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A major goal of this Asia trip, said National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster, is to rally allies to achieve the “complete, verifiable and permanent denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”

Yet Kim Jong Un has said he will never give up his nuclear weapons. He believes the survival of his dynastic regime depends upon them.

Hence we are headed for confrontation. Either the U.S. or North Korea backs down, as Nikita Khrushchev did in the Cuban missile crisis, or there will be war.

In this new century, U.S. leaders continue to draw red lines that threaten acts of war that the nation is unprepared to back up.

Recall President Obama’s, “Assad must go!” and the warning that any use of chemical weapons would cross his personal “red line.”

Result: After chemical weapons were used, Americans rose in united opposition to a retaliatory strike. Congress refused to authorize any attack. Obama and John Kerry were left with egg all over their faces. And the credibility of the country was commensurately damaged.

There was a time when U.S. words were taken seriously, and we heeded Theodore Roosevelt’s dictum: “Speak softly, and carry a big stick.”

After Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in August 1991, George H.W. Bush said simply: “This will not stand.” The world understood that if Saddam did not withdraw from Kuwait, his army would be thrown out. As it was.

But in the post-Cold War era, the rhetoric of U.S. statesmen has grown ever more blustery, even as U.S. relative power has declined. Our goal is “ending tyranny in our world,” bellowed George W. Bush in his second inaugural.

Consider Rex Tillerson’s recent trip. In Saudi Arabia, he declared, “Iranian militias that are in Iraq, now that the fight against … ISIS is coming to a close … need to go home. Any foreign fighters in Iraq need to go home.”

The next day, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi responded:

“We wonder about the statements attributed to the American secretary of state about the popular mobilization forces. … No side has the right to intervene in Iraq’s affairs or decide what Iraqis do.”

This slap across the face comes from a regime that rules as a result of 4,500 U.S. dead, tens of thousands wounded and $1 trillion invested in the nation’s rebuilding after 15 years of war.

Earlier that day, Tillerson made a two-hour visit to Afghanistan. There he met Afghan officials in a heavily guarded bunker near Bagram Airfield. Wrote The New York Times’ Gardiner Harris:

“That top American officials must use stealth to enter these countries after more than 15 years of wars, thousands of lives lost and trillions of dollars spent was testimony to the stubborn problems still confronting the United States in both places.”

Such are the fruits of our longest wars, launched with the neo-Churchillian rhetoric of George W. Bush.

In India, Tillerson called on the government to close its embassy in North Korea. New Delhi demurred, suggesting the facility might prove useful to the Americans in negotiating with Pyongyang.

In Geneva, Tillerson asserted, “The United States wants a whole and unified Syria with no role for Bashar al-Assad … The reign of the Assad family is coming to an end.”

ORDER IT NOW

Well, perhaps? But our “rebels” in Syria were routed and Assad not only survived his six-year civil war but with the aid of his Russian, Iranian, Shiite militia, and Hezbollah allies, he won that war, and intends to remain and rule, whether we approve or not.

We no longer speak to the world with the assured authority with which America did from Eisenhower to Reagan and Bush 1. Our moment, if ever it existed, as the “unipolar power” the “indispensable nation” that would exercise a “benevolent global hegemony” upon mankind is over.

America needs today a recognition of the new realities we face and a rhetoric that conforms to those realities.

Since Y2K our world has changed.

Putin’s Russia has reasserted itself, rebuilt its strategic forces, confronted NATO, annexed Crimea and acted decisively in Syria, re-establishing itself as a power in the Middle East.

China, thanks to its vast trade surpluses at our expense, has grown into an economic and geostrategic rival on a scale that not even the USSR of the Cold War reached.

North Korea is now a nuclear power.

The Europeans are bedeviled by tribalism, secessionism and waves of seemingly unassimilable immigrants from the South and Middle East.

A once-vital NATO ally, Turkey, is virtually lost to the West. Our major Asian allies are dependent on exports to a China that has established a new order in the South China Sea.

In part because of our interventions, the Middle East is in turmoil, bedeviled by terrorism and breaking down along Sunni-Shiite lines.

The U.S. pre-eminence in the days of Desert Storm is history.

Yet, the architects of American decline may still be heard denouncing the “isolationists” who opposed their follies and warned what would befall the republic if it listened to them.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”

Copyright 2017 Creators.com.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Donald Trump, North Korea 
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  1. ANON says: • Disclaimer

    Time to retire Pat.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
    On the contrary, Pat should soldier on.

    He describes the state of our world today, and he identifies the people and policies that got us into this sorry situation

    He correctly states that we bankrolled the rise of China while bankrupting ourselves fighting somebody else's wars in the Middle East.

    Pat Buchanan is a national treasure, and besides, nobody writes better single-sentence paragraphs.

    Nobody.
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  2. The problem is that too often the red lines are based on lies in addition to bluster. The American people saw through the US supported ragheads’ false flag chemical attack in 2013 and Obama had to back down, particularly once the British parliament, having been told the evidence was doubtful, itself refused to back the yankee imperium. In Korea, the problem is that there appears to be no “solution” other than risking a total war which could lead to annihilation. There is another solution: offer an exit of yankee troops in South Korea as a quid pro quo for North Korea giving up its nukes, but that has not been mentioned. The fact is that South Korean president Kim Dae Jung, around 2000, had almost negotiated a resolution to the Korean problem, but the incoming Bush regime vetoed it because the existence of North Korea is a necessary ratioale for the stationing of yankee troops in Northeast Asia.

    Frankly, people would rather survive than die, and that is why war is becoming a harder sell requiring more intense propaganda. Looking at the lamestream media in the last 15 years or so, both within the yankee imperium and its vassal states, the propaganda has almost reached fascist levels. Buchanan is usually correct in his foreign policy views. He should, though, be more ready to admit that it is the redlines that are the problem, not those resisting them.

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  3. @ANON
    Time to retire Pat.

    On the contrary, Pat should soldier on.

    He describes the state of our world today, and he identifies the people and policies that got us into this sorry situation

    He correctly states that we bankrolled the rise of China while bankrupting ourselves fighting somebody else’s wars in the Middle East.

    Pat Buchanan is a national treasure, and besides, nobody writes better single-sentence paragraphs.

    Nobody.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Aren Haich
    I agree. Well-said.
    Pat Buchanan is the most concise and articulate political commentator one finds in America these days.
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  4. AMEN@Anon!

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  5. Excellent piece Mr. Buchanan! America has been in decline for many years now, but it has now become blatantly obvious and apparent, even to the casual observer of contemporary events. America is on a steep trajectory of decay and decline & this process is irreversible. One only wonders if America will even make it in its present form to the year 2076, exactly three hundred years after it was founded. If not, the USA will be one of the most short lived empires in global history, right after Napoleon’s Empire and the Soviet Empire, which imploded rather peacefully after a mere 45 years (counting from 1945 of course) Due to all the racial tensions and changing demographics, I doubt that the dissolution of the American Empire and the American republic will be as peaceful and quick.

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  6. Well done, Pat. Concise and well-written analysis. On the one hand, it’s an unfortunate situation, OTOH, it’s hopeful to see signs of an awakening across America.

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  7. Renoman says:

    Time to go home and fix the roads. America can no longer hold itself up as a shining example, most of the World hates and laughs at her. What a dirty mess they have made of pretty well everything.

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    • Agree: jacques sheete
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  8. Randal says:

    Yet Kim Jong Un has said he will never give up his nuclear weapons. He believes the survival of his dynastic regime depends upon them.

    Hence we are headed for confrontation. Either the U.S. or North Korea backs down, as Nikita Khrushchev did in the Cuban missile crisis, or there will be war.

    Kim Jong Un is surely correct in that.

    Hence, NK will not back down unless coerced. Aggressive war to effect that coercion is unacceptable in its consequences for any rational and civilised person, which does not, of course, mean that the US regime will not do it. But there is at least hope that the few voices of reason in said regime will prevail. And there’s also the relevant factor that many of the most influential voices within the US elites are trying to misuse the US military for other purposes, to wage a war in the ME against Hezbollah and Iran to benefit Israel and Saudi Arabia, and so can be expected to oppose such a huge diversion of military attention. The US uber alles, “humanitarian” intervention, and military industrial lobbies, of course, will take whatever war they can get.

    Which leaves coercion by economic warfare, which requires Chinese cooperation. The Chinese have sent mixed signals on this and undoubtedly have conflicting goals. They don’t want a nuclear armed NK, but they also don’t want either a collapsed NK regime or an extension of US military access up to their border.

    There are grounds for hope that the best available solution will ultimately prevail – the NKs will get their nuclear deterrent, the US will have to back down, and hopefully in the long run South Korea will transition peacefully out of the US sphere and into the Chinese sphere, along with the rest of the US’s anachronistic western Pacific empire.

    There are also reasonable grounds to fear the worst, since the recent US track record in the ME in particular suggests it cannot be relied upon not to choose the worst available option. But when all is said and done, Japan and the South Korean hawks are neither as poisonously violent and mass murderous as are the Israeli and Saudi regimes and lobbies, nor as influential in Washington.

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    • Replies: @peterAUS
    Measured post, as usual.

    There are grounds for hope that the best available solution will ultimately prevail – the NKs will get their nuclear deterrent, the US will have to back down, and hopefully in the long run South Korea will transition peacefully out of the US sphere and into the Chinese sphere, along with the rest of the US’s anachronistic western Pacific empire.
     
    Well, I really can't see this happening, for a multitude of reasons.

    Now, we, interested in the topic a bit more than following Kardashians, all have our own scenarios.

    Mine are, in order of feasibility:
    1. The top of the regime goes and tactical (not ICMBs) nukes stay.
    2. The top of the regime and all nukes go and the bulk of US forces leave.

    In either case, I just don't believe that US will leave the top of the regime in power.
    That person and, say, his closest allies/advisers must go.

    If they stay in power it will be some shooting, IMHO.
    From palace coup to nuclear Armageddon.
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  9. anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Hey, I found another Establishmentarian nugget in this latest from Mr. Buchanan:

    ——-

    “Recall President Obama’s, “Assad must go!” and the warning that any use of chemical weapons would cross his personal “red line.”

    Result: After chemical weapons were used, Americans rose in united opposition to a retaliatory strike. Congress refused to authorize any attack. Obama and John Kerry were left with egg all over their faces. And the credibility of the country was commensurately damaged.”

    —–

    Why the passive “After chemical weapons were used…”? Perhaps Mr. Buchanan would acknowledge that many credible sources have shown that any chemical weapons were more likely deployed by Assad’s foes. Yet that goes unstated and won’t be apparent to the typical reader, who will come away with a reinforced sense of Assad as someone who “gassed his own people,” etc.

    Treading lightly around their own red lines may be what it takes for pundits like Mr. Buchanan and Mr. Napolitano to still be published elsewhere.

    Read More
    • Replies: @jacques sheete
    Why the passive “After chemical weapons were used…”? Perhaps Mr. Buchanan would acknowledge that many credible sources have shown that any chemical weapons were more likely deployed by Assad’s foes.

    I agree.
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  10. Randal says:

    Speaking of those poisonously violent and mass murderous Israeli and Saudi regimes and their lobbies. here’s more of the kind of comedic nonsense they come out with in their endless search for pretexts with which to get up wars of aggression against Hezbollah and/or Iran:

    “It was an Iranian missile launched by Hezbollah from territory occupied by the Houthis in Yemen,” [Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir] said.

    Between the Saudi arrangement of the Hariri resignation last weekend, the Saudi purge and this latest step up in the propaganda campaign, it looks as though the Saudi/Israelis and their US Quislings, defeated in Syria, are looking to find another way to get the wars they want. The question is, how will Trump react?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal
    And in case anyone thinks the mention of Israel in the context of a story ostensibly about the Saudis' misbehaviour is misplaced, here's the opinion of a former US DIA head of intelligence analysis for the Middle East:

    Jubair now claims that the missile fired at Riyadh was "smuggled" into Yemen from Iran and fired by Lebanese Hizbullah. Well, guess what? These are Bibi's two great bugaboos. Where do you think the Chihuahua got this "data?" Saudi Arabian intelligence is a joke. They can't find their asses with both hands. IMO Jubair got that from Kushner who got it from the Israelis. I would bet my own money that Kushner's phone and E-mail traffic would be very interesting to read.

    The missile battalion of the pro-Salih faction of the Yemeni Army who fired this missile have a long experience of ballistic missiles. They had SCUD when I was Defense Attache there thirty years ago. They have been firing ballistic missiles into Saudi Arabia throughout the present war.

     

    http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2017/11/israel-is-trying-to-blow-up-the-me-again.html
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  11. FB says:

    ‘…Either the U.S. or North Korea backs down, as Nikita Khrushchev did in the Cuban missile crisis, or there will be war…’

    What a crackerjack that Buchanan is…one would think that a man of his experience would at least know the broad strokes of history…

    ‘…Publicly, the Soviets would dismantle their offensive weapons in Cuba and return them to the Soviet Union, subject to United Nations verification, in exchange for a US public declaration and agreement to avoid invading Cuba again…’

    See failed Bay of Pigs invasion…

    ‘…Secretly, the United States also agreed that it would dismantle all U.S.-built Jupiter MRBMs, which had been deployed in Turkey against the Soviet Union; there has been debate on whether or not Italy was included in the agreement as well…’

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

    So Brezhnev really backed down to the US did he…?

    And the US nukes removed from Turkey [and possibly Italy] were part of that ‘backing down’…?

    What hilarity…

    And then of course we have the Cubans shooting down a US U2 spy plane…?

    ‘…On October 27, Anderson took off in a U-2F (AF Serial Number 56-6676, former CIA Article 343) from a forward operating location at McCoy Air Force Base in Orlando, Florida. A few hours into his mission, he was shot down by a Soviet-supplied S-75 Dvina (NATO designation SA-2 Guideline) surface-to-air missile near Banes, Cuba…’

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudolf_Anderson#Cuban_Missile_Crisis

    So even the Cubans apparently managed to bring down a US plane…while ‘backing down’…’

    Read More
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  12. Randal says:
    @Randal
    Speaking of those poisonously violent and mass murderous Israeli and Saudi regimes and their lobbies. here's more of the kind of comedic nonsense they come out with in their endless search for pretexts with which to get up wars of aggression against Hezbollah and/or Iran:

    "It was an Iranian missile launched by Hezbollah from territory occupied by the Houthis in Yemen," [Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir] said.

    Between the Saudi arrangement of the Hariri resignation last weekend, the Saudi purge and this latest step up in the propaganda campaign, it looks as though the Saudi/Israelis and their US Quislings, defeated in Syria, are looking to find another way to get the wars they want. The question is, how will Trump react?

    And in case anyone thinks the mention of Israel in the context of a story ostensibly about the Saudis’ misbehaviour is misplaced, here’s the opinion of a former US DIA head of intelligence analysis for the Middle East:

    Jubair now claims that the missile fired at Riyadh was “smuggled” into Yemen from Iran and fired by Lebanese Hizbullah. Well, guess what? These are Bibi’s two great bugaboos. Where do you think the Chihuahua got this “data?” Saudi Arabian intelligence is a joke. They can’t find their asses with both hands. IMO Jubair got that from Kushner who got it from the Israelis. I would bet my own money that Kushner’s phone and E-mail traffic would be very interesting to read.

    The missile battalion of the pro-Salih faction of the Yemeni Army who fired this missile have a long experience of ballistic missiles. They had SCUD when I was Defense Attache there thirty years ago. They have been firing ballistic missiles into Saudi Arabia throughout the present war.

    http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2017/11/israel-is-trying-to-blow-up-the-me-again.html

    Read More
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  13. the rhetoric of U.S. statesmen

    US elites produced statesmen since 1992? Politicians, yes, plenty, statesmen–I don’t think anyone knows the meaning of the word inside the Beltway anymore.

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  14. peterAUS says:
    @Randal

    Yet Kim Jong Un has said he will never give up his nuclear weapons. He believes the survival of his dynastic regime depends upon them.

    Hence we are headed for confrontation. Either the U.S. or North Korea backs down, as Nikita Khrushchev did in the Cuban missile crisis, or there will be war.
     
    Kim Jong Un is surely correct in that.

    Hence, NK will not back down unless coerced. Aggressive war to effect that coercion is unacceptable in its consequences for any rational and civilised person, which does not, of course, mean that the US regime will not do it. But there is at least hope that the few voices of reason in said regime will prevail. And there's also the relevant factor that many of the most influential voices within the US elites are trying to misuse the US military for other purposes, to wage a war in the ME against Hezbollah and Iran to benefit Israel and Saudi Arabia, and so can be expected to oppose such a huge diversion of military attention. The US uber alles, "humanitarian" intervention, and military industrial lobbies, of course, will take whatever war they can get.

    Which leaves coercion by economic warfare, which requires Chinese cooperation. The Chinese have sent mixed signals on this and undoubtedly have conflicting goals. They don't want a nuclear armed NK, but they also don't want either a collapsed NK regime or an extension of US military access up to their border.

    There are grounds for hope that the best available solution will ultimately prevail - the NKs will get their nuclear deterrent, the US will have to back down, and hopefully in the long run South Korea will transition peacefully out of the US sphere and into the Chinese sphere, along with the rest of the US's anachronistic western Pacific empire.

    There are also reasonable grounds to fear the worst, since the recent US track record in the ME in particular suggests it cannot be relied upon not to choose the worst available option. But when all is said and done, Japan and the South Korean hawks are neither as poisonously violent and mass murderous as are the Israeli and Saudi regimes and lobbies, nor as influential in Washington.

    Measured post, as usual.

    There are grounds for hope that the best available solution will ultimately prevail – the NKs will get their nuclear deterrent, the US will have to back down, and hopefully in the long run South Korea will transition peacefully out of the US sphere and into the Chinese sphere, along with the rest of the US’s anachronistic western Pacific empire.

    Well, I really can’t see this happening, for a multitude of reasons.

    Now, we, interested in the topic a bit more than following Kardashians, all have our own scenarios.

    Mine are, in order of feasibility:
    1. The top of the regime goes and tactical (not ICMBs) nukes stay.
    2. The top of the regime and all nukes go and the bulk of US forces leave.

    In either case, I just don’t believe that US will leave the top of the regime in power.
    That person and, say, his closest allies/advisers must go.

    If they stay in power it will be some shooting, IMHO.
    From palace coup to nuclear Armageddon.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal

    The top of the regime goes
     
    Is this feasible?

    Any plausible attempt seems likely to amount to initiation of war, in practise. The US reportedly doesn't have the reach into NK to arrange a coup, or a colour revolution to cover for one. China might (though even that's questionable, imo), but if they were to do it they'd do it for their own benefit, not that of Washington.

    So it rests presumably on the hope that there are people around the top of the NK regime willing and able to do the job, who will get an opportunity just in the nick of time for Washington. Seems optimistic to me. Some argue that people around Kim Jong Un think he is reckless in confronting the US so openly on the issue of nukes, but that seems like typical US neocon delusional wish-fulfilment fantasies to me. Most likely there's a general consensus throughout all levels of the NK regime that NK needs a nuclear deterrent, because it is so obviously the correct conclusion from their perspective (and indeed any perspective other than one that assumes silly nonsense about some kind of inherent goodness in the US regime).
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  15. Randal says:
    @peterAUS
    Measured post, as usual.

    There are grounds for hope that the best available solution will ultimately prevail – the NKs will get their nuclear deterrent, the US will have to back down, and hopefully in the long run South Korea will transition peacefully out of the US sphere and into the Chinese sphere, along with the rest of the US’s anachronistic western Pacific empire.
     
    Well, I really can't see this happening, for a multitude of reasons.

    Now, we, interested in the topic a bit more than following Kardashians, all have our own scenarios.

    Mine are, in order of feasibility:
    1. The top of the regime goes and tactical (not ICMBs) nukes stay.
    2. The top of the regime and all nukes go and the bulk of US forces leave.

    In either case, I just don't believe that US will leave the top of the regime in power.
    That person and, say, his closest allies/advisers must go.

    If they stay in power it will be some shooting, IMHO.
    From palace coup to nuclear Armageddon.

    The top of the regime goes

    Is this feasible?

    Any plausible attempt seems likely to amount to initiation of war, in practise. The US reportedly doesn’t have the reach into NK to arrange a coup, or a colour revolution to cover for one. China might (though even that’s questionable, imo), but if they were to do it they’d do it for their own benefit, not that of Washington.

    So it rests presumably on the hope that there are people around the top of the NK regime willing and able to do the job, who will get an opportunity just in the nick of time for Washington. Seems optimistic to me. Some argue that people around Kim Jong Un think he is reckless in confronting the US so openly on the issue of nukes, but that seems like typical US neocon delusional wish-fulfilment fantasies to me. Most likely there’s a general consensus throughout all levels of the NK regime that NK needs a nuclear deterrent, because it is so obviously the correct conclusion from their perspective (and indeed any perspective other than one that assumes silly nonsense about some kind of inherent goodness in the US regime).

    Read More
    • Replies: @peterAUS
    Well....agree..sort of, I guess.

    An explanation:

    Is this feasible?
     
    Haha...I am sure that Director Special Forces has been on that study for some time.
    With his counterparts in U.S.

    Any plausible attempt seems likely to amount to initiation of war, in practise.
     
    Well...depends on "how" I guess.

    The US reportedly doesn’t have the reach into NK to arrange a coup, or a colour revolution to cover for one
     
    Reportedly.
    Well....that's not really something to advertise around. A coup I mean. That is the key here at this level (say, small arms fire).

    China might (though even that’s questionable, imo), but if they were to do it they’d do it for their own benefit, not that of Washington.
     
    Yup.
    That's why the guy hasn't been following a couple of invitations to visit the big brother in the North.
    And assassinated his half-brother.
    But, should that happen, it will benefit USA. Just ...get...him...gone (with his court as well).

    So it rests presumably on the hope that there are people around the top of the NK regime willing and able to do the job, who will get an opportunity just in the nick of time for Washington.
     
    Something like that.

    Funny thing?
    The guy, by the very nature of his regime is paranoid. That paranoia tends to create enemies out of blue.

    Some argue that people around Kim Jong Un think he is reckless in confronting the US so openly on the issue of nukes, but that seems like typical US neocon delusional wish-fulfilment fantasies to me.
     
    The catch is...how does that seem to HIM?

    Most likely there’s a general consensus throughout all levels of the NK regime that NK needs a nuclear deterrent, because it is so obviously the correct conclusion from their perspective (and indeed any perspective other than one that assumes silly nonsense about some kind of inherent goodness in the US regime).
     
    I believe we should make a distinction here between tactical and strategic nukes.
    If The Guy had kept developing tactical nukes I think this story would've had a different flow.

    Developing ICMBs capable of reaching USA and, on top of it, threatening USA is another game.
    I guess.
    And I guess that Trump administration and the rest of power elite in US feel the same.

    The best option for The Guy would be to get rid of his rhetoric and any ICMB capability.
    Hehe.....but he talked himself into the corner. Dictators with such ego tend to do that. He can't step back.
    Well...I have a feeling that some people around him could if presented with an opportunity. Which makes him paranoid. Which makes a lot of people around him uncomfortable.
    So, they could start thinking: having both him and USA on our heads ain't good. How about we get rid of him and placate USA just a bit to take this heat of. Channel all that NEOCON stuff on ....ah, yes...Iran. Whatever.

    The really funny thing is...maybe The Guy reads this site?
    , @reiner Tor

    China might (though even that’s questionable, imo)
     
    Quite questionable, in light of how Kim hasn't traveled to China since assuming supreme power, or how he had a few people suspected of too cozy Chinese relations executed or even murdered abroad. It appears that the Chinese have already tried (and failed) to orchestrate that coup.
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  16. peterAUS says:
    @Randal

    The top of the regime goes
     
    Is this feasible?

    Any plausible attempt seems likely to amount to initiation of war, in practise. The US reportedly doesn't have the reach into NK to arrange a coup, or a colour revolution to cover for one. China might (though even that's questionable, imo), but if they were to do it they'd do it for their own benefit, not that of Washington.

    So it rests presumably on the hope that there are people around the top of the NK regime willing and able to do the job, who will get an opportunity just in the nick of time for Washington. Seems optimistic to me. Some argue that people around Kim Jong Un think he is reckless in confronting the US so openly on the issue of nukes, but that seems like typical US neocon delusional wish-fulfilment fantasies to me. Most likely there's a general consensus throughout all levels of the NK regime that NK needs a nuclear deterrent, because it is so obviously the correct conclusion from their perspective (and indeed any perspective other than one that assumes silly nonsense about some kind of inherent goodness in the US regime).

    Well….agree..sort of, I guess.

    An explanation:

    Is this feasible?

    Haha…I am sure that Director Special Forces has been on that study for some time.
    With his counterparts in U.S.

    Any plausible attempt seems likely to amount to initiation of war, in practise.

    Well…depends on “how” I guess.

    The US reportedly doesn’t have the reach into NK to arrange a coup, or a colour revolution to cover for one

    Reportedly.
    Well….that’s not really something to advertise around. A coup I mean. That is the key here at this level (say, small arms fire).

    China might (though even that’s questionable, imo), but if they were to do it they’d do it for their own benefit, not that of Washington.

    Yup.
    That’s why the guy hasn’t been following a couple of invitations to visit the big brother in the North.
    And assassinated his half-brother.
    But, should that happen, it will benefit USA. Just …get…him…gone (with his court as well).

    So it rests presumably on the hope that there are people around the top of the NK regime willing and able to do the job, who will get an opportunity just in the nick of time for Washington.

    Something like that.

    Funny thing?
    The guy, by the very nature of his regime is paranoid. That paranoia tends to create enemies out of blue.

    Some argue that people around Kim Jong Un think he is reckless in confronting the US so openly on the issue of nukes, but that seems like typical US neocon delusional wish-fulfilment fantasies to me.

    The catch is…how does that seem to HIM?

    Most likely there’s a general consensus throughout all levels of the NK regime that NK needs a nuclear deterrent, because it is so obviously the correct conclusion from their perspective (and indeed any perspective other than one that assumes silly nonsense about some kind of inherent goodness in the US regime).

    I believe we should make a distinction here between tactical and strategic nukes.
    If The Guy had kept developing tactical nukes I think this story would’ve had a different flow.

    Developing ICMBs capable of reaching USA and, on top of it, threatening USA is another game.
    I guess.
    And I guess that Trump administration and the rest of power elite in US feel the same.

    The best option for The Guy would be to get rid of his rhetoric and any ICMB capability.
    Hehe…..but he talked himself into the corner. Dictators with such ego tend to do that. He can’t step back.
    Well…I have a feeling that some people around him could if presented with an opportunity. Which makes him paranoid. Which makes a lot of people around him uncomfortable.
    So, they could start thinking: having both him and USA on our heads ain’t good. How about we get rid of him and placate USA just a bit to take this heat of. Channel all that NEOCON stuff on ….ah, yes…Iran. Whatever.

    The really funny thing is…maybe The Guy reads this site?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal
    OK, seems to me you're left relying upon a Chinese "Hail Mary" if you think the matter will be resolved by a coup, but for sure it's a possibility that can't be entirely dismissed. (It won't involve US Special Forces, though, if it does happen without war - if the Chinese organise a coup the yanks will be the last people to know it's going to happen, and if US Special Forces or targeted strikes are involved in a removal of the leadership in any way then that will be an entirely different thing - in effect an initiation of war as I noted above.)

    I still think on balance it's much more likely the US will just have to come to terms with another enemy having an effective nuclear deterrent. They managed it with the USSR and with China, and it's not really the big step US propaganda makes it out to be to manage the same with NK.

    That's if reason (based upon genuine American national interests) prevails within the US regime. As I've noted, the experience of the past three decades shows that's by no means guaranteed.
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  17. The US is the most untrustworthy and dangerous regime on the globe. Kim Jong Un is right not to give up its nuclear arms. He knows what happened to Saddam Hussein and Muammar al-Ghadafi. Not North Korea is a rogue state but the US. Together with Israel and Saudi Arabia, they form the “Axis of Evil”. Just look what these rogues have done to the Middle East, they screwed it up totally. Their last endeavor in Syria failed, thank God! All three of them supported terrorist groups to topple President Bashar al-Assad, which failed thank Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah. The only country that has to leave the region is the US occupant. The so-called sarin attacks were not carried out by al-Assad but the different terror organizations to draw the US directly into the Western war of aggression. The US power elite should stop talking about “red lines” as long as they are behind all the evil machinations in the region. The time of US hegemony is over. We are living in a multipolar world, and this is a good thing, too. Oncle Sam should keep the Big Stick in the closet.

    Read More
    • Replies: @jacques sheete

    Oncle Sam should keep the Big Stick in the closet.
     
    I'm an American, and I think we ought to stick Oncle Sam in the closet and leave him there. I've had enough of his BS.
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  18. thescalpel says: • Website

    “This slap across the face comes from a regime that rules as a result of 4,500 U.S. dead, tens of thousands wounded and $1 trillion invested in the nation’s rebuilding after 15 years of war.”

    Should be more properly written.

    “This slap across the face comes from a regime [installed by US occupiers after an illegal US invasion] that rules as a result of [hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians, children, and military dead] [while only] 4,500 U.S. [illegal invaders died], [hundreds of thousands of Iraqi wounded] and $1 trillion [of pork lined the pockets of the military industrial political complex at the expense of working US citizens]
    [disguised as insignificant attempts and insincere efforts] in the nation [of Iraq's] rebuilding after 15 years of [destruction at the hands of US politicians and mercenaries].”

    Read More
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  19. No red line when it comes to Zionist move on West Bank.

    Read More
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  20. Randal says:
    @peterAUS
    Well....agree..sort of, I guess.

    An explanation:

    Is this feasible?
     
    Haha...I am sure that Director Special Forces has been on that study for some time.
    With his counterparts in U.S.

    Any plausible attempt seems likely to amount to initiation of war, in practise.
     
    Well...depends on "how" I guess.

    The US reportedly doesn’t have the reach into NK to arrange a coup, or a colour revolution to cover for one
     
    Reportedly.
    Well....that's not really something to advertise around. A coup I mean. That is the key here at this level (say, small arms fire).

    China might (though even that’s questionable, imo), but if they were to do it they’d do it for their own benefit, not that of Washington.
     
    Yup.
    That's why the guy hasn't been following a couple of invitations to visit the big brother in the North.
    And assassinated his half-brother.
    But, should that happen, it will benefit USA. Just ...get...him...gone (with his court as well).

    So it rests presumably on the hope that there are people around the top of the NK regime willing and able to do the job, who will get an opportunity just in the nick of time for Washington.
     
    Something like that.

    Funny thing?
    The guy, by the very nature of his regime is paranoid. That paranoia tends to create enemies out of blue.

    Some argue that people around Kim Jong Un think he is reckless in confronting the US so openly on the issue of nukes, but that seems like typical US neocon delusional wish-fulfilment fantasies to me.
     
    The catch is...how does that seem to HIM?

    Most likely there’s a general consensus throughout all levels of the NK regime that NK needs a nuclear deterrent, because it is so obviously the correct conclusion from their perspective (and indeed any perspective other than one that assumes silly nonsense about some kind of inherent goodness in the US regime).
     
    I believe we should make a distinction here between tactical and strategic nukes.
    If The Guy had kept developing tactical nukes I think this story would've had a different flow.

    Developing ICMBs capable of reaching USA and, on top of it, threatening USA is another game.
    I guess.
    And I guess that Trump administration and the rest of power elite in US feel the same.

    The best option for The Guy would be to get rid of his rhetoric and any ICMB capability.
    Hehe.....but he talked himself into the corner. Dictators with such ego tend to do that. He can't step back.
    Well...I have a feeling that some people around him could if presented with an opportunity. Which makes him paranoid. Which makes a lot of people around him uncomfortable.
    So, they could start thinking: having both him and USA on our heads ain't good. How about we get rid of him and placate USA just a bit to take this heat of. Channel all that NEOCON stuff on ....ah, yes...Iran. Whatever.

    The really funny thing is...maybe The Guy reads this site?

    OK, seems to me you’re left relying upon a Chinese “Hail Mary” if you think the matter will be resolved by a coup, but for sure it’s a possibility that can’t be entirely dismissed. (It won’t involve US Special Forces, though, if it does happen without war – if the Chinese organise a coup the yanks will be the last people to know it’s going to happen, and if US Special Forces or targeted strikes are involved in a removal of the leadership in any way then that will be an entirely different thing – in effect an initiation of war as I noted above.)

    I still think on balance it’s much more likely the US will just have to come to terms with another enemy having an effective nuclear deterrent. They managed it with the USSR and with China, and it’s not really the big step US propaganda makes it out to be to manage the same with NK.

    That’s if reason (based upon genuine American national interests) prevails within the US regime. As I’ve noted, the experience of the past three decades shows that’s by no means guaranteed.

    Read More
    • Replies: @peterAUS

    OK, seems to me you’re left relying upon a Chinese “Hail Mary” if you think the matter will be resolved by a coup,
     
    Well....such things are usually a bit more complicated.
    reiner Tor already touched that, so I'll just put his comment here

    Quite questionable, in light of how Kim hasn’t traveled to China since assuming supreme power, or how he had a few people suspected of too cozy Chinese relations executed or even murdered abroad. It appears that the Chinese have already tried (and failed) to orchestrate that coup.
     
    We can't seriously talk here about options and possibilities. That's a serious work we haven't got smarts, time, resources and information about.

    Like:

    if US Special Forces or targeted strikes are involved in a removal of the leadership in any way then that will be an entirely different thing – in effect an initiation of war as I noted above.)
     
    Well, I believe if that happens it won't result in a war.
    And, also believe that British input would be helpful there.

    I still think on balance it’s much more likely the US will just have to come to terms with another enemy having an effective nuclear deterrent. They managed it with the USSR and with China, and it’s not really the big step US propaganda makes it out to be to manage the same with NK.
     
    Agree.
    As:
    - the leadership has to go.
    -the ICBM program shall be terminated and dismantled

    -the tactical nuclear weapons, under, say, Chinese, supervision, is O.K.
    -US will pull out bulk of its forces from the peninsula.
    -and some other, minor, details

    That’s if reason (based upon genuine American national interests) prevails within the US regime. As I’ve noted, the experience of the past three decades shows that’s by no means guaranteed.

     

    American national interest, in this case, is preventing a hostile regime from developing nuclear ICBM capability.
    In plain language, that regime shall not have nuclear tipped ICBMs capable of reaching Hawaii.

    I believe US will do whatever it takes to do that.
    Whatever.

    How about this (the worst case scenario):
    In order to take out the regime and its nuclear ICBM capability US administration, with informing other interesting sides (China, Russia, South Korea and Japan, in that order) deploys several tactical nukes onto those targets in North Korea.
    I really don't think anybody would DO anything about it.

    And now reverse it.
    What if I am a part of a group inside of NK uncomfortable about that?
    I seek help from China and we take out the "court". With or without help from China/Russia/ US...whatever.
    In purely "technical/tactical" I'll pull von Stauffenberg stunt. I'll mark the site. Launch GBU-57A/B (or worse) on ME. For my family.
    Step one, disaster averted.

    Reverse it now again.
    The Guy and his court could believe it's possible.
    So they start "clamping" down.

    Reverse again.
    I know they started arresting anyone they think could be dissenting. I could be next. F*&k that. I am not going down as sheep.
    Step one.

    Yes, I know how it sounds, especially for people from developed Western democracies.
    Still.....

    Then, let's talk about step two. Nuclear tipped ICMBs.
    Etc.

    I just believe this is a likely scenario.
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  21. In part because of our interventions, the Middle East is in turmoil, bedeviled by terrorism and breaking down along Sunni-Shiite lines.

    Good to se PB back on track.

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  22. @anonymous
    Hey, I found another Establishmentarian nugget in this latest from Mr. Buchanan:

    -------

    "Recall President Obama’s, “Assad must go!” and the warning that any use of chemical weapons would cross his personal “red line.”

    Result: After chemical weapons were used, Americans rose in united opposition to a retaliatory strike. Congress refused to authorize any attack. Obama and John Kerry were left with egg all over their faces. And the credibility of the country was commensurately damaged."

    -----

    Why the passive "After chemical weapons were used..."? Perhaps Mr. Buchanan would acknowledge that many credible sources have shown that any chemical weapons were more likely deployed by Assad's foes. Yet that goes unstated and won't be apparent to the typical reader, who will come away with a reinforced sense of Assad as someone who "gassed his own people," etc.

    Treading lightly around their own red lines may be what it takes for pundits like Mr. Buchanan and Mr. Napolitano to still be published elsewhere.

    Why the passive “After chemical weapons were used…”? Perhaps Mr. Buchanan would acknowledge that many credible sources have shown that any chemical weapons were more likely deployed by Assad’s foes.

    I agree.

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  23. @Randal

    The top of the regime goes
     
    Is this feasible?

    Any plausible attempt seems likely to amount to initiation of war, in practise. The US reportedly doesn't have the reach into NK to arrange a coup, or a colour revolution to cover for one. China might (though even that's questionable, imo), but if they were to do it they'd do it for their own benefit, not that of Washington.

    So it rests presumably on the hope that there are people around the top of the NK regime willing and able to do the job, who will get an opportunity just in the nick of time for Washington. Seems optimistic to me. Some argue that people around Kim Jong Un think he is reckless in confronting the US so openly on the issue of nukes, but that seems like typical US neocon delusional wish-fulfilment fantasies to me. Most likely there's a general consensus throughout all levels of the NK regime that NK needs a nuclear deterrent, because it is so obviously the correct conclusion from their perspective (and indeed any perspective other than one that assumes silly nonsense about some kind of inherent goodness in the US regime).

    China might (though even that’s questionable, imo)

    Quite questionable, in light of how Kim hasn’t traveled to China since assuming supreme power, or how he had a few people suspected of too cozy Chinese relations executed or even murdered abroad. It appears that the Chinese have already tried (and failed) to orchestrate that coup.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal
    Indeed. Though I suspect it's not so much a case of the Chinese having tried and failed to mount a coup, as of Kim having gotten his retaliation in first, as it were.
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  24. peterAUS says:
    @Randal
    OK, seems to me you're left relying upon a Chinese "Hail Mary" if you think the matter will be resolved by a coup, but for sure it's a possibility that can't be entirely dismissed. (It won't involve US Special Forces, though, if it does happen without war - if the Chinese organise a coup the yanks will be the last people to know it's going to happen, and if US Special Forces or targeted strikes are involved in a removal of the leadership in any way then that will be an entirely different thing - in effect an initiation of war as I noted above.)

    I still think on balance it's much more likely the US will just have to come to terms with another enemy having an effective nuclear deterrent. They managed it with the USSR and with China, and it's not really the big step US propaganda makes it out to be to manage the same with NK.

    That's if reason (based upon genuine American national interests) prevails within the US regime. As I've noted, the experience of the past three decades shows that's by no means guaranteed.

    OK, seems to me you’re left relying upon a Chinese “Hail Mary” if you think the matter will be resolved by a coup,

    Well….such things are usually a bit more complicated.
    reiner Tor already touched that, so I’ll just put his comment here

    Quite questionable, in light of how Kim hasn’t traveled to China since assuming supreme power, or how he had a few people suspected of too cozy Chinese relations executed or even murdered abroad. It appears that the Chinese have already tried (and failed) to orchestrate that coup.

    We can’t seriously talk here about options and possibilities. That’s a serious work we haven’t got smarts, time, resources and information about.

    Like:

    if US Special Forces or targeted strikes are involved in a removal of the leadership in any way then that will be an entirely different thing – in effect an initiation of war as I noted above.)

    Well, I believe if that happens it won’t result in a war.
    And, also believe that British input would be helpful there.

    I still think on balance it’s much more likely the US will just have to come to terms with another enemy having an effective nuclear deterrent. They managed it with the USSR and with China, and it’s not really the big step US propaganda makes it out to be to manage the same with NK.

    Agree.
    As:
    - the leadership has to go.
    -the ICBM program shall be terminated and dismantled

    -the tactical nuclear weapons, under, say, Chinese, supervision, is O.K.
    -US will pull out bulk of its forces from the peninsula.
    -and some other, minor, details

    That’s if reason (based upon genuine American national interests) prevails within the US regime. As I’ve noted, the experience of the past three decades shows that’s by no means guaranteed.

    American national interest, in this case, is preventing a hostile regime from developing nuclear ICBM capability.
    In plain language, that regime shall not have nuclear tipped ICBMs capable of reaching Hawaii.

    I believe US will do whatever it takes to do that.
    Whatever.

    How about this (the worst case scenario):
    In order to take out the regime and its nuclear ICBM capability US administration, with informing other interesting sides (China, Russia, South Korea and Japan, in that order) deploys several tactical nukes onto those targets in North Korea.
    I really don’t think anybody would DO anything about it.

    And now reverse it.
    What if I am a part of a group inside of NK uncomfortable about that?
    I seek help from China and we take out the “court”. With or without help from China/Russia/ US…whatever.
    In purely “technical/tactical” I’ll pull von Stauffenberg stunt. I’ll mark the site. Launch GBU-57A/B (or worse) on ME. For my family.
    Step one, disaster averted.

    Reverse it now again.
    The Guy and his court could believe it’s possible.
    So they start “clamping” down.

    Reverse again.
    I know they started arresting anyone they think could be dissenting. I could be next. F*&k that. I am not going down as sheep.
    Step one.

    Yes, I know how it sounds, especially for people from developed Western democracies.
    Still…..

    Then, let’s talk about step two. Nuclear tipped ICMBs.
    Etc.

    I just believe this is a likely scenario.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal

    Well, I believe if that happens it won’t result in a war.
     
    If US Special Forces or targeted strikes are used as part of a coup attempt, then that is itself an initiation of war, by definition.

    What you are presumably arguing is that either the coup will be perfectly successful and therefore the new leadership will choose to "overlook" the casus belli, or that even if the attempt to murder them fails to cleanly overthrow Kim and/or his close associates, they will prefer to "forgive and forget" rather than retaliate openly. Both presumptions appear questionable, to say the least.

    What is clear is that a US regime authorising any such action is effectively saying that they are prepared to go to war, and to be recognised as the aggressor (in informed circles, if not in the propagandised US sphere public's eyes, at least), with all that implies.

    The only way I could see it working is if it were in unadmitted reality a joint US/Chinese operation in which the Chinese got to replace the NK leadership with their own people whilst the US got the blame. Not sure that's either feasible or even worthwhile from the US perspective.

    Agree.
    As:
     
    Your subsequent description makes it clear you are not in fact agreeing.

    How about this (the worst case scenario):
     
    When did this ever work out, in practice, in recent years? It didn't work for Saddam, for Gaddafi or for Assad. None of them were overthrown or killed by their close associates out of fear of US attack and fear of the leader's paranoia.

    American national interest, in this case, is preventing a hostile regime from developing nuclear ICBM capability.
    In plain language, that regime shall not have nuclear tipped ICBMs capable of reaching Hawaii.

    I believe US will do whatever it takes to do that.
    Whatever.
     
    Yes, that (considered in isolation and in theory) is in the American national interest. But is achieving it at the kind of price that would plausibly be required in the American interest? I think not.

    In reality, NK having an effective nuclear deterrent is something the US regime can live with, as it lived with the USSR and China having such weapons, and the US regime must mostly know that, in reality.

    Certainly using tactical nukes (even low collateral airburst weapons) would be absurdly disproportionately costly for the US, despite some of the nutters around the elite thinking it might be to the US's advantage to "normalise" the use of nuclear weapons. t would be an utter diplomatic disaster and probably spell the final end of US "soft power".
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  25. @Ludwig Watzal
    The US is the most untrustworthy and dangerous regime on the globe. Kim Jong Un is right not to give up its nuclear arms. He knows what happened to Saddam Hussein and Muammar al-Ghadafi. Not North Korea is a rogue state but the US. Together with Israel and Saudi Arabia, they form the "Axis of Evil". Just look what these rogues have done to the Middle East, they screwed it up totally. Their last endeavor in Syria failed, thank God! All three of them supported terrorist groups to topple President Bashar al-Assad, which failed thank Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah. The only country that has to leave the region is the US occupant. The so-called sarin attacks were not carried out by al-Assad but the different terror organizations to draw the US directly into the Western war of aggression. The US power elite should stop talking about "red lines" as long as they are behind all the evil machinations in the region. The time of US hegemony is over. We are living in a multipolar world, and this is a good thing, too. Oncle Sam should keep the Big Stick in the closet.

    Oncle Sam should keep the Big Stick in the closet.

    I’m an American, and I think we ought to stick Oncle Sam in the closet and leave him there. I’ve had enough of his BS.

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  26. Randal says:
    @peterAUS

    OK, seems to me you’re left relying upon a Chinese “Hail Mary” if you think the matter will be resolved by a coup,
     
    Well....such things are usually a bit more complicated.
    reiner Tor already touched that, so I'll just put his comment here

    Quite questionable, in light of how Kim hasn’t traveled to China since assuming supreme power, or how he had a few people suspected of too cozy Chinese relations executed or even murdered abroad. It appears that the Chinese have already tried (and failed) to orchestrate that coup.
     
    We can't seriously talk here about options and possibilities. That's a serious work we haven't got smarts, time, resources and information about.

    Like:

    if US Special Forces or targeted strikes are involved in a removal of the leadership in any way then that will be an entirely different thing – in effect an initiation of war as I noted above.)
     
    Well, I believe if that happens it won't result in a war.
    And, also believe that British input would be helpful there.

    I still think on balance it’s much more likely the US will just have to come to terms with another enemy having an effective nuclear deterrent. They managed it with the USSR and with China, and it’s not really the big step US propaganda makes it out to be to manage the same with NK.
     
    Agree.
    As:
    - the leadership has to go.
    -the ICBM program shall be terminated and dismantled

    -the tactical nuclear weapons, under, say, Chinese, supervision, is O.K.
    -US will pull out bulk of its forces from the peninsula.
    -and some other, minor, details

    That’s if reason (based upon genuine American national interests) prevails within the US regime. As I’ve noted, the experience of the past three decades shows that’s by no means guaranteed.

     

    American national interest, in this case, is preventing a hostile regime from developing nuclear ICBM capability.
    In plain language, that regime shall not have nuclear tipped ICBMs capable of reaching Hawaii.

    I believe US will do whatever it takes to do that.
    Whatever.

    How about this (the worst case scenario):
    In order to take out the regime and its nuclear ICBM capability US administration, with informing other interesting sides (China, Russia, South Korea and Japan, in that order) deploys several tactical nukes onto those targets in North Korea.
    I really don't think anybody would DO anything about it.

    And now reverse it.
    What if I am a part of a group inside of NK uncomfortable about that?
    I seek help from China and we take out the "court". With or without help from China/Russia/ US...whatever.
    In purely "technical/tactical" I'll pull von Stauffenberg stunt. I'll mark the site. Launch GBU-57A/B (or worse) on ME. For my family.
    Step one, disaster averted.

    Reverse it now again.
    The Guy and his court could believe it's possible.
    So they start "clamping" down.

    Reverse again.
    I know they started arresting anyone they think could be dissenting. I could be next. F*&k that. I am not going down as sheep.
    Step one.

    Yes, I know how it sounds, especially for people from developed Western democracies.
    Still.....

    Then, let's talk about step two. Nuclear tipped ICMBs.
    Etc.

    I just believe this is a likely scenario.

    Well, I believe if that happens it won’t result in a war.

    If US Special Forces or targeted strikes are used as part of a coup attempt, then that is itself an initiation of war, by definition.

    What you are presumably arguing is that either the coup will be perfectly successful and therefore the new leadership will choose to “overlook” the casus belli, or that even if the attempt to murder them fails to cleanly overthrow Kim and/or his close associates, they will prefer to “forgive and forget” rather than retaliate openly. Both presumptions appear questionable, to say the least.

    What is clear is that a US regime authorising any such action is effectively saying that they are prepared to go to war, and to be recognised as the aggressor (in informed circles, if not in the propagandised US sphere public’s eyes, at least), with all that implies.

    The only way I could see it working is if it were in unadmitted reality a joint US/Chinese operation in which the Chinese got to replace the NK leadership with their own people whilst the US got the blame. Not sure that’s either feasible or even worthwhile from the US perspective.

    Agree.
    As:

    Your subsequent description makes it clear you are not in fact agreeing.

    How about this (the worst case scenario):

    When did this ever work out, in practice, in recent years? It didn’t work for Saddam, for Gaddafi or for Assad. None of them were overthrown or killed by their close associates out of fear of US attack and fear of the leader’s paranoia.

    American national interest, in this case, is preventing a hostile regime from developing nuclear ICBM capability.
    In plain language, that regime shall not have nuclear tipped ICBMs capable of reaching Hawaii.

    I believe US will do whatever it takes to do that.
    Whatever.

    Yes, that (considered in isolation and in theory) is in the American national interest. But is achieving it at the kind of price that would plausibly be required in the American interest? I think not.

    In reality, NK having an effective nuclear deterrent is something the US regime can live with, as it lived with the USSR and China having such weapons, and the US regime must mostly know that, in reality.

    Certainly using tactical nukes (even low collateral airburst weapons) would be absurdly disproportionately costly for the US, despite some of the nutters around the elite thinking it might be to the US’s advantage to “normalise” the use of nuclear weapons. t would be an utter diplomatic disaster and probably spell the final end of US “soft power”.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    When did this ever work out, in practice, in recent years? It didn’t work for Saddam, for Gaddafi or for Assad. None of them were overthrown or killed by their close associates out of fear of US attack and fear of the leader’s paranoia.
     
    We could add Hitler (though there was an attempt by people who were far away from the center of power) to the list - his close associates chose to lie low and continue working for their boss until the bitter end, and not one of them tried to save his life by attacking his boss.
    , @peterAUS
    Well...I feel that you are approaching this issue using incorrect methodology.

    It feels that moral consideration lead elite interest, instead of other way around.

    The basic premise of my approach is:
    In plain language, that regime shall not have nuclear tipped ICBMs capable of reaching Hawaii.

    That is the starting point.
    Do we see that as reasonable, ethical etc does not matter. Is it objectively reasonable and ethical (whatever that means) doesn't matter either.

    Now, the execution, options.
    Time: I am definitely not an expert (pretty much clueless actually) there but the key is miniaturization and hardening of nuclear warhead. Experts have been wrong so far in their assessments of NK nuclear weapon development and they say it would take from 2 to 4 years to achieve that.
    So, US administration has two years (minus a month or so.....) to achieve its goal without a LOT of shooting.
    Hopefully, economic and political carrot/stick will work.
    A the same time preparations for other options are carried.
    Let's separate them by the amount of shooting.
    1. Coup
    1.1. Leadership change with Chinese help.
    1.2 Leadership change with US help. As

    If US Special Forces or targeted strikes are used as part of a coup attempt, then that is itself an initiation of war, by definition.

    What you are presumably arguing is that either the coup will be perfectly successful and therefore the new leadership will choose to “overlook” the casus belli, or that even if the attempt to murder them fails to cleanly overthrow Kim and/or his close associates, they will prefer to “forgive and forget” rather than retaliate openly. Both presumptions appear questionable, to say the least.
     
    Well, I actually believe that's exactly how it would work.
    The very essence of coup works that way.
    Coup plotters "mark" the target->US executes the target->coup leaders take over. We helped you got into power, you help us defuse this issue.
    Issue being nuclear tipped ICMBs capable of reaching Hawaii.

    2. Preemptive strike
    2.1. Non nuclear
    Target the leadership and probable "nuclear" sites with massive non-nuclear ordnance.
    China and Russia would do nothing.
    Kim/court, leadership, should they survive and some sort of coup situation doesn't develop do...what...? Retaliate with nukes? Possible. Depends on a lot...a lot of variables.
    In essence, they would be the party seen as using nuclear weapon first.
    Should they do it, well.........I am sure they'll get several nukes back.
    What they'll do after that .....probably nothing.
    Objective achieved.
    Objective being:
    In plain language, that regime shall not have nuclear tipped ICBMs capable of reaching Hawaii.

    2.3. Nuclear
    Target the leadership and probable "nuclear" sites with tactical nuclear ordnance.
    The rest as above.

    So, for

    Certainly using tactical nukes (even low collateral airburst weapons) would be absurdly disproportionately costly for the US, despite some of the nutters around the elite thinking it might be to the US’s advantage to “normalise” the use of nuclear weapons. t would be an utter diplomatic disaster and probably spell the final end of US “soft power”.
     
    Dis proportionally....no...I do not think that American elites and public would think so.
    Pearl Harbor. Interestingly, AGAIN. Makes you think.....
    Hence diplomatic etc. versus domestic politics...really, what's more important for US administration/power elites?

    As for US "soft power"...don't know....I am not quite sure that's what makes the world line up for Americans.
    I just strongly believe it's their real, hard, power that makes that soft power works.
    Like: "yes...yes....I'll do what you preach so it looks as your preaching works....because I know what happens when somebody stops listening to your ...preaching...".

    So, yes, bottom line, we do disagree here.
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  27. Randal says:
    @reiner Tor

    China might (though even that’s questionable, imo)
     
    Quite questionable, in light of how Kim hasn't traveled to China since assuming supreme power, or how he had a few people suspected of too cozy Chinese relations executed or even murdered abroad. It appears that the Chinese have already tried (and failed) to orchestrate that coup.

    Indeed. Though I suspect it’s not so much a case of the Chinese having tried and failed to mount a coup, as of Kim having gotten his retaliation in first, as it were.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    In any event, at the time the Chinese probably lost their ability to orchestrate a coup.
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  28. @Randal

    Well, I believe if that happens it won’t result in a war.
     
    If US Special Forces or targeted strikes are used as part of a coup attempt, then that is itself an initiation of war, by definition.

    What you are presumably arguing is that either the coup will be perfectly successful and therefore the new leadership will choose to "overlook" the casus belli, or that even if the attempt to murder them fails to cleanly overthrow Kim and/or his close associates, they will prefer to "forgive and forget" rather than retaliate openly. Both presumptions appear questionable, to say the least.

    What is clear is that a US regime authorising any such action is effectively saying that they are prepared to go to war, and to be recognised as the aggressor (in informed circles, if not in the propagandised US sphere public's eyes, at least), with all that implies.

    The only way I could see it working is if it were in unadmitted reality a joint US/Chinese operation in which the Chinese got to replace the NK leadership with their own people whilst the US got the blame. Not sure that's either feasible or even worthwhile from the US perspective.

    Agree.
    As:
     
    Your subsequent description makes it clear you are not in fact agreeing.

    How about this (the worst case scenario):
     
    When did this ever work out, in practice, in recent years? It didn't work for Saddam, for Gaddafi or for Assad. None of them were overthrown or killed by their close associates out of fear of US attack and fear of the leader's paranoia.

    American national interest, in this case, is preventing a hostile regime from developing nuclear ICBM capability.
    In plain language, that regime shall not have nuclear tipped ICBMs capable of reaching Hawaii.

    I believe US will do whatever it takes to do that.
    Whatever.
     
    Yes, that (considered in isolation and in theory) is in the American national interest. But is achieving it at the kind of price that would plausibly be required in the American interest? I think not.

    In reality, NK having an effective nuclear deterrent is something the US regime can live with, as it lived with the USSR and China having such weapons, and the US regime must mostly know that, in reality.

    Certainly using tactical nukes (even low collateral airburst weapons) would be absurdly disproportionately costly for the US, despite some of the nutters around the elite thinking it might be to the US's advantage to "normalise" the use of nuclear weapons. t would be an utter diplomatic disaster and probably spell the final end of US "soft power".

    When did this ever work out, in practice, in recent years? It didn’t work for Saddam, for Gaddafi or for Assad. None of them were overthrown or killed by their close associates out of fear of US attack and fear of the leader’s paranoia.

    We could add Hitler (though there was an attempt by people who were far away from the center of power) to the list – his close associates chose to lie low and continue working for their boss until the bitter end, and not one of them tried to save his life by attacking his boss.

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  29. @Randal
    Indeed. Though I suspect it's not so much a case of the Chinese having tried and failed to mount a coup, as of Kim having gotten his retaliation in first, as it were.

    In any event, at the time the Chinese probably lost their ability to orchestrate a coup.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal

    In any event, at the time the Chinese probably lost their ability to orchestrate a coup.
     
    Absolutely.


    We could add Hitler
     
    It's a policy for countries where you have already largely penetrated and subverted the elites - African kleptocracies and South and Central American banana republics, I think.
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  30. Rurik says:

    as the “unipolar power” the “indispensable nation” that would exercise a “benevolent global hegemony” upon mankind is over.

    if true, thank God !

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  31. peterAUS says:
    @Randal

    Well, I believe if that happens it won’t result in a war.
     
    If US Special Forces or targeted strikes are used as part of a coup attempt, then that is itself an initiation of war, by definition.

    What you are presumably arguing is that either the coup will be perfectly successful and therefore the new leadership will choose to "overlook" the casus belli, or that even if the attempt to murder them fails to cleanly overthrow Kim and/or his close associates, they will prefer to "forgive and forget" rather than retaliate openly. Both presumptions appear questionable, to say the least.

    What is clear is that a US regime authorising any such action is effectively saying that they are prepared to go to war, and to be recognised as the aggressor (in informed circles, if not in the propagandised US sphere public's eyes, at least), with all that implies.

    The only way I could see it working is if it were in unadmitted reality a joint US/Chinese operation in which the Chinese got to replace the NK leadership with their own people whilst the US got the blame. Not sure that's either feasible or even worthwhile from the US perspective.

    Agree.
    As:
     
    Your subsequent description makes it clear you are not in fact agreeing.

    How about this (the worst case scenario):
     
    When did this ever work out, in practice, in recent years? It didn't work for Saddam, for Gaddafi or for Assad. None of them were overthrown or killed by their close associates out of fear of US attack and fear of the leader's paranoia.

    American national interest, in this case, is preventing a hostile regime from developing nuclear ICBM capability.
    In plain language, that regime shall not have nuclear tipped ICBMs capable of reaching Hawaii.

    I believe US will do whatever it takes to do that.
    Whatever.
     
    Yes, that (considered in isolation and in theory) is in the American national interest. But is achieving it at the kind of price that would plausibly be required in the American interest? I think not.

    In reality, NK having an effective nuclear deterrent is something the US regime can live with, as it lived with the USSR and China having such weapons, and the US regime must mostly know that, in reality.

    Certainly using tactical nukes (even low collateral airburst weapons) would be absurdly disproportionately costly for the US, despite some of the nutters around the elite thinking it might be to the US's advantage to "normalise" the use of nuclear weapons. t would be an utter diplomatic disaster and probably spell the final end of US "soft power".

    Well…I feel that you are approaching this issue using incorrect methodology.

    It feels that moral consideration lead elite interest, instead of other way around.

    The basic premise of my approach is:
    In plain language, that regime shall not have nuclear tipped ICBMs capable of reaching Hawaii.

    That is the starting point.
    Do we see that as reasonable, ethical etc does not matter. Is it objectively reasonable and ethical (whatever that means) doesn’t matter either.

    Now, the execution, options.
    Time: I am definitely not an expert (pretty much clueless actually) there but the key is miniaturization and hardening of nuclear warhead. Experts have been wrong so far in their assessments of NK nuclear weapon development and they say it would take from 2 to 4 years to achieve that.
    So, US administration has two years (minus a month or so…..) to achieve its goal without a LOT of shooting.
    Hopefully, economic and political carrot/stick will work.
    A the same time preparations for other options are carried.
    Let’s separate them by the amount of shooting.
    1. Coup
    1.1. Leadership change with Chinese help.
    1.2 Leadership change with US help. As

    If US Special Forces or targeted strikes are used as part of a coup attempt, then that is itself an initiation of war, by definition.

    What you are presumably arguing is that either the coup will be perfectly successful and therefore the new leadership will choose to “overlook” the casus belli, or that even if the attempt to murder them fails to cleanly overthrow Kim and/or his close associates, they will prefer to “forgive and forget” rather than retaliate openly. Both presumptions appear questionable, to say the least.

    Well, I actually believe that’s exactly how it would work.
    The very essence of coup works that way.
    Coup plotters “mark” the target->US executes the target->coup leaders take over. We helped you got into power, you help us defuse this issue.
    Issue being nuclear tipped ICMBs capable of reaching Hawaii.

    2. Preemptive strike
    2.1. Non nuclear
    Target the leadership and probable “nuclear” sites with massive non-nuclear ordnance.
    China and Russia would do nothing.
    Kim/court, leadership, should they survive and some sort of coup situation doesn’t develop do…what…? Retaliate with nukes? Possible. Depends on a lot…a lot of variables.
    In essence, they would be the party seen as using nuclear weapon first.
    Should they do it, well………I am sure they’ll get several nukes back.
    What they’ll do after that …..probably nothing.
    Objective achieved.
    Objective being:
    In plain language, that regime shall not have nuclear tipped ICBMs capable of reaching Hawaii.

    2.3. Nuclear
    Target the leadership and probable “nuclear” sites with tactical nuclear ordnance.
    The rest as above.

    So, for

    Certainly using tactical nukes (even low collateral airburst weapons) would be absurdly disproportionately costly for the US, despite some of the nutters around the elite thinking it might be to the US’s advantage to “normalise” the use of nuclear weapons. t would be an utter diplomatic disaster and probably spell the final end of US “soft power”.

    Dis proportionally….no…I do not think that American elites and public would think so.
    Pearl Harbor. Interestingly, AGAIN. Makes you think…..
    Hence diplomatic etc. versus domestic politics…really, what’s more important for US administration/power elites?

    As for US “soft power”…don’t know….I am not quite sure that’s what makes the world line up for Americans.
    I just strongly believe it’s their real, hard, power that makes that soft power works.
    Like: “yes…yes….I’ll do what you preach so it looks as your preaching works….because I know what happens when somebody stops listening to your …preaching…”.

    So, yes, bottom line, we do disagree here.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal

    It feels that moral consideration lead elite interest, instead of other way around.
     
    That's not how I've stated it. I, of all people, am not one who believes any rational moral issues unduly influence the foreign policy behaviour of the US elites, other than in a political, propaganda management sense.


    The basic premise of my approach is:
    In plain language, that regime shall not have nuclear tipped ICBMs capable of reaching Hawaii.
     
    You, on the other hand, have commenced your analysis here with a supposedly non-negotiable required objective as your premise, which in fact is anything but.

    In reality the idea that it is unacceptable under any circumstances that NK should have an effective nuclear deterrent against the US (ie necessarily one that can target the US mainland, not just Hawaii) and that the US must and will bear any cost and pay any price to prevent it, is simply false, and so any conclusions you claim to draw from it are equally false (or at any rate unsupported). If it were so, the NK peninsular would already be surrounded by a Cuban Missile Crisis-style blockade with a US military poised much more openly and aggressively to attack, and with the Chinese forced to openly confront US forces to deter such an attack. We do not see that, just more of the usual aggressively hostile general US posture towards NK that they've lived with for most of the past few decades.

    In reality, keeping the NK without nuclear weapons that can hit the US is an aspiration that the US would like to achieve, but only if it can be done without undue costs. The issue is therefore all about those costs - what are they, who bears them, etc.

    It's my opinion that the US leadership has been told by the US military what it thinks those costs would be, and that the said leadership has concluded that those costs are unacceptably high. That's why there has been no "decapitating strike" on NK, and no targeted strikes on sites believed to be involved in the NK nuclear missile programme, and that's why we see no Cuban Missile Crisis-style confrontation.

    Now you might be correct that the US leadership are actively pursuing other means (rather implausibly optimistic ones, imo, for the reasons I've given above) for a clean removal of the NK leadership and its replacement by more controllable men, or that contrary to my belief the US leadership has decided to go for or risk war and is only awaiting the correct moment. More likely, perhaps, they are waiting and hoping for a mistake that would provide them with a pretext to attack in a better political and diplomatic context and thereby mitigate those costs. They might get such a mistake from NK, or be able to fabricate one, but it's basically a policy of desperation to rely on "something coming up".

    This is where discussion of any moral issues would come in, to try to persuade people in the US sphere and elsewhere to dissuade the US leadership from such a step, and to ensure it pays the maximum price for waging aggressive war if it does so.

    As for US “soft power”…don’t know….I am not quite sure that’s what makes the world line up for Americans.
    I just strongly believe it’s their real, hard, power that makes that soft power works.
     
    Clearly it has been both, over the past three quarters of a century. But the hard power, both military and economic, has been waning fast relative to rivals over the past decade or two.

    Certainly a preventive attack on NK sites using nuclear weapons would most likely be the end of NATO imo and the end of any remaining significant US influence over European opinion and over most if not all European governments. It would probably be catastrophic also in much of the rest of the world. I don't assert this because I myself have any silly ideas about the supposed evil of nuclear weapons. I recognise them for what they are - essentially just bigger bombs. But I also recognise that most of the world firmly believes in the special evil of nuclear weapons.

    2. Preemptive strike
    2.1. Non nuclear
    Target the leadership and probable “nuclear” sites with massive non-nuclear ordnance.
    China and Russia would do nothing.
    Kim/court, leadership, should they survive and some sort of coup situation doesn’t develop do…what…? Retaliate with nukes? Possible. Depends on a lot…a lot of variables.
    In essence, they would be the party seen as using nuclear weapon first.
    Should they do it, well………I am sure they’ll get several nukes back.
    What they’ll do after that …..probably nothing.
    Objective achieved.
    Objective being:
    In plain language, that regime shall not have nuclear tipped ICBMs capable of reaching Hawaii.
     
    Objective only achieved if, contrary to all past experience, the policy of decapitating strike actually succeeds this time. Ie relying on pure luck, and probably drawing to an inside straight at that.

    Otherwise, the assumption must be that either the attack triggers all out war in immediate response, or the NK leadership decides to just suck it up and double down on building nuclear weapons mounted on ICBMs. But it seems inconceivable that the initial NK response would not include striking US forces in South Korea as hard as they can, at least. As you say, exactly what that would involve is impossible to know with any confidence. But we do know it's likely to be costly and uncomfortable at least to said US forces.

    Your assumption that the Chinese "do nothing" seems highly optimistic, given they have explicitly reiterated (a few weeks ago) that their policy would be to support the NKs against any US attack, unless the NKs attack first. Certainly they are unlikely to sit there and let the US do an Iraq-style sustained campaign of air strikes on NK, which is what would be required to stop any building of nuclear armed ICBMs. The idea that external intelligence can reliably locate all stocks of nuclear material and all sites working on missile tech, in NK of all places, is fantastical at best.
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  32. @Buzz Mohawk
    On the contrary, Pat should soldier on.

    He describes the state of our world today, and he identifies the people and policies that got us into this sorry situation

    He correctly states that we bankrolled the rise of China while bankrupting ourselves fighting somebody else's wars in the Middle East.

    Pat Buchanan is a national treasure, and besides, nobody writes better single-sentence paragraphs.

    Nobody.

    I agree. Well-said.
    Pat Buchanan is the most concise and articulate political commentator one finds in America these days.

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  33. Tiny Duck says:

    WE WILL REPLACE YOU

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  34. Randal says:
    @reiner Tor
    In any event, at the time the Chinese probably lost their ability to orchestrate a coup.

    In any event, at the time the Chinese probably lost their ability to orchestrate a coup.

    Absolutely.

    We could add Hitler

    It’s a policy for countries where you have already largely penetrated and subverted the elites – African kleptocracies and South and Central American banana republics, I think.

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  35. Randal says:
    @peterAUS
    Well...I feel that you are approaching this issue using incorrect methodology.

    It feels that moral consideration lead elite interest, instead of other way around.

    The basic premise of my approach is:
    In plain language, that regime shall not have nuclear tipped ICBMs capable of reaching Hawaii.

    That is the starting point.
    Do we see that as reasonable, ethical etc does not matter. Is it objectively reasonable and ethical (whatever that means) doesn't matter either.

    Now, the execution, options.
    Time: I am definitely not an expert (pretty much clueless actually) there but the key is miniaturization and hardening of nuclear warhead. Experts have been wrong so far in their assessments of NK nuclear weapon development and they say it would take from 2 to 4 years to achieve that.
    So, US administration has two years (minus a month or so.....) to achieve its goal without a LOT of shooting.
    Hopefully, economic and political carrot/stick will work.
    A the same time preparations for other options are carried.
    Let's separate them by the amount of shooting.
    1. Coup
    1.1. Leadership change with Chinese help.
    1.2 Leadership change with US help. As

    If US Special Forces or targeted strikes are used as part of a coup attempt, then that is itself an initiation of war, by definition.

    What you are presumably arguing is that either the coup will be perfectly successful and therefore the new leadership will choose to “overlook” the casus belli, or that even if the attempt to murder them fails to cleanly overthrow Kim and/or his close associates, they will prefer to “forgive and forget” rather than retaliate openly. Both presumptions appear questionable, to say the least.
     
    Well, I actually believe that's exactly how it would work.
    The very essence of coup works that way.
    Coup plotters "mark" the target->US executes the target->coup leaders take over. We helped you got into power, you help us defuse this issue.
    Issue being nuclear tipped ICMBs capable of reaching Hawaii.

    2. Preemptive strike
    2.1. Non nuclear
    Target the leadership and probable "nuclear" sites with massive non-nuclear ordnance.
    China and Russia would do nothing.
    Kim/court, leadership, should they survive and some sort of coup situation doesn't develop do...what...? Retaliate with nukes? Possible. Depends on a lot...a lot of variables.
    In essence, they would be the party seen as using nuclear weapon first.
    Should they do it, well.........I am sure they'll get several nukes back.
    What they'll do after that .....probably nothing.
    Objective achieved.
    Objective being:
    In plain language, that regime shall not have nuclear tipped ICBMs capable of reaching Hawaii.

    2.3. Nuclear
    Target the leadership and probable "nuclear" sites with tactical nuclear ordnance.
    The rest as above.

    So, for

    Certainly using tactical nukes (even low collateral airburst weapons) would be absurdly disproportionately costly for the US, despite some of the nutters around the elite thinking it might be to the US’s advantage to “normalise” the use of nuclear weapons. t would be an utter diplomatic disaster and probably spell the final end of US “soft power”.
     
    Dis proportionally....no...I do not think that American elites and public would think so.
    Pearl Harbor. Interestingly, AGAIN. Makes you think.....
    Hence diplomatic etc. versus domestic politics...really, what's more important for US administration/power elites?

    As for US "soft power"...don't know....I am not quite sure that's what makes the world line up for Americans.
    I just strongly believe it's their real, hard, power that makes that soft power works.
    Like: "yes...yes....I'll do what you preach so it looks as your preaching works....because I know what happens when somebody stops listening to your ...preaching...".

    So, yes, bottom line, we do disagree here.

    It feels that moral consideration lead elite interest, instead of other way around.

    That’s not how I’ve stated it. I, of all people, am not one who believes any rational moral issues unduly influence the foreign policy behaviour of the US elites, other than in a political, propaganda management sense.

    The basic premise of my approach is:
    In plain language, that regime shall not have nuclear tipped ICBMs capable of reaching Hawaii.

    You, on the other hand, have commenced your analysis here with a supposedly non-negotiable required objective as your premise, which in fact is anything but.

    In reality the idea that it is unacceptable under any circumstances that NK should have an effective nuclear deterrent against the US (ie necessarily one that can target the US mainland, not just Hawaii) and that the US must and will bear any cost and pay any price to prevent it, is simply false, and so any conclusions you claim to draw from it are equally false (or at any rate unsupported). If it were so, the NK peninsular would already be surrounded by a Cuban Missile Crisis-style blockade with a US military poised much more openly and aggressively to attack, and with the Chinese forced to openly confront US forces to deter such an attack. We do not see that, just more of the usual aggressively hostile general US posture towards NK that they’ve lived with for most of the past few decades.

    In reality, keeping the NK without nuclear weapons that can hit the US is an aspiration that the US would like to achieve, but only if it can be done without undue costs. The issue is therefore all about those costs – what are they, who bears them, etc.

    It’s my opinion that the US leadership has been told by the US military what it thinks those costs would be, and that the said leadership has concluded that those costs are unacceptably high. That’s why there has been no “decapitating strike” on NK, and no targeted strikes on sites believed to be involved in the NK nuclear missile programme, and that’s why we see no Cuban Missile Crisis-style confrontation.

    Now you might be correct that the US leadership are actively pursuing other means (rather implausibly optimistic ones, imo, for the reasons I’ve given above) for a clean removal of the NK leadership and its replacement by more controllable men, or that contrary to my belief the US leadership has decided to go for or risk war and is only awaiting the correct moment. More likely, perhaps, they are waiting and hoping for a mistake that would provide them with a pretext to attack in a better political and diplomatic context and thereby mitigate those costs. They might get such a mistake from NK, or be able to fabricate one, but it’s basically a policy of desperation to rely on “something coming up”.

    This is where discussion of any moral issues would come in, to try to persuade people in the US sphere and elsewhere to dissuade the US leadership from such a step, and to ensure it pays the maximum price for waging aggressive war if it does so.

    As for US “soft power”…don’t know….I am not quite sure that’s what makes the world line up for Americans.
    I just strongly believe it’s their real, hard, power that makes that soft power works.

    Clearly it has been both, over the past three quarters of a century. But the hard power, both military and economic, has been waning fast relative to rivals over the past decade or two.

    Certainly a preventive attack on NK sites using nuclear weapons would most likely be the end of NATO imo and the end of any remaining significant US influence over European opinion and over most if not all European governments. It would probably be catastrophic also in much of the rest of the world. I don’t assert this because I myself have any silly ideas about the supposed evil of nuclear weapons. I recognise them for what they are – essentially just bigger bombs. But I also recognise that most of the world firmly believes in the special evil of nuclear weapons.

    2. Preemptive strike
    2.1. Non nuclear
    Target the leadership and probable “nuclear” sites with massive non-nuclear ordnance.
    China and Russia would do nothing.
    Kim/court, leadership, should they survive and some sort of coup situation doesn’t develop do…what…? Retaliate with nukes? Possible. Depends on a lot…a lot of variables.
    In essence, they would be the party seen as using nuclear weapon first.
    Should they do it, well………I am sure they’ll get several nukes back.
    What they’ll do after that …..probably nothing.
    Objective achieved.
    Objective being:
    In plain language, that regime shall not have nuclear tipped ICBMs capable of reaching Hawaii.

    Objective only achieved if, contrary to all past experience, the policy of decapitating strike actually succeeds this time. Ie relying on pure luck, and probably drawing to an inside straight at that.

    Otherwise, the assumption must be that either the attack triggers all out war in immediate response, or the NK leadership decides to just suck it up and double down on building nuclear weapons mounted on ICBMs. But it seems inconceivable that the initial NK response would not include striking US forces in South Korea as hard as they can, at least. As you say, exactly what that would involve is impossible to know with any confidence. But we do know it’s likely to be costly and uncomfortable at least to said US forces.

    Your assumption that the Chinese “do nothing” seems highly optimistic, given they have explicitly reiterated (a few weeks ago) that their policy would be to support the NKs against any US attack, unless the NKs attack first. Certainly they are unlikely to sit there and let the US do an Iraq-style sustained campaign of air strikes on NK, which is what would be required to stop any building of nuclear armed ICBMs. The idea that external intelligence can reliably locate all stocks of nuclear material and all sites working on missile tech, in NK of all places, is fantastical at best.

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  36. peterAUS says:

    In reality the idea that it is unacceptable under any circumstances that NK should have an effective nuclear deterrent against the US (ie necessarily one that can target the US mainland, not just Hawaii) and that the US must and will bear any cost and pay any price to prevent it, is simply false, and so any conclusions you claim to draw from it are equally false (or at any rate unsupported). If it were so, the NK peninsular would already be surrounded by a Cuban Missile Crisis-style blockade with a US military poised much more openly and aggressively to attack, and with the Chinese forced to openly confront US forces to deter such an attack. We do not see that, just more of the usual aggressively hostile general US posture towards NK that they’ve lived with for most of the past few decades.

    Disagree.
    Then and there it was the height of the Cold War and the confrontation was between two superpowers. NOW.
    Here, “we” have a minor player and 2 years, so no need for that.

    BTW, What’s with all this “nuclear deterrent” being equated with nuclear tipped ICMBs capable of reaching Hawaii?
    I feel you see it as the same thing. I don’t.

    Certainly a preventive attack on NK sites using nuclear weapons would most likely be the end of NATO imo and the end of any remaining significant US influence over European opinion and over most if not all European governments. It would probably be catastrophic also in much of the rest of the world. I don’t assert this because I myself have any silly ideas about the supposed evil of nuclear weapons. I recognise them for what they are – essentially just bigger bombs. But I also recognise that most of the world firmly believes in the special evil of nuclear weapons.

    Well, disagree.
    And even if it does, so what (as far as Americans are concerned).
    Yes, NATO can dissolve (although I don’t see it happening) and yes, the world can see it as catastrophic (and I doubt that too). So what, from USA point of view.

    Objective only achieved if, contrary to all past experience, the policy of decapitating strike actually succeeds this time. Ie relying on pure luck, and probably drawing to an inside straight at that.
    Wouldn’t say as pure luck, but, again, doesn’t matter.

    Call it the first good shot.

    Otherwise, the assumption must be that either the attack triggers all out war in immediate response, or the NK leadership decides to just suck it up and double down on building nuclear weapons mounted on ICBMs. But it seems inconceivable that the initial NK response would not include striking US forces in South Korea as hard as they can, at least. As you say, exactly what that would involve is impossible to know with any confidence. But we do know it’s likely to be costly and uncomfortable at least to said US forces.

    Well, that’s what true competent leadership (from both sides) is all about.
    Flow:
    Decapitating strike (non-nuclear) fails->NK regime opens up with artillery/non nuclear ballistic missiles->US/allies retaliate with aim to destroy NK capability to seriously reach South. In that, so far, non-nuclear exchange NK fares worse IMHO. As soon as that NK retaliatory capability goes down we are looking at Yugoslavia scenario; a prolonged air campaign to destroy the country.
    NK loses.
    Or
    NK escalates into nuclear.
    As soon as they do that (hit something in the South) they get put into stone age with nuclear retaliation.
    NK loses.
    As for :

    Your assumption that the Chinese “do nothing” seems highly optimistic, given they have explicitly reiterated (a few weeks ago) that their policy would be to support the NKs against any US attack, unless the NKs attack first. Certainly they are unlikely to sit there and let the US do an Iraq-style sustained campaign of air strikes on NK, which is what would be required to stop any building of nuclear armed ICBMs.

    That “nothing” is exactly what I’d expect from China in any scenario above.
    I believe they’d do their best to de-escalate the war. Call me cynical but I really believe, in order to do that, they’d help US to achieve its objective there.

    The idea that external intelligence can reliably locate all stocks of nuclear material and all sites working on missile tech, in NK of all places, is fantastical at best.

    Not all. Just retaliatory capability.
    Getting rid of the rest will be during post-shooting. Defeated NK, with Chinese help, will do that.
    This is extremely crude scenario and …oh yes…it’s being played ad nauseam by a lot of players at the highest levels of CiC of all potential players.
    Even in NK.
    So, if the threat of US hard response is real, the court there could reconsider its options.
    All they need to do is….again……do not talk about hitting Hawaii and do not develop that capability.
    Keep low profile, keep developing tactical nukes and you/we will be fine.

    A tiger is walking in the bush around your tent.
    Do not open the flap, yell, and and when he gets to you try to poke him in the eye with a stick.
    Keep sitting in the tent, keep quiet and keep, carefully, lighnting that fire.

    So, the bottom line is:
    NK needs a deterrent.
    It is NOT, and it’s actually contrary to it, building nuclear tipped ICBMs capable of reaching Hawaii.
    It is having multiple mobile launchers with nuclear warheads capable of hitting Seul.

    So, keep saying: I am building deterrent against invasion.
    Do not keep saying: I want to hit US mainland.
    Keep doing: making those mobile launchers.
    Do not keep doing: making those ICMBs.

    Healthier for everybody.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Erebus
    Have you considered that that the most likely outcome of deploying ballistic/tactical nukes targeting Seoul will just lead to a nuclear Mexican standoff in the ECS? Perhaps to include Japan. China's gonna love that, and Russia will be equally delighted. Not. The US may well be.

    By threatening the US specifically, the NorKs are letting their neighbours know that they know who the real enemy is. It's the outsider.
    NorK ICBM development traps the US in another geo-political zugzwang. As in Syria, the US can't let the challenge stand, but there's not much they can do about it without hurting themselves. Their allies have been taking notes, and so we see diplomatic activity in the region that just didn't happen before.
    There's been a lot of background discussion between N & S Korea and the Kremlin, which culminated in Moon's/Putin's "9 Bridges" announcement in Vladivostok last month. Both N. & S. Korea want to join the OBOR system, but N. Korea blocks the South from the rest of the continent, so they gotta find a way to work together and need a committed and trusted big brother to keep food fights from breaking out, and to keep the Dragon and the Samurai honest. They seem to be looking at Russia to fill that role.
    Japan wants in as well. Abe has met with Putin no less than 17x since taking power, and I can't see the Kurils as important enough to warrant that many head-of-state level meetings, especially with no apparent result. Heads of State meet at the end of negotiations, not at the beginning/middle, unless the issues being discussed are of paramount importance. If the Kurils were not the focal point, to my eye it looks like the foundations for a new security structure are slowly being laid in NE Asia whereby the Russians & China form the poles ensuring everyone's on their best behaviour as they position themselves between the 2.

    Also, developing an ICBM is no small engineering feat and one really has to wonder how it came to be that tiny N. Korea came to develop their's on such an extraordinary timeline. There were credible reports that the rocket engines (and maybe more) used in the most recent tests were of Ukrainian progeny, from a Soviet era missile works near the Donbas border. One has to believe that that factory is watched pretty carefully, and if one looks at likely shipping routes the shipment would have had to take on their way to N. Korea, one sees they moved along under the Russians' noses. If they moved by land and/or sea, the answer is staring us in the face. If by air, the jury's still out, but they would have had to cross Russian airspace. Russian intelligence in that part of the world should have had the shipment covered all the way.
    Wild-assed speculation on my part, but if so N. Korea is relaying, rather than sending a message. Something to keep in the back of one's mind in trying to figure out what's going on behind the headlines and Twitter posts.

    S. Korea is not the N's mortal enemy and vice versa. I get the impression they'd re-unite just as quickly as their elites could work out a power calculus they can both live with. They're the same people, on the same peninsula, with many families having members on both sides. Their animosity is driven largely by America's presence and political control of the South. Which one of these is not like the others? It's the US. Who's impeding the locals from getting a share of the pot of gold at the end of the New Silk Roads? It's the US. A security structure built on new foundations is in the locals' interests, and national interests will eventually trump everything else.
    ICBMs force the US to make a (bad or worse) move, or to stand down (an equally bad move). What now? Same as Syria - the US will bluster and waffle hoping for something to turn up that they can act on without cutting their nose off.
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  37. Erebus says:
    @peterAUS

    In reality the idea that it is unacceptable under any circumstances that NK should have an effective nuclear deterrent against the US (ie necessarily one that can target the US mainland, not just Hawaii) and that the US must and will bear any cost and pay any price to prevent it, is simply false, and so any conclusions you claim to draw from it are equally false (or at any rate unsupported). If it were so, the NK peninsular would already be surrounded by a Cuban Missile Crisis-style blockade with a US military poised much more openly and aggressively to attack, and with the Chinese forced to openly confront US forces to deter such an attack. We do not see that, just more of the usual aggressively hostile general US posture towards NK that they’ve lived with for most of the past few decades.
     
    Disagree.
    Then and there it was the height of the Cold War and the confrontation was between two superpowers. NOW.
    Here, “we” have a minor player and 2 years, so no need for that.

    BTW, What’s with all this “nuclear deterrent” being equated with nuclear tipped ICMBs capable of reaching Hawaii?
    I feel you see it as the same thing. I don’t.


    Certainly a preventive attack on NK sites using nuclear weapons would most likely be the end of NATO imo and the end of any remaining significant US influence over European opinion and over most if not all European governments. It would probably be catastrophic also in much of the rest of the world. I don’t assert this because I myself have any silly ideas about the supposed evil of nuclear weapons. I recognise them for what they are – essentially just bigger bombs. But I also recognise that most of the world firmly believes in the special evil of nuclear weapons.
     
    Well, disagree.
    And even if it does, so what (as far as Americans are concerned).
    Yes, NATO can dissolve (although I don’t see it happening) and yes, the world can see it as catastrophic (and I doubt that too). So what, from USA point of view.

    Objective only achieved if, contrary to all past experience, the policy of decapitating strike actually succeeds this time. Ie relying on pure luck, and probably drawing to an inside straight at that.
    Wouldn’t say as pure luck, but, again, doesn’t matter.
     
    Call it the first good shot.

    Otherwise, the assumption must be that either the attack triggers all out war in immediate response, or the NK leadership decides to just suck it up and double down on building nuclear weapons mounted on ICBMs. But it seems inconceivable that the initial NK response would not include striking US forces in South Korea as hard as they can, at least. As you say, exactly what that would involve is impossible to know with any confidence. But we do know it’s likely to be costly and uncomfortable at least to said US forces.
     
    Well, that’s what true competent leadership (from both sides) is all about.
    Flow:
    Decapitating strike (non-nuclear) fails->NK regime opens up with artillery/non nuclear ballistic missiles->US/allies retaliate with aim to destroy NK capability to seriously reach South. In that, so far, non-nuclear exchange NK fares worse IMHO. As soon as that NK retaliatory capability goes down we are looking at Yugoslavia scenario; a prolonged air campaign to destroy the country.
    NK loses.
    Or
    NK escalates into nuclear.
    As soon as they do that (hit something in the South) they get put into stone age with nuclear retaliation.
    NK loses.
    As for :

    Your assumption that the Chinese “do nothing” seems highly optimistic, given they have explicitly reiterated (a few weeks ago) that their policy would be to support the NKs against any US attack, unless the NKs attack first. Certainly they are unlikely to sit there and let the US do an Iraq-style sustained campaign of air strikes on NK, which is what would be required to stop any building of nuclear armed ICBMs.
     
    That “nothing” is exactly what I’d expect from China in any scenario above.
    I believe they’d do their best to de-escalate the war. Call me cynical but I really believe, in order to do that, they’d help US to achieve its objective there.

    The idea that external intelligence can reliably locate all stocks of nuclear material and all sites working on missile tech, in NK of all places, is fantastical at best.
     
    Not all. Just retaliatory capability.
    Getting rid of the rest will be during post-shooting. Defeated NK, with Chinese help, will do that.
    This is extremely crude scenario and …oh yes…it’s being played ad nauseam by a lot of players at the highest levels of CiC of all potential players.
    Even in NK.
    So, if the threat of US hard response is real, the court there could reconsider its options.
    All they need to do is….again……do not talk about hitting Hawaii and do not develop that capability.
    Keep low profile, keep developing tactical nukes and you/we will be fine.

    A tiger is walking in the bush around your tent.
    Do not open the flap, yell, and and when he gets to you try to poke him in the eye with a stick.
    Keep sitting in the tent, keep quiet and keep, carefully, lighnting that fire.

    So, the bottom line is:
    NK needs a deterrent.
    It is NOT, and it's actually contrary to it, building nuclear tipped ICBMs capable of reaching Hawaii.
    It is having multiple mobile launchers with nuclear warheads capable of hitting Seul.

    So, keep saying: I am building deterrent against invasion.
    Do not keep saying: I want to hit US mainland.
    Keep doing: making those mobile launchers.
    Do not keep doing: making those ICMBs.

    Healthier for everybody.

    Have you considered that that the most likely outcome of deploying ballistic/tactical nukes targeting Seoul will just lead to a nuclear Mexican standoff in the ECS? Perhaps to include Japan. China’s gonna love that, and Russia will be equally delighted. Not. The US may well be.

    By threatening the US specifically, the NorKs are letting their neighbours know that they know who the real enemy is. It’s the outsider.
    NorK ICBM development traps the US in another geo-political zugzwang. As in Syria, the US can’t let the challenge stand, but there’s not much they can do about it without hurting themselves. Their allies have been taking notes, and so we see diplomatic activity in the region that just didn’t happen before.
    There’s been a lot of background discussion between N & S Korea and the Kremlin, which culminated in Moon’s/Putin’s “9 Bridges” announcement in Vladivostok last month. Both N. & S. Korea want to join the OBOR system, but N. Korea blocks the South from the rest of the continent, so they gotta find a way to work together and need a committed and trusted big brother to keep food fights from breaking out, and to keep the Dragon and the Samurai honest. They seem to be looking at Russia to fill that role.
    Japan wants in as well. Abe has met with Putin no less than 17x since taking power, and I can’t see the Kurils as important enough to warrant that many head-of-state level meetings, especially with no apparent result. Heads of State meet at the end of negotiations, not at the beginning/middle, unless the issues being discussed are of paramount importance. If the Kurils were not the focal point, to my eye it looks like the foundations for a new security structure are slowly being laid in NE Asia whereby the Russians & China form the poles ensuring everyone’s on their best behaviour as they position themselves between the 2.

    Also, developing an ICBM is no small engineering feat and one really has to wonder how it came to be that tiny N. Korea came to develop their’s on such an extraordinary timeline. There were credible reports that the rocket engines (and maybe more) used in the most recent tests were of Ukrainian progeny, from a Soviet era missile works near the Donbas border. One has to believe that that factory is watched pretty carefully, and if one looks at likely shipping routes the shipment would have had to take on their way to N. Korea, one sees they moved along under the Russians’ noses. If they moved by land and/or sea, the answer is staring us in the face. If by air, the jury’s still out, but they would have had to cross Russian airspace. Russian intelligence in that part of the world should have had the shipment covered all the way.
    Wild-assed speculation on my part, but if so N. Korea is relaying, rather than sending a message. Something to keep in the back of one’s mind in trying to figure out what’s going on behind the headlines and Twitter posts.

    S. Korea is not the N’s mortal enemy and vice versa. I get the impression they’d re-unite just as quickly as their elites could work out a power calculus they can both live with. They’re the same people, on the same peninsula, with many families having members on both sides. Their animosity is driven largely by America’s presence and political control of the South. Which one of these is not like the others? It’s the US. Who’s impeding the locals from getting a share of the pot of gold at the end of the New Silk Roads? It’s the US. A security structure built on new foundations is in the locals’ interests, and national interests will eventually trump everything else.
    ICBMs force the US to make a (bad or worse) move, or to stand down (an equally bad move). What now? Same as Syria – the US will bluster and waffle hoping for something to turn up that they can act on without cutting their nose off.

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  38. peterAUS says:

    Well….how about this:

    US can’t let the challenge stand, but there’s not much they can do about it without hurting themselves.

    You mean like “boxer’s fracture” while knocking the other guy out. And his head hit the pavement too?Got a brain hemorrhage, and now is in coma?
    Sure.

    And There’s been a lot of background discussion between N & S Korea and the Kremlin, which culminated in Moon’s/Putin’s “9 Bridges” announcement in Vladivostok last month.

    Wait…did you just mention Kremlin, and, my God, even Putin here?
    You mean I’ll have to…debate….something related to the current Russia …..here?

    Count me out.

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