The Nork's Nukes
Haley: No More Can-Kicking on North Korea
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  • Suzy Dixon

    While it’s still questionable if it was actually an H bomb it was big progress nonetheless, and the road is definitely about to end. Whether that means the US admits failure to stop it spanning Clinton, W., Obama and now Trump, or it actually uses real financial pressure and/or military. It has done neither as of yet. So many pundits and regular TAI commentators are all saying it. We have a moral duty to unplug major Chinese banks per the patriot act for laundering NK money and that would be a big move to be sure, but you must do it before using bombs.

    • Gary Hemminger

      Whatever we do, if it ultimately weakens us to achieve your aim, then I am not for it. Weakening ourselves to prove a point is rather lame. Some kind of statement to the effect that any missile that is intended to land on us or one of our allies will result in the immediate incineration of Pyongyang would probably do the trick. If this means that California may have to take one of the missiles for the US to take action, then so be it (and just to let you know, I am a Californian).

      • Suzy Dixon

        You don’t see an unabated, nuclear NK, backed by China and Russia, as undermining the US in Asia and apparently sooner than we think permanently blackmailing the US? Remember, deterrence works both ways if they have a reliable ICBM and warhead. Once they have reliable warheads and ICBMs then Kim can invade SK (again) and take it over. America’s options will be severely constrained. Wont be able to save South Korea like as in 1950.

        • RedWell

          The projections are inflated. Most likely scenario of NK with a nuke is status quo. As others have pointed out, they have nothing to gain by invading SK and getting turned into a wasteland. And, yes, they don’t function by out rules, but they are still interested in self-preservation.

          The real issue is that another state with nukes and ICBMs ups the odds of some kind of war somewhere and, yes, decreases US standing a bit.

          The simple fact, though, is that squeezing the Chinese won’t work: they have to live with NK and its population. Imagine the Chinese pushing regime change in Mexico at the threat of freezing a lot of our assets.

          This push to fix the problem as the road ends seems more like a defense of our honor than a cold assessment of the situation: we’re stuck with a nuclear NK, but their goal is self-preservation, not international revisionism. They can be contained indefinitely. It’s not pleasant, but it’s the only option short of catastrophic war and/or massive humanitarian calamity in East Asia.

          • Eurydice

            Mexico isn’t threatening to nuke China. And I don’t see why NK needs nukes in order to preserve itself, if that’s its only goal. If NK wants only to be a peaceful backwater with no internet access, I imagine the world would be happy to leave them to it. And they could give up their nuclear program and get a lot of money for it, too. But that doesn’t seem to be what’s going on.

          • 李明洙

            You don’t get status quo by introducing nukes. JFK found that out. Introduced nukes to Turkey so he woke up one morning to find MRBMs and IRBMs in Cuba. DPRK having ICBMs and reliable reentry vehicles on them drastically limits what America can, if anything, to stop a second DPRK invasion of ROK. Either DPRK denuclearizes; gets attacked; it attacks; or ROK and Japan become nuclear.

      • Boritz

        If it came down to NK vs CA I would probably take the side of CA but would rather not be put in the position of defending the golden state. This nuclear blackmail stuff forces some hard decisions.

  • jayupyongyang

    There is one very regrettable lack in public discussion in the USA of the nuclear threat emanating from the terror regime holding northern Korea in its thrall. The long-suffering people of that part of Korea, who crave to be rid of the porcine dynast defacing Pyongyang are our potential allies. To bring their aspirations and energies into play, it is necessary to render them critical assistance. What is that? Reflect on a fundamental feature of their existence in northern Korea. People there do not have freedom of communication and expression with each other as people do in free Korea to the south. The terror regime is assiduous in its care to maintain this feature of life, this practical “atomization” of the portion of Korea’s people currently under its control. That Korean in the south are not subject that way at present is the dire security threat to the regime that drives its relentless pursuit of the means to disengage the USA from Korea and so make possible its final hegemony of all Korea through its then untrammeled hostage holding of the Seoul metropolis.

    Bluster about fire and fury are of limited use. Even more than a century ago another New Yorker, Theodore Roosevelt recognized this in reference to the big stick. What will work, with a bit more time and military deterrence as a back stop, are (1) thorough going sanctions that target the weapons development programs and starve the palace economy that rewards the true supporters of the regime in the Workers Party, the security organs, and the military special forces. The U.S. Departments of the Treasury and State are key here. And (2) enabling communications among north Korean people, and degrading communications among the terror regime’s instruments of repression. The USA does have specialized electronic warfare (EW) aircraft that can be configured to act as cell phone hubs to enable cell phone usage in northern Korea independent of the regime, as well as undertake the disruption of regime internal communications. The USA also has the air-superiority aircraft necessary to protect such EW aircraft from hostile interception while on station over the Sea of Japan (“East Sea” to Koreans), and tanker aircraft to support the lot. The current surreptitious spread of cell phone possession in parts of the north can be much enhanced as part of this program. The regime is utterly terrified of any such prospect.

    Thus assisting the people of northern Korea will prove to cause veritable quicksand to form beneath the dark tower from which the porcine dynast single-mindedly plots to finally secure his family’s effective rule over all Korea, and profoundly threaten the peace of the world. Prayers that key officials of the USA government can comprehend this immediately if not sooner.

  • Stephen

    In other words, China and Russia may be willing to live with a nuclear North Korea if that leads to a weakening of the American position in Asia.

    May be willing? Is this really the state of analysis among the professional class and commentariat? If so, it beggars belief. Guess, I’ll just keep cutting and pasting….

    Bannon’s position may be that of an isolationist, or it may be a recognition of reality and an attempt to salvage something from the failure of non-proliferation. Non-proliferation is dead sweetie, not pining for the fjords. As I have written in response to posts on this site, the NK nuclear program already undermines US security guarantees to SK and more importantly to Japan because of the asymmetry of the challenge NK poses to the US. That is rather the point of it all, and in this China, Russia, and NK are on the same page. The US will not engage in a nuclear exchange with NK even if NK nukes SK or Japan…once NK has the ability to reliably deliver a nuclear warhead over the continental US: Scaling up to 50+ missiles will be relatively easy when the first reliable delivery system is built and it will not be easy to take out mobile launchers. It is one thing to get into a nuclear exchange with the Soviets over Berlin or Paris, it is quite another to let yourself be taken out by a third rate power while China and Russia sit on the side waiting to pick up the pieces. Maybe, just maybe, Bannon sees this. I suspect those in the region, and perhaps even a few DC drones, do see this.

    Consider the Chinese perspective. It’s not as if they are trying hard to hide it: East Asia is ours. Until recently, and with the exception of Japan, we have been paid tribute for millennia. That is the natural order of things.

    So what’s happening now? Well in the absence of their own nukes, Japan and SK have to worry about that rabid dog just on the other side of that fence right over there.

    China: Nice country you have there. That rabid dog? Yeah, be a shame if it got into your yard. May be able to help with that, you know. Do you really want to rely on non-Asians that live thousands of miles away for your protection? Let us sell you some insurance.

    Does this sound like Chicago in the 20’s and 30’s? Don’t overthink it.

    Little Kim and his geriatric generals have good thing going too. Profitable. Not to mention that the Korean War never ended. It’s just in a truce and NK has not given up its stated desire to reunite the peninsula under its government.

    So, yes, China and Russia can certainly live with a nuclear NK if it effectively undermines US security guarantees to SK and Japan: Again, that is rather the point of it all, with China, Russia, and NK are very much on the same page. How obvious do they have to be before this is acknowledged by our country’s “foremost thinkers and analysts”?

    • Eurydice

      Well, I suppose they can live with it until they die of it. A rabid dog is rabid; it’ll bite whomever happens to be in the neighborhood.

      • Stephen

        Have they been bitten? Long time now. Funny that.

        • Eurydice

          I don’t know. I was just thinking that it’s not a proper long-term strategy unless Russia and China have an end plan for Little Kim. But I neglected to thank you for your post. Most of the writing in the general press about NK is veiled in diplomat-speak and focused on criticizing this strategy or that, but there’s not much clear talk about what is actually happening and why. I think everyone is still hoping the Cold War is really over, but it seems that it was merely resting and soon it will be time to choose sides again.

    • MattCO

      I think you are right, Stephen. People are always talking about how the US can still deter NK from striking the United States, but they are utterly missing the point! They are Cold War ‘checkers players’. They do not appreciate how NK will be able to deter the US from action and therefore effectively ruin American influence in East Asia. This doesn’t even get into the proliferation that NK will instigate in other places, all to drive the US out of regions because the US will not have the stomach for these asymmetric nuclear challenges.

  • Tim Fairbank

    I think we only have one viable option, regardless of the cost:

    We must launch an overwhelming preemptive attack against North Korea’s leadership, nuclear weapons, and artillery formations. We must do so as soon as we can achieve tactical and strategic surprise. We cannot notify South Korea in advance, because it would leak.

    And we must use numerous tactical nuclear weapons, because nothing else will work.

    • Beauceron

      Bill Kristol, is that you?

  • jayupyongyang

    There is one very regrettable lack in public discussion in the USA of the nuclear threat emanating from the terror regime holding northern Korea in its thrall. This is that the long-suffering people of that part of Korea, who crave to be rid of the porcine dynast defacing Pyongyang, are our potential allies against him. To bring their aspirations and energies into play, it is necessary to render them critical assistance. What is that? Reflect on a fundamental feature of their existence in northern Korea. People there do not have freedom of communication and expression with each other as people have in free Korea to the south. The terror regime is assiduous in its care to maintain this feature of life, this practical “atomization” of the portion of Korea’s people currently under its control. That Koreans in the south are not yet subject that way at present is the fundamental security threat to the regime. The beacon to northerners of freedom and prosperity in the south drives the dynast in the north in his relentless pursuit of the means to disengage the USA from Korea and so make possible his regime’s hegemony of all Korea through its then untrammeled hostage holding of the Seoul metropolis. And to be sure his habit of using possession of weapons of mass destruction in blackmail for deference and money won’t stop with mastery of all Korea.

    Bluster about fire and fury are of limited use here. Even more than a century ago another New Yorker, Theodore Roosevelt, recognized this in reference to the big stick. What will work, with more time and resolute military deterrence as a back stop, are (1) intensive sanctions that target the weapons development programs and starve the palace economy that rewards the true supporters of the regime in the Workers Party, the security organs, and the military special forces. Commitment to long, hard work internationally by the U.S. Departments of the Treasury and State is key here. This seems to be getting underway, though very late. (2) enabling communications among north Korean people, and degrading communications among the terror regime’s instruments of repression. The USA does have specialized electronic warfare (EW) aircraft that can be configured to act as cell phone hubs to enable cell phone usage in northern Korea independent of the regime, as well as undertake the disruption of regime internal communications. The USA also has the air-superiority aircraft necessary to protect such EW aircraft from hostile interception while on station over the Sea of Japan (“East Sea” to Koreans), and tanker aircraft to support the lot. The current surreptitious spread of cell phone possession in the north (especially near the Chinese border) can be much enhanced and generalized as part of this program. The terror regime is itself utterly terrified of any such prospect.

    Thus assisting the people of northern Korea will prove to cause veritable quicksand to form beneath the dark tower from which the porcine dynast single-mindedly plots to secure his family’s effective rule over all Korea. Humble prayers that key officials of the USA government can comprehend this immediately if not already.

  • GS

    Well, just make that north korea into a hole in space and be done with it. Later the problem will only become worse.

  • jayupyongyang

    There is one very regrettable lack in public discussion in the USA of the nuclear threat emanating from the terror regime holding northern Korea in its thrall. This is that the long-suffering people of that part of Korea, who crave to be rid of the porcine dynast defacing Pyongyang, are our potential allies against him. To bring their aspirations and energies into play, it is necessary to render them critical assistance. What is that? Reflect on a fundamental feature of their existence in northern Korea. People there do not have freedom of communication and expression with each other as people have in free Korea to the south. The terror regime is assiduous in its care to maintain this feature of life, this practical “atomization” of the portion of Korea’s people currently under its control. That Koreans in the south are not yet subject that way at present is the fundamental security threat to the regime. The beacon to northerners of freedom and prosperity in the south drives the dynast in the north in his relentless pursuit of the means to disengage the USA from Korea and so make possible his regime’s hegemony of all Korea through its then untrammeled hostage holding of the Seoul metropolis. And to be sure his habit of using possession of weapons of mass destruction in blackmail for deference and money won’t stop with mastery of all Korea.

    Bluster about fire and fury is of limited use here. Even more than a century ago another New Yorker, Theodore Roosevelt, recognized this in reference to the big stick. What will work, with more time and resolute military deterrence as a back stop, are (1) intensive sanctions that target the weapons development programs and starve the palace economy that rewards the true supporters of the regime in the Workers Party, the security organs, and the military special forces. Commitment to long, hard work internationally by the U.S. Departments of the Treasury and State is key here. This seems to be getting underway, though very late. Also (2) enabling communications among north Korean people, and degrading communications among the terror regime’s instruments of repression. The USA does have specialized electronic warfare (EW) aircraft that can be configured to act as cell phone hubs to enable cell phone usage in northern Korea independent of the regime, as well as undertake the disruption of regime internal communications. The USA also has the air-superiority aircraft necessary to protect such EW aircraft from hostile interception while on station over the Sea of Japan (“East Sea” to Koreans), and tanker aircraft to support the lot. The current surreptitious spread of cell phone possession in the north (especially near the Chinese border) can be much enhanced and generalized as part of this program. The terror regime is itself utterly terrified of any such prospect.

    Thus assisting the people of northern Korea will prove to cause veritable quicksand to form beneath the dark tower from which the porcine dynast single-mindedly plots to secure his family’s effective rule over all Korea. Humble prayers that key officials of the USA government can comprehend this immediately if not already.

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