD could still escalate further.

What can THAAD do?

THAAD is a relatively new addition to the U.S. military's missile defense arsenal. Produced by Lockheed Martin (and priced at more than $1 billion per system), THAAD consists of a battery of truck-launched interceptor missiles and a powerful X-band radar that can detect, track and target inbound missile threats.

In other words, THAAD can see enemy ballistic missiles coming and can knock them out of the sky as they plunge toward their targets. Unlike some missile interceptors that navigate into the proximity of a missile and then explode to destroy or deflect the incoming threat, THAAD's missiles simply slam into their targets head-on, destroying them purely through kinetic force.

THADD's military value is spelled out in its name. It intercepts ballistic missiles during their "terminal" phase - that is, when they have passed their apogee and begun falling toward their targets. They can intercept these missiles at very high altitudes, up to roughly 90 miles above Earth's surface. Unlike other missile defense systems, like the Patriot PAC-3 that are designed mainly to defend a particular patch of ground, THAAD's powerful AN/TPY-2 radar can both monitor and defend large areas from short- and medium-range missiles.

There are a number of things THAAD cannot do, however. Given that its missiles do not contain a warhead, its batteries are fairly useless as an offensive weapon, a characteristic that some consider a feature from a political standpoint. In a statement announcing THAAD's deployment to South Korea, U.S Pacific Command was careful to note that "the THAAD system is a strictly defensive capability and it poses no threat to other countries in the region."

Moreover, THAAD is not designed to destroy missiles while they are boosting skyward, nor can it shoot down something like an intercontinental-range ballistic missile, or ICBM. (Intermediate and intercontinental range missiles travel far too fast for systems like THAAD to target and intercept.) In a scenario in which North Korea or China were to launch missiles bound for targets in the United States, THAAD batteries in South Korea and Japan would not be able to target those weapons.

A historical perspective

China has long vowed retaliation if the United States should deploy THAAD to South Korea, citing security concerns that center more on the radar than the interceptor missiles. THAAD's radar is powerful enough to peer into Chinese airspace, military officials there argue, allowing the United States to monitor Chinese missile tests and provide early warning of any Chinese missile launch, upsetting the strategic balance of power.

Following the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency in November, one Chinese official called the potential deployment of THAAD a " political weather vane " for the new U.S. administration and its relationship with China.

"This marks a real act of courage on the part of the South Korean government, working with its American allies, to do what these two countries together feel is a necessary and appropriate action in the face of Chinese bullying." -Tom Karako, senior fellow, Center for Strategic and Int'l Studies

But as Dr. Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterrey in California, points out, China's objection to THAAD rings somewhat hollow. Radar installations in Taiwan, Japan and even Qatar already have the capacity to peer into Chinese airspace, to say nothing of the many space-based satellites that provide missile tracking and early warning capabilities to the United States. "It's not that [China's objections] are irrational, but it's more about what the deployment symbolizes than the radar's actual capability," Lewis says.

In other words, beyond its technical capability THAAD's deployment symbolizes further solidification of the military ties between the United States and South Korea, ties Beijing has sought to loosen for decades.

"I think the photo op really helped seal the deal for some of the political and assurance significance," Tom Karako, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, says of the video released showing the first pieces of the THAAD system rolling off the C-17 at Osan on Monday evening. "This marks a real act of courage on the part of the South Korean government, working with its American allies, to do what these two countries together feel is a necessary and appropriate action in the face of Chinese bullying."

If THAAD is a political weather vane, Beijing now knows which way the wind is blowing. Why is this happening now?

The United States and South Korea declared their intention to deploy THAAD to South Korea last year (and have discussed the possibility going back as far as 2013), but China's staunch opposition to the deployment and other geopolitical considerations kept the United States from doing so.

One reason the United States and South Korea are moving to deploy THAAD now, Lewis says, is likely due to the fact that at least one of the major political stumbling blocks has been removed. South Korean president Park Geun-hye is currently embroiled in political scandal and facing impeachment, creating a unique political opportunity for the South Korean government.

"It's very controversial, the THAAD system," Lewis says. "And whoever comes after Park will have the system in place without the responsibility of having agreed to it." What lies ahead Consequences - intended and not - from the deployment of THAAD will continue to manifest themselves over the coming weeks and months. In terms of positive fallout, U.S.-based makers of missile defense systems like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon are positioned to benefit from growing ballistic missile threats across Asia, the Middle East and Europe - threats underscored by THAAD's deployment to South Korea.

A recent note to investors by Cowen and Co. defense analyst Roman Schweizer cites both Lockheed Martin (maker of THAAD) and Raytheon (maker of various interceptor missiles, as well as components of THAAD's radar and tracking systems) as likely beneficiaries of an ongoing uptick in global defense expenditures, in large part due to their missile defense technology.

However, one potential negative consequence of THAAD's deployment stems from the sense of complacency that such systems can foster. THAAD can soften the effect of a missile salvo, but it's not a silver bullet for either North Korean or Chinese ballistic missile arsenals that are both growing in size and sophistication.

"They're missiles, and this is missile defense, and for a lot of people that checks all the boxes," Lewis says. "The unintended consequence I can see is that you don't want the South Korean people to think this solves the North Korean missile problem, because it doesn't."

 


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[Oct 09, 2017] US Missile Defense Not as Effective As We Think by Scott Ritter

Highly recommended!
The main problem with systems like THAAD is that it costly. Maintaining the global neoliberal empire is also costly. this financial overextension and deterioration of domestic economy and the standard of living tend to put limits on the imperial power. And such overextension is much more dangerous that lack of some cutting edge military capabilities. The USA managed to force some kind of military alliance of Russia and China in a sense that attack on one means the attack on both. China also warned the USA against unilateral military strike on North Korea.
As Ivan Eland noted in May 15, 2016, Obama "is opening missile defenses in Europe, quadrupling U.S. military spending there, and deploying more military forces near Russia-all of which will have the effect of continuing to provoke that already insecure country. Also, Obama has failed to withdraw U.S. ground forces from Afghanistan, inserted them into Iraq and Syria to battle the terror group ISIS, and continued his accelerated air wars over Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, and Libya." The U.S. Military Needs to Defend the Country, Not Undermine American Security HuffPost
Which means the end of the USA military supremacy as now the USA needs to take into account the possibility of join counterstrike of both China and Russia. . End of cheap oil also means end of multiple expeditionary wars that the USA managed to fight simultaneously (mostly against rag-tag gueella forces like in Afghanistan) as the costs would escalate very quickly.
Notable quotes:
"... the fact remains that, at the time of the Gulf War, the Patriot was a largely untested system which failed to perform as needed. Had Iraq had better missiles, or if they had been tipped with chemical, biological, or nuclear warheads, this failure could have been catastrophic. ..."
"... Like the Patriot missile of 1991, the THAAD has only been tested under carefully scripted peacetime conditions, with launch crews having the advantage of long flight times (easy to track) and medium speed closure rates (easy to kill) involving single missile launches. ..."
"... The THAAD has not been tested under realistic wartime conditions, involving large salvos of missiles possessing high-closure rates of speed. In war, it is the unexpected that trips you up. ..."
"... the North Koreans have demonstrated a high-loft launch profile, which would have the missile closing in on its target at a far steeper angle, and at much higher speeds, than the conventional ballistic trajectories the THAAD has trained against. ..."
"... The need to justify the acquisition of military hardware always interferes with the rigor of testing. Test results are published and must show success or the Military has egg on its wasteful face. Therefore, it is always a mistake to believe what is said about our weapons systems, however many improvements may have been made. ..."
"... There is another issue that those who depend on missile defenses are overlooking. North Korea could easily pre-position multiple nuclear weapons on non-descript boats, that then sail into the major ports of their foes during or after a war and destroy them. Such weapon delivery systems are very hard to detect and stop. So those who advocate attacking North Korea and feel we can stop their weapons with missiles are fooling themselves. This is one of the reasons that non-combat options to stop North Korea are still the best choice. ..."
Oct 09, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Sometime after midnight on the night of January 21, 1991, I was awoken by the sound of an air raid siren. At the time, I was sleeping in an apartment in Eskhan Village, an abandoned suburban housing area outside Riyadh that served as a barracks facility for thousands of American service members deployed to Saudi Arabia as part of Operation Desert Storm. Following protocol, I quickly donned my chemical protective ensemble, inclusive of gas mask; not following protocol, I headed up to the flat roof of the two-story building to see what was happening.

As it turned out, we were under attack. Iraq had launched four of its extended-range SCUD missile derivatives toward Riyadh. The flight paths of two of these missiles were visible to the naked eye, where residual fuel burned from the nozzle of the rocket. As part of a team of SCUD missile analysts assigned to the intelligence section of Central Command headquarters, I was fascinated by this first-hand opportunity to see the SCUD in action. The irony of being on the receiving end of the very missiles I was working to destroy barely registered before I was stunned by the sound of Patriot anti-missile batteries, staged in close proximity to the housing area, firing multiple salvos of interceptors at the incoming SCUDs. Each of the interceptors homed in on their target, their S-shaped trajectories reflecting the in-flight corrections provided by the Patriot's target acquisition radar as it tracked the flight path of the SCUDs. With dramatic effect, the Patriot interceptors exploded along the flight path of the SCUDs, which continued on their ballistic arc before impacting somewhere on the horizon with a bright yellow-green explosion.

This wasn't the first launch of SCUD missiles by Iraq against Saudi Arabia during the war. In the days prior, there had been several missile attacks targeting the sprawling military complex at Dhahran, all of which authorities claimed had been successfully intercepted by Patriot missiles. I had counted more than a dozen Patriot interceptor launches in the vicinity of Eskhan Village on the night of January 21, 1991; more than 35 interceptors in total had been fired in the Riyadh area that night. Reports that crossed my desk the next morning indicated that all four SCUDs targeting Riyadh had been successfully intercepted and destroyed by the Patriots, a finding which puzzled me -- the Patriot intercepts I had witnessed against the two SCUDs I was able to visually track seemed to be exploding behind the SCUDs, and none appeared to stop the SCUDs from detonating on the ground. Later, as part of a team of missile specialists assembled to evaluate the SCUD missile debris from the January 21 attack, I could find no evidence of any shrapnel having impacted the body of the SCUD missile.

After the war, while serving with the United Nations Special Commission charged with disarming Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (inclusive of its SCUD missiles), I read an article in International Security by MIT Professor Theodore Postol titled "Lessons of the Gulf War Patriot Experience." Postol questioned the Patriot's 96 percent success rate claimed by the Army during the Gulf War. Later, while working with Israeli intelligence on the Iraqi SCUD problem, I was able to speak with members of the Israeli Defense Force who were able to confirm Professor Postol's findings: The Patriot missile defense system successfully intercepted less that 10 percent of the SCUDs fired at Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Arab States during the Gulf War, and only 2 percent of those fired at Israel.

The failure of the Patriot missile defense system to perform during the Gulf War has been largely ignored. The reasons for this are many and varied. There was an extensive and intensive effort undertaken by the Raytheon Company (the manufacturer of the Patriot missile), the Army, and the Department of Defense to challenge Postol's findings, thereby muddying the waters. The fact that Iraq's SCUDs were inaccurate and did not carry WMD likewise skewed public opinion -- a dud warhead landing somewhere in the desert or ocean did not generate the kind of excitement of a chemical warhead landing in a densely populated area. In the quarter of a century that has passed since the Gulf War, the performance of the Patriot has improved, as has missile defense in general. (Witness the success of Israel's "Iron Dome" system.) But the fact remains that, at the time of the Gulf War, the Patriot was a largely untested system which failed to perform as needed. Had Iraq had better missiles, or if they had been tipped with chemical, biological, or nuclear warheads, this failure could have been catastrophic.

My experience with the Patriot missile during the Gulf War has colored my assessment of the deployment of America's new front-line missile defense weapon, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD) to South Korea. The THAAD is intended to defend against the threat posed by North Korean short- and medium-range ballistic missiles. Like the Patriot missile of 1991, the THAAD has only been tested under carefully scripted peacetime conditions, with launch crews having the advantage of long flight times (easy to track) and medium speed closure rates (easy to kill) involving single missile launches.

The THAAD has not been tested under realistic wartime conditions, involving large salvos of missiles possessing high-closure rates of speed. In war, it is the unexpected that trips you up. During Desert Storm, the structural failure of Iraq's extended-range SCUDs caused the warhead to separate from the main body of the missile, creating multiple targets the Patriot radar was unable to discriminate against. This, combined with the higher-than-anticipated closure speeds of the longer-range missiles, contributed to the poor performance of the Patriot system.

North Korea has demonstrated the ability to conduct simultaneous launches of up to four ballistic missiles. Given their proximity to South Korea, these weapons would be tracked for a far shorter time with closure speeds greater than the missile targets the THAAD has been tested against to date. Moreover, the North Koreans have demonstrated a high-loft launch profile, which would have the missile closing in on its target at a far steeper angle, and at much higher speeds, than the conventional ballistic trajectories the THAAD has trained against. The THAAD interceptors are tied to the high-tech AN/TPY-2 target acquisition radar, which can cover a 120-degree frontage. North Korea's newly proven submarine-launched ballistic missile capability provides Pyongyang with a capability to maneuver behind the surveillance arc of the THAAD's radar. Such an attack presumes that neither the South Korean or U.S. naval forces would detect and destroy a North Korean submarine attempting such an attack, or that the U.S. Navy's Aegis missile defense system would fail to intercept a launched missile. The point here isn't the likelihood of North Korean success, but the reality that the THAAD is not omnipotent.

Perhaps the greatest threat facing the THAAD, or any defensive system currently deployed in the vicinity of South Korea, is that North Korea could employ a ballistic missile tipped with a nuclear warhead for the purpose of generating a massive electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that would knock out the THAAD's radar and electronics -- along with most, if not all, of South Korea's and America's electrical systems stationed in the region. The likelihood of such a scenario seems slim, given the consequences North Korea would endure in the aftermath of any use of nuclear weapons. However, the fact remains that the one attack the THAAD is specifically deployed to prevent -- that of a nuclear-tipped North Korean missile -- is the one attack that could be its undoing.

Missile defense has always been more theoretical than practical. The Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) systems of the Cold War were never used, and eventually mothballed. The Patriot failed miserably during the Gulf War, only to succeed a decade later during the 2003 invasion of Iraq by using a much-improved interceptor against a far less capable foe. The much-vaunted Israeli "Iron Dome" missile defense system performed well against the homemade rockets of Hamas, but has yet to be tested against the much more capable arsenal possessed by Hezbollah -- or, for that matter, Iran. The THAAD system is a 30-year-old technology untested in combat, under-tested in peacetime, and is our only line of defense against a North Korean ballistic missile threat that has taken the world by surprise in terms of its scope, breadth, and capability.

During the Gulf War, the Patriot's poor performance did not have any strategic consequences -- 28 Americans tragically lost their lives when a SCUD hit their barracks, and a few Israelis died of heart attacks. The absence of a tangible result wasn't from a lack of effort on the part of Iraq -- Israeli's Dimona nuclear reactor was targeted multiple times, and had any missile caused significant Israeli casualties, Israel would have entered the conflict, placing the delicate coalition President George W. Bush had built at risk, and perhaps changing the outcome of the war. There is little reason to believe that North Korea's missiles lack accuracy, that their targeting will lack purpose, or their warheads will be benign. Whether or not THAAD is up to the task of protecting the South Korean peninsula (or, for that matter, Guam, Japan, and Alaska) from any North Korean ballistic missile attack is still yet to be seen. However, if history is any indication, the likelihood is that the THAAD will significantly underperform -- a possible outcome American military and civilian planners should take into consideration when plotting their next moves against Pyongyang.

Scott Ritter is a former Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD. He is the author of Deal of the Century: How Iran Blocked the West's Road to War (Clarity Press, 2017).

David , says: September 11, 2017 at 12:05 pm

Finally, Scott you are one of the few who speaks the shocking truth about US missile defense base on proportional navigation. BUT there is a solution you need to find out about – HIT Technology http://bit.ly/HIT-MissileDefense
Dennis J. Tuchler , says: September 11, 2017 at 5:09 pm
The need to justify the acquisition of military hardware always interferes with the rigor of testing. Test results are published and must show success or the Military has egg on its wasteful face. Therefore, it is always a mistake to believe what is said about our weapons systems, however many improvements may have been made.
James Drouin , says: September 11, 2017 at 6:57 pm
The author's failure to correctly detail the cause of the Patriot's failure, which has been indisputably diagnosed and corrected, brings into serious question any hypothesis he has on THAAD.

In brief, Patriot failed because of a drift in the timing between radar pulses, and the longer the system was online, the greater the drift, thus the greater the miss.

Further, the Israelis, operators of the Patriot system, had in fact, notified the US Army and the Patriot Project office of the flaw, and US military bureaucracy being what it is, the rest is history admit to screwing the pooch, or claim success where none existed.

Bottom line, WITHOUT the timing error, which could be fixed by simply re-booting the system every eight hours, Patriot functions perfectly as a missile killer.

SteveK9 , says: September 11, 2017 at 7:50 pm
Michael, IF N. Korea got rocket engines, the evidence presented in the NY Times suggests it was out-of-work Ukrainians, and N. Korea's oil comes from China.

You have Putin on the brain.

DrivingBy , says: September 12, 2017 at 12:14 am
"Therefore, it is always a mistake to believe what is said about our weapons systems"

The few strategic munitions tests that we know truly worked were those such as Ivy Mike. The people who built that were serious about their work, and there were remarkably few fizzles considering it was then new technology. Unfortunately, there were also a few side effects.

Were the Pentagon staffed by people motivated to defend the USA, we could probably invent a layered missile interceptor system that works pretty well.

Stephen Hubbard , says: September 13, 2017 at 5:53 pm
There is another issue that those who depend on missile defenses are overlooking. North Korea could easily pre-position multiple nuclear weapons on non-descript boats, that then sail into the major ports of their foes during or after a war and destroy them. Such weapon delivery systems are very hard to detect and stop. So those who advocate attacking North Korea and feel we can stop their weapons with missiles are fooling themselves. This is one of the reasons that non-combat options to stop North Korea are still the best choice.

[Oct 04, 2017] Trump Administration Policies in North Korea and Yemen Show Costs of Empire

Oct 04, 2017 | www.usnews.com

The idea that North Korea's nuclear capacity is a threat to the U.S., in particular because Kim might be crazy enough to attack us, was dismissed in a recent New York Times report :

The fear is not that Mr. Kim would launch a pre-emptive attack on the West Coast; that would be suicidal, and if the 33-year-old leader has demonstrated anything in his five years in office, he is all about survival. But if Mr. Kim has the potential ability to strike back, it would shape every decision Mr. Trump and his successors will make about defending America's allies in the region.
In other words, if North Korea could retaliate against a U.S. attack, Washington would have less power in Asia. It seems that when we dig beneath the surface of "national security" arguments for terribly dangerous or violent foreign policies, it is more often power, rather than the security or well-being of Americans, that underlies them. Otherwise, the negotiation of peaceful solutions would be the first priority. But as recently as June, the Trump administration dismissed an offer from North Korea and China to negotiate a deal in which North Korea would freeze its missile and nuclear testing in return for the U.S. freezing its "big, large-scale military exercises" in the Korean peninsula. The same imperial priorities that prevent a negotiated solution with North Korea appear to be a major reason for U.S. participation in the war and atrocities in Yemen. In this case it is part of Washington's strategic alliance with the Saudi dictatorship, which has recently been subjected to increasing criticism for its support for terrorist groups, including ISIS. Fortunately, members of Congress are pushing back against the unconstitutional, unauthorized participation in the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

[Oct 03, 2017] North Koreans remember well that their country was literally flattened by US bombing, and many may recall how US forces bombed major dams when there were no other targets left

Notable quotes:
"... The North Korean dictatorship may well win the prize for brutality and repression, but it is seeking and to some extent carrying out economic development, despite the overwhelming burden of a huge military system. That system includes, of course, a growing arsenal of nuclear weapons and missiles, which pose a threat to the region and, in the longer term, to countries beyond -- but its function is to be a deterrent, one that the North Korean regime is unlikely to abandon as long as it remains under threat of destruction. ..."
"... Today, we are instructed that the great challenge faced by the world is how to compel North Korea to freeze these nuclear and missile programs. Perhaps we should resort to more sanctions, cyberwar, intimidation; to the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system, which China regards as a serious threat to its own interests; perhaps even to direct attack on North Korea -- which, it is understood, would elicit retaliation by massed artillery, devastating Seoul and much of South Korea even without the use of nuclear weapons. ..."
"... But there is another option, one that seems to be ignored: we could simply accept North Korea's offer to do what we are demanding. China and North Korea have already proposed that North Korea freeze its nuclear and missile programs. The proposal, though, was rejected at once by Washington, just as it had been two years earlier, because it includes a quid pro quo: it calls on the United States to halt its threatening military exercises on North Korea's borders, including simulated nuclear-bombing attacks by B-52s. ..."
"... The 2017 South Korean elections may offer a ray of hope. Newly elected President Moon Jae-in seems intent on reversing the harsh confrontationist policies of his predecessor. He has called for exploring diplomatic options and taking steps toward reconciliation, which is surely an improvement over the angry fist-waving that might lead to real disaster. ..."
Oct 03, 2017 | www.unz.com

Barsamian: What are the strategic issues where Korea is concerned? Can anything be done to defuse the growing conflict?

Chomsky: Korea has been a festering problem since the end of World War II, when the hopes of Koreans for unification of the peninsula were blocked by the intervention of the great powers, the United States bearing primary responsibility.

The North Korean dictatorship may well win the prize for brutality and repression, but it is seeking and to some extent carrying out economic development, despite the overwhelming burden of a huge military system. That system includes, of course, a growing arsenal of nuclear weapons and missiles, which pose a threat to the region and, in the longer term, to countries beyond -- but its function is to be a deterrent, one that the North Korean regime is unlikely to abandon as long as it remains under threat of destruction.

Today, we are instructed that the great challenge faced by the world is how to compel North Korea to freeze these nuclear and missile programs. Perhaps we should resort to more sanctions, cyberwar, intimidation; to the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system, which China regards as a serious threat to its own interests; perhaps even to direct attack on North Korea -- which, it is understood, would elicit retaliation by massed artillery, devastating Seoul and much of South Korea even without the use of nuclear weapons.

But there is another option, one that seems to be ignored: we could simply accept North Korea's offer to do what we are demanding. China and North Korea have already proposed that North Korea freeze its nuclear and missile programs. The proposal, though, was rejected at once by Washington, just as it had been two years earlier, because it includes a quid pro quo: it calls on the United States to halt its threatening military exercises on North Korea's borders, including simulated nuclear-bombing attacks by B-52s.

The Chinese-North Korean proposal is hardly unreasonable. North Koreans remember well that their country was literally flattened by U.S. bombing , and many may recall how U.S. forces bombed major dams when there were no other targets left. There were gleeful reports in American military publications about the exciting spectacle of a huge flood of water wiping out the rice crops on which "the Asian" depends for survival. They are very much worth reading, a useful part of historical memory.

The offer to freeze North Korea's nuclear and missile programs in return for an end to highly provocative actions on North Korea's border could be the basis for more far-reaching negotiations, which could radically reduce the nuclear threat and perhaps even bring the North Korea crisis to an end. Contrary to much inflamed commentary, there are good reasons to think such negotiations might succeed. Yet even though the North Korean programs are constantly described as perhaps the greatest threat we face, the Chinese-North Korean proposal is unacceptable to Washington, and is rejected by U.S. commentators with impressive unanimity. This is another entry in the shameful and depressing record of near-reflexive preference for force when peaceful options may well be available.

The 2017 South Korean elections may offer a ray of hope. Newly elected President Moon Jae-in seems intent on reversing the harsh confrontationist policies of his predecessor. He has called for exploring diplomatic options and taking steps toward reconciliation, which is surely an improvement over the angry fist-waving that might lead to real disaster.

[Sep 24, 2017] How Sony, Obama, Seth Rogen and the CIA Secretly Planned to Force Regime Change in North Korea by Tim Shorrock

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The U.S., he warned in a recent speech on Capitol Hill that I attended, must deliver Kim a simple message: "We know the only thing you care about is your regime's survival. Either denuclearize or we will take actions politically to destabilize your regime." His talk was a basic primer for this "uprising" from within, which is exactly what the Bush administration sought in Iraq when it invaded in 2003. ..."
"... K-Pop, the South Korean musical genre that's popular around the world, could be another weapon: "It's acidic as far the regime is concerned." And commercials about South Korean life planted in DVDs smuggled into the North "would be terrible for Kim Jong-un." ..."
"... The purpose of the operation, he said, is to convince the people of the DPRK that their "paranoid" leader is not a "god," and to plant the idea that his country is unstable: "If that's in his mind, it will affect his behavior." In short, a psy-op. ..."
"... Why Bennett? His official biography states that he has worked for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, U.S. Forces in South Korea and Japan, the U.S. Pacific Command as well as the South Korean and Japanese militaries. According an email he wrote to Sony's Lynton in 2014, he got his start in Asia as a Mormon missionary to Japan and began working on Korea in 1989 "at the request of the Pentagon." By 2014, he said, he had made over 100 trips to South Korea to advise the U.S. Army and senior South Korean military personnel "on how to deter North Korea." Even though he has never been to the DPRK, he bases his knowledge of the country on his "extensive interviews with senior North Korean defectors." ..."
"... The film allegedly sparked North Korea to hack Sony and leak thousands of internal Sony emails. North Korea also warned the Obama administration not to allow the film to be released, branding it "an act of terrorism." So, when Bennett invited questions at his congressional briefing, I asked him: what was his involvement in The Interview , and did he think it was effective? ..."
"... As Americans come to grips with Trump's confrontational policies with North Korea, it's easy to forget that U.S. relations with North Korea reached a nadir under Barack Obama. Here's why: Bennett's regime change proposals were, and are, the culmination of policies hatched by Obama's left-liberal administration to weaken Kim's hold on power and hasten what they considered North Korea's inevitable collapse. Obviously they failed, yet elements of the plan still abound. ..."
"... To head off that development, in 1994 President Bill Clinton negotiated an agreement with North Korea's founding leader, Kim Il-sung, that sought to allay his government's fears by ending America's hostile policies. Under the "Agreed Framework," the DPRK shut down its one test reactor -- its only source for plutonium -- in return for U.S. shipments of oil for its power grid and two new light-water reactors to be built by an international consortium. Most importantly, both sides agreed to end mutual hostility by fully normalizing their economic and political relations. ..."
"... The agreement, which froze North Korea's nuclear program for 12 years, held for several years. But in 2002, the Bush administration accused the DPRK -- falsely it turned out -- of building a secret uranium program as a second route to a bomb and tore up the framework. In response, North Korea, which was by now led by Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong-un's father, restarted its nuclear program, and by 2006 had exploded its first nuclear device. ..."
"... Surprisingly, Bush reopened negotiations only three weeks later, and by 2007, under the rubric of the Six Party Talks, the DPRK agreed again to freeze its program. That accord was still pending when Obama was elected in 2009. He had run for president pledging to talk to Iran and North Korea, but quickly changed course on Korea. ..."
"... Obama and his top adviser on Asia, Jeff Bader, decided in 2009 to side with the new, conservative president of South Korea, Lee Myung Bak, who had campaigned against engagement and demanded stronger pressure tactics against the DPRK. Soon, the idea of direct talks and regular was abandoned. Officially, the doctrine for replacing direct engagement with pressure tactics was known as "strategic patience." Behind it was a mistaken assumption!the same one made by Bennett today!that North Korea was headed for collapse, making even the chance of an agreement a futile exercise. ..."
"... It's difficult to overstate how reactionary Obama's policies became. In contrast to Bush, and even Trump, Obama flatly rejected the idea of negotiating with the North without a prior commitment to denuclearization. He also expressed no interest in the DPRK's offer to sign a peace agreement. More disturbingly, he was the first president in history to refer to the Korean War, which has been universally recognized as a bloody stalemate, as a "victory." In doing so, Obama revived a right-wing trope that was first used in the 1950s and resurrected during the Bush years by David Frum and other neocons. So from the onset, Obama caused America's policy toward Korea to take a sharp right turn. ..."
"... But the U.S. government had no doubts at all. In January 2015, Obama called the DPRK's alleged hack an "act of war" and used it as an excuse to launch one of the most aggressive American actions on behalf of a private corporation in U.S. history. His executive order imposed sanctions against three North Korean agencies and nearly a dozen "critical North Korean operatives" in retaliation for the hack. The Treasury Department said the sanctions were in direct response to North Korea's "numerous provocations, particularly the recent cyber-attack targeting Sony Pictures Entertainment." The action marked a major escalation, returning "the U.S. to a posture of open hostility with its oldest remaining Cold War adversary," the Wall Street Journal noted . ..."
"... Shortly after these actions were taken, the New York Times published a revelation that raised serious questions about the hack, reporting that the NSA had broken into the DPRK's computer systems as early as 2010 and "penetrated directly into the North with the help of South Korea and other American allies." If that was true, the NSA might have watched the alleged hackers and allowed them to do their work. Here's what the Times concluded: ..."
"... Today, Kim Jong-un remains firmly in control of North Korea, and the Trump administration -- despite Trump's tweets on Sunday equating engagement with "appeasement " -- appears to be slowly moving toward negotiations of some kind with his government. Bruce Bennett continues to fantasize about bringing the leader down. Kim, he argued in a recent post , craves his weapons not for self-defense but because "nukes are one way to show his subjects he's a god." Kim is "a weak leader consumed by paranoia," he wrote in a separate piece. ..."
"... And on August 29, in a departing interview with Fox News, ousted White House adviser Sebastian Gorka let it slip that the cyber attacks on North Korea probably continue. "On the more covert side of things, you have seen a lot of missile tests fail," he said . "Most tests actually fail. Sometimes there may be reasons beyond just incompetence by North Korea." ..."
"... And there was an intriguing exchange recently between one of Obama's top national security officials and South Korea's new president, Moon Jae-in . On August 4, Moon spoke out against Korean right-wingers who send anti-DPRK propaganda over the border in large balloons!one of the tactics frequently suggested by Bennett and carried out by neocons Kirchick and Halvorssen. These actions, he warned , unnecessarily aggravate the North, and particularly during times of severe tension, "could prompt accidental clashes." ..."
"... That sparked an angry tweet from Samantha Power, the Obama administration's former U.N. ambassador and perhaps the most famous proponent of "humanitarian intervention" against enemy states like North Korea. "So mistaken," Power tweeted in response to Moon. "Information is what Kim Jong-un fears most. ..."
Sep 05, 2017 | www.alternet.org

Grayzone Project 294 COMMENTS

Over the past month, President Trump's incendiary threats to rain " fire and fury " on North Korea in response to its ballistic missile program set off a chain of military escalations that climaxed this week with Pyongyang's sixth test of a nuclear device , a hydrogen bomb three to five times more powerful than the American bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

As the crisis unfolded, the Rand Corporation, a military-intelligence think tank founded during the Cold War, relentlessly promoted the views of Bruce W. Bennett, a defense researcher it calls "one of the leading experts on the world's most reclusive country." Two or three times a day, Rand's media shop tweets out links to Bennett's writings on Kim Jong-un, the 33-year-old who rules the Democratic Peoples' Republic of Korea (DPRK), its formal and preferred name.

While Trump has vowed to use sanctions, war threats and diplomacy to stop Kim from developing a ballistic missile that could fire nuclear weapons at the United States!exactly what Kim claimed to do on Sunday!Bennett believes that the only target worth considering is North Korea's " Supreme Leader " himself.

Bennett's basic theme is that North Korea is teetering on collapse and internal unrest because the military and technocratic elite who run the country have given up on Kim and his dynastic family. It's a theory that's been around for decades , but has picked up steam in reaction to Kim's recent purges, including possibly his own brother and a string of high-level defections that includes Thae Yong-ho , the erudite former North Korea ambassador to London.

In glossy books and pamphlets ("Preparing North Korean Elites for Unification") and in appearances from CNN to Fox to Teen Vogue , Bennett lays out his plan for overthrowing the North Korean government by saturating the country with leaflets and propaganda and providing assurances to potential plotters in the North that they would have a place within a new, unified Korea!but only under South Korean and U.S. control.

The U.S., he warned in a recent speech on Capitol Hill that I attended, must deliver Kim a simple message: "We know the only thing you care about is your regime's survival. Either denuclearize or we will take actions politically to destabilize your regime." His talk was a basic primer for this "uprising" from within, which is exactly what the Bush administration sought in Iraq when it invaded in 2003.

The plan, Bennett said, might begin with the U.S. Air Force dropping leaflets on North Korean missile bases that invite North Korean soldiers to defect. "If there were one or two, that would be a political loss of face." K-Pop, the South Korean musical genre that's popular around the world, could be another weapon: "It's acidic as far the regime is concerned." And commercials about South Korean life planted in DVDs smuggled into the North "would be terrible for Kim Jong-un."

The purpose of the operation, he said, is to convince the people of the DPRK that their "paranoid" leader is not a "god," and to plant the idea that his country is unstable: "If that's in his mind, it will affect his behavior." In short, a psy-op.

As I listened to his spiel, I was reminded of Bennett's advisory role in the 2014 Seth Rogen comedy The Interview , about two Hollywood stoners hired by the CIA to kill Kim. It depicted, in graphic detail, Kim's head being blown apart by a guided missile fired by fed-up North Korean "elites" who had come over to the U.S. side after their conversations with the fake American journalists, played by Rogen and his sidekick James Franco.

The film was produced by Japan's Sony Pictures, but finalized only after receiving critical advice and assistance from the Obama State Department, the Rand Corporation, and according to a 2014 interview Rogen gave to the New York Times, the CIA. ("We made relationships with certain people who work in the government as consultants, who I'm convinced are in the CIA.") But it was all under the tutelage of Bruce Bennett, who was brought into the project by Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton, a prominent member of Rand's board of directors and a close confidante of President Obama.

Why Bennett? His official biography states that he has worked for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, U.S. Forces in South Korea and Japan, the U.S. Pacific Command as well as the South Korean and Japanese militaries. According an email he wrote to Sony's Lynton in 2014, he got his start in Asia as a Mormon missionary to Japan and began working on Korea in 1989 "at the request of the Pentagon." By 2014, he said, he had made over 100 trips to South Korea to advise the U.S. Army and senior South Korean military personnel "on how to deter North Korea." Even though he has never been to the DPRK, he bases his knowledge of the country on his "extensive interviews with senior North Korean defectors."

The movie's plot closely follows Bennett's vision for regime change from within, and is illustrated in two key scenes.

"We're aware of a small faction in the existing leadership that already wants him gone," the CIA agent overseeing the assassination plot tells her American recruits early on. "They want change and they're too scared to act alone. And they need you two to go in there and remove Kim and embolden them to revolt." Later, "Sook," the sexy assistant to Kim who joins the regime change plot, pleads with Rogen: "How do you prove to the 24 million people of North Korea that their god is a murderer and a liar? The people need to be shown that he's not a god."

The film allegedly sparked North Korea to hack Sony and leak thousands of internal Sony emails. North Korea also warned the Obama administration not to allow the film to be released, branding it "an act of terrorism." So, when Bennett invited questions at his congressional briefing, I asked him: what was his involvement in The Interview , and did he think it was effective?

At first, Bennett was elusive, saying, "I did not work on the movie." When I reminded him that he had been listed as an adviser, he changed course. "I heard about it for the first time when I was sent a copy of the DVD by the president of Sony Pictures, who was asking, do we need to be worried about this?" he explained, inspiring a ripple of laughter throughout the room. Bennett continued: "So I had a tail-end role in trying to help them appreciate what they might be worried about."

But there's a lot more to the story. Now that Kim is dominating the news once again, it's time to revisit this film and how it became a weapon in the long-running American war against North Korea.

Obama's hard line on DPRK

As Americans come to grips with Trump's confrontational policies with North Korea, it's easy to forget that U.S. relations with North Korea reached a nadir under Barack Obama. Here's why: Bennett's regime change proposals were, and are, the culmination of policies hatched by Obama's left-liberal administration to weaken Kim's hold on power and hasten what they considered North Korea's inevitable collapse. Obviously they failed, yet elements of the plan still abound.

Let's start with some basic background. The hostile U.S. relationship with the DPRK dates back to the Korean War, when U.S. bombers turned the country into cinders in a destructive campaign of carpet-bombing that killed millions of people. In 1953, an armistice ended the fighting, leaving the country divided and in a perpetual state of war. A peace treaty was never signed. Sometime in the late 1980s, with the border still tense and the U.S. showing no signs of withdrawing its military forces from the South, the DPRK decided to embark on a nuclear program to defend itself from wars of regime change and guarantee its sovereignty.

To head off that development, in 1994 President Bill Clinton negotiated an agreement with North Korea's founding leader, Kim Il-sung, that sought to allay his government's fears by ending America's hostile policies. Under the "Agreed Framework," the DPRK shut down its one test reactor -- its only source for plutonium -- in return for U.S. shipments of oil for its power grid and two new light-water reactors to be built by an international consortium. Most importantly, both sides agreed to end mutual hostility by fully normalizing their economic and political relations.

The agreement, which froze North Korea's nuclear program for 12 years, held for several years. But in 2002, the Bush administration accused the DPRK -- falsely it turned out -- of building a secret uranium program as a second route to a bomb and tore up the framework. In response, North Korea, which was by now led by Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong-un's father, restarted its nuclear program, and by 2006 had exploded its first nuclear device.

Surprisingly, Bush reopened negotiations only three weeks later, and by 2007, under the rubric of the Six Party Talks, the DPRK agreed again to freeze its program. That accord was still pending when Obama was elected in 2009. He had run for president pledging to talk to Iran and North Korea, but quickly changed course on Korea.

According to Leon Sigal, a former State Department official who has met with North Korea many times in unofficial talks, Obama and his top adviser on Asia, Jeff Bader, decided in 2009 to side with the new, conservative president of South Korea, Lee Myung Bak, who had campaigned against engagement and demanded stronger pressure tactics against the DPRK. Soon, the idea of direct talks and regular was abandoned. Officially, the doctrine for replacing direct engagement with pressure tactics was known as "strategic patience." Behind it was a mistaken assumption!the same one made by Bennett today!that North Korea was headed for collapse, making even the chance of an agreement a futile exercise.

It's difficult to overstate how reactionary Obama's policies became. In contrast to Bush, and even Trump, Obama flatly rejected the idea of negotiating with the North without a prior commitment to denuclearization. He also expressed no interest in the DPRK's offer to sign a peace agreement. More disturbingly, he was the first president in history to refer to the Korean War, which has been universally recognized as a bloody stalemate, as a "victory." In doing so, Obama revived a right-wing trope that was first used in the 1950s and resurrected during the Bush years by David Frum and other neocons. So from the onset, Obama caused America's policy toward Korea to take a sharp right turn.

The tensions were exacerbated by the covert cyber war Obama launched against North Korea to damage and slow its missile program. During the Obama years, North Korea tested three more nuclear bombs, and despite the cyber war, rapidly expanded its missile abilities. As the situation deteriorated, Obama embarked on a series of military exercises with South Korea that increased in size and tempo over the course of his administration. They included unprecedented overflights by B-52 and stealth B1-B bombers as well as training in " decapitation strikes " designed to take out Kim and his leadership. All of this led straight to the crisis Trump inherited and has only made worse.

But while Trump critics rightly chafe over his reckless allusions to a nuclear attack on Korea, it's often forgotten that Obama himself made similar statements, couched in his trademark cool. "We could, obviously, destroy North Korea with our arsenals," Obama told CBS News in April 2016. A few months later, Daniel Russel, the president's senior diplomat on Asia who had earlier viewed The Interview at Sony's request, actually threatened North Korea's destruction. If Kim gets "an enhanced capacity to conduct a nuclear attack," Russel told defense reporters, he would "immediately die."

At the time, these threats hardly caused a ripple in the media, and sparked few complaints from the liberals who now criticize Trump for pushing the U.S. to war or the progressive reporters who criticized Bush for his invasion of Iraq.

Seth Rogen 'melted head' assassination scene

Although the idea for The Interview had been around for a while, the real inspiration, director Seth Rogen told the Los Angeles Times, was some "idle kidding around" he did with his friends after the assassination of Osama bin Laden in 2011. He and Sony were also encouraged by the wild success of the 2004 hit movie Team America , which ridiculed Kim Jong-il's big glasses and bouffant hair-do. But what sparked Sony's decision to go ahead with its $35 million investment was the crisis that shook the Korean Peninsula when the DPRK tested its third nuclear device in February 2013.

The nuclear test vaulted Kim Jong-un into the headlines for the first time, giving Sony the moment it had been seeking. In a "strategic marketing and research" paper later leaked by hackers, the studio told promoters to push the theme of "the dictator's bizarre behavior!he's a young, inexperienced guy with self-esteem and 'daddy' issues." The film used every racist image and trope that Rogen could dream up, from the sing-songy caricatures of Asian speech that were a film staple in the 1940s and '50s, to the concept that Koreans are either robotic slaves (like Kim's security guards) or sex-starved submissives who crave American men (like Sook, the "elite" aide to Kim who falls for the Rogen character).

In the end of the film, the Hollywood rebels triumph after badgering Kim with tough questions about his ability to feed his own people, an allusion to the terrible famine that occurred in the late-1990s. Kim goes crazy, forcing "a man once revered among mortals to cry and shit in his pants," the Rogen character explains. After the stoner character screams, "he's no god, he's a butthole," Kim is struck on his helicopter by the fatal missile shot by Sook's rebels, and his head explodes in a fireball. The rebels' job now "is to make sure power is transferred to the right hands," the Americans explain.

It was that ending that caused most of the controversy, both at the studio and when the film was later pre-screened to select officials of the Obama administration. When the first takes were shown in June 2014, some of Sony's Japanese executives were disturbed by both the violence and the racism. By this time, North Korea (which relentlessly monitors U.S. media) had got wind of the film and its theme of assassinating its head of state. So the studio asked Rogen to tone it down by removing one scene in which moviegoers watched Kim's face slowly melt and slide off his head. This sent Rogen on a tirade.

"We feel the story of censorship and trying to appease North Korea WILL in fact hurt the film critically, and thus financially," he wrote to Amy Pascal , Sony Pictures' top executive at the time. "The head melting shot described vividly in all these articles is universally received as awesome by the articles writing about them, and when these critics see a shot that is decidedly LESS awesome, regardless of what story we put out there, the truth will be apparent: it's a compromised product." (The head-melting scene was removed, but Rogen's Hollywood version of selective morality was revealing nonetheless).

By this point, North Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs was denouncing the film as tantamount to "an act of war," and threatening "a decisive and merciless countermeasure" if the Obama administration allowed it to be shown. That was apparently the result Rogen was looking for.

"There was a lot of high-fiving," he told the Los Angeles Times. Even if it caused a war?

"Hopefully," Rogen said, "people will say, 'You know what? It was worth it. It was a good movie!'"

It was then that Sony turned to the government for help, through Rand and its Korea expert, Bruce Bennett.

With top Obama contacts, Sony and Rand collaborate on coup narrative

The Rand Corporation first became famous in 1971, when Daniel Ellsberg, a Rand analyst, leaked the Pentagon Papers that exposed the secret history of the Vietnam War. The incredible tale of official lies that unfolded in pages of the New York Times and other papers helped end the war four years later and triggered the beginning of the end of Richard Nixon. After shaking off that incident, Rand emerged as one of the premiere research centers for the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence.

As a result of 9/11 and the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Rand returned full force to refining the practice of counterinsurgency , or COIN, the "soft power" side of empire-building that got its start in Vietnam and aims at winning "hearts and minds" of countries that the United States invades or subverts. Bennett's policy proposals to divide members of the North Korean "elite" from their government with offers of political support and financial assistance come right out of the COIN playbook .

The link between Rand and Sony was made shortly after the first public viewing of the film by Rand CEO Michael Rich, a lifelong employee of the think tank. Under his leadership, Rand developed close ties with U.S. intelligence. In November 2014, for example, Rich presided over a "rare dialogue" with the National Security Agency that took place at Sony's headquarters in Century City and included then NSA director Michael Rogers as well as Michael Leiter, the former director of the CIA's National Counterterrorism Center.

In June 2014, after the first clips of the movie where shown, Rich emailed Bennett, informing him he had recommended that Rand "trustee Michael Lynton, CEO of Sony Entertainment, get in touch with you for some quick assistance." Lynton, too, had high-level connections. As the hacked Sony emails collected by Wikileaks would later reveal , he had attended dinners at Martha's Vineyard with President Obama, and as a Rand board member, had contacts throughout government. From June on, Bennett, through Lynton, became a critical adviser to the film and acted as a liaison between the studio and the Obama administration.

The makers of The Interview were especially interested in advice on crafting the ending of the film. The scene of Kim's head exploding pleased Bennett, as he wrote in one of his emails. "I have been clear that the assassination of Kim Jong-Un is the most likely path to a collapse of the North Korean government," he wrote .

Bennett continued: 'Thus while toning down the ending may reduce the North Korean response, I believe that a story that talks about the removal of the Kim family regime and the creation of a new government by the North Korean people (well, at least the elites) will start some real thinking in South Korea and, I believe, in the North once the DVD leaks into the North (which it almost certainly will). So from a personal perspective, I would personally prefer to leave the ending alone."

Bennett firmly believed the film could spark the U.S.-led coup he had dreamed about for so long. "There are many ways that United States and even Sony Pictures could affect North Korean internal politics," he wrote on the Rand website. "Slipping DVDs of at least parts of The Interview into the North, including a narration describing what their 'god' Kim is really like is one way." (In fact, a version of this stunt was attempted right after the film came out by two of the more fanatical regime-changers in Washington, the neocon writer Jamie Kirchik and right-wing human rights hustler Thor Halvorssen .)

To make sure the film was on the right track, Sony arranged to show the ending to officials at the State Department. Lynton emailed Daniel Russel, who was the assistant Secretary of State for East Asia, that the studio was "concerned for the safety of Americans and American and North Korean relations." He and other U.S. officials gave their blessing to the film's violent ending. After word of Russel's involvement leaked out, the State Department denied any role, only to be contradicted by Russel himself. In a 2016 speech in Los Angeles, he said , "I'm the U.S. government official who told Sony there was no problem 'greenlighting' the movie The Interview ."

Despite the official go-ahead, Sony agreed at first to only release The Interview on DVD. Then, when Sony temporarily pulled the film in December 2014, Obama became its champion, declaring that "we cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United States." That led to the remarkable sight of Hollywood actors and directors from the liberal left, led by the likes of George Clooney and Michael Moore, defending the film as an act of free speech and urging Americans to defy Kim's "censorship" and go see it in a theater.

By this time, Sony had been hacked by a group that called itself the " Guardians of Peace ." The FBI later claimed this group was secretly working for North Korea. The Obama administration agreed, and said its top intelligence officials had concluded that North Korea was "centrally involved." This finding was questioned by many cyber-security experts (especially Gregory Elich's critique in Counterpunch and Kim Zetter's analysis in Wired). They concluded that the FBI's "evidence" found in servers in Thailand, Singapore and elsewhere was thin and speculative, and found signs that the real hackers (who had an uncanny insider knowledge of Hollywood) could still be at large and might have been former Sony employees.

But the U.S. government had no doubts at all. In January 2015, Obama called the DPRK's alleged hack an "act of war" and used it as an excuse to launch one of the most aggressive American actions on behalf of a private corporation in U.S. history. His executive order imposed sanctions against three North Korean agencies and nearly a dozen "critical North Korean operatives" in retaliation for the hack. The Treasury Department said the sanctions were in direct response to North Korea's "numerous provocations, particularly the recent cyber-attack targeting Sony Pictures Entertainment." The action marked a major escalation, returning "the U.S. to a posture of open hostility with its oldest remaining Cold War adversary," the Wall Street Journal noted .

Shortly after these actions were taken, the New York Times published a revelation that raised serious questions about the hack, reporting that the NSA had broken into the DPRK's computer systems as early as 2010 and "penetrated directly into the North with the help of South Korea and other American allies." If that was true, the NSA might have watched the alleged hackers and allowed them to do their work. Here's what the Times concluded:

"The extensive American penetration of the North Korean system raises questions about why the United States was not able to alert Sony as the attacks took shape last fall, even though the North had warned, as early as June, that the release of the movie would be 'an act of war.'"

By this time, however, the film had done its damage by convincing Kim's government that the Obama administration did indeed want its destruction. More missile and nuclear tests followed, and by the end of the Obama administration relations were far worse than they were when Bush left office in 2009. In other words, the film had the opposite of its intended effect, prompting a clampdown by Kim and suppressing whatever internal dissent existed.

Today, Kim Jong-un remains firmly in control of North Korea, and the Trump administration -- despite Trump's tweets on Sunday equating engagement with "appeasement " -- appears to be slowly moving toward negotiations of some kind with his government. Bruce Bennett continues to fantasize about bringing the leader down. Kim, he argued in a recent post , craves his weapons not for self-defense but because "nukes are one way to show his subjects he's a god." Kim is "a weak leader consumed by paranoia," he wrote in a separate piece.

At the same time, there is abundant evidence that the combination regime-change/cyber war project adopted by the Obama administration is still in force. A few weeks ago, CIA Director Mike Pompeo told a crowd at the Aspen Forum that he's been ordered to find ways to "separate" Kim from his "missiles and nuclear weapons" -- a "strong hint," the New York Times reported , "that the United States was considering seeking a regime change in North Korea." And on August 29, in a departing interview with Fox News, ousted White House adviser Sebastian Gorka let it slip that the cyber attacks on North Korea probably continue. "On the more covert side of things, you have seen a lot of missile tests fail," he said . "Most tests actually fail. Sometimes there may be reasons beyond just incompetence by North Korea."

The Democrats haven't let up, either. Last month, Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal told NBC News that the Obama administration should have responded more aggressively to North Korea's alleged hack of Sony in 2014. And there was an intriguing exchange recently between one of Obama's top national security officials and South Korea's new president, Moon Jae-in . On August 4, Moon spoke out against Korean right-wingers who send anti-DPRK propaganda over the border in large balloons!one of the tactics frequently suggested by Bennett and carried out by neocons Kirchick and Halvorssen. These actions, he warned , unnecessarily aggravate the North, and particularly during times of severe tension, "could prompt accidental clashes."

That sparked an angry tweet from Samantha Power, the Obama administration's former U.N. ambassador and perhaps the most famous proponent of "humanitarian intervention" against enemy states like North Korea. "So mistaken," Power tweeted in response to Moon. "Information is what Kim Jong-un fears most."

[Sep 24, 2017] Trump misreads North Koreas sacred dynasty at his peril by Michael Brabazon

Notable quotes:
"... Trump's threat of fire and fury is the worst response imaginable ..."
"... The Korean War ended with an armistice, or stand-off, but never a peace treaty, and the US is, in essence, still fighting the Korean War. That is the crux of the problem. ..."
"... I would also add that who started the Korean War is open to some debate. There is some evidence that the North invaded in response to an incursion started from the South. Both sides were attacking each other across the parallel before the 'War' started and there's documentation that the South was keen to invade the North. The Korean leadership on both sides saw the division as unacceptable and themselves as the legitimate government of the entire country. ..."
"... I think you have hit on something I've been thinking about. I believe Trump is deliberately stirring the pot in an attempt to goad Kim Jong Un into doing things that actually rile the Chinese. ..."
"... During the Cold War, the Soviet arsenal posed a far greater danger than North Korea does now. Nevertheless, no US president was so stupid to try and solve the crisis by pressing the USSR into giving up its missiles. Everybody knew we could just lean back and wait for the Soviet Empire to collapse by itself. And that's what happened ..."
"... But Trump doesn't know jacksh*t about history, and he certainly has no patience ..."
"... You certainly have a point. Anyone who thinks that we in the West are not susceptible to propaganda is the best proof that we are. However, flawed as it may be, I still prefer the Western Way of Life to anything else. There is a reason why the East German government had to build the Berlin Wall to keep its own citizens from running off to the West. There is a reason why there are no Americans applying for Russian or Chinese citizenship, but hundreds of Russians and Chinese standing in line in front of US embassies for a Green Card. ..."
"... How about the indoctrination of say people in the USA. Children are taught to sing the National anthem. This is sung at sports and other events in almost mandatory fashion. You see the Star Spangled banner in homes, public buildings almost everywhere. ..."
"... Hollywood and the American media feed the public a constant and pervasive diet of movies, television shows and propaganda about America's might, values and glory. Books,literature, clothing, toys you name it highlight and accentuate this. Try spending a week watching CNN, Fox news MSNBC, BBC et al. ..."
"... The US walked away from negotiations in 2002, after six years of talks, because NK refused to give in on some unreasonable pre-conditions. ..."
Sep 24, 2017 | www.theguardian.com
... ... ...

Dealing with Kim is not the same as dealing with a fanatic like Osama bin Laden or an apparatchik like Khrushchev. He is impervious to realpolitik, and the lives of perhaps tens of millions of people are at stake – by privation, if not war.

Trump's threat of fire and fury is the worst response imaginable to a religious extremist who believes he alone can save humanity – and that the US and her allies are all that stand in the way of Korea fulfilling its own destiny.

Eisvogel , 24 Sep 2017 13:37

The Korean War ended with an armistice, or stand-off, but never a peace treaty, and the US is, in essence, still fighting the Korean War. That is the crux of the problem.

The solution lies in a peace treaty that demilitarizes the whole Korean peninsula and this treaty must include China, since China was the main adversary to the US during a war that never really ended after more than 60 years.

Babis_K , 24 Sep 2017 12:05
No one (Trump or Kim) is so insane that will dare to escalate this verbal war into a real war that can easily turn into a nuclear war.

If Kim fires first he knows that he, his regime and a great part of his people will be annihilated by the American fire and fury.

If the US strike first they can't endure the consequences of a nuclear counter- attack by N. Korea with millions of dead in the ally countries of S. Korea and Japan but even in the US territory from 60 nukes Kim processes today.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/north-korea-now-making-missile-ready-nuclear-weapons-us-analysts-say/2017/08/08/e14b882a-7b6b-11e7-9d08-b79f191668ed_story.html?utm_term=.b761ade32408

I see this verbal dispute as a repetition of cold war Cuba tension some 55 years ago but in a less diplomatic and more hoodlum language.

Diplomats from the US and N. Korea should sit at the same table and find a way to relax this tension.

Tom1982 , 24 Sep 2017 10:28
Interesting the author puts so much emphasis on Juche in his assessment of North Korean political deliberations.

B. R. Myers wrote an influential book on North Korea that made the case that Juche is a non-philosophy designed solely for the purpose of bamboozling foreigners, and that the motivations of the DPRK leadership are based around racial nationalism.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cleanest_Race

AshesToAshes -> Blenheim , 24 Sep 2017 10:28
It is realpolitik sharpened to a knife edge. The USA acts as nuclear hegemon, because it is in their own interests to do so. The USSR would like to have done so, and China would still if it could. We benefit from the status quo.

North Korea having nuclear weapons is odious to the USA as hegemon, so it will not be allowed to happen. Morality is irrelevant. The only question is who has the will and the power to enforce that will.

AshesToAshes -> TragicomedyBeholder , 24 Sep 2017 10:21
Unfortunately if he so desperately wants war, the price will be immeasurable.

Imagine h actually fires a handful of ICBMs at the continental USA. It really doesn't matter much at that point whether US missile defence takes them down before impact or not. Either way, the US would then counterstrike with a force not dissimilar to the hammer of God.

Trump might decide that the best way to stop Seoul getting pulverised by DPRK artillery is to carpet the area north of the DMZ with small tactical nuclear strikes, and then unleash dozens, perhaps hundreds of strategic warheads on Pyongyang and every single other target of any value. It would be over in a morning, but NK would be utterly incinerated.

jdanforth -> Andrei Lankov , 24 Sep 2017 09:37
Yeah, Vietnam, Cuba and China have done some privatizations, so what you say about North Korea sounds correct to me, but the core of heavy industry there and in all of these countries is still state-owned.

The only way for any of them to once again be ruled by a capitalist class would be a counterrevolutionary collapse like the one that happened in the USSR in 1991-92. Such an event would be unmistakeable, cataclysmic, and most likely catastrophic, for the inhabitants of the country in question, just as it was in the USSR. It cannot happen as some sort of gradual evolution in the policies of the governing bureaucracy, although the privatizations and corruption that you mention do make it a more likely outcome than before. A US invasion and military regime would be a way to restore capitalist rule to North Korea, though it could easily backfire, and anyway, I don't think the imperialists could conquer North Korea without first exterminating its entire population, which I guess is what Trump is threatening.

It's interesting that you say that the North Korean fishing industry started getting privatized right around the time of the Soviet collapse. That´s also when China started charging university fees, and when Cuba entered its "Periodo Especial."

WallyWillage -> FobRoared , 24 Sep 2017 09:18
They could buy a dozen nuclear weapons and delivery systems before breakfast if they wanted one - and would happily use it on Iran not Israel (who have plenty too - including submarine based ones).

Saudis were the majority of the mujahadeen and AQ funders and leaders and the pilots of the 9/11 attackers.

They also have a major US base. Prob with nukes if not all the biggest and deadliest weapons.

Adam Yusaf -> Engelbach , 24 Sep 2017 08:53
A redkneck hillbilly,his thought process doesent stretch that far
rhytrn -> Phil Atkinson , 24 Sep 2017 08:47
And one would add the Americans and then the person put in place to run South Korea, Syngman Rhee, depended on Japanese collaborators, not a few of whom had already been involved in war crimes before the end of WWII.

I would also add that who started the Korean War is open to some debate. There is some evidence that the North invaded in response to an incursion started from the South. Both sides were attacking each other across the parallel before the 'War' started and there's documentation that the South was keen to invade the North. The Korean leadership on both sides saw the division as unacceptable and themselves as the legitimate government of the entire country.

rhytrn -> Phil Atkinson , 24 Sep 2017 08:33
Or Xi Jinping whose grandfather fought against the Japanese. The Chinese have in the past been very critical of Shinzo Abe's visiting a memorial to people they consider war criminals.
Steven J. Barber -> theAthensdog , 24 Sep 2017 08:26
I think you have hit on something I've been thinking about. I believe Trump is deliberately stirring the pot in an attempt to goad Kim Jong Un into doing things that actually rile the Chinese.

If you have noticed the Chinese have only recently began to get serious about reigning in North Korea by enforcing sanctions.

North Korea's increased provocations, a reaction to US and her allies have seriously angered China. Also the threats of economic retaliation on Chinese entities doing business with North Korea have caused the Chinese to weigh the cost of doing business with the Norks vs the cost of sanctions.

It seems recently the Chinese have been considering the DPRK as more of a detriment.

VirginMary , 24 Sep 2017 07:31
I do not believe that KJU could be convinced to change is behaviour. Is practically a God so what else can be given? Nothing can compare.

I believe there will be war in the Korean peninsular. If we are lucky it will be a sudden military intervention from China (and perhaps Russia) into North Korea to replace KJU and a few other people. The objective is to maintain the existence of North Korea as a country and largely a status quo and NOT a country under the influence of US.

If we are not lucky it will be a messy war US first will battle North Korea and win then US forces will get involved in a messy and prolonged confrontation on the ground with "local" NK troops: troop supported by Russian and Chinese volunteers (special forces). It will ultimately result again in a stalemate but a few millions of people will be dead

Dominguini -> Blenheim , 24 Sep 2017 07:04
"Since the end of WW", the US has only ever been about America first".

Absolutely. You would never catch the Russians, or the Chinese, or the French, putting THEIR country first, would you?

Ladegast -> Alex Ira , 24 Sep 2017 06:12
... and by the way, who said the world "needs to respond to the threats"? That's exactly the kind of one-dimensional thinking that led mankind into the First World War.

The more attention the Fat Kid gets, the more noise he makes. Just let him have his silly rockets and ignore him. What do we care about North Korea? They do not even have oil. Just forget about that country and let it rot away. This has worked for the last 64 years, and so far North Korea has not harmed one American soldier.

During the Cold War, the Soviet arsenal posed a far greater danger than North Korea does now. Nevertheless, no US president was so stupid to try and solve the crisis by pressing the USSR into giving up its missiles. Everybody knew we could just lean back and wait for the Soviet Empire to collapse by itself. And that's what happened.

But Trump doesn't know jacksh*t about history, and he certainly has no patience.

Conanbarbarian -> SchakarMevsky , 24 Sep 2017 06:08
"Its central doctrine, the supremacy of man, is based directly on the founding belief of the Cheondogyo sect: in nae Cheon – 'man is God'. Hmmm. Sounds like Marxism-Leninism to me. You don't get this kind of crap in anything ancient."---erm, Jesus the man is held by Christians to be God.
Conanbarbarian -> Hermann Steinpilz , 24 Sep 2017 06:06
The correct comparison is surely Japan up to the end of the 2nd World War and even up to today for some Japanese, and its cult of Emporer-God.
Ladegast -> Alex Ira , 24 Sep 2017 05:47
Avoiding nuclear war by provoking it makes little sense.

"History crap" is exactly what this idiot in the White House is "thinking". Everyone knows Trump doesn't read books and has no understanding of history. That's why he is incapable of solving international problems.

All he can do is insult people and bully them into obedience.

This might work with some provincial politician from Hillbilly Creek, Oklahoma. But it certainly does not get you anywhere when you are dealing with some Asian dictator and mass-murderer.

You have to know your enemies thoughts - this has been known since the days of Sun Tzu.

Ladegast -> studio1reggae , 24 Sep 2017 05:35
You certainly have a point. Anyone who thinks that we in the West are not susceptible to propaganda is the best proof that we are. However, flawed as it may be, I still prefer the Western Way of Life to anything else. There is a reason why the East German government had to build the Berlin Wall to keep its own citizens from running off to the West. There is a reason why there are no Americans applying for Russian or Chinese citizenship, but hundreds of Russians and Chinese standing in line in front of US embassies for a Green Card.

There is a reason why Syrian refugees turn their hopes to Europe and not to Saudi Arabia or Russia.

studio1reggae , 24 Sep 2017 04:07
Interesting article Mr Brabazon

You talk about the indoctrination of the Korean people and how it is perpetuated. You approach this from a more introspective level than many others.

How about the indoctrination of say people in the USA. Children are taught to sing the National anthem. This is sung at sports and other events in almost mandatory fashion. You see the Star Spangled banner in homes, public buildings almost everywhere.

Hollywood and the American media feed the public a constant and pervasive diet of movies, television shows and propaganda about America's might, values and glory. Books,literature, clothing, toys you name it highlight and accentuate this. Try spending a week watching CNN, Fox news MSNBC, BBC et al.

America presidents and the West loves to holler on about the "Free World". What is this bull-shit about the Free world. Oh yes it has to be run by them. The American and them has to lead and run it of course.

The pentagon/NATO loves to talk about defending the west values, ideology and human rights. So here in the West and America propaganda and indoctrination abounds. It has been this ways for hundreds of years now.

xoffox -> SchakarMevsky , 24 Sep 2017 03:03
The roman emperors were considered gods to be venerated by the people. The god-like status of the North Korean leaders does not look that different.
Andrei Lankov -> jdanforth , 24 Sep 2017 01:13
Funny. You could not choose worse examples. Fishing in North Korea is roughly 90% privately owned, and this has been the case since the early 1990s. Mines, if you mean coal mines, are indeed largely state-owned, but tonchu (rich private investors, operating with tacit or open permit of the party-state) control a noticeable part of the industry. The agriculture, which was remarkably good in generating famines when it was indeed done by the state, has been privatized after '6-28 instructions', in 2012-2014, and is now run more or less along the Chinese lines.
Will Will , 24 Sep 2017 01:05
Very interesting article, Mr Brabazon. But my suspicion is that you might be confusing the regime's religious-nationalist claim to legitimacy with the actual thinking processes of the regime's leader himself. Specifically, is Kim Jong-un really 'a religious extremist' in person - something that would suggest he is not entirely rational - and possibly even quite unhinged?

All signs suggest he is rather in fact an extremely rational, calculating, cold-hearted manipulator. He has a well-documented history of ramping up diplomatic/military hostilities and then pivoting at the last moment to extract advantage or concessions (sanctions relief, aid, import/export access, etc). So to say then that he's 'impervious to realpolitik' seems quite odd indeed. He appears to be very good at cynical real-political gamesmanship. He just doesn't appear to define NK's national interest as the pursuit of power for its own sake (as in the European realpolitik tradition), but for the sake of the survival of his dynastic regime. Similarly, the NK foreign minister reportedly said just recently that NK's nuclear ambition is 'to balance' the US. The idea of a balance of power stands at the heart of realpolitik thought.

Kim Jong-un appears driven less by non-rational religious conviction than by a very rational quest to achieve mutual deterrence with the US by developing nuclear ICBMs. Juche may help explain why he can't/won't/doesn't need to accept any bribe to abandon this quest, but more likely its main role is to maintain domestic political control in the face of widespread privation and fear.

Kevskos -> ThanksNeolibZombies , 24 Sep 2017 00:08
Yes we had an agreement with North Korea that President Carter had negotiated for Clinton that Bush II trashed and NK started building nukes. Felt for some reason they could not trust the US since we had invaded Iraq for trying to make nukes when they were not. Felt they needed nukes as the only way to protect themselves from US invasion.
spiral batholith -> sejong , 24 Sep 2017 00:04
While US politics, society, and global respect obviously decline at the hands of this idiotic potus...US military spending and force has increased exponentially since 2011. It does not bode well for anyone on the Korean peninsula that these two pinheads keep hurling childish insults that could eventually turn into catastrophic military decisions. Trump and Kim will go down in history as the morons that fought a war over battered little fucktard egos...and that cost a lot of innocent people their lives. We have to evolve...this is the same damn game cavemen played except instead of throwing rocks we're throwing globally fatal neutron bombs. Sad.
Phil Atkinson -> clshannon , 23 Sep 2017 23:47
Try this on for size:

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/north-korea-missile-test-us-1994-agreed-framework-pyongyang-programme-kim-jong-un-donald-trump-a7876446.html

Phil Atkinson -> Ian Maitland , 23 Sep 2017 23:44
You must believe every single word printed in the media.

"...and his firing of missiles over our ally..."

The way this is portrayed in the media is akin to deadly missiles flying over Japan at head height, or at least inside Japanese air space. The facts, of course, are different.

Because of Japan's proximity to the Korean peninsular, test missiles have to be fired from sea level, straight into space (100kms above sea level) to avoid Japanese air space. The missiles' trajectories ensure Japanese air space is not encroached upon and while this practice is less than neighbourly, it's not illegal. The Japanese, given their historical animosity towards Korea, make such propaganda of these test firings as they can and the western media laps it up.

Phil Atkinson -> iRtRb7suiJLtkfuPvJFa , 23 Sep 2017 23:37
Michael Brabazon's a historian, not a statesman. We need statesmen, not politicians to fix this mess, ideally a group comprising representatives from both Koreas, China, Russia and the US. NOT Japan. Lock them all in a room and don't let them out until the Korean question is resolved.
Phil Atkinson -> Mark Williams , 23 Sep 2017 23:29
"The war ended 70 years ago for everyone else..."

No it didn't and many people ignore this when commenting on various North Korean responses. Let's be clear - a state of war still exists between North Korea and its allies and South Korea and its allies. All that was signed in 1953 was an armistice - a cease-fire. It was not a peace treaty.

North Korea correctly(?) feels that the US may breech the cease fire and is arming itself accordingly. While the US and South Korea keep playing war games near the DMZ, that view won't change.

Igloo -> id0102 , 23 Sep 2017 23:27
I know, I know, the guy dropping the bombs is always in the wrong.
Do you accept that the Korean war began because a large force came over the 38th parallel from the north and among other things, occupied Seoul? And that hundreds of thousands of Chinese troops joined in on the NK side? Not to mention Russian fighter pilots? There is always a context when bombs are dropping.
It's not just the North Koreans who have existential fears- the South Koreans do as well, and their worst nightmare would be living under a Kim regime.
monicamac -> Videogamesatemycat , 23 Sep 2017 23:19
I doubt it to be honest.
jdanforth -> BrianMonaghan , 23 Sep 2017 23:18
Capitalism is defined in any dictionary as private ownership of the means of production. North Korea has overthrown it. That is why the country got bombed in the 1950s, and that is why America's capitalist government has been threatening it ever since with more bombing.

Who owns the fishing industry, agriculture and the coal mines in North Korea? The state! These industries can't be bought by US "investors" because no individual owns them, so the only solution is to try to erase North Korea from the map again. This plan, if it is a plan, is raving madness, of course, but capitalism is not a rational system.

monicamac -> dack72 , 23 Sep 2017 23:13
Go USA, go the Trump man who knows nothing - he is just a fool and those who follow him have got blinkers on - thinking make America great again - WTF?? Mate this is not the wild west anymore nor the movies where you go in with your guns blazing and you always win - you need some sophistication and some brains to know how to handle these issues. Trump the man and Trump the President are duds!!

If Obama behaved as Trump has been doing - he would have been shouted down as the black man behaving badly.

Trump needs to be shouted down as the white man who is behaving extremely badly - get rid of him through empeachment and get someone who knows that they are doing!!!

awilson5280 , 23 Sep 2017 23:11
Thank you for this article, Mr. Brabazon. I now understand North Korea and the dynamic on the Korean peninsula better. Your point that Trump doesn't know what he's messing with is well-taken, but that is something that is true with regards to nearly any topic you could name.

The fact that North Korea has a national indoctrination program of an ideology that has no grounding in a modern reality - and that cares nothing for the international order that attempts to keep us all from killing each other - gives valuable perspective. However, it does not change the fact that North Korea is going to continue to act in ways that threaten other countries, and that (especially due to its ideology and its disconnection from any real allies) it miscalculate and find itself erased from the map, likely taking a lot of South Koreans with it.

This has the potential to be a really bad situation: the best result is reform from within, second best result is implosion of the regime. Everything else looks to involve significant loss of life.

Phil Atkinson -> Mark Williams , 23 Sep 2017 23:04
"...launched a surprise invasion of South Korea."

Surprise?

From 1948 until the invasion, north and south Koreans were facing-off across the DMZ and there were a significant number of violent incursions by both sides - mostly initiated by South Koreans, who were itching for a fight. (That's according to the US general in charge of South Korean forces at the time). The north's invasion was no surprise and the only reason it occurred in June 1950 was because the north had a division of troops fighting with the Chinese communists. Those troops didn't return to North Korea until early 1950

Phil Atkinson -> rhytrn , 23 Sep 2017 22:30
This is also a good read and covers the period 1910 on:

https://www.lrb.co.uk/v39/n10/bruce-cumings/a-murderous-history-of-korea

This goes into a little more detail in some aspects:

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/rearvision/north-korea/3352778

Phil Atkinson -> kasprowy , 23 Sep 2017 22:28
"But he thinks he is descended from gods? So which is it?"

Neither. The people are taught that Kim is a godlike figure. I doubt Kim believes that himself - he's western educated.

Phil Atkinson -> luckysue , 23 Sep 2017 22:24
" It may be too late, but have we tried this?"

No.

North Korea has put peace proposals to the UN/US which included offers to cease their nuclear ambitions, or at least put them on hold. Both the US and South Korea have rejected the offers out of hand.

Phil Atkinson -> rhytrn , 23 Sep 2017 22:21
It's hard to imagine Shinzo Abe and Kim Jong-un at the same conference table - the two grandchildren of two of the original protagonists during the Japanese occupation of Korea 1910-45. Some people have long memories.
Phil Atkinson -> rhytrn , 23 Sep 2017 22:16
The Korean situation is different, in that it was one national entity until 1945, when Japan ceded Korea to the US as part of the surrender terms. At the time, then (Soviet) Russians, who were nominally our allies, had moved into northern Korea as part of their push against the Japanese. This concerned the US, who wanted Korea to remain in their control, so John J. McCloy instructed Dean Rusk to divide Korea in two and Rusk drew a line through the 38th parallel. The Soviets administered the north and the US the south until 1948.

You can imagine how Kim Il-sung felt about this - he'd spent the previous 13 years actively fighting the Japanese invaders in order to reclaim his country and was one of the few surviving guerrilla leaders. The Japanese had murdered his wife and had ruthlessly suppressed any dissent. Now all of that was for nothing - all that happened was that other invaders had moved in and split the country. It was the direct cause of North Korea invading the south in 1950.

Phil Atkinson -> Sasha Rieger , 23 Sep 2017 21:53
"...this article merely makes the point that the current Kim cannot be reasoned with ..."

That's drawing a bit of a long bow. Kim may be many things, but stupid doesn't appear to be one of them. The same can't be said for Trump. North Korea recently submitted a plan to the UN/US with a proposal that the north puts a hold on its nuclear weapons development. In return, North Korea asked for (a) a formal treaty ending the Korean War, with non-aggression guarantees from both sides, (b) South Korea and the US to cease military exercises close to the DMZ and (c) a timetable for the reduction of US troops in South Korea. This plan was backed by both Russia and China. The US and South Korea refused the offer point-blank.

Now who is being unreasonable?

id0102 -> garpalgumnut , 23 Sep 2017 21:52
Kim played the anti-US card simply for a political grip on power, and keeps that grip very tight after the recent displays of nuclear weapons. He's probably even more popular now, in spite of the famine and poverty.
Phil Atkinson -> AndrewWatkins , 23 Sep 2017 21:46
An excellent point, very likely totally missed by the US administration (such as it is). It's impossible to fight an enemy unless you understand them.
Phil Atkinson -> Telvannah , 23 Sep 2017 21:43
The jury returned a unanimous verdict that Trump has the attention span of a loaf of wet bread.
Phil Atkinson -> PJL1234 , 23 Sep 2017 21:42
"...the article reinforces the need to take action before North Korea loses all sense of rational and morale judgement."

The only problem there is that we're 64 years too late - any resolution should have been in 1953, even if it had meant open war with China. Now, 3, 4 or 5 generations later, the North Koreans are not going to change their beliefs or mindset. We've missed the boat, unfortunately for all concerned.

BrianMonaghan , 23 Sep 2017 21:42
Excuse me but the CIA and ihe intelligence services of the world ate all well informed about Juche. Since when does the US regard the DPRK as Marxist in any sense? If an analogy is required, the DPRK, with its emperor worship and nonsense about the divinity of its people, is closer to 1930's Japan than it is to communism. It's a nationalistic monarchy, for goodness sake.
honeycomb42 -> Michael_GPF , 23 Sep 2017 21:10
The US led the attack. The US is the superpower. And Clinton had a personal hatred for Gadhafi. It was a US drone that tracked him and directed the terrorists to his location where he was raped with a bayonet and shot.
id0102 -> Igloo , 23 Sep 2017 21:10
3 million Koreans dead was not a repel, it was a massacre. Note that North Korea did not have an air force so so speak. Within a year the US and UK ran out of military targets, and bombed civilians mercilessly.
ThanksNeolibZombies -> stuart255 , 23 Sep 2017 21:09

"If you want peace, prepare for war" is about the most ancient wisdom there is and over thousands of years it has proven to be pretty sound advice.

I'm not sure how helpful this is in a nuclear age. We live perilously close to nuclear annihilation, there are obvious incentives for states to obtain nuclear weapons, and preparation for war does not seem to be the answer to this problem.

khoffman -> Engelbach , 23 Sep 2017 21:07
You don't understand what gualtiero is saying. It's very logical. As NK develops ICBM with nuclear warheads they neutralize the US nuclear option. In 10-20 years, NK could have enough nuclear armed ICBMs to overwhelm
ThanksNeolibZombies -> dack72 , 23 Sep 2017 20:49

In other words he is a nut and the people supressed so we just pussy foot around him and he has the world just where he wants them - living on edge- just like we do with the terrorism of the world now from our fanatics.

Are you describing Trump here or Kim Jong-un?

There doesn't seem to be a good alternative to diplomacy and negotiation here.
In any case, strategically it seems a good idea to understand where people are coming from.

Also you should ask how on gods earth did such a nut get to have this ability- perhaps another Obama disaster .

Didn't the North Korean nuclear tests begin under George W Bush?

Engelbach -> AlexFishy , 23 Sep 2017 20:14
There haven't been recent attempts at negotiation and diplomacy with North Korea by the United States.

The US walked away from negotiations in 2002, after six years of talks, because NK refused to give in on some unreasonable pre-conditions.

Kim is a dictator who uses fear and hatred of an outside enemy to solidify his hold on his people. He's not suicidal. Destruction of North Korea would be fatal to his goal of spreading his ideology to the world.

Knee jerk reactions to obvious evil are neither a revelation nor a basis for a practical solution to the tensions.

[Sep 24, 2017] Kabuki Politics by Israel Shamir

Sep 24, 2017 | www.unz.com

- The Unz Review

However, for an American President in the United Nations his speech was unbecoming and shockingly brutal. The people of the world listened to his United Nations General Assembly speech, and experienced a touch of nostalgia for the late Mr Adolf Hitler, a kind and mild man of subtle messages in comparison to the fiery US President.

The German Chancellor allegedly killed six million civilians, and this sublime sacrifice (do not ask me to what deity, this is just a translation of the Greek 'holocaust') is considered the worst crime in the bloody history of mankind. Mr Trump publicly and loudly promised to incinerate five or six times that amount. While the German never boasted of that crime, the American already boasts of his still undone crime. His desire to "totally destroy North Korea", to wipe out an entire nation of 25 million, and in addition to cause the death of millions of Koreans in the South of the peninsula as well, secures him a unique place among the villains.

Kim, the brazen King of the North, dismissed Trump as a 'barking dog' who, people say, never bites, and this is surely a comforting thought, but not as comforting as a muzzle for the beast. This barking dog is obviously dangerous and should be restrained, or put out of its misery. The hound has been hounded by his domestic enemies, and thus he became possessed by a demon, for just a few months ago Trump was a peace-loving creature who wanted to attend to the US infrastructure, who refused to bow to AIPAC and was friendly to Putin. It's Mrs Clinton who was the warmonger. But invocation magic worked on him.

... ... ...

Every statesman on the planet knows you can't cross the US. America is powerful, vindictive and vicious, and you must obey or else. They will destroy you and/or your country sooner or later for your disobedience. If they can't invade, they will bomb, if they can't bomb, they will starve first – and then bomb, and only afterwards, invade. One should be crazy to resist. But the little Korean resisted. He is definitely crazy. But we humans adore such crazy rebels against supreme authority, be it Che Guevara or Luke Skywalker. Or McMurphy.

Yes, by his suicidal courage, Kim reminds me of 'Mac', Randle McMurphy, the protagonist of Ken Kesey's novel and Milos Forman's movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Probably you remember his hopeless stand and a futile, doomed fight against the almighty Nurse Ratched. She rules supreme over the inmates. Against her will, there is no appeal. The inmates tremble before her. But she can't break Mac. She is forced to burn his brain, to kill him by other means, and this evil deed releases the inmates. Until then, they supported and obeyed the Nurse like the nations of the world obeyed the Judeo-American power. Incineration of Mac's brain puts paid to her dominion. In revulsion, the placid inmates leave the ward, chose freedom and leave her behind, broken. This is human nature. There is no way for the US to prevail in its fight against Kim the Bold. They can kill him and thirty million of other Koreans, but they can't prevail.

... ... ...

The Russians were dismayed with Trump's plans to reform the UN and eliminate or undermine their right of veto. They noticed an uncanny similarity of Trump's call for the UN reform 2017 with Adolf Hitler's call to reform the League of the Nations in 1937. They aren't likely to agree to any attempt to cancel their veto. They will not leave the UN, either. They tried to walk out once, and it did not work out well.

In January 1950, the Russians were dismayed by America's steadfast refusal to transfer the seat in the UN Security Council to the new Chinese Government of Chairman Mao. They insisted the seat should be occupied by Kuomintang-ruled Taiwan. The Russians boycotted the Security Council to their peril: the Security Council (sine Russians) voted to invoke military action by the United Nations for the first time in the organization's history. The Russians could have blocked the action in the Security Council, since they had absolute veto power, but no Russian delegate was present.

In just a short time, a multinational U.N. force under American leadership arrived in South Korea and the grueling three-year Korean War was underway. The Russians immediately returned to the Security Council but they never could reverse the decision, and until today the US troops in Korea use the UN banner.

The Russians remember that, and they will never repeat the mistake. Even if Trump takes his allies out, the Russians and the Chinese will remain and they will keep the Security Council running, if necessary, without the Americans.

The Americans want to have the UN without the Russians. Trump-proposed declaration of intent to revamp the UN has been endorsed by many small states, but the great ones declined to join. In a brazen act, countries that were hesitant or unwilling to sign the declaration – which include Russia, China, Brazil and South Africa – were not invited to the launch. An organization without them, will not be the United Nations, perhaps NATO 2.0.

The Russian feelings towards the US hardened a lot in the aftermath of the General Assembly. The Russians helped the Syrian government army cross Euphrates and seize the east bank, despite American demands to stay away on the other side of the great river. For the first time ever, they threatened the Americans present in Syria with using their supreme fire power if their troops will be jeopardized like they were a few days ago, when the Islamists led by American instructors made an attempt to snatch a group of Russian policemen.

Mike Johnson > , September 23, 2017 at 6:28 am GMT

Excellent article! One thing I remember about a few months ago was Trump showing up at the AIPAC conference kissing some serious ass, so you must be referring to before that when he threw little hints at being an independent player but even back then didn't he have Sheldon in his corner??

animalogic > , September 23, 2017 at 9:41 am GMT

" The people of the world listened to his United Nations General Assembly speech, and experienced a touch of nostalgia for the late Mr Adolf Hitler, a kind and mild man of subtle messages in comparison to the fiery US President".
The above gave me a genuine LOL moment though nothing else did.
It's no wonder Paul Craig Roberts is now referring to the US as the "fourth Reich". Makes one almost nostalgic for the days of GWB: he was merely stomping on weaker nations – not directly poking a sharp stick at a bear AND a dragon at the same time
The US gave birth to itself from revolution: nothing less will likely save it save all of us .

Parbes > , September 23, 2017 at 9:56 am GMT

The U.S. government and ruling elites are nothing but a collection of evil criminals that constitute the greatest threat to the planet. They should be punished accordingly, preferably by their own people – but that would require today's American population to be something other than a mixture of braindead ignorant sheeple, chauvinist jingoist patriotards, and narcissistic degenerate hedonists.

In other words – the vast majority of Americans deserve whatever happens and will happen to them.

[Sep 23, 2017] North Korea: The poorest advanced economy in the World.

Sep 23, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Amanita Amanita | Sep 23, 2017 7:49:12 PM | 36

North Korea: The poorest advanced economy in the World.

http://www.38north.org/2017/09/jbaron090717/

nonsense factory | Sep 23, 2017 8:12:14 PM | 37
@Kalen 12,
I think b is correct when he says: The U.S. military is too afraid to use its $300 billion missile defense boondoggle because that would prove that it is one gigantic scam.

It's not just that advanced countermeasures can defeat the system, it's that even a single ballistic missile without any tricks would be hard to shoot down at best. See this for example, from a writer who generally promotes U.S. military technology, noting there's a very high probability they'd have missed if they tried to shoot down a North Korean test. . .
https://arstechnica.com. . . -us-have-shot-it-down/

Missing a shot at a missile just passing over Japan could have far-reaching political implications, as it would suggest that anti-ballistic missile systems are incapable of protecting people in South Korea, Japan, or Guam.

For more evidence that the system is completely over-hyped, see this:

The US has tested the interceptor system 19 times since 1999, succeeding about half the time. The most recent test, three years ago, marked another success, but three prior attempts fizzled. That kind of success rate is troubling, given the meticulously managed conditions. "These tests are scripted for success," says Philip Coyle, senior fellow at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation and former head of the Pentagon's test and evaluation office. "What's been surprising to me as that they have failed as often as they have in spite of that."
Those failures are all with single standard ballistic missiles, without any add-ons, lined up under optimal conditions and optimal trajectories, with advance warning - and they still fail a lot of the time. That sure looks like a massive scam/cash cow.
Kalen | Sep 23, 2017 8:33:00 PM | 38
@37
NK also would use decoys if they decide to retaliate, low efficiency of interception you pointed out will be even worse than half hits in controlled tests, may be one in ten or less in operational circumstances.

In other words Anti Missile Systems are useless against ICBMs except for narrow circumstances of none nuke ICBMs.

Grieved | Sep 23, 2017 8:54:04 PM | 39
@36 Amanita Amanita

Thanks for that link. Do you read that website? It was new to me: "38 North...a program of the US-Korea Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC." Seems at first glance like a useful clearinghouse for policy discussion, with views from all sides.

Very interesting view into North Korea, a developing country by all definitions, and yet an advanced one in terms of ability to produce capital goods, and all from sheer self-grown application. Interesting information on its agriculture and socialist system. The information seems credible.

The view points to the conclusion that extreme sanctions on NK - similar to the oil embargo on Japan that pushed it to attack the US first at Pearl Harbor - could push NK to attack the US, knowing that it couldn't "win", but doing so preemptively before it ran out of fuel to resist attack from the US.

I've seen other analysis that shows NK would have sufficient fuel regardless. And we have to factor China and Russia into this equation too. But the speaker was an economist not a geo-political analyst. It seemed like an even-handed discussion.

Perimetr | Sep 23, 2017 9:27:21 PM | 40
In other words, Finland and Sweden have both become de facto members of NATO, creating a new 833 mile long "northern front" for NATO on the Russian border.
Perimetr | Sep 23, 2017 9:30:48 PM | 41
Apparently my links to the Swedish and Finish MOUs signed with NATO were deleted. WTF? These links to the text of the agreements are hard to find. I would think that some of the readers might wish to read them?

These MOUs state:

· The HN [Host Nation, Sweden and Finland] will provide support within its fullest capacity, subject to availability and within the practical limitations of the circumstances that then exist, to the forces deployed on NATO-led military activities.
· NATO Military Activities: Military actions including exercises, training, operational experimentation and similar activities, or the carrying out of a strategic, tactical, service, training, or administrative military mission performed by forces; the process of carrying on combat, including attack, movement, supply and manoeuvres needed to gain the objectives of any battle or campaign.
· The provisions of this MOU apply in peace, emergencies, crisis and conflict or periods of international tension as may be jointly determined by the appropriate HN [Host Nation, Sweden and Finland] and NATO authorities.
· Host Nation Support (HNS). The civil and military assistance rendered in peace, emergencies, crisis and conflict by a Host Nation to allied forces and organisations, which are located on, operating in or transiting through the Host Nation's territory, territorial waters or airspace.
· NATO military activities supported by this MOU may require multinational support air operations by fixed wing aircraft and helicopters, and in the case of ports, by merchant and military support vessels. The HN [Sweden and Finland] acknowledges that movement of such aircraft, helicopters, ships and their crews in and through HN [Swedish and Finnish] territorial areas, will take place under a general clearance for the duration of the NATO military activity.

It is discouraging to spend time putting together a detailed post with links and then have it immediately vanish. Would you prefer unsubstantiated opinions?

RC | Sep 23, 2017 9:34:18 PM | 42
Ironic that Reagan's "star wars" missile defense scam, successful maybe in scaring the Soviet's into bankruptcy in the 80's, is now accepted as military fact by the monkeys on Capital Hill.
daffyDuct | Sep 23, 2017 9:41:28 PM | 43
Amanita #34 and #36

Stunning articles.

The reference to 1941 I believe is in another article

# Getting Tough on North Korea: Iran and Other Mirages

http://www.38north.org/2017/09/jdethomas090117

"In July 1941, in response to the Japanese invasion of Indochina, President Roosevelt took a series of steps that look very much like the sanctions advocated by those who want to get tough on the DPRK. He froze Japanese assets and required that Japan obtain specific export licenses to obtain any US goods!including oil upon which the Japanese economy and military was dependent. Subsequently, the US government denied Japan the right to use the US dollar to purchase goods, thus making it impossible to obtain oil even if licenses were granted. Those who made the decision to take this step were confident Japan would not go to war over the sanctions, since both US and Japanese leaders knew it would be a suicidal act for Japan to do so. The Japanese military chose to gamble on an attack on the US fleet and a simultaneous invasion of South East Asian oil fields. Four years of total war in the Pacific ensued. The Japanese decision was indeed suicidal, but it cost a great deal in American blood and treasure to confirm it."

[Sep 23, 2017] Russia's foreign minister said Friday the downturn in relations with the United States began with the Obama administration's "small-hearted" and "revengeful" actions and has plummeted further because of "Russo-phobic hysteria."

Notable quotes:
"... Russia's top diplomat said he can't believe this because "first and foremost the United States has all the information leaking all the time." And he said with so many people involved in hearings and investigations related to the alleged Russian meddling, "it cannot be that not a single fact has leaked. It would have leaked." ..."
"... But he said relations are suffering because former president Barack Obama's administration "put this time bomb in U.S.-Russian relations. "I did not expect that from a Nobel Peace Prize winner, but he did manifest himself and we can still see the ramifications," he said. ..."
"... Today, Lavrov said, "our relations are contracting due to Russo-phobic hysteria." As a result, "the immense potential of our bilateral relations" isn't being realized and international issues aren't being solved because the U.S. and Russia cannot coordinate, he said. ..."
"... He said a lot of U.S. politicians say "Russia has to do this and that on Syria," and Russia has to solve the North Korea nuclear problem, and other global crises. But the U.S. military has "a ban on cooperating with Russia," Lavrov said. "Why? Because legislators who find it important not to solve issues in different parts of the world, and not to develop beneficial relations with Russia. Such legislators need to have these political signals. They did it, and that's the reality we live in." ..."
"... "We have to calm down the hotheads," and this requires contacts between the Trump administration and Kim's government, he said. Lavrov said Russia would welcome any efforts at mediation, saying "the mediators could be one of the neutral European countries." He added that U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has talked about mediation and said if he received such a request "he would try to fulfill that." ..."
"... If the Iran nuclear deal falls apart, he said, "then North Korea would say, 'why do I need to negotiate with you if you do not carry out your promises?'" ..."
Sep 23, 2017 | www.yahoo.com

UNITED NATIONS (AP) ! Russia's foreign minister said Friday the downturn in relations with the United States began with the Obama administration's "small-hearted" and "revengeful" actions and has plummeted further because of "Russo-phobic hysteria."

Sergey Lavrov told a news conference there has been a lengthy campaign claiming Russia interfered in the U.S. election to ensure victory for President Donald Trump ! "but we do not see any facts."

When he asked U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson how Russia could confirm his words that Moscow interfered in the American election process, Lavrov said Tillerson replied: "I cannot show you anything because this is confidential information.'"

Russia's top diplomat said he can't believe this because "first and foremost the United States has all the information leaking all the time." And he said with so many people involved in hearings and investigations related to the alleged Russian meddling, "it cannot be that not a single fact has leaked. It would have leaked."

Lavrov recalled World War II when the United States and Russia fought as allies against Nazi Germany.

But he said relations are suffering because former president Barack Obama's administration "put this time bomb in U.S.-Russian relations. "I did not expect that from a Nobel Peace Prize winner, but he did manifest himself and we can still see the ramifications," he said.

Today, Lavrov said, "our relations are contracting due to Russo-phobic hysteria." As a result, "the immense potential of our bilateral relations" isn't being realized and international issues aren't being solved because the U.S. and Russia cannot coordinate, he said. The U.S. and Russian militaries maintain contact to prevent accidents or confrontations between their forces fighting in Syria, but Lavrov said "in order to eliminate terrorists we need not only de-confliction, we need coordination."

He said a lot of U.S. politicians say "Russia has to do this and that on Syria," and Russia has to solve the North Korea nuclear problem, and other global crises. But the U.S. military has "a ban on cooperating with Russia," Lavrov said. "Why? Because legislators who find it important not to solve issues in different parts of the world, and not to develop beneficial relations with Russia. Such legislators need to have these political signals. They did it, and that's the reality we live in."

He was asked about Trump's combative speech to the General Assembly on Tuesday in which the American president threatened "to totally destroy North Korea" if the U.S. is forced to defend itself or its allies and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un responded calling Trump "deranged" and saying he will "pay dearly" for his threats.

Calling the exchange of threats "quite bad," Lavrov said "it is unacceptable to simply sit back and to look at the nuclear and military gambles of North Korea, but it is also unacceptable to start war on the peninsula."

"We have to calm down the hotheads," and this requires contacts between the Trump administration and Kim's government, he said. Lavrov said Russia would welcome any efforts at mediation, saying "the mediators could be one of the neutral European countries." He added that U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has talked about mediation and said if he received such a request "he would try to fulfill that."

The Russian minister said he had no new initiatives to bring the two sides together, explaining that he believes "the potential" for the Russian-Chinese freeze-for-freeze proposal "is not yet exhausted." It would halt North Korean nuclear and missile tests in exchange for the U.S. and South Korea stopping their joint military exercises, but the Trump administration has rejected it.

Lavrov was asked whether he saw a link between the crisis in North Korea and Trump's threat to pull out of the 2015 agreement to cap Iran's nuclear program. He stressed that all other parties to the deal, including Russia, support the agreement and don't want it reopened. "Right now, North Korea is being told, renounce nuclear weapons and we will lift the sanctions," Lavrov said.

If the Iran nuclear deal falls apart, he said, "then North Korea would say, 'why do I need to negotiate with you if you do not carry out your promises?'"

[Sep 19, 2017] Trump behaviour at UN and Nixon's "madman gambit" against Soviets

Highly recommended!
Trump said nothing about the Saudi-led war on Yemen or its role in causing the world's worst humanitarian crisis.
Sep 19, 2017 | www.msn.com

Trump's address to the United Nations on Tuesday should erase any doubts that he is threatening a completely unprecedented military strike against North Korea. This seems to be Trump even more fully embracing the so-called Madman Theory, in which he makes himself so unpredictable that other world leaders fear setting him off.

But that approach isn't without its downsides. Former general David Petraeus described it thusly a few days back :

"There is some merit to this. You can argue perhaps there is some merit to it in international relations, although it obviously can go too far. My concern there with the so-called 'madman theory -- that actually (Richard) Nixon put forward through Kissinger where he had Kissinger tell the Soviets, 'You know, Nixon's under a lot of pressure right now and, you know, he drinks at night sometimes, so you guys ought to be real careful. Don't push this into a crisis.' There may, again, be some merit into the madman theory until you get in a crisis. But you do not want the other side thinking you are irrational in a crisis. You do not want the other side thinking that you might be sufficiently irrational to conduct a first strike or to do something, you know, so-called 'unthinkable.'"

Polls show the American people are not confident in Trump's ability to handle the North Korea situation, with 61 percent saying they are "uneasy" Trump's words Tuesday likely won't calm many fears, but he's clearly gambling on North Korea backing down in the face of big talk.

[Aug 27, 2017] Trump and Korea I'm Also Scared

Aug 27, 2017 | www.unz.com

President Trump's ability to trigger a nuclear war is "pretty damn scary" said former US intelligence director James Clapper this week. Remember when Trump vowed to "bomb the shit" out of his enemies?

I don't have much respect for Clapper, who brazenly lied to Congress and is a ringleader of the deep government's efforts to overthrow Trump. But this time, Clapper is 100 percent right. He's scared and I am too.

This week, Trump proclaimed he would continue the pointless, stalemated US colonial war in Afghanistan and might ask India to help there – a sure-fire way to bring nuclear-armed India and Pakistan into a terrifying confrontation.

Meanwhile, Trump has backed himself into a corner over North Korea. His threats and bombast have not made the North's leader Kim Jong-un stop threatening to launch nuclear-armed missiles at the US island of Guam, Hawaii, Japan and South Korea. That is, if the US and South Korea keep up their highly provocative annual military war games on North Korea's borders that each year invoke North Korea's fury.

The Pentagon insists these war games are just a routine military exercise. But that's not the view in Pyongyang, and, as a long-time Korea military analyst, not mine.

North Korea, which faces the 500,000-man South Korean Army (ROK) most of which is just down the main highway, has good reason to be nervous. I've been with the 1st ROK Division up on and under the Demilitarized Zone. The South Koreans are heavily armed with top line equipment and tough as nails. They are backed by massive US/South Korean air and naval power.

North Koreans are well aware that Egypt deceived Israel in the 1973 war by using frequent military exercises to mask its plans to storm the Suez Canal. It worked. Israel was caught flat footed by the surprise Egyptian attack on the canal.

By refusing a peace to end the 1950-53 Korean War, and by continuing economic and political warfare against North Korea, the US has only itself to blame for North Korea developing nuclear weapons and missiles to deliver them. Kim Jong-un saw what happened to Libya's Khadaffi (thanks to Hillary Clinton) and Iraq's Saddam Hussein.

Trump is now in a serious fix over North Korea. Jong-un has called Trump's bluff and sneered at the Donald's fire and brimstone threats. So Trump's choices are to back away from the Korean crisis he created or else attack North Korea. But the North's weapons and leadership are very well dispersed and deeply dug into the mountains. A US conventional attack on the North is estimated to cost 250,000 American casualties.

The US can certainly knock out some of Kim's medium and longer-ranged missiles in a major blitz, but it can't be certain that a few nuclear tipped N. Korean missiles won't survive to strike Japan, South Korea, Hawaii, Okinawa or Guam – and maybe even Los Angeles and San Francisco. It is unlikely that South Korea and the US can decapitate North Korea's leadership by using conventional weapons – starting with Kim Jong-un.

Unless, of course, Trump, who managed to avoid Vietnam era military service because of a bump on his foot, decides to go nuclear. This would mean hitting North Korea with a score or more nuclear weapons, large and small, before the North could riposte. North Korea would be totally destroyed, and its 25 million people left dying, maimed or starving. Japan, the world's third largest economy, would also be shattered.

nsa > , August 26, 2017 at 5:15 am GMT

Zero chance of an attack on Korea for one simple reason .there is nothing in it for the jooies . Why would the clever conniving jooies waste their most useful idiot's assets on a stupid pointless war in far away Asia, when those same assets could be used to destroy more of the ME?

Claus Eric Hamle > , August 26, 2017 at 10:02 am GMT

Actually, the US is worse than the Nazis. Torture that not even the Nazis could do. They were nice people compared to the US. Our dear ally, The Great Satan. Birth defects are worse in Fallujah than they were in Hiroshima because of Uranium weapons. In Panama City they killed about 6000 unarmed civilians when they kidnapped the president. In Ukraine they spent 5 billion dollars to organize the coup. It would be a better world without the US. Doesn´t a nuclear attack on N.K. produce Nuclear Winter so you can´t grow anything in United Bluff ?

Full Screen Fool > , August 26, 2017 at 8:32 pm GMT

Take some penicillin for your case of the clap. The generals will again persuade Trump to accept the status quo plus a 15% increase in troops, equipment, and/or live drills, prompting all but anti-war voices to proclaim progress.

[Aug 24, 2017] A China-North Korea mutual defense treaty has been in effect since 1961. Under this framework, Beijing's response to Trump's "fire and fury" was a thing of beauty. If Pyongyang attacks, China is neutral. But if the US launches a McMaster-style pre-emptive attack, China intervenes militarily on behalf of Pyongyang.

Aug 24, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Canthama | Aug 23, 2017 5:31:30 PM | 58

There is no naive China, Russia or whatever, all Nations understand that the US regime is not reliable nor trustworthy, the game most of the Nations continue to play is the game to buy time, any war with the US regime can be hard at the moment, but not in few years time. China knows is and will play the patience game til the end, Russia does the same, expect for few "no go" like Syria and the south China sea islands.
Alexander Grimsmo | Aug 23, 2017 7:01:10 PM | 59
After Irans experience with US "lifting of sanctions", should anyone ever trust USA at all?
karlof1 | Aug 23, 2017 7:27:31 PM | 60
Canthama @56--

Nice to see you commenting here! Agreed that China and Russia understand but still seek dialog since that's the essence of "the patience game." But I wonder about those running Brazil; we don't discuss that much at SyrPers. Then there's India's Modi and the cadre of Hindu Neoliberals who seem to want to have their own game instead of teaming with China and Russia for a Win/Win partnership rather than the dying Zero-Sumism of the Neoliberalcons. And thanks again for all the effort you devote to SyrPers; it's quite remarkable!

les7 | Aug 23, 2017 8:58:38 PM | 61
does anyone remember this?

https://www.rt.com/news/386326-russian-navy-ship-crashes/

ASD | Aug 23, 2017 10:56:57 PM | 62
Canthama,
I will second Karlof1's sentiment. I think a lot of people go to SyrPer for your comments/updates on the Syrian Conflict. You seem to have the best info around on that topic.
michaelj72 | Aug 23, 2017 11:12:26 PM | 63
@50 karlof1

good article, as nearly always, from Escobar. thanks for that link
here are bits of it. and I noticed it too, as soon as China come out in a big way and said that it would defend/intervene in favor of North Korea if the US attacked first, the rhetorical level in the US when way down. This is a serious situation, and China is serious too...

Escobar is good, & so often reports and thinks outside the box meaning outside the Beltway myopic thinking...


http://www.atimes.com/article/korea-afghanistan-never-ending-war-trap/

....But this is extremely serious. A China-North Korea mutual defense treaty has been in effect since 1961. Under this framework, Beijing's response to Trump's "fire and fury" was a thing of beauty. If Pyongyang attacks, China is neutral. But if the US launches a McMaster-style pre-emptive attack, China intervenes – militarily – on behalf of Pyongyang.

As a clincher, Beijing even made it clear that its preference is for the current status quo to remain. Checkmate.

Hunger Games apart, the rhetorical war in the Korean Peninsula did decrease a substantial notch after China made its position clear....


.....The bulk of Washington's "aid" to Kabul throughout these past 16 years has been on the bombing, not the economy, front. Government corruption is cataclysmic. Warlords rule. The Taliban thrive because they offer local protection. Much to Pashtun ire, most of the army is Tajik. Tajik politicians are mostly close to India while most Pashtun favor Pakistan.....

[Aug 20, 2017] Laugh all you want, but you really are ignoring some harsh facts about the current US economy, what it's based on, and what conflict with North Korea will entail should the US be foolish enough to continue along that track

Notable quotes:
"... If the US attacks North Korea, that's the end of the US-centric Pacific Commonwealth. Japan, Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippines will all strongly realign following the inevitable destruction of South Korea--most towards a more China-friendly relationship--and the rest of South East Asia will follow suit. Taiwan will become increasingly isolated, and that will put huge pressure on it to cut off its client status with the US and move towards normalization of relations with China. ..."
"... Besides - the media slowly, slowly starts to wake up. CNN: North Korea gives US a clear choice: Restraint or missile launches ..."
"... Bottom line: It is premature to suggest that the US is winning this game. ..."
Aug 20, 2017 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Pacifica Advocate -> BillWade... Reply , 17 August 2017 at 10:04 AM

Very, very, very far, in fact.

If the US attacks North Korea, that's the end of the US-centric Pacific Commonwealth. Japan, Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippines will all strongly realign following the inevitable destruction of South Korea--most towards a more China-friendly relationship--and the rest of South East Asia will follow suit. Taiwan will become increasingly isolated, and that will put huge pressure on it to cut off its client status with the US and move towards normalization of relations with China.

In the US, Wal Mart, Target, and all the other big superstores of that ilk (Hobby Lobby...) will just waft away into vapor as their suppliers gradually disappear (and certainly, they'll take a huge economic hit during the quarter or half-year that the conflict ensues).

Laugh all you want, but you really are ignoring some harsh facts about the current US economy, what it's based on, and what conflict with North Korea will entail should the US be foolish enough to continue along that track.

b said in reply to jonst... , 17 August 2017 at 04:28 AM
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

Richardstevenhack said in reply to turcopolier ... , 16 August 2017 at 10:11 PM
Yes, I'm aware. But that doesn't change the likelihood that
  1. Kim never intended to launch those missiles, but merely make the threat in another attempt to pressure the US to negotiate (in which case, of course, he failed - big surprise that) and
  2. Even if he did actually intend to launch such a missile test, his generals likely suggested it would be TOO provocative.

In any event, my main point is that nothing has changed.

Alexander Mercouris did a piece today at The Duran suggesting that both sides have backed off. I submitted a comment disagreeing.

NK will likely continue to launch missiles until the US agrees to negotiate. And Trump is unlikely to agree to negotiate until he's painted himself into a corner where he will have to launch SOME sort of military action against NK - which is likely to trigger full-scale war.

Bottom line: It is premature to suggest that the US is winning this game.

[Aug 18, 2017] "Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that ten million people in Seoul don't die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don't know what you're talking about, there's no military solution here, they got us

At least Bannon does not look like a sociopath as Hillary "We came, we saw he died" and her inner cicle. He has some concerns about South koreian population, dying for US empire geopolitical goals.
Notable quotes:
"... "Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that ten million people in Seoul don't die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don't know what you're talking about, there's no military solution here, they got us." ..."
Aug 18, 2017 | www.msn.com

... [in] an Aug. 16 interview he initiated with a writer with whom he had never spoken, with the progressive publication The American Prospect. In it, Mr. Bannon mockingly played down the American military threat to North Korea as nonsensical: "Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that ten million people in Seoul don't die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don't know what you're talking about, there's no military solution here, they got us."

He also bad-mouthed his colleagues in the Trump administration, vowed to oust a female diplomat at the State Department and mocked officials as "wetting themselves" over the consequences of radically changing trade policy.

[Aug 17, 2017] Guam rejoices!

Notable quotes:
"... The war of words increased, and then decreased, NOBODY BLINKED, all players decided that hey do not want to get China upset by being the first idiot to act in a war like manner. ..."
"... Red cloud i agree with you and below is a quote by Pat Buchanan showing that the U.S does not seem too interested in dealing with the very real consequences of attacking N.K. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... China's position makes each side wary of being deemed to be the aggressor. ..."
"... 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, ..."
Aug 15, 2017 | turcopolier.typepad.com
Guam rejoices! Guamjoy

"North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reviewed his military's plans to rain "an enveloping fire" around the U.S. territory of Guam -- but opted not to fire missiles at this time, according to state media. Despite the stand-down, some Guamanians were alarmed after two radio stations aired an erroneous emergency alert Tuesday.

Kim visited the Korean People's Army as the self-imposed mid-August deadline for a missile demonstration approached, the Korean Central News Agency reports. But after hearing the plan and considering it, Kim opted not to give the order to launch missiles, but instead "would watch a little more the foolish and stupid conduct of the Yankees," the report says." NPR

---------------

It was not an IO. It was real and Trump/Mattis won. The fat kid blinked. pl

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/08/15/543603140/north-korea-says-it-wont-fire-missiles-at-guam-after-all

Posted at 10:02 AM in Korea Permalink

Reblog (0) Comments

BillWade , 15 August 2017 at 10:26 AM

I never thought Kim's Ace in the Hole was his nukes but more his DMZ forces/artillery.
Perhaps one of his generals told him it would be wise to keep it around for more than 72 hours.
b , 15 August 2017 at 10:27 AM
I vehemently disagree with you.

The announcement of the possible plan to launch towards Guam was conditional. It demanded that the U.S. stop B1-B flights out of Guam over South Korea near the North Korean border.

Since the announcement was made no B1-B flights near NoKo took place. Thus the temporary suspension of the plan. This suspension includes the explicit warning that it can or will be changed into action should the U.S. return to such action.

/quote/
He said that the U.S. imperialists caught the noose around their necks due to their reckless military confrontation racket, adding that he would watch a little more the foolish and stupid conduct of the Yankees spending a hard time of every minute of their miserable lot.
...
In order to defuse the tensions and prevent the dangerous military conflict on the Korean peninsula, it is necessary for the U.S. to make a proper option first and show it through action, as it committed provocations after introducing huge nuclear strategic equipment into the vicinity of the peninsula , he said, adding that the U.S. should stop at once arrogant provocations against the DPRK and unilateral demands and not provoke it any longer./endquote/
https://kcnawatch.co/newstream/1502749950-753062439/kim-jong-un-inspects-kpa-strategic-force-command/

turcopolier , 15 August 2017 at 11:14 AM
b

(irony alert) I know, I know, evil America against the world. pl

Red Cloud , 15 August 2017 at 11:21 AM
Trump threatened "fire and fury" if North Korea continued with threats. NK promptly threatened to incinerate Guam.

What was Trump's response? "Uh..... what I meant was......"

Trump blinked first. Fact

turcopolier , 15 August 2017 at 11:26 AM
Red Cloud

Oh BS. North Korea threatened the US and has decided to think about it. pl

Norbert M Salamon , 15 August 2017 at 11:45 AM
With great respect Colonel:

The USA has threatened North Korea for years, and caused untold economic damage via sanctions.

The war of words increased, and then decreased, NOBODY BLINKED, all players decided that hey do not want to get China upset by being the first idiot to act in a war like manner.

BillWade -> b ... , 15 August 2017 at 11:45 AM
Laughing here. how many minutes away do you think our tactical air forces at Kunsan and Osan are away from doing enough damage to NoKor to make them think twice and think hard?
Bsox327 , 15 August 2017 at 11:55 AM
Red cloud i agree with you and below is a quote by Pat Buchanan showing that the U.S does not seem too interested in dealing with the very real consequences of attacking N.K.

'assuming this crisis is resolved, what does the future of U.S.-North Korean relations look like?

consider the past.

In 1968, North Korea hijacked the USS Pueblo on the high seas and interned its crew. LBJ did nothing. In April 1969, North Korea shot down an EC-121, 100 miles of its coast, killing the crew. Nixon did nothing.

Under Jimmy Carter, North Koreans axe-murdered U.S. soldiers at Panmunjom. We defiantly cut down a nearby tree.

Among the atrocities the North has perpetrated are plots to assassinate President Park Chung-hee in the 1960s and '70s, the Rangoon bombing that wiped out much of the cabinet of Chun Doo-hwan in 1983, and the bombing of Korean Air Flight 858, killing all on board in 1987.

And Kim Jong Un has murdered his uncle and brother.

If the past is prologue, and it has proven to be, the future holds this. A renewal of ICBM tests until a missile is perfected. Occasional atrocities creating crises between the U.S. and North Korea. America being repeatedly dragged to the brink of a war we do not want'

The North Koreans are at the very least as intransigent and possibly way more as Fidel Castro was in his confrontations with the U.S

FourthAndLong , 15 August 2017 at 12:10 PM
Colonel,

The article at the link below, titled "The Secret of North Korea's ICBM success", is a worthy read IMO. OUtlines many pitfalls and unknowns, including unforeseen perils of sanction regimes. Suitable for a lay audience:

http://www.iiss.org/en/iiss%20voices/blogsections/iiss-voices-2017-adeb/august-2b48/north-korea-icbm-success-3abb

More readily accessible, however mildly inflammatory, is this piece from The NY Times which links to the iss piece:

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/08/14/world/asia/north-korea-missiles-ukraine-factory.html?

FWIW, the Yuzhmash company has posted on its website emphatic disagreement with some of the latter articles' inferences.

My own takeaway is that it all underlines the monumental stupidity of our post 1991 Russia policy. George Keenan and more recently Jack Matlock have gone on record very strenuously in this regard.

The author of the iss piece, Michael Elleman, concludes that room for diplomacy remains but is diminishing rapidly.

DJK , 15 August 2017 at 01:02 PM
Maybe the fat boy blinked and Trump/Mattis won or maybe there was hidden deal, or the hint of a deal. I'm reminded of the events of 1962 when it was said that Kruschev blinked and Kennedy/Rusk won. The fact that there was a deal to remove US missiles from Turkey didn't emerge for several years.
Richardstevenhack , 15 August 2017 at 03:01 PM
I suspect both interpretations are probably true: 1) Kim may have interpreted the recent suspension of B-1 flights in light of the ongoing back-channel diplomacy as a win for his side, and 2) his generals probably convinced him it was not a smart idea to launch missiles very close to a US base, if for no other reason than his unguided missiles might actually HIT the base, starting the war he really doesn't want.

In any event, nothing has otherwise changed. The expectation is that NK will continue to test their missiles until the US is prepared to open bilateral negotiations or at least negotiations including Russia and China, who have proposed them.

Since the US is steadfast against talking to NK, I continue to expect war by the end of the year, since NK missile launches will likely not stop.

The only diplomatic solution to the crisis is known to everyone, except apparently Trump. Whether Kim can be persuaded to accept it will be remain unknown until the US actually agrees to talk about it.

b , 15 August 2017 at 03:09 PM
@Pat - this does not have to do with good or bad America. It has to do with negotiations and with under standing the signaling of the opponents side.

Take the bluster away from the North Korean statements and read what is left as conditions and consequences.

Here Cheryl Rofer took the original announcement of the Guam test apart. https://nucleardiner.wordpress.com/2017/08/11/north-korea-reaches-out/
/quote/

I contend that the North Korean statement issued in response to Donald Trump's "fire and fury" threat contains an invitation to negotiations. As is often the case, that invitation is not stated as such. Diplomacy guards such invitations so that nobody loses face when they don't work.
...(textual analysis)...

In simpler words, stop threatening us with bombers from Guam and we won't attack Guam.

Quid pro quo.

It reeks of blackmail, but that is how North Korea negotiates. If we want negotiations, rather than war, it would be smart to respond to the offer to negotiate. That doesn't necessarily mean ending the B1B overflights, although my adventurous side says, hey, why not?
/endquote/

Since August 9 six B1-B are at Guam but have not flown towards North Korea.

https://www.postguam.com/news/local/six-b--bombers-arrive-from-south-dakota/article_c12e3f5e-7cda-11e7-ad48-737a61ecfb7d.html

Thus the suspension of the North Korean "test".

To see this as a NoKo capitulation to Trump's bluster is the wrong take. It will likely prevent you to correctly judge the next steps in the negotiation process.

turcopolier , 15 August 2017 at 04:09 PM
b

Our air flights over S Korea did not threaten anyone unless North Korea wished to force us to give up our alliance with South Korea. We have not given up anything. The fat boy has given up his threat to try to hit Guam. Where is a statement that the US and South Korea will not hold Combined exercises this month? pl

turcopolier , 15 August 2017 at 04:12 PM
richardstevenhack

Guam is not just a US "Base." The inhabitants of the island are US citizens and the island is sovereign US territory as much as a state is. pl

turcopolier , 15 August 2017 at 04:27 PM
b and all who think NOKO won the confrontation,
I will believe that is true when the US and South Korea call off their big exercise without conditions. On the other hand if negotiations begin for re-unifications of Korea without pre-conditions then everyone won. pl
Fredw , 15 August 2017 at 04:43 PM
Or maybe not. The message North Korea sent to the world seems pretty clear, but there seems to be some notion that they may be too delusional to realize that. Sure enough. Personalities matter.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/15/north-korea-guam-strike-pause-donald-trump-negotiations

Many longstanding observers of the North Korean regime expressed concern that the US could misinterpret the message that it sent on Monday when Kim said he would "watch a little more" how the US acted in the region before deciding whether to go ahead with a plan to launch missiles over Japan aimed at the seas around the US territory of Guam.

In some of the US media, that statement was portrayed as a withdrawal of the Guam plan in the face of threats of overwhelming retaliatory force from Donald Trump and US defence secretary James Mattis.

That would be the wrong way to read the signs, said Vipin Narang, an associate professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology specialising in nuclear strategy.

"I think people are not reading the statement," Narang said. "This is literally restating the threat and leaving space for some quid pro quo and space for negotiation.

"But the threat remains. It's not like he took the threat off the table. If the US does anything that he sees as provocative, he has reviewed the plan and now stands poised to execute it," Narang added.

turcopolier , 15 August 2017 at 04:46 PM
fredw

IMO if NoKo fires into the sea around Guam NoKo will cease to exist. The Russians and Chinese would not lift a finger to save NoKo. pl

kao_hsien_chih -> Fredw... , 15 August 2017 at 05:11 PM
Fredw,

I don't think anything ever actually "ends" for good until and unless one of the parties to the "negotiations" disappears completely, and even then, it may not actually end.

The immediate crisis does seem to have ended, though. There is a limit to which even NoKo's can ratchet up the pressure. Once you get to the Pearl Harbor stage, which dropping missiles around Guam would have been, there is no more "negotiations." NoKo's still have much by means of threatening assets and they will try to use them, no doubt, but now everyone knows where the limit is, and that is a good thing. I don't oppose giving them some concessions, for the right price, but not carte blanche to demand more whenever they feel like it and threaten to throw a crazy tantrum if they don't get their way.

eakens -> turcopolier ... , 15 August 2017 at 05:17 PM
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.

AriusArmenian , 15 August 2017 at 05:19 PM
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 , 15 August 2017 at 05:37 PM
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.
BillWade , 15 August 2017 at 06:05 PM
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.

BillWade , 15 August 2017 at 06:22 PM
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 , 15 August 2017 at 06:26 PM
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.
TonyL , 15 August 2017 at 08:26 PM
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 unnecessary 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 , 15 August 2017 at 08:47 PM
Anyone have Sergey Lavrov's travel or phone logs? He was in SE Asia last week.
A. Pols , 15 August 2017 at 08:51 PM
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 -> BillWade... , 15 August 2017 at 11:16 PM
BillWade,
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?

Yeah, Right -> turcopolier ... , 16 August 2017 at 05:02 AM
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?

b -> FourthAndLong... , 16 August 2017 at 05:25 AM
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:

http://mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSKCN1AV2CK
North Korea likely can make missile engines without imports: U.S.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-believes-north-korea-produces-its-own-rocket-engines-1502849211?mod=e2twa
U.S. Believes North Korea Produces Its Own Rocket Engines

http://thediplomat.com/2017/08/north-koreas-new-high-performance-missile-engines-likely-werent-made-in-russia-or-ukraine/
North Korea's New High-Performance Missile Engines Likely Weren't Made in Russia or Ukraine

b -> turcopolier ... , 16 August 2017 at 05:45 AM
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:
http://www.militarytimes.com/news/pentagon-congress/2016/09/22/b1-b-flew-close-to-north-korean-border-u-s-says/
/quote/
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.
/endquote/

It did so recently:
https://www.stripes.com/news/pacific/us-sends-b-1b-bombers-in-show-of-force-after-north-korean-icbm-test-1.477208#.WZQTZrjVpnQ
US sends B-1B bombers in show of force after North Korean ICBM test

b -> BillWade... , 16 August 2017 at 06:04 AM
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.

Old Microbiologist , 16 August 2017 at 08:24 AM
Some good points here: http://theweek.com/articles/570764/time-military-leave-south-korea
Greco -> Norbert M Salamon... , 16 August 2017 at 09:06 AM
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.

Fred -> Yeah, Right... , 16 August 2017 at 09:24 AM
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 -> b ... , 16 August 2017 at 09:44 AM
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 , 16 August 2017 at 09:49 AM
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 -> Jackrabbit ... , 16 August 2017 at 10:51 AM
China's position makes each side wary of being deemed to be the aggressor.
ISL , 16 August 2017 at 11:33 AM
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 , 16 August 2017 at 11:49 AM
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 -> Greco... , 16 August 2017 at 12:05 PM
"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 ... , 16 August 2017 at 12:11 PM
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 , 16 August 2017 at 02:39 PM
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 , 16 August 2017 at 02:45 PM
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 , 16 August 2017 at 03:03 PM
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 -> Greco... , 16 August 2017 at 03:29 PM
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 , 16 August 2017 at 03:38 PM
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 , 16 August 2017 at 04:26 PM
"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 -> b ... , 16 August 2017 at 04:31 PM
and you figure the audience, 'the world', is going to notice these nuances you allege?

[Aug 14, 2017] MoA - Hyping North Korea To Relaunch Reagan's Star Wars

Notable quotes:
"... The Trump administration, the Pentagon and weapon salesmen will of course use the occasion to further their aims. ..."
"... implicating Russia, however farfetched, is always good if one wants to sell more weapons. ..."
"... One Pentagon hobby horse is the THAAD medium range missile defense systems that will now be stationed in South Korea. This even as it is incapable to defend South Korea from short range North Korean missiles. It is obviously targeted at China. ..."
"... The Reagan wannabe currently ruling in the White House may soon revive Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative , aka "Star Wars", which was first launched in 1984. SDI was the expensive but unrealistic dream of lasers in space and other such gimmicks. Within the SDI the U.S. military threw out hundreds of billions for a Global Ballistic Missile Defense which supposedly would defend the continental U.S. from any incoming intercontinental missile. The program was buried in the early 1990s. One son of Star Wars survived. It is the National Missile Defense with 40 interceptors in Alaska and California. It has never worked well and likely never will. If NMD would function as promised there would be no reason to fear any North Korean ICBMs. Missile defense is largely a fraud to transfers billions of dollars from U.S. taxpayers to various weapon producing conglomerates. ..."
"... Something is wrong with the North Korea story. According to the NY Times (Zerohedge Aug 14) the rocket engines the DPRK is using on their ICBMs come from a factory in the Ukraine. The Ukraine is a U.S. client state. It seems inconceivable that the CIA would not know to whom this factory sells its engines. ..."
Aug 14, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

... .. ...

The claim that the U.S. intelligence agencies are exaggeration North Korean capabilities is likely false. But it is also reasonable. The Trump administration, the Pentagon and weapon salesmen will of course use the occasion to further their aims.

One missile defense marketing pundit claimed today that the North Korean missile engines used in the recent tests were bought from factories in Ukraine or Russia. The usual propagandist at the New York Times picked up on that to further their anti-Russian theme:

Mr. Elleman was unable to rule out the possibility that a large Russian missile enterprise, Energomash, which has strong ties to the Ukrainian complex, had a role in the transfer of the RD-250 engine technology to North Korea. He said leftover RD-250 engines might also be stored in Russian warehouses.

But the engines in question are of different size and thrust than the alleged R-250 engines and the claimed time-frame does not fit at all. The Ukrainian government denied any transfer of missiles or designs. The story was debunked with in hours by two prominent experts . But implicating Russia, however farfetched, is always good if one wants to sell more weapons.

One Pentagon hobby horse is the THAAD medium range missile defense systems that will now be stationed in South Korea. This even as it is incapable to defend South Korea from short range North Korean missiles. It is obviously targeted at China.

The Reagan wannabe currently ruling in the White House may soon revive Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative , aka "Star Wars", which was first launched in 1984. SDI was the expensive but unrealistic dream of lasers in space and other such gimmicks. Within the SDI the U.S. military threw out hundreds of billions for a Global Ballistic Missile Defense which supposedly would defend the continental U.S. from any incoming intercontinental missile. The program was buried in the early 1990s. One son of Star Wars survived. It is the National Missile Defense with 40 interceptors in Alaska and California. It has never worked well and likely never will. If NMD would function as promised there would be no reason to fear any North Korean ICBMs. Missile defense is largely a fraud to transfers billions of dollars from U.S. taxpayers to various weapon producing conglomerates.

I expect that the North Korean "threat" will soon be used to launch "SDI - The Sequel", another attempt to militarize space with billions thrown into futuristic but useless "defense" projects. It will soothe the Pentagon's grief over the success North Korea had despite decades of U.S. attempts to subjugate that state.

Posted by b on August 14, 2017 at 01:51 PM | Permalink

james | Aug 14, 2017 2:19:56 PM | 1

thanks b... regarding mcmasters words - "A regime that engages in unspeakable brutality against its own people?" how does this get supported? what is the evidence for it? it is the same mantra dished up regularly where ever the usa is - which is just about everywhere militarily..
Eugene | Aug 14, 2017 2:26:51 PM | 2
Now if this were to go viral. . . . . . which of course, it wont be allowed, because of the implications that the worlds only superpower is what some say, or shades of the "U.S. is a paper tiger"?

The Pentagon hasn't been able to get it right since W W 2, but it has spent $$$$ like a drunken sailor.

The truly sad fact, is that arms merchants have only one loyalty, that's to its own bottom line. Watching the actions since Trump got elected, reminds one of watching the scrum alongside a fishing boat when they throw buckets of chopped fish in the water, to attract sharks to the surface. It seems his administration may end up being named Murphy instead, as in Murphy's law fame.

dh | Aug 14, 2017 2:55:04 PM | 3
"I am confident that the strategic bomber overflights from Guam will soon end."

Me too. There really is no other option for Trump. But he will need to come up with a good explanation to save face.

DH | Aug 14, 2017 3:22:13 PM | 4
Something is wrong with the North Korea story. According to the NY Times (Zerohedge Aug 14) the rocket engines the DPRK is using on their ICBMs come from a factory in the Ukraine. The Ukraine is a U.S. client state. It seems inconceivable that the CIA would not know to whom this factory sells its engines.

Is the U.S. trying to use the DPRK like it has tried to use ISIS in Syria - to create an existential threat to justify a military intervention, and in the end to create another client state to use as a base to project power, only this time in East Asia?

Maybe this is why China warned the U.S. against regime change with respect to the DPRK (Zerohedge August 11).

dh | Aug 14, 2017 3:34:19 PM | 5
@4 Upper case DH asks....."Is the U.S. trying to use the DPRK like it has tried to use ISIS in Syria..."

I think you give the US too much credit. They have been outsmarted in Syria and they are being outsmarted in East Asia. It's that lateral thinking thing again.

lower case dh

dh | Aug 14, 2017 3:46:25 PM | 6
@5 That should be linear thinking darn it.
likklemore | Aug 14, 2017 3:50:27 PM | 7
McMaster is pure bluster. Soon he will receive some high priority emails from Wal-Mart, Dollar Tree, Apple, Samsung, Canon and other masters et al.

You know those daily essentials and critical components that are made in China, South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia. Empty shelves and assembly lines.

Global supply chain disrupted as the entire region is declared a War Zone with maritime insurance suspended. Who will insure the cargo vessels transporting daily essentials to the ROTW?

Sick of the USA war mongering.
Kim is having a good laugh watching Act 1 of The civil war in America, 2017.

PavewayIV | Aug 14, 2017 4:25:31 PM | 8
Kim is most directly threatened by the annual spring and fall joint US-South Korean military exercises held annually (and have been for decades). The largest by far is the fall exercise, this year's is starting next Monday: Ulchi-Freedom Guardian 2017. Several other NATO countries and pals are involved as well. It usually runs for just under two weeks.

The exercise is a simulation of a US-ROK war with the DPRK. It's more of a command and control exercise rather than mass troop/armor movements. Various details have been pieced together over the years or described by various military sources. In recent years, the goal is not to simply repel a North Korean attack, but respond by invading North Korea, overthrowing Kim and the DPRK government and securing the country as part of South Korea.

THAT's the part that set Kim off a few years ago, and he's been pissed about it more and more every year. The US is delighted with that fact and is unlikely to just stop holding the exercise because it's provocative. McMaster's recent comments about a 'preventative war' didn't do much to calm Kim down.

Both North and South go on heightened military alert - I image about now - just in case the other one flinches. But the US military has gone overboard the last few days to assure the world that it is not gearing up for a war in North Korea. The White House a one point suggested the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier was heading to Korea, but that wasn't the case. The USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier is sitting in its home port in Yokosuka, Japan. Strategic bombers, currently B-1Bs, have been stationed on Guam for years as a show of support for regional allies.

In any kind of US war with North Korea, they have to have started it (Pearl Harbor) or appear to have started it (Gulf of Tonkin). OPLAN 5027 takes care of it after that.

james | Aug 14, 2017 4:39:56 PM | 9
the usa time the military drills at north korea's harvest time - right when they need to be working in the fields... coincidence? lol.. i think not..
john | Aug 14, 2017 4:44:30 PM | 10
recap
brian | Aug 14, 2017 7:01:04 PM | 11
'brutal against internal dissidents'

you mean seditionists

Procopius | Aug 14, 2017 8:06:35 PM | 12
Any unprovoked war against North Korea would thereby escalate into a war with China and no one is seriously interested in that adventure.
Well, John Bolton certainly would advocate for it. I don't know about McMaster. He is a known Zionist (as is Mattis), so his judgement may not be too good. He is quite alarming on the subject of Iran. I'm old enough to remember both Douglas MacArthur and Curtis LeMay. People like them but dumber seem to be in decision-making positions in this administration (and earlier).
Peter AU 1 | Aug 14, 2017 8:31:18 PM | 13
US politicians seem to like phrases like "unspeakable brutality" when talking about a targeted leader or country, yet the US has committed much brutality against the citizens of target countries that it does not speak about.

[Aug 11, 2017] August 4, 2017 at 9:02 pm

Notable quotes:
"... The United States also pledged to the Soviet Union (Gorbachov) that they would not expand NATO up to Russia's borders, if only Russia would allow Germany to reunite. Just trust us! See how that went. ..."
"... Naive Russians learned a lesson: That pindosi speak with forked tongue and always lie. American government are not to be trusted, any more than you can trust the word of a scorpion. ..."
Aug 11, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_reunification#United_States

"The United States officially supports Korean reunification under a democratic government. Mike Mansfield proposed that Korea be neutralized under a great-power agreement, accompanied by the withdrawal of all foreign troops and the discontinuation of security treaties with the great power guarantors of the North and South."

Sounds good, right? Reply

Patient Observer , August 4, 2017 at 9:37 pm

Matt, really? I don't think that you are so naive as to take such proclamations at face value. The US also officially supports freedom and democracy as it installs and supports dictators of every sort.

The NK topic seems to have been discussed enough. I learned a lot and thank all those who added facts and logic to the discussion including you.

yalensis , August 5, 2017 at 5:57 am
The United States government also pledged (many times) to Native Americans that they are not out to grab more aboriginal territory. Just trust us! See how that went.

The United States also pledged to the Soviet Union (Gorbachov) that they would not expand NATO up to Russia's borders, if only Russia would allow Germany to reunite. Just trust us! See how that went.

Naive Russians learned a lesson: That pindosi speak with forked tongue and always lie. American government are not to be trusted, any more than you can trust the word of a scorpion.

[Aug 11, 2017] China pledges neutrality - unless US strikes North Korea first

Aug 11, 2017 | www.msn.com

"If the U.S. and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime, and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so," reported the Global Times , a daily Chinese newspaper controlled by the Communist Party.

... ... ...

One North Korean government official, meanwhile, accused Trump of "going senile," Fox News reported .

[Jul 26, 2017] US Provocation and North Korea Pretext for War with China by James Petras

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Unlike the Roman Empire, the 1990's were not to be the prelude to an unchallenged US empire of long duration. Since the 'unipolarists' were pursuing multiple costly and destructive wars of conquest and they were unable to rely on the growth of satellites with emerging industrial economies for its profits. US global power eroded. ..."
"... The domestic disasters of the US vassal regime in Russia, under Boris Yeltsin during the 1990″s, pushed the voters to elect a nationalist, Vladimir Putin. President Vladimir Putin's government embarked on a program to regain Russian sovereignty and its position as a global power, countering US internal intervention and pushing back against external encirclement by NATO. ..."
"... The mostly likely site for starting World War III is the Korean peninsula. The unipolarists and their allies in the state apparatus have systematically built-up the conditions to trigger a war with China using the pretext of the North Korean defensive weapons program. ..."
"... The unipolarists' state apparatus has gathered its allies in Congress and the mass media to create public hysteria. Congress and the administration of President Trump have fabricated the North Korean missile program as a 'threat to the United States'. This has allowed the unipolarist state to implement an offensive military strategy to counter this phony 'threat'. ..."
"... The elite have discarded all previous diplomatic negotiations and agreements with North Korea in order to prepare for war – ultimately directed at China. This is because China is the most dynamic and successful global economic challenger to US world domination. ..."
"... South Korea's deeply corrupt and blindly submissive regime immediately accepted the US/THADD system on their territory. Washington found the compliant South Korean 'deep state' willing to sacrifice its crucial economic links with Beijing: China is South Korea's biggest trading partner. In exchange for serving as a platform for future US aggression against China, South Korea has suffered losses in trade, investments and employment. Even if a new South Korea government were to reverse this policy, the US will not move its THAAD installation. China, for its part, has largely cut its economic and investment ties with some of South Korea's biggest conglomerates. Tourism, cultural and academic exchanges, commercial agreements and, most important, most of South Korean industrial exports face shut down. ..."
"... The rise and fall of unipolar America has not displaced the permanent state apparatus as it continues to pursue its deluded strategies ..."
"... On the contrary, the unipolarists are accelerating their drive for global military conquest by targeting Russia and China, which they insist are the cause of their losing wars and global economic decline. They live on their delusions of a 'Golden Age' of the 1990's when George Bush, Sr. could devastate Iraq and Bill Clinton could bomb Yugoslavia's cities with impunity. ..."
"... You don't seem to understand the definitions of legal and illegal in the current context: Anything the US declares legal and subject to its jurisdiction anywhere in the world is legal, otherwise it is still subject to US interpretation on its legality or not. In other words, US troops always operate legally, international law notwithstanding, and US laws have effect everywhere and at all times. What an idiotic statement. ..."
Apr 30, 2017 | www.unz.com

Introduction: US Empire building on a world-scale began during and shortly after WWII. Washington intervened directly in the Chinese civil war (providing arms to Chiang Kai Shek's army while the Red Army battled the Japanese), backed France's re-colonization war against the Viet Minh in Indo-China and installed Japanese imperial collaborator-puppet regimes in South Korea, Taiwan and Japan.

While empire building took place with starts and stops, advances and defeats, the strategic goal remained the same: to prevent the establishment of independent communist or secular-nationalist governments and to impose vassal regimes compliant to US interests.

Bloody wars and coups ('regime changes') were the weapons of choice. Defeated European colonial regimes were replaced and incorporated as subordinate US allies.

Where possible, Washington relied on armies of mercenaries trained, equipped and directed by US 'advisors' to advance imperial conquests. Where necessary, usually if the client regime and vassal troops were unable to defeat an armed people's army, the US armed forces intervened directly.

Imperial strategists sought to intervene and brutally conquer the target nation. When they failed to achieve their 'maximum' goal, they dug in with a policy of encirclement to cut the links between revolutionary centers with adjoining movements. Where countries successfully resisted armed conquests, empire builders imposed economic sanctions and blockades to erode the economic basis of popular governments.

Empires, as the Roman sages long recognized, are not built in a day, or weeks and months. Temporary agreements and accords are signed and conveniently broken because imperial designs remain paramount.

Empires would foment internal cleavages among adversaries and coups in neighboring countries. Above all, they construct a worldwide network of military outposts, clandestine operatives and regional alliances on the borders of independent governments to curtail emerging military powers.

Following successful wars, imperial centers dominate production and markets, resources and labor. However, over time challenges would inevitably emerge from dependent and independent regimes. Rivals and competitors gained markets and increased military competence. While some vassal states sacrificed political-military sovereignty for independent economic development, others moved toward political independence.

Early and Late Contradictions of Expanding Imperialism

The dynamics of imperial states and systems contain contradictions that constantly challenge and change the contours of empire.

The US devoted immense resources to retain its military supremacy among vassals, but experienced a sharp decline in its share of world markets, especially with the rapid rise of new economic producers.

Economic competition forced the imperial centers to realign the focus of their economies – 'rent' (finance and speculation) displaced profits from trade and production. Imperial industries relocated abroad in search of cheap labor. Finance, insurance, real estate, communications, military and security industries came to dominate the domestic economy. A vicious cycle was created: with the erosion of its productive base, the Empire further increased its reliance on the military, finance capital and the import of cheap consumer goods.

Just after World War II, Washington tested its military prowess through intervention . Because of the immense popular resistance and the proximity of the USSR, and later PRC, empire building in post-colonial Asia was contained or militarily defeated. US forces temporarily recognized a stalemate in Korea after killing millions. Its defeat in China led to the flight of the 'Nationalists' to the provincial island of Taiwan. The sustained popular resistance and material support from socialist superpowers led to its retreat from Indo-China. In response, it resorted to economic sanctions to strangle the revolutionary governments.

The Growth of the Unipolar Ideology

With the growing power of overseas economic competitors and its increasing reliance on direct military intervention, the US Empire took advantage of the internal disintegration of the USSR and China's embrace of 'state capitalism' in the early 1990's and 1980s..The US expanded throughout the Baltic region, Eastern and Central Europe and the Balkans – with the forced breakup of Yugoslavia. Imperial strategists envisioned 'a unipolar empire' – an imperial state without rivals. The Empire builders were free to invade, occupy and pillage independent states on any continent – even bombing a European capital, Belgrade, with total impunity. Multiple wars were launched against designated 'adversaries', who lacked strong global allies.

Countries in South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa were targeted for destruction. South America was under the control of neo-liberal regimes. The former USSR was pillaged and disarmed by imperial vassals. Russia was ruled by gangster-kleptocrats allied to US stooges. China was envisioned as nothing more than a slave workshop producing cheap mass consumer goods for Americans and generating high profits for US multinational corporations and retailers like Walmart.

Unlike the Roman Empire, the 1990's were not to be the prelude to an unchallenged US empire of long duration. Since the 'unipolarists' were pursuing multiple costly and destructive wars of conquest and they were unable to rely on the growth of satellites with emerging industrial economies for its profits. US global power eroded.

The Demise of Unipolarity: The 21st Century

Ten years into the 21st century, the imperial vision of an unchallenged unipolar empire was crumbling. China's 'primitive' accumulation led to advanced domestic accumulation for the Chinese people and state. China's power expanded overseas through investments, trade and acquisitions. China displaced the US as the leading trading partner in Asia and the largest importer of primary commodities from Latin America and Africa. China became the world's leading manufacturer and exporter of consumer goods to North America and the EU.

The first decade of the 21st century witnessed the overthrow or defeat of US vassal states throughout Latin America (Argentina, Bolivia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Brazil) and the emergence of independent agro-mineral regimes poised to form regional trade pacts. This was a period of growing global demand for their natural resources and commodities- precisely when the US was de-industrializing and in the throes of costly disastrous wars in the Middle East.

In contrast to the growing independence of Latin America, the EU deepened its military participation in the brutal US-led overseas wars by expanding the 'mandate' of NATO. Brussels followed the unipolarist policy of systematically encircling Russia and weakening its independence via harsh sanctions. The EU's outward expansion (financed with increasing domestic austerity) heightened internal cleavages, leading to popular discontent .The UK voted in favor of a referendum to secede from the EU.

The domestic disasters of the US vassal regime in Russia, under Boris Yeltsin during the 1990″s, pushed the voters to elect a nationalist, Vladimir Putin. President Vladimir Putin's government embarked on a program to regain Russian sovereignty and its position as a global power, countering US internal intervention and pushing back against external encirclement by NATO.

Unipolarists continued to launch multiple wars of conquest in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, costing trillions of dollars and leading to the loss of global markets and competitiveness. As the armies of the Empire expanded globally, the domestic economy (the 'Republic') contracted .The US became mired in recession and growing poverty. Unipolar politics created a growing multi-polar global economy, while rigidly imposing military priorities.

The Empire Strikes Back: The Nuclear Option

The second decade of the 21st century ushered in the demise of unipolarity to the dismay of many 'experts' and the blind denial by its political architects. The rise of a multi-polar world economy intensified the desperate imperial drive to restore unipolarity by military means, led by militarists incapable of adjusting or assessing their own policies.

Under the regime of the 'first black' US President Obama, elected on promises to 'rein in' the military, imperial policymakers intensified their pursuit of seven, new and continuing wars. To the policymakers and the propagandists in the US-EU corporate media, these were successful imperial wars, accompanied by premature declarations of victories in Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan. This triumphal delusion of success led the new Administration to launch new wars in Ukraine, Libya, Syria and Yemen.

As the new wave of wars and coups ('regime change') to re-impose unipolarity failed, even greater militarist policies displaced economic strategies for global dominance. The unipolarists-militarists, who direct the permanent state apparatus, continued to sacrifice markets and investments with total immunity from the disastrous consequences of their failures on the domestic economy.

A Brief Revival of Unipolarity in Latin America

Coups and power grabs have overturned independent governments in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Honduras and threatened progressive governments in Bolivia, Venezuela and Ecuador. However, the pro-imperial 'roll-back' in Latin America was neither politically nor economically sustainable and threatens to undermine any restoration of US unipolar dominance of the region.

The US has provided no economic aid or expanded access to markets to reward and support their newly acquired client regimes. Argentina's new vassal, Mauricio Macri, transferred billions of dollars to predatory Wall Street bankers and handed over access to military bases and lucrative resources without receiving any reciprocal inflows of investment capital. Indeed the servile policies of President Macri created greater unemployment and depressed living standards, leading to mass popular discontent. The unipolar empire's 'new boy' in its Buenos Aires fiefdom faces an early demise.

Likewise, widespread corruption, a deep economic depression and unprecedented double digit levels of unemployment in Brazil threaten the illicit vassal regime of Michel Temer with permanent crisis and rising class conflict.

Short-Lived Success in the Middle East

The revanchist unipolarist launch of a new wave of wars in the Middle East and North Africa seemed to succeed briefly with the devastating power of US-NATO aerial and naval bombardment .Then collapsed amidst grotesque destruction and chaos, flooding Europe with millions of refugees.

Powerful surges of resistance to the US invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan hastened the retreat toward a multi-polar world. Islamist insurgents drove the US into fortress garrisons and took control of the countryside and encircled cities in Afghanistan; Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Libya drove US backed regimes and mercenaries into flight.

Unipolarists and the Permanent State: Re-Group and Attack

Faced with its failures, unipolarists regrouped and implemented the most dangerous military strategy yet: the build-up of nuclear 'First-Strike' capability targeting China and Russia.

Orchestrated by US State Department political appointees, Ukraine's government was taken over by US vassals leading to the ongoing break-up of that country. Fearful of neo-fascists and Russophobes, the citizens of Crimea voted to rejoin Russia. Ethnic Russian majorities in Ukraine's Donbass region have been at war with Kiev with thousands killed and millions fleeing their homes to take refuge in Russia. The unipolarists in Washington financed and directed the Kiev coup led by kleptocrats, fascists and street mobs, immune as always from the consequences.

Meanwhile the US is increasing its number of combat troops in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria to buttress its unreliable allies and mercenaries.

What is crucial to understanding the rise and demise of imperial power and the euphoric unipolar declarations of the 1990's (especially during the heyday of President Clinton's bloody reign), is that at no point have military and political advances been sustained by foundational economic building blocks.

The US defeated and subsequently occupied Iraq, but it also systematically destroyed Iraq's civil society and its economy, creating fertile ground for massive ethnic cleansing, waves of refugees and the subsequent Islamist uprising that over ran vast territories. Indeed, deliberate US policies in Iraq and elsewhere created the refugee crisis that is overwhelming Europe.

A similar situation is occurring during the first two decades of this century: Military victories have installed ineffective imperial-backed unpopular leaders. Unipolarists increasingly rely on the most retrograde tribal rabble, Islamist extremists, overseas clients and paid mercenaries. The deliberate US-led assault on the very people capable of leading modern multicultural nations like Iraq, Libya, Syria and Ukraine, is a caricature of the notorious Pol Pot assaults on Cambodia's educated classes. Of course, the US honed its special skills in 'killing the school teachers' when it trained and financed the mujahedin in Afghanistan in the 1980's.

The second weakness, which led to the collapse of the unipolar illusion, has been their inability to rethink their assumptions and re-orient and rebalance their strategic militarist paradigm from the incredible global mess they created

They steadfastly refused to work with and promote the educated economic elites in the conquered countries. To do so would have required maintaining an intact social-economic-security system in the countries they had systematically shredded. It would mean rejecting their paradigm of total war, unconditional surrender and naked, brutal military occupation in order to allow the development of viable economic allies, instead of imposing pliable but grotesquely corrupt vassal regimes.

The deeply entrenched, heavily financed and vast military-intelligence-police apparatus, numbering many millions, has formed a parallel imperial state ruling over the elected and civilian regime within the US.

The so-called 'deep state', in reality, is a ruling state run by unipolarists. It is not some 'faceless entity': It has a class, ideological and economic identity.

Despite the severe cost of losing a series of catastrophic wars and the multi-billion-dollar thefts by kleptocratic vassal regimes, the unipolarists have remained intact, even increasing their efforts to score a conquest or temporary military victory.

Let us say it, openly and clearly: The unipolarists are now engaged in blaming their terrible military and political failures on Russia and China. This is why they seek, directly and indirectly, to weaken Russia and China's 'allies abroad' and at home. Indeed their savage campaign to 'blame the Russians' for President Trump's election reflects their deep hostility to Russia and contempt for the working and lower middle class voters (the 'basket of deplorables') who voted for Trump. This elite's inability to examine its own failures and the political system's inability to remove these disastrous policymakers is a serious threat to the future of the world.

Unipolarists: Fabricating Pretexts for World War

While the unipolarist state suffered predictable military defeats and prolonged wars and reliance on unstable civilian regimes, the ideologues continue to deflect blame onto 'Russia and China as the source of all their military defeats'. The unipolarists' monomania has been transformed into a provocative large-scale offensive nuclear missile build-up in Europe and Asia, increasing the risk of a nuclear war by engaging in a deadly 'game of chicken'.

The veteran nuclear physicists in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists published an important description of the unipolarists' war plans. They revealed that the 'current and ongoing US nuclear program has implemented revolutionary new technologies that will vastly increase the targeting capability of the US ballistic missile arsenal. These new technologies increase the overall US killing power of existing US ballistic missile forces threefold'. This is exactly what an objective observer would expect of a nuclear-armed US unipolar state planning to launch a war by disarming China and Russia with a 'surprise' first strike.

The unipolar state has targeted several countries as pretexts for launching a war. The US government installed provocative missile bases in the Baltic countries and Poland. These are regimes chosen for their eagerness to violate Russia's borders or airspace and insanely willing to invite the inevitable military response and chain reaction onto their own populations. Other sites for huge US military bases and NATO expansion include the Balkans, especially the former Yugoslav provinces of Kosovo and Montenegro. These are bankrupt ethno-fascist mafia states and potential tinderboxes for NATO-provoked conflicts leading to a US first strike. This explains why the most rabid US Senate militarists have been pushing for Kosovo and Montenegro's integration into NATO.

Syria is where the unipolarists are creating a pretext for nuclear war. The US state has been sending more 'Special Forces' into highly conflictive areas to support their mercenery allies. This means US troops will operate (illegally) face-to-face with the advancing Syrian army, who are backed by Russian military air support (legally). The US plans to seize ISIS-controlled Raqqa in Northern Syria as its own base of operation with the intention of denying the Syrian government its victory over the jihadi-terrorists. The likelihood of armed 'incidents' between the US and Russia in Syria is growing to the rapturous applause of US unipolarists.

The US has financed and promoted Kurdish fighters as they seize Syrian territory from the jihadi-terrorists, especially in territories along the Turkish border. This is leading to an inevitable conflict between Turkey and the US-backed Kurds.

Another likely site for expanded war is Ukraine. After seizing power in Kiev, the klepto-fascists launched a shooting war and economic blockade against the bilingual ethnic Russian-Ukrainians of the Donbass region. Attacks by the Kiev junta, countless massacres of civilians (including the burning of scores of unarmed Russian-speaking protesters in Odessa) and the sabotage of Russian humanitarian aid shipments could provoke retaliation from Russia and invite a US military intervention via the Black Sea against Crimea.

The mostly likely site for starting World War III is the Korean peninsula. The unipolarists and their allies in the state apparatus have systematically built-up the conditions to trigger a war with China using the pretext of the North Korean defensive weapons program.

The unipolarists' state apparatus has gathered its allies in Congress and the mass media to create public hysteria. Congress and the administration of President Trump have fabricated the North Korean missile program as a 'threat to the United States'. This has allowed the unipolarist state to implement an offensive military strategy to counter this phony 'threat'.

The elite have discarded all previous diplomatic negotiations and agreements with North Korea in order to prepare for war – ultimately directed at China. This is because China is the most dynamic and successful global economic challenger to US world domination. The US has 'suffered' peaceful, but humiliating, economic defeat at the hands of an emerging Asian power. China's economy has grown more than three times faster than the US for the last two decades. And China's infrastructure development bank has attracted scores of regional and European participants after a much promoted US trade agreement in Asia, developed by the Obama Administration, collapsed. Over the past decade, while salaries and wages have stagnated or regressed in the US and EU, they have tripled in China.

China's economic growth is set to surpass the US into the near and distant future if trends continue. This will inevitably lead to China replacing the US s as the world's most dynamic economic power . barring a nuclear attack by the US. It is no wonder China is embarked on a program to modernize its defensive missile systems and border and maritime security.

As the unipolarists prepare for the 'final decision' to attack China, they are systematically installing their most advanced nuclear missile strike capacity in South Korea under the preposterous pretext of countering the regime in Pyongyang. To exacerbate tensions, the US High Command has embarked on cyber-attacks against North Korea's missile program. It has been staging massive military exercises with Seoul, which provoked the North Korean military to 'test' four of its medium range ballistic missiles in the Sea of Japan. Washington has ignored the Chinese government's efforts to calm the situation and persuade the North Koreans to resist US provocations on its borders and even scale down their nuclear weapons program.

The US war propaganda machine claims that Pyongyang's nervous response to Washington's provocative military exercises (dubbed "Foal Eagle') on North Korea's border are both a 'threat' to South Korea and 'evidence of its leaders' insanity.' Ultimately, Washington intends to target China. It installed its (misnamed) Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System (THAAD) in South Korea .An offensive surveillance and attack system designed to target China's major cities and complement the US maritime encirclement of China and Russia. Using North Korea as a pretext, THAAD was installed in South Korea, with the capacity to reach the Chinese heartland in minutes. Its range covers over 3,000 kilometers of China's land mass. THAAD directed missiles are specifically designed to identify and destroy China's defensive missile capacity.

With the THADD installation in South Korea, Russia's Far East is now encircled by the US offensive missiles to complement the build-up in the West.

The unipolar strategists are joined by the increasingly militaristic Japanese government – a most alarming development for the Koreans and Chinese given the history of Japanese brutality in the region. The Japanese Defense Minister has proposed acquiring the capacity for a 'pre-emptive strike', an imperial replay of its invasion and enslavement of Korea and Manchuria. Japan 'points to' North Korea but really aims at China.

South Korea's deeply corrupt and blindly submissive regime immediately accepted the US/THADD system on their territory. Washington found the compliant South Korean 'deep state' willing to sacrifice its crucial economic links with Beijing: China is South Korea's biggest trading partner. In exchange for serving as a platform for future US aggression against China, South Korea has suffered losses in trade, investments and employment. Even if a new South Korea government were to reverse this policy, the US will not move its THAAD installation. China, for its part, has largely cut its economic and investment ties with some of South Korea's biggest conglomerates. Tourism, cultural and academic exchanges, commercial agreements and, most important, most of South Korean industrial exports face shut down.

In the midst of a major political scandal involving the Korean President (who faces impeachment and imprisonment), the US-Japanese military alliance has brutally sucked the hapless South Korean people into an offensive military build-up against China. In the process Seoul threatens its peaceful economic relations with China. The South Koreans are overwhelmingly 'pro-peace', but find themselves on the frontlines of a potential nuclear war.

China's response to Washington's threat is a massive buildup of its own defensive missile capacity. The Chinese now claim to have the capacity to rapidly demolish THAAD bases in South Korea if pushed by the US. China is retooling its factories to compensate for the loss of South Korean industrial imports.

Conclusion

The rise and fall of unipolar America has not displaced the permanent state apparatus as it continues to pursue its deluded strategies.

On the contrary, the unipolarists are accelerating their drive for global military conquest by targeting Russia and China, which they insist are the cause of their losing wars and global economic decline. They live on their delusions of a 'Golden Age' of the 1990's when George Bush, Sr. could devastate Iraq and Bill Clinton could bomb Yugoslavia's cities with impunity.

Gone are the days when the unipolarists could break up the USSR, finance violent breakaway former Soviet regimes in Asia and the Caucuses and run fraudulent elections for its drunken clients in Russia.

The disasters of US policies and its domestic economic decline has given way to rapid and profound changes in power relations over the last two decades, shattering any illusion of a unipolar 'American Century'.

Unipolarity remains the ideology of the permanent state security apparatus and its elites in Washington. They believe that the marriage of militarism abroad and financial control at home will allow them to regain their lost unipolar 'Garden of Eden'. China and Russia are the essential new protagonists of a multipolar world. The dynamics of necessity and their own economic growth has pushed them to successfully nurture alternative, independent states and markets.

This obvious, irreversible reality has driven the unipolarists to the mania of preparing for a global nuclear war! The pretexts are infinite and absurd; the targets are clear and global; the destructive offensive military means are available; but so are the formidable defensive and retaliatory capacities of China and Russia.

The unipolarist state's delusion of 'winning a global nuclear war' presents Americans with the critical challenge to resist or give in to an insanely dangerous empire in decline, which is willing to launch a globally destructive war.

The Alarmist , April 25, 2017 at 11:57 pm GMT \n

"This means US troops will operate (illegally) face-to-face with the advancing Syrian army, who are backed by Russian military air support (legally)."

You don't seem to understand the definitions of legal and illegal in the current context: Anything the US declares legal and subject to its jurisdiction anywhere in the world is legal, otherwise it is still subject to US interpretation on its legality or not. In other words, US troops always operate legally, international law notwithstanding, and US laws have effect everywhere and at all times. Read More

nsa , April 26, 2017 at 2:52 am GMT \n
What's this "unipolarist" stuff ..some kind of trendy academic euphemism? A land war in Asia? Even the American public isn't that stupid.

There is zero chance of an attack on Korea .for a couple of reasons:

1) nothing in it for the jooies who need to conserve their satrap's military for an attack on Iran,

2) if feasible, would have already happened, and lastly

3) the paper tiger would lose another one.

Think about it .goodbye Seoul, goodbye 30,000 US troops, goodbye all those lucrative samsung-kia-hyundai franchises, kiss off a couple carriers from torpedos, goodbye lots of attack aircraft ..and that's all before the Chinese enter the fray. Right now the biggest problem is how to let jooie butt boy Trumpstein and his ridiculous VFW geezer generals back down without losing face. Face is everything to westerners, you know . Read More

Realist , April 26, 2017 at 8:27 am GMT \n
@nsa

Oh yes they are. Their stupidity is boundless.

Anonymous , April 26, 2017 at 8:43 am GMT \n
I kind of agree with you, I kind of don't.

No doubt the Zionists want to focus on Syria and Iran because there is a direct benefit to them there, but don't forget their goal. Their goal is total control of the world, and China and Russia stand in their way.

Using N Korea to threaten China and Russia is probably high on their to do list too.

But I do agree with you. There is no way a N Korea war would be easy or fast for America. We would probably lose 30k soldiers and many ships at least. Wr would burn through a ton of money when we are flat broke. And I doubt we can be in a 2 front war right now anyway. So probably Middle East will take the priority.

So the most plausible explanation to me is that Trump re-read one of the chapters he wrote on negotiation and tried to convince China to go to war for us. But the Chinese aren't stupid and they didn't take the bait.

China talked tough to N Korea and suspended their coal exports to make it look like they would play game, and America sent ships to threaten N Korea. But that was all Trump negotiation tactics. And Trump would be stupid to go to war and have this define his presidency.

dearieme , April 26, 2017 at 9:34 am GMT \n
"providing arms to Chiang Kai Shek's army while the Red Army battled the Japanese"

Come off it! The Red Army assiduously avoided fighting the Japanese. Read More

Tulip , April 26, 2017 at 5:15 pm GMT \n
China is not happy with North Korea either. Speculation is that China is planning an invasion with a secret green light from Washington. Even if the US went in, it may be that if China were granted basing rights in the North, or if there was an agreement for a multinational peacekeeping force, with equal US/Chinese troops, there may be a way of providing assurance to China on the national security front while getting rid of a gangster regime that threatens the security of everyone.
Robert Magill , April 26, 2017 at 5:30 pm GMT \n

China was envisioned as nothing more than a slave workshop producing cheap mass consumer goods for Americans and generating high profits for US multinational corporations and retailers like Walmart.

Walmart announced this week the planned opening of 40 new stores in China by 2020. This adds to the nearly 500 Walmart stores already operating. Very cleaver of them to sell cheap mass consumer goods made in China to Chinese customers and still generate profit. Where is the disconnect here?

The mostly likely site for starting World War III is the Korean peninsula. The unipolarists and their allies in the state apparatus have systematically built-up the conditions to trigger a war with China using the pretext of the North Korean defensive weapons program.

What happened in New York on 9/11 totally unhinged America for a generation. One small nuke landing anywhere in the US would totally do us in. Russia and China could probably survive a dozen each and soldier on.

http://robertmagill.wordpress.com Read More

neutral , April 26, 2017 at 8:52 pm GMT \n

One small nuke landing anywhere in the US would totally do us in.

What do you mean by this ? Are you talking about most Americans leaving their cities and thus collapsing the entire economic system. Or are you saying that people will get so unhinged that it will launch all its missiles (without knowing who is responsible) and thus have more nuclear strikes hitting it ? Read More Reply Agree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments

El Dato , April 26, 2017 at 10:16 pm GMT \n

Washington intervened directly in the Chinese civil war providing arms to Chiang Kai Shek's army while the Red Army battled the Japanese

This is COMPLETELY ass-backwards and there is not enough facepalm for such a statement. The Red Army kept itself well ensconced and recruited desperate peasants while Chiang Kai Check fought against the Japanese with not a lot of support from the US, then got the cold shoulder from Churchill. After that, the Nationalist Chinese were such an utter wreck that Mao could easily clean the floor.

Any student of the Sino-Japanese war should have the basics right.

Start reading: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/10182755/Chinas-war-With-Japan-1937-1945-the-struggle-for-survival-by-Rana-Mitter-review.html Read More

Realist , April 26, 2017 at 11:25 pm GMT \n
@Robert Magill

The per cent of Americans killed on 9/11 was less than 0.000097. The per cent of Japanese killed in the 2011 Tsunami was 0.0144 with nary a whimper. The Japanese total was 148 times the US total!

The US would never survive a small nuclear attack

Astuteobservor II , April 28, 2017 at 12:19 am GMT \n
@El Dato

Start reading: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/10182755/Chinas-war-With-Japan-1937-1945-the-struggle-for-survival-by-Rana-Mitter-review.html

from what I have read. the first half of that statement is true, while the 2nd half is wrong. 45-49, ccp got the left overs of manchuria, while the kmt got hardware and training directly from the usa.

Monty Ahwazi , April 29, 2017 at 5:20 am GMT \n
Didn't we fight China for many years in a place called Vietnam? How did that war work for us? Of course we are stupid and our conscious memory is hardly good for 4 years. Our distant memory is as good as every election cycle and the Vietnam war happened centuries ago on the US memory calendar! Read More
The White Muslim Traditionalist , April 29, 2017 at 11:30 am GMT \n
@The Alarmist
"This means US troops will operate (illegally) face-to-face with the advancing Syrian army, who are backed by Russian military air support (legally)."
You don't seem to understand the definitions of legal and illegal in the current context: Anything the US declares legal and subject to its jurisdiction anywhere in the world is legal, otherwise it is still subject to US interpretation on its legality or not. In other words, US troops always operate legally, international law notwithstanding, and US laws have effect everywhere and at all times. What an idiotic statement.

The United States doesn't decide what is right and what is wrong.

mp , April 29, 2017 at 11:42 am GMT \n
200 Words @Monty Ahwazi Didn't we fight China for many years in a place called Vietnam? How did that war work for us? Of course we are stupid and our conscious memory is hardly good for 4 years. Our distant memory is as good as every election cycle and the Vietnam war happened centuries ago on the US memory calendar! Didn't we fight China for many years in a place called Vietnam?

It was a mixed bag. Primarily Vietnam was more a Soviet ally than Chinese. You must remember that during the '60s the Chinese and Soviets were at odds, and Chinese-Vietnamese relations were not good, either. After the Americans retreated (Nixon-Kissinger's "Peace with Honor"), China and Vietnam fought some skirmishes over Vietnam's Cambodian intrigue.

Amazing, when you think about it, how Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean brothers and cousins can't get along. If they could, it would be very difficult for the Anglo-American-Jewish alliance in the region. Think about it. Chinese are as crafty as Jews, they are patient as hell (they think in long terms), they are every bit as tribal as Jews. Plus, unlike Jews, they have demonstrated an ability to create an indigenous (i.e., non parasitic) culture. Finally, Chinese don't feel any guilt over the Jew's Holocaust Six Million shekel religion, so they can't be whipped into a subservient paroxysm over it. Maybe that makes war with them inevitable. Read More

mp , April 29, 2017 at 11:54 am GMT \n
@Robert Magill

Walmarts in China are not like the one's in America. I'm convinced the US stores are supported by welfare checks and food stamps. Without those, my guess is that the stores would have closed a long time ago. Also, in China you don't see half the store filled up with overweight diabetics on disability, riding around on motorized scooters, looking like land-locked Barron Harkonnens, etc.

Corvinus , April 29, 2017 at 2:24 pm GMT \n
@Wizard of Oz

Exactly. The doomsday prognosticators keep up with the Fake News about the impending end of the world scenarios and they fail to materialize repeatedly.

Ludwig Von , April 29, 2017 at 3:21 pm GMT \n
Just my little thought : in fact China is not going to intervene in a conflict between US-SK-Japan versus NK. It will sit back and just wait until they all are exhausted and then collect .
Agent76 , April 29, 2017 at 3:35 pm GMT \n
Mar 25, 2016 Is China Ready to Challenge the Dollar?

Introduction to the report: Is China Ready to Challenge the Dollar? Internationalization of the Renminbi and Its Implications for the United States.

Agent76 , April 29, 2017 at 3:37 pm GMT \n
Apr 12, 2017 China Russia Move For Gold Against Dollar Makes Them A Target By Trump

In this video we talk about all the latest breaking news regarding the financial quite feud between Russia, China and U.S. Its important to note that this move against Donald Trump and the U.S petro dollar being the world reserve currency was made before Trumps aggressive actions against a mutual ally to Russia and China.

denk , April 29, 2017 at 7:29 pm GMT \n
Uncle sham, 'Pay up or else !'

http://bit.ly/2pJezx6

hhhhhh

Wizard of Oz , April 29, 2017 at 10:20 pm GMT \n
@mp Didn't we fight China for many years in a place called Vietnam?

It was a mixed bag. Primarily Vietnam was more a Soviet ally than Chinese. You must remember that during the '60s the Chinese and Soviets were at odds, and Chinese-Vietnamese relations were not good, either. After the Americans retreated (Nixon-Kissinger's "Peace with Honor"), China and Vietnam fought some skirmishes over Vietnam's Cambodian intrigue.

Amazing, when you think about it, how Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean brothers and cousins can't get along. If they could, it would be very difficult for the Anglo-American-Jewish alliance in the region. Think about it. Chinese are as crafty as Jews, they are patient as hell (they think in long terms), they are every bit as tribal as Jews. Plus, unlike Jews, they have demonstrated an ability to create an indigenous (i.e., non parasitic) culture. Finally, Chinese don't feel any guilt over the Jew's Holocaust Six Million shekel religion, so they can't be whipped into a subservient paroxysm over it. Maybe that makes war with them inevitable. OK until you come to "the Chinese are every bit as tribal as Jews," Whatever you might say about some 12 million Jews who; if in Israel, learn to speak a version of their old tribal language makes little sense when applied to 1.3 billion people speaking many mutually incomprehensible languages (or dialects as some prefer if you think Russian and Polish are two dialects) and with a long history of warlordism and the barbarism of the Cultural Revolution less than two generations behind them. Still I guess that it is wise to protect your IP from a Mandarin speaking Chinese employee who only became an Amrrican citizen yesterday .

[Jul 16, 2017] The MSM has never found a dictator/thug/mass murder that it didnt like if said dictator/thug/mass murderer was doing its bidding. IIRC, a US favorite was Pol Pot and the Khemer Rouge – those folks made NK look positively benign.

Jul 16, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

Patient Observer , July 16, 2017 at 5:54 pm

I think Mark and/or others have said that Matt has latched on to NK as it is the undisputed evil in the world per the MSM. By extension, he hopes to prove that everything that the MSM states that Russian medial disputes must also be the truth.

The MSM is a prolific generator of falseshoods fashioned to create the necessary public opinion to generate a call for action in the Congress and at least apathy in the electorate. And one thing for certain, whenever the MSM starts to cry about HR abuse or evil dictators, the real reason for the negative stories is something entirely unrelated.

In the case of NK, I can only speculate. Certainly a united Korea would no longer need or welcome the ongoing US occupation. A united Korea would be far more than its historical enemy, Japan, could handle. A united Korea could be a major part of the Chinese Eurasian economic development project. In short, a united Korea is a very bad thing UNLESS a pro-US/Japanese regime can be installed. That prospect looks very unlikely as as the memory of what the US did to them is burned into their neurons and Russia nor China would allow the necessary meddling for that to occur.

The MSM has never found a dictator/thug/mass murder that it didn't like if said dictator/thug/mass murderer was doing its bidding. IIRC, a US favorite was Pol Pot and the Khemer Rouge – those folks made NK look positively benign.

Who, again, are the sociopaths? Who, Matt? Or, will you wimp out when your line of attack fails (yet again).

[Jul 16, 2017] North Korean Leadership May Be Ruthless and Reckless, But They Are Not Crazy - Antiwar.com Original

Notable quotes:
"... Mainichi Shimbun ..."
Jul 16, 2017 | original.antiwar.com

North Korean Leadership May Be Ruthless and Reckless, But They Are Not Crazy

'Time is Not on Our Side': Former senior US government officials say there must be dialogue with North Korea

by Col. Ann Wright (ret.) Posted on July 15, 2017 July 14, 2017 Despite the rhetoric from the Trump administration about military confrontation with North Korea, the common theme of many U.S. experts on North Korea is that the US presidential administration MUST conduct a dialogue with North Korea – and quickly! Military confrontation is NOT an option according to the experts.

And most importantly, the new President of South Korea Moon Jae-in was elected in May 2017 on a pledge to engage in talks with North Korea and pursue diplomacy to finally officially end the Korean conflict. Nearly 80 percent of South Koreans support a resumption of long-suspended inter-Korean dialogue, according to a survey by a presidential advisory panel showed in late June.

On June 28, 2017, six former high level experienced US government officials from both Republican and Democratic administrations over the past thirty years sent a letter to President Trump stating that "Kim Jong Un is not irrational and highly values preserving his regime Talking is not a reward or a concession to Pyongyang and should not be construed as signaling acceptance of a nuclear-armed North Korea. It is a necessary step to establishing communication to avoid a nuclear catastrophe. The key danger today is not that North Korea would launch a surprise nuclear attack. Instead the primary danger is a miscalculation or mistake that could lead to war."

The signatories to the letter were

William J. Perry, 19th US Secretary of Defense under the Clinton administration; George P. Shultz, 60th Secretary of State under the Reagan administration and now Distinguished Fellow, Hoover institution, Stanford University; Governor Bill Richardson, US Secretary of Energy and US Ambassador to the United Nations under the Clinton administration; Robert L. Gallucci, former negotiator in the Clinton administration and now with Georgetown University; Sigfrid S. Hecker, nuclear weapons expert and the last US official to visit the North Korea nuclear facilities and now with the Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University; and Retired US Senator (Republican) Richard G. Lugar, and now president the Lugar Center

Together, they wrote: "there are no good military options, and a North Korean response to a US attack would devastate North Korea and Japan. Tightening sanctions can be useful in increasing pressure on North Korea, but sanctions alone will not solve the problem. Pyongyang has shown that it can make progress on missile and nuclear technology despite its isolation. Without a diplomatic effort to stop its progress, there is little doubt that it will develop a long-range missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead to the United States."

The experts ended their letter to President Trump by calling for quick action: "Today there is a window of opportunity to stop these programs, and it may be the last chance before North Korea acquires long-range capability. Time is not on our side. We urge you to put diplomacy at the top of the list of options on the table."

Two weeks earlier, on June 13, 2017, former Secretary of Defense William Perry and University of Chicago Korean War historian Bruce Cummings both strongly advocated for dialogue with North Korea at the Korean Peace Network's conference " Off Ramps to War " hosted by the Partnerships for International Strategies in Asia program at George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs in Washington, DC.

William Perry said, "North Korean leadership may be ruthless and reckless, but they are not crazy." He added, "Why do we have a double standard for North Korea? We accept Saudi Arabia as it is with its human rights violations, but we do not accept North Korea as it is-a nuclear power. Refusing to listen to the North Koreans about their goals and needs has meant that in the seventeen years since the last relevant dialogue, the North Koreans have developed and tested nuclear weapons and intercontinental missiles."

The Bush administration's naming North Korea as part of the "Axis of Evil" in 2002 and the Obama administration's subsequent "Strategic Patience" policy were not forms of diplomacy, argued Perry, but instead were "miserable policy failures." According to Perry, the US has not had a negotiating strategy with North Korea in seventeen years, and during that time, North Korea has continued to do what the US and other major powers do not want it to do – test nuclear weapons and missiles.

Perry said that the North Korean government has three goals:

Staying in power; Gaining international respect; Improving their economy.

Perry emphasized that the North Korean government will sacrifice the last two goals – gaining international respect and improving the economy – to achieve the first goal, which is staying in power.

Because of the lack of listening to and acknowledging North Korean objectives on what its goals are – which includes signing a peace treaty to take the place of the 50+ year armistice, signing a nonaggression pact and reducing U.S.-South Korean military war games, Perry believes that the best outcome available to negotiators is to freeze the nuclear weapons and the ICBM programs, not their elimination.

Perry said he believes North Koreans would never use nuclear weapons as those weapons "are valuable only if they DON'T use them. They know the response from the US would be devastating, should North Korea explode a nuclear weapon."

University of Chicago history professor Bruce Cumings, author of The Korean War: A History , said at the symposium that the Clinton administration achieved very important goals with North Korea, including "North Korea freezing its plutonium production for eight years (1994–2002) and, in October 2000, indirectly working out a deal to buy all of North Korea's medium and long-range missiles – and signing an agreement with North Korean General Jo Myong-rok in a meeting in the White House stating that neither country would bear 'hostile intent' toward the other."

But the Bush administration led by Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Undersecretary of State John Bolton "actively sought to torpedo the Agreed Framework" and succeeded in pushing aside the agreements negotiated by the Clinton administration thereby destroying the 1994 freeze and refusing to acknowledge the Clinton-Jo pledge of "no hostile intent," particularly since the pledge was made by allowing a North Korean general inside the White House.

With President Bush's January 2002 State of the Union speech, in which he called North Korea part of an "axis of evil," the Bush administration turned its back on North Korea, abrogating the "Agreed Framework" and halting shipments of American fuel-oil permanently. In response, the North Koreans withdrew from the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and restarted their plutonium-producing reactor.

As Cumings wrote for The Nation , "The simple fact is that Pyongyang would have no nuclear weapons if Clinton's agreements had been sustained."

Sheldon Richman, executive editor of The Libertarian Institute and the former senior editor at the Cato Institute agrees with Perry that North Korean leader Kim Jung UN is not crazy. "Let us dispense, once and for all, with the idea that Kim is a madman," Richman wrote at Antiwar.com . " Brutality is not madness, and a madman wouldn't be expected to capitulate to economic pressure. He shows every sign of wanting his regime to endure, which means he would not want the US military or nuclear arsenal to pulverize it. Assuming rationality in this context asserts only that Kim's means are reasonably related to his ends."

Richman underscores the rationale for the North Korean government to develop nuclear weapons against the will of the US"Kim shows every sign of having learned the lesson of recent US regime-change policies toward Iraq and Libya, neither of which were nuclear states. Same with Syria, whose regime has been targeted by the US government. The lesson is: if you want to deter a US attack, get yourself some nukes."

Robert E. Kelly, Associate Professor of International Relations in the Department of Political Science at Pusan National University, makes a similar argument. "This is not a suicidal, ideological, ISIS-like state bent on apocalyptic war but rather a post-ideological gangter-ish dictatorship looking to survive. The best way to guarantee the North's survival is nuclear deterrence It is a rational decision, given Pyongyang's goals to, 1) not change internally, and 2) not be attacked externally. This is not ideal of course. Best would be a de-nuclearized North Korea. But this is highly unlikely at this point."

Track 2 Diplomacy with North Korea continues

Japan's Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported recently that Robert Gallucci and Leon Sigal, director of the Northeast Asia Cooperative Security Project at the Social Science Research Council, held nuclear and missile discussions in October 2016, with North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Han Song-ryol in Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia. The North Korean envoy said North Korea had communicated its desire to negotiate directly with the US without involving China, to whom 90% of its exports go.

Another Japanese newspaper, Mainichi Shimbun , reported that North Korea originally demanded Washington send to North Korea a former US President as a special envoy to resolve the case of Otto Warmbier, an American student who recently died after detention in North Korea.

According to the newspaper, Choe Son-hui, head of the North Korean Foreign Ministry's US affairs bureau, notified the US through its UN mission in May 2017. However, North Korea released Warmbier in a coma after Trump refused to send a former President and sent Joseph Yun, State Department Special Representative for North Korea Policy to North Korea instead.

Another Track 2 group met with a North Korean delegation in early June 2017. Sue Mi Terry, a Korea expert who has worked at both the CIA and the National Security Council and now is with the Bower Group Asia spoke on June 28, 2017 to NPR about meeting with North Korea officials to try to get nuclear talks back on track.

Terry said that to North Koreans, their nuclear arsenal "is a matter of survival. North Koreans have told us even in the recent meeting – and they've specifically brought up Libya – Gaddafi's case in Libya and Iraq – and said: 'Nuclear weapons is the only way for us to absolutely guarantee our survival, and this is why we're not going to give it up. We're so close to perfecting this nuclear arsenal. This is our final deterrent against the United States.' Ultimately it's about regime survival for them, and nuclear weapons guarantees it."

Terry said the North Koreans demand that the United States accept them as a nuclear power and there is "absolutely no flexibility or willingness to meet to talk about ending their nuclear program." In contrast to other experts, Terry believes it is "unrealistic for us (the US) to go from where we are to talk about peace treaty and discuss formally ending the Korean War."

She believes the solution is "continuing with maximum pressure with sanctions and trying to get China to do more. And if China does not come through, then we'll have to pursue secondary sanctions against Chinese banks and entities and see if that can get China to rein in North Korea a little bit more."

Ann Wright served 29 years in the US Army/Army Reserves and retired as a Colonel. She was a US diplomat for 16 years and served in US Embassies in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Afghanistan and Mongolia. She resigned from the U.S. diplomatic corps in March 2003 in opposition to President Bush's war on Iraq. She is the co-author of Dissent: Voices of Conscience .

Read more by Col. Ann Wright (ret.) America's Ready Supply of Enemies – May 11th, 2017

[Jun 26, 2017] Beijing values Pyongyang as a strategic buffer between itself and US-allied South Korea. If North Korea were to fall, it could lead to a US-allied unified Korea, with US troops right on Chinas border

Jun 26, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com
Northern Star , June 24, 2017 at 1:31 pm
http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/korean-war-begins

"The result of a North Korean regime collapse would be catastrophic and may trigger a dangerous race between China and the US-ROK (Republic of Korea) forces attempting to secure strategic and symbolic locations such as the Yongbyon nuclear facility and Pyongyang," Andrew Injoo Park and Kongdan Oh wrote for the National Bureau of Asian Research.

China worries about both of those, especially the latter.

Beijing values Pyongyang as a strategic buffer between itself and US-allied South Korea. If North Korea were to fall, it could lead to a US-allied unified Korea, with US troops right on China's border."

http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/22/asia/north-korea-war-devastation/

[May 06, 2017] What the N. Korean Crisis Is Really About by Paul Craig Roberts

Notable quotes:
"... People should recall that back in the 1950s, Henry Kissinger wrote a study of the idea of limited nuclear war. As head of Nixon's NSC, Kissinger gave us SALT I, the first and in many respects most successful nuclear arms agreement. SALT I banned ballistic missile defense. It was understood by everyone, that ballistic missile defense is not a "defensive" system, but is part of a first strike weapons package. Ballistic missile defense can never be made good enough to defend against someone else's first strike. Ballistic missile defense can, however, be expected to defend after YOU have launched your own first strike and taken out most of the other side's nuclear forces. ..."
May 06, 2017 | www.unz.com
The North Korean "crisis" is a Washington orchestration. North Korea was last at war 1950-53. N. Korea has not attacked or invaded anyone in 64 years. N. Korea lacks the military strength to attack any country, such as South Korea and Japan, that is protected by the US. Moreover, China would not permit N. Korea to start a war.

So what is the demonization of N. Korea by the presstitutes and Trump administration about?

It is about the same thing that the demonization of Iran was about. The "Iranian threat" was an orchestration that was used as cover to put US anti-ballistic missile bases on Russia's borders. An anti-ballistic missile (ABM) is intended to intercept and destroy nuclear-armed ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles) and prevent them from reaching their targets.

Washington claimed that the anti-ABM bases were not directed at Russia, but were for the protection of Europe against Iran's nuclear ICBMs. Insouciant Americans might have believed this, but the Russians surely did not as Iran has neither ICBMs nor nuclear weapons. The Russian government has made it clear that Russia understands the US bases are directed at preventing a Russian retalliation against a Washington first strike.

The Chinese government also is not stupid. The Chinese leadership understands that the reason for the N. Korean "crisis" is to provide cover for Washington to put anti-ballistic missile sites near China's border.

In other words, Washington is creating a shield against nuclear retalliation from both Russia and China from a US nuclear strike against both countries.

China has been more forceful in its reply to Washington's efforts than have the Russians. China has demanded an immediate halt to the US deployment of missiles in South Korea. https://www.rt.com/news/386828-china-thaad-south-korea/

In order to keep Americans confused, Washington now calls anti-ABMs THAAD, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense. China understands that THAAD has nothing whatsoever to do with N. Korea, which borders S. Korea, making it pointless for N. Korea to attack S. Korea with ICBMs.

THAAD in S. Korea is directed against China's retaliatory forces. It is part of Washington's preparations to nuke both Russia and China with minimal consequence to the US, although Europe would certainly be completely destroyed as THAAD or anti-ABMs are useless against Russian nuclear cruise missiles and the Russian air force.

But no Empire has ever cared about the fate of its vassals, and Washington is uninterested in Europe's fate. Washington is interested only in its hegemony over the world.

The question is: now that Russia and China understand that Washington is preparing for a preemptive nuclear strike against them in order to remove the two constraints on Washington's unilateral behavior, will the two countries sit there and wait for the strike?

What would you do?

On April 27 I posted on this website a column, "Washington Plans to Nuke Russia and China." My column was a report that this was the conclusion of the Russians and Chinese themselves. I quoted Russian Lt. Gen. Viktor Poznikhir, Deputy Head of Operations of the Russian General Staff and provided links for his expression of concern such as: https://www.rt.com/news/386276-us-missile-shield-russia-strike/

Jus' Sayin'... May 4, 2017 at 9:07 pm GMT

BTW, I agree entirely with the essential point of this essay, Mr. Roberets. It's obvious to any rational and informed person that the USA is engaged in a geopolitical strategy to surround Russia and China with a coordinated anti-ballistic-missile system. The posting of THAAD in the Korean peninsula is the latest phase of this plan. The USA's establishment seems to be planning a strategic system that they think will give the USA a first-strike capability and the flexibility to start a nuclear war with impunity. This plan is insanely dangerous and puts the entire world at risk of a nuclear conflagration.

But the poignancy of your message is greatly diminished by the overwrought, paranoid style with which you present it.

dearieme May 4, 2017 at 10:44 pm GMT

Are the people who run the US really prepared to gamble on a guaranteed 100% success rate for anti-missile missiles? Won't they die too if they are wrong?

Still, it's the simplest way to explain their very odd behaviour. Perhaps they think they can frighten the Russians and Chinese into surrender. Sounds awfully risky to me.

KenH says: May 5, 2017 at 1:57 am GMT • 200 Words

What I find disturbing in all this is that the U.S. has to know that they can't simultaneously neutralize Russia and China's entire nuclear arsenals and every means of delivery. But if so then this means they are ready and willing to sacrifice a portion of the American landmass and tens of millions of people to nuclear fire just to be the last man standing. Russia has "boomers" or submarines that can fire nuclear missiles from sea. I don't think the Chinese have that capability yet but I haven't been paying close attention.

Russia has multiple ways to deliver nuclear warheads and even if our nuclear defenses are only partially breached that means a terrible loss of life. It seems the U.S. high command has war gamed every scenario imaginable and thinks we will win with "acceptable" losses which of course doesn't include they or their loved ones.

We've become as bloodthirsty and psychopathic as the Likud party of Israel. For all intents and purposes the mover and shakers within our government are either real or honorary Likudniks.

nickels May 5, 2017 at 3:20 pm GMT
I have to wonder if the South Korean regime change of a few months back wasn't a CIA color revolution designed to put a puppet into government in SK that would be willing to host these missiles.
It had all the hallmarks:
-Fancy stage with a visual/audio propaganda machine
-Highly coordinated crowd (lighters, etc )
-Trumped up charges
-Demonization of the 'Church of Eternal Life', which is basically just another wacky protestant op,not a cult. If one looks at the google search results for this church (as opposed to, say bing) it is clear that they are on google's CIA list of organizations to demonize by leading search results to propaganda sites
-Use of the media to constantly demonize a single individual (Choi Soon) whose father was adviser to Ms Park (sounds like a pretty legit advisor to me)
-Ms Park had expressed a desire to work with both China and the US

In Tolkien's Silmarillion he describes the lineage of Sauron as essentially a fallen angel, aka a demon.
There is no doubt that Washington is run by a host of people who are possessed by demons.

As far as using real names, the reason I don't spell a full name out is not the desire to be unknown, but to avoid a search engine like google from collating everything I do online into a search result. Its one thing to be known in a certain circle of the internet, another for any bloke to pull everything together without context or participation in the actual discussions.

Harry Huntington, May 5, 2017 at 3:35 pm GMT

@Paul Craig Roberts

Folks who have seriously looked at the subject cannot help but agree with you. People should recall that back in the 1950s, Henry Kissinger wrote a study of the idea of limited nuclear war. As head of Nixon's NSC, Kissinger gave us SALT I, the first and in many respects most successful nuclear arms agreement. SALT I banned ballistic missile defense. It was understood by everyone, that ballistic missile defense is not a "defensive" system, but is part of a first strike weapons package. Ballistic missile defense can never be made good enough to defend against someone else's first strike. Ballistic missile defense can, however, be expected to defend after YOU have launched your own first strike and taken out most of the other side's nuclear forces.

Of course the Russians have not been standing still with all of this. Their S400 system has capabilities against both US stealth aircraft and ballistic missiles. The Russians make incremental changes to their systems and the Russian S500 system will have full blown ballistic missile defense capabilities. The Russians are also deploying their Topol M ICBM systems, and soon a successor, which is mobile and has multiple maneuverable warheads and penetration aids designed to defeat US ballistic missile defense systems. Most likely, as it seems is always the case, the US neocons will trust too much in US technology and will be unpleasantly surprised by the Russian response to any US nuclear first strike.

The wildcard of course is that a nuclear war need not be fought entirely with nuclear weapons. US conventional cruise missiles can be launched to target Russian radars. Likewise, however, the Russian Kalibr cruise missiles can directly take on US ballistic missile defense by threatening both US sea based defensive systems and land based THAAD systems.

It is easy to picture a scenario where in a crisis Russia strikes first using its conventional cruise missiles to target US ballistic missile defense sites. US sea based systems cannot engage in ballistic missile defense if they have to expend all of their missiles defending themselves from conventional attack. Similarly, a THAAD system is of limited use if Russians successfully destroy the missiles on the ground, or if they destroy the radars.

The US was surprised when the Russians used their Kalibr missiles with great success in Syria. That success created another layer of complexity in the US planning for nuclear war.

botazefa: May 5, 2017 at 7:16 pm GMT

It is my understanding that our THAAD deployments are not particularly numerous in comparison to the existing ICBM arsenal. It is also my understanding that THAAD is not particularly accurate.

If the author is so thin skinned that he cannot handle disagreement, then perhaps he lacks the self awareness to label dissenters as narcissists. To put it more plainly, the inability to take criticism is one of the diagnostic criteria of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. To believe that ones comments are so interesting that they invite active espionage on the part of Mossad and NATO is indicative of grandiose thinking, another diagnostic criteria of NPD.


alexander says:

May 5, 2017 at 8:10 pm GMT • 100 Words
@alexander

As though perhaps in the final tally we will have hit fifty two of "their" cities and they will only have hit 20 of "ours" .like Seattle , Houston, Atlanta, Miami, Chicago, Albany , Denver, Boston, Charlotte, San Francisco,Richmond, Trenton, Juneau,Wilmington, Raleigh, Concord,Providence,Detroit, Hartford and Columbia .

Is this "victory "in your mind , Utu ?

Can you really be suggesting this ?

34.Mao Cheng Ji says:

May 5, 2017 at 8:10 pm GMT • 100 Words
@utu
What is the purpose of anti-ABM installations around Russia and China? What is the purpose of claims of inflated abilities of these systems? Certainly not to prepare the first strike. It is to make Russia and China think that they will not win the first strike.

It's exactly the opposite. Modern ABM systems are useless against the first strike with 1500 nuclear ICBMs among god knows how many decoys. They are useful, however, against a much weaker retaliation strike, provided that most of the enemy's ICBMs have been destroyed (by your first strike) inside their silos. You will probably lose a few cities, but win Total World Domination. And that's the game.

[May 03, 2017] Trump and the Rush to Deploy THAAD by Raekyong Lee

Notable quotes:
"... Because of all these zigzags in U.S. policy, South Koreans perceive the Trump administration as irrational, self-centered, and impulsive. The demand for a large payment for THAAD has increased Moon Jae-in's skepticism of the system and boosted anti-American sentiment in the election. Moon is now openly critical of THAAD early deployment even in the face of conservative criticism. ..."
"... The shift in Korean perceptions of the United States is driven by the complete lack of concern for procedure in the decision on THAAD. Acting president Hwang Kyo-ahn is not authorized to make such a critical decision. Also, former President Park Geun-hye agreed initially to THAAD without consulting with the National Assembly. ..."
"... We do not know how the rapid deployment of THAAD was decided upon. Most likely it was an agreement reached between Kim Kwan-Jin, head of national security office in the Blue House, and Admiral Harry Harris, head of the US Pacific Command. Both are famous for their bellicose declarations and their close ties to military contractors. It seems less likely that Donald Trump was involved in the process. ..."
"... But Donald Trump has just thrown oil on the fire with his recent comments that Korea had once been a part of China-according to Xi Jinping. He has eliminated all Asia experts from the State Department and has no one around him who has any expertise on the region. This lack of actual understanding combines with the astonishing capacity of the U.S. president to reverse himself on North Korea. ..."
"... The failure of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to have dinner with acting president Hwang Kyo-ahn when he visited Korea in March only added insult to injury. ..."
May 03, 2017 | fpif.org
The Korean police swarmed onto the golf course in Seongju, just 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul, just before dawn on April 26. The officers pushed aside the dazed protesters and escorted a group of US Army military trailers that carried the critical parts for the THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) missile defense system.

The deployment of THAAD in Korea has become extremely contentious since China expressed its strong opposition. The sudden deployment of the AN/TPY-2 radar system and two missile launchers and interceptors a week before the Korean presidential election on May 9 has created even greater controversy. It looks for all the world like a bid to make deployment a fait accompli even as the liberal candidate Moon Jae-in, who is the frontrunner in several polls, suggests that the system requires further debate.

Although the incident did not grab the headlines around the world, it was an obvious effort to circumvent the Korean political process. It also marks a fundamental shift in Korea-US relations .

But that's not all. President Donald Trump also went on to demand that Korea pay one billion dollars for the cost of the deployment, even though the Korean military is not actually purchasing the missile defense system and has agreed to deployment in the face of strong opposition.

President Trump went on to condemn the KORUS Free Trade Agreement, calling it a "horrible deal" and threatening to "terminate" it. Trump has linked together security issues with trade issues in an aggressive manner, hinting that the crisis might be resolved if Seoul were more accommodating in trade negotiations.

This mix of trade issues with security issues goes against the grain of the entire shared-values strategy that the United States has employed since the Second World War. Trump suggests, in so many words, that the military alliance is an economic exchange and that THAAD, or just about anything, can be modified or even eliminated if the price is right. Though this approach may seem like common sense to Donald Trump, the implication is that the United States military is a mercenary force whose purpose is not determined by a commitment to democracy and free markets but rather the balance in the national treasury.

And lo and behold, on May 1, Trump stated that he would be "honored" to meet with Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, a country that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has refused to engage in discussions, despite numerous offers by the Chinese. At other times, the Trump administration has suggested that military action against North Korea was imminent.

Korean Politics

Because of all these zigzags in U.S. policy, South Koreans perceive the Trump administration as irrational, self-centered, and impulsive. The demand for a large payment for THAAD has increased Moon Jae-in's skepticism of the system and boosted anti-American sentiment in the election. Moon is now openly critical of THAAD early deployment even in the face of conservative criticism.

The shift in Korean perceptions of the United States is driven by the complete lack of concern for procedure in the decision on THAAD. Acting president Hwang Kyo-ahn is not authorized to make such a critical decision. Also, former President Park Geun-hye agreed initially to THAAD without consulting with the National Assembly.

There has been literally no debate among legislators on THAAD. The issue is simply not a matter of a North Korean threat. China perceives THAAD as an effort to undermine its own defensive capabilities. Although experts can debate the fine points, deployment will trigger an arms race in Northeast Asia that could draw in Korea, Japan, Russia, and perhaps other nations. China currently has under 300 nuclear weapons (as opposed to the United States with almost 7,000). Worried that THAAD could neutralize this relatively small arsenal, China could increase that number to a thousand or more.

We do not know how the rapid deployment of THAAD was decided upon. Most likely it was an agreement reached between Kim Kwan-Jin, head of national security office in the Blue House, and Admiral Harry Harris, head of the US Pacific Command. Both are famous for their bellicose declarations and their close ties to military contractors. It seems less likely that Donald Trump was involved in the process.

But Donald Trump has just thrown oil on the fire with his recent comments that Korea had once been a part of China-according to Xi Jinping. He has eliminated all Asia experts from the State Department and has no one around him who has any expertise on the region. This lack of actual understanding combines with the astonishing capacity of the U.S. president to reverse himself on North Korea.

A New South Korean Policy?

A Moon administration is likely to pursue improved relations with North Korea, in contrast to the last ten years of conservative government. It will also encounter at least the same hostility that the Roh Moo-hyun administration encountered from the George W. Bush administration.

Moon is likely to try to bring back some version of Kim Daejung's "sunshine policy," which promoted diplomatic, economic, and cultural engagement with the North. Conservatives thought they'd put a stake through the heart of this engagement policy last year when they shut down the last vestige of cooperation, the Kaesong Industrial Complex, run jointly by the North and South. Such efforts to reopen dialog with North Korea will likely be combined with a push for the transfer of operational wartime control of the military to Korea over the next few years and a Korean foreign policy that is more independent of the United States.

In fact, Korea could well be the one of the most independent-minded of all the United States allies under a Moon administration. Obama's "strategic neglect" of North Korea and inaction in the face of nuclear tests has caused enormous frustration for South Korea. A Moon administration could forge its own policy toward the North that would be substantially different from Washington's.

North Korea is fully aware of the manner in which outside power overthrew governments in Libya and Iraq because they lacked sufficient deterrence. As a result, Pyongyang is unlikely to make any easy compromises, especially as Kim Jung-un has staked his legitimacy on the nuclear program as an assertion of national autonomy.

But for all the rhetoric of the need to stand up to North Korea, American engagement in Korea is in retreat. Increasingly China offers the real economic opportunities to Koreans, and Chinese language schools are popping up all over the place. By contrast, Citibank announced the closure of one-third of its branches in Korea in April, and the percentage of Americans among foreigners in Korea has declined significantly.

Astonishingly, in the face of threats of war with North Korea, the United States not only no longer has an ambassador to the Republic of Korea -- the last ambassador Mark Lippert was asked to step down on January 19 -- there is not even a candidate. Korea was essentially left out of the conversation between Trump and Shinzo Abe at the White House in February and also between Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago. The failure of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to have dinner with acting president Hwang Kyo-ahn when he visited Korea in March only added insult to injury.

Ultimately, the THAAD anti-missile system is part of a long-term relationship with the United States that dates back to the late nineteenth century. Overall, although North Korea is getting front-page coverage in the mainstream media, South Korea has not registered as a major player for the Trump administration. If steps are not taken to find common ground and engage Koreans about some other topic than the North Korean threat, there is a danger of a rise in anti-American sentiments and a corresponding drop in American influence.

Raekyong Lee is president of The Tomorrow, a leading progressive think tank in Seoul, Korea, dedicated to economic and security issues. He was deeply involved in the democracy movement in the 1970s and 1980s in Korea and writes frequently about international relations and politics.

[May 01, 2017] Saber rattling: China and US at a dangerous military tipping point

Notable quotes:
"... Already there has been a blacklash. Liu Yuan, a retired Chinese general who is generally outspoken on Chinese security matters, wrote for China's state-run Global Times that the Chinese military could conduct a "surgical hard-kill operation that would destroy the target, paralyzing it and making it unable to hit back." ..."
"... Though such military actions are unlikely, China has already forced the closing of 23 stores owned by Lotte, one of South Korea's huge family-run conglomerates (Lotte agreed to turn over a parcel of land in South Korea on which the THAAD system would be placed). State media has also encouraged Chinese citizens to boycott South Korean products, a move that, if effective, could rob major South Korean companies, like Samsung and Hyundai, of a massive consumer market. ..."
"... THAAD is a relatively new addition to the U.S. military's missile defense arsenal. Produced by Lockheed Martin (and priced at more than $1 billion per system), THAAD consists of a battery of truck-launched interceptor missiles and a powerful X-band radar that can detect, track and target inbound missile threats. ..."
"... In other words, THAAD can see enemy ballistic missiles coming and can knock them out of the sky as they plunge toward their targets. Unlike some missile interceptors that navigate into the proximity of a missile and then explode to destroy or deflect the incoming threat, THAAD's missiles simply slam into their targets head-on, destroying them purely through kinetic force. ..."
"... THADD's military value is spelled out in its name. It intercepts ballistic missiles during their "terminal" phase - that is, when they have passed their apogee and begun falling toward their targets. They can intercept these missiles at very high altitudes, up to roughly 90 miles above Earth's surface. Unlike other missile defense systems, like the Patriot PAC-3 that are designed mainly to defend a particular patch of ground, THAAD's powerful AN/TPY-2 radar can both monitor and defend large areas from short- and medium-range missiles. ..."
"... China has long vowed retaliation if the United States should deploy THAAD to South Korea, citing security concerns that center more on the radar than the interceptor missiles. THAAD's radar is powerful enough to peer into Chinese airspace, military officials there argue, allowing the United States to monitor Chinese missile tests and provide early warning of any Chinese missile launch, upsetting the strategic balance of power. ..."
"... Radar installations in Taiwan, Japan and even Qatar already have the capacity to peer into Chinese airspace, to say nothing of the many space-based satellites that provide missile tracking and early warning capabilities to the United States. "It's not that [China's objections] are irrational, but it's more about what the deployment symbolizes than the radar's actual capability," Lewis says. ..."
"... The United States and South Korea declared their intention to deploy THAAD to South Korea last year (and have discussed the possibility going back as far as 2013), but China's staunch opposition to the deployment and other geopolitical considerations kept the United States from doing so. ..."
"... However, one potential negative consequence of THAAD's deployment stems from the sense of complacency that such systems can foster. THAAD can soften the effect of a missile salvo, but it's not a silver bullet for either North Korean or Chinese ballistic missile arsenals that are both growing in size and sophistication. ..."
May 01, 2017 | www.cnbc.com
THAAD deployment begins in South Korea on Tuesday, 7 Mar 2017

China is lashing out at South Korea and Washington for the deployment of a powerful missile defense system known as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD, deposited at the Osan Air Base in South Korea on Monday evening.

The deployment of THAAD follows several ballistic missile tests by North Korea in recent months, including the launch of four missiles on Monday , three of which landed in the sea off the coast of Japan. Though THAAD would help South Korea protect itself from a North Korean missile attack, China is vocally protesting the deployment of the system, claiming it upsets the "strategic equilibrium" in the region because its radar will allow the United States to detect and track missiles launched from China.

North Korean provocations aside, THAAD's arrival on the Korean Peninsula comes amid heightened tensions between the new U.S. administration and China, as well as uncertainty surrounding the U.S. military's commitment to its security relationships in the region and around the world. Within that context, THAAD's deployment packs a significant amount of symbolic firepower alongside its battery of interceptor missiles.

Already there has been a blacklash. Liu Yuan, a retired Chinese general who is generally outspoken on Chinese security matters, wrote for China's state-run Global Times that the Chinese military could conduct a "surgical hard-kill operation that would destroy the target, paralyzing it and making it unable to hit back."

Though such military actions are unlikely, China has already forced the closing of 23 stores owned by Lotte, one of South Korea's huge family-run conglomerates (Lotte agreed to turn over a parcel of land in South Korea on which the THAAD system would be placed). State media has also encouraged Chinese citizens to boycott South Korean products, a move that, if effective, could rob major South Korean companies, like Samsung and Hyundai, of a massive consumer market.

South Korea is reportedly considering filing a complaint with the World Trade Organization over China's economic retaliation. The commercial ramifications of THAAD could still escalate further.

What can THAAD do?

THAAD is a relatively new addition to the U.S. military's missile defense arsenal. Produced by Lockheed Martin (and priced at more than $1 billion per system), THAAD consists of a battery of truck-launched interceptor missiles and a powerful X-band radar that can detect, track and target inbound missile threats.

In other words, THAAD can see enemy ballistic missiles coming and can knock them out of the sky as they plunge toward their targets. Unlike some missile interceptors that navigate into the proximity of a missile and then explode to destroy or deflect the incoming threat, THAAD's missiles simply slam into their targets head-on, destroying them purely through kinetic force.

THADD's military value is spelled out in its name. It intercepts ballistic missiles during their "terminal" phase - that is, when they have passed their apogee and begun falling toward their targets. They can intercept these missiles at very high altitudes, up to roughly 90 miles above Earth's surface. Unlike other missile defense systems, like the Patriot PAC-3 that are designed mainly to defend a particular patch of ground, THAAD's powerful AN/TPY-2 radar can both monitor and defend large areas from short- and medium-range missiles.

There are a number of things THAAD cannot do, however. Given that its missiles do not contain a warhead, its batteries are fairly useless as an offensive weapon, a characteristic that some consider a feature from a political standpoint. In a statement announcing THAAD's deployment to South Korea, U.S Pacific Command was careful to note that "the THAAD system is a strictly defensive capability and it poses no threat to other countries in the region."

Moreover, THAAD is not designed to destroy missiles while they are boosting skyward, nor can it shoot down something like an intercontinental-range ballistic missile, or ICBM. (Intermediate and intercontinental range missiles travel far too fast for systems like THAAD to target and intercept.) In a scenario in which North Korea or China were to launch missiles bound for targets in the United States, THAAD batteries in South Korea and Japan would not be able to target those weapons.

A historical perspective

China has long vowed retaliation if the United States should deploy THAAD to South Korea, citing security concerns that center more on the radar than the interceptor missiles. THAAD's radar is powerful enough to peer into Chinese airspace, military officials there argue, allowing the United States to monitor Chinese missile tests and provide early warning of any Chinese missile launch, upsetting the strategic balance of power.

Following the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency in November, one Chinese official called the potential deployment of THAAD a " political weather vane " for the new U.S. administration and its relationship with China.

"This marks a real act of courage on the part of the South Korean government, working with its American allies, to do what these two countries together feel is a necessary and appropriate action in the face of Chinese bullying." -Tom Karako, senior fellow, Center for Strategic and Int'l Studies

But as Dr. Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterrey in California, points out, China's objection to THAAD rings somewhat hollow. Radar installations in Taiwan, Japan and even Qatar already have the capacity to peer into Chinese airspace, to say nothing of the many space-based satellites that provide missile tracking and early warning capabilities to the United States. "It's not that [China's objections] are irrational, but it's more about what the deployment symbolizes than the radar's actual capability," Lewis says.

In other words, beyond its technical capability THAAD's deployment symbolizes further solidification of the military ties between the United States and South Korea, ties Beijing has sought to loosen for decades.

"I think the photo op really helped seal the deal for some of the political and assurance significance," Tom Karako, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, says of the video released showing the first pieces of the THAAD system rolling off the C-17 at Osan on Monday evening. "This marks a real act of courage on the part of the South Korean government, working with its American allies, to do what these two countries together feel is a necessary and appropriate action in the face of Chinese bullying."

If THAAD is a political weather vane, Beijing now knows which way the wind is blowing. Why is this happening now?

The United States and South Korea declared their intention to deploy THAAD to South Korea last year (and have discussed the possibility going back as far as 2013), but China's staunch opposition to the deployment and other geopolitical considerations kept the United States from doing so.

One reason the United States and South Korea are moving to deploy THAAD now, Lewis says, is likely due to the fact that at least one of the major political stumbling blocks has been removed. South Korean president Park Geun-hye is currently embroiled in political scandal and facing impeachment, creating a unique political opportunity for the South Korean government.

"It's very controversial, the THAAD system," Lewis says. "And whoever comes after Park will have the system in place without the responsibility of having agreed to it." What lies ahead Consequences - intended and not - from the deployment of THAAD will continue to manifest themselves over the coming weeks and months. In terms of positive fallout, U.S.-based makers of missile defense systems like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon are positioned to benefit from growing ballistic missile threats across Asia, the Middle East and Europe - threats underscored by THAAD's deployment to South Korea.

A recent note to investors by Cowen and Co. defense analyst Roman Schweizer cites both Lockheed Martin (maker of THAAD) and Raytheon (maker of various interceptor missiles, as well as components of THAAD's radar and tracking systems) as likely beneficiaries of an ongoing uptick in global defense expenditures, in large part due to their missile defense technology.

However, one potential negative consequence of THAAD's deployment stems from the sense of complacency that such systems can foster. THAAD can soften the effect of a missile salvo, but it's not a silver bullet for either North Korean or Chinese ballistic missile arsenals that are both growing in size and sophistication.

"They're missiles, and this is missile defense, and for a lot of people that checks all the boxes," Lewis says. "The unintended consequence I can see is that you don't want the South Korean people to think this solves the North Korean missile problem, because it doesn't."

- By Clay Dillow, special to CNBC.com

[Apr 25, 2017] Gaius Publius: Hillary Clinton Explains Our North Korea, South Korea, China Policy

Notable quotes:
"... it would have more to do with it probably leading to the US having a weaker hold over the Korean peninsula ..."
"... 'A reunification would endow the fully up-to-date South Korean army backed by a roaring advanced economy with the one weapon it does not have: the atomic bomb.' ..."
"... sixty-four ..."
"... - H-bomb technology, and it took minds of the caliber of von Neumann and Teller a decade to work out how to make those. ..."
"... Is it clear how much v Neumann had a hand in on that key problem? ..."
Apr 25, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Yves here. Even though some may try arguing that Hillary Clinton was discussing China's view of North and South Korea in her Goldman speech, it is naive to think that it is actually different from ours, despite the regular histrionics. As an anonymous reader at DownWithTyranny pointed out:

Again, if you review our (and their) policies since '50 and think about it for only a minute, you realize both we and the Chinese want a split Korea. And we want it for much the same reasons. The North provides an annoyance to the US which inspires fear and stupidity AND billions spent on weapons to keep certain sectors rich and occupied.

Now that the south has emerged as an economic and manufacturing behemoth, the need to keep them separate is even more pronounced, for just the reasons enunciated.

By Gaius Publius , a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States and frequent contributor to DownWithTyranny, digby, Truthout, and Naked Capitalism. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius , Tumblr and Facebook . GP article archive here . Originally published at DownWithTyranny

"We don't want a unified Korean peninsula We [also] don't want the North Koreans to cause more trouble than the system can absorb."

-Hillary Clinton, 2013, speech to Goldman Sachs

Our policy toward North Korea is not what most people think it is. We don't want the North Koreans to go away. In fact, we like them doing what they're doing; we just want less of it than they've been doing lately. If this sounds confusing, it's because this policy is unlike what the public has been led to assume. Thanks to something uncovered by WikiLeaks, the American public has a chance to be unconfused about what's really going on with respect to our policies in Korea.

This piece isn't intended to criticize that policy; it may be an excellent one. I'm just want to help us understand it better.

Our source for the U.S. government's actual Korean policy - going back decades really - is former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She resigned that position in February 2013 , and on June 4, 2013 she gave a speech at Goldman Sachs with Lloyd Blankfein present (perhaps on stage with her) in which she discussed in what sounds like a very frank manner, among many other things, the U.S. policy toward the two Korea and the relationship of that policy to China.

That speech and two others were sent by Tony Carrk of the Clinton campaign to a number of others in the campaign, including John Podesta. WikiLeaks subsequently released that email as part of its release of other Podesta emails (source email with attachments here ). In that speech, Clinton spoke confidentially and, I believe, honestly. What she said in that speech, I take her as meaning truthfully. There's certainly no reason for her to lie to her peers, and in some cases her betters, at Goldman Sachs. The entire speech reads like elites talking with elites in a space reserved just for them.

I'm not trying to impugn Clinton or WikiLeaks by writing this - that's not my intention at all. I just want to learn from what she has to say - from a position of knowledge - about the real U.S. policy toward North Korea. After all, if Goldman Sachs executives can be told this, it can't be that big a secret. We should be able to know it as well.

What Clinton's Speech Tells Us about U.S. Korea Policy

The WikiLeaks tweet is above. The entire speech, contained in the attachment to the email, is here . I've reprinted some of the relevant portions below, first quoting Ms. Clinton with some interspersed comments from me. Then, adding some thoughts about what this seems to imply about our approach to and relations with South Korea.

The Korea section of the Goldman Sachs speech starts with a discussion of China, and then Blankfein pivots to Korea. Blankfein's whole question that leads to the Clinton quote tweeted by WikiLeaks above (my emphasis throughout):

MR. BLANKFEIN: The Japanese - I was more surprised that it wasn't like that when you think of - all these different things. It's such a part of who they are, their response to Japan. If you bump into the Filipino fishing boats, then I think you really - while we're in the neighborhood [i.e., discussing Asia], the Chinese is going to help us or help themselves - what is helping themselves? North Korea? On the one hand they [the Chinese] wouldn't want - they don't want to unify Korea, but they can't really like a nutty nuclear power on their border. What is their interests and what are they going to help us do?

Clinton's whole answer is reprinted in the WikiLeaks tweet attachment (click through to the tweet and expand the embedded image to read it all). The relevant portions, for my purposes, are printed below. From the rest of her remarks, the context of Blankfein's question and Clinton's answer is the threat posed by a North Korean ICBM, not unlike the situation our government faces today.

MS. CLINTON: Well, I think [Chinese] traditional policy has been close to what you've described. We don't want a unified Korean peninsula, because if there were one South Korea would be dominant for the obvious economic and political reasons.

We [also] don't want the North Koreans to cause more trouble than the system can absorb . So we've got a pretty good thing going with the previous North Korean leaders [Kim Il-sung and Kim Jung-il]. And then along comes the new young leader [Kim Jung-un], and he proceeds to insult the Chinese. He refuses to accept delegations coming from them. He engages in all kinds of both public and private rhetoric, which seems to suggest that he is preparing himself to stand against not only the South Koreans and the Japanese and the Americans, but also the Chinese.

Translation - three points:

It appears that China has the same interest in keeping this situation as-is that we do. That is, they want South Korea (and us) to have a Korean adversary, but they don't want the adversary acting out of acceptable bounds - coloring outside the lines laid down by the Chinese (and the U.S.), as it were. Clinton:

So the new [Chinese] leadership basically calls him [Kim Jung-un] on the carpet. And a high ranking North Korean military official has just finished a visit in Beijing and basically told [him, as a message from the Chinese]: Cut it out. Just stop it. Who do you think you are? And you are dependent on us [the Chinese], and you know it. And we expect you to demonstrate the respect that your father and your grandfather [Kim Jung-il, Kim Il-sung] showed toward us, and there will be a price to pay if you do not.

Now, that looks back to an important connection of what I said before. The biggest supporters of a provocative North Korea has been the PLA [the Chinese People's Liberation Army]. The deep connections between the military leadership in China and in North Korea has really been the mainstay of the relationship. So now all of a sudden new leadership with Xi and his team, and they're saying to the North Koreans - and by extension to the PLA - no. It is not acceptable. We don't need this [trouble] right now. We've got other things going on. So you're going to have to pull back from your provocative actions, start talking to South Koreans again about the free trade zones, the business zones on the border, and get back to regular order and do it quickly.

Now, we don't care if you occasionally shoot off a missile. That's good. That upsets the Americans and causes them heartburn, but you can't keep going down a path that is unpredictable . We don't like that. That is not acceptable to us.

So I think they're trying to reign Kim Jong in. I think they're trying to send a clear message to the North Korean military. They also have a very significant trade relationship with Seoul and they're trying to reassure Seoul that, you know, we're now on the case.

Clinton ends with a fourth point:

Clinton:

So they want to keep North Korea within their orbit. They want to keep it predictable in their view. They have made some rather significant statements recently that they would very much like to see the North Koreans pull back from their nuclear program. Because I and everybody else - and I know you had Leon Panetta here this morning. You know, we all have told the Chinese if they continue to develop this missile program and they get an ICBM that has the capacity to carry a small nuclear weapon on it, which is what they're aiming to do, we cannot abide that. Because they could not only do damage to our treaty allies, namely Japan and South Korea, but they could actually reach Hawaii and the west coast theoretically, and we're going to ring China with missile defense . We're going to put more of our fleet in the area.

So China, come on. You either control them or we're going to have to defend against them .

The four bullets above (three, and then one) give a very clear definition of longstanding U.S. policy toward the two Koreas. I think the only surprise in this, for us civilians, is that the U.S. doesn't want the Korean peninsula unified. So two questions: Why not? And, do the South Koreans know this? I'll offer brief answers below.

The "Great Game" In East Asia - Keeping the Korean "Tiger" in Check

South Korea is one of the great emerging nations in East Asia, one of the "Asian tigers," a manufacturing and economic powerhouse that's lately been turning into a technological and innovative powerhouse as well.

For example, one of just many, from Forbes :

Why South Korea Will Be The Next Global Hub For Tech Startups

American business has long led the way in high tech density or the proportion of businesses that engage in activities such as Internet software and services, hardware and semiconductors. The US is fertile ground for tech start-ups with access to capital and a culture that celebrates risk taking. Other countries have made their mark on the world stage, competing to be prominent tech and innovation hubs. Israel has been lauded as a start-up nation with several hundred companies getting funded by venture capital each year. A number of these companies are now being acquired by the likes of Apple, Facebook and Google. Finland and Sweden have attracted notice by bringing us Angry Birds and Spotify among others. But a new start-up powerhouse is on the horizon – South Korea . [ ]

In other words, South Korea has leaped beyond being a country that keeps U.S. tech CEOs wealthy - it's now taking steps that threaten that wealth itself. And not just in electronics; the biological research field - think cloning - is an area the South Koreans are trying to take a lead in as well.

It's easy to understand Ms. Clinton's - and the business-captured American government's - interest in making sure that the U.S. CEO class isn't further threatened by a potential doubling of the capacity of the South Korean government and economy. Let them (the Koreans) manufacture to their heart's content, our policy seems to say; but to threaten our lead in billionaire-producing entrepreneurship that's a bridge too far.

Again, this is Clinton speaking, I'm absolutely certain, on behalf of U.S. government policy makers and the elites they serve: We don't want a unified Korean peninsula, because if there were one, an already-strong South Korea would be dominant for obvious economic reasons.

As to whether the South Koreans know that this is our policy, I'd have to say, very likely yes. After all, if Clinton is saying this to meetings of Goldman Sachs executives, it can't be that big a secret. It's just that the South Korea leadership knows better than the North Korean leader how to handle it.

0 0 64 0 2 This entry was posted in China , Doomsday scenarios , Guest Post , Politics on April 25, 2017 by Yves Smith . Subscribe to Post Comments 41 comments Harshin like 1989 , April 25, 2017 at 1:00 am

Weren't we scared shitless of the Japanese in the 80s, thinking they were gonna clean our clocks? Try not to get too worked up and overestimate the ability of a conformist society to bury us.

Yves Smith Post author , April 25, 2017 at 2:45 am

It's a lot more complicated than that. You forget that Japan was and is a military protectorate of the US. For instance, in the 1987 crash, the Fed called the Bank of Japan and told it to buy Treasuries. The BoJ told the Japanese banks to comply and they did.

The US ran the yen up via the Plaza Accords in 1985. Way up. They did succeed in denting Japanese exports to the US but it did squat for increasing US exports to Japan.

The US also forced rapid bank deregulation on Japan. It was like telling someone who ran a drayage company that they were really in the transportation business, giving them a 747, and telling them to fly it. I had Sumitomo Bank as a client when the deregulation was starting. They were (correctly) considered the best run bank in Japan. They didn't even have modern asset-liability management adequate to handle traditional retail and wholesale banking, let alone capital markets operations. The Japanese bubble and bust was in no small measure our doing.

Larry , April 25, 2017 at 8:59 am

While I certainly understand all of that about Japan, is it not the same case with South Korea? My understanding is that we have between 25-30,000 troops constantly stationed along the DMZ and within South Korea. I would presume we're also gladly selling the South Koreans military technology. And let's say that magically North and South Korea do reunite, what happens then with the Chinese border? Won't the Koreans still want to remain essentially a military protectorate during what would certainly be a messy reunification period so as to not have to worry about China working to undermine the process? I would say the US would have a major role in shaping how the reunification were to go and do it's best to keep the billionaire classes happy as can be.

oho , April 25, 2017 at 10:01 am

> I would presume we're also gladly selling the South Koreans military technology.

There's a big govt-sponsored push to develop an indigenous Korean defense/aerospace industry. It's 0.5 – 1 generation behind the US (on paper), but more than sophisticated enough for export to developing nations.

>won't the Koreans still want to remain essentially a military protectorate

Not necessarily. Koreans don't view China as an existential threat/rival as US neocons do. China is Korea's #1 export market. And Korea has no existential threats in its neighborhood (ex. North Korea).

historically, the only invaders that came from the North were the Mongols and Khitans (a Manchurian tribe) not Han Chinese. (if i recall correctly)

PlutoniumKun , April 25, 2017 at 11:58 am

The Koreans have a very sophisticated domestic defence industry – and its already started to annoy the US as weapons like the T-50 trainer (a sort of cheap knock-off of the F-16) is attracting sales US companies were hoping for (it might even be in with a chance of winning the competition to supply the US with new supersonic trainers). They've a new tank purpose built for fighting in mountainous regions and is probably the best in the world for that role. But most of their weaponry is still US made.

Korea is the Poland of Asia – a country forever plagued by being sandwiched between two larger, nastier neighbours. In theory they should be friends with Japan, but old wounds haven't healed, and they are not particularly pro-Chinese historically either. They currently have a very delicate relationship with China – in theory very good, in practice, the Chinese are fond of reminding them of their weaker position, as with the current economic-boycott-in-all-but-name over the siting of THAAD missiles in Korea. I don't think they would look forward at all to the decisions required if they found themselves sharing a border with China. Like Japan, they find delegating hard geopolitical decisions to the US to be comfortable, it avoids having to face up to hard issues.

carycat , April 25, 2017 at 1:24 pm

What is not mentioned is that Japan is a bigger threat in terms of military aggression or economic competition to Korea. Plenty of Koreans still have 1st hand knowledge of how they were treated by invading Japanese troops.

Altandmain , April 25, 2017 at 10:12 am

I would not underestimate Japan like that.

Eamonn Fingleton is perhaps the best writer about this.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/eamonnfingleton/2015/04/01/this-is-no-april-fool-japan-is-beating-the-pants-off-the-united-states/#51d39cea5b88

It is dumb and frankly, quite racist to assume the Japanese are conformist. Many of the top materials sciences areas are now dominated by Japan. The US continues to run a deficit on Japan.

Oh and Japanese culture has its own following. Pokemon, Japanese anime, and a few things like Sushi are their own inventions.

Mark P. , April 25, 2017 at 1:10 am

Eh. This post is very much 'Department of Breaking News: Rain is Wet.'

Two points -

[1] The bolded quote from Forbes - But a new start-up powerhouse is on the horizon – South Korea. [ ] - very much understates the situation. For instance, some tech cognoscenti like to talk about the stacks. See forex this book -

The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty
By Benjamin H. Bratton
https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/stack

The stacks are Amazon, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook and Apple. There is only one non-American stack and that's Samsung. That's not a small deal. South Korea has arrived.

[2] Gaius Publius claims: 'It's easy to understand Ms. Clinton's - and the business-captured American government's - interest in making sure that the U.S. CEO class isn't further threatened by a potential doubling of the capacity of the South Korean government and economy.'

No. If Mrs. Clinton and the U.S. CEO class are threatened, then the one thing they won't mind is the re-unification of the two Koreas.

That's because conservative estimates are that modernizing North Korea's economy could cost South Korea at least $500 billion. Per capita GDP in North Korea today is roughly $1,000-$1,200. Whereas South Korea's per capita GDP is $33,062, according to the World Bank.

The cost of German reunification was a trifle by comparison.

Colonel Smithers , April 25, 2017 at 5:01 am

Thank you, Mark.

With regard to reunification and its cost, around the time of Kim Il Sung's passing and the mass outpouring of grief, it was suggested that the Northerners had psychological issues and were not of a type that could fit into the South's economy / society, so reunification was best kicked permanently into the long grass.

This sort of view has often been expressed about Ossis by Wessis in Germany. There is a joke that Wessis would like to rebuild the wall, but higher.

Marco , April 25, 2017 at 5:35 am

If Stuxnet could wreak havoc with Iranian nuclear infrastructure I wonder what strange and delightful memetic goodies our tech-spook chefs could cook up against an Apple rival like Samsung. The Galaxy Note S7 debacle was WEIRD.

Colonel Smithers , April 25, 2017 at 5:43 am

Thank you, Marco. Very good point.

Larry , April 25, 2017 at 9:04 am

I don't think the Galaxy Note fiasco was weird at all. The stories that emerged in the aftermath indicated that Samsung saw a gap to exploit in Apple's iPhone update cycle and they rushed their product to market with substandard QC. The battery was ultimately under physical stress that destabilized the Li batteries cells and leading to spontaneous combustion. Rushing substandard products to market to grab market isn't unique to Samsung by any stretch, but to think that America had anything to do with it is just pure speculation that ignores the reported facts.

PlutoniumKun , April 25, 2017 at 7:00 am

Yes, I was thinking that too, a fear of a united Korea as some sort of global competitor to the US doesn't really make sense in the short to medium term. It would certainly take up most of Koreas energies and spare resources at least 10 years to deal with it. And its hard to see how Korea's big companies would benefit so much, as they already have access to cheap manufacturing zones all over Asia. Anyway, a unified Korea would still be significantly smaller than in terms of population and economy than Japan.

If the US establishment is really against unification (I have to say, that my interpretation of whats written is that HRC was talking more about China's views), I'd say it would have more to do with it probably leading to the US having a weaker hold over the Korean peninsula, as a unified Korea would likely pursue a more independent foreign policy.

Bill Smith , April 25, 2017 at 7:30 am

I agree with you that the way HRC was speaking she was giving the Chinese view.

Our view for opposition would be a unified Korea led by what was North Korea.

John B. , April 25, 2017 at 7:58 am

I agree with you that Clinton was summarizing China's view, not the U.S. view, when she said, "We don't want a unified Korean peninsula, because if there were one South Korea would be dominant for the obvious economic and political reasons." I suspect U.S. strategists would prefer a unified, South-dominated Korea on China's border, to help contain China better. The Pentagon could hope for even more military sales to a unified Korea pressed right up against China.

That said, getting from here to there would be so disruptive I doubt any U.S. administration would try to accomplish it. Though with Trump, who knows?

visitor , April 25, 2017 at 9:48 am

it would have more to do with it probably leading to the US having a weaker hold over the Korean peninsula

South Korea has a technologically advanced economy and a modern army. It increasingly designs and produces its own fighting equipment (e.g. tanks) instead of buying them from, crucially, the USA. In several decades of hard work, it built entire industries that can provide everything that is needed: steel industry, naval yards, automobile industry, electronics, telecommunications, software, etc.

A reunification would endow the fully up-to-date South Korean army backed by a roaring advanced economy with the one weapon it does not have: the atomic bomb.

Neither China, nor the USA, nor Japan, nor Russia want that.

joe defiant , April 25, 2017 at 2:12 pm

This nails the situation IMHO. Everyone subjected to US imperialism dreams of nuclear power because the bargaining power it gives against US power. The US is doing more to promote other nations gaining nuclear weapons than it is in slowing it.

Bill Smith , April 25, 2017 at 2:52 pm

Other countries have had nuclear weapons and given them up. No reason to believe it couldn't happen in Korea if the South ended up with the whole thing.

Mark P. , April 25, 2017 at 4:07 pm

Absolutely correct.

Mark P. , April 25, 2017 at 3:42 pm

'A reunification would endow the fully up-to-date South Korean army backed by a roaring advanced economy with the one weapon it does not have: the atomic bomb.'

No. The Norkean nukes are simple fission weapons that would provide no real technological or strategic advantage to any future re-unified Republic of both Koreas.

Despite what you've heard, no nation-state that seriously tried to build simple fission weapons ever failed to do so. This includes the likes of South Africa, which dismantled its weapons. Ukraine also gave up its weapons and other countries, like Sweden have curtailed such nuclear bomb programs.

These countries did this because it's not clear that in general nukes provide a strategic advantage in international relations, unless you're in a situation where you're surrounded by enemies like Israel or Pyongyang.

Fission weapons are simple once you've acquired the enriched uranium and plutonium. How simple can they be? So simple that in the case of the Fat Man device dropped on Nagasaki, the U.S. bomber crew kept the fissile components disassembled till they approached the target because the potential existed otherwise to go critical if there was, say, excessive air turbulence that shook the plane on the way to the target.

Basically, the Norkeans seem to be at the stage of boosted fission weapons, where (to simplify) some fusion fuel (deuterium) is wrapped around a fission device - what Edward Teller called an "Alarm Clock" type of bomb, and Andrei Sakharov a "Sloika" or "Layer Cake" device. In other words, the Norkeans have gotten no further than pre-1953 U.S. nuclear boosted fission technology - that is, no further than the U.S. sixty-four years ago.

Not that you want such weapons in Pyongyang's hands. Also, what makes a difference is that they can access 2017 rocket and computer guidance technology, so they can put these relatively bulky bombs atop rockets. But if you really want serious nuclear warheads of all sizes and capabilities, you need staged fusion devices - H-bomb technology, and it took minds of the caliber of von Neumann and Teller a decade to work out how to make those.

To sum up: if South Korea wanted to build mere fission weapons of the type that Pyongyang has it could do so immediately. So could Japan and others.

redleg , April 25, 2017 at 8:01 pm

(Over)Reliance on electronics makes a first world economy and way of life enormously vulnerable to that old design though EMP.

Mark P. , April 25, 2017 at 10:30 pm

True.

Science Officer Smirnoff , April 25, 2017 at 8:02 pm

- H-bomb technology, and it took minds of the caliber of von Neumann and Teller a decade to work out how to make those.

Just a footnote: S Ulam should get at least equal billing with Teller. This is a notorious case of not giving credit where credit is due. Or discredit-when the future of humanity is at stake?

(Is it clear how much v Neumann had a hand in on that key problem?)

Mark P. , April 25, 2017 at 10:26 pm

Sorry re. Ulam. I was in a hurry.

Is it clear how much v Neumann had a hand in on that key problem?

In the sense that all the other guys ran their maths and theories by von Neumann, and Ulam in particular was best buddies with him. When it came time in 1953, post-Ivy Mike, to do the road show presentation to the U.S. Air Force to tell them that in future H-bombs could be built small enough to make ICBMs feasible, it was von Neumann and Teller who made the presentation.

Von Neumann also had the clout on the AEC and elsewhere by then to make it happen, too.

Colonel Smithers , April 25, 2017 at 4:56 am

Thank you for this clarification, Yves. Splendid, as always.

This issue reminds me of attitudes towards Germany in / around 1989 – 90. You may recall Thatcher's trip / plea to Moscow to prevent unification. France came up with a different way of "containing" Germany I remember particular comments about the combination of wirtschaftwunder West Germany and what was then considered the Warsaw Pact / Comecon's best performer, including in intelligence, East Germany. The musings also stretched to sport, West Germany being good at football and East Germany at athletics, and, again, what a pairing that would be.

With regard to Sumitomo, former colleagues who worked there (in the 1990s) say similar, but don't mention US interference. Did not Sumitomo and Hawai'i's Kamehameha, ahem, bail out Goldman Sachs soon after the Tequila crisis?

Kurtismayfield , April 25, 2017 at 7:39 am

German reunification was a threat to the other states of Europe, and history has shown that the threat was real. Look at their economic domination of the EU. I don't think a unified Korea is a threat to anyone. Perhaps the US laments that it is losing a semi-client state, and they prefer the "let's bribe the North Koreans every five years" strategy that worked with the previous regime.

I am surprised that Russia does get more involved; there is a shared border with North Korea. Maybe they don't care if it is a Chinese client state or a neutral reunified Korea next door.

barefoot charley , April 25, 2017 at 10:01 am

As the great French postwar litterateur/politicien Paul Mauriac said, "I love Germany so much I'm glad there are two of them."

Susan the other , April 25, 2017 at 1:55 pm

From 1919 right up to Germany's blitz across Europe, Churchill was maneuvering to turn Germany's aggression eastward. I find it interesting that no one is analyzing Russia's reaction to NK's aggressiveness because it could well be that anti-Russian sentiment here in the US has considered turning NK inland, against eastern Siberia. It could also be that NK's nuclear capabilities are already neutered by Russian jamming technology. But still, the Russian have been very quiet. Allowing the reunification of the Koreas would entail a new constitution and new international treaties and agreements which would all serve to tame NK. It's just a piddly little state.

jwwz , April 25, 2017 at 5:08 am

Long-term, however, German reunification also provided the new Germany with cheap labor which was used to discipline its own workers and boost exports in order to undercut its neighbors/competitors, something I bet South Korean chaebol wouldn't mind.

Reunification also brings into play proliferation issues. The ROK for many years had a nuclear arms program (enriching uranium as recently as 2000), and DPRK tech, however stone age it is in comparison, adds considerable weight to this issue. A reunified Korea with nukes is absolutely not something China or the US wants.

Bill Smith , April 25, 2017 at 7:18 am

Thatcher was concerned that German unification would threaten Gorbachev's political survival. Page 315, 'The President, The Pope and The Prime Minister'.

This is explained in more details in published parts of Horst Telchuk diary (advisor to Helmut Kohl). make sure democracy takes hold in Eastern Europe before Germany unites otherwise push back on and or by the Soviet Union

Further along in the book it says Mitterrand was passionately opposed to German unification in private but much more circumspect in public.

Dwight , April 25, 2017 at 8:06 am

When Clinton said "We don't want a unified Korean Peninsula" and "We don't want the North Koreans to cause more trouble than the system can absorb," she was speaking as the Chinese, not the U.S. Clinton switched to the third person "the Chinese" in the same paragraph, which may explain the confusion. The U.S. may fear economic competition from a unified Korea, but the main concern of the U.S. is losing a pretext for military bases on China's (and Russia's) border.

Quite Likely , April 25, 2017 at 9:42 am

Interesting stuff, but yeah this is pretty obviously Clinton talking about China not wanting a united Korea. Maybe she / other US policymakers have that same preference, but there's no evidence they do in this speech. It's obvious why China wouldn't want a strong American allied Korea on its border. American tech companies being concerned about South Korean competition being more of a threat if they absorbed the North is much less plausible.

tegnost , April 25, 2017 at 11:09 am

ok then what do clinton and goldman sachs want if she's telling the chinese view? American tech companies, indeed all american companies want to be protected from competition the world over, see the TPP, see ISDS Clinton defenders seem to be unable to see past her smartly pragmatic views into the fact that she carries water for the aforementioned goldman sachs, who if you haven't noticed basically run the gov't for both parties, and what they want is to make the most money with the least risk and they have no qualms about creating conflict, nurturing conflict, and sowing conflict if it means there is an easy competition free path to profit. Couldn't we just stop with the reading of tea leaves with clinton? All of the parsing about how she said something but that wasn't what she meant, especially when what she says is power is the most important thing, we don't care who gets hurt, unless it's one of us, the acceptable elite, who eat babies with their oatmeal. If you want to tell me what clinton thinks with citations that ould be great, but spare me the malarkey that you know what she didn't mean in her statements. Probably the main reason she lost is because she and her supporters could not say what she stood for. What does she stand for in this case?

Painter's Drunk , April 25, 2017 at 9:48 am

Folks:

I think this sort policy – the policy of "Lets you and him fight" has parallels in domestic policy.

Often referred to as "Wedge " issues. The center can much more easily control things if the proper buttons are pushed –

This of any issue – guns, women's health, welfare, food stamps (SNAP), and so on – the list is long –

Each side has proponents who can easily be influenced much like Pavlov's dog, to vote, contribute, and so forth. And these are deliberate manipulations to keep the center in power – nothing more.

The elites use this power to continue the looting.

Ask any Congress person.

No Telling , April 25, 2017 at 10:37 am

Enough hate to go around, so no telling.

Teddy selling Korea to Japan, and hosing over the Czar.
http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/121083

China & Korea border/sea lane disputes
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/12065626/Beijing-lays-claim-to-South-Korean-waters.html
https://chinaperspectives.revues.org/806
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paektu_Mountain
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gando_Convention

In summary, love / hate relationships, but toward the USA it is mostly hate.

Boris Vian , April 25, 2017 at 11:22 am

Good article- thanks for posting this. I don't fault the strategy here, but I think that our leaders need to do more to be this open with the American public and not just bankers.

neighbor7 , April 25, 2017 at 12:04 pm

"I'm not trying to impugn . . . WikiLeaks by writing this."

To even suggest the possibility, while making use of their tremendous resources, has a hint of the schizophrenia of mainstream media re Wikileaks.

HAL , April 25, 2017 at 1:04 pm

This seems like a strained reading of the plain text of the statements:

Well, I think [Chinese] traditional policy has been close to what you've described. We don't want a unified Korean peninsula, because if there were one South Korea would be dominant for the obvious economic and political reasons.

The We here clearly refers to China - China doesn't want a unified Korea because it thinks it would be one big South Korea. This is exactly the sort of groundbreaking revelation that we have all come to expect from Hillary Clinton. Then later on in that same quote, she talks about We don't mind if you shoot off the occasional missile and that's good, again, using the same rhetorical technique (where "We" is the PLA).

Finding basically no support for your thesis in the quotes, you then tack on some nonsense about how the US elites need North Korea because Google is afraid of Naver or whatever. Japan is within missile range, has over 2x as many people and a 50% higher GDP per capita, and seems not to be much of a threat. It just doesn't make sense that the US as afraid of the competition from a unified Korea, which would have only 25m more people than South Korea, basically all of whom are starving and crazy. Look what it cost Germany to unify, with much less of a disparity.

There are a lot of reasons why the US might favor a divided Korea: an excuse to maintain a massive military base a few hundred miles from Beijing, or military spending and warmongering generally. But none of them are supported by this primary source, which is just a bland recitation of conventional wisdom, which, along with fealty, is all you get for $250,000.

Anon , April 25, 2017 at 4:14 pm

Agreed – my reading was also that the "we" is referring to China.

Mark P. , April 25, 2017 at 10:28 pm

Of course it is.

H. Alexander Ivey , April 25, 2017 at 9:12 pm

Well, I've seen it all. When people say Hillary meant China when she said "we" and there is no clear indication that "we" doesn't refer to the USA, when the actions of the last 50 years support the interpretation that "we" means the USA and not China, when "we" as in China would point away from the misdeeds of Hillary as SecState, then I've seen it all.

[Apr 24, 2017] Trump and the Thucydides Trap The American Conservative

Apr 24, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Speaking of Zen takes, check out my latest column at The Week , which is about how Trump's sloth and incompetence could wind up saving us from war with China:

Students of international affairs who take the long view have for some time been worried about the trajectory of U.S.-China relations. While in theory a cooperative relationship would be most beneficial to both parties, in practice dominant powers and rising challengers rarely are able to work out a fruitful accommodation. Instead, most often the two stumble into a conflict that devastates both countries' interests.

Graham Allison calls the underlying theory - detailed in his new book - the Thucydides Trap. So long as both powers rationally assume that the dominant power aims to maintain its supremacy, even accommodative policies will be interpreted as a way to get the rising power to settle for less than it might achieve by revisionist agitations. So if the dominant power is accommodative, the rising power will take advantage, provoking a reversal by the dominant power and a confrontation. But if the dominant power is confrontational and tries to encircle the rising power, it will provoke the rising power to break out - and in the meantime the dominant power will exhaust its resources more quickly than the rising power does, accelerating the power transition.

So how can war be avoided?

Allison's prescription is for robust communication along with a willingness on the part of the dominant power to think big in terms of how the international order will have to change to accommodate the rising power. Rather than try to prevent or limit the power transition, the dominant power has to facilitate it, get the rising power to understand that this is in fact the policy, and thereby forge a cooperative path through the transition that gives both powers an appropriate role to their new relative power position. I've argued in this space before that Korea would be a perfect place to try to achieve those twin goals.

The Obama administration's much-touted but never-completed "pivot" to Asia could be understood as an effort to preserve America's position within the context of partnership with China - or as an effort to contain China and maintain American supremacy. Strengthened alliances with countries like Australia and Vietnam were intended to discourage China from adventurism in its near-abroad, while the Trans-Pacific Partnership was designed to counter Chinese economic leadership in the region. On the other hand, the TPP did not explicitly exclude China, and it is plausible to think that its ultimate purpose was more to keep America in than to keep China out. Obama clearly saw a value in working with the Chinese rather than merely against them, but he also recognized that China intended to challenge America's interests in the western Pacific and aimed to counter it.

We'll never know whether the Obama strategy would have been a way out of the Thucydides Trap, or whether it would have led us right into it. We'll never know because President Trump has trashed the strategy entirely, pulling out of the TPP , musing about abandoning the one-China policy , threatening unilateral action in Korea , and calling for tariffs on Chinese manufacturers. His initial policy mix looked like it was premised on the assumption that war was inevitable, so we might as well make it happen on our terms.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the battlefield: The Chinese realized we were bluffing.

Our military options in Korea aren't really viable , and Trump has proved that he knows they aren't by his eagerness to get the Chinese to handle the problem - eagerness so overwhelming it has already led him to abandon a core campaign theme, confronting the Chinese on trade . Trump has already reaffirmed the one-China policy. And he has not only gratuitously insulted key allies , but demonstrated tactical incompetence in his communications about the mission of the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson . Watching Trump, America's Asian allies surely are questioning our reliability and basic competence, while the Chinese surely are far less worried that America will be able to restrain their rise even if we desire to do so.

Normally, this would provoke the rising power to be more confrontational. But if the Chinese really understand Trump, they'll see that they could get far more by picking his pocket than by mugging him. Trump is transparently eager for a deal - almost any deal. The Chinese could probably ask for the moon and the stars - or control of the South China Sea - in exchange for minor promises - to let their currency rise a bit (which has already happened), to build a few manufacturing plants in Ohio, to get North Korea to restrain itself for a few months. Why wouldn't the Chinese try to get what they want at the table rather than taking the risk of a confrontation?

Of course, normally a political leader would pay a gruesome price for cutting a terrible deal with a key rival. If Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton had rolled over for the Chinese, the Republican Party would go ballistic. But Donald Trump's brand is all about making America great again. His most vocal liberal critics, meanwhile, are more concerned that he's going to stumble into World War III than that he is going to be insufficiently firm in defending America's interests. While, as with Syria, they may support any military actions he does take, they are unlikely to provoke him into backing up his blustery threats with actual shows of force.

Paradoxically, Trump could achieve by sloth and incompetence what is very difficult for dominant powers to accept: a transition out of that dominant position.

Read the whole thing there .

[Apr 20, 2017] The Problem is Washington, Not North Korea

Apr 20, 2017 | www.unz.com

Washington has never made any effort to conceal its contempt for North Korea. In the 64 years since the war ended, the US has done everything in its power to punish, humiliate and inflict pain on the Communist country. Washington has subjected the DPRK to starvation, prevented its government from accessing foreign capital and markets, strangled its economy with crippling economic sanctions, and installed lethal missile systems and military bases on their doorstep.

Negotiations aren't possible because Washington refuses to sit down with a country which it sees as its inferior. Instead, the US has strong-armed China to do its bidding by using their diplomats as interlocutors who are expected to convey Washington's ultimatums as threateningly as possible. The hope, of course, is that Pyongyang will cave in to Uncle Sam's bullying and do what they are told.

But the North has never succumbed to US intimidation and there's no sign that it will. Instead, they have developed a small arsenal of nuclear weapons to defend themselves in the event that the US tries to assert its dominance by launching another war.
There's no country in the world that needs nuclear weapons more than North Korea. Brainwashed Americans, who get their news from FOX or CNN, may differ on this point, but if a hostile nation deployed carrier strike-groups off the coast of California while conducting massive war games on the Mexican border (with the express intention of scaring the shit of people) then they might see things differently. They might see the value of having a few nuclear weapons to deter that hostile nation from doing something really stupid.

And let's be honest, the only reason Kim Jong Un hasn't joined Saddam and Gadhafi in the great hereafter, is because (a)– The North does not sit on an ocean of oil, and (b)– The North has the capacity to reduce Seoul, Okinawa and Tokyo into smoldering debris-fields. Absent Kim's WMDs, Pyongyang would have faced a preemptive attack long ago and Kim would have faced a fate similar to Gadhafi's. Nuclear weapons are the only known antidote to US adventurism.

The American people –whose grasp of history does not extend beyond the events of 9-11 - have no idea of the way the US fights its wars or the horrific carnage and destruction it unleashed on the North. Here's a short refresher that helps clarify why the North is still wary of the US more than 60 years after the armistice was signed. The excerpt is from an article titled "Americans have forgotten what we did to North Korea", at Vox World:

"In the early 1950s, during the Korean War, the US dropped more bombs on North Korea than it had dropped in the entire Pacific theater during World War II. This carpet bombing, which included 32,000 tons of napalm, often deliberately targeted civilian as well as military targets, devastating the country far beyond what was necessary to fight the war. Whole cities were destroyed, with many thousands of innocent civilians killed and many more left homeless and hungry .

According to US journalist Blaine Harden: "Over a period of three years or so, we killed off - what - 20 percent of the population," Air Force Gen. Curtis LeMay, head of the Strategic Air Command during the Korean War, told the Office of Air Force History in 1984. Dean Rusk, a supporter of the war and later secretary of state, said the United States bombed "everything that moved in North Korea, every brick standing on top of another." After running low on urban targets, U.S. bombers destroyed hydroelectric and irrigation dams in the later stages of the war, flooding farmland and destroying crops

"On January 3 at 10:30 AM an armada of 82 flying fortresses loosed their death-dealing load on the city of Pyongyang Hundreds of tons of bombs and incendiary compound were simultaneously dropped throughout the city, causing annihilating fires, the transatlantic barbarians bombed the city with delayed-action high-explosive bombs which exploded at intervals for a whole day making it impossible for the people to come out onto the streets. The entire city has now been burning, enveloped in flames, for two days. By the second day, 7,812 civilians houses had been burnt down. The Americans were well aware that there were no military targets left in Pyongyang

The number of inhabitants of Pyongyang killed by bomb splinters, burnt alive and suffocated by smoke is incalculable Some 50,000 inhabitants remain in the city which before the war had a population of 500,000." ("Americans have forgotten what we did to North Korea", Vox World)

The United States killed over 2 million people in a country that posed no threat to US national security. Like Vietnam, the Korean War was just another muscle-flexing exercise the US periodically engages in whenever it gets bored or needs some far-flung location to try out its new weapons systems. The US had nothing to gain in its aggression on the Korean peninsula, it was mix of imperial overreach and pure unalloyed viciousness the likes of which we've seen many times in the past. According to the Asia-Pacific Journal:

"By the fall of 1952, there were no effective targets left for US planes to hit. Every significant town, city and industrial area in North Korea had already been bombed. In the spring of 1953, the Air Force targeted irrigation dams on the Yalu River, both to destroy the North Korean rice crop and to pressure the Chinese, who would have to supply more food aid to the North. Five reservoirs were hit, flooding thousands of acres of farmland, inundating whole towns and laying waste to the essential food source for millions of North Koreans.10 Only emergency assistance from China, the USSR, and other socialist countries prevented widespread famine." ("The Destruction and Reconstruction of North Korea, 1950 – 1960", The Asia-Pacific Journal, Japan Focus)

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Repeat: "Reservoirs, irrigation dams, rice crops, hydroelectric dams, population centers" all napalmed, all carpet bombed, all razed to the ground. Nothing was spared. If it moved it was shot, if it didn't move, it was bombed. The US couldn't win, so they turned the country into an uninhabitable wastelands. "Let them starve. Let them freeze.. Let them eat weeds and roots and rodents to survive. Let them sleep in the ditches and find shelter in the rubble. What do we care? We're the greatest country on earth. God bless America."

This is how Washington does business, and it hasn't changed since the Seventh Cavalry wiped out 150 men, women and children at Wounded Knee more than century ago. The Lakota Sioux at Pine Ridge got the same basic treatment as the North Koreans, or the Vietnamese, or the Nicaraguans, or the Iraqis and on and on and on and on. Anyone else who gets in Uncle Sam's way, winds up in a world of hurt. End of story.

The savagery of America's war against the North left an indelible mark on the psyche of the people. Whatever the cost, the North cannot allow a similar scenario to take place in the future. Whatever the cost, they must be prepared to defend themselves. If that means nukes, then so be it. Self preservation is the top priority.

Is there a way to end this pointless standoff between Pyongyang and Washington, a way to mend fences and build trust?

Of course there is. The US just needs to start treating the DPRK with respect and follow through on their promises. What promises?

The promise to built the North two light-water reactors to provide heat and light to their people in exchange for an end to its nuclear weapons program. You won't read about this deal in the media because the media is just the propaganda wing of the Pentagon. They have no interest in promoting peaceful solutions. Their stock-in-trade is war, war and more war.

The North wants the US to honor its obligations under the 1994 Agreed Framework. That's it. Just keep up your end of the goddamn deal. How hard can that be? Here's how Jimmy Carter summed it up in a Washington Post op-ed (November 24, 2010):

" in September 2005, an agreement reaffirmed the basic premises of the 1994 accord. (The Agreed Framework) Its text included denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, a pledge of non-aggression by the United States and steps to evolve a permanent peace agreement to replace the U.S.-North Korean-Chinese cease-fire that has been in effect since July 1953 . Unfortunately, no substantive progress has been made since 2005

"This past July I was invited to return to Pyongyang to secure the release of an American, Aijalon Gomes, with the proviso that my visit would last long enough for substantive talks with top North Korean officials. They spelled out in detail their desire to develop a denuclearized Korean Peninsula and a permanent cease-fire, based on the 1994 agreements and the terms adopted by the six powers in September 2005 .

"North Korean officials have given the same message to other recent American visitors and have permitted access by nuclear experts to an advanced facility for purifying uranium. The same officials had made it clear to me that this array of centrifuges would be 'on the table' for discussions with the United States, although uranium purification – a very slow process – was not covered in the 1994 agreements.

" Pyongyang has sent a consistent message that during direct talks with the United States, it is ready to conclude an agreement to end its nuclear programs, put them all under IAEA inspection and conclude a permanent peace treaty to replace the 'temporary' cease-fire of 1953 . We should consider responding to this offer. The unfortunate alternative is for North Koreans to take whatever actions they consider necessary to defend themselves from what they claim to fear most: a military attack supported by the United States, along with efforts to change the political regime."

("North Korea's consistent message to the U.S.", President Jimmy Carter, Washington Post)

Most people think the problem lies with North Korea, but it doesn't. The problem lies with the United States; it's unwillingness to negotiate an end to the war, its unwillingness to provide basic security guarantees to the North, its unwillingness to even sit down with the people who –through Washington's own stubborn ignorance– are now developing long-range ballistic missiles that will be capable of hitting American cities.

How dumb is that?

The Trump team is sticking with a policy that has failed for 63 years and which clearly undermines US national security by putting American citizens directly at risk. AND FOR WHAT?

To preserve the image of "tough guy", to convince people that the US doesn't negotiate with weaker countries, to prove to the world that "whatever the US says, goes"? Is that it? Is image more important than a potential nuclear disaster?

Relations with the North can be normalized, economic ties can be strengthened, trust can be restored, and the nuclear threat can be defused. The situation with the North does not have to be a crisis, it can be fixed. It just takes a change in policy, a bit of give-and-take, and leaders that genuinely want peace more than war.

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com .

[Apr 20, 2017] Grahams Deranged Idea for Attacking North Korea

Notable quotes:
"... Graham routinely supports the most irresponsible, dangerous, and immoral policies, so it is not surprising that he is in favor of doing this. ..."
"... The senator casually contemplates a course of action that would likely lead to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and destabilize the region for years to come and he shrugs it off by saying the war "wouldn't be here." It doesn't shock me that a professional warmonger doesn't care about the effects of this preferred policies, but it is a bit of a surprise that he is so open about his callous disregard for the lives of civilians and soldiers in South Korea and Japan who would pay the price for the act of aggression he supports. ..."
Apr 20, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Lindsey Graham outdoes himself in warmongering with a new call for attacking North Korea:

"Would you be for a preemptive strike?" Today Show host Willie Geist asked the South Carolina Republican. "If that's what it would take," Graham replied resolutely.

"It would be terrible but the war would be over here (there), wouldn't be here," Graham continued. " It would be bad for the Korean Peninsula. It would be bad for China. It would be bad for Japan, be bad for South Korea. It would be the end of North Korea. But what it would not do is hit America [bold mine-DL] and the only way it could ever come to America is with a missile."

Graham routinely supports the most irresponsible, dangerous, and immoral policies, so it is not surprising that he is in favor of doing this. The striking thing about his answer is how cavalier he is about calling for starting a war that he admits would be disastrous for everyone in the region.

Leave aside that he completely forgets about the tens of thousands of Americans stationed in South Korea that would come under immediate attack in retaliation for the so-called "preemptive strike" he wants. Note that the action he's talking about wouldn't actually be "preemptive," but would be an unprovoked attack and the start of a major war. Leave it to Graham to find a way to find a North Korea policy so horrible that it puts the U.S. in the wrong.

The senator casually contemplates a course of action that would likely lead to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and destabilize the region for years to come and he shrugs it off by saying the war "wouldn't be here." It doesn't shock me that a professional warmonger doesn't care about the effects of this preferred policies, but it is a bit of a surprise that he is so open about his callous disregard for the lives of civilians and soldiers in South Korea and Japan who would pay the price for the act of aggression he supports.

The next time you hear Graham feign concern for lives lost in some foreign conflict or pretend to be on the side of our allies, remember this answer and realize that his only desire is to get the U.S. into more unnecessary wars regardless of the consequences.

Posted in foreign policy , politics . Tagged North Korea , Lindsey Graham , Japan , South Korea .

[Apr 20, 2017] North Korea sees Trumps sabre-rattling as propaganda come true

Notable quotes:
"... The regime has held up Trump's actions in Syria, as well as those of his predecessors in Iraq and Afghanistan, as justification for seeking to further the North Korean nuclear weapons program, which it claims is vital for defense. "Previous US administrations have been attacking those countries who haven't gotten nuclear weapons, and the Trump administration is no different from previous US governments in pinpointing those non-nuclear states," a North Korean official told CNN. ..."
"... Pyongyang fears that if it was not nuclear armed, it would suffer the same fate as Syria and plunge into chaos and civil war. ..."
Apr 20, 2017 | www.cnn.com
North Korea is a country prepared for conflict.

Still technically at war with its southern neighbor, ordinary North Koreans are warned to be in a state of constant vigilance to threats from the outside, particularly from the US. Those fears seemed to be confirmed this month, after US President Donald Trump launched a surprise strike on a Syrian airfield and dispatched a naval battle group -- which he described as " an armada " -- to northern Asia.

Trump's saber-rattling -- he has accused Pyongyang of "looking for trouble" -- is familiar to consumers of North Korean state media, who have been warned for decades by their leaders of imminent US attack and attempted regime change. "The aggressive acts of war on the part of the United States are getting increasingly reckless," a North Korean official told CNN in Pyongyang this week. Read More "In response, we will continue to strengthen our self-defense capability."

Tragic history

Looking at the country's history, paranoia over a potential US attack is understandable. It's estimated that during the Korean War, American planes dropped some 625,000 tons of bombs on North Korea -- more than during the entire Pacific theater of World War II -- including 32,000 tons of napalm. Around 600,000 North Korean and 1 million South Korean civilians were killed , along with hundreds of thousands of troops. Curtis LeMay, an air force commander at the time, estimated in 1988 that US planes killed 20% of the population "over a period of three years or so." According to Blaine Harden , author of "The Great Leader and the Fighter Pilot," Kim Jong Un, like his father and grandfather before him, "(has) kept memories of the war and the bombing terrifyingly fresh. State media warn that, sooner or later, the Americans will strike again." To this end, North Korea maintains a massive standing army of more than 1.2 million soldiers, with millions more paramilitary troops and reservists, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). South Korea also maintains a high state of alert, with more than 500,000 people in its armed forces, IISS says, plus the thousands of US troops deployed in the country.

The North Korean constitution states that "national defense is the supreme duty and honor of citizens," and the country is governed by the "songun" -- or military-first -- policy, which places the armed forces above all else. In recent years that has meant huge investment in the development and deployment of nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles.

Paranoia

Intense focus on the military in a cripplingly poor country like North Korea can cause much hardship, but Pyongyang justifies its policies based on a narrative of imminent threat from foreign forces. That narrative was on clear display this week, with North Korean state media -- which usually tightly controls information about the outside world -- going big on the deployment of the USS Carl Vinson and Trump's surprise strike in Syria. USS Carl Vinson heads to Korean Peninsula

One Pyongyang resident told CNN, "we're at the brink of war, but if that happens, we'll all go to the front lines to fight the Americans."

The regime has held up Trump's actions in Syria, as well as those of his predecessors in Iraq and Afghanistan, as justification for seeking to further the North Korean nuclear weapons program, which it claims is vital for defense. "Previous US administrations have been attacking those countries who haven't gotten nuclear weapons, and the Trump administration is no different from previous US governments in pinpointing those non-nuclear states," a North Korean official told CNN.

Pyongyang fears that if it was not nuclear armed, it would suffer the same fate as Syria and plunge into chaos and civil war.

Relative calm

South of the border, the situation is much different. On Tuesday, officials sought to reassure South Koreans that the US would not take unilateral action against North Korea without consulting Seoul. "The United States makes it clear that it will not take a new policy or measure without consultations with us," South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho June-hyuck told reporters.

Defense Ministry spokesman Moon Sang-gyun warned people against being "blinded by exaggerated assessments on the security situation of the Korean Peninsula." Moon Jae-in, leader of the opposition Democratic Party and frontrunner to be the country's next President, said on Facebook that there "should never be a pre-emptive strike without South Korean consent." "Neighboring countries are taking advantage of the absence of a president in South Korea to try to exclude us and handle issues on the Korean Peninsula according to their own understanding," Moon said.

The country's former President, Park Geun-hye, was impeached after a corruption scandal. On the streets of Seoul, South Koreans who spoke to CNN were far less worried about a potential of war than their northern neighbors. "I do feel uneasy about North Korea provoking war," said Jeon Hyung-min, 26. "But I don't think a US strike would happen and if North Korea can judge the situation, they will not continue any armed provocation for now." Seo Deok-il, in his 70s, said he was "not anxious" about the news. "I don't think war will break out," he said. "If I was scared, I would have immigrated to another country."

CNN's Paula Hancocks and Jeung-un Kim contributed reporting from Seoul, South Korea. Will Ripley reported from Pyongyang, North Korea. James Griffiths reported and wrote from Hong Kong.

[Apr 19, 2017] What Would Korean War II Look Like

Apr 15, 2017 | www.unz.com

So thundered President Donald Trump last week. Unfortunately, neither China nor North Korea appeared intimidated by this presidential bombast or Trump's Tweets.

What would 'we will' actually entail? This clear threat makes us think seriously about what a second Korean War would be like. Memory of the bloody, indecisive first Koran War, 1950-53, which killed close to 3 million people, has faded. Few Americans have any idea how ferocious a conventional second Korean War could be. They are used to seeing Uncle Sam beat up small, nearly defenseless nations like Iraq, Libya or Syria that dare defy the Pax Americana.

The US could literally blow North Korea off the map using tactical nuclear weapons based in Japan, South Korea and at sea with the 7th Fleet. Or delivered by B-52 and B-1 bombers and cruise missiles. But this would cause clouds of lethal radiation and radioactive dust to blanket Japan, South Korea and heavily industrialized northeast China, including the capital, Beijing.

China would be expected to threaten retaliation against the United States, Japan and South Korea to deter a nuclear war in next door Korea. At the same time, if heavily attacked, a fight-to-the-end North Korea may fire off a number of nuclear-armed medium-range missiles at Tokyo, Osaka, Okinawa and South Korea. These missiles are hidden in caves in the mountains on wheeled transporters and hard to identify and knock out.

This is a huge risk. Such a nuclear exchange would expose about a third of the world's economy to nuclear contamination, not to mention spreading nuclear winter around the globe.

A conventional US attack on North Korea would be far more difficult. The North is a small nation of only 24.8 million. Its air and sea forces are obsolete and ineffective. They would be vaporized on the first day of a war. But North Korea's million-man army has been training and digging in for decades to resist a US invasion. Pyongyang's 88,000-man Special Forces are poised for suicide attacks on South Korea's political and military command and control and to cripple key US and South Korean air bases, notably Osan and Kunsan.

North Korea may use chemical weapons such as VX and Sarin to knock out the US/South Korean and Japanese airbases, military depots, ports and communications hubs. Missile attacks would be launched against US bases in Guam and Okinawa.

Short of using nuclear weapons, the US would be faced with mounting a major invasion of mountainous North Korea, something for which it is today unprepared. It took the US six months to assemble a land force in Saudi Arabia just to attack feeble Iraq. Taking on the tough North Korean army and militia in their mountain redoubts will prove a daunting challenge.

US analysts have in the past estimated a US invasion of North Korea would cost some 250,000 American casualties and at least $10 billion, though I believe such a war would cost four times that much today. The Army, Air Force and Marines would have to mobilize reserves to wage a war in Korea. Already overstretched US forces would have to be withdrawn from Europe and the Mideast. Military conscription might have to be re-introduced.

US war planners believe that an attempt to assassinate or isolate North Korean leader Kim Jung-un – known in the military as 'decapitation'- would cause the North Korean armed forces to scatter and give up. I don't think so.

My visits to South and North Korea have shown me that soldiers of both nations are amazingly tough, patriotic and ready to fight. I've also been under the Demilitarized Zone in some of the warren of secret tunnels built by North Korea under South Korean fortifications. Hundreds of North Korean long-range 170mm guns and rocket batteries are buried into the hills facing the DMZ, all within range of the northern half of South Korea's capital, Seoul.

North Korea is unlikely to be a pushover in a war. Even after US/South Korean forces occupy Pyongyang, the North has prepared for a long guerilla war in the mountains that could last for decades. They have been practicing for 30 years. Chaos in North Korea will invite Chinese military intervention, but not necessarily to the advantage of the US and its allies.

Is Commander-in-Chief Trump, who somehow managed to avoid military service during the Vietnam War, really ready to launch a big war in Asia? Most Americans still can't locate Korea on a map. Will Congress tax every American taxpayer $20,000 to pay for a new Korean war? Will Russia sit by quietly while the US blows apart North Korea? Does anyone in the White House know that North Korea borders on Russia and is less than 200km from the key Russian port of Vladivostok?

All this craziness would be ended if the US signed a peace treaty with North Korea ending the first Korean War and opened up diplomatic and commercial relations. No need for war or missile threats. North Korea is a horrid, brutal regime. But so is Egypt, whose tin pot dictator was wined and dined by Trump last week.

But pounding the rostrum with your shoe is always much more fun than boring peace talks.

Diversity Heretic , April 15, 2017 at 7:51 pm GMT \n

100 Words Exactly what has North Korea done to move front and center to America's list of villains? The regime has had nuclear weapons and some ballistic missile capacity for some time. But they seem to me to be mostly oriented towards a garrison state. The Norks seem no nuttier now than any time I remember. If the U.S. simply left this regional actor to be managed by other regional powers (e.g., South Korea, Japan and China) a lot of the incentive on the part of North Korea to make threats and attract attention would diminish significantly.
WorkingClass , April 15, 2017 at 8:28 pm GMT \n
100 Words Turns out Trump is just another lying murdering piece of shit. At 72 I have seen a number of these ass holes come and go. But it took Trump to finally convince me that only a crushing and humiliating military defeat will stop Imperial aggression. Unless the dollar goes to zero before that happens. The FED's ability to counterfeit dollars in the trillions is the only source of Imperial power. When the dollar's reign has ended the U.S. will be just another big country in the Americas.
bob sykes , April 16, 2017 at 12:07 pm GMT \n
400 Words Any discussion of a new Korean War that does not emphasize China is asinine, like this one. China is the central, most important actor on the peninsula, and China controls whatever happens there.

China will not permit an American ally on the Yalu River. Any state bordering China on the Yalu must be explicitly pro-Chinese. If a war does break out on the peninsula, China will intervene on the side of the North Koreans.

To call the first Korean War inconclusive is tendentious: China decisively defeated the US/NATO forces, and did so with with a primitive WW I style army and no navy or air force to speak of. Human wave assaults sufficed then. They did not occupy the whole peninsula because their primitive army lacked the logistical capacity to do so.

Today China has a large modern military with a full spectrum of capabilities, including tactical and strategic nuclear weapons and a large amphibious force. China would crush the US, Japanese and South Korean militaries, even assuming Russia stands aside. It didn't in Korea I and Vietnam. And China's strategic nuclear forces would prevent the US from using nuclear weapons on the peninsula. Anyway, the antique nuclear weapons we have today may not even work.

America's main weakness is its utterly delusional political and military leadership. The military that invaded Iraq no longer exists, and it was smaller than the one that liberated Kuwait. The US military has been downsized to the point that it cannot meet our treaty commitments. Sequestration has stripped the remaining military of funds needed for training and maintenance. Only a third of our fighter/bombers are available for war, and the pilots get only half the hours needed to maintain their skills. We do not practice combined arms warfare any more.

We have not fought a peer since 1945, and since 1945 we have a long record of failure. At present, we are fighting and losing to lightly armed Third World militias. The use of the MOAB against ISIS in Afghanistan was an indicator of panic in our military command there and at home. It is an open question as to whether we can defeat ISIS in Syria and Iraq, and we certainly cannot unless we ally ourselves with Iran, Russia, Hezbollah and Assad.

What we are watching today is the collapse of the American military and empire.

[Apr 17, 2017] Why North Korea Needs Nukes - And How To End That

Notable quotes:
"... Isnt it amazing, the media in the west will always (ALWAYS!) be there for western nations when they want to wage a war, year after year. And then they say that we, who protest and expose them we are somehow the propagandists and disinformation agents?! ..."
"... The pressure to capitulate to the US government on this issue is immense. The propaganda relentless. For over 64 years the American people have been living the Big Lie. ..."
"... I cannot see how this ends well for any of us, mainly due to the intransigence and irrationality of the US ruling class, who do not care how much blood they shed. ..."
"... The USA as representing western elites have never signed off on the Korean War as a truce and cessation of hostilities but not a peace treaty is the current situation. This war continues and is being pursued by other means, mainly financial and with sanctions, by the west and its South Korean proxies. ..."
"... This on going policy by the west is of course aimed at its geo-political adversaries in China and Russia as allies of the North Korean nation. ..."
"... No small country is safe from the evil empire (USA) if they don't have nuclear weapons. Witness what happened to Iraq (and others) who had no weapons of mass destruction. (even though USA claimed they did) ..."
"... There is no other way to declare that China have backed off, otherwhise we wouldn't see this preparation for war by Trump that came after his big China meeting last week. ..."
"... China will sure remember this idiot stance they have taken when the wars begin, after North Korea, China will be in the cross-hair themselves. ..."
"... I still wonder why China stayed away from Syria with no talk of supporting Russia. This is/was a golden chance to show solidarity, in my opinion. Both NK and Pakistan are Chinese partners and nuclear powers. With MOAB in Afghanistan and forces around NK, this is a clear message to China. Is China setting a classic trap militarily or they just choosing to fight economically or otherwise? Somehow, Chinese reaction does not add up. ..."
"... It is utmost stupidity. Trump is parking US war ships in reach of North Korea, Russia and China. Now he depends on them not to do anything. ..."
"... If you ever ask a local jingoist to list all the countries attacked by North Korea vs a comparable USA list, you will illicit blank stares, followed by anger, followed by the suggestion you go live in North Korea. Putin's analogy of chess with a pigeon comes to mind. ..."
"... China does not care about the current leadership of North Korea at all. Their concern is to keep US forces no closer to the Chinese border than they are now, and that they will do. ..."
"... Actually what you are describing is the average westerner today (although, perhaps the average westerner is a jingoist today), they are indoctrinated every day by by the MSM, they have no idea whats going on in the world, its so tragic when you try to explain world events and they always react like you said, anger, hate, accuations etc. ..."
"... why is the usa here there and everywhere on the planet where their war machines? answer - they are the planets most warmongering nation, hands down.. ..."
"... This is extremely relevant yet almost never discussed in the US. North Korea is said to be "crazy", and is treated as some kind of rabid, non-human country that threatens the US. Of course, the opposite is more true. ..."
"... Chinese FM earlier today said 'war might come to Korea any time now', basically, US and allies could attack Korea and we wont do aynthing about it, what a corrupt nature they are show off now, disgusting. ..."
"... NK has seen what happens when nations give up their WMD's Iraq got invaded and Saddam first tortured, then hanged. Libya got smashed and Qaddafi got a bayonet up his arse. ..."
"... Now Syria is in the cross-hairs, with much of the nation in ruins, close 500K dead, millions more wounded and millions more homeless, with Assad being fitted for a hemp necktie. ..."
"... One point he makes is that the Korean war gave Truman a perfect excuse to expand the military and set up the national security complex. One thing he does not say is that US likely has zero interest in defusing the conflict - lest they'd have to leave the area. ..."
"... I'm now wondering how much worse the Known Entity - the Murderous Bloody Hillary could have been. Trump is a bull in a China Shop. ..."
"... This is why Trump acting so tough now, he know China+UN+EU+Nato will support his coming war. ..."
"... Well well well, this is almost getting comical, chinese show its true nature once again, what a backstabbing nation. China will be as complicit in this war on NK as Trump (and other pathetic allies). How many billion dollar deals did the stupid president get by Trump to be able to accept this tremendous blunder? ..."
"... At this stage, Russia was supposed to be the gas station that produced nothing. Syria should have fallen to US headchoppers. Philippines has pulled out of the pivot on China. ..."
"... Obama's leading from behind, and proxy wars largely failed. This leaves the US very short on time to take down China, plus they now have to deal with a Russia that has risen from the dead. ..."
"... Saudi's just formed a NATO-like Sunni force with an ex-Pakistani general as it's head. Now they have a about 20 nation force for basic ground ops and this will help Saudi's in Yemen and may be Syria especially with Pakistan's depth in recruiting regulars and non-regulars. This could not have happened without US approval, imo. ..."
"... overwhelming majority of US political "elite" is generally an office plankton with law or political "science" (or journalism--which is not a profession or a skill) degrees from Ivy League "humanities" departments and their comprehension of the war is limited to Hollywood. Most difficulties in life they ever experienced was, most likely, being overbooked for the first class seats on the flight to Hawaii (or any other resort). ..."
"... The #1 reason the Outlaw US Empire gets away with its continuation of massive crimes against humanity is that its citizenry is mostly ignorant--made so purposefully--of the history that matters and are today's equivalent of "Good Germans." ..."
"... Anyways, cornering Iran is the goal that the US/Israel trying to accomplish, at least from reading the pattern of activities. Slippery slope indeed. ..."
"... The development of napalm specifically to target civilians ties in the testing of the two US nuclear weapons in Japan. The Japanese target cities were left untouched by conventional air raids throughout, even though they contained valid military targets such a torpedo production plants. ..."
"... The occupants were so used to seeing US planes pass them by without ill effect, that on the fateful day they stood out in the open watching the planes pass by as normal or so they thought. The two attacks - for different designs of weapon - were designed to test and calibrate the effects of nuclear weapons on undamaged cities and unprotected civilians. They were actual medical and physical experiments on real people. ..."
"... The difference between now and all the years since WWII, through the cold war and so forth is that the US has very little time left. In trying to think how the US is acting different now to the past, or actually dig up solid points I would probably point to MH17. With MH17 Australia, one of the five eyes gladly sacrificed some people for empire. That shook me. The evidence was the same as the crap dossier on Assad gassing his own people, yet not a word of protest out of any Australian politician. ..."
"... From US point of view--absolutely. US establishment, yet again, thinks that it can control escalation. ..."
"... North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ordered 25 percent of Pyongyang residents to leave the city immediately, according to a Russian news outlet on Friday. The Pravda report said that in accordance with the order, 600,000 people should be urgently evacuated. ..."
"... If China/Russia were facing imminent War, then they would very probably dump all US reserves and Treasury Bonds first, and pre-emptively trigger economic collapse & rout. Unless it's MAD first strike stuff, where is the industrial and manufacturing base of the US/UK to sustain and win a 'Total War' ? Russia/China/Iran/NK are all militarily self-sufficient ... long-term sanctions do that, somewhat self-defeating, no ? ..."
"... IF the US collapses without War occurring, the 0.01% driving this will have already relocated in advance to, New Zealand or Iceland, etc ? To live lives of luxury, whilst purchasing collapsed US corporations for pennies on the dollar, perhaps, and wait for the investment to mature, maybe ? Ruthless bastards, citizens of the world ;) ..."
"... Yet, mistakes & miscalculations can occur unintentionally when even only a sustained 'strategy of tension' goes on and on ... ..."
"... "The US is going to war. Much thought and training going into fighting peer, or near peer adversary. " Do not see substantive evidence of the former, yet. Re the latter, other than neo-con/lib chickenhawk warmongers and detached from facts/reason/competent analysis & reality stink-tanks, again, see no evidence other than endless PR and rabid rhetoric, MSM abetted. ..."
"... Have you seen the most recent data/reports on DOD readiness levels, it's not a pleasant read if you're a jingoistic warmonger ... would argue, short version, the opportunity existed prior to 2001, maybe even as late as 2004-2006 at a pinch ..."
"... Thanks for a great article. It is so good to read truthful information and not the propaganda bullshit the MSM saturates us with. ..."
"... Who knows, maybe NK will be rehabilitated, as is, and accepted back into the Russia/China 'Axis', openly, as for the then USSR/ChiCom 'Axis' pre and during the Korean war ? After all, given the insane and surreal rabid propaganda in western MSM, what difference would it make re supposed 'image' in the eyes of the supposed 'International Community' (US/UK/Israhell & good time vassals) ... any ? ..."
"... I'll certainly echo Outraged's point about USA lacking the required industrial capacity and raw material for any such war other than MAD versus China/Russia. One of the main reasons the Lead From Behind strategy was adopted along with using terrorist proxies to destabilize Russia/China is because of that rather stark reality. ..."
"... ...The figure of 1,800 massacre victims was given...Somebody--presumably in either the American military or government--seems to have made the decision to turn this into a Northern massacre, the characteristic, single atrocity of the entire war. The truth seems inescapable: The worst atrocity of the war was committed by forces acting in the name of the United Nations, and a concerted effort was then made to cover it up by blaming it on the North Korean enemy... ..."
"... "...On the admission of [U.S.] General Ridgeway's Head Office, more POWs died in United Nations camps than in North Korean camps..." http://wherechangeobama.blogspot.com/2013/05/revisiting-history-of-korea-again-part-4.html?m=0 ..."
"... China does have limited versions of both Klub-NK and Club-S, those were shorter ones until recently when China started to get her hands on actual Russian versions of such weapons as P-800 Onyx with their ranges of 660 kilometers, add here SU-35 (also in Russian configuration) and S-400, also in Russian configuration, and you have a rather interesting dynamics suddenly. ..."
"... US MIC armament production ought to be seen/understood as MIC profitmaking scam that happens to produce few usable/battle-worthy assets. There's a very good reason for calling the USA's once mighty industrial heartland the Rust Belt--it's literally rotting away as a ride on Amtrak's Capitol Limited will testify. ..."
"... It really makes little sense what the US is up to. Are they relying on bluff and bluster to win the day? ..."
"... Thanks B for the information regarding how the US and South Korea time their military maneuvers to coincide with the rice planting and harvesting periods in North Korea. I had not been aware of this before. ..."
"... Bill Clinton's offer to North Korea to supply grain and materials for building two new reactors and his later reneging on that do not surprise me at all as these are of a piece with the Clinton Foundation raising hundreds of millions for Haiti's post-quake reconstruction which in the end resulted in the construction of one factory employing 30 people making T-shirts for export. No doubt with the North Korean "offer" the Clintons got something of that. ..."
"... "Approximately 30 nuclear power plants are operational in South Korea. Several of them could be destroyed even if conventional bombs and shells are used. This could lead to five-six Chernobyl-type disasters on a relatively small area of 99 square kilometers that could instantly turn into a place unsuitable for life," he explained. ..."
"... I have read although ,in a casual way rather than a study, too much of the history of wars. Often what comes across the insanity of a country starting a war and then is itself destroyed. Nazi Germany - leading edge tech, smart people. Country of sixty million conquered virtually all of Europe with ease then took on Russia. Instead of being content with being a leading country, they were willing to gamble everything to have it all. ..."
"... This is somewhat where the US is at today. The position is that it has over reached and now needs to pull back and consolidate, but we are not seeing that. instead, we are seeing the US become more threatening. ..."
"... A primary problem there is that they have convinced at least 20% of those 300M to be human shields in the service of Empire. ..."
"... In addition nuclear reactors require fossil fuel power plants as backup up they suddenly lose power. In case of an air blast over South Korea the electrical grid would shut down with possible meltdown of reactors which didn't go into standby prior to the nuclear detonation. ..."
"... it brings a huge conundrum in decision making, if trump doesn't do anything, all countries in asia will switch alliances towards china in the long run, except for broke jokes japan/usa. ..."
"... "Wag the Dog" scenarios focus on salacious scandals, but the collapse of domestic Presidencies are usually followed by war Presidencies. Trump is largely the idiot he appears to be and is simply grabbing onto the various interests within the borg. Trump will bounce from "enemy" to "enemy" trying to find an issue to get his Presidency back on track. ..."
"... Something that has struck me as this thread goes on.. WWII never ended. Nazi/imperial Japan quest for empire morphed into US quest for empire that is coming to a climax today. ..."
"... Wide ranging fascinating interview with former high ranking CIA intelligence officer, Robert David Steele https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=8UfYLA7FCqQ ..."
"... If North Korea, Russia, Iran, China or any other country that resists Zio-U.S. imperialism sent an Armada off the U.S. coast on the fourth of July, the U.S. wouldn't hesitate to sink it immediately, no questions asked. Trump is proving every day that he's a dangerous idiot. ..."
"... The wars to consolidate the world under one power has been going on for well over a century. Britain took the lead early on before passing the torch to the US once Rhodes plan to recover America was accomplished, sometime between Mckinleys assassination and the and of WWI . Wall Street and the money power in the city of London were always in sync. Albert Pike predicted 3 World Wars would be needed. ..."
"... we are ruled by idiots, con men, war-mongers, and Neanderthal whackos. Any attack by the US would be a massacre and humanitarian disaster of epic proportions. Plus, I assume, the north korean army that remains would likely shower much of south korea with tens of thousands of rockets, mortars and missiles. http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/04/14/whackos-in-washington-the-risky-game-of-regime-decapitation/ ..."
"... Whackos in Washington: the Risky Game of Regime Decapitation by Dave Lindorff ..."
"... A lot of people do not know that the US bombed the hell out of the entire of north Korea during the war. Like to ashes. The Chinese, and even more so, the Soviet reconstruction project for north Korea was the biggest of its kind post WWII. Even bigger than what actually went to European reconstruction I believe, but don't quote me on that (not in terms of what was earmarked but spent). ..."
"... ALSO perhaps the biggest crime was bombing the north's huge dams. Unless your a poor farmer you don't know what kind a thing that it is to do. No military value (I heard it was bombed because they ran out of other targets in some way). ..."
"... Its insane and breeds a toooon of animosity. Plus rejecting all attempts at peace talks. Plus having the media only present it in one way and an attitude of RA RA we don't engage in diplomacy with the terrorist obviously he only listens to force. ..."
"... The focus seems to be on what DPRK (north), PRC and USA might do. I would like to suggest that closer scrutiny should be applied to what is actually going on in RK (South). I think that this tension is being ratcheted upwards primarily to influence the outcome of the presidential election in the South. ..."
"... As we all know, Park has recently been impeached. In normal circumstances it could be expected that an opposition figure like Moon Jae-In would be the favourite to win the election. This may not be in the interests of either the US, Japan or the powers-that-be in South Korea. ..."
"... The election is 9 May 2017, and the US president has just ensured that North Korea will be front and centre in the campaign. ..."
"... South Korea is clearly benefiting economically (finally) from US support, but also pays a price by being another lapdog to the US and an eternal host for our military presence, willing or not. I suspect it's 'willing' because the US does everything possible to remind South Koreans of their peril by demonizing the North. South Korean press is worse than the US MSM. ..."
"... who pointed out above that wwii has not yet ended on the korean peninsula. i always knew that the war was 'technically' not over in the sense of no peace treaty's having been signed ... the same obtains between russia and japan, doesn't it? that's an indictment right there of the us. in both cases, as the us still has japan on a short leash. ..."
"... The main issue will be South Korea's relationship with the US and China. Traditionally South Korea has profited more from the US than from exchange with China. I bet this has already changed. But the US managed to create a security conflict between China and South Korea that ensures increased Chinese military support for North Korea. ..."
"... South Korean residents and civic group activists on Thursday filed a petition against the deployment of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system, which they depicted as unconstitutional. ..."
"... Seoul and Washington abruptly announced a decision in July last year to install one THAAD battery in the county by the end of this year. Just three days before the announcement, Defense Minister Han Min-koo told lawmakers that he hadn't been informed of any notice about the THAAD installation. ..."
"... "The THAAD decision did not follow any proper procedure. No effort has been made for dialogue with residents," said Ha Joo-hee, an attorney at Lawyers for a Democratic Society, an advocacy group composed of liberal lawyers. ..."
"... Yet bet NATO wouldn't be happy. The entire 'containment' policy towards Beijing rests on the surrounding states being hostile to/ scared of China. Already SE Asia has all but 'fallen' (from a western viewpoint), what remains is Japan and SK. Detente? God forbid! ..."
"... According to US MSM the Chinese are totally on board and only have moved troops to bolster the border and help the US. And Russia and China really aren't conducting military exercises together. ..."
"... This constant mistranslated rhetoric and literally putting of words into foreign leaders mouths is of course one aspect of the western propaganda arm. Even when the headline or text of the article is updated, corrected or removed the meat of it remains in social media like Facebook. ..."
"... I do know more than a few Koreans firsthand pissed off at US army personnel behaviour though. Perhaps that can be channelled into meaningful change. They tell me that the impunity from judicial retribution plays a big role in the anger. Certain bases in Japan have had similar problems (I get the sense it cause more anger there though unfortunately). Perhaps this is just the views of a few people I talk to in SK though. ..."
"... What is real Russian position on this WWIII POTENTIAL STANDOFF. NK only one condemned attack on Syria while if what I hear is true, they want NK disarmed even in face of open US aggression. Also China if awfully quiet while repeating thirty year old equitable solution rejected by US that never looked for any solutions but domination. What's going on? ..."
"... Don't know about Russia but I have some thoughts re. China. Xi made it clear to Donald that China would support Kim if NK is attacked i.e WW3. ..."
"... Wikileaks, Podesta email about the Hillary Clinton speech for Goldman Sachs "We don't want a unified Korean Peninsula" because China, not the U.S., would naturally dominate it. The U.S. will do everything it can to prevent reunification. ..."
"... Would that be Judith Miller, perhaps, or possibly just a hero/role model ? ;) One perfectly reasonable phrase comes to mind, ' Subsequent to good faith negotiations & actual, guarantees '. ..."
Apr 17, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Anon1 | Apr 14, 2017 9:18:34 AM | 1

Isnt it amazing, the media in the west will always (ALWAYS!) be there for western nations when they want to wage a war, year after year. And then they say that we, who protest and expose them we are somehow the propagandists and disinformation agents?!

As b show, North Korea is the rational, but no one in our "free" western media brings these fact up.

No wonder western populations dont have any faith in their states and media.

I really hope North Korea put an end to this by standing tall, the pathetic China have backed away apparently..

Outraged | Apr 14, 2017 9:30:57 AM | 2
Bravo b. Bravo.

Another key consideration from a strategic military perspective, re the massive extensive military 'exercises' by US/SK annually is such can and have been used historically in war to create a sense of routine & normalcy, so if the Nth should be complacent, and its been going on for decades, a surprise attack can be launched and have devastating effects, even thought the Nth is on 'annual' 'alert'.

Maintaining heightened readiness, to Stand To! , stand ready for an attack, especially daily before dawn and prior to & after sunset, bayonets fixed, eye-peeled, adrenaline pumping, day after day, when the extended 'exercises' run, year after year after year is very difficult psychologically for the troops involved, corrosive of morale and discipline, and the Empire is very cognizant of this indeed.

Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 14, 2017 9:50:19 AM | 3
Anon1 | Apr 14, 2017 9:18:34 AM | 1

I really hope North Korea put an end to this by standing tall, the pathetic China have backed away apparently..

China doesn't have the option of backing away because a North Korea threatened by AmeriKKKa is also a China threatened by AmeriKKKa. I hope Trump knows what he's doing because the Chinese most certainly do know what they're doing.

Jeff Kaye | Apr 14, 2017 10:04:05 AM | 4
Thank you, b!

The pressure to capitulate to the US government on this issue is immense. The propaganda relentless. For over 64 years the American people have been living the Big Lie.

The oozing sore of a Cold War that never ended, that was really a Hot War for millions, now threatens to metastasize into Total War. I cannot see how this ends well for any of us, mainly due to the intransigence and irrationality of the US ruling class, who do not care how much blood they shed.

BRF | Apr 14, 2017 10:07:06 AM | 5
The USA as representing western elites have never signed off on the Korean War as a truce and cessation of hostilities but not a peace treaty is the current situation. This war continues and is being pursued by other means, mainly financial and with sanctions, by the west and its South Korean proxies.

The imposition of a state of tension by the west is all the west seems capable of with the result in the current situation and any time a solution is proposed that could lead to a lessening of tensions the west either sabotages or outright rejects the initiative.

This on going policy by the west is of course aimed at its geo-political adversaries in China and Russia as allies of the North Korean nation. The only fix that I can see is an economic collapse in the west that leads to a pull back from western imperial outposts as they become too expensive to maintain. This can only take place with the demise of the Federal Reserve Note (USD) as the world reserve currency which is printable in any amount the western elites desire in maintaining their grip and domination through imperial dictate over the rest of the world. End this financial death grip and the rest follows very very quickly.

Mark Stoval | Apr 14, 2017 10:11:29 AM | 6
No small country is safe from the evil empire (USA) if they don't have nuclear weapons. Witness what happened to Iraq (and others) who had no weapons of mass destruction. (even though USA claimed they did)

The USA has always believed the myth that WW2 saved the economy from the Great Depression and that the country would have slide back into depression without a war to fight --- hence the cold war and all the CIA wars ever since. Then came the "destroy the middle east" for the sake of Israel. (or oil or whatever)

The USA remains today the greatest impediment to world peace that there is. The USA may set off nuclear war and the destruction of all civilization at some point.

God help us all.

stumpy | Apr 14, 2017 10:13:43 AM | 7
Dead on, b.

If you parse Obama's Nobel prize acceptance speech he hints at the theoretical model he used to cut off chances for peace anywhere. With China's premiere in the room, no less.

Let me also say this: the promotion of human rights cannot be about exhortation alone. At times, it must be coupled with painstaking diplomacy. I know that engagement with repressive regimes lacks the satisfying purity of indignation. But I also know that sanctions without outreach - and condemnation without discussion - can carry forward a crippling status quo. No repressive regime can move down a new path unless it has the choice of an open door.

Effing liar. America offers the choice of an open door to North Korea? Ha. We like our indignation without cream and sugar, to maximize purity.

Anon1 | Apr 14, 2017 10:15:53 AM | 8
Hoarsewhisperer

There is no other way to declare that China have backed off, otherwhise we wouldn't see this preparation for war by Trump that came after his big China meeting last week.

China will sure remember this idiot stance they have taken when the wars begin, after North Korea, China will be in the cross-hair themselves.

Outraged | Apr 14, 2017 10:22:50 AM | 9
@ Posted by: Jeff Kaye | Apr 14, 2017 10:04:05 AM | 4

All honor & respect to you Invictus , for daunting, tireless & seemingly endless endeavor. Deepest & abiding respect indeed, Sir/Madam. Wishing you & yours safety & joy this Easter. ' Vale, Pax Tecum '.

Ronak | Apr 14, 2017 10:31:30 AM | 10
I still wonder why China stayed away from Syria with no talk of supporting Russia. This is/was a golden chance to show solidarity, in my opinion. Both NK and Pakistan are Chinese partners and nuclear powers. With MOAB in Afghanistan and forces around NK, this is a clear message to China. Is China setting a classic trap militarily or they just choosing to fight economically or otherwise? Somehow, Chinese reaction does not add up.
somebody | Apr 14, 2017 10:35:14 AM | 11
Chinese way of rebuking Trump
"On the Korean Peninsula issue, it is not the one who espouses hasher rhetoric or raises a bigger fist that will win," Wang said.

It is utmost stupidity. Trump is parking US war ships in reach of North Korea, Russia and China. Now he depends on them not to do anything.

Lysander | Apr 14, 2017 10:39:27 AM | 12
If you ever ask a local jingoist to list all the countries attacked by North Korea vs a comparable USA list, you will illicit blank stares, followed by anger, followed by the suggestion you go live in North Korea. Putin's analogy of chess with a pigeon comes to mind.
@ 8, China does not care about the current leadership of North Korea at all. Their concern is to keep US forces no closer to the Chinese border than they are now, and that they will do.

If Trump actually is dumb enough to strike, the Chinese will happily stand by and watch him hang himself. Just as promised at Mar-a-Lago.

Anon1 | Apr 14, 2017 10:48:53 AM | 14
Lysander

+1 on that.
Actually what you are describing is the average westerner today (although, perhaps the average westerner is a jingoist today), they are indoctrinated every day by by the MSM, they have no idea whats going on in the world, its so tragic when you try to explain world events and they always react like you said, anger, hate, accuations etc.

stumpy | Apr 14, 2017 11:11:39 AM | 15
Trump throwing stones at the mother of all hornet nests. Wonder what this all does for Samsung and Hyundai stock prices.
james | Apr 14, 2017 11:28:04 AM | 16
thanks b... many good comments already too! thanks folks.. @12 lysander - bang on example of how ignorant most folks remain.. why is the usa here there and everywhere on the planet where their war machines? answer - they are the planets most warmongering nation, hands down..
WorldBLee | Apr 14, 2017 11:38:51 AM | 18
Good article, b. This is extremely relevant yet almost never discussed in the US. North Korea is said to be "crazy", and is treated as some kind of rabid, non-human country that threatens the US. Of course, the opposite is more true.

It's important to note that every country that disagrees with the US is called crazy. Al-Assad is a "butcher", an "animal", a "dictator who kills his own people". Every time the US wants regime change they first vilify the leader of said country to turn him into a non-human entity that should be feared and loathed. This self-justifies the impending destruction of the country, which after all happened "for its own good."

Tobin Paz | Apr 14, 2017 11:59:34 AM | 19
If I told you ten years ago that the defacto American diplomat to North Korea Dennis Rodman would get kicked out of the country for getting drunk and taking a shit in a Pyongyang hotel; and that WWE hall of famer and reality TV star Donald Trump would threaten to attack North Korea as POTUS... would you have believed me?
Anon1 | Apr 14, 2017 12:02:37 PM | 20
Chinese FM earlier today said 'war might come to Korea any time now', basically, US and allies could attack Korea and we wont do aynthing about it, what a corrupt nature they are show off now, disgusting.
somebody | Apr 14, 2017 12:13:11 PM | 21
The Huge Moron has got himself into a situation now where China is mediating between the US and Korea.
likklemore | Apr 14, 2017 12:19:51 PM | 22
Kudos b putting this together. That was some digging.

Here is my 2 dumb questions: will the person who did the tallying of the MOAB taking out the 36 in Afghanistan be sent to NK for a similar task? Not to be crass, but given it was the "mother of all bombs" should the Pentagon folks not be embarrassed to release the count? KROI.

China warns, and this from Her Majesty's paper, The Telegraph.co.uk with video interview:
LINK

"World 'on the brink of thermo-nuclear war', as North Korea mulls test that could goad Trump"

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Trump, as we have observed, does not enjoy being goaded - fights back when he is accused of having small hands.

And Kim Jong-Un? Well never mind.

~ ~ ~ ~

Wish all abundant blessings this Easter. We may not see 2018.

Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 14, 2017 12:25:07 PM | 23
Posted by: Anon1 | Apr 14, 2017 10:15:53 AM | 8

Imo, the main reason AmeriKKKa is threatening Korea at this time is because Xi scared them, and their freedom of navigation charade, out of the South China Sea. And now they're adding blackmail to the provocation by putting NK between them. It's cowardly and stupid, which is why I said I hope Trump knows what he's doing, because it doesn't look that way to me.

A violent conflict in NK will create a NK refugee problem which, as history illustrates, is AOK with AmeriKKKans but no-one else.
And if Xi has scared AmeriKKKa once, he can do it again.

likklemore | Apr 14, 2017 12:26:43 PM | 24
and linked in the article is Democratic-Leader Pelosi 's tweet:

President Trump's escalation on Syria, Saber-Rattling on North Korea Necessitate Immediate Congressional Scrutiny

~ ~ ~ ~
somewhat late after Congress abandoned it's war powers to the past 4 presidents.

Greg Bacon | Apr 14, 2017 12:33:42 PM | 25
Why is NK our problem?

NK has seen what happens when nations give up their WMD's Iraq got invaded and Saddam first tortured, then hanged. Libya got smashed and Qaddafi got a bayonet up his arse.

Now Syria is in the cross-hairs, with much of the nation in ruins, close 500K dead, millions more wounded and millions more homeless, with Assad being fitted for a hemp necktie.

So why should Kim give up his nukes, where's the benefit?

GoraDiva | Apr 14, 2017 12:36:48 PM | 26
For anyone even marginally interested in the issue of NK vs SK - please take time to listen to this interview - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ba3dgDUtE9A (actually, 2 2-hr interviews).

Historian Bruce Cumings looks way back in trying to explain the peninsula and its troubles. One point he makes is that the Korean war gave Truman a perfect excuse to expand the military and set up the national security complex. One thing he does not say is that US likely has zero interest in defusing the conflict - lest they'd have to leave the area.

fastfreddy | Apr 14, 2017 12:47:00 PM | 28
Trump is not a huge moron. He is an actor - pretending to be a moron for his moron fan club. He is very convincing. Superb acting. Terrific. An Armada of Stagecraft. Unfortunately, his moronic behavior leads to moronic and zany consequences.

I'm now wondering how much worse the Known Entity - the Murderous Bloody Hillary could have been. Trump is a bull in a China Shop.

Anon1 | Apr 14, 2017 12:49:02 PM | 29
Hoarsewhispet

IMO, if anyone it is Trump that have "scared" the chinese or rather baited the Chinese with good trade deals and have got the word from the chinese that they wont rescue NK nor attack US if US feel like attacking NK. This is why Trump acting so tough now, he know China+UN+EU+Nato will support his coming war.

E Ring 46Z Vet | Apr 14, 2017 12:51:46 PM | 30
b, this occasion, your writing is very one-sided. You left out (as did all the commentators to this moment) the decades of brinksmanship by NK, demanding as much as $50 million annually from all the presidents prior to Bush 43, including oil shipments.

Consider this: (who ever is in charge of the WH now or last time, etc.) does not matter as much as "perhaps" that entire region, and the multiple layers of MIC/Deep State folks/their proxies in Congress in the USA, are finally fed up with the brinksmanship for cash to keep that guy's family and supporters in power, and now that NK lunatic has raised the anti to the nuke level (thanks Bill for helping them out there in the 1990's)... it looks like the Pentagon will work the decisions at their level as we now see in real-time.

I served a recent tour there. "Ready to Fight Tonight" is not just a motto with South Korea. They have lived it since 1953 and they are really tired of it.

Anon1 | Apr 14, 2017 1:00:32 PM | 31
30

Could you rephrase your whole chunk of text, it makes no sense, US dont "pay" North Korea anything and the lunatic is not in NorthKorea but in the White House allied with your dear South Koreans.

GoraDiva | Apr 14, 2017 1:03:41 PM | 33
@30
You've likely absorbed too much MCM (c - corporate) reporting; for a more complex understanding of the subject, pls listen to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ba3dgDUtE9A - that is you're interested in learning, as opposed to just repeating MCM talking points.
Outraged | Apr 14, 2017 1:08:11 PM | 34
@ Posted by: E Ring 46Z Vet | Apr 14, 2017 12:51:46 PM | 30

Respectfully, your comments are very one-sided, and you appear to be profoundly ignorant of the entire genesis of the Korean v US conflict and the motivations and conduct of involved parties since the days of the Kuomintang (KMT), Chiang Kai-shek, in the Chinese Civil War starting in 1940 but especially US actions from Sept 1946 and 1949 onward, as well as relevant USSR/Chinese involvement.

Should you be interested there is significant detail in posts re 'Forgotten & buried History' of which you may be oblivious in the last three threads posts, or not.

If you served in SK, ' Ready to Fight Tonight ', then why did you not bother to actually learn something of the Korean history, if only the last 70 years, with you and your buddies lives 'on the line', as opposed to merely regurgitating 'kool-aid' propaganda & misinformation ?

Peter AU | Apr 14, 2017 1:32:44 PM | 37
And while we are studying this, the empire is making more plans.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-usa-mattis-idUSKBN17G1C1
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will visit Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel, Qatar and Djibouti starting on Tuesday, the Pentagon said in a statement on Friday.

It said Mattis would "reaffirm key U.S. military alliances," and "discuss cooperative effort to counter destabilizing activities and defeat extremist terror organizations" during the April 18-23 tour. In Israel, he will hold talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the statement said.
.......

Syria? or Iran? When the above group talk about terrorist organizations they are talking Hezbollah. It is starting to look like the US is about to launch a two front war. Korea/China, Middle East/Russia.

Outraged | Apr 14, 2017 1:33:11 PM | 38
@ Posted by: From The Hague | Apr 14, 2017 1:20:25 PM | 36

Have been involved in detailed discussions that have carried thru the last three threads re Korea covering from 1940, to the critical events of Sept 1945, then thru to 1949 and just as important 1949 onwards, PRECEDING the Korean War of '50 ... many extracts, numerous links/sources/references, from multiple participating posters. Hm, suppose start around here:

b | Apr 14, 2017 1:33:38 PM | 39
@E Ring 46Z Vet

I you come here for "neutral" piece that give equal weight and view to all sides you are in the wrong place. No author does that anyway and there are mountains to read that always highly endorse the U.S. side on each and every issue. I am not from the States and have a way more neutral view than you will find in your media. But I am not one sided. I have my moral position, my conscience and I follow it. I know what the U.S. has done to Korea - unnecessarily and for what I consider nefarious reasons.

I also know that the claim NoKo was "demanding as much as $50 million annually from all the presidents prior to Bush 43, including oil shipments." is stupidly wrong.

It was only Clinton who made a deal with NoKo which included for the U.S. side the delivery of oil and grain and the building of two civil nuclear reactors in North Korea. North Korea, in exchange, was to stop all nuclear work it had proceeded with including its own building of civil reactors which it urgently needed for electricity. It was a deal. Both side got something out of it.

It was Clinton who broke that deal. It was Clinton who never delivered on his promises. The delivery of oil and grain was slow and ended early. Only the foundations of the reactors were build (by North Korea). No components were delivered. Bush only officially ended the deal Clinton had already renegaded on.

chump change | Apr 14, 2017 1:39:08 PM | 40
"demanding as much as $50 million annually from all the presidents prior to Bush 43"

Should take lessons from Israel and demand 3 Bil. 50 mil is chump change. How much do you think these annual maneuvers cost? More to the point, isn't it interesting that the US's war budget is practically unlimited, while money spent on peace is always too much.

You probably support tax cuts for oligarchs while bitching about money squandered upon the poor, homeless and ill.

Outraged | Apr 14, 2017 1:41:42 PM | 41
Followup to #38

Also very highly recommend the following article and embedded links/references re Korea and consequences/issues surrounding detailed expert factual analysis re possible war here:

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 12, 2017 8:38:58 PM | 248, 'Is There A New U.S. Syria Policy? Is There One At All?' thread. Cheers.

Skip | Apr 14, 2017 1:43:49 PM | 42
@30

I wonder how warm and fuzzy the USA would be if NK had 60+ years ago, devastated our population with the bloodlust described by MacArthur, yet still had 50,000 troops stationed all along the Mexican border(DMZ)with nuclear capabilities that in an instant could destroy Houston, Austin, Dallas, Phoenix and Los Angeles??? Somehow I hear screaming and howling coming from the bowels or our esteemed Washington overlords. Kim's behavior is no more foolish.

Anon1 | Apr 14, 2017 1:52:11 PM | 43
Air China to suspend some flights to North Korea http://presstv.ir/Detail/2017/04/14/518018/Air-China-suspend-flights-North-Korea

Well well well, this is almost getting comical, chinese show its true nature once again, what a backstabbing nation. China will be as complicit in this war on NK as Trump (and other pathetic allies). How many billion dollar deals did the stupid president get by Trump to be able to accept this tremendous blunder?

Peter AU | Apr 14, 2017 1:55:14 PM | 45
Is the US going the full John McCain? China rising, pivot on Asia behind schedule. Resources Diverted back to Middle East when Obama's headchoppers threatened US oil at Erbil. More resources for the pivot on China with Russia's re entry into the world of hard power.

At this stage, Russia was supposed to be the gas station that produced nothing. Syria should have fallen to US headchoppers. Philippines has pulled out of the pivot on China.

Obama's leading from behind, and proxy wars largely failed. This leaves the US very short on time to take down China, plus they now have to deal with a Russia that has risen from the dead.

So US going full John McCain to make up for time lost / ground lost through the Obama years?

Ronak | Apr 14, 2017 1:55:59 PM | 46
@ Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 14, 2017 1:32:44 PM | 37

I still think it's a one-front war. Saudi's just formed a NATO-like Sunni force with an ex-Pakistani general as it's head. Now they have a about 20 nation force for basic ground ops and this will help Saudi's in Yemen and may be Syria especially with Pakistan's depth in recruiting regulars and non-regulars. This could not have happened without US approval, imo.

SmoothieX12 | Apr 14, 2017 1:57:01 PM | 47
@37, Peter AU
Syria? or Iran? When the above group talk about terrorist organisations they are talking Hezbollah.It is starting to look like the US is about to launch a two front war. Korea/China, Middle East/Russia.

US is in no position to launch any serious military operation as of now, certainly not against Iran, not to speak about Russia. Bombing something? Sure, as long as it is stand-off weapons and no US casualties. Yet, US is under pressure to "perform" something because, as of lately things are not going too well for US in general and her military in particular. Consider all these plans a self-medication. Per China, China is not in the shape to fight US Navy as of now, not does she want to risk losing the access to US markets.

karlof1 | Apr 14, 2017 2:08:37 PM | 48
For those wondering what book the page is from, it's Napalm: An American Biography by Robert Neer, Belknap, 2013. Using google, enter this exactly into the search box: macarthur "biblical devastation resulted" hit search and the top result will take you to the page. (The actual url is about 4 lines, so I refrained from posting.) I do suggest reading the next several paragraphs, but they are not for the squeamish as what's described is 100% revolting. If after reading the text you cannot fathom why the North Koreans detest Americans more than anything else, then you'll make a perfect Neocon and ought to join Cheney and Co.

Thanks b for posting that extract provided by Jeffery Kaye!

SmoothieX12 | Apr 14, 2017 2:10:57 PM | 49
No one has forgotten the near genocide and no one in Korea, north or south, wants to repeat the experience.

Meanwhile, overwhelming majority of US political "elite" is generally an office plankton with law or political "science" (or journalism--which is not a profession or a skill) degrees from Ivy League "humanities" departments and their comprehension of the war is limited to Hollywood. Most difficulties in life they ever experienced was, most likely, being overbooked for the first class seats on the flight to Hawaii (or any other resort).

somebody | Apr 14, 2017 2:11:06 PM | 50
46) Not true
PAKISTAN'S Parliament rejected a Saudi request to dispatch troops to combat Houthi rebels in Yemen, much to the chagrin of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). When Pakistan joined the Saudi led 34 nation military alliance, Iran took offence believing itself to be the target. Pakistan thus found itself between a rock and a hard place. Stung by the sensitivities of both its friends, Pakistan has had to rethink its diplomatic overtures to maintain the right balance between Tehran and Riyadh.
Outraged | Apr 14, 2017 2:14:53 PM | 52
@ Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 14, 2017 1:55:14 PM | 45

Succinct overview recap, though very pessimistic ;)

Its occurred to me you may not fully follow, with utmost respect, what I've referred to on occasion as: no key indicators re logistics/materiel mandatory pre-deployments with minimum ~3-6 months lead times, ONCE, a decision to go to War, or an Op that risks War breakout, any War, has been taken and formally committed to, before the War or risk 'of' Operation, can commence ?

To do so without such pre-deployments well in advance of boots-on-the-ground, ships firing armaments or aircraft launching strikes, ie engaging in Ops that have inherent escalation to War risk, virtually guarantees failure and defeat should a War subsequently breakout ... Lieutenants study tactics, Field officers/Commanders/Generals/Admirals study logistics, to paraphrase numerous famous military commanders, especially smarmy/cheeky/insubordinate military logisticians ;)

Peter AU | Apr 14, 2017 2:15:00 PM | 53
SmoothieX12 47 China is not in the shape to fight US Navy as of now

That is a good reason for the US to act now. Look up the Rand Corp report - Thinking the Unthinkable. Report finance by the pentagon as a military strategy for taking down China.

In the report, if the US acts now, they have a good chance. In five years time it will it will be 50/50 and in ten year it is all over for the US. By then China will be militarily superior or at a point when any US force projection against China will be totally destroyed very quickly.

Rand report here. I had the title wrong in earlier posts. PDF can be read online or downloaded from the Rand Corp link
Thinking Through The Unthinkable http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR1140.html

Monolycus | Apr 14, 2017 2:27:04 PM | 54
Thank you, E Ring 46Z Vet @#30 for that.

I still read this blog from time to time, but this very issue is why I almost never comment anymore. North Korea is to the Left as Israel is to the Right, and it infuriates me. The decades of kidnapping foreign nationals, hijacked planes, international assassination attempts-- basically 70 years of deliberate destabilization and human rights abuses are all justified because... "America" spelled any various number of ways is eeeeeeeevil.

I live in South Korea and have for the past 15 years. I posted a story here in 2012, shortly after Kim Jong-un came to power, about a defector badmouthing North Korea. B chastised me for believing such propaganda and responded with a linked story about how Kim Jong-un had created an agricultural revolution resulting in a surplus of crops that year and was a hero as a result of it. I am in South Korea.

Kim Jong-un had been in power for less than a year. The time of year was very, very early Spring and the ground in South Korea was still frozen and no crops of any sort had been planted at all, so I know they could not possibly have been planted yet in the north. Yet I was the one believing in baseless propaganda. There's just no way to have any rational debate when the subject is as sacred a cow to the residents here as North Korea is. You'll catch abuse for your comment daring to suggest any culpability whatsoever for poor, innocent bystander North Korea, but I wanted to reassure you that there do exist a small minority of us who appreciated what you had to say.

karlof1 | Apr 14, 2017 2:28:49 PM | 55
The conclusion from a review of the book by SF Gate: "Neer has provided a valuable book that fills in historical gaps and sheds much-needed light on a history that many would rather forget ." [Emphasis mine] http://www.sfgate.com/books/article/Napalm-by-Robert-M-Neer-4377836.php

The #1 reason the Outlaw US Empire gets away with its continuation of massive crimes against humanity is that its citizenry is mostly ignorant--made so purposefully--of the history that matters and are today's equivalent of "Good Germans."

However, that doesn't excuse the remainder of the planet's citizenry from demanding an end to the criminal actions of the Rogue United States.

Ronak | Apr 14, 2017 2:29:12 PM | 56
@ Posted by: somebody | Apr 14, 2017 2:11:06 PM | 50

Thanks for the link.

This rejection was a while ago, 2015 or so? Or was there a new one after the general was given the top post? I had assumed things have changed since.

Anyways, cornering Iran is the goal that the US/Israel trying to accomplish, at least from reading the pattern of activities. Slippery slope indeed.

Outraged | Apr 14, 2017 2:35:49 PM | 57
@ Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 14, 2017 2:15:00 PM | 52

Thought scenario ... US launches attacks and starts War with China, no virtually 'non-concealable' 6 month mandatory preparation lead-time ... however unlikely, events don't go well for PLA ... China assesses at risk of conventional defeat ... however unlikely, no possibility to continue to conventionally resist or recover for an extended conventional conflict or guerilla campaign... fires a demonstration tactical nuke (no casualties) to send a message re de-confliction/de-escalation, or else ... US either stands down or its MAD. Game Over.

Alternately US just goes MAD straight up and risks it all with a supposed surprise First Strike (highly improbable to adequately conceal) ... only a few Sino nukes make it to Stateside, yet enough to wipe out 80Million+ instantly and same number in initially non-KIA casualties of varying degrees plus turn to 'glass' half a dozen major cities ... well armed citizens response/reaction to their new post-apocalyptic lives of joy & happiness ?

Anon1 | Apr 14, 2017 2:45:17 PM | 58
53 / Monolycus

Thanks for proving how well the South Korean state propaganda work, you are basically calling for war against your own country (or perhaps you are not even a native korean?) and your own people, and you are calling people here crazy?

Yonatan | Apr 14, 2017 2:47:10 PM | 59
The 'Big Event' that Kim Jong Un boasted of, and had 'everyone' paralyzed in fear of nuke tests - the grand opening of a new mass residential area in Pyongyang.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxPw26MeviQ

As others have stated, this whole mess is yet another US creation - the consequence of a 'nukes for oil' deal that the US reneged on - NK would cease nuke development in exchange for eased sanctions.

somebody | Apr 14, 2017 2:47:13 PM | 60
Posted by: Ronak | Apr 14, 2017 2:29:12 PM | 55

Dated April 14, 2017

Another fresh link - 17 hours ago

ISLAMABAD: Defence Minister Khawaja Asif on Thursday assured the National Assembly that Pakistan would not become part of any alliance against a Muslim state.

Responding to a calling attention notice, he said that the terms of reference (TOR) of the Saudi-led military alliance would be unveiled by Saudi authorities next month.

He said that the TOR of the alliance, which is to be led by former Chief of the Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif, and its aims and objectives will be presented in parliament before formally deciding whether Pakistan should become part of it or not.

"We have committed to safeguarding Saudi Arabia's soil for the safety and sanctity of the two holy sites - Makkah and Medina - but we will not become part of any conflict against any Muslim state, including Iran," the defence minister said, responding to the notice moved by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) MNA Dr Shireen Mazari.

somebody | Apr 14, 2017 2:56:20 PM | 61
add to 59

Egypt's cooperation is not that safe either

In Libya, the three states seem to be in lock step, supporting Khalifa Haftar, for example. In Palestine, a theatre long abandoned by the Arab leaders, Cairo has a deep-seated interest and is backing the anti-Hamas Mohammed Dahlan, who is also very close with the ruling family in the UAE.

In Yemen, the Egyptian regime has announced its plan to maintain its limited presence, although Cairo's unwillingness to expand this presence is another source of disagreement with Riyadh.

The issue on which there is the most daylight between Cairo and Riyadh, however, is the most significant conflict affecting the region today: the Syrian war.

While Riyadh has backed forces opposed to the regime since the outset, Cairo has moved from a position of ambivalence to open support for the regime.

...

Although rumblings of an Egyptian military presence in Syria have not been substantiated, Egyptian rhetoric and diplomatic efforts have firmly supported Assad. Most recently, Cairo abstained from a key vote in a UN Security Council resolution that would have imposed sanctions on the Syrian government, no doubt to the displeasure of the Saudis.

This position is more consistent with the Egyptian regime's outlook; Sisi rose to power on an anti-Islamist platform and is waging a war against a small scale insurgency in the Sinai. The Trump administration's policy goals in the region seem to align with Sisi's vision of supporting authoritarian regimes against Islamists. This agenda puts both Trump and Sisi into Assad's camp.

For this reason, it seems that Sisi's dream of a joint Arab military force will not materialise anytime soon, at least not with joint Egyptian and Saudi participation.

Without agreement on Syria, this endeavor to unify Arab governments under his leadership is dead on arrival, as the Syrian conflict is currently the most significant security threat.

b | Apr 14, 2017 3:03:08 PM | 62
The link to the book extract in the post which @karlof1 provided. The book is Napalm: An American Biography by Robert Neer, Belknap, 2013

The linked pages following the one above are about the extremely cruel effects of Napalm as used in Korea.

Yonatan | Apr 14, 2017 3:03:41 PM | 63
Karlof1 @48, @54

The US laid a similar (though smaller scale) trail of destruction in Germany at the end of WWII.

The development of napalm specifically to target civilians ties in the testing of the two US nuclear weapons in Japan. The Japanese target cities were left untouched by conventional air raids throughout, even though they contained valid military targets such a torpedo production plants.

The occupants were so used to seeing US planes pass them by without ill effect, that on the fateful day they stood out in the open watching the planes pass by as normal or so they thought. The two attacks - for different designs of weapon - were designed to test and calibrate the effects of nuclear weapons on undamaged cities and unprotected civilians. They were actual medical and physical experiments on real people.

Peter AU | Apr 14, 2017 3:04:29 PM | 64
@ outraged

I have been giving your posts a lot of consideration. How to tie the logistics and so forth lead time, to what we are seeing take place?
create major incident, congress quickly votes for war?

Can the US deploy faster than we have seen in the past? Most US wars since WWII have been wars of choice, done at leisure, in a time and place of US choosing.

The difference between now and all the years since WWII, through the cold war and so forth is that the US has very little time left. In trying to think how the US is acting different now to the past, or actually dig up solid points I would probably point to MH17. With MH17 Australia, one of the five eyes gladly sacrificed some people for empire. That shook me. The evidence was the same as the crap dossier on Assad gassing his own people, yet not a word of protest out of any Australian politician.

The US now have total and complete control over all its vassal. The US can now say and do anything, no matter how obvious, and the bobble heads as Putin calls them, just bobble their heads in agreement.

I think what we will see in the next few years will be much different to the last 70 or so years. If the US does nothing, it will start to collapse as the power of the dollar is eroded by other currencies taking up market share.

I believe US will act, and that means taking down China as China is currently the number one threat to the US. China simply continuing the way it is, manufacturing, trading ect will take down the US.

The US is going to war. Much thought and training going into fighting peer, or near peer adversary. At the same time, China and Russia are working to prevent the US from going to war.

What you have said about lead time does have to be taken into account to try and work out US strategy. Does the US need another Pearl Harbour to get its population on a war footing for the coming war with China? Sink a few useless aircraft carriers, similar to battleships being sunk at Pearl harbour when WWII was a aircraft carrier war and battle ships were largely obsolete?


US think tanks like Brookings and Rand. Fronts for the 0.01% ? US policy roughly follows the lines put out by these type think tanks.

Outraged | Apr 14, 2017 3:06:51 PM | 65
@ Monolycus

If you truly earnestly believe:

The decades of kidnapping foreign nationals, hijacked planes, international assassination attempts-- basically 70 years of deliberate destabilization and human rights abuses are all justified because...

following on from the defeat of Japan at end WWII occurred without any similar actions prior to, concurrent with and subsequent to events of the Korean War, and the issues are purely of Left & Right 'isms', not basic matters of Humanity, then frankly, you're viewpoint/position is wilfully documented counter-factual, IMHO. Have seen no 'abuse' as you assert.

You live in SK ? Respectfully, please enlighten us as to the history of the island of Jeju from Sept 1945 thru to today, as an example, maybe comment on the abandoned truth & reconciliation inquiries/compensation and the persisting existing community divisions thru to this day, hm ?

SmoothieX12 | Apr 14, 2017 3:14:00 PM | 66
@52, Peter AU
That is a good reason for the US to act now.

From US point of view--absolutely. US establishment, yet again, thinks that it can control escalation. Conventionally, North Korea is a punching bag. But I also would be very careful with any (I underscore--any) supposedly "reputable" US analytical source assessments of anyone. Overwhelming empirical evidence testifies to the fact that often they have no idea what they are talking about.

ronny | Apr 14, 2017 3:16:05 PM | 67
Kim Jong-un orders evacuation of Pyongyang: report

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ordered 25 percent of Pyongyang residents to leave the city immediately, according to a Russian news outlet on Friday. The Pravda report said that in accordance with the order, 600,000 people should be urgently evacuated.

http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20170414000689

Outraged | Apr 14, 2017 3:25:30 PM | 68
@ Peter AU
If the US does nothing, it will start to collapse as the power of the dollar is eroded by other currencies taking up market share.

Stepping back from fundamental military strategy/necessities ...

If China/Russia were facing imminent War, then they would very probably dump all US reserves and Treasury Bonds first, and pre-emptively trigger economic collapse & rout. Unless it's MAD first strike stuff, where is the industrial and manufacturing base of the US/UK to sustain and win a 'Total War' ? Russia/China/Iran/NK are all militarily self-sufficient ... long-term sanctions do that, somewhat self-defeating, no ?

IF the US collapses without War occurring, the 0.01% driving this will have already relocated in advance to, New Zealand or Iceland, etc ? To live lives of luxury, whilst purchasing collapsed US corporations for pennies on the dollar, perhaps, and wait for the investment to mature, maybe ? Ruthless bastards, citizens of the world ;)

Yet, mistakes & miscalculations can occur unintentionally when even only a sustained 'strategy of tension' goes on and on ...

Peter AU | Apr 14, 2017 3:31:49 PM | 69
Another thing to consider now when looking at US actions... US have pinned all their hopes for military dominance on the F-35. Thirty years of R&D, a trillion dollars, and all they have produced is a flying scrapyard. The F-22 is a top aircraft, but they scrapped production to concentrate all resources on the F-35. I read not long ago that production of upgraded Super Hornets is about to kick off again.

The F-35 has put the US too far behind. By the time they have designed and produced another 5th gen or later version aircraft, it will be all over for the US.

somebody | Apr 14, 2017 3:37:12 PM | 70
53/monolycos It is possible your opinion is not shared by South Koreans

2003, report for congress South Korean Politics and Rising "Anti-Americanism": Implications for U.S. Policy Toward North Korea

These shifts in the South Korean polity, particularly the rise in anti-Americanism, confront the Bush Administration with a policy dilemma: how to manage the U.S.-ROK alliance while pursuing a more confrontational approach toward North Korea than that favored by many, if not most, South Koreans.
Peter AU | Apr 14, 2017 3:40:15 PM | 71
You make good points Outraged. Will wait and watch, but I have a bad feeling that comes from a lot of small, on their own, seemingly inconsequential events/moves.
somebody | Apr 14, 2017 3:41:39 PM | 72
add to 69
Opinion polls taken over the past few years generally have found that large majorities of respondents favor a partial or total withdrawal of U.S. troops from South Korea, though most holding this position say they favor a drawdown unless there are improvements in North-South Korean relations; few favor an outright withdrawal.
SmoothieX12 | Apr 14, 2017 3:41:41 PM | 73
@68, Peter AU
The F-35 has put the US too far behind.

It is not just F-35, it is a combination of factors of strategic, technological and operational nature. Take a look at LCS program or at the cost of SSBN Ohio-class replacement--a single hull for $8.1 billion. This is more than Russia spent on all 8 of her latest state-of-the-art SSBNs of Borey-class (Project 955, 955A)--3 afloat, 5-in different stages of readiness.

Outraged | Apr 14, 2017 3:42:31 PM | 74
Followup to 67
The US is going to war. Much thought and training going into fighting peer, or near peer adversary.

"The US is going to war. Much thought and training going into fighting peer, or near peer adversary. " Do not see substantive evidence of the former, yet. Re the latter, other than neo-con/lib chickenhawk warmongers and detached from facts/reason/competent analysis & reality stink-tanks, again, see no evidence other than endless PR and rabid rhetoric, MSM abetted.

Have you seen the most recent data/reports on DOD readiness levels, it's not a pleasant read if you're a jingoistic warmonger ... would argue, short version, the opportunity existed prior to 2001, maybe even as late as 2004-2006 at a pinch ... since then, and now, the window has closed and the opportunity lost ... the vassals you refer to have been as suborned as they are now since the late '40's, they just are now led by such incompetents that they don't have the sense to conceal that they are, bought & paid for, bobbleheads. Yet, they are good time opportunists and no guarantee of staying the course should it come to a potential WWIII, see Germany/Italy/etc ...

Ike | Apr 14, 2017 3:50:58 PM | 75
Thanks for a great article. It is so good to read truthful information and not the propaganda bullshit the MSM saturates us with.
If more people read this the outrage would force the fascist US government to back off.
Anon1 | Apr 14, 2017 3:51:40 PM | 76
And again,

US successfully test drops nuclear gravity bomb in Nevada https://reportuk.org/2017/04/14/breaking-us-successfully-test-drops-nuclear-gravity-bomb/

Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 14, 2017 3:56:35 PM | 77
Of passing interest...according to CGTN World Today, April 15, China and Russia's foreign ministers spoke by telephone on Friday to discus stability on the Korean Peninsula.
Outraged | Apr 14, 2017 4:03:27 PM | 78
@ Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 14, 2017 3:56:35 PM | 76

Who knows, maybe NK will be rehabilitated, as is, and accepted back into the Russia/China 'Axis', openly, as for the then USSR/ChiCom 'Axis' pre and during the Korean war ? After all, given the insane and surreal rabid propaganda in western MSM, what difference would it make re supposed 'image' in the eyes of the supposed 'International Community' (US/UK/Israhell & good time vassals) ... any ?

karlof1 | Apr 14, 2017 4:06:09 PM | 79
Peter AU--

Perhaps the most important yet neglected fact related to the build-up for war with China is the lack of preparing the ignorant US citizenry via the sort of dehumanization campaign waged at Islam/Muslims. Heck, just the great preference for Chinese food makes such a campaign more than difficult--the Yellow Peril proclamations of the past long ago ceased to resonate. Plus, I'll certainly echo Outraged's point about USA lacking the required industrial capacity and raw material for any such war other than MAD versus China/Russia. One of the main reasons the Lead From Behind strategy was adopted along with using terrorist proxies to destabilize Russia/China is because of that rather stark reality.

Yonatan @62--

Thanks for your reply. Napalm was developed at Harvard and the book was published by one of Harvard's publishing houses. Given its current attitude, I bet Harvard would now call its own published work Fake News, and disallow it from classrooms while removing it from libraries.

Monolycus--

The following extracts are from Australian National University Professor Gavan McCormack's Target Korea: Pushing North Korea To The Brink of Nuclear Catastrophe and detail just which side did most of the murdering:

"At the outbreak of war in 1950, one of the first acts of the [South Korean] Rhee regime was to order the execution of political prisoners, whose deaths were in due course attributed to atrocities by the incoming Northern forces...Declassified U.S. documents indicated that `more than 2,000' political prisoners were executed without trial in the early weeks, hundreds of them were taken out to sea from the port of Pohang and shot, their bodies dumped overboard...Throughout the country, according to Gregory Henderson, then a U.S. Embassy official in Seoul and later a prominent historian of Korea, probably over 100,000 people were killed without trial or legal warrant. Investigations into all this have scarcely begun...

"When Seoul was recaptured by U.S. and South Korean forces perhaps as many as 29,000 Koreans were executed on suspicion of collaboration with the North...The occupation of Pyongyang and many other cities and villages above the 38th parallel [by South Korean forces] was characterized by atrocities...According to one estimate, 150,000 people were executed or kidnapped...

"The official U.S. Army report at the end of the [Korean] war gave 7,334 as the figure for civilian victims of North Korean atrocities, a small fraction of those now known to have been executed by [government of South Korean leader] Rhee in the first moments of the war alone...

"...The Taejon Massacre...became the centerpiece of the U.S. case for North Korean brutality...A U.S. Army report on the massacre, including graphic photographs, was published around the world in October 1953...
"At Taejon, a town of about 160 kilometers south of Seoul, a massacre undoubtedly occurred...

"...It is hard to avoid the conclusion that the most brutal North Korean atrocity in the South was actually a Southern atrocity in a brutal ongoing civil war...

"...The figure of 1,800 massacre victims was given...Somebody--presumably in either the American military or government--seems to have made the decision to turn this into a Northern massacre, the characteristic, single atrocity of the entire war. The truth seems inescapable: The worst atrocity of the war was committed by forces acting in the name of the United Nations, and a concerted effort was then made to cover it up by blaming it on the North Korean enemy...

"...On the admission of [U.S.] General Ridgeway's Head Office, more POWs died in United Nations camps than in North Korean camps..." http://wherechangeobama.blogspot.com/2013/05/revisiting-history-of-korea-again-part-4.html?m=0

Peter AU | Apr 14, 2017 4:10:21 PM | 80
Re US war manufacturing base. Where is the MIC at now? US is by far the largest manufacturer of military hardware. The assembly of the final product has not been offshored. How much do they import in the way of raw or processed materials? Steel smelting, rolling ect - Aluminium - Titanium?

Rare earth metals required for high tech military is imported from China, North Korea has the other known large recoverable rare earth reserve. Any US war with China would most likely be a naval missile war, something along the lines of the Rand report?

Anon1 | Apr 14, 2017 4:13:54 PM | 81
Lawrence Wilkerson, a former U.S. Army colonel: U.S. Creating New Foes, Too Many To Handle
http://www.mintpressnews.com/former-bush-chief-staff-u-s-creating-new-foes-many-handle/225999/
SmoothieX12 | Apr 14, 2017 4:21:06 PM | 82
Any US war with China would most likely be a naval missile war, something along the lines of the Rand report?

China does have limited versions of both Klub-NK and Club-S, those were shorter ones until recently when China started to get her hands on actual Russian versions of such weapons as P-800 Onyx with their ranges of 660 kilometers, add here SU-35 (also in Russian configuration) and S-400, also in Russian configuration, and you have a rather interesting dynamics suddenly.

China's very weak spot navy-wise is their submarine force, despite some good SSKs, PLAN's nuclear submarine component is atrocious--a generation or two behind what Russia and US operate. So, for now it is a mixed bag. Plus there is an issue of targeting, I don't know if Russia will make her Liana system available to China. Can China today sink US nuclear carrier? Possibly, In 5-7 years it will become not only possible but highly probable.

karlof1 | Apr 14, 2017 4:25:05 PM | 83
Peter AU @79--

US MIC armament production ought to be seen/understood as MIC profitmaking scam that happens to produce few usable/battle-worthy assets. There's a very good reason for calling the USA's once mighty industrial heartland the Rust Belt--it's literally rotting away as a ride on Amtrak's Capitol Limited will testify.

It would be far cheaper, saner and moral to obtain rare earth minerals and other goods via trade than expanding industrial capacity, instituting a military draft, outfitting such a force, then waging a war for conquest.

b | Apr 14, 2017 4:40:02 PM | 84
@Monolycus

I tried for some 15 minutes to find the comment you wrote about and can not find it.

But two remarks:

byongjin policy ('progress in tandem' or 'move two things forward simultaneously') was developed and implemented years before Kim Jong-un came to power. He (more precise: those who are behind him) made it an official party policy and created the slogan long after the program had started. The first nuclear test in NoKo was 2006 - five years before him. The deterrence effects were already in place as well as a lessened conventional positioning, the economic trend was already positive.

I may well have berated you about the uncritical quoting of a North Korean defector. These are notorious liars. Their income in South Korea was reported to be paid by the secret service in dependence of the media splash they create.

There is huge amount of fake horror stories about North Korea in the South Korean (esp. Chosun Ilbo) and global press. Much of it is planted by the South Korean government. U.S. media have thankfully stopped to regurgitate most of the stories for now as too many turned out to be false .

Kim Jong-un had his dogs maul one of his uncles?
Stripped naked, thrown into a cage and torn apart by 120 starving dogs: How Kim Jong Un had 'scum' uncle executed
That story ran one way or another in every bigger western media. It was false. The uncle was executed but after a (sham) trial and with guns by a regular execution command.

North Korea hacked Sony? No it did not. It was an insider hack by a former Sony IT person. Sony made the "North Korea hack" up to escape culpability and to sell an otherwise unsellable bad movie.

Kim Jong-un's ex-girlfriend reportedly executed by firing squad
Bad, bad boy. But later she turns up on live TV , smiling and laughing as ever.

Kim Jong-Un kills his half brother by having an unprotected person smear highly toxic VX in his face in a very public place in Malaysia? The person who does that gets not hurt one bit? Check the life style of his half brother - girls and drugs and rock&roll - lots of drugs and lots of alcohol. The dude much more likely had a heart infarct and the rest was made up like the other stories above.

North Korea did and does some outrageous stuff. So did and do other countries. How many alleged "communists" and "sympathizers" did the various dictatorships in South Korea kill under U.S. tutelage? Thousands? Ten thousands? A hundredthousand at least. How many sabotage acts did they engineer in North Korea? How many were hurt by those?

I am not blind on one eye. But the anti-NoKo propaganda is similar to the propaganda that created the war on Iraq fever. It is now even more important to look from the other side and to write that up, not just some pseudo-concerned "all sides are bad" pieces.

Looking in vain for the old Monolycus comment I came across a piece I wrote in 2012.

Therein I quote Tariq Ali from a piece he wrote about his 1970s visit to North Korea. This bit from the end of the piece on the U.S. position under Bush/Obama is enlightening:

Over lunch I asked her about [the Bush administration] plans for North Korea. She was cogent. 'You haven't seen the glint in the eyes of the South Korean military,' she said. 'They're desperate to get hold of the North's nuclear arsenal. That's unacceptable.' Why? 'Because if a unified Korea becomes a nuclear power, it will be impossible to stop Japan from becoming one too and if you have China, Japan and a unified Korea as nuclear states, it shifts the relationship of forces against us.' Obama seems to agree with this way of thinking.
Peter AU | Apr 14, 2017 4:40:46 PM | 85
SmoothieX12 karlof1

It really makes little sense what the US is up to. Are they relying on bluff and bluster to win the day? Anon1 @80 put up a good link. It is one of the things that has me worried.

What we are seeing now, is it bluff and bluster? or is it Doolittle raid/battle of Midway type culture - US can overcome all no matter what?

Willy2 | Apr 14, 2017 4:43:41 PM | 86
- North Korea has some good reasons to not trust the US.

1) In the 1990s they had a deal with the US, in which the US would supply Nort Korea with oil in return for a suspension of their nuclear program. But the US didn't deliver on theri promises.

2) In 2003 or 2004 the US made some serious movements that did suggest that the US was preparing a MAJOR attack on North Korea. Under secretary Paul Wolfowitz also made some remarks that would suggest such a move.

3) The G.W.Bush administration (2000-2008) deliberately increased tension with North Korea.

From The Hague | Apr 14, 2017 4:45:58 PM | 87
38 41 Outraged

Thanks!
Very relevant historical background.

SmoothieX12 | Apr 14, 2017 4:46:09 PM | 88
@84, Peter AU.
What we are seeing now, is it bluff and bluster? or is it Doolittle raid/battle of Midway type culture - US can overcome all no matter what?

Both. I am not sure that I can correctly estimate a percentage of both. Let me take a wild guess: bluster/bluff-60-65%, Doolittle--35-40%. The foundation of Pax Americana is a mythology of the "best military in the world", without this myth the whole house of cards begins to fold. It was folding with increasing speed since circa 2008 and accelerated tremendously in 2014.

somebody | Apr 14, 2017 4:47:27 PM | 89
Shadowbrokers just released NSA hacks for Windows Systems enabling kids to go to work over the Easter Weekend.

NSA hacks include the Swift System.

By the way, google "North Korean hackers" and have fun.

Win | Apr 14, 2017 4:48:24 PM | 90
@Monolycus

Great that you swing by every so often. But I am not sure why you are offended when people criticise your point of view. That's what comments are for. And that's why this blog is here. To present an alternative view to mainstream lies. And just because you live in South Korea does not mean you have an objective view of the situation there. In the bigger picture, the mad dogs in the US government do all the things you mention, but no doubt because they are America they are ignored and their actions declared righteous. The agreements are historical and it was not North Korea who backed away, broke them or refused to consider them. North Korea has the tightest sanctions on earth and so b's reporting about the rationale for North Korea's actions is timely. Instead of the insidious propaganda we get from Western media. Enjoy yourself in South Korea. Just remember who invaded who there and who is causing mayhem in the rest of the world. Hint; it is not Kim Yong-Un.

Outraged | Apr 14, 2017 5:05:51 PM | 91
@ Peter AU

An old saw, but a profound truism, 'No Battleplan survives first engagement with the enemy'.

So Rands 'plan' ain't worth much ... secondly, if you go into combat/war without actually considering the enemies own moves/counters/plans/actions, then you've already lost before the first shot is fired.

For example, the Chinese have built an autobahn grade highway which ends ~10Kms short of the China-Afghan border, they have 3 combined arms army groups including air divisions from the adjacent Western Military Region they could send over that border pass, after getting the combat engineers, sweating hard and using machinery, to finish the final stretch in a matter of hours ... the remaining army group & numerous Police divisions could secure the military region, as its isolated from potential threats other than Indian border effectively.

Within 3-4 days forced march, worst case, they've crossed the Iran-Afghan border and the ME is toast ... concurrent and co-ordinated with similar capabilities from Russia, the ME is toast. And in conjunction with Iran free to wipeout the GCC's pathetically unprofessional non-commital 'green' 'parade only' militaries.

What has the US got, pre-positioned to prevent it ?

The conventional forces that NATO used to have deployed, pre-positioned and in number to defend a USSR, now RF, multi echelon armored deep penetration into EU, no longer exists ...

The Bundeswehr is a shadow of its glory days as an armored/mechanized shield during the Cold War, now periodically ridiculed for not having sufficient MGs or ammunition to train with on joint training exercises ... War ready in 2017 ?

The nuclear and non-nuclear subs of both sides would promptly slaughter each other in a mutual knife-fight, sudden death, whilst taking out the majority of the Carriers, US/UK/FR ... the remainder of the Carrier group escorts exist and are designed/configured to defend/protect & shield the carrier, not very useful once its at the bottom of the ocean along with all the strike aircraft, pilots, support crews and sailors ...

@ From the Hague

You are most welcome, a group effort.

okie farmer | Apr 14, 2017 5:07:18 PM | 92
link http://eng.tibet.cn/world/1481178463674.shtml
b | Apr 14, 2017 5:21:19 PM | 93
For those beating up on China (or applauding it) for suspending flights with NoKo.

Air China clarifies ticket sales to blame for temporary flight cuts to Pyongyang; no suspension of services

Jen | Apr 14, 2017 5:23:04 PM | 94
Thanks B for the information regarding how the US and South Korea time their military maneuvers to coincide with the rice planting and harvesting periods in North Korea. I had not been aware of this before.

Bill Clinton's offer to North Korea to supply grain and materials for building two new reactors and his later reneging on that do not surprise me at all as these are of a piece with the Clinton Foundation raising hundreds of millions for Haiti's post-quake reconstruction which in the end resulted in the construction of one factory employing 30 people making T-shirts for export. No doubt with the North Korean "offer" the Clintons got something of that.

Also thanks to Karlof1 for being the tireless terrier that he is in hunting down the information about US-allied atrocities during the Korean War.

I would like to pose to Monolycus and the other South Korean-based commenter the challenge of explaining how South Korea rapidly recovered from total war devastation in the early 1960s to the point where in 1988 the nation's capital could host the Summer Olympic Games. This all took place in the space of less than 30 years. If you both can do this convincingly and somehow mention Park Chunghee as an enlightened free-market democratic capitalist ideologue, rest assured I will be blown away.

fastfreddy | Apr 14, 2017 5:33:25 PM | 95
American Technological progress is probably stymied by the manner in which it is conducted. That is to spread contracts for hardware/software/parts among competing states via state representative congressional bag men. Wasting time and money in the process. Hoping for cost overruns and delays which increase profits. Small wonder the state-of-the-art US warplane is shit.
Pft | Apr 14, 2017 5:41:44 PM | 96
I'd have to question Kims sanity if he OK's a missile or nuclear test at this time. Trumps obviously a mad man trying to show how tough he is in order go terrorize countries and maybe his own citizens into submission. However, he has the means to execute the destruction. The MSM will be behind him all the way and Americans love war because God blesses them and they believe they are the good guys fighting evil and making the world safe for liberty and Democracy. American exceptionalism they call it.. The citizens as a group might be the most insane of all of these entities. Certainly the dumbest.
james | Apr 14, 2017 5:45:36 PM | 97
b - great responses to the naysayers here.. very informative as well. thank you..
Jen | Apr 14, 2017 5:49:40 PM | 98
B @ 92: I should think Air China's flight cuts are due to people suddenly cancelling flight plans after the threats made by the Trump government against Nth Korea.

Anticipating though that if the US were to make the first move against Nth Korea, Air China's flights back and forth between China and Nth Korea are going to be very full. I believe there are some 2 million Koreans living in China (mainly in Manchuria) and many if not most of them have family in Nth Korea. Beijing must consider preparing for a refugee exodus into China's northeast provinces if there are as yet no plans.

Peter AU | Apr 14, 2017 5:52:13 PM | 99
mmm... well something major is brewing. What is smoke and mirrors and deflection and what is the real US strategy?
Syria, Korea, Mattis cooking up a plot with GCC+Isreal = Iran
paul | Apr 14, 2017 6:40:24 PM | 101
Wow - I'm impressed with this approach from China. But they still need to be a bit stronger about denying the US the right or the chance to attack NK. Even Russia has several times sent a fleet to Syria. China should do this to ward off the Hegemon.
jfl | Apr 14, 2017 7:00:05 PM | 102
@or, @p au

interesting discussion on the likelihood of war, upcoming.

i think certainly outraged has the 'rational' analysis of war well in hand. but i don't think that war is rational in, literally, the end.

i think the 'smartest guys in the room' in the us are not military types, but financial types. the same guys who run the hedge funds run the 'rational analysis' and forecast the 'outcomes' of wars, purely imaginary. and they have the rest of the world backing down before the 'overwhelming' might of the us wehrmacht, though a good part of their analysis is based on their own 'funny money' based 'power', which is only as good as everyone else's willing suspension of disbelief. no 'rational actor' would not back down, they say, in double negative. they're reductionists, and their results only hold true in the very much reduced world they've disconnected, bottled, and simulate their 'trades' in.

i think there is a very real chance that they'll take us all over the edge, especially now that they have the donald himself unequivocally - well for him - on board. we'll see, won't we?

we won't be safe from all this until after the air has been let out of their financial balloon, for good this time, and they are no longer the 'smartest guys' in the room. and then we'll only be safe if we claim our world and install an alternative management.

thanks b, for the excellent perspective on the ceaseless grind the us has put the peninsula under over the past six decades. i never noticed their lockstep of stress and torture with the agricultural cycle either. hades and persephone all over again. i guess it never stops.

karlof1 | Apr 14, 2017 7:01:52 PM | 103
Jen @94--

Thanks much for the complement. There are two main credible reporters on the Korean War that I use: IF Stone's The Hidden History of the Korean War was published in 1952 and was excellent for its timely veracity; Bruce Cumings, recently History Chair at University of Chicago, has written extensively on Korea, and his two volume The Origins of the Korean War is the most extensive examination of the conflict. In 2010, he published a very abridged version that looks serviceable, easier to find and much less expensive. This links to a review of Stone's book in doc format, www.ais.org/~jrh/Hidden_History_of_Korean_War.doc Cumins also co-authored Inventing the Axis of Evil: The Truth about North Korea, Iran, and Syria which is short and very readable. Cumins has also examined and written about the relationship between War and Television within the USA. And here's a website containing many of IF Stone's writings, http://www.ifstone.org/index.php

Krollchem | Apr 14, 2017 7:13:33 PM | 104
I am amazed by the depth of the comments on Trump's military threats against North Korea (trolls excepted). I would hope that Trump is just playing Teddy Roosevelt who "carried the big stick" using the white fleet to intimidate Japan:
http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h942.html

Unfortunately, would appear that Trump actually wants to degrade North Korea's nuclear program using strategic bombers (B52, B-1b and B2) currently deployed at Guam (a rerun of the US attack on Iraq nuclear reactor?).
https://reportuk.org/2017/04/14/us-defcon-nuclear-threat-warning-increased-with-north-korea-on-verge-of-war/

The US has positioned two cruise missile carrying destroyers within 300 miles of the North Korean nuclear test site awaiting the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier strike group including the WC-135 "nuclear sniffer" aircraft.

U.S. Air Force has also just staged and epic Elephant Walk at Kadena Air Base Japan comprised of HH-60 Pave Hawks, F-15 Eagles, E-3 Sentries and KC-135 Stratotankers as a show of force (see Superstation95 for photos).

In addition to the thermobaric bomb demonstration in Afghanistan, the US just tested the upgraded B61-12 nuclear gravity bomb (just linked by Anon1)

Trump's "Big Stick" approach has led to mass movements of:

(1) China moved 200,000 troops on the border of North Korea;

(2) Evacuation of about 600,000civilians from Pyongyang;

(3) Plans by Japan's National Security Council on how to evacuate its nearly 60,000 citizens from South Korea;

(4) Lots of flights out of South Korea.

There are reports that China has sent its submarines sent out to sea (setting on the bottom?) and is likely making additional preparations without fanfare.

North Korea has recently stated that if an attack is perceived a nuclear war will occur. I would expect that the first strike would be an airburst meant to wipe out all electronics not protected by Faraday cages, including unhardened military communications systems.

I hate to speculate on where the other nuclear bombs will be " delivered". Under a worst-case scenario it could result in some global cooling about 20% of that predicted http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2013EF000205/full

On the US West coast it would be wise to stock up on iodine tablets as attacks on nuclear reactors and other nuclear facilities will release iodine 131 from fuel rods as well as other biologically hazardous radionuclides including strontium-90, cesium-137, and uranium-234.

It may be the Make America Great Again is actually represents the Jewish word for combat (MAGA). Such an approach was warned against by General Smedley Butler in his critical essay "War is a Racket". https://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/warisaracket.html

As a side note the South Korean elections are coming up soon. Does anyone have a point of view?

dh | Apr 14, 2017 7:15:01 PM | 105
@104 The hedge fund guys are only good if they make the right bets. What they depend on is inside information, which companies are in trouble, which country is going to get whacked etc. But they don't always get it right. And their thinking is mostly short term.

'Alternative management' would be nice. Maybe a race of benevolent aliens could take over.

blues | Apr 14, 2017 7:18:52 PM | 106
I feel I should simply repeat what I said yesterday on this site. It still seems rather relevant:

This is where this is going, I would guess:

US Airstrike on North Korea Risks Leading to '5-6 Chernobyl-Type Disasters' https://sputniknews.com/politics/201704131052612166-us-north-korea-chernobyl/
/~~~~~~~~~~
"Approximately 30 nuclear power plants are operational in South Korea. Several of them could be destroyed even if conventional bombs and shells are used. This could lead to five-six Chernobyl-type disasters on a relatively small area of 99 square kilometers that could instantly turn into a place unsuitable for life," he explained.
\~~~~~~~~~~

But that's not all we're going to get:
/~~~~~~~~~~
The Pentagon "cannot but take into account that in case of an airstrike against North Korea, US-made Tomahawks will fly toward the territory of Russia and China. This is a more dangerous scenario than the show of force in Syria," he said. "Russia will not be able to wait for US missiles to accidentally land on its territory. Moscow will be forced to shoot down the missiles while they are in North Korean airspace."
\~~~~~~~~~~

Meanwhile, tens of millions of South Koreans perish, with a few becoming radionuclide refugees. Good job, eh?

Peter AU | Apr 14, 2017 7:43:14 PM | 107
@ blues
I would guess that SK, Japan, Australia, are all viewed simply as forward military bases by the US, that can be abandoned if required.

@ jfl

I have read although ,in a casual way rather than a study, too much of the history of wars. Often what comes across the insanity of a country starting a war and then is itself destroyed. Nazi Germany - leading edge tech, smart people. Country of sixty million conquered virtually all of Europe with ease then took on Russia. Instead of being content with being a leading country, they were willing to gamble everything to have it all.

This is somewhat where the US is at today. The position is that it has over reached and now needs to pull back and consolidate, but we are not seeing that. instead, we are seeing the US become more threatening.

So for me that needs to be matched/reconciled to Outraged comments on pre-positioning, indicators ect.

Piotr Berman | Apr 14, 2017 7:51:15 PM | 108
TRUMP READY TO REMOVE CRAZED NORTH KOREAN KILLER [GLOBE as observed in my supermarket yesterday, front page reported on-line]

IN a gutsy move to save the world from global disaster, courageous ­President ­Donald Trump has drawn up a ruthless, top-secret plan to kill North Korean ­warmonger Kim Jong Un before he can push the ­button that would unleash nuclear holocaust!

D.C. insiders tell GLOBE the iron-willed president is fed up with roly-poly Kim's blustery bull and is determined to squash the pint-sized dictator, who recently launched four intercontinental ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan!

"Trump has put the elite fighting teams of Delta Force and SEAL Team 6 in Trump has put the elite fighting teams of Delta Force and SEAL Team 6 in South Korea on standby and ordered Tomahawk missiles and nuclear weapons to the North Korean border!" a White House insider tells GLOBE.

Get all the details and the latest information on the White House's latest moves against the tyrannical North Korean dictator in this week's issue of GLOBE.

====

Piotr: I understand how "top-secrets" can make it to our intrepid GLOBE reporters. But how did they determined who is "iron-willed" and who is "rolly-polly". E.g. it seems to me that Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim have similar BMI. Or how both leaders exhibited iron will firing employees.

Willy2 | Apr 14, 2017 7:53:30 PM | 109
- MEDIA MATTERS had a VERY interesting take why we could see a US attack on North Korea:

https://mediamatters.org/research/2017/04/13/punditry-syrian-airstrikes-encouraging-trump-escalate-tensions-north-korea/216023

jfl | Apr 14, 2017 8:27:18 PM | 110
@109 p au

i agree. no matter what happens, it won't be good ... until the Mother Of All Bubbles has burst. and then it might be but a brief respite indeed if we don't take advantage of the lull in 'play' to 'decapitate' our own 'leadership'. it's our sheer, mere 300 million+ souls (600 million+ soles?) to their 535 caputs ... think we have a chance?

Dr. Wellington Yueh | Apr 14, 2017 8:39:34 PM | 111
@jfl #114:

A primary problem there is that they have convinced at least 20% of those 300M to be human shields in the service of Empire.

Julian | Apr 14, 2017 8:44:26 PM | 112

Apologies if this has already been mentioned - but if the USA were to unilaterally launch strikes on North Korea could Russia itself intervene and launch missiles against the ships/fleet at fault - ie - against those who have abrogated their responsibilities to international peace and security? The aggressor nation.

Could Russia sink the ships with the USS Carl Vinson in the name of maintaining international peace and security??

What side of Korea is the Carl Vinson and is it closer to the coastline of Russia or Syria?

frances | Apr 14, 2017 9:02:27 PM | 113

According to Jim Stone NK has a very formidable 50+ submarine fleet. He also said these subs are of NK manufacture based on their upgrades to Russian 1990's designs. They are nowhere to be seen at the moment and as they run on batteries when still, there is no easy way to detect them if they are on the ocean floor.

Many are nuclear, have on average 100 mile range and the largest one could travel to and hit the West Coast. So if the Trump armada attacks they may quickly find themselves on the bottom of the South China Sea. And as for a war with China, IMO there is no way the US can win conventionally IMO. And if it looks to go to nuclear, Russia will regretfully reduce us to ash. It appears Trump has turned over management of the military to the generals. I have the same sense of pending disaster that I would have if I, on rounding a corner bumped into 1000 Daleks and with not a Doctor in sight.

Krollchem | Apr 14, 2017 9:24:28 PM | 115
A Russia missile cruiser arrived in Korea on April 11th:

https://already-happened.com/2017/04/11/russian-guided-missile-cruiser-varyag-and-rfs-pechenga-have-arrived-at-port-of-busan-south-korea-today/

DemiJohn | Apr 14, 2017 9:33:42 PM | 116
Amazing how Kim Jung-un is demonized. Certainly a bully but there is much worse ... and Erdogan is untouchable.
Krollchem | Apr 14, 2017 9:43:21 PM | 117
blues @108

Good point about the nuclear reactors.

In addition nuclear reactors require fossil fuel power plants as backup up they suddenly lose power. In case of an air blast over South Korea the electrical grid would shut down with possible meltdown of reactors which didn't go into standby prior to the nuclear detonation.

An even more critical issue is that a lack of power would shutoff cooling water to the spent nuclear fuel storage ponds. This would result in the water boiling off and

"Once the fuel is uncovered, it could become hot enough to cause the metal cladding encasing the uranium fuel to rupture and catch fire, which in turn could further heat up the fuel until it suffers damage. Such an event could release large amounts of radioactive substances, such as cesium-137, into the environment."

http://www.ucsusa.org/nuclear-power/nuclear-waste/safer-storage-of-spent-fuel#.WPF2kI61tt8

http://allthingsnuclear.org/dlochbaum/spent-fuel-damage-pool-criticality-accident

It is important to remember that there is more spent nuclear fuel in spent fuel rods than in the reactors. There is a DOE computer program for calculating the radionuclide composition of the fuel vs storage time (Origin code). but I cannot find it on the internet. The release of these daughter products and the long term dispersal onto the land would turn Korea into a dead zone for hundreds of years.

jfl | Apr 14, 2017 10:13:07 PM | 118
@125 username ... not your real name. my name is john francis lee. i've never understood people who hide behind 'clever' usernames.
Alaric | Apr 14, 2017 10:17:31 PM | 119
This is very disturbing but I still believe it is show and that trump is just using theater to intimidate N Korea and actually China to control N Korea.

i fully expect that China will give him a bogus way of looking tough that will achieve nothing and do little to n Korea. The problem is what happens if n Korea and China call his bluff and give him no way to look tuff.

Is it possible this is a distraction for further actions in Syria?

marcus_lepidus | Apr 14, 2017 11:11:46 PM | 120
Maybe connected.....maybe not? With the election of Trump....word gets out that North Korea is very interested in talks with the incoming administration....and then what happens: Kim Jong-un's brother dies in a spectacularly suspicious fashion. Now that Park has been impeached.......and her likely successor looks to be someone open to talks with North Korea, the US is suddenly on the brink of war with the DPRK. Coincidence...neocon serendipity? Inquiring minds wanna know!
Peter AU | Apr 14, 2017 11:12:18 PM | 121
129
into sci-fi entertainment much?
yesu | Apr 14, 2017 11:23:25 PM | 122
@29 - This is why Trump acting so tough now, he know China+UN+EU+Nato will support his coming war.Posted by: Anon1 | Apr 14, 2017 12:49:02 PM | 29


ridiculous idea to even contend with. scared of what? the very first place for he n.korean nukes will be US army basesin japan, even before s korea.

everyone knows the so called armada is a bluff here in asia, on other note, it shows USA doesn't provide security to the freedom of navigation that it keeps on pushing onto others. it does the opposite, it shows all the nations what freedom of navigation really means ..... to push for war instead of protecting trade, of which almost all the trade is coming from china anyways.

it brings a huge conundrum in decision making, if trump doesn't do anything, all countries in asia will switch alliances towards china in the long run, except for broke jokes japan/usa.

if trump does do something ridiculous, there won't be much of US/japan influence left in asia as china/russia will be forced to respond, and respond it will not like the fake wars washington is content with nowadays. trump obviously wants to change the tune of the conflicts....... but sending an armada into enemy territory while espousing support from nato..... (pacific nato?) puts so much fear into any nation here, knowing there is no petroleum logistics here for the war lovers.

where u going to buy oil from Hong kong? singapore? japan? russia?

NotTimothyGeithner | Apr 14, 2017 11:33:03 PM | 123
@127 The simple answer is much like Obama, Trump is turning to bumbling around the international stage now that his domestic Presidency is finished. Between the Freedom Caucus and extinction of the Democrats who have been reliable crossover votes, there isn't a working majority in Washington.

The key event wasn't the chemical weapon false flag or Rachel Maddow's latest Glenn Beck screed but the failure to repeal ACA and the recognition the Republicans don't have a plan to go or much of anything. The budget will be up in a few months, and he still has the same problem he has ACA: Demcorats who cant provide cover and the Freedom Caucus types.

"Wag the Dog" scenarios focus on salacious scandals, but the collapse of domestic Presidencies are usually followed by war Presidencies. Trump is largely the idiot he appears to be and is simply grabbing onto the various interests within the borg. Trump will bounce from "enemy" to "enemy" trying to find an issue to get his Presidency back on track.

Kalen | Apr 14, 2017 11:34:00 PM | 124
One other jewel of US propaganda is why US is there, Keeping peace between NK and SK? Not at all US is there to keep peace between both Koreas and Japan and US stake imperial claim against China.

Numerous cases of Japanese even minute encroachments on territorial waters of whole Korea were met by SK and NK alike with joint condemnation recalling ambassadors and even small shooting war and that including sharp conflict between both Koreans and Japan over so called disputed islands and waters.

In fact a claim that US role there is stabilizing the situation cannot be entirely dismissed however the issue is that it is the US THAT CAUSED THIS INSTABILITY IN THE FIRST PLACE pushing regional divisions what amounts to precluding possibility to really end WWII among enemies resolve issues that still remind unresolved like Korea and move on with acknowledgment of reality of Chinese economic and political leadership which would be just return to historical situation just two centuries ago with modern solutions for coexistence.

But that would spell the end of globalist project under US imperial umbrella, a prospective that is strongly opposed on all sides for diametrically different reasons.

Peter AU | Apr 14, 2017 11:47:55 PM | 125
Something that has struck me as this thread goes on.. WWII never ended. Nazi/imperial Japan quest for empire morphed into US quest for empire that is coming to a climax today.
Anoncommentator | Apr 14, 2017 11:51:21 PM | 126
Wide ranging fascinating interview with former high ranking CIA intelligence officer, Robert David Steele
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=8UfYLA7FCqQ
Peter AU | Apr 14, 2017 11:55:22 PM | 127
continuing from 135

Russia/USSR won WWII in Vietnam, and Vietnam is now an independent sovereign country. US won WWII in Germany and Germany is still an occupied country. Japan has never been disputed and remains a US occupied country. Korea has never been settled and WWII is still ongoing.

Krollchem | Apr 14, 2017 11:58:45 PM | 128
"Deputy Defense Minister General of the Army of Russia, Dmitry Bulgakov has arrived in Khabarovsk Krai near North Korea to inspect troops."

"Russia also moved military vehicles (Air Def) toward Vladivostok not far from the border with North Korea"

Link also shows videos of Chinese units moving toward the North Korean border

http://thesaker.is/news-brief-brics-joint-communique-troops-deployment-near-korean-peninsula/

Circe | Apr 15, 2017 12:12:39 AM | 129
If North Korea, Russia, Iran, China or any other country that resists Zio-U.S. imperialism sent an Armada off the U.S. coast on the fourth of July, the U.S. wouldn't hesitate to sink it immediately, no questions asked. Trump is proving every day that he's a dangerous idiot.
Anoncommentator | Apr 15, 2017 12:31:18 AM | 130
This is going viral and so it should!!! https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rkj9UCHO0Tc
denk | Apr 15, 2017 1:03:56 AM | 131
so mark pence is in sk with the troops 'observing easter prayer', what fucking hypocrites , 'god's army' on the way to another killing spree. --

i wonder if pence's son is with the grunts ? mao sent his son together with the troops to help nk beat back the murkkans, hundreds of thousands never went home, including mao's son.

but nuthin about the chinese sacrifice was mentioned in the nk war memorial hall, its all about the 'great leader'.
during the sino/soviet split, nk had no hesitation ditching beijing for the more powerful ussr.

by all accounts kim jong un would dearly wish to dump beijing for the more powerful unitedsnake...if only washington would accept him.

wouldnt be surprised if kim is eventually 'cowed' by trump's armada and submit to washington wish.

then trump would brag 'didnt i tell you all the past prez are pussies, it takes a real man to get things done'

hehhehe
=============

Peter AU | Apr 15, 2017 1:10:32 AM | 132
@ outraged.
What would we see for a naval and to a lesser extent air war to blockade China? No ground war component with the massive logistic tail that requires. Obama's pivot on China entailed moving 60% of US naval assets to Asia pacific region.

Where are US subs located? Where are US missile ships located. What is classified in the way of US naval asset positioning and not available to the public?
Carriers are smoke and mirrors. A bygone era.

From what I can make of it, Carter pre-positioned India as a US asset in 2016.

jfl | Apr 15, 2017 1:20:07 AM | 133
it may be that b has hit the nail on the head again ...
"As a first step, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) may suspend its nuclear and missile activities in exchange for the suspension of large-scale U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) military exercises," Wang told a press conference on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People's Congress.
... what happens is that tee-rump unveils essentially this plan at the 'last minute' and takes credit for it, having exercised us all and directed the attention to his spotlight on the yellow sea.

i hope that's what happens. we're stuck with this clown for four more years. he has no talent of his own, unless you call this kind of 'performance' talent ... and in fact he seems to have claimed it ... he may be an a**hole but he's the world's biggest a**hole! ... at least we might all live through it, ruled by a 70 year-old enfant terrible. tee-rump will play dummy and putin and xi can alternate as ventriloquists ... smiling and holding the dummy up to take the bows.

Dr. Wellington Yueh | Apr 15, 2017 1:21:00 AM | 134
@145: I don't really consider folks here'bouts as peasants. There are trolls and sock puppets. B and the commentators here (you and jfl are high on the list!) comprise a collection of 'reality lenses' that I find useful.

RE: My initial response to jfl, the 20% I envision as human shields might be splittable, but you're only going to flake off a few %. Also, ignorance/apathy/fear (or incapacity for some other reason) on 'our side' brings the numbers way down. Add to that attrition from whatever course of action Empire attempts, and you have even fewer. Since we seem to be dealing with the 'upset-the-table' kind of losers, I'm sure they'll do something spectacular as a coda.

Anyway, currently reading "The Shining", "Conquest of the Useless", "Roughing It", "Moby Dick". Just finished Gregory Benford's "Galactic Center" series...that was gripping and depressing for 6 long volumes.

somebody | Apr 15, 2017 1:30:34 AM | 135
North Korea's statement names the "Trump's administration serious military hysteria" This description is correct.
blues | Apr 15, 2017 1:31:08 AM | 136
Hmmm. Hmmm.

/~~~~~~~~~~
Zero Hedge -- Krunch Time for Korean Krackpot Despot, Kim Jong-Un: Missile Crisis Countdown Has Begun -- Apr 14,2017
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-04-14/krunch-time-korean-krackpot-despot-kim-jong-un-missile-crisis-countdown-has-begun

Vice President Pence is scheduled to visit Seoul on Sunday, during his first Asian trip. The timing of his visit, after the Day of the Sun, might indicate the US does not plan any pre-emptive strike against North Korea on the Day of the Sun However, while Pence is ostensibly going to South Korea to talk with the government there about North Korea's nuclear development, the White House has also said it has contingency plans for the VP's visit, should North Korea carry out another nuclear test, indicating the possibility of a sudden shift to a war footing if Kim goes ahead with his apparent plans.
\~~~~~~~~~~

What if Pence doesn't make it out in time?

Hmmm.

jfl | Apr 15, 2017 1:34:21 AM | 137
@146 denk, 'by all accounts kim jong un would dearly wish to dump beijing for the more powerful unitedsnake...'

but that's a plan made looking in the rearview mirror ... isn't it? the future is china's. the very recent past is the 'legacy' of the us, burnt-out shooting star. sacrificed to the greed of its ruling class. in this life, at any rate.

any opportunist worth his wages would go with china at this point in the game. and isn't kim really just the korean version of trump?

an apprentice working for the apparat that really runs the country as their frontman, to bound about on stage and keep the world's attention on korea?

Peter AU | Apr 15, 2017 1:40:24 AM | 138
151
Ignorance/apathy covers the middle 75% or so. A US manual on special forces hybrid/covert warfare covers that well. Even has a pie chart. Too many home brews at the moment to dig up the link, compounded by the fact that it is nearly time for my nana nap.
Julian | Apr 15, 2017 1:53:59 AM | 139
Re: Posted by: Pft | Apr 14, 2017 5:41:44 PM | 97

If Kim does want to 'provoke' the Americans and test a missile or nuke surely he's most likely to do it a bit later than people think - ie - like Tuesday night Korean time - perhaps just before US markets open for Tuesday after the holidays. Or are they open on Monday? If they are, perhaps 9-10pm Monday night Korean time???

Try and cause a 'panicked' market crash before Trump can react? Ensuring he will react against the backdrop of a market crash should he choose to react.

Anyone know - are US markets open on Monday?

jfl | Apr 15, 2017 2:05:06 AM | 140
@151 tjk

i re-read moby dick myself a couple of years ago. found a whale chart to go along with it, which helped bring the voyage to life ... back in the day ... when i was a kid there were always films from africa on tv, millions of gazelles and wildebeasts. i imagine they're all gone now, as are the buffalo, as go the whales.

i think that, just as the man himself has turned on a dime when confronted with 'reality', so too will we and many of our usian brothers and sisters, many his followers, once we reach the point of personal betrayal required to open our eyes to our real enemies, to forget the scripted 'enemies' our real enemies had taught us to love to hate. but i've never been through a real meltdown and revolution before, so i don't know. that looks to me the way things are headed though. deplored by all sides, yet thought to be well under control, yet we all have our own peculiar 'red lines', and are being pushed, relentlessly toward them. we are many and growing more numerous; they are few and getting fewer, by their own design.

Pft | Apr 15, 2017 2:29:45 AM | 141
@135 Peter AU

The wars to consolidate the world under one power has been going on for well over a century. Britain took the lead early on before passing the torch to the US once Rhodes plan to recover America was accomplished, sometime between Mckinleys assassination and the and of WWI . Wall Street and the money power in the city of London were always in sync. Albert Pike predicted 3 World Wars would be needed.

The main change has been the form of government envisioned for the future. This has changed from Communism to Fascism. Many supporters of fascism here in the 1930's including FDR. After WWII many of the fascist bankers and industrialists in Germany and Japan got off light and were reintegrated into the global economy where they trained up the next generation of fascists. They joined forces with those likeminded folks in the US and Brits by working together in BIS, various international agencies and groups like the Bilderbergers and Trilaterals to develop strategies to acccomplish their goals in the short and long terms

This is oversimplistic but time is short

Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 15, 2017 2:31:02 AM | 142
...
After all, given the insane and surreal rabid propaganda in western MSM, what difference would it make re supposed 'image' in the eyes of the supposed 'International Community' (US/UK/Israhell & good time vassals) ... any ?
Posted by: Outraged | Apr 14, 2017 4:03:27 PM | 78

That's a really good question. Imo, Western propaganda often seems to have an influence on the actions and statements of AmeriKKKa's fake enemies. There are two (maybe more?) ways of looking at this.

1. The fake enemies really are worried about public opinion in the West.
2. They're not worried, but deem it sensible to pretend that they are, because anything they can do to encourage AmeriKKKa to believe more of its own bullshit should lead to an escalation to the point where it crosses the line dividing the sublime from the ridiculous - which is what seems to have happened this year.

michaelj72 | Apr 15, 2017 2:40:23 AM | 143
we are ruled by idiots, con men, war-mongers, and Neanderthal whackos. Any attack by the US would be a massacre and humanitarian disaster of epic proportions. Plus, I assume, the north korean army that remains would likely shower much of south korea with tens of thousands of rockets, mortars and missiles. http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/04/14/whackos-in-washington-the-risky-game-of-regime-decapitation/

Whackos in Washington: the Risky Game of Regime Decapitation by Dave Lindorff

.....But what would the result of such a strike be?

For one thing, almost certainly it would mean the contamination of part or even much of the country in North Korea with nuclear fallout and radiation. For another it - given the long history of US "precision" targeting going terribly wrong - it would mean much death and destruction for the long-suffering North Korean people.

It would also mean chaos in a country that for nearly three-quarters of a century has been ruled by one absolute tyrant or another, in which there is simply no organized system of governance at lower levels to handle anything, from delivery of health services to distribution of food. If you think the chaos that followed the US invasion and overthrow of Saddam Hussein and the Baathist leadership of Iraq was bad, or that the chaos of the US overthrow of Gaddafy in Libya was bad, you ain't seen nothing yet if North Korea's leader gets offed in a US strike.

In theory, China, South Korea or Japan could step in with troops, money and civilian personnel to help reestablish some kind of order and peace, while preventing the rise of yet another tyrannical government, but none of that is likely. The Chinese would probably not want to take it on, the Japanese are viewed negatively as a former colonial power, and South Korea may not want the financial burden of rescuing the North, which would be staggering.

Meanwhile, while the US could relatively easily, and at minimal cost, "take out" North Korea's missiles, nukes and leadership, especially in the case of the Trump administration, there is absolutely no interest in taking on the costs of occupying and subsidizing the rebuilding North Korea following such an ill-conceived attack......

Peter AU | Apr 15, 2017 2:51:26 AM | 144
163
"Any attack by the US would be a massacre and humanitarian disaster of epic proportions."

Just part of human nature. Very common throughout history.
As technology increases, the scale increases.

George Smiley | Apr 15, 2017 3:27:44 AM | 145
A lot of people do not know that the US bombed the hell out of the entire of north Korea during the war. Like to ashes. The Chinese, and even more so, the Soviet reconstruction project for north Korea was the biggest of its kind post WWII. Even bigger than what actually went to European reconstruction I believe, but don't quote me on that (not in terms of what was earmarked but spent).

ALSO perhaps the biggest crime was bombing the north's huge dams. Unless your a poor farmer you don't know what kind a thing that it is to do. No military value (I heard it was bombed because they ran out of other targets in some way).

Its insane and breeds a toooon of animosity. Plus rejecting all attempts at peace talks. Plus having the media only present it in one way and an attitude of RA RA we don't engage in diplomacy with the terrorist obviously he only listens to force.

Crazy world. And most people can't see past it at a level more deep than "crazy dictator with a bad haircut."

The world is so fucked up.

okie farmer | Apr 15, 2017 3:28:25 AM | 146
The 'mother of all bombs' is big, deadly – and won't lead to peace Medea Benjamin
"I'm really very good at war. I love war, in a certain way," bragged candidate Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Iowa. This is the same Donald Trump who avoided the Vietnam draft by claiming a bone spur in his foot, a medical problem that never kept him off the tennis courts or golf courses, and miraculously healed on its own.
But with the escalation of US military involvement in Syria, the record number of drone attacks in Yemen, more US troops being sent to the Middle East and, now, the dropping of a massive bomb in Afghanistan, it looks like Trump may indeed love war. Or at least, love "playing" war.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/apr/14/the-mother-of-all-bombs-big-deadly-ineff

https://youtu.be/FMArIc5Hn_g

George Smiley | Apr 15, 2017 3:30:53 AM | 147
I've also heard the total death toll was between 1/10 and 1/5 of the total population.

Of the TOTAL population. Imagine knowing no one could name a person not being touched by the violence. Having total families decimated. Breeds a ton of hatred and understandably so. We need to get that its not just as one sided as having everyone "brainwashed" without access to outside culture. Its an insane outlook.

George Smiley | Apr 15, 2017 3:37:42 AM | 148
Solo sorry for the triple post, also needed to say that because everyone hates this crazy dictator people never take the anti war position. Its just we should charge in with our guns - or giant missiles - blazing hooorahh.

No one sees the death and destruction that will take place. The artillery alone not even nukes, would smash Seoul. They can't see beyond the black and white of 'allow dictator nukes' and 'kill him.' There's never room for diplomacy here - its just as bad as 'negotiating with terrorists.' What a crock of shit. And trumps played his hand badly cause he has no wiggle room. Makes Syrian strike looks like a joke. So much for being friendly with China. How about a piece of delicious cake as consolation?

b | Apr 15, 2017 3:45:16 AM | 150
@Outraged - deleted a bunch of your comments with long list of military equipment no one is interested in

provide links to such stuff, don't copy it.

--

@all - deleted a bunch of nonsensical one-liners and some sniping at each other that I considered off topic. Go back to kindergarten if you need that.

George Smiley | Apr 15, 2017 3:45:27 AM | 151
LOVE B's take on the economics of nuclear might is. Crazy I never heard of those documents. Doesn't help that the North has been straved of food - and more importantly OIL. Means a lot of money when you get down to brass taxes. Worst of all, north Korea NEEDS subsistence farming and its so mountainous you need oil and diesel to blow these hilly as hell fields. When you strave them of oil, you strave them of food again in a way. Without subsistence farming they strave for the most part. And people think that drives people AWAY from a demagogic/personality cult type figure. It only endears them more. It, in a way, is proving the dictator right... That the US IS OUT TO GET US (and it is) and THE US IS STARVING YOU NOT ME (also true).
b | Apr 15, 2017 4:02:52 AM | 152
@all - done some housecleaning here for Day of the Sun - Juche 105 (.i.e.today)
---

The parade in North Korea yesterday was quite a show. Lots of new TEL (Transport-Erector-Launch Vehicles) for big intercontinental missiles. We don't know if real missiles were inside but NoKo likes to show new stuff off and only field it a year or two later.

Video of the 3 hour parade from NoKo TV https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okxM0AUsh_w The interesting mil stuff starts around 2h 14m with the leg swinging girls (intentionally?)

Some remarks on the off-road capable TEL North Korea's 2017 Military Parade Was a Big Deal. Here Are the Major Takeaways

Even though Pyongyang withheld from testing this weekend amid rumors of possible retaliation by the United States, North Korea is still looking to improve its missile know-how. Moreover, the long-dreaded ICBM flight test also might not be too far off now. Given the ever-growing number of TELs - both wheeled and tracked - North Korea may soon field nuclear forces amply large that a conventional U.S.-South Korea first strike may find it impossible to fully disarm Pyongyang of a nuclear retaliatory capability. That would give the North Korean regime what it's always sought with its nuclear and ballistic missile program: an absolute guarantee against coercive removal.
(will put the above in a post update)
ashley albanese | Apr 15, 2017 4:31:45 AM | 153
smoothie X2 82
Ah -- what lies beneath the waves? . I remember in the early 1970's comments in the Western press that China through budget constraints was putting its 'eggs' into the submarine basket - cost effectiveness - . The article stressed that Chinese strategists deliberately eschewed using non-Chinese designs and 'fast track' technology so as to develop submarine systems that would have unique , secret capabilities honed to Chinese conditions . Perhaps of all weaponary the Chinese sub-mariners may have some surprises in store . Let's hope we never have to find out --
oneoffposter | Apr 15, 2017 4:38:31 AM | 154
Dear b and community. I read all of your posts on this topic with interest.

The focus seems to be on what DPRK (north), PRC and USA might do. I would like to suggest that closer scrutiny should be applied to what is actually going on in RK (South). I think that this tension is being ratcheted upwards primarily to influence the outcome of the presidential election in the South.

For the past two presidential terms, the South has had Lee Myung-Bak and Park Geun-Hye both of whom took a hardline against North Korea and have killed the Sunshine Policy of their predecessors (Kim Dae-Jung and Roh Moo-Hyun). As we all know, Park has recently been impeached. In normal circumstances it could be expected that an opposition figure like Moon Jae-In would be the favourite to win the election. This may not be in the interests of either the US, Japan or the powers-that-be in South Korea.

The election is 9 May 2017, and the US president has just ensured that North Korea will be front and centre in the campaign.

Just a thought. Thanks for everyone's contributions. This is a really good place to gain insight.

George Smiley | Apr 15, 2017 5:17:39 AM | 155
@154

Extremely interesting take. Plus the anti THAAD movement is growing. Incidents between American soldiers in South Korean bases and the locals have been growing and that doesn't help. Remember that Osprey crash a couple months back?

It all adds up.

PavewayIV | Apr 15, 2017 5:24:32 AM | 156
oneoffposter@154 - Thanks for that, oneoffposter. Korea would (supposedly) have been re-unified in the late 90's if it wasn't for US and Japanese efforts to prevent that from happening. I don't have specifics to back that up, but that 'feels' about right with regards to US actions over the years.

South Korea is clearly benefiting economically (finally) from US support, but also pays a price by being another lapdog to the US and an eternal host for our military presence, willing or not. I suspect it's 'willing' because the US does everything possible to remind South Koreans of their peril by demonizing the North. South Korean press is worse than the US MSM.

Likewise, the US does everything possible to antagonize North Korean leaders and rattle their cage, making them seem even more insane than they usually are. Resulting, of course, in the South Koreans eagerly approving an eternal US presence for protection and the North Korean leaders sliding further into a black hole of indignation and rage. We didn't create the psychopaths in North Korea, but we're sure good at keeping them in power. They're useful to us.

I'll be watching the elections in the South with much interest now.

jfl | Apr 15, 2017 6:15:41 AM | 157
i wonder how much we really know about the koreans. it's hard for me to imagine that the korean people hate and fear each other. korea is not a settler country, like us five eyes, where the possibility of setting one group against another is so conveniently ready to hand to the oppressors. can either set of koreans hate and fear one of their governments more than the other? i think, as someone else pointed out above, the worst of the terror after the war was undertaken by korean compradors of the japanese, at american instigation. i remember reading about a program to 'allow' southerners to cross the border for family reunions. i think it was terrifically popular.

who pointed out above that wwii has not yet ended on the korean peninsula. i always knew that the war was 'technically' not over in the sense of no peace treaty's having been signed ... the same obtains between russia and japan, doesn't it? that's an indictment right there of the us. in both cases, as the us still has japan on a short leash.

treating peoples like objects, we'll be objects of hate ourselves, finally. already are in many quarters, of course. but in far fewer than we 'merit'. i don't see how that cannot change now that we have embraced 'the dark side', as cheney put it, and now the unabashed evil-clown/wicked-witch with trump/clinton in the 2016 coin toss.

now with mercenaries, cruise missiles, drones, chemical weapons, and none of our own skin in the game ourselves any longer, we really do fit the description of creatures from another planet to our victims. the image of hg wells' aliens in tripods sticks in my mind. that must be just what americans - not even in - drones and cruise missiles must seem to our victims.

atonement. at-one-ment a friend of mine used to say. with the human race. how long will that take for america and americans, once 'the pride of man' is broken in the dust again.

V. Arnold | Apr 15, 2017 6:36:59 AM | 158
Well, it's 19:02m in Korea, on the 15th and no nuke blast. President Loon (my apology to the bird) will have to pack up his toys and go home.
I wonder how much that hubris cost the US?
somebody | Apr 15, 2017 6:43:12 AM | 159
Posted by: oneoffposter | Apr 15, 2017 4:38:31 AM | 154

From German experience this would not work. Every South Korean knows that war with the North was/would be total desaster.

It is also clear that North Korea will only open up if they feel safe. The break down of communist systems is over, there is no use to wait for that.

German Social Democrats had their best election results when promoting a "change by approach" policy.

The main issue will be South Korea's relationship with the US and China. Traditionally South Korea has profited more from the US than from exchange with China. I bet this has already changed. But the US managed to create a security conflict between China and South Korea that ensures increased Chinese military support for North Korea.

jfl | Apr 15, 2017 7:14:42 AM | 160
@159 sb, 'South Korea has profited more from the US than from exchange with China. I bet this has already changed. '

you win your bet...

The top export destinations of South Korea are
China ($131B),
the United States ($72.7B),
Vietnam ($26.6B),
Hong Kong ($26.3B) and
Japan ($25.5B).

The top import origins are
China ($90.1B),
Japan ($44.6B),
the United States ($42.7B),
Germany ($20.2B) and
Saudi Arabia ($17.7B).

oneoffposter | Apr 15, 2017 7:54:29 AM | 161
@160 jfl

Thanks for posting the figures. I don't know what the present day figures are like (your source seems to be posting figures for 2015).

Since then, Park Geun-Hye gave the go ahead for THAAD to be installed overriding the objections of the local people. People more informed than I question (to put it mildly) the benefit this gives to South Korea. However, it has already had an impact on the South's economic relationship with China (and I guess, the political relationship too), showing just how important the question of who holds power in South Korea really is.

Posters here often refer to the US/NATO attempt to split the Russia/China axis. It seems to me that this KOR/CHINA relationship also would not be welcomed.

The ideas and slow-build towards reunification as evidenced by Kim Dae-Jung & Roh Moo-Hyun (e.g. Sunshine policy and the Truth commissions) were (in my opinion) logical steps to be taken towards first reducing the tensions on the peninsula leading perhaps to reunification talks (you never know). It is impossible to know now where they would have led, but they have been thoroughly discredited at this point and it is difficult to see how they could be restarted.

somebody | Apr 15, 2017 7:57:38 AM | 162
S.Koreans file petition with constitutional court against THAAD deployment
SEOUL, April 6 (Xinhua) -- South Korean residents and civic group activists on Thursday filed a petition against the deployment of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system, which they depicted as unconstitutional.

Residents from Seongju county and Gimcheon city in southeast South Korea and peace activists gathered outside the constitutional court in central Seoul, holding a press conference before submitting the constitutional appeal.

According to the petition document, the residents and activists said the THAAD deployment violated many of the constitution clauses while failing to follow any appropriate procedures.

Seoul and Washington abruptly announced a decision in July last year to install one THAAD battery in the county by the end of this year. Just three days before the announcement, Defense Minister Han Min-koo told lawmakers that he hadn't been informed of any notice about the THAAD installation.

Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se visited a department store when the THAAD deployment decision was announced, indicating no advance discussions between ministers of defense and foreign affairs and the presidential office.

The petitioners said the decision-making process on THAAD was rough and ready as there was no approval in the cabinet meeting, and that it was unilaterally determined by the national security council of the presidential office.

"The THAAD decision did not follow any proper procedure. No effort has been made for dialogue with residents," said Ha Joo-hee, an attorney at Lawyers for a Democratic Society, an advocacy group composed of liberal lawyers.

smuks | Apr 15, 2017 8:17:00 AM | 163
So much provocation, vilification and preparation of the public...for nothing.

The Neocons had really hoped that NK would react in some spectacularly 'menacing' way on its national holiday...but no, just a parade with some huge phal...er, missiles. Sad.

It doesn't really matter *who* starts an aggression, but somebody at some point would surely lose his nerves, no? And NK would make for such a good villain, reminding SK and Japan of how dearly they need all that 'protection'.

Let's see where the next act will play out. Ukraine once again, or Libya?

(on that MOAB - looks like a strong message that 'we' are not about to give Afghanistan up, but rather willing to up the ante...)

col from oz | Apr 15, 2017 8:26:51 AM | 164
Beautifully written 157 jfl esp NOW
smuks | Apr 15, 2017 8:32:42 AM | 165
@ oneoffposter | Apr 15, 2017 7:54:29 AM | 161

Yet bet NATO wouldn't be happy. The entire 'containment' policy towards Beijing rests on the surrounding states being hostile to/ scared of China. Already SE Asia has all but 'fallen' (from a western viewpoint), what remains is Japan and SK. Detente? God forbid!

The THAAD deployment places SK (even more) firmly in the cross-hairs of China's missiles. So now, at least they have some reason to fear it and scramble for 'protection'...mission accomplished!

(President Park didn't approve of this...which is why she was removed.)

Is there a way out of this? Not really. The US running out of money, maybe.

Curtis | Apr 15, 2017 8:59:05 AM | 166
b
I read the nj.gov link and it does not tend to match your narrative in that paragraph although I agree that official narratives tend to twist the truth. I cannot see the Soviet motives towards Korea as anymore altruistic than Japan's especially in that time period. The Soviets are no more saints in the WWII period than the US.

I do agree that US maneuvers close to the borders of "opponents" whether Russia or NK are antagonistic and unnecessary. And sometimes stupid action takes place after them like we saw in Georgia 2008. Putin shook a finger at Bush and rightly so. If Mr. "Art of the Deal" really were a deal maker he would meet at Panmunjon with the leaders of NK, SK, Russia, and China and sign an final official end to the Korean war and set the framework for demilitarization of the peninsula and trade/other deals.

Curtis | Apr 15, 2017 9:01:20 AM | 167
somebody jfl
Excellent points. What South Korea wants should be paramount to the issue of what the US should do. Seoul is very vulnerable.
Anon1 | Apr 15, 2017 9:06:26 AM | 168
smuks

For nothing? The american ship have pretty much just arrived, within next 4 weeks we probably will see something happen by the US. He simply cant back now.

Gravatomic | Apr 15, 2017 9:18:57 AM | 169
@Hoarsewhisperer

According to US MSM the Chinese are totally on board and only have moved troops to bolster the border and help the US. And Russia and China really aren't conducting military exercises together.

This constant mistranslated rhetoric and literally putting of words into foreign leaders mouths is of course one aspect of the western propaganda arm. Even when the headline or text of the article is updated, corrected or removed the meat of it remains in social media like Facebook.

I have friends who use Facebook, I don't, who constantly say the oddest, incorrect things to me that could only have been fomented there.

Gravatomic | Apr 15, 2017 9:23:57 AM | 170
@ oneoffposter

Yes, when the arm twisting doesn't suffice they remove you, that's part of what the NSA and CIA do. Smear, blackmail and gather corruption evidence, whether real, perceived or planted to keep US puppets in line.

jfl | Apr 15, 2017 10:29:41 AM | 171
@161 oop,

yes, somebody's link had the china-south korea trade at 300 billion, whereas the numbers in the link i found were at ~220 billion. but the the china-south korea trade at 220 billion was just about twice the us-south korea trade in that period. i imagine it ratio was higher, if anything, up until thaad.

@162, sb,

maybe the trade value lost due to the thaad deal will make everyone 'notice' its illegality ... now that they're starting to bleed. money speaks louder than the law, in most countries these days.

@167 curtis

they'd set the peninsula on fire if they thought it would bring them closer to world domination. the us ruling class cares not a whit for humans of any 'brand', americans included. certainly not for koreans, north or south.

@170 gravatomic

i have no proof but that's exactly the thought that ran through my head when park went down : she wasn't 'on board' the thaad train. i suppose it was the memory of the pictures with xi ... and of the vile cia's past actions, all over the world.

Monolycus | Apr 15, 2017 10:32:57 AM | 172
@b

I saw your response earlier about how no writer can represent both sides equally, and I agree. I still lurk here and find no fault with your insights 99% of the time. You know perfectly well that in most situations, I am a staunch non-interventionist. I simply disagree (strongly) on this particular issue. Anyway, I apologize for sounding so hostile--especially at you. This situation just has my nerves pretty frayed right now.

I don't want to be dragged into a giant tu quoque match, so I won't respond to much more here, except to address George Smiley @155, above. I'm not sure where you read that the anti-THAAD movement is "growing," but that certainly doesn't seem to be the case from here on the ground. I am about 20 minutes from Seongju, and have spoken to many of the anti-THAAD people about their concerns. There's very, very little going on there politically; Seongju is a very poor area which is economically dependent on a particular melon crop they are famous for. Most of the anti-THAAD demonstrators were local farmers who had gotten the idea that the EM radiation coming from the THAAD radar would hurt their crops. In the wake of China's economic retaliation against THAAD, however, a good many of the locals have reversed their opinion and now support it. When the deployment was first announced, there was a lot of buzz about it (nobody wanted it here in their backyard,) but now when the subject is brought up at all (increasingly rarely,) it's usually digging in their heels about how China deserves it for kicking out their K-pop stars and shutting down the Lotteria fast food restaurants unfairly. Public opinion might change again if Moon Jae-in declares a firm position about it instead of waffling back and forth, but at this moment it's only a small but vocal minority that are opposed to it.

dh | Apr 15, 2017 10:33:07 AM | 173
@158 The US armada will be off to Pattaya soon for some well deserved R&R.

The BBC coverage is worth a watch BTW for those who like to read between the lines. Lots of spin of course but the commentator does admit at one point that NK needs its nukes to avoid going the way of Iraq and Libya.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-39607343

jfl | Apr 15, 2017 10:47:18 AM | 174
@168 anon

was there ever an 'official' announcement of a nuclear test planned for saturday? or was it just an 'expectation' ... if the latter, maybe the cia fostered it, knowing it wasn't going to happen, so they could thwack tee-rump's rump and have him take a 'victory lap' when it didn't? if they're serious about nukes ... and they should be as long as the us has them in its sights ... the north koreans have got to test more at some point.

it's really hard for me to imagine any good excuse for a us battle group to be between china and korea in the yellow sea without an invitation. what would the us position be if a chinese - not to mention a russian - battle group showed up in the caribbean, or hudson's bay, concerned about the rogue american state and it's mad leader ?

denk | Apr 15, 2017 11:03:02 AM | 175
jfl 137


here's the oft derided 'unelected' ccp partial plan for 2017,
'to lift another 10-20m people outta poverty and step up the anti corruption battle'.
thats in addition to the 70m already bailed out , cited by UN as a text book case of social development.

whats the vaunted 'elected' leaders of murkka plan for 2017,
to do 'syria, nk, iran, china, russia.... '?
350 ships for the 'depleted' USN ?
'star war' redux ?
by the guy who got 'elected' on his 'anti deep state' and 'populist' platform --


denk | Apr 15, 2017 11:09:48 AM | 176

lots of people say mdm park is a murkkan stooge and she's been removed by people power.

well like i say many times before, park is a very reluctant 'stooge',
first off she is a known sinophile who's well versed in chinese culture,
she had been dragging her feet over the thaad installation for years and china is sk's largest market.
hence antagonising china must be the last thing on her mind.

anyone of the above is enough reason for a regime change.
the last straw was most likely when she defied washington's dictat and join putin in china's ww2 memorial ceremony in 2015.
mind you, she's the only leader from the murkkan camp with 'cojones'to attend. [1]
i guess her fate was sealed from that moment.

so is her ouster yet another color rev masqueraded as 'people power',like the 'arab spring' etc ?

some observers think so.

we shall see.

[1]
Xi extended a particularly warm welcome to Park, who attended the ceremony over the objections of Japan and the U.S.
http://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Economy/International-Relations/Ties-between-Park-Xi-shape-East-Asia-diplomacy

Anon1 | Apr 15, 2017 11:27:54 AM | 177
jfl / 174

Re: US provocations

Yes you are of course right, as usual when US does it themselves, it is apparently the fault of the other party (North Korea) according to the useless MSM in the west.

There are some rumours that NK will test its nuclear tech. again soon and then US will strike.
China is getting nervous somehow, apparently dont understand what they effectively have giving a green light to:

China : "We call on all parties to refrain from provoking and threatening each other, whether in words or actions, and not let the situation get to an irreversible and unmanageable stage."
https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/04/15/nkor-a15.html

The chinese cant even condemn the foreign aggressor anymore.

juliania | Apr 15, 2017 12:13:45 PM | 178
Thank you very much for this important and critical posting, b. I wish for you and all who come here a joyful and rich Springtime holy season to assuage our fears and give us hope for the future.

Peace to all.

Rick | Apr 15, 2017 2:37:35 PM | 179
Sure would be nice to find the original of the comments attributed to MacArthur. I've looked at the references in "Napalm: an American biography" by Robert M. Neer but can't find any original sources online. The footnote for this passage is jumbled, citing seven sources for this passage.

I did find that at the time MacArthur was advocating far more attacks in Korea, not less, which makes such comments suspect. Why would someone who was losing their job, and likely their career, due to their stance advocating more military action make such comments?

mauisurfer | Apr 15, 2017 3:14:19 PM | 180

It's Time for America to Cut South Korea Loose

From Foreign Policy Magazine (behind the paywall)

The first step to solving the North Korean problem is removing U.S. troops from the middle of it.

By Doug Bandow
April 13, 2017

It's Time for America to Cut South Korea Loose

Asia contains the world's two most populous nations, the country with the largest Muslim population, the two largest economies after America, and the next superpower and peer competitor to the United States. But when U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited the continent recently, small, impoverished North Korea nearly monopolized his attention.

Why is the United States, which dominates the globe militarily, politically, and economically, fixated on this poor, isolated, and distant nation? Because America has gotten entangled where it does not belong.

Washington has been deeply involved in the Korean Peninsula since the end of World War II. Subsequently, the Cold War gave a zero-sum quality to international relations, with Washington's loss being the Soviet Union's gain. Having invested some 37,000 lives to save South Korea during the Korean War, America's credibility was also at stake. And with the "loss" of China to communism fresh on Americans' minds, nobody was willing to see another Asian nation go red.

But that world disappeared long ago.

The Korean Peninsula has lost its geopolitical significance, South Korea its helplessness, and America's Korea commitment its purpose.

The Korean Peninsula has lost its geopolitical significance, South Korea its helplessness, and America's Korea commitment its purpose. While there is much to criticize in the approach of Donald Trump's administration to the rest of the world, the president correctly sees the need for a foreign policy that more effectively protects America's interests. A good place to start shifting course is the region home to the world's newest and least responsible nuclear power.

The Koreas are no longer a proxy battleground between superpowers. There was a time when U.S. withdrawal from a confrontation with a Soviet ally in Asia would have, analysts believed, signaled weakness a continent away in Europe. But the Soviets are long gone and the cause for American commitment with them. An inter-Korean war would be tragic and the body count enormous, but absent American involvement the fighting would largely be confined to the peninsula. The continued presence of U.S. forces, by contrast, virtually guarantees the spread of conflict.

South Korea's defense no longer requires Washington's presence. The South's economy began racing past its northern antagonist during the 1960s. Democracy arrived in the late 1980s. By the 1990s, when mass starvation stalked Pyongyang as Seoul's economy boomed, the gap between the two Koreas was already huge and growing. The South's military potential is correspondingly great though as yet unrealized - in part because dependence on the U.S. presence has affected strategic choices.

Yet America's military presence has remained sacrosanct. Jimmy Carter's plan to bring home U.S. troops was opposed even by his own appointees. Ronald Reagan pushed a more muscular confrontation with the Soviet Union and other communist states. With the end of the Cold War, his successors expanded alliance commitments, particularly in Europe, but also in Asia. Today, 28,500 troops remain in South Korea, backed up by U.S. forces in Okinawa and other Asian-Pacific bases, and highlighted by periodic decisions to overfly the North with bombers or send aircraft carriers to nearby waters whenever Washington wants to demonstrate "resolve" to Pyongyang.

So why is America still there?

One argument, advanced by analyst Robert E. McCoy, is moral, "since it was American ignorance that facilitated the division of the Korean Peninsula in the concluding days of World War II." Some Koreans malign America for this division. But this is the wisdom of hindsight; in the chaotic aftermath of global conflict, no U.S. official wanted to push the Soviets over a faraway peninsula. The alternative was pure inaction, which would have resulted in South Koreans joining their northern neighbors in the Kim dynasty's new Dark Age. Perhaps inadvertently, Washington did a very good deed. For that it deserves praise, not criticism and claims that it must forever police the peninsula.

More practical is the contention of analysts such as the Heritage Foundation's Bruce Klingner that U.S. backing is "necessary to defend" the South. Yet, in contrast to 1950, there is no reason the South cannot protect itself - if properly motivated to do so by the departure of U.S. conventional forces. With a bigger economy, larger population, and significant technological edge, as well as greater international support, Seoul could construct armed forces capable of deterring and defeating the North. Doing so would be expensive and take serious effort, but so what? The South Korean government's most important duty is to protect its people.

Taking on that responsibility also would force Seoul to treat Pyongyang more consistently. The "Sunshine Policy" begun under former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung resulted in the transfer of some $10 billion in cash and assistance to the North, even as the latter was developing missiles and nuclear weapons. That approach was viable only because Washington provided a military backstop (and if the new South Korean president, to be elected in May, revives the Sunshine Policy, as some have suggested, there's no telling if the Trump administration would be so forgiving). The South needs to bear both the costs and benefits of whatever approach it takes.

But even if South Korea couldn't defend itself, the argument would still fall short.

American soldiers shouldn't be treated as defenders of the earth, deployed here, there, and everywhere.

American soldiers shouldn't be treated as defenders of the earth, deployed here, there, and everywhere. The United States should go to war only when its most important interests are at stake.

South Korea's prosperity is not one of those vital interests, at least in security terms. A renewed conflict confined to the two Koreas would be horrific, but the consequences for the United States would be primarily humanitarian and economic, not security. The cost would be high but fall primarily on the region. In contrast, direct U.S. involvement in another Korean War would be much more expensive than the Afghan and Iraqi conflicts, which have cost America thousands of lives and trillions of dollars.

Of course, the North's possession of what we assume to be a growing and at some point deliverable nuclear arsenal skews the peninsula's balance of power. However, this doesn't create a need for a conventional American military presence on the peninsula. Washington could still guarantee massive retaliation against any North Korean use of nuclear weapons, providing a deterrent against the North's threats.

But it is worth contemplating whether it would be better to allow South Korea to construct its own deterrent. In the late 1970s, South Korean President Park Chung-hee worried about Washington's reliability and began work on a Korean bomb - only to stop under U.S. pressure. Since then, support for reviving such work has periodically surfaced in South Korea. Encouraging such efforts might actually be in the best interests of the United States, even if America has to maintain its nuclear umbrella while the Korean bomb is developed.

Yes, encouraging nuclear proliferation is a risky path. But the United States would gain from staying out of Northeast Asia's nuclear quarrels. China, fearful that Japan would join the nuclear parade, might take tougher action against Pyongyang in an attempt to forestall Seoul's efforts. The South could feel confident in its own defense, rather than remaining reliant upon U.S. willingness to act.

A potpourri of broader claims is also made for maintaining U.S. forces. America's presence supposedly constrains China, promotes regional stability, and deters an arms race. Let's consider those claims in order. What sort of constraint is allegedly being posed to China? If the idea is to coerce it into assuming responsibility for North Korea in the event of its collapse, Beijing has shown no interest in attempting to swallow a Korean population likely to prove indigestible. And if the calculation is rather that Washington can persuade South Korea to pressure China on non-Korean matters, it's easy to predict the unfriendly response Seoul's Blue House would give if invited by the White House to join it in warring against China to, say, save an independent Taiwan, counter Chinese moves in the South China Sea - or, horror of horrors, defend Japan. Indeed, absent U.S. protection, South Korea and Japan might feel greater pressure to finally settle historical disputes so often misused by their nationalist politicians.

As for the idea that the U.S. presence deters a regional arms race, building weapons so others don't have to is not the sort of charity America should engage in. Alliances can deter. But, as dramatically demonstrated by World War I, they also can act as transmission belts of war. Moreover, small nations often act irresponsibly - such as underinvesting in defense - when protected by big powers.

The U.S. security presence in South Korea is an expensive and dangerous commitment that America can no longer afford. Nor has it ever brought the United States much popularity in the country, where U.S. soldiers are a constant irritant to nationalists. The South is no longer a poor nation in need of protection from the specter of global communism but one more than capable of standing on its own two feet.

George Smiley | Apr 15, 2017 4:50:38 PM | 181
@172 That makes me sad to hear. I appreciate a perspective that comes from first hand experience. Its hard to get a proper outloom I feel outside of speaking with Koreans or even knowing the language.

Perhaps reading articles published by journalists opposed to THAAD has distorted my handle of the situation. Sad the movement doesn't have more traction.

I do know more than a few Koreans firsthand pissed off at US army personnel behaviour though. Perhaps that can be channelled into meaningful change. They tell me that the impunity from judicial retribution plays a big role in the anger. Certain bases in Japan have had similar problems (I get the sense it cause more anger there though unfortunately). Perhaps this is just the views of a few people I talk to in SK though.

Any thoughts? I appreciate your response greatly.

Kalen | Apr 15, 2017 5:01:37 PM | 182
What is real Russian position on this WWIII POTENTIAL STANDOFF. NK only one condemned attack on Syria while if what I hear is true, they want NK disarmed even in face of open US aggression. Also China if awfully quiet while repeating thirty year old equitable solution rejected by US that never looked for any solutions but domination. What's going on?
karlof1 | Apr 15, 2017 5:19:16 PM | 183
Rick @179--

I wanted to see the footnotes for that section, too, but I don't have a paper copy of the book. However, based upon other readings of same testimony, I believe they were made during Congressional testimony.

Perhaps the most important element to learn from the aggression waged against the peoples of Korea, Indochina, and Iraq by the Outlaw US Empire is their Genocidal nature, and the additional fact that in their post-war environment the killing and maiming continues unabated: All casualty categories combined add up to well over 10 million and rising, far outperforming Hitler's genocide of jews, gypsies and others.

Outraged | Apr 15, 2017 5:21:08 PM | 184
@ b 150

Apologies. Understood. Will comply.

Re b @ 152 & post update

Heres an 8min38Sec Youtube of the military personnel & 'hardware' portion only:

North Korea Holds Massive Military Parade 'Day of the Sun Parade' in Pyongyang ( Show Case Missile )
dh | Apr 15, 2017 5:22:19 PM | 185
@182 Don't know about Russia but I have some thoughts re. China. Xi made it clear to Donald that China would support Kim if NK is attacked i.e WW3.

At the same time Xi told Kim not to provoke Donald i.e. no nuclear test. Let them think they've won.

Outraged | Apr 15, 2017 5:42:46 PM | 186
@ Posted by: dh | Apr 15, 2017 5:22:19 PM | 185

Fully concur. And the Chinese are 'civilized' re public discourse, just because the are not openly bellicose and full of aggressive rhetoric, does not mean they are push over pussies, exactly the opposite behind the agreeable, diplomatic, ' face '. Talk softly, yet have a big stick ready, just in case.

jfl | Apr 15, 2017 6:26:20 PM | 187
@180 mauisurfer

the foreign policy article extends tee-tump's 'pay for a native implementation of us policy' a la nato to south korea ... and wouldn't it be a good idea if south korea had nukes, too. their summary of us 'involvement' in korea post-wwii is shameful ...

The alternative was pure inaction, which would have resulted in South Koreans joining their northern neighbors in the Kim dynasty's new Dark Age. Perhaps inadvertently, Washington did a very good deed. For that it deserves praise, not criticism ...
Depraved foreign policy recommendations from the us foreign policy establishment might as well stay in their echo chamber, behind their paywall, as far as i'm concerned. news of the us foreign policy establishment's depravity is dog bites man.
smuks | Apr 15, 2017 7:05:05 PM | 188
@ Anon1 168

Why should that happen, if no side is willing to fire the first shot? There's been 'increased tensions' many times before, missile and nuclear tests, naval drills...so far it's all just scaremongering to me, and I don't quite see why it should be heating up *now*.

Peter AU | Apr 15, 2017 7:11:02 PM | 189
Looks like NK may have done a missile test. Failed apparently.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-usa-missile-idUSKBN17H0NL
https://sputniknews.com/asia/201704161052679707-north-korea-fails-misile-launch/

jfl | Apr 15, 2017 8:10:03 PM | 190
there's a brief summary at the nation of the most germane us-north korean history by Burce Cumings, on 23 March This Is What's Really Behind North Korea's Nuclear Provocations .
Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 16, 2017 1:21:37 AM | 191
Other authors sympathetic to the plight of Korea are...
Gavan NcCormack
Gregory Elich
Desaix Anderson, who delivered an address on the US monstrous and systematic betrayal of NK to the Nautilus Institute called Crisis In North Korea. Anderson was the CEO of the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organisation (KEDO).
I can no longer find the article on the www but one of the sleuths here may be able to track it down.
Mr Reynard | Apr 16, 2017 2:44:06 AM | 192
Actually, all the problems started with the demands that Kim Jong Un made to USA --
First, he has demanded that USA give up all of its nuclear weapons, that USA stop all nuclear research, that there should be a "regime change" in Washington, plus he had the chutzpah to send assassins to USA to kill the POTUS !! So I'm not surprised at the reaction of D Trump to this provocation ??
b | Apr 16, 2017 10:11:11 AM | 194
Had forgotten this when I wrote the post above:

Wikileaks, Podesta email about the Hillary Clinton speech for Goldman Sachs "We don't want a unified Korean Peninsula" because China, not the U.S., would naturally dominate it. The U.S. will do everything it can to prevent reunification.

JMiller | Apr 16, 2017 10:26:08 AM | 195
The NK offer says that they "MAY suspend its nuclear and missile activities in exchange for the suspension of large-scale U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) military exercises"

It does not say that they WILL suspend its nuclear and missile activities.

Outraged | Apr 16, 2017 10:32:20 AM | 196
@ JMiller

Would that be Judith Miller, perhaps, or possibly just a hero/role model ? ;) One perfectly reasonable phrase comes to mind, ' Subsequent to good faith negotiations & actual, guarantees '.

Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 16, 2017 12:28:22 PM | 197
Link to Desaix Anderson's Nautilus Institute address Crisis In North Korea.
http://oldsite.nautilus.org/fora/security/0325A_Anderson.html
JMiller | Apr 16, 2017 2:39:37 PM | 198
The NK offer says that they "MAY suspend its nuclear and missile activities in exchange for the suspension of large-scale U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) military exercises".

It does not say that they WILL suspend its nuclear and missile activities, just that they may. It is not surprising that the U.S. turned down the offer since it did not guarantee that NK would do anything.

Anon1 | Apr 16, 2017 3:08:42 PM | 199
Jimiller

Yeah how dare NK offer peaceful ways to solve problems in this world. Yeah no wonder US not accepted it, go figure.

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