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Author Topic: North and South Korea  (Read 54027 times)
DougMacG
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« Reply #300 on: August 29, 2017, 09:57:08 AM »

"We have already basically heard from Bannon and others that pro active military measures are off the table."

My take on that was that Bannon was contradicting Trump by saying that, and was out immediately afterward.

It is said about the President, one thing he doesn't lack is courage.  Maybe so, but a strike on NK requires a level of courage beyond building a shopping center or anything Clinton, Bush or Obama ever did.

At the very least, I expect an Osarik* type strike within about 48 hours of getting the information straight about what just happened.  

* Israeli air strike carried out on 7 June 1981 which destroyed an Iraqi (Saddam) nuclear reactor under construction 10.5 miles southeast of Baghdad.  That took courage and the world condemned it.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Security_Council_Resolution_487

To Un: Oh, look, we can hit any of your sites anytime we want to.  Hit 2 or 3 of his most threatening sites including the launch site of the latest missile and do it soon so people know which Dear Leader caused it.

Or we can sit by and let the world and our allies be held hostage by one more murderous tyrant.
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G M
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« Reply #301 on: August 29, 2017, 10:11:27 AM »

Scylla and Charbidis?

On Special Report last night one of the panelists commented that the Norks have overflown Japan three times previously, but apparently not for many years, thus this is the first time since the Norks have gone nuke.   He added that in the Norks mind it may be that they are badly pressed by the dramatic decrease in oil etc due to the new sanctions and as usual feel the need to do something in response to the US-Sork joint exercises.

I'm not seeing anyone yet making the connection that I am-- that an overflight enables an EMP attack.  Perhaps one of the sundry policy makers who read this forum  grin will act upon this?

Back on August 11 President Trump spoke about there being immediate consequences if the Norks messed with us or our allies and there also was his comment that sure sounded like the threat of nuclear devastation.

In "The Odyssey" there was a chapter where Odysseus was sailing between between two monsters and the slightest miscalculation would have led to the doom of his crew and him.  (Names of the monsters?)  President Trump (and we with him) is now sailing between being revealed as a blusterer or a warmonger.  The man's lack of gravitas and the disloyal opposition's near treasonous mindset make him an exceedingly poor candidate for explaining to the country (which has lost its collective mind) what needs to be done.

CCP may be right, it may be game over.  If so, this also means China gets the South China Sea.

FWIW IMHO we do still have game to play.  Trade War with China (Coincidentally Trump is making big tariff noises right now) and enabling the Japanese to go nuke are both big cards to play.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #302 on: August 30, 2017, 05:37:04 AM »

"Scylla and Charbidis?"

Ding!  We have a winner!

Thank you.

I just saw a report that Ding Dong is now implying overflights of Guam are on the menu?  If he tries, I'm thinking it is time for action.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #303 on: August 30, 2017, 05:52:59 AM »

second post

Nuclear Missiles Over Tokyo
Accepting a nuclear North Korea probably means a nuclear Japan.
A South Korean watches a broadcast on North Korea's latest ballistic missile launch in Seoul, South Korea, Aug. 2.
A South Korean watches a broadcast on North Korea's latest ballistic missile launch in Seoul, South Korea, Aug. 2. Photo: heon-ky/epa-efe/rex/shutterstock/EPA/Shutterstock
By The Editorial Board
Aug. 29, 2017 7:09 p.m. ET
46 COMMENTS

Residents of northern Japan awoke Tuesday to sirens and cellphone warnings to take cover as a North Korean rocket flew overhead. The intermediate-range missile test will further roil the politics of security in Northeast Asia and is another prod toward Japan acquiring its own nuclear deterrent.

Pyongyang tested long-range missiles over Japan in 1998 and 2009, claiming they were satellite launches. The first shocked Japanese and led to cooperation with the U.S. on theater missile defense. After the second, Tokyo curtailed the North’s funding sources within Japan’s ethnic Korean community. Tuesday’s launch is even more threatening because U.S. and allied intelligence agencies assess that North Korea now has the ability to hit Japan with a miniaturized nuclear warhead mounted on a missile.

Much of Japan is protected by its own missile defenses as well as systems operated by U.S. forces in the region. Japan also recently deployed four Patriot PAC-3 missile-defense batteries to the west of the country, but these didn’t cover the northern island of Hokkaido overflown by Tuesday’s missile.

–– ADVERTISEMENT ––

Japan’s ultimate security is the U.S. defense and nuclear umbrella, with its treaty guarantee that the U.S. will respond if Japan is attacked. But the logic of deterrence depends on having a rational actor as an adversary, and rationality can’t be guaranteed in North Korea. Its recent development of an ICBM capable of hitting the U.S. mainland also changes the equation. If North Korea attacked Tokyo and the U.S. responded with an attack on Pyongyang, U.S. cities might then be endangered.

Japanese leaders have long resisted building their own nuclear arsenal, but that could change if they conclude America isn’t reliable in a crisis. Or Japanese may simply decide they can’t have their survival depend on even a faithful ally’s judgment. Some Japanese politicians are already talking about their own nuclear deterrent. And while public opinion currently opposes nuclear weapons, fear could change minds. Japan has enough plutonium from its civilian nuclear reactors for more than 1,000 nuclear warheads, and it has the know-how to build them in months.

This prospect should alarm China, which would suddenly face a nuclear-armed regional rival. The U.S. also has a strong interest in preventing a nuclear Japan, not least because South Korea might soon follow. East Asia would join the Middle East in a new era of nuclear proliferation, with grave risks to world order. This is one reason that acquiescing to a North Korea with nuclear missiles is so dangerous.

Yet this is the line now peddled by former Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who says the U.S. must begin “accepting it and trying to cap it or control it.” Having said for eight years that a nuclear North is unacceptable, they now say that President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had better get used to it.

But “control it” how? North Korea has made clear it won’t negotiate away its nuclear program. The U.S. can threaten mutual-assured destruction, but Tuesday’s missile test over Japan shows how North Korea will use its nuclear threat to coerce and divide the U.S. and its allies. Accepting a nuclear North Korea means accepting a far more dangerous world.

Appeared in the August 30, 2017, print edition.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #304 on: August 30, 2017, 06:16:12 AM »

third post

North Korea Negotiations Aren’t Dead Yet
Aug 30, 2017

 
By Xander Snyder
On Aug. 28, we wrote that North Korea’s testing of short-range ballistic missiles over the weekend could be seen as an act of conciliation. Later that day, North Korea tested another missile whose message was unmistakable. The missile – the Hwasong-12, which hypothetically has just enough range to hit parts of Alaska but not the U.S. West Coast – flew over Japan. Initially there was concern that the missile could be targeting Japan itself, causing the government in Tokyo to issue flash warnings to tell citizens in the north to seek shelter. The missile ultimately landed in the ocean.

The test on Aug. 28 was clearly an escalation, but it, too, must be considered in the context of ongoing negotiations. With the proper perspective, the launch seems less like the irrational maneuverings of an unpredictable dictator and more like a regime expressing displeasure with a hang-up either in negotiations or in the direction they’re taking.

Action and Reaction

A test of this sort is disruptive, but there’s no reason to believe negotiations with North Korea have stopped. North Korea wouldn’t have cut backchannel communications before the launch, because it wouldn’t want the launch to be seen as a pre-emptive strike, triggering a counterstrike and a war with the United States that it doesn’t want. It is true, however, that the launch was unprecedented. North Korea has previously launched missiles for its space program that flew over Japan – in 1998 and 2009 – but those were high enough that they were not in Japanese airspace. Tests that don’t follow old patterns are more likely to be interpreted as an actual attack, since it’s unlikely that an attacking force would mimic procedures that it had previously made public. This means that while Kim Jong Un is walking a fine line, he believed this test was within the tolerable limits of potential provocation.

The response from the U.S., Japan and South Korea has been relatively muted. Japan carried out a series of anti-missile drills, presumably to respond with a similar show of strength. But what Japan didn’t do is just as telling. The government’s J-alert system notified the public several minutes before the missile flew overhead, and yet the government didn’t try to shoot the missile down. This means one of two things: either Japan did not truly feel threatened by the launch, or Japan is incapable of reliably targeting and destroying incoming ballistic missiles and didn’t want to expose this vulnerability with a public failure. Either way, Japan’s response indicates that negotiations are still ongoing; if Japan believed North Korea had actually targeted its mainland, it would have been willing to take more risks with whatever capabilities it does have.
 Pedestrians in Tokyo watch the news on a huge screen displaying a map of Japan and the Korean Peninsula on Aug. 29, 2017, following a North Korean missile test that passed over Japan. TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images

The American response was also subdued. In the past, the U.S. has answered North Korean missile tests with overflights of B1-B strategic bombers, a clear threat to the regime. This time, however, South Korea conducted a live bombing exercise with four F-15K fighter jets. The press release indicated this was a practice run (using bunker-busting bombs) for an attack on North Korea’s leadership, but fighter jets – which carry fewer munitions than a strategic bomber – hardly make the same threat as U.S. B1-Bs.

South Korea doesn’t appear to be interested in going much further for now. In addition to the F-15K drills, South Korea released some videos of its own prior ballistic missile tests. It also said in a press release that it is now drafting a plan that would account for “full-fledged” war with North Korea in the event that the North launches an offensive on the South. Although South Korea is trying to appear as though it is getting tough on North Korea, it’s inconceivable that the government in Seoul doesn’t already have several plans for a response to a North Korean attack. They’ve had seven decades to prepare.

Lingering Questions

Japan falls under the U.S. security umbrella, but it’s the South Korean and U.S. militaries that are the major threat to North Korea. So the obvious question is: Why Japan?
For starters, Japan once perpetrated a brutal occupation of Korea. It was Japan’s invasion – and subsequent loss – of Asia in World War II that created the circumstances that allowed for the founding of the North Korean regime. North Korea has not forgotten the threat that a powerful, aggressive Japan can pose to the Korean Peninsula.
More recently, Japan imposed new unilateral sanctions last week against the North. It’s difficult to tell how effective sanctions have been against the regime. To this point, coal and other export sanctions have cost the country hundreds of millions of dollars with no noticeable effect on the progress of its missile technology. If anything, it seems like the cadence of North Korea’s missile tests has increased following the implementation of sanctions. During a parliamentary briefing on Aug. 28, however, South Korea’s intelligence agency said the North had begun a campaign to identify “disgruntled citizens” as public fatigue with sanctions has grown. Though the public announcements of intelligence agencies shouldn’t be taken at face value, it’s possible that sanctions are beginning to affect Pyongyang’s control of its domestic situation. In that case, Japan’s latest sanctions could threaten to actually damage the regime’s position.

Given the limited options on the table for a legitimate compromise, it seems like both sides are realizing that whatever compromise they discuss would be extremely difficult to implement. For a deal to happen, the U.S. would need to ensure that North Korea has not only abandoned its nuclear weapons program, but also that its ability to resume the program is removed. This would mean intrusive inspections that the North is unlikely to accept. At the same time, the North Korean regime would need certainty that it is, in fact, secure from the U.S. and its allies, which would likely entail a diminished U.S. presence in the Pacific. Washington is unlikely to accept these terms either.

Kim Jong Un gambled that he correctly understood his adversaries’ red lines when he gave the order to conduct the latest missile test. For now it appears he was right, and if so, it probably bought him more leverage in the negotiations. But we also can’t mistake a casual response from the U.S. as acceptance, since a purposeful phase of cooling tensions is what we’d expect to see before an actual strike.
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ccp
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« Reply #305 on: September 03, 2017, 09:16:43 PM »

Does anyone else feel exhausted from the years of hand wringing over N Korea?

It's obvious they can't be stopped with diplomacy.
It's obvious a pre emptive military strike is ruled out by the those who do the deep strategizing over such things.  (Unless as Doug has suggested Trump just might be different)

I wish the news cycle would stop WASTING my time with this.

If we are going to let them go nuclear then stop bugging my head with it every time they fire a missile.

Same for Iran.  Stop the stupid talk talk and more talk.

Just accept what Susan Rice said ( I can safely assume she speaks for the greatest human to ever walk the face of the Earth )
which was something to the effect :

" A nuclear N Korea " is not so bad..........

Obviously if the ONE know s this why can 't we just sit back and let it happen.
So what. Just do the Facebook thing and say wonderful things to each other all day long.






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G M
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« Reply #306 on: September 03, 2017, 09:22:32 PM »


So what. Just do the Facebook thing and say wonderful things to each other all day long.



FaceHUGGERbook

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #307 on: September 05, 2017, 11:11:23 AM »

http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/North-Koreas-ultimatum-to-America-504213
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DougMacG
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« Reply #308 on: September 05, 2017, 01:44:29 PM »


Superbly reasoned and articulated.  She agrees with the view held around here and takes it further in reasons and persuasion.
[I'm not able to cut and paste out of the article]

"If you appease an enemy on behalf of an ally, then you aren't an ally."

Needing China on this, indefinitely, means we can't effectively confront China on other things, South China Sea, trade, etc.

This is tied to the same problem with Iran.  Not only Japan and most Asian countries need to go nuclear, so does Saudi, Egypt, Jordan and others in the Middle East.

If the US does not directly defeat the North Korean threat now, we are no longer a superpower and nuclear non-proliferation is longer the policy of the world.  This kind of threat is permanent if not stopped.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2017, 02:56:52 PM by DougMacG » Logged
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #309 on: September 05, 2017, 06:57:09 PM »

North Korea has sent the international community scrambling once again. Pyongyang's sixth nuclear test appeared to show substantial progress toward attaining a credible deterrent. In an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting Sept. 4, the United States called for the "strongest possible measures" to be imposed against North Korea. And it is now drafting a proposal for further sanctions, which it hopes to submit for a vote Sept. 11.

If the United States holds to this one-week timeline for a vote, it would be unprecedented in terms of speed. China and Russia, who normally try to insulate North Korea, usually assent to some level of sanctions in the wake of nuclear tests, but it ordinarily takes weeks of talks to achieve critical U.S.-China consensus. This test, though, is particularly embarrassing for China, given it came during the BRICS summit, paralleling North Korea's missile test during China's Belt and Road summit in May. However, both Russia and China have reiterated their position that sanctions alone are not a sufficient response to North Korea and that they must be accompanied by dialogue. They will continue to repeat this argument in the days and weeks to come.

If Russia and China assent to new sanctions, they are unlikely to be the sort of harsh measures touted by the United States. The last set of U.N. sanctions passed Aug. 5 avoided applying too much pressure on North Korea in a compromise with Chinese and Russian wishes. Moreover, these former sanctions are still in the implementation phase until early November — another argument Russia and China could use against the U.S. push for new swift, harsh measures.

There are a number of sectors that the United States and its allies could target for sanctions pressure. Chief among them would be North Korea's massive textile exports. Other avenues could be sanctions on supplies of crude and refined oil products, a ban on the use of North Korean labor abroad, or further financial sanctions. But even where the United States can secure U.N. sanctions, the slow-moving economic pressure would be unlikely to deter North Korea until it has achieved a credible nuclear deterrent.

The United States also has unilateral options. The U.S. Department of Treasury might opt for further secondary sanctions, namely against Chinese financial institutions. This, too, would run up against the fact that going after larger Chinese institutions could damage the U.S. economy and would not likely change China's strategy toward North Korea.

The North Korean nuclear test also provoked a flurry of military announcements. The United States confirmed Sept. 5 that it had agreed to ease limits on South Korea's ballistic missile defense measures that have been in discussion since late July. U.S. President Donald Trump also said that he would allow Japan and South Korea to buy sophisticated military equipment, likely referring to air- and sea-launched cruise missiles, targeting systems and other hardware. Such sales would take years to finalize and are distinct from the current situation with North Korea.

Other military measures, however, bear close monitoring. The United States is considering an accelerated and increased rotation of tactical and strategic assets to the Korean peninsula and to the surrounding region. This includes the dispatch of F-22 and F-35B stealth fighters to South Korea on a rotational basis. U.S. submarines and aircraft carriers will also likely be deployed in increased numbers around the Korean peninsula.

South Korea's political and diplomatic posture will also be critical here, especially given that Seoul has advocated a softer response toward Pyongyang. South Korean Minister of National Defense Song Young-moo said South Korea would lay aside dialogue and turn to punishing the North. South Korean President Moon Jae-in said the goal is still the same, but it is not the time for talks. This does not mean, however, that Moon has fully abandoned his push for more amicable relations — he has left the door open for low-level engagement even as he shores up the South's defenses.

Amid all of this, it is important to remember that North Korea will continue to test weapons according to its technical timeline. It has also not yet cast aside its threat of an "enveloping strike" on Guam. Separately, South Korea's defense ministry said Sept. 4 that North Korea appears to be preparing another missile test, possibly of an intercontinental ballistic missile.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #310 on: September 06, 2017, 08:38:56 AM »

Stratfor Worldview

   
        France
        See More

on geopolitics

Sep 6, 2017 | 11:20 GMT
Negotiating a Path to Dialogue With North Korea
By Rodger Baker
VP of Strategic Analysis, Stratfor

North Korea is making every effort to broadcast that it feels it can tolerate war on its territory far better than the United States could, having withstood the Japanese invasion, World War II and the Korean War.
(

The path toward dialogue with North Korea looks fainter by the day. Washington is calling for increased isolation of the North Korean government, announcing expanded arms sales to South Korea and Japan, and promising to deploy additional strategic assets in and around the Korean Peninsula. Even the South Korean government has said that dialogue may have to wait, since North Korea's latest nuclear test and rapid-fire missile launches threaten to destabilize the security balance in East Asia.

Beijing, meanwhile, has kept up its calls for talks, though it also has advocated stronger sanctions on Pyongyang. The most important thing, China insists, is that the United States and North Korea sit down to talk — whether in a multilateral, trilateral, bilateral or whatever possible format. From Beijing's perspective, dialogue is the only way to ease the heightened tensions in Korea, while excessive sanctions or coercive tactics are largely ineffective, if not counterproductive. It's becoming increasingly obvious, however, that Washington and Beijing differ in their thinking about talks with North Korea. Having just returned from two weeks spent engaged in unofficial dialogues and exchanges in the region, I can attest that the gulf separating China from the United States is as wide as the media makes it out to be. But the reasons behind the divergence are different from the ones so often described in the news.
The Value of Talk

Washington sees talks as a means to an end — in this case, the denuclearization of North Korea. Negotiations are worth the effort only if they will roll back Pyongyang's weapons programs. In two and a half decades of talks though, each agreement struck to that end has broken down, and all the while, North Korea has slowly but steadily improved its nuclear and missile capabilities. Politicians in the United States consequently have come to view dialogue as appeasement or even capitulation. By negotiating with Pyongyang, Washington has "allowed" North Korea to become a nuclear state and to use that status against it.

The issue, at its heart, is about more than North Korea. It's about the national security strategy that Washington has crafted over the past two centuries, a strategy built on the judicious use of force abroad to demonstrate that the United States is a reliable ally. "Allowing" North Korea to attain a long-range nuclear missile after decades of declaring that such an outcome would never happen may not, in itself, fundamentally alter the U.S. security situation. But it could change the perception of the United States' power, influence and commitment to its allies. Talk is cheap and, without concrete action to back it up, potentially damaging.

For China, on the other hand, the end result is less important than the dialogue itself. The very act of engaging in talks helps relieve the immediate tensions, from Beijing's point of view, and reduces the chances of an accident or miscalculation that could lead to conflict.

There's a logic to this position. Isolation and containment without engagement haven't discouraged North Korea in its quest for nuclear weapons or changed Pyongyang's feeling that its leadership is under threat from the United States. Economic pressure, moreover, has done little to weaken the government's resolve: In 1998, during its worst years of famine, North Korea developed and tested its first satellite launch vehicle. While it's true that talks haven't stopped North Korea from developing its arsenal, nor have they reassured Pyongyang enough to drop its strategic weapons program, they have slowed the pace of development and testing. North Korea has delayed tests during brief periods of negotiation. It even destroyed the cooling tower of the Yongbyon reactor amid negotiations in 2008 (and then began rebuilding it when the discussions broke down). Beijing already informally considers North Korea a nuclear weapons state, albeit one with limited capabilities. And since ignoring or denying the reality won't change the situation for the better, it argues, could talking really make things worse?

Notwithstanding the improvement in their range, which may now extend to the U.S. mainland, China doesn't see North Korea's missiles as a greater threat to the United States now than they were before. Pyongyang, after all, already could launch missiles at U.S. bases in South Korea, Japan, and probably Guam and Hawaii, too, meaning its nuclear-capable weapons already offered it a deterrent. Securing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) won't increase North Korea's risk to the United States, Beijing asserts, not least of all because Pyongyang's long-range missiles are liquid-fueled and, as a result, take longer to fire up. Washington would have enough time to launch a pre-emptive strike on Pyongyang should it feel the need, and failing that, its layered missile defense system would take care of the problem, at least in theory.

Furthermore, assuming the goal of North Korea's nuclear program really is to ensure the Kim dynasty's continued reign, then Pyongyang is susceptible to traditional means of deterrence. North Korea won't launch its missiles proactively because doing so would invite the destruction of its government. From China's perspective, the United States isn't closing in on some dreadful deadline that will require a military solution, rather than a program to manage North Korea in the long term. And if it is, the best path forward is to reduce the sense of crisis instead of amplifying it with rash statements and shows of military force.
Reassessing the Palliative Approach

Since the end of the Cold War, the United States has been largely satisfied with merely managing the North Korea issue. Part of the reason for this strategy was the belief (extant in some circles to this day) that the government in Pyongyang would collapse at any moment, that it would simply disintegrate as the governments of so many other Communist bloc countries did after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The conventional military threat that North Korea posed to South Korea was another factor; the cost of physical intervention on the Korean Peninsula outweighed the danger Pyongyang presented. At the same time, North Korea wasn't going to start a war it couldn't win. So though Pyongyang was a bit of a destabilizing force from a political standpoint, it wasn't a direct military threat to the United States, least of all to the continental United States.

Today, that perception is changing rapidly. The problem isn't so much that a few unreliable nuclear-tipped ICBMs could bring the United States to its knees but that the country has spent more than a century trying to ensure that no power could threaten to bring war to its mainland. What's more, the United States does not share China's view of North Korea as a rational actor that responds to traditional deterrence theory. North Korea operates more like a kingdom of old than like a modern nation state. The willingness and ability of the country's elite to sacrifice the population, and to accept higher levels of risk, make it less predictable and, by extension, less coercible. The sorts of deterrents that kept the Soviet Union or China from belligerency may not work on North Korea. Management may no longer be a politically viable option for the United States, even if it is militarily possible.
Misreading Pyongyang

China and the United States alike have based their assessments of the situation on their perceptions of North Korea's capability, intent and predictability. But both of them may be misreading Pyongyang. The United States has misjudged the effectiveness of sanctions on the North for decades. More recently, North Korea's missile test flight over Japan surprised China, which thought that Pyongyang had backed off its launches for fear of military reprisal from the United States and was instead preparing to resume negotiations.

And that brings us to the North Korean strategy. Pyongyang is using unofficial channels to emphasize that it will not entertain negotiations devoted to denuclearization but that it is open to talks that would lead the United States and its allies to accept North Korea as a nuclear weapons state. With characteristic bravado, North Korea claims that it already has hundreds of warheads, hinting that it may have acquired additional nuclear material through the Russian black market. The declaration may sound incredible at face value, but then again so did the notion that the North had developed hydrogen-bomb technology a year ago. Pyongyang hides just enough plausible truth in its boasts to make other countries rethink their intelligence assessments and expectations. To strengthen its case, meanwhile, North Korea is committed to demonstrating its ability to field both atomic and hydrogen bombs while perfecting its submarine-launched ballistic missiles, along with land-based, road-mobile systems. We haven't seen the last of North Korea's missile tests, no matter what sanctions the U.N. Security Council devises.

Pyongyang envisions itself as the David to Washington's Goliath, the righteous underdog taking aim at the U.S. behemoth with an ICBM for a sling and a hydrogen bomb warhead for a stone. North Korea is making every effort to broadcast that it feels it can tolerate war on its territory far better than the United States could, having withstood the Japanese invasion, World War II and the Korean War. By contrast, the United States hasn't experienced an international conflict on its continental territory for well over a century and lacks the political stamina to accept the risk of war on its mainland or so North Korea imagines. So while Pyongyang's nuclear program is primarily an effort to ensure the government's survival, as Washington and Beijing assume, it is also an attempt to shape the regional security dynamic. A conventional deterrent, such as the military capabilities that Pyongyang long relied on to discourage a physical intervention on the Korean Peninsula, will only keep the United States from taking proactive action. A nuclear weapon, however, could be enough to change Washington's strategic assessment of Asia, compelling the United States to reduce and eventually withdraw its forces in South Korea.

And even if North Korea doesn't use its nuclear capabilities to start a war, the sheer fact of their accomplishment could prove the futility of U.S. security guarantees to South Korea. The achievement also could give Pyongyang the leverage it needs to engage in a direct dialogue with the United States geared toward normalizing their relations, conceivably bringing North Korea one step closer to unification through nonmilitary means. Pyongyang has set an ambitious deadline for reaching the first benchmark in its broader political alignment: North Korea plans to be a recognized and normalized nuclear weapons state by the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo. Between now and then, it expects a confrontation with the United States, and it is letting Washington decide what shape the conflict will take — military or merely political.

Neither Beijing nor Washington is exactly right about the prospect of negotiating with North Korea. China assumes that North Korea would agree to suspend its missile and nuclear programs in talks so long as the United States promised to ease up on its military activity on the Korean Peninsula. The United States, meanwhile, assumes that coercion is the most effective way to get North Korea to abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons. But North Korea has little intention of delaying, much less ending, its nuclear and missile programs. Pyongyang wants to come back to the negotiating table — but this time as a peer among fellow nuclear powers.
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G M
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« Reply #311 on: September 08, 2017, 12:16:36 PM »

https://www.cnbc.com/video/2017/09/04/n-korea-has-already-beaten-the-world-to-the-punch.html

Well worth watching.
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G M
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« Reply #312 on: September 08, 2017, 03:38:59 PM »

Michael Yon
September 5 at 12:02pm ·

NORK: Just after the latest detonation, I asked a well-connected friend what he and his contacts think.

He is connected very high in the USG. One day, he took me up to Condoleeza Rice's office but she was not around. I always liked her and would have been good to say hello. She should have ran for President.

His response:

Sorry for the late response. I thought it was a posting and I saved it for reading. I didn't see it was a question just to me.

Anyway, my contacts at DoD and DoS say different things, mostly tracking their mission, but agree, in different words, on one thing:
The test is a red line and the bet by Russia, China, and DPRK is that the US will not cross it.

It is becoming increasingly apparent that the DPRK is the sock puppet of an international conspiracy headed by Russia and China to destabilize the Pacific and the adjacent east and southeast Asian landmass.

To not cross the red line and PUNISH the DPRK is to throw Seoul under the bus, which is exactly the same as throwing Japan and the wider southeast Asian nations, plus Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and in the long run, India under the bus. American credibility is being severely tested, which is precisely the goal of China and Russia. The DPRK is the low risk/high reward stooge in this massive geopolitical power play, but given their resources and dependence on the kindness of "strangers", they have no choice in this game of brinkmanship.

Generally, both the DoD and DoS agree that war is the only long term solution to this issue. It is an international crisis perpetrated by wanna-be global powers to bring down the US's influence in the Pacific and diminish the US maritime reach (military, trade, influence, and defense).

Put the foreign policy of the Obama and Clinton administrations into the equation, you will see why Russia and China are playing this game. They may actually have US nuclear codes (they've no doubt changed by now, but merely knowing old ones says a lot about the new ones). Obama did publicly release the exact, precise, number of nuclear weapons, from which any idiot could accurately extrapolate the various platforms, throws, and targets. In other words, our national nuclear arsenal has been compromised for eight years.

Given Obama's radical draw down of the defense budget and the wear and tear on our existing equipment in the Middle East (don't doubt Iran is in on this deal with Russia and China), the US is clearly in a compromised offensive posture.

But, to allow DPRK to get away with this provocation means we lose the Pacific and China will see this as a green light to run amok and seize whatever they want and intimidate the rest.

Generally, my contacts see war or capitulation.

« Last Edit: September 08, 2017, 05:42:59 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #313 on: September 08, 2017, 06:09:30 PM »

Sounds like MY's friend has been lurking here  smiley

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« Reply #314 on: September 08, 2017, 06:43:25 PM »

second post


The United States is doggedly pushing for tough new U.N. Security Council sanctions on North Korea. In spite of resistance from China and Russia, Washington is hoping to put the sanctions before the council on Sept. 11. Meanwhile, the threat of another possible North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch looms. Countries around the world are being forced to strategize under pressure, and the United States is increasing its efforts to enforce international isolation.

Though Manila is the fifth-largest trading partner for Pyongyang, the Philippines announced that it has halted trade with North Korea, citing the stipulations of the Aug. 5 U.N. Security Council resolution. North Korea-Philippines trade increased from 2015 to 2016 and totaled $28.8 million in the first half of  2017 — mostly in the form of electronics, bananas and garments exported from the Philippines to North Korea. But now that the Philippines is heavily reliant on Washington's help in its fight against the Islamic State in Marawi, Manila is surely more receptive to high-profile U.S. pressure on Pyongyang's trade partners.

The United States has also been working to persuade Latin American countries to cut diplomatic ties with North Korea. So far, only Mexico has complied. On Sept. 8, the Mexican government gave the North Korean ambassador to the country 72 hours to leave, citing Pyongyang's recent nuclear test. Mexico has been North Korea's primary trading partner in the region, and has maintained diplomatic relations with the country since 1980. In 2015, Pyongyang bought roughly $45 million worth of Mexican oil, while Mexico City bought a little less than $14 million in computer parts from North Korea. But, like the Philippines, Mexico has reason to align with the United States. It is currently working to get the best NAFTA deal and is eager to maintain access to U.S. consumer markets.

Other Latin American countries that have North Korean embassies or trade with the country are Brazil, Chile, Peru, Paraguay, Cuba, Venezuela and Colombia. Under continued pressure from the United States, Peru could possibly follow Mexico's lead in breaking ties. However, Chile, Cuba and Venezuela have remained staunchly opposed to the idea. Brazil, for its part, has not yet made its stance clear. If reluctance continues, the United States could threaten to impose sanctions on or increase trade barriers for Latin American countries that seek to do business with Washington while maintaining diplomatic or trade ties with Pyongyang.

The United States will likely propose its sanctions at the U.N. Security Council meeting next week, and if it suggests a harsh resolution that threatens North Korea's economic lifelines, Russia or China could abstain from voting or even veto. Regardless, both countries will cite a need for further dialogue. To that end, Beijing is working hard to convince the European members of the Security Council to reconsider Washington's proposed sanctions. Chinese President Xi Jinping told French President Emmanuel Macron on Sept. 8 that he hoped France could play a "constructive role" in restarting talks on North Korea by expanding the focus beyond just sanctions. Macron said that France was working to maintain peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, and he emphasized that his country valued China’s role in resolving the issue. That conversation came after Xi's Sept. 7 discussion with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, which yielded agreement on tougher sanctions but also emphasized continuing dialogue.

These negotiations are all taking place as North Korea begins celebrations for its Day of the Foundation of the Republic on Sept. 9. South Korea believes this holiday could be another opportunity for ICBM tests, and has completed the deployment of its U.S.-provided Terminal High Altitude Area Defense anti-missile system. Meanwhile, the United States marches on, attempting to slow down North Korea's nuclear weapons program in any way it can. So far, however, its efforts have done little to deter Pyongyang.
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« Reply #315 on: September 11, 2017, 07:09:47 AM »



In less than six months, the XXIII Olympic Winter Games will begin in Pyeongchang, South Korea. But with an increasingly militant North Korea located less than 161 kilometers (100 miles) away, legitimate concerns have arisen over the event's potential disruption. Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), recently said he was closely monitoring the situation, adding that it would be a topic of discussion at the committee's upcoming meeting in Peru. Even so, it's hard not to wonder who will bear the responsibility of ensuring the safety of athletes and spectators in Pyeongchang. The answer has been constantly evolving for over four decades.

A defining moment for the question of the sporting event's security came in 1972. During the Munich Olympics, the Palestinian terrorist group Black September took 11 Israeli coaches and athletes hostage; all of them died during a botched rescue attempt by German authorities. At the time, the committee's leaders classified the incident as an "internal problem" for the German government. The IOC, they insisted, should not get involved. Even in the aftermath of the massacre, the committee paid little attention to security because of its long-standing conviction that politics and sports don't mix. When it became apparent that the world of international sports needed to take some sort of action, the IOC made sure to place the task in someone else's hands: those of the independently run local organizing committees established for each Olympic Games.

A decade after the Munich attack, the IOC softened its stance somewhat following the election of a new president, Juan Antonio Samaranch. Far more progressive than his predecessors, Samaranch listened to the advice of IOC member Ashwini Kumar, who emphasized the IOC's pressing need to participate fully in the games' security planning process.

Pulled From the Sidelines

The first cities to host the Olympics in the wake of the Munich Games were Innsbruck, Austria and Montreal, Canada. Visitors noted in both events that the sites — particularly the Olympic Villages where athletes were housed — resembled fortresses. Instead of a multinational sporting event, the Olympics seemed to be a primarily military exercise with a few athletic contests on the side. Of course, neither Innsbruck nor Montreal received financial or logistical support from the IOC as they bolstered their defenses. The Innsbruck Organizing Committee, for its part, followed the IOC's example by passing the responsibility for security down the chain in hopes of saving money.

The situation didn't improve much at the 1976 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York or the 1980 Summer Games in Moscow. Though neither event suffered attacks, they did experience several problems that revealed the systemic flaws in granting a single organization the sole burden of managing security. For instance, the Lake Placid Organizing Committee unwittingly offered a contract for security equipment to a company under investigation by the U.S. government for links to terrorist groups.

A few years later, things finally began to change. Serving as the IOC's security liaison, Kumar argued that a lack of attacks in 1976 and 1980 didn't necessarily equate to efficient security planning. Though organizing committees continued to shoulder the bulk of the burden of coordinating the Olympics' security, Kumar insisted that the IOC take on a bigger role by facilitating information sharing between the committee, national intelligence agencies and host city authorities. The IOC began to quickly transform from an uninterested bystander to an invested middleman, tracking the activities of terrorist organizations such as the West German Baader-Meinhof Group and the Japanese Red Army.

The clearest example of Kumar's ideas in action came ahead of the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. Amid fears that North Korea might try to disrupt the event, IOC member Willi Daume wrote to Samaranch with an unusual plan: Daume wanted the committee president to persuade the Soviet Union's National Olympic Committee to lean on its government to apply economic pressure against Pyongyang. Though there is little evidence that Samaranch followed through with the proposal, that Daume saw the IOC as an avenue of influence over the North Korean government marked a significant shift in policy. Far from refusing to mix politics and sports, Daume now urged Samaranch to preserve the Olympic movement through "decisive political ways."

Playing to Precedent

The striking similarities between the tense buildups to the 1988 Olympics in Seoul and to the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang are hard to ignore. In both cases, the games have been seen as a way to broker some form of peaceful exchange between the North and South. And in both cases, mounting bluster by Pyongyang in the run-up to the Olympics has exacerbated leaders' fears of an impending attack.

In 1987, two North Korean terrorists blew up a Korean Air flight in hopes of undermining the public's confidence in South Korea to host a secure international sporting event. In recent days, North Korea fired a missile over Japan and tested what may have been a thermonuclear device. While the Seoul Olympics ended without major incident, there is no guarantee that next year's games will do the same.

At this late stage in the event's planning process, it would be impossible to move the 2018 Olympics to another location. And the solution to greater security is not, as U.S. President Donald Trump has suggested, to respond with "fire and fury." Instead, the best chance for peaceful games is to follow the precedent of the past three decades. Complete security may be impossible to achieve, but effective and efficient security isn't.

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« Reply #316 on: September 11, 2017, 09:18:46 PM »

Just over a week after North Korea's test of a nuclear device, the United States has secured a fresh set of U.N. sanctions against the country. The speed with which the United Nations Security Council adopted these measures is unprecedented — sanctions on North Korea ordinarily take weeks of back and forth with China, North Korea's main defender, as well as consultations with Russia. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley even thanked China, in particular Chinese President Xi Jinping. The new U.N. sanctions will bite deeper into the North Korean economy than those past, but fall short of the sweeping measures included in a version leaked Sept. 7.

That draft included a full ban on a range of oil products sold to North Korea, a freeze on the assets and travel of top North Korean leaders — including Kim Jong Un — as well blacklisting military-controlled airline Air Koryo. These broad measures — particularly the oil embargo — were unpalatable for both China and Russia, neither of which wants to see North Korea collapse. Negotiations toward the end of the week led to a second draft of the resolution, circulated Sept. 10.

The sanctions as adopted will cap refined petroleum shipments into North Korea at 2 million barrels per year (compared with 2.19 million in 2016) and crude oil to current levels (estimated at 10,000 barrels per day). They will also fully ban condensates and natural gas liquids. The biggest blow to the North Korean economy, however, is a ban on the purchase of the country's textile exports. In 2016, textiles accounted for around $752 million of North Korean exports, out of an estimated total of $3 billion. Aug. 5 U.N. measures following intercontinental ballistic missile tests went after coal, which accounts for about a third of North Korea's total exports.

The new sanctions are evidently a compromise solution, though, because Russia and China are keen to leave North Korean lifelines in place. A full oil embargo wasn't enacted, although initially proposed. Sanctions also did not blacklist Kim himself or North Korea's singular airline. And, unlike the earlier draft, the current resolution leaves in place an exception allowing Russia to transship coal through the North Korean port of Rajin via rail. The new resolution also fails to include hoped-for sweeping allowances when it comes to forceful inspections of North Korean vessels. Instead, countries must have permission from the state that flagged the vessel and can only inspect it on reasonable grounds. The measures also omitted a full ban on foreign labor. Rather, countries employing foreign workers would need to seek approval by a U.N. Security Council committee, with an exception given for existing contracts. North Korea's 50,000-100,000 overseas workers earn $1.2 billion to $2.3 billion each year, primarily in foreign currency that can be used to make overseas purchases.

The text of the resolution includes calls for further work to reduce tensions with the goal of a settlement and peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula — language that is in line with Chinese and Russian statements. The North Korean Foreign Ministry warned that the United States would pay a price if the sanctions passed, and another test in the coming days would be characteristic of Pyongyang. These measures will do little to actually prevent North Korea from pursuing its nuclear deterrent — the country has numerous ways of sustaining itself amid economic hardship, as it proved during a massive famine that ran from 1994-1998. These new sanctions will be just as difficult to enforce as those in the past, and North Korea's timeline to gain a credible nuclear deterrent keeps getting shorter.
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« Reply #317 on: September 11, 2017, 09:22:56 PM »

Unless, and until China's feet are held to the fire, this is just pissing in the wind.



Just over a week after North Korea's test of a nuclear device, the United States has secured a fresh set of U.N. sanctions against the country. The speed with which the United Nations Security Council adopted these measures is unprecedented — sanctions on North Korea ordinarily take weeks of back and forth with China, North Korea's main defender, as well as consultations with Russia. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley even thanked China, in particular Chinese President Xi Jinping. The new U.N. sanctions will bite deeper into the North Korean economy than those past, but fall short of the sweeping measures included in a version leaked Sept. 7.

That draft included a full ban on a range of oil products sold to North Korea, a freeze on the assets and travel of top North Korean leaders — including Kim Jong Un — as well blacklisting military-controlled airline Air Koryo. These broad measures — particularly the oil embargo — were unpalatable for both China and Russia, neither of which wants to see North Korea collapse. Negotiations toward the end of the week led to a second draft of the resolution, circulated Sept. 10.

The sanctions as adopted will cap refined petroleum shipments into North Korea at 2 million barrels per year (compared with 2.19 million in 2016) and crude oil to current levels (estimated at 10,000 barrels per day). They will also fully ban condensates and natural gas liquids. The biggest blow to the North Korean economy, however, is a ban on the purchase of the country's textile exports. In 2016, textiles accounted for around $752 million of North Korean exports, out of an estimated total of $3 billion. Aug. 5 U.N. measures following intercontinental ballistic missile tests went after coal, which accounts for about a third of North Korea's total exports.

The new sanctions are evidently a compromise solution, though, because Russia and China are keen to leave North Korean lifelines in place. A full oil embargo wasn't enacted, although initially proposed. Sanctions also did not blacklist Kim himself or North Korea's singular airline. And, unlike the earlier draft, the current resolution leaves in place an exception allowing Russia to transship coal through the North Korean port of Rajin via rail. The new resolution also fails to include hoped-for sweeping allowances when it comes to forceful inspections of North Korean vessels. Instead, countries must have permission from the state that flagged the vessel and can only inspect it on reasonable grounds. The measures also omitted a full ban on foreign labor. Rather, countries employing foreign workers would need to seek approval by a U.N. Security Council committee, with an exception given for existing contracts. North Korea's 50,000-100,000 overseas workers earn $1.2 billion to $2.3 billion each year, primarily in foreign currency that can be used to make overseas purchases.

The text of the resolution includes calls for further work to reduce tensions with the goal of a settlement and peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula — language that is in line with Chinese and Russian statements. The North Korean Foreign Ministry warned that the United States would pay a price if the sanctions passed, and another test in the coming days would be characteristic of Pyongyang. These measures will do little to actually prevent North Korea from pursuing its nuclear deterrent — the country has numerous ways of sustaining itself amid economic hardship, as it proved during a massive famine that ran from 1994-1998. These new sanctions will be just as difficult to enforce as those in the past, and North Korea's timeline to gain a credible nuclear deterrent keeps getting shorter.
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« Reply #318 on: September 14, 2017, 10:23:17 PM »

Stratfor Worldview



Sep 15, 2017 | 01:15 GMT
North Korea: Pyongyang Fires a Second Missile Over Japan

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North Korea shows no signs of stopping or even slowing down its attempts to achieve an effective nuclear deterrent. And neither will it cease test-firing projectiles on a ballistic trajectory over Japan. In late August, Pyongyang penetrated Japanese airspace for the first time in some years, a move that sparked international condemnation. With its follow-up test early on Sept. 15, North Korea launched another ballistic missile over Japan's northern island of Hokkaido. The projectile travelled the equivalent distance from Los Angeles to Washington DC before dropping into the northern Pacific Ocean. The launch site — near Pyongyang International Airport in the city's Sunan district — was the same as the Aug. 29 test.
 
Sending the missile over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido also echoes the previous test launch. Given its small geographic size and position, North Korea has few options for test-firing missiles along a full trajectory. Overflying Japan is one of the least provocative options available to Pyongyang, and Hokkaido was likely chosen because of its sparse population and low risk of accidental collateral damage.

More prominently, the range enables Pyongyang to effectively reach Guam, and the strategic U.S. facilities there.

In the interim period since the last test, North Korea carried out a controlled nuclear detonation, most likely of a hydrogen bomb. This is another step forward along the parallel track of developing a viable nuclear deterrent. In the wake of that nuclear test — and tougher sanctions from the United Nations — North Korea issued further threats directed against the United States and Japan.
 
Early reports suggest the Sept. 15 missile flew around 3,700 kilometers (2,300 miles) for 17 minutes with an apogee of approximately 770 kilometers (480 miles). The apogee, range data and flight time all point to the projectile launched by North Korea being an intermediate range ballistic missile. More prominently, the range enables Pyongyang to effectively reach Guam, and the strategic U.S. facilities there. This was something the prior Aug. 29 test wasn't able to achieve.
 
This latest launch is North Korea's longest-range demonstrated flight of a ballistic missile. (The intercontinental ballistic missiles tested in July were fired at a lofted trajectory, meaning they did not demonstrate their full distance.) North Korea will continue testing devices according to its technical requirements. The two relatively successful tests of what appears to be Hwasong-12 missiles on minimum energy or standard trajectories over Japan indicate the growing satisfaction by North Korea with the system's reliability. It is likely that North Korea will therefore soon introduce the missile into operational rotation with its missile units, if it has not done so already. The testing of the Hwasong-12, which shares a similar first stage with the Hwasong-14 ICBM, is also an incremental step towards the next stage in missile testing over Japan. This would involve testing a Hwasong-14 ICBM over the island country.
 
South Korea warned of the likelihood of a North Korean missile test since the end of August, highlighting launch preparations and initially speculating that a projectile would be tested to coincide with North Korea's Day of the Foundation of the Republic, Sept. 9. In response to this most recent test, Seoul fired a ballistic missile of its own off South Korea's east coast. As for Japan, Tokyo said that it is in contact with the United States as it gauges an appropriate response: The two have already called a U.N. Security Council meeting for Sept. 14. It seems certain, however, that regardless of further measures taken against it, this won't be the last missile test that North Korea conducts. 
 
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« Reply #319 on: September 19, 2017, 07:59:38 PM »

Reality Check


By George Friedman


The US Faces Unsavory Choices in the Korean Peninsula


In its attempt to deal with the threat from Pyongyang, the U.S. is facing another obstacle: South Korea.


For months now, the U.S. has been trying different measures to get North Korea to give up its nuclear program. In recent weeks, many have assumed that an attack on North Korea was no longer on the table – that there would be some sort of diplomatic solution, mainly focused on sanctions, that would force Pyongyang to fall in line.
But it’s dubious to believe that sanctions would cause North Korea to abandon something that it believes is so fundamental to its national security.

That seems to have been confirmed over the weekend by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, who said that the U.N. Security Council has exhausted its options in dealing with North Korea and that the matter might have to be handed over to the Pentagon. We are therefore at the point where the possibility of military action must be taken seriously again. But in its attempt to deal with the threat from Pyongyang, the U.S. is facing another obstacle: South Korea.
======================

Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, speaks during a meeting of the U.N. Security Council concerning North Korea at U.N. headquarters, Sept. 11, 2017, in New York City. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Enormous Casualties

South Korea has rejected the idea of attacking North Korea, asserting that it cannot risk another war on the Korean Peninsula, especially a conflict likely to cause even more bloodshed than the Korean War. Until a few weeks ago, we had assumed that, though South Korea was reluctant to go to war, it would remain subordinate to the United States. Both would participate in a war, and Seoul would allow the U.S. to use its forces, facilities and airspace. An attack without South Korean cooperation would be possible but would raise serious challenges.

North Korea would respond to a U.S. attack by inflicting enormous casualties on Seoul, South Korea’s capital and economic hub, using the artillery that is in range of the city. The South Koreans rejected the war option precisely because they could not accept these casualties. The North’s artillery is just as dangerous to South Korea as nuclear weapons are to the United States. The U.S. intention was to attack and destroy this artillery over time – but the problem was time. The longer it would take to neutralize this position, the greater the casualties. There doesn’t seem to be a rapid solution, given North Korea’s air defenses around the artillery.

Any nation must oppose an action that might lead to the destruction of its capital city and hundreds of thousands of citizens. If the United States gave South Korea prior warning of an attack, the South might feel compelled to inform the North in an attempt to save the city. If the United States attacked without informing the South Koreans, and the North Koreans opened fire, the South might make a sudden and radical decision to publicly repudiate its defense treaty with the U.S. in order to get North Korea to halt shelling. In the heated atmosphere, with North Korea under air attack and South Korea being shelled, the political exchanges would be unpredictable, and the political consequences long lasting.

This could shift the strategic reality of the Western Pacific. If an attack did trigger a radical shift in South Korea that included the removal of U.S. forces in the South, the Korean Peninsula would consist of two powers hostile to the United States – which might lead to some understanding between the two on coexistence. Japan, to this point armed but not officially, would have to accommodate itself in some way to the Korean Peninsula or, alternatively, openly arm itself. The Chinese would have an open opportunity to fish in the troubled waters of the Koreas.

This is all speculation, of course, but embedded in this speculation is a truth: South Korea cannot allow the destruction of its capital. The United States has been trying to persuade the South to accept this risk, but to no avail. Seoul prefers dealing with the North Koreans directly, without the Americans at its side.

A Confident Pyongyang

The North Koreans, on the other hand, clearly feel secure. They have sufficiently obfuscated the status of their program and hope that the U.S. is uncertain as to its progress. Washington would need sufficient, reliable intelligence about the status of the North’s nuclear program and the location of its nuclear facilities to launch an attack. Once North Korea has deliverable nuclear weapons able to reach the United States, any attack on Pyongyang might lead to a strike against the U.S. – Washington would need to be confident North Korea hasn’t reached this stage yet.

The North Koreans also understand that getting the Security Council to agree on anything is unlikely – Haley’s statement over the weekend is essentially an admission of that fact. Pyongyang also has significant control over its population, and once it gets nuclear weapons, its position in the world will change.

The U.S. still has the option to attack, but whether it does or not, it’s position in the Western Pacific will weaken. If the United States doesn’t attack and North Korea acquires nuclear weapons that can reach the U.S., the value of the U.S. defense treaty with the South will plummet – the basis of the alliance is after all the North Korean threat, and the likelihood that the U.S would engage a nuclear-armed Pyongyang would be very small.

It is possible the U.S. could persuade South Korea to change its position, but the potential casualties are daunting. For the United States, finding a way to eliminate North Korea’s artillery within the first hours of a war, while attacking its nuclear facilities, would be a key part of its attack plan. But even this would appear too risky to the South Koreans.

South Korea must make some sort of arrangement with North Korea. The South seems to be saying that it would be interested in such an entente, and the North would likely be interested in finding a basis for commerce with the South. Another option would be allying with a third power. An alliance with Japan is a historical impossibility, and China is not loved by either side. It is an option, but an option that both North and South Korea would not enjoy.

A very coldblooded analysis places the destruction of North Korea’s nuclear capability as the logical choice strategically for the U.S. The case can be made that protecting the U.S. from nuclear attack must take precedence for an American president over the fate of Seoul. It’s all logical and coldblooded, but among the more unsavory choices I have seen. There could, however, be another solution out there – one based in technology. In the United States, people tend to think technology solves all ills. Perhaps this could be the solution to the crisis.



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« Reply #320 on: September 20, 2017, 07:39:55 AM »

Newt suggests we may have an EMP like weapon .  Mad Dog Mattis has obviously been studying the military strategy as put forward here on this board:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMPWTciRulI
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« Reply #321 on: September 22, 2017, 07:00:06 AM »

Among other things, this could serve as an EMP test:
=============================================


WSJ
North Korea Warns of Hydrogen-Bomb Test Over Pacific Ocean
Threat made in response to U.S. president’s speech before U.N.; Kim Jong Un calls Donald Trump ‘mentally deranged’
North Korea May Test Hydrogen Bomb Over Pacific
North Korea's top diplomat said the country might test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean in response to President Donald Trump's threat to ‘totally destroy’ North Korea. Photo: AP
By Jonathan Cheng
Updated Sept. 22, 2017 7:18 a.m. ET
490 COMMENTS

SEOUL—North Korea’s foreign minister said the country could detonate a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean in response to President Donald Trump’s speech before the United Nations that warned the U.S. would annihilate North Korea if forced to defend itself or its allies.

The threat, made in remarks by North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho in New York, would mark a dramatic escalation in action from Pyongyang, which in the past month has already launched two intermediate-range ballistic missiles over Japan and tested what it claimed was a hydrogen bomb.

“In my opinion, perhaps we might consider a historic aboveground test of a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean,” Mr. Ri said in a video broadcast on a South Korean news channel. The last aboveground nuclear detonation in the world was China’s atmospheric test of a hydrogen bomb on Oct. 16, 1980.
Related

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    U.S. Cautioned at Security Council Meeting Over Iran, North Korea
    Russian Diplomat Chides, Chastises Trump in U.N. Speech
    North Korea Nuclear Threats Don’t Stop Aid From South
    Trump Issues Dire Warning to North Korea in Address to U.N.

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho at Beijing airport this month.
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho at Beijing airport this month. Photo: Mark Schiefelbein/Associated Press

Mr. Ri said he didn’t know for sure what North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was planning.

The remarks from Mr. Ri came hours after Mr. Kim said through Pyongyang’s state media early on Friday that he was considering the “highest level of hard-line countermeasure” after Mr. Trump’s speech.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who was flying from New York to Seoul, didn’t have any comment, a spokesman said. The U.S. State Department didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

On Friday morning, Mr. Trump tweeted: “Kim Jong Un of North Korea, who is obviously a madman who doesn’t mind starving or killing his people, will be tested like never before!”

Japan’s top government spokesman said on Friday it was “completely unacceptable” that North Korea was threatening regional security.
What a War With North Korea Might Look Like
What a War With North Korea Might Look Like
Around the Korean peninsula, American leaders have been openly discussing what was once unthinkable: A military intervention in North Korea. If this were to happen, here’s how specialists on North Korean security see things playing out. Graphic: Sharon Shi for The Wall Street Journal

Asked at a press conference about Mr. Ri’s threat of a nuclear test in the Pacific, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Japan was prepared for any possibility.

Scott LaFoy, a U.S.-based missile analyst, said North Korea could follow through on such a threat, although many questions remained about North Korea’s missile capabilities, including whether it can miniaturize a nuclear weapon to fit on the tip of a missile and whether it can make a warhead robust enough to survive re-entry through the Earth’s atmosphere.

Still, such a provocation was within the realm of possibility, Mr. LaFoy said.

“It’s been on my list of ‘possible cases’ for a couple of weeks now,” he said.

​It was also theoretically possible for North Korea to carry out the threat by loading a hydrogen bomb onto a ship and detonating it in the Pacific, Mr. LaFoy said. ​
Trump Threatens to 'Destroy' North Korea
President Donald Trump threatened to "totally destroy North Korea" if the U.S. is forced to defend itself or its allies against Pyongyang's aggression, in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday. Photo: Reuters

Hours before Mr. Ri’s remarks, Mr. Kim, in a rare first-person statement published through the official Korean Central News Agency, said Mr. Trump was a “gangster fond of playing with fire” who was unfit to be president and described his U.N. remarks as the “mentally deranged behavior” of a frightened leader.

“I am now thinking hard about what response he could have expected when he allowed such eccentric words to trip off his tongue,” Mr. Kim said in the statement. “Whatever Trump might have expected, he will face results beyond his expectation.”

Mr. Kim didn’t specify what countermeasures he had in mind but warned he would “definitely tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire,” suggesting the possibility of further nuclear and missile tests.

During his first speech before the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, Mr. Trump described Mr. Kim as “Rocket Man” on a “suicide mission” and warned that the U.S. could “totally destroy North Korea” if it was forced to defend itself or its allies.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un Photo: KCNA/KNS/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Mr. Kim said he had expected Mr. Trump to stick to some of his previous rhetoric during his U.N. speech but he was taken aback by Mr. Trump’s bellicosity.

“The mentally deranged behavior of the U.S. president openly expressing on the U.N. arena the unethical will to ‘totally destroy’ a sovereign state…makes even those with normal thinking faculty think about discretion and composure,” Mr. Kim said.

He added: “I’d like to advise Trump to exercise prudence in selecting words and to be considerate of whom he speaks to when making a speech in front of the world.”

The Korean Central News Agency also took a swipe at Chinese state media for their criticisms of North Korea’s recent behavior.
The Threat From North Korea’s Missiles

In a vitriolic commentary published Friday, KCNA lambasted the Communist Party’s flagship newspaper People’s Daily and its sister publication, the nationalist Global Times tabloid, for recent articles that “insulted” North Korea with “extremely ill-boding words.”

The agency also attacked Chinese media for “openly resorting to interference in the internal affairs of another country,” describing such acts as “little short of driving a wedge between the two countries.”

“The Chinese media had better watch how the DPRK smashes the hostile forces’ arrogance and highhanded practices, rather than kowtowing to the ignorant acts of the Trump administration,” KCNA said, referring to North Korea by its preferred name.

KCNA derided Chinese President Xi Jinping’s diplomatic exchanges with Mr. Trump, accusing China of “going under the armpit of the U.S. while holding a white flag to blame the good neighbor.”

“The DPRK does not have to lie on its face just as China did when it visited the U.S.,” the Pyongyang-based agency said, in an apparent reference to the April meeting between Messrs. Xi and Trump in Florida.

—Kwanwoo Jun in Seoul, Chun Han Wong in Beijing and Alastair Gale in Tokyo contributed to this article.
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« Reply #322 on: September 23, 2017, 11:20:57 AM »

Stratfor Worldview

   
 

Sep 23, 2017 | 00:00 GMT
How North Korea Could Pull Off a Pacific Nuclear Test
Would North Korean leader Kim Jong Un really provoke a further international outcry with an atmospheric nuclear test blast?
(STR/AFP/Getty Images)


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With the steady escalation of both multilateral and U.S. sanctions against it, North Korea is threatening once again to ratchet up its response. The week began with U.S. President Donald Trump telling the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 19 that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was on a "suicide mission" and the United States would "totally destroy" North Korea if necessary to protect itself and its allies. Trump followed up his remarks by signing an executive order on Sept. 21 that will allow the U.S. Treasury Department to go after entities trading with North Korea. On Sept. 22, Kim responded by promising countermeasures.

Kim’s vague threat was sharpened by North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, who speculated to reporters in New York that Kim might be considering carrying out "the most powerful detonation of an H-bomb in the Pacific." Ri said he did not know what Kim was considering and that the nature of the response was entirely Kim’s decision.

These threats don't necessarily suggest that North Korea would immediately detonate a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean, but it's not impossible that it could. Ri's allusion to Kim's power to choose a course of action is similar to North Korea's August threat against Guam, which was followed by missile tests but none along the lines of those that had been outlined.

A North Korean nuclear test in the Pacific likely would involve launching a nuclear-tipped ballistic missile over the ocean and exploding the warhead at a high altitude. Such a test also likely would involve flying the missile and its warhead over Japan. A flight over Japan would showcase the likely flight path of an intercontinental ballistic missile launched toward the U.S. mainland as well.

North Korea could try to minimize collateral damage from an atmospheric nuclear test by testing at a very high altitude — perhaps as high up as the edge of space — in a remote location of the Pacific where there is little maritime traffic. A high-altitude test also could allow North Korea to get around the limitations of its still rudimentary re-entry technology.

Even with the measures North Korea could take to minimize the damage of an atmospheric nuclear explosion, the risk of such a test is always substantial. An accident or miscalculation could result in a nuclear explosion at a location and altitude that differs from the original intent. Depending on the exact yield of the warhead, a very high-altitude nuclear test demonstration could also result in a significant electromagnetic pulse effect that would damage or at least disrupt radar, satellite and radio networks.

Because of the Pacific Ocean's vast size and the likely remoteness of the detonation zone, dispersal and dilution would serve to limit the overall human exposure to radioactive material. While there is a large volume of trans-Pacific shipping traffic, a high-altitude test would unlikely have a long-term effect on shipping beyond the impact of the electromagnetic pulse. There also is a low probability that a surface-level test would even have an impact on shipping lanes, given the Pacific's size.

The closer a test occurs to the surface, the more damage any nearby infrastructure would suffer, and the higher the environmental damage and radioactive fallout will be. A surface-level test would have a destructive, but localized impact on sea life, or on any unlucky passing vessel. A nuclear test that occurs over a known fishing zone could affect the fishing industry. Human exposure to radiation would ultimately be limited, but the test would create a perception of exposure that could negatively affect demand.

Even a North Korean nuclear test over the Pacific that results in few or no casualties would be deemed highly provocative. No country has carried out an atmospheric nuclear test since China in 1980, and that was in the remote Lop Nur basin of Xinjiang province within its own territory. Such a test today would mark a violation of long-established bans on nuclear testing beyond just the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

A Pacific test would isolate North Korea further internationally and would likely invite additional economic sanctions and diplomatic pressure, including reluctant powers such as  Russia and China. An impending North Korean live nuclear test also would provide added impetus to the argument that Japan and the United States should shoot down North Korean missiles, despite the risk that the intercept attempt could fail. Intelligence forewarning permitting, the United States could even attempt to destroy the missile on its launch pad before it could fly. And a nuclear test over the Pacific would reinforce the narrative that North Korea is not an entirely rational or predictable nation.
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How North Korea Could Pull Off a Pacific Nuclear Test
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« Reply #323 on: September 25, 2017, 02:27:44 PM »

The United States has declared war on North Korea, according to North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong. In a brief news conference in New York on Sept. 25, Ri said that U.S. President Donald Trump's recent statements to the U.N. General Assembly were tantamount to a declaration of war and that all of the members of the United Nations clearly heard that it was the United States that first declared war on North Korea. Therefore, Ri argued, Pyongyang has a right to self-defense under the U.N. charter and would be justified if it were to shoot down U.S. strategic bombers, even outside North Korean territory.

Over the past week, the rhetoric between the United States and North Korea has rapidly escalated. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un responded to Trump's Sept. 19 U.N. speech by saying that Pyongyang was seriously considering the "highest level of hard-line countermeasures in history." The statement, accompanied by a picture of Kim sitting at a desk and looking intently into the camera — reminiscent of U.S. presidential addresses to the nation during times of crisis — was clarified later to suggest Pyongyang could carry out an atmospheric nuclear test in the Pacific Ocean.

Though much of the escalation has been rhetorical rather than concrete, both North Korea and the United States are inching closer to backing up their words with action to demonstrate their positions. The United States is openly discussing shooting down North Korea's next missile test, and North Korea has responded with what it considers to be an equivalent threat: the possibility of shooting down U.S. strategic bombers near the Korean Peninsula. Pyongyang has long equated the U.S. strategic bombers patrolling the peninsula to its own missile program and has warned that it could launch missiles to the U.S. coastline in a parallel show of range and force.

Trump's comments to the United Nations and the additional sanctions his administration recently imposed against North Korea could be seen as one step along the traditional path to U.S. military action. This path involves the U.S. making a strong case to the international community before resorting to unilateral action justified by the inability or unwillingness of the world to act. Washington has yet to take concrete action to suggest that it is preparing to strike. It has not changed its force posture or made moves to evacuate the 125,000-140,000 American civilians living in South Korea. Neither does North Korea appear to be significantly altering the positions of its forces, though it is exploiting increased U.S. threats to rally the North Korean population around the embattled government in Pyongyang.

Though neither the United States nor North Korea is making the formal movements that would suggest an imminent, purposeful military conflict, the fever pitch between the two and the increased shows of force do raise the likelihood that an accident or miscalculation could lead to conflict. North Korea and the United States have not agreed on basic rules of engagement for air encounters. So, should North Korea decide to scramble aircraft to intercept U.S. flights, even if it has no intent to engage, the potential for an accidental collision is high. North Korean aircraft have collided with U.S. aircraft in the past, last in 2001 off the Chinese coast, but military tension wasn't nearly as high then. U.S actions could be just as risky: If Pyongyang follows through on its threat to test a nuclear device in the Pacific, Washington could try to shoot down the launch, particularly if the weapon is on a trajectory that could bring it near the U.S. coast. In each scenario, tit-for-tat responses could lead to a rapid escalation unintended by either side.

Amid the intensifying standoff, signs of back-channel diplomatic efforts should be watched for, even if it appears that there is little space for a compromise that would satisfy both sides. Russia is working with North Korea diplomatically, and the North Korean Foreign Ministry official in charge of North America is in Russia this week, creating one such space for possible back-channel diplomacy. China's actions should also be watched closely. China's relationship with North Korea has been strained for the past several years, and many of the United States' warnings of military action could be meant more to convince China to take a stronger stand rather than to directly convince North Korea to change its course of action. Any changes in military postures will, of course, also be significant. These include the possibility that the United States could change the way it conducts its strategic bomber missions, by switching to stealth aircraft or expanding fighter escorts, for example.

The probability of intentional war is still relatively low without additional escalation, but the potential for accidental conflict is increasing. North Korea has threatened that in the near future it could test its missiles near the U.S. territory of Guam, test its missiles off the U.S mainland coast, intercept U.S. bombers near the Korean Peninsula and conduct an atmospheric nuclear test over the Pacific Ocean. The United States has been less specific in its threats, but it has increased its strategic bomber flights, has talked more openly about shooting down North Korean missiles and has discussed sending additional strategic assets to the region. And more physical action makes it more likely that accident and miscalculation could follow.
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« Reply #324 on: September 25, 2017, 02:30:00 PM »

second post

With the steady escalation of both multilateral and U.S. sanctions against it, North Korea is threatening once again to ratchet up its response. The week began with U.S. President Donald Trump telling the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 19 that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was on a "suicide mission" and the United States would "totally destroy" North Korea if necessary to protect itself and its allies. Trump followed up his remarks by signing an executive order on Sept. 21 that will allow the U.S. Treasury Department to go after entities trading with North Korea. On Sept. 22, Kim responded by promising countermeasures.

Kim’s vague threat was sharpened by North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, who speculated to reporters in New York that Kim might be considering carrying out "the most powerful detonation of an H-bomb in the Pacific." Ri said he did not know what Kim was considering and that the nature of the response was entirely Kim’s decision.

These threats don't necessarily suggest that North Korea would immediately detonate a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean, but it's not impossible that it could. Ri's allusion to Kim's power to choose a course of action is similar to North Korea's August threat against Guam, which was followed by missile tests but none along the lines of those that had been outlined.

A North Korean nuclear test in the Pacific likely would involve launching a nuclear-tipped ballistic missile over the ocean and exploding the warhead at a high altitude. Such a test also likely would involve flying the missile and its warhead over Japan. A flight over Japan would showcase the likely flight path of an intercontinental ballistic missile launched toward the U.S. mainland as well.

North Korea could try to minimize collateral damage from an atmospheric nuclear test by testing at a very high altitude — perhaps as high up as the edge of space — in a remote location of the Pacific where there is little maritime traffic. A high-altitude test also could allow North Korea to get around the limitations of its still rudimentary re-entry technology.

Even with the measures North Korea could take to minimize the damage of an atmospheric nuclear explosion, the risk of such a test is always substantial. An accident or miscalculation could result in a nuclear explosion at a location and altitude that differs from the original intent. Depending on the exact yield of the warhead, a very high-altitude nuclear test demonstration could also result in a significant electromagnetic pulse effect that would damage or at least disrupt radar, satellite and radio networks.

Because of the Pacific Ocean's vast size and the likely remoteness of the detonation zone, dispersal and dilution would serve to limit the overall human exposure to radioactive material. While there is a large volume of trans-Pacific shipping traffic, a high-altitude test would unlikely have a long-term effect on shipping beyond the impact of the electromagnetic pulse. There also is a low probability that a surface-level test would even have an impact on shipping lanes, given the Pacific's size.

The closer a test occurs to the surface, the more damage any nearby infrastructure would suffer, and the higher the environmental damage and radioactive fallout will be. A surface-level test would have a destructive, but localized impact on sea life, or on any unlucky passing vessel. A nuclear test that occurs over a known fishing zone could affect the fishing industry. Human exposure to radiation would ultimately be limited, but the test would create a perception of exposure that could negatively affect demand.

Even a North Korean nuclear test over the Pacific that results in few or no casualties would be deemed highly provocative. No country has carried out an atmospheric nuclear test since China in 1980, and that was in the remote Lop Nur basin of Xinjiang province within its own territory. Such a test today would mark a violation of long-established bans on nuclear testing beyond just the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

A Pacific test would isolate North Korea further internationally and would likely invite additional economic sanctions and diplomatic pressure, including reluctant powers such as  Russia and China. An impending North Korean live nuclear test also would provide added impetus to the argument that Japan and the United States should shoot down North Korean missiles, despite the risk that the intercept attempt could fail. Intelligence forewarning permitting, the United States could even attempt to destroy the missile on its launch pad before it could fly. And a nuclear test over the Pacific would reinforce the narrative that North Korea is not an entirely rational or predictable nation.
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« Reply #325 on: September 26, 2017, 01:14:54 AM »

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« Reply #326 on: September 27, 2017, 12:48:52 PM »

Sept. 27, 2017 It’s unclear just how much damage North Korea can inflict on Seoul.

By Xander Snyder

For all the attention rightly paid to the nuclear weapons program of North Korea, any country considering a military strike against Pyongyang needs to account for its artillery. Eliminating these conventional weapons, fixated as they are on civilian populations in South Korea, is critical, since Kim Jong Un has threatened to use them to turn Seoul into a “sea of fire.” It’s enough to make its potential targets question the wisdom of war.

There’s no question that the North can strike Seoul. There are some questions, however, over just how much damage it can inflict. And the answers to these questions lie at the heart of the political exchange between South Korea, which wants to avoid war, and the United States, which is more disposed to attack. Each side is trying to convince the other that its course of action is correct. Understanding the dynamics at play requires understanding what exactly is at stake if the North, as it has long pledged to do, fires its artillery at the South.

To Bring an Enemy to Heel

At its closest point, Seoul, the city most at risk from an artillery barrage, lies about 24 miles (39 kilometers) from the demilitarized zone. There’s a spot on the DMZ, near the southwestern part of the Imjin River, that dips just a little farther (about 15 miles) toward South Korea, a tract of flat land that would be relatively easy for an invading force to pass through. It is here that North Korea has fixed its closest artillery on the South Korean capital. But the DMZ is long, and Pyongyang can’t afford to put all its artillery in the areas in which it would do the most damage to Seoul. It must defend its entire border, so its artillery is spread more thinly than perhaps it would like.

(click to enlarge)

More important than the placement of these guns, however, is the sheer number of them that can reach their target. The International Institute for Strategic Studies estimates that North Korea has more than 21,000 artillery pieces and multiple rocket launchers aimed at Seoul. But only three types of them have the range to hit Seoul: the 170 mm Koksang self-propelled guns and the 240 mm and 300 mm MRLs. The 170 mm Koksang has an effective range of approximately 25 miles (which can be boosted to approximately 50 miles with rocket-propelled shells); the 240 mm and 300 mm MRLs have a range of about 50 miles and 95 miles, respectively. It’s unclear exactly how many pieces of this artillery North Korea possesses, but estimates put the number at about 700-1,000, some of which are probably stationed closer to Pyongyang to defend the capital.

(click to enlarge)

What works against North Korea is that the bigger, longer-range artillery pieces tend to fire more slowly. As soon as they begin to fire at Seoul, their positions would be revealed and would therefore be subject to U.S. and South Korean counterstrikes – and quickly, by notably superior equipment. Self-propelled artillery such as the Koksang is designed to mitigate this problem, and though it can be fired and relocated comparatively more quickly than towed artillery, it still cannot evade U.S. and South Korean targeting systems forever. The only way it could is if it is placed in fortified positions in the mountains or beneath the ground, but such positions clearly obstruct the firing path. MRLs can fire several projectiles at once, but they are easier to shoot out of the air by counter-artillery systems. Seoul might not be able to intercept all of them, but it could intercept some of them, thereby reducing the amount of damage Seoul would take. In other words, North Korea may have as many as 1,000 guns aimed at Seoul in a geographically advantageous position, but there are only so many rounds Pyongyang could fire before its guns would be destroyed or moved.

Then there is the question of strategy. If the North has only a small window of opportunity to hit Seoul, why would it waste precious time exclusively attacking civilian populations? If the North believes that winning the war requires destroying the South’s military, then it would want to strike military installations, not civilians. Based on the size of the North’s crude oil reserves, moreover, many experts believe that North Korea can wage war only for a few months at most. So if Pyongyang believes it has only a little time to attack, it might optimize its time by attacking military targets.

Still, there is more than one way to bring an enemy to heel. One strategy North Korea has likely explored is targeting South Korean infrastructure – power plants, water and sewage treatment facilities, and so on – that makes life in Seoul possible. If North Korea could strike these facilities, firing fast enough to prevent rapid repair, then it could kill many more civilians than it could by directly targeting civilians. Put simply, it is possible for Pyongyang to render parts of Seoul uninhabitable without completely leveling the city.

No Comfort

For these reasons, it seems unlikely that North Korea could turn Seoul into a “sea of fire.” The Nautilus Institute, a think tank that studies North Korea, reached a similar conclusion in a report published in 2012. Based on the range, fire rate and rate of attrition – how quickly artillery pieces will be taken out once they’ve been fired – roughly 30,000 residents of Seoul would die in the initial volley, with as many as 35,000 more dead by the end of the day and 50,000 more dead by the end of the week, according to the report.

But these figures are based on a deliberately outlandish assumption: that North Korea uses every piece of capable artillery it has to fire on cities like Seoul at optimal fire rates with a limitless supply of ammunition – with no misfires or misses. If Pyongyang attacks military installations instead, Nautilus estimates the causalities to decrease dramatically to 2,800 from the initial barrage, and most of them would be soldiers.

Notably, the report was written before North Korea tested the 300 mm MRL, so the figures could be somewhat higher. They could be higher still if Pyongyang used chemical or biological weapons on the South. The South Korean Ministry of Defense estimated that North Korea has 5,000 tons of chemical weapons, with the ability to produce up to 12,000 tons (an annualized rate of production) during wartime. It’s unclear, however, if North Korea has the capability to affix these weapons to its short-range artillery rockets. Nor is it clear what kind of biological agents Pyongyang has, but it’s safe to assume casualties would increase if it had them and chose to use them.

None of this, of course, is any comfort to Seoul. To say that tens of thousands, as opposed to millions, will die in the opening salvo of a war is to offer no solace to its residents or its leaders. It justifies Seoul’s aversion to war absolutely. The desire to avoid casualties of any magnitude is central to South Korea’s imperatives, and it’s difficult to imagine a scenario in which the United States persuades Seoul to act against its own interests.
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« Reply #327 on: October 04, 2017, 04:50:56 PM »

By Omar Lamrani
Senior Military Analyst, Stratfor
Omar Lamrani
Omar Lamrani
Senior Military Analyst, Stratfor
On paper, deterrence is fairly straightforward concept. But in practice, the policy can look quite different depending on the nations implementing and being targeted by it.
(JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)


Since the turn of the millennium, war between nuclear powers has never loomed so near. As North Korea sprints toward the finish line in its race to build a credible nuclear deterrent, the window of opportunity to stop it is shrinking. With time running out, the United States may yet launch a preventive strike against Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs, convinced that military intervention is the only way to halt its smaller adversary in its tracks.

Within this narrow time frame, the risk of conflict on the Korean Peninsula will spike as the United States weighs the costs and benefits of attacking a country whose arsenal is already formidable. But should Washington opt against a preventive strike, or put off the decision for too long, the few options before it will be reduced to one: deterrence.

Armed and Dangerous

On paper, deterrence is a fairly straightforward concept: One country uses the threat of retaliation to stave off the attacks of another. But in practice, deterrence can look quite different depending on the nations implementing and being targeted by it. The circumstances that gave rise to the very concept of nuclear deterrence — the United States' Cold War-era showdown with the Soviet Union — are radically different than those Washington now faces as its standoff with Pyongyang grows tenser by the day. And in many ways, deterring North Korea would be far trickier than deterring the Soviet Union ever was.

The most pressing danger the United States would have to worry about is miscalculation. Though North Korea's development of a fully functional nuclear weapon and delivery arsenal would take the option of a preventive strike off the table, it wouldn't preclude a pre-emptive strike aimed at stopping an imminent attack. In fact, because North Korea would have the ability to inflict catastrophic damage in a single go, the United States, South Korea and Japan would have even more reason to try to detect and block an attack by Pyongyang before it happens.

South Korea has already taken steps to improve its response time. Under its "proactive deterrence" strategy, Seoul has compressed its military chain of command to speed up decision-making, while with the still-developing Kill Chain program it aims to be able to detect and pre-empt any North Korean missile launch before it occurs. These programs are only a small part of the broader strategies that the United States, South Korea and Japan will put in place against North Korea. But the ability to act faster comes with its own dangers as well. Under pressure to issue a quick and overwhelming response ahead of a seemingly imminent nuclear attack — or, from Pyongyang's perspective, a strike meant to decapitate the government of Kim Jong Un — parties on each side could easily trigger a devastating conflict on the basis of false intelligence or a simple misunderstanding.

A Race With No Winners

At the same time, the current strategic balance among the world’s biggest nuclear powers would begin to break down. The United States would inevitably ramp up its ballistic missile defense development, which would spur other nations to respond, perhaps in kind, or by adjusting nuclear posture or abandoning arms agreements. Already, the United States has a foundation of operational missile defenses to build on, ranging from regionally focused systems, such as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), to strategic systems with the ability to shoot down intercontinental ballistic missiles, such as the U.S. Ground-Based Midcourse Defense.

This gradual buildup of U.S. missile defenses will meet vehement opposition from China and Russia. After all, a reliable anti-ballistic missile network could rob Beijing and Moscow of their own strategic deterrents, enabling Washington to launch a devastating first strike before intercepting and destroying any Chinese or Russian missiles that survive for use in a retaliatory strike. It came as no surprise when China pushed back against the recent deployment of the THAAD system to South Korea, or when Russia did the same in response to the United States' plans to bolster Europe's missile defenses. Any U.S. strategy of deterrence against North Korea that centers on missile defense would thus have wider global consequences, creating fertile ground for renewed rivalries and weakening the arms control regimes already in place.

All for One, and One for All

North Korea's newfound capabilities would also raise questions among the United States' allies about the reliability of extended deterrence. Under this policy, the United States has tried to ward off attacks against South Korea and Japan by vowing to come to their defense, regardless of whether North Korea could target U.S. cities with nuclear weapons. But would the United States truly be willing to risk Los Angeles to save Tokyo or Seoul? As Washington's partners ask themselves this question, the prospect of "decoupling" — the breakdown of an extended deterrence umbrella as once-protected partners hedge their bets by seeking out their own defenses — will become all the more likely.

Of course, the United States could ease their fears somewhat by deploying tactical nuclear weapons to the region (most likely to South Korea). U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis recently discussed this possibility with South Korean Defense Minister Song Young Moo amid polls that showed nearly 70 percent of South Koreans support the move. If the talks result in action, it would place U.S. nuclear weapons directly in the line of fire, reducing the need for Seoul or Tokyo to create their own nuclear deterrents. It would also fortify the United States' extended deterrence policy by giving Washington and its allies more options: Rather than having to resort to strategic nuclear weapons, they could respond to North Korean chemical or nuclear attacks on the battlefield with the less drastic option of tactical nuclear weapons — at least, in theory. The actual fallout of introducing tactical nuclear weapons to the Korean Peninsula would likely be much messier, dimming any prospect of someday denuclearizing the region while ratcheting up the risk of a wider nuclear war.

The United States has tried to reassure its Asian allies in more conventional ways as well. Washington recently agreed to lift the traditional payload limit in place on South Korean ballistic missiles, and it offered to sell both partners more advanced military equipment. But even as these moves shore up the United States' alliances in Northeast Asia, they will reduce Washington's ability to dictate the pace and outcome of events in the region, as South Korea and Japan expand their capabilities. And if either country, more emboldened and more powerful than ever, initiates its own offensive against North Korea, it could drag the United States into a war that was not of its choosing.

Perils Proliferate

A policy of deterrence against North Korea would carry new concerns for proliferation, too. Not only could South Korea and Japan seek out their own nuclear weapons, but North Korea would also set a troubling precedent for other nations: So far it is the only country to have joined the Non-Proliferation Treaty before subsequently withdrawing to pursue nuclear weapons. Moreover, there is a chance that North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile technology could spread to other countries. Though Pyongyang wouldn't be eager to undermine its deterrent by selling nuclear weapons technology, it's possibile that the cash-strapped and isolated government would sell missile development technology to longtime partners such as Iran.

While the precarious world of deterrence is certainly preferable to nuclear war, it comes with its own problems and perils. And given the particularly high level of mistrust and risk of miscalculation on both sides of the dispute over North Korea’s nuclear program, the next era of nuclear deterrence may well be the most dangerous the world has witnessed yet.
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« Reply #328 on: October 10, 2017, 08:11:03 AM »

North Korea: Where China Can Beat the US
Oct 10, 2017

 
By Jacob L. Shapiro
Of all the parties involved in the Korean missile crisis, the most difficult to read is China. The Chinese Foreign Ministry’s almost daily platitudes about the need for a peaceful resolution do little to reveal what China’s real interests and objectives are – and what they are is multiple and conflicting. At one level, China is concerned with the balance of power on the Korean Peninsula. China doesn’t want Pyongyang to have nuclear weapons, and it doesn’t want the peninsula to unify. But at the same time, what happens on the Korean Peninsula also affects China’s relationship with the U.S., and despite the deep economic ties between the two countries, from Beijing’s perspective that is a relationship defined ultimately by fear and mistrust.
 
(click to enlarge)
Roots of Mistrust

To understand where this mistrust comes from, we need to revisit some history. When North Korea invaded South Korea on June 25, 1950, it did so without Chinese participation. What assistance China did offer before the invasion was rebuffed by Kim Il Sung’s young regime, confident as it was that it would not only succeed in its attack but that the invasion would provoke a popular uprising in South Korea as well. North Korea’s invasion caught the U.S. flat-footed. In its panicked analysis of what had happened, the U.S. feared that the invasion might be part of a much larger attack by the communist bloc against U.S. interests. That is why two days later, then-U.S. President Harry Truman ordered the 7th Fleet into the Taiwan Strait.

At the time of Truman’s order, the People’s Republic of China was less than a year old. It was led by Mao Zedong, who was deeply suspicious of U.S. intentions toward his regime. Mao’s concerns were not unfounded. Mao remembered what happened after World War I, when, upon arrival at Versailles, Chinese delegates discovered that the U.S. had recognized a Japanese claim over Chinese territory that European powers had once held. Mao also lived through the United States’ breaking off support for the Chinese Communists – after the U.S. had supported them in their fight against Japan in World War II – because of the Cold War. The U.S. instead poured its resources into rebuilding Japan, which had invaded and brutally occupied China during the war. In addition, the U.S. threw its support behind Chiang Kai-shek’s Chinese Nationalists in the hopes that they would defeat the upstart Communist forces. (The term “Chinese nationalists” has always been something of a misnomer – the Communists were just as nationalistic as Chiang’s forces, but that is what history has come to call them.)

Moving the 7th Fleet into the Taiwan Strait was the last straw for Mao. To him, the U.S. was the only thing standing between his Communist Party of China and the creation of a unified Chinese nation-state beholden to no one but the Chinese people themselves. But China could do nothing to avenge the slight directly. It didn’t have the military force necessary to conquer Taiwan with the 7th Fleet standing guard. The only place China could hope to respond was in North Korea, where the rugged geography negated some of the advantages of the United States’ technological and military superiority. China entered the Korean War in October 1950, and because of China’s intervention, the Korean War ended in a stalemate that remains unresolved to this day.

Cycles of History

Fast forward to today, and it is plain to see that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Korea is still divided, and despite momentous growth in the economy and the military capabilities of the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan remains outside of its control. But it’s not just the strategic reality that is the same. It’s also true that for China, the North Korea and the Taiwan issue are inextricably linked.

On Dec. 2, soon after the U.S. presidential election, President-elect Donald Trump did something that no U.S. president had done for more than 37 years: He had direct contact with the president of Taiwan. It may seem a small thing, but for Beijing, this was not a trivial moment. It took Trump another two months to accept the “One China” policy – two months where Chinese strategic planners were left to wonder what the United States’ true intentions were with regard to Taiwan, and China’s territorial integrity in general.

 Chinese vendors sell North Korean and Chinese flags on the boardwalk next to the Yalu River in the border city of Dandong, northern China, across from the city of Sinuiju, North Korea, on May 24, 2017. KEVIN FRAYER/Getty Images

From the perspective of the Communist Party of China’s political legitimacy, Taiwan is the only part of China it has been unable to capture and integrate into its revolution. From the perspective of China’s defense strategy, Taiwan is an island 100 miles (160 kilometers) away from the mainland that a powerful navy could use as a base from which to blockade China or even to attack the mainland. If Taiwan were to gain U.S. recognition and perhaps even host U.S. forces, what is already a Chinese handicap would become an existential threat. It would also make a mockery of China’s faux-aggressiveness in the South China Sea, and would make previous American freedom of navigation operations look friendly in comparison.

China also faced another potential threat from the Trump administration: the potential that the U.S. might block Chinese exports from the U.S. market. A trade conflict between the two sides would hurt both parties, but China was always going to be hurt more, and President Xi Jinping could not afford an economic crisis in the lead-up to this month’s Party Congress, where he will solidify his dictatorship over the country.

What China needed, then, was a bargaining chip, a way of turning its position of weakness into one of strength. Enter North Korea. China had to proceed carefully. On the
one hand, China had to appear to have enough control over Pyongyang to divert the Trump administration from following through on some of its threats to redefine the U.S.-China economic relationship. On the other hand, China could not overstate its influence in North Korea such that the U.S. could hold China directly accountable for failure to help denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. The July 2017 revelation by China’s Ministry of Defense that contact between the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and North Korea’s military forces has completely ceased in recent years was meant to underline the limits of what Trump’s bargain with Xi at Mar-a-Lago in April had bought.
In reality, Xi has as little control over Kim Jong Un’s actions as Mao had over Kim Il Sung’s. But Xi does not need total control over Kim’s regime to use Kim to China’s advantage; all he needs is for China and North Korea to share an interest in limiting U.S. power in Asia, and there is little to suggest that interest is going away anytime soon. North Korea is pursuing a nuclear weapons programs to establish a nuclear deterrent against the United States. China doesn’t have to make such moves. It already has nuclear weapons and is far more powerful than Pyongyang. That allows China to be more pragmatic – that is, cooperative – in its dealings with the United States. But China’s pragmatism and willingness to work with the U.S. should not obscure the fact that, like North Korea, China is deeply suspicious of U.S. motives.

This, in turn, is one of the major limiting factors on the U.S. ability to attack North Korea. China has a mutual defense treaty with North Korea. And China, though it would prefer the status quo on the Korean Peninsula, does not necessarily lose if the U.S. were to try to solve the North Korea issue by force. This is because the attempt, absent some unknown technological devilry, wouldn’t work. The U.S. has tried and failed twice to win a war on the Asian mainland, and the situation in Korea hasn’t improved enough to think that the third time would be any different. China can’t beat the U.S. at sea, and it can’t take back Taiwan, but it can beat the U.S. in North Korea. That allows China to remind the U.S. that, though Beijing may not yet be able to achieve One China, its memory is long, its patience is vast, and classes in Confucian humility are readily available to those who seek them out.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #329 on: October 10, 2017, 11:42:47 AM »

A few points in response:

1.  'US would lose in NK'.  We don't know that.  This isn't 1950 and how is Vietnam analogous if we didn't invade the North.  We don't have to 'win' and rule them; we have to disarm them of missiles and nukes.

2.  Trump is not Carter etc.  He WILL recognize Taiwan. (He already has.)  I will come down sort of like "Mr. Gorbochev, Tear Down This Wall.  His advisers will all say no, too dangerous, too provocative and then he will do it.

3.  China's ego-like victory over the US by prolonging the NK crisis is trivial compared to Japan arming and going nuclear.

Japan updates satellite technology for domestic 'GPS', which also gives them the best view ever of NK (and China).
http://www.wsj.com/video/japan-launches-new-geo-positioning-satellite/969CA88B-D8A6-4D85-B6D0-41CD8C2AC40A.html

Given all that, I see NK as more a crisis for China.  When will they see that?
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G M
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« Reply #330 on: October 10, 2017, 11:49:01 AM »

A few points in response:

1.  'US would lose in NK'.  We don't know that.  This isn't 1950 and how is Vietnam analogous if we didn't invade the North.  We don't have to 'win' and rule them; we have to disarm them of missiles and nukes.

2.  Trump is not Carter etc.  He WILL recognize Taiwan. (He already has.)  I will come down sort of like "Mr. Gorbochev, Tear Down This Wall.  His advisers will all say no, too dangerous, too provocative and then he will do it.

3.  China's ego-like victory over the US by prolonging the NK crisis is trivial compared to Japan arming and going nuclear.

Japan updates satellite technology for domestic 'GPS', which also gives them the best view ever of NK (and China).
http://www.wsj.com/video/japan-launches-new-geo-positioning-satellite/969CA88B-D8A6-4D85-B6D0-41CD8C2AC40A.html

Given all that, I see NK as more a crisis for China.  When will they see that?

The NorKs have threatened China. China's pet monster might just turn on it.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #331 on: October 10, 2017, 01:08:09 PM »

I could be wrong, but I'm seeing trade war with China, though seriously painful for us, our stock markets, and the world economy, as being a winning strategy for us.
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G M
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« Reply #332 on: October 10, 2017, 01:18:31 PM »

I could be wrong, but I'm seeing trade war with China, though seriously painful for us, our stock markets, and the world economy, as being a winning strategy for us.


A serious economic downturn in China would be a major threat to internal stability.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #333 on: October 12, 2017, 12:24:58 PM »

North Korea’s Next Test
Oct 12, 2017

 
By Xander Snyder

Conventional wisdom is that North Korea is developing nuclear weapons to act as a deterrent to a U.S. military strike against it, and this is true. But less discussed is what comes next. Once the North has a deliverable nuclear weapon – one that can both be mounted on a missile and handle the stress of re-entry through the atmosphere to hit a target – the regime will be secure. Then, Pyongyang can move on to its long-term objective: unifying the Korean Peninsula under its leadership, whether under a federation or a union.

This is still very far off. The U.S. remains an obstacle that would have to be removed, whether by causing a diplomatic split between Washington and Seoul, ejecting U.S. forces from the peninsula or both. Along the way, North Korea would gradually increase pressure on South Korea, bullying it bit by bit into accepting greater concessions. Since South Korea is focused on preventing war, it is likely that, if these steps were sufficiently small, it would not try to resist through force. The North hasn’t yet fulfilled its first objective, but it may be close, and we may be seeing its strategy to achieve its second objective slowly taking shape.

Small Steps

Over the weekend, the North reportedly restarted operations at and claimed sole sovereignty over the Kaesong industrial complex. Kaesong was previously jointly managed by South Korea and North Korea, one of the few areas of cooperation between the two countries. It was closed last February, a month after Pyongyang’s fourth nuclear test, and South Korea pulled its workers out. Though some experts believe that the North has been managing production at the site for as long as six months, it was only last week that state media announced that North Korea had sole legal authority over the plant’s assets.

A Radio Free Asia report supports the North Korean announcement, noting on Oct. 6 that 19 textile factories had been reopened and are in operation. South Korean businessmen with interests in the Kaesong facility have asked the South Korean government for permission to visit the site to confirm the story, saying this would represent a seizure of South Korean corporate assets.

There are two ways to interpret this development. They aren’t mutually exclusive, but they do have conflicting implications. The first is that North Korea is suffering from the increasingly stringent economic sanctions and needs to use the Kaesong complex to produce textiles for domestic consumption. But while it’s true that sanctions are more extensive today than in the past, the North Korean regime has long faced sanctions and nevertheless survived and pushed forward with its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

This undated picture released from North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency on Sept. 16, 2017, shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspecting a launching drill of the medium- and long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 at an undisclosed location. STR/AFP/Getty Images

The second interpretation is that North Korea is gaining confidence in its deterrent capability and is beginning to take these small steps against South Korea. Several events over the past couple of days – while not outrightly confirming this interpretation – do seem to support it. First, at the end of September, shortly after Pyongyang’s sixth nuclear test (which, due to its high yield, many believed to be the detonation of a hydrogen bomb), the regime threatened to conduct a nuclear test over the Pacific. Such a test would likely entail using a ballistic missile to carry the nuclear warhead out over the ocean before detonation. Were this to happen, it would almost certainly demonstrate that North Korea had developed a deliverable nuclear weapon. (The only exception would be if the North conducted the test in space, since such a test would not require re-entry capability.)

Calm Before the Storm

Kim Jong Un has stated clearly in the past that the deployment of U.S. and allied forces in and around the Korean Peninsula is a threat to North Korea. After North Korea test-launched a ballistic missile over the Japanese island of Hokkaido in mid-September, Kim specifically cited ongoing U.S.-South Korean drills as the reason for the test. He used the success of the test to claim that Guam, which houses a U.S. air base, was also within reach of his missiles. From North Korea’s perspective, the massive U.S. presence on the Korean Peninsula that makes these drills possible is a major threat. If military exercises become commonplace, it is far easier for one apparent drill to quickly morph into a real strike. Habituation breeds complacency, which provides the opportunity for surprise.

In recent days, the U.S., South Korean and Japanese militaries have been busy. Four events in particular stand out. The first was an air-to-ground missile test the night of Oct. 10 involving two U.S. B-1B strategic bombers and a combination of F-15Ks from the Japanese and South Korean air forces. Similar drills have occurred before, but the U.S. Air Force emphasized that this was the first time one had taken place at night. Second, the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier and a Japanese destroyer participated in joint naval drills Oct. 11 off the southwest coast of Okinawa. Third, the Los Angeles-class USS Tucson, a nuclear-powered attack submarine, arrived Oct. 11 at the South Korean port of Jinhae. Though this was a scheduled port call, the presence of nuclear submarines in Korea has been a less frequent event than the B-1B drills over the past several months. Finally, more joint naval drills involving the U.S. and South Korea are planned for Oct. 14.

The drills and naval movements are normal; the frequency in such a short span of time is not. It could be that the U.S. is accumulating forces to prepare for a pre-emptive strike or to discourage another nuclear test. The drills are also happening only days after U.S. President Donald Trump made statements on Twitter and at a press conference that seem to indicate that the diplomatic phase is nearing its end. We rarely give credence to public statements by political leaders, but in this case they can be considered in the context of unfolding events. Over the weekend, Trump tweeted that U.S. diplomacy with North Korea hadn’t worked and that “only one thing will work” to stop the North’s missile program.

The tweets came after Trump referenced “the calm before the storm” at a press conference Oct. 5. If the U.S. were planning a pre-emptive strike on North Korea, maintaining a sense of calm is a reasonable thing to do in order to confuse the North as to the United States’ true intentions. The U.S. might also do something resembling the military drills of the past several months, which Washington could claim were simply routine, to lull Pyongyang into complacency. On the other hand, the announcement of such a strategy runs counter to its execution.

Nevertheless, Kim is in no position to assume that what his enemies’ forces are doing on and around the peninsula is routine. If he has a deliverable nuclear weapon, and if he believes that an attack by the U.S. is imminent, now would be the time for the test that he threatened in September. Preparations could already be underway. North Korea held a major rally in the capital on Oct. 7, and notably absent were two officials who head the country’s nuclear weapons and missile development programs. Of course, this is North Korea, and we can’t rule out that they were simply purged by the regime, but both programs’ recent successes make this explanation less likely. If Pyongyang goes through with its threatened test over the Pacific, and if the weapon survives re-entry, it would demonstrate to the world that North Korea has an effective nuclear deterrent.

U.S. officials have repeatedly said that the U.S. national interest dictates that North Korea be prevented from acquiring a deliverable nuclear weapon. If the North succeeds in a nuclear test over the ocean, it will have crossed that red line, forcing the U.S. to rethink its strategy not only on the Korean Peninsula but in the entire Western Pacific. We might also someday look back at recent events like the takeover of the Kaesong complex as the first steps toward the North asserting greater control over the South.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #334 on: October 14, 2017, 01:08:09 PM »

As the United States works to prevent North Korea from attaining a credible nuclear deterrent, it is using all the tools it has. Its campaign to isolate North Korea includes pressing trade partners around the world to stop doing business with the North and suspend diplomatic relations with the government in Pyongyang. In Latin America, the U.S. demands have met with mixed results. Some countries have broken off their relationships with North Korea, but others have shrugged off the pressure.

In September, U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to cut off trade with any country that continued to do business with the North Koreans. A few weeks earlier on a trip through Argentina, Colombia, Chile and Panama, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence emphasized that Latin American governments should suspend both trade and diplomacy with Pyongyang in light of its nuclear weapons program. Pence's message was aimed in particular at Chile, which has rejected the idea.

Their trade relationships with China may explain why Chile and other Latin American countries are willing to risk the ire of the United States by continuing diplomatic relations with North Korea. As is the case among many of the region's other economies, China is Chile's top trading partner. Beijing has made it clear that it opposes the U.S. strategy of suspending diplomatic relations with North Korea. As they try to strike a balance between U.S. and Chinese interests, those Latin American countries may impose some trade restrictions on North Korea while keeping diplomatic lines intact.
Mexico and Peru Lean Toward the U.S.

Other Latin American countries have severed diplomatic relations with North Korea. On Sept. 8, just days after Pyongyang's most recent nuclear test explosion, the Mexican government expelled the North Korean ambassador and suspended trade with his country. Mexico and North Korea established diplomatic relations in the 1980s, but their bilateral trade levels have remained low. But Mexico filled an important North Korean need by selling it oil. In 2015, for example, Mexico sent almost $45 million worth of oil to North Korea, which is dependent on petroleum imports. At the same time, Mexico bought less than $14 million worth of North Korean goods, mainly computer parts.

That Mexico was the first Latin American country to suspend diplomatic and trade relations with North Korea under the Trump administration is not surprising. Since more than 80 percent of Mexican exports go to the United States, Mexico clearly has more to lose by alienating its northern neighbor than it has to gain by maintaining relations with North Korea. This is an especially sensitive time for the U.S.-Mexican trade relationship, as the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) enters a crucial phase. Despite Mexico's desire to cultivate closer trade ties with China to use as leverage in the NAFTA talks, Washington still holds a much greater influence with Mexico. In 2016, Mexico's trade deficit with China reached $60 billion, while at the same time, Mexico had a more than $60 billion trade surplus with the United States. Additionally, Mexico's geographic proximity to the United States increases the strength of U.S. influence relative to China's.

A week after Mexico cut diplomatic and trade ties with North Korea, Peru followed suit. Economics alone may not have been the chief factor guiding Peru's decision, however. In 2015, trade between Peru and North Korea reached just more than $20 million, much of it consisting of Peruvian exports of mineral commodities such as copper to North Korea. And though China is Peru's top trading partner, Lima has historically had close security ties with Washington, developed as they cooperated to combat drug trafficking. It appears that in this case, security took priority over economic ties.

It's also possible that Peru’s decision on North Korea could have involved a favor in exchange, but it remains unclear whether that is the case. Peruvian authorities had asked the United States to extradite Peru's former president, Alejandro Toledo, who is wanted in connection with a corruption scandal involving bribes in government contracts signed with Brazilian engineering company Odebrecht during his term. According to a Sept. 25 report by Peruvian newspaper El Comercio, the extradition process has gained recent momentum.
North Korean trade with select Latin American countries
Brazil and Chile Seek to Remain Neutral

In Brazil, the only country in the Americas that has embassies in both North and South Korea, neutrality is an important foreign policy concept. In its relations with other countries, Brazil aims to remain open to dialogue and neutral in conflicts involving third parties. So, while Brazil's foreign ministry immediately issued a statement condemning North Korea's Sept. 3 nuclear test, at the same time it said that the situation on the Korean Peninsula could be solved only through dialogue. Brazil has indicated that it will restrict trade with North Korea, but it has, so far, refused to close the embassy in Pyongyang that it opened in 2009 under former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. The extent of Brazilian trade with North Korea, which topped out at $400 million a decade ago, had always been relatively small. However, its mission in Pyongyang allows Brazil to gather valuable information about the ongoing dispute while allowing it to act as an informal bridge between the West and North Korea.

For those reasons, the Brazilian government hesitates to accede to Washington's demand to cut ties with Pyongyang. During President Michel Temer's visit to the United Nations General Assembly in September, a U.S. delegation reportedly met with Brazilian government officials to discuss North Korea, but in light of Brazil's preference for dialogue, any U.S. entreaties for it to cut diplomatic links with Pyongyang went unheeded. Additionally, China is Brazil’s main trade partner, making the government in Brasilia even more likely to take the same position — that the conflict with Pyongyang should be settled with talks.

Just like Brazil, Chile will try to preserve its diplomatic and trade ties with Pyongyang. The exact amount of total trade between Chile and North Korea is difficult to determine. That's because some South Korean imports that originate in the Kaesong industrial complex, a joint Korean economic zone inside North Korea, could be reported by Chilean officials as coming from North Korea. The same muddy accounting may apply to Chile's exports to North Korea. But economics aside, China's influence also plays a big part in the Chilean policy decision.
Venezuela and Cuba Side With North Korea

Venezuela and Cuba are members of a different club of Latin American countries. Both share ideological and security ties with North Korea, and both currently have strained relations with the United States. There is little desire on their part to sever diplomatic ties with North Korea. Over the past few months, Venezuelan government officials have been hit with larger sanctions by Washington, while relations between the United States and Cuba have grown increasingly frosty.

In terms of economic relations, there are no reliable statistics on the amount of trade between North Korea and Cuba or Venezuela. In Venezuela's case, its relationship with North Korea is driven not only by ideological affinity, but also by the shared perception that its government, like the government in Pyongyang, is being threatened by the United States. The Venezuelan-North Korean relationship is still incipient, but the security partnership between the two countries could strengthen as Caracas turns to increasingly more authoritarian actions in its attempt to put down opposition and dissident groups. These are tactics that Pyongyang has mastered. North Korea could, for example, supply Venezuela with weapons, training and limited security assistance.

Cuba, on the other hand, is North Korea’s main point of entry to Latin America. The North Korean ambassadors expelled from Mexico and Peru may have gone to Cuba, since Havana is their base. The countries' security relationship is well established. Four years ago, a North Korean ship that departed Cuba was seized in Panama and was found to be carrying a cargo of weapons. At the time, Cuba claimed that the shipment was part of an agreement with North Korea to repair its obsolete defensive weapons.

The United States will continue to ramp up the pressure on Latin American countries that maintain diplomatic and trade relations with North Korea. However, there are limits to what that pressure will accomplish. Brazil and Chile are unlikely to follow the decisions made by Mexico and Peru to cut diplomatic ties with Pyongyang. They likely will add trade restrictions with North Korea but will maintain contact as a way to accommodate both U.S. and Chinese pressure. Meanwhile, Venezuela and Cuba may even increase cooperation with North Korea as their relations with the United States deteriorate furthe
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DougMacG
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« Reply #335 on: October 16, 2017, 01:09:12 PM »

From Iran thread, as it applies to NK: 
[Years ago Stratfor wrote of the Iranians being a very serious military problem , , , and that was then.]
Similarly the Norks.
----
What is the morality of waiting for North Korea to inflict a strike that could potentially kill 90% of Americans?
   Good point!   What are the lessons of other threats?  Act sooner, before the threat becomes too large.


Choices for us:

1)  The easy answer: kick the can down the road.  Worked for Madelyn Halfbright, Clinton, Bush and Obama.  This is NOT the right answer but it is one down side of our system of government.  In 4 years or 8 years and counting down, it will be someone else's problem.  Russia, China, NK, Iran, Hitler, etc. don't think that way.  Funny that none of those are term limited democracies.

2) The right answer from a national security point of view is to take out the threat.

3)  The moral answer is to take out the threat, take down the regime and free the people.

4)  In the context of politics, diplomacy and international law, we should time the takedown to be an immediate response to NK crossing a red line, such as firing a missile toward or over Japan.  Control the news cycle.  NK fired, the US and allies responded - 'disproportionately'.  That is better (diplomatically than having our action called a first strike.

Note how worthless the 'UN Security Council' is with security threats Russia and China holding permanent seats with a veto while many of our best allies do not.

The choice is simple, do nothing which includes all the hot air about diplomacy, sanctions etc that have failed and failed and failed and make us less safe and our allies and west coast in danger, or take decisive action and face the consequences.

Is North Korea (or Iran) an imminent threat?  Note how Un backed off of his direct threat on Guam.  He was handing Trump his justification.

From the dictionary on imminent:  impending, close (at hand), near, (fast) approaching, coming, forthcoming, on the way, in the offing, in the pipeline, on the horizon, in the air, just around the corner, coming down the pike, expected, anticipated, brewing, looming, threatening...

Imminent does not mean instant like minutes or seconds.  During the Iraq debate, the threat was described as "a grave and gathering danger", a better descriptor but that still means imminent.  The threat is on the way.  The NK threat ship has sailed.  Nothing short of military strikes on military locations, as best as we can identifythem, can stop it.  Allowing the threat to grow larger and stronger is nothing short of irresponsible.  MHO.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #336 on: October 16, 2017, 02:04:47 PM »

I very much like your initiative in articulating our causus belli.

Exploring it a bit further, I suspect one of the most common rejoinders, if not THE most common rejoinder, will be that once they have nuclear capability, they will no motive to initiate nuclear war and that MAD logic will take over-- and that therefore there is no need for a war of choice.


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ccp
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« Reply #337 on: October 16, 2017, 03:51:05 PM »

" xploring it a bit further, I suspect one of the most common rejoinders, if not THE most common rejoinder, will be that once they have nuclear capability, they will no motive to initiate nuclear war and that MAD logic will take over-- and that therefore there is no need for a war of choice.  "

I assume that is the rationale of Rice/Obama  when they admit a nuclear capable NK is "not so bad"
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #338 on: October 16, 2017, 04:25:44 PM »

Yes, of course.

So, what is our bullet point response?
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ccp
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« Reply #339 on: October 16, 2017, 05:16:53 PM »

if we do not use military force the NK will continue to expand their nuclear capability and threaten the whole SE Asia and more distant targets.

I conclude we should just assassinate Kim and his top henchmen, if we can .  Then be ready for any response if HIS underlings have the chuztpa to give a military response.

I wonder what the war game guys have concluded about this scenario.

Are they really against it because it won't work, or risk too high, or political fall out or all of it?

One wonders what the NK people really think of Kim and his mob.  They may be totally blacked out from the rest of the world and or just too terrified to pretend/think otherwise .

Do they know how much they suffer from the hands of the monsters who control them?  How much is brain washing and how much is sheer fear?  Don't know.

If Kin and his mob were dead would the average N Korean really fight to the death?





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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #340 on: October 18, 2017, 12:28:01 PM »

Dick Morris never met a subject on which he is not an expert, but he makes a point which we here have been making for some time now.

http://www.dickmorris.com/emp-north-korea-threatens-congress-dawdles-lunch-alert/?utm_source=dmreports&utm_medium=dmreports&utm_campaign=dmreports
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G M
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« Reply #341 on: October 18, 2017, 12:47:40 PM »

Dick Morris never met a subject on which he is not an expert, but he makes a point which we here have been making for some time now.

http://www.dickmorris.com/emp-north-korea-threatens-congress-dawdles-lunch-alert/?utm_source=dmreports&utm_medium=dmreports&utm_campaign=dmreports

 grin

Well said!
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #342 on: October 18, 2017, 02:14:18 PM »

My snark, or his analysis?  cheesy
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G M
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« Reply #343 on: October 18, 2017, 02:19:08 PM »

My snark, or his analysis?  cheesy

Your snark!



He looks like 50% of every lesbian couple I have ever met in real life.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2017, 03:43:46 PM by G M » Logged
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #344 on: October 18, 2017, 02:42:33 PM »

"He looks like 50% of every lesbian couple I have ever met in real life."

I bow to the GM of snark, our very own GM!  cheesy
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