The Next Major War: Korea Again?

22 12 2010

By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

A series of events has been unfolding for some months now, which may culminate in another shooting war on the Korean peninsula that might prove devastating.  North Korea has warned that a war with South Korea would go nuclear[2]; and the ramifications are enormous.  In discussing this potential tragedy of epic proportions, it is useful to review recent events that have brought us to the present state of affairs:

  • The Sinking Of A South Korean Navy Vessel In March Of 2010—The facts were unknown when it happened, except that an explosion took place aboard the ship, and efforts were underway to save as many of the crew members as possible.  Whether this would turn into an international incident, testing the South Koreans and President Barack Obama, remained to be seen.[3] However, the Wall Street Journal noted:

The possibility of a violent, potentially apocalyptic regime collapse in North Korea within the decade is one that all countries with an interest in the region should keep in mind.[4]

The Journal added:

The latest incident comes days after a conference in which some experts described the Kim dictatorship as being in the first stage of collapse.  Americans should be paying attention: If North Korea decides to go out in a blaze of nuclear glory—and its current penchant for kamikaze rhetoric suggests it might—the enormous number of casualties would likely include many of the U.S. troops stationed on the peninsula.[5]

  • South Korean Ship Was Hit By North Korean Torpedo—Among other publications, the London Times reported that North Korea had launched one of the worst military acts of provocation since the Korean War, killing 46 South Korean sailors, which had amounted to a deliberate and unprovoked attack by North Korea.[6]
  • Finally, In May Of 2010, South Korea Blamed North Korea For Launching The Torpedo At Its Warship, Causing The Explosion That Killed 46 Sailors[7]—The Wall Street Journal reported that South Korea had convincing evidence.[8]
  • There Is Reason To Believe That North Korea’s Dictator Kim Ordered The Sinking Of The Cheonan, To Help Secure The Succession Of His Son—The New York Times reported that an American intelligence analysis of the deadly torpedo attack on the South Korean warship concluded that Kim Jong Il, the ailing leader of North Korea, must have authorized the torpedo assault.[9]
  • China Shields North Korea—Bloomberg News reported that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao was likely to resist pressure to acknowledge that North Korea had torpedoed the South Korean warship.[10]
  • North And South Korea On The Brink Of War, Russian Diplomat Warned.[11]
  • North Korea Fired At South Korea As It Prepared To Host G-20 Summit Of Wealthiest Nations.[12]
  • North Korea Fired On South Korean Island.[13]
  • China Warned U.S. About Joint U.S.-South Korean Military Exercise As Korea Tensions Rise[14]—In turn, North Korea responded angrily to the maneuvers: “The situation on the Korean peninsula is inching closer to the brink of war.”
  • America’s Chairman Of The Joint Chiefs Of Staff, Admiral Mullen, Rebuked China For Failing To Curb North Korea.[15]
  • Firing Drill Increased Korea Tensions—South Korea test-fired artillery from the island that North Korea attacked, defying North Korean threats of another attack and asserting its rights in a maritime area it has controlled since the Korean War of the 1950s.[16]
  • North Korea Said It Would Not Strike Back—As the Wall Street Journal noted, North Korea stood pat after a South Korean artillery drill, easing fears of armed conflict and suggesting that the North Koreans might be using provocations to seek economic inducements.

The Journal added:

Fighter jets patrolled the air and destroyers sailed in nearby waters ready to counter another North Korean attack.

. . .

[F]or decades Pyongyang’s power has been tied to its ability and willingness to surprise Seoul. Analysts say it is more likely to stage another provocation when the South’s guard goes down in the months ahead, depending on its need to further its broad goals of securing economic assistance and security guarantees for its authoritarian regime.

For now, the episode appeared to take its place in a long series of provocations South Koreans have gotten used to.

. . .

Earlier in the day the North made another conciliatory gesture—announced by a visiting U.S. dignitary, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, making an unofficial visit—to let the international nuclear inspectors it kicked out last year come back to the country.

. . .

For longtime North Korea watchers, Pyongyang’s official statement and offer to Mr. Richardson showed that it continued to operate in a familiar pattern: heating things up with provocative actions that draw attention, and then cooling them down with peace-making gestures in hopes of winning economic and security favors.[17]

  • WikiLeaks Cables Reveal China Ready To Abandon North Korea—The UK’s Guardian reported:

China has signalled its readiness to accept Korean reunification and is privately distancing itself from the North Korean regime, according to leaked US embassy cables that reveal senior Beijing figures regard their official ally as a “spoiled child”.[18]

North Korea’s latest series of provocations might prove little more than that, even as deadly as they were.  However, miscalculations may take place, which could be catastrophic.  While America is tied down militarily in Iraq, and its forces are mired in the Afghan War, North Korea may feel emboldened to strike against South Korea and set the Korean peninsula ablaze.  Similarly, other trouble spots around the world may flare up, such as a war in the Middle East involving Israel and Iran or its surrogates.

Given Barack Obama’s perceived weakness and naïveté, as well as global economic problems confronting the United States and other countries, its enemies may choose now or in the not-too-distant future as an opportune time to strike.  The use of nuclear weapons, or the ultimate EMP Attack[19], would send America and its allies reeling.  Let’s hope and pray it never happens.

© 2010, Timothy D. Naegele


[1] Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the United States Senate’s Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass).  He practices law in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles with his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates, which specializes in Banking and Financial Institutions Law, Internet Law, Litigation and other matters (see www.naegele.com and http://www.naegele.com/naegele_resume.html).  He has an undergraduate degree in economics from UCLA, as well as two law degrees from the School of Law (Boalt Hall), University of California, Berkeley, and from Georgetown University.  He is a member of the District of Columbia and California bars.  He served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon, where he received the Joint Service Commendation Medal.  Mr. Naegele is an Independent politically; and he is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, and Who’s Who in Finance and Business. He has written extensively over the years (see, e.g.www.naegele.com/whats_new.html#articles), and can be contacted directly at tdnaegele.associates@gmail.com

[2] See http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=CNG.4fb1629dc68392c48ffbd287f0cd9a66.931&show_article=1

[3] See, e.g., http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article7077655.ece and http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704100604575146940411764282.html?mod=WSJ_newsreel_world

[4] See http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704100604575145672974954144.html?mod=WSJ_hps_MIDDLEForthNews

[5] See id.

[6] The Times article added:

[South Korean President Lee Myung Bak]’s government appears to be struggling to find an appropriate response that would demonstrate its resolve in the face of aggression but stop short of a costly and unpredictable war.

. . .

The speculation is that this was an act of retaliation for a naval skirmish in November last year in which the North came off worse.

. . .

Some security officials favour a tit-for-tat response to any North Korean aggression. But the risk is that this could escalate into a war, which might result in eventual victory for the South and its US allies, but could be ruinously destructive and expensive.

A limited war might be exactly what the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Il, is hoping for. After decades of economic decline and famine in the 1990s which killed as many as a few million people, his economy is in chronic decline.

A military adventure against the routinely demonised “imperialist” US and its South Korean “lackeys” could serve as a welcome and unifying distraction.

. . .

“No one wants to say it out loud,” wrote Song Ho Keun, a professor at Seoul National University in the Joong-Ang Ilbo newspaper.

“We told ourselves to be patient and cool, not to jump to conclusions as there is no definitive evidence implicating the North. But if we find one little piece of evidence pointing definitely at North Korea, the rage we have forcibly suppressed will gush forth.”

See http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article7104498.ece

[7] See http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/18/AR2010051803094.html?hpid=topnews

[8] For example, the Journal noted:

[W]hen the South Korean joint military-civilian investigation team presented their findings at a nationally-televised news conference, they unveiled a surprise: virtually the entire unexploded portion of the torpedo that destroyed the ship.

Searchers found the torpedo parts—including its propulsion system, steering section and propellers—last Saturday in the waters where the ship was destroyed. A marking inside the propulsion system reads “No. 1” in Korean lettering and, investigators said, is consistent with markings in a North Korean torpedo that the South Korean military obtained several years ago.

See http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703691804575255162754594880.html?mod=WSJ_hps_SECONDTopStories

[9] See http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/23/world/asia/23korea.html?_r=1&hp=&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1274612566-rHxXHrx8DGOehpG3vtFz9Q

In an editorial entitled, “Lessons From a Torpedo”—and subtitled “Placating Kim Jong Il doesn’t change North Korea’s behavior”—the Wall Street Journal stated explicitly:

President Obama . . . sent Kim a personal letter spelling out a “future vision” for the two countries, including the promise of a peace treaty, a guarantee of regime security and economic aid in exchange for the North’s denuclearization. The North’s response arrived by torpedo.

. . .

Engaging Kim has done little to improve his behavior, except in brief intervals, and if anything that behavior has become worse since Mr. Obama took office.

. . .

The larger strategic insight is to recognize that North Korea won’t change until Kim dies or his regime falls. The goal of the West should be to increase pressure on the North toward the latter goal, especially given signs of increasing discontent in the North.

. . .

[T]he long U.S. attempt to persuade Beijing to control its client has nothing to show for it.

. . .

If Kim and his generals can sink a South Korean ship without serious consequences, they might well conclude that they should escalate. The proper response is to give up the illusions of engagement, and methodically and coolly treat the North as the rogue state it is.

See http://www.naegele.com/documents/LessonsFromaTorpedo.pdf

In an article entitled, “Kim Jong-il ‘laying the ground for succession’ with military attacks”—and subtitled, “Palace power-struggles between North Korea’s new-generation political leadership and its hawkish military establishment could spark off a full war on the Peninsula, South Korean and US authorities are warning”—the UK’s Telegraph reported:

Last week’s attack on Yeonpyeong island, a senior South Korean defence official told The Daily Telegraph, was personally approved by North Korea’s supreme leader, Kim Jong-il and his son and heir-apparent Kim Jong-un, in an effort to curry favour with hostile military hawks.

“I fear we’re going to see much more fighting in weeks to come,” the official said.

. . .

Kim Jong-il, US government sources said, is determined not to rejoin talks aimed at curbing North Korea’s nuclear programme in return for aid, fearful of upsetting military leaders. He hopes precipitating a crisis will lead the generals to rally behind his son and compel South Korea and the West to engage in dialogue on his terms.

Kim Jong-un was made a four-star general and named vice-chairman of the country’s National Defence Commission in September—even though the Swiss-educated 27-year-old had no military experience. “The generals saw Kim Jong-un as a puppy who wasn’t even lavatory trained,” said Kongdan Oh Hassig, a North Korea expert, “not a credible leader. There was lots of fuming.”

Bruce Bennett, another North Korea specialist, said the succession left generals “asking themselves how much longer they would have a role in government”. He noted that replacements of officials in North Korea “usually occur as the result of a purge or a ‘traffic accident,’ so that could be cause for some instability.”

“Every time there’s been a succession in North Korea,” Dr. Hassig noted, “you’ve had trouble, because the leadership has needed to reassure the military.”

Kim Jong-il ordered the bombing of a Korean Air plane in 1987, killing all 115, and an attack on officials which left 17 dead.

Little noticed in the West, tensions with the military have often threatened North Korea’s ruling family. In 1991-1992, there were reports that a group of generals had been planning to assassinate Kim Il-sung, in order to implement a programme of radical modernisation. Later, in 1995, elements of North Korea’s VI corps in famine-hit North Hamgyong province almost revolted.

“The Kims are playing the Crazed Fearsome Cripple Gambit,” a US military official told The Daily Telegraph, referring to a term coined by the strategic analyst George Friedman.

North Korea’s regime, Mr Friedman argued, wilfully chose to be an economically-crippled state to make itself unattractive as a target for intervention. Then it sought to inspire fear by developing nuclear weapons.

Finally, Mr Friedman argued, “having established that they were crippled and fearsome, the critical element was to establish their insanity”. Since no one would wish for a nuclear-armed North Korea to engage in a crazed military adventure, it would give the regime what it wanted.

Both Koreas are now holding out threats of further fighting. North Korea’s official news agency warned on Saturday that the “situation on the Korean peninsula is inching closer to the brink of war”.

Lieutenant General Yoo Nak Joon, commander of the South Korean Marine Corps, meanwhile, called on his troops to “put our feelings of rage and animosity in our bones and take our revenge on North Korea”.

See http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/northkorea/8166343/Kim-Jong-il-laying-the-ground-for-succession-with-military-attacks.html

[10] Specifically, Bloomberg reported:

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is likely to resist pressure to acknowledge that North Korea torpedoed a South Korean warship when he flies to Seoul tomorrow to meet South Korean President Lee Myung Bak and Japan’s Yukio Hatoyama.

. . .

China wants to avoid a conflict on the Korean peninsula, and is concerned that taking South Korea’s side may provoke North Korea into further escalations and even lead to war, said Shen Dingli, vice dean of the Institute of International Affairs at Shanghai’s Fudan University.

“North Korea is dying, and we can make things worse,” Shen said. “We have assumed North Korea is not a rational actor.”

See http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-05-26/china-may-shield-north-korea-as-lee-clinton-seek-action-over-ship-sinking.html

[11] See http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/northkorea/8020972/North-and-South-Korea-on-the-brink-of-war-Russian-diplomat-warns.html

[12] The AP reported:

North Korea fired two rounds toward South Korea at their tense border and South Korean troops immediately fired back, an official said Friday.

The exchange of fire at the heavily armed border highlights the security problems faced by Seoul as it prepares to host the Group of 20 economic summit next month.

North Korean troops fired at a South Korean guard post in the Demilitarized Zone, said an official at the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Seoul.

. . .

The guard post is 73 miles (118 kilometers) northeast of Seoul.

. . .

The spike in tensions Friday came two weeks ahead of a global economic summit in Seoul to be attended by President Barack Obama and other leaders.

. . .

In May, a multinational investigation led by Seoul concluded that a torpedo fired by a North Korean submarine sank the 1,200-ton Cheonan warship. North Korea has denied involvement in the sinking, which killed 46 South Korean sailors.

The sinking heightened tensions between the rival Koreas, which remain technically at war because their 1950-53 war ended with a cease-fire, not a peace treaty.

See http://apnews.myway.com/article/20101029/D9J5B8OG0.html; see also http://www.naegele.com/documents/NorthKoreaFiresShotsAcrossBorder.pdf and http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2010-10-29-north-south-korea-fire_N.htm?loc=interstitialskip

[13] The Los Angeles Times reported:

North Korea on Tuesday fired dozens of artillery rounds onto a populated South Korean island, killing two and injuring 19 others after Pyongyang claimed that Seoul was readying for “an invasion,” officials said.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak called an emergency session of his national security-related ministers in an underground bunker at the presidential residence late Tuesday to devise a response to the attack, which occurred near the disputed western border between north and south.

The Seoul government later called North Korea’s artillery attack a “clear military provocation” and warned that the secretive regime would face “stern retaliation” should it launch further attacks.

. . .

The South Korean military was placed on high alert, with fighter jets sent into the air, after officials confirmed that two Marines were killed and 19 others—including three civilians—were injured.

. . .

The White House . . . said the U.S. would stand by South Korea. “Earlier today North Korea conducted an artillery attack against the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong. We are in close and continuing contact with our Korean allies,” said a statement.

“The United States strongly condemns this attack and calls on North Korea to halt its belligerent action and to fully abide by the terms of the Armistice Agreement.” It added that the U.S. “is firmly committed to the defense of our ally, the Republic of Korea, and to the maintenance of regional peace and stability.”

See http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-korea-shelling-web-20101124,0,958943,full.story; see also http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703904804575631763523837910.html?mod=WSJ_hp_LEFTTopStories and http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20101123/wl_afp/nkoreaskoreamilitarynuclearweapons_20101123092327

A USA Today article added:

The skirmish came amid high tension over North Korea’s claim that it has a new uranium enrichment facility and just six weeks after North Korean leader Kim Jong Il unveiled his youngest son Kim Jong Un as his heir apparent.

. . .

The existence of North Korea’s new uranium enrichment facility came to light over the weekend after Pyongyang showed it to a visiting American nuclear scientist, claiming that the highly sophisticated operation had 2,000 completed centrifuges. Top U.S. military officials warn that it could speed the North’s ability to make and deliver viable nuclear weapons.

See http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2010-11-23-korea-artillery_N.htm?loc=interstitialskip

[14] The Wall Street Journal reported:

Beijing [has] lodged its first official protest of a joint U.S.-South Korean military exercise planned for Sunday, even as the aircraft carrier USS George Washington steamed toward the region.

North Korea also responded angrily. “The situation on the Korean peninsula is inching closer to the brink of war,” the state controlled Korean Central News Agency responded Friday to the maneuvers, which are set to take place in the Yellow Sea between the Koreas and northeastern China.

The strong talk was the latest fallout from North Korea’s hour-long artillery attack of a South Korean island on Tuesday that killed four people. The next day, the U.S. and South Korea said planned joint exercises would go ahead over the weekend, heightening fears in some quarters that already-tense relations between North and South Korea—and their respective international protectors, China and the U.S.—could be heading for a showdown.

Yet China’s outwardly defiant response belies a more delicate political reality: Beijing’s continued support of North Korea’s erratic, martial regime is beginning to extract real costs. China’s statement Friday included a face-saving formulation that appeared to open the door for a scenario China has long sought to avert—a U.S. aircraft carrier, a potent symbol of U.S. military might, plying the edge of Chinese waters.

. . .

China has long frustrated U.S. efforts to bring its nuclear-armed neighbor to heel, fearing any radical change could sow chaos in the region and potentially lead to a unified Korea with a U.S. military presence directly on its border. Beijing refused this week to blame North Korea for Tuesday’s attack. Privately, its officials maintain, the weekend’s exercises could be a grave mistake that risk further provoking the North.

But current and former U.S. officials who have worked on North Korea said Friday that they saw China in a growing quandary in how to square its support for Pyongyang with the regime’s continued provocations.

Beijing has sought in recent months to deepen its economic and strategic relationship with North Korea, despite U.S. objections, arguing it would help contain leader Kim Jong Il’s nuclear work and military provocations. As Pyongyang has continued to challenge the international community, however, China has been placed in an increasingly weakened position to protest U.S. military action.

“China is having a much harder time in defending its policy, but they only have themselves to blame,” said Michael Green, who oversaw Asia policy for the White House during George W. Bush’s first term. “You talk to any Chinese official, and they’re furious with the North Koreans.”

Beijing is also facing renewed criticism from Chinese foreign-policy experts, journalists and Internet activists who question whether unqualified support for North Korea is still in China’s interests.

China’s apparently softened stance on Yellow Sea exercises appears to demonstrate a concern that the North Korean crisis will overshadow a planned trip to Washington in January by President Hu Jintao. It may also reflect an acknowledgment that China would be unlikely to prevent the U.S. and South Korea from staging their drills following the week’s attack, requiring a compromise to avoid appearing weak before an increasingly nationalist and demanding Chinese public.

“The very recent developments put China in an awkward position,” said Jin Canrong, an international relations professor at Renmin University in Beijing. “China’s not pleased to see that, but it has to face it. So its immediate concern is to contain the crisis.”

U.S. military officials insisted Friday that the exercise scheduled for this weekend shouldn’t be interpreted as anything but an attempt to deter North Korea from further attacks on the South.

“This exercise is not directed at China,” said Capt. Darryn James, a Pentagon spokesman. “The purpose is to strengthen the deterrence against North Korea.”

U.S. officials on Friday said the Obama administration continues to focus its diplomacy in Northeast Asia on gaining China’s cooperation to exert more pressure on North Korea.

. . .

[In] a speech by [Secretary of State Hillary] Clinton[,] she said that the U.S. had a national interest in protecting freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. Ever since, China and the U.S. have been engaged in a tussle for influence in the region, where many Southeast Asian nations that have territorial disputes with China are looking to beef up defense relations with the U.S.

See http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704008704575638420698918004.html

[15] The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the chairman of America’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in Seoul that Beijing’s inaction gives tacit approval to its ally North Korea’s aggression:

The most senior U.S. military official delivered a sharp rebuke to China on Wednesday, blaming Asia’s top power for failing to rein in its North Korean ally in the escalating dispute over the fate of the Korean peninsula.

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, blasted China for refusing to condemn North Korea over the Nov. 23 artillery barrage that killed four people on the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong. He spoke in Seoul, where he met with his South Korean counterpart in a public display of resolve to deter any North Korean aggression.

But Mullen directed some of his most pointed criticism at Beijing.

“The Chinese have enormous influence over the North, influence that no other nation on Earth enjoys,” said Mullen at a press conference at the South Korean Ministry of National Defense. “And yet, despite a shared interest in reducing tensions, they appear unwilling to use it.”

“Even tacit approval of Pyongyang’s brazenness leaves all their neighbors asking, ‘What will be next?’ ”

At the joint news conference Wednesday, Han Min-koo, South Korea’s own top commander, said that rules of engagement are being strengthened to allow commanders on the ground to fire back immediately in case of another North Korean attack.

. . .

“It is not just that China is turning a blind eye to what North Korea is doing, they are enabling North Korea,” [L. Gordon Flake, a Korea specialist with the Mansfield Foundation] said. ” China’s overt support for North Korea is blunting the effectiveness of diplomatic measures to curb their behavior.”

. . .

The U.S. administration has also signaled that it is not ready to return to the previous diplomatic path of the six-party talks, a position Mullen reiterated Wednesday.

“We first need an appropriate basis for the resumption of talks,” he said. “There is none so long as North Korea persists in its illegal, ill-advised and dangerous behavior. I do not believe we should continue to reward that behavior with bargaining or new incentives.”

See http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-mullen-china-korea-20101209,0,6920379.story?track=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+latimes%2Fmostviewed+%28L.A.+Times+-+Most+Viewed+Stories%29

[16] See http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704138604576029240348016046.html?mod=WSJ_hp_LEFTTopStories; see also http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304879604575582343372934982.html?mod=WSJ_hp_LEFTTopStories (“A History of Korean Tensions”)

[17] Also, the Journal article stated:

With its Nov. 23 attack on Yeonpyeong Island and in statements since, North Korea has tried to effectively redraw a maritime border in the Yellow Sea that it has long disputed with South Korea. Four South Koreans, including two civilians, died in the attack.

North Korea claimed that waters around the island, into which South Korea has test-fired artillery since the mid-1970s, belong to it and that any South Korean military test amounts to an attack on its territory. South Korean officials insisted on continuing the drill on the island to assure that North Korea’s attack wouldn’t create a de facto change of its territory in the maritime border area.

. . .

North Korea’s statements caused more alarm in other countries than they did in South Korea, where North Korea’s rhetoric is part of the daily noise. Analysts in Seoul over the weekend noted that Pyongyang’s threats were issued by lower-level sources than the agencies affiliated with its dictator Kim Jong Il. As well, military officials said they saw no unusual preparations by the North’s military over the weekend.

As a result, no special precautions were ordered on South Korea’s mainland and in the capital city of Seoul, just 30 miles from the border, and business proceeded as usual Monday.

. . .

North Korea’s offer to restart international nuclear inspections may have less impact now after its announcement last month of a uranium enrichment program. When the North’s nuclear-weapons development work was confined to plutonium reprocessing, it was easy for inspectors to monitor.

But, analysts note the uranium program Pyongyang revealed last month is likely housed in multiple locations and easily hidden, making the inspections process less reliable as a means of holding North Korea to disarmament agreements.

See http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703886904576031232770698532.html?mod=WSJ_hp_MIDDLENexttoWhatsNewsForth

[18] See http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/nov/29/wikileaks-cables-china-reunified-korea

[19] See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/emp-attack-only-30-million-americans-survive/; see also https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/emp-attack-only-30-million-americans-survive/#comment-1170


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22 responses

22 12 2010
MadMax

The Warmongers Need your fear, it’s makes cash in thier pockets.

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24 12 2010
Jitendra Desai

Time for the world and the US to call North Korea’s [ and China’s] bluff.North Korea has been guilty of providing nuclear tech to Pakistan and Iran.What if all three got together in future to blackmail the entire world?

Punishing North Korea NOW will provide a test case and precedent for all future black mailers.

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29 12 2010
Nick Rebori

Fantastic piece. Another aspect you might like to consider covering in a future blog, is the Japanese reaction to the current Asian tension. For the first time that I can remember, members of the Japanese parliament are seriously considering developing nuclear weapons, in response to North Korea as well as Chinese support for them. I had not yet read the wikileak about China and North Korea, so I wonder if Japan will again shift position?

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29 12 2010
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you again, Nick.

Yes, you are correct about Japan. It is moving cautiously though.

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31 12 2010
Timothy D. Naegele

The World At War

Foreign Policy has a piece entitled, “Next Year’s Wars”—and subtitled, “The 16 brewing conflicts to watch for in 2011″—which is worth noting. However, it does not include a possible war on the Korean Peninsula, which might prove catastrophic.

See http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/12/28/next_years_wars?page=full and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/22/the-next-major-war-korea-again/; see also http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/the-rice-bowl/north-koreas-political-prisoners-200000-and-counting (“North Korea’s political prisoners: 200,000 and counting”) and http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1383718/Revealed-North-Koreas-huge-political-prisoner-camps-200-000-held-having-wrong-relatives.html (“Revealed: North Korea’s growing gulags where 200,000 are imprisoned and many don’t even know what they’re accused of”)

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2 07 2011
Timothy D. Naegele

The Future Still Belongs To America

This is the title of an important Wall Street Journal article by Professor Walter Russell Mead—subtitled, “This century will throw challenges at everyone[, but the] U.S. is better positioned to adapt than China, Europe or the Arab world”—which states in pertinent part the following:

It is, the pundits keep telling us, a time of American decline, of a post-American world. The 21st century will belong to someone else. Crippled by debt at home, hammered by the aftermath of a financial crisis, bloodied by long wars in the Middle East, the American Atlas can no longer hold up the sky. Like Britain before us, America is headed into an assisted-living facility for retired global powers.

This fashionable chatter could not be more wrong. Sure, America has big problems. Trillions of dollars in national debt and uncounted trillions more in off-the-books liabilities will give anyone pause. Rising powers are also challenging the international order even as our key Cold War allies sink deeper into decline.

But what is unique about the United States is not our problems. Every major country in the world today faces extraordinary challenges—and the 21st century will throw more at us. Yet looking toward the tumultuous century ahead, no country is better positioned to take advantage of the opportunities or manage the dangers than the United States.

Geopolitically, the doomsayers tell us, China will soon challenge American leadership throughout the world. Perhaps. But to focus exclusively on China is to miss how U.S. interests intersect with Asian realities in ways that cement rather than challenge the U.S. position in world affairs.

. . .

In Asia today China is rising—but so is India, another emerging nuclear superpower with a population on course to pass China’s. Vietnam, South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia and Australia are all vibrant, growing powers that have no intention of falling under China’s sway. Japan remains a formidable presence. . . . Asia today looks like an emerging multipolar region that no single country, however large and dynamic, can hope to control.

This fits American interests precisely. The U.S. has no interest in controlling Asia or in blocking economic prosperity that will benefit the entire Pacific basin, including our part of it. U.S. policy in Asia is not fighting the tide of China’s inexorable rise. Rather, our interests harmonize with the natural course of events. Life rarely moves smoothly and it is likely that Asia will see great political disturbances. But through it all, it appears that the U.S. will be swimming with, rather than against, the tides of history.

Around the world we have no other real rivals. Even the Europeans have stopped talking about a rising EU superpower. The specter of a clash of civilizations between the West and an Islamic world united behind fanatics like the unlamented Osama bin Laden is less likely than ever. Russia’s demographic decline and poor economic prospects (not to mention its concerns about Islamic radicalism and a rising China) make it a poor prospect as a rival superpower.

When it comes to the world of ideas, the American agenda will also be the global agenda in the 21st century.

. . .

Fascism, like Franco, is still dead. Communism lingers on life support in Pyongyang[, North Korea,] and a handful of other redoubts but shows no signs of regaining the power it has lost since 1989 and the Soviet collapse. “Islamic” fanaticism failed in Iraq, can only cling to power by torture and repression in Iran, and has been marginalized (so far) in the Arab Spring. Nowhere have the fanatics been able to demonstrate that their approach can protect the dignity and enhance the prosperity of people better than liberal capitalism.

. . .

Closer to home, Hugo Chavez and his Axis of Anklebiters are descending towards farce. The economic success of Chile and Brazil cuts the ground out from under the “Bolivarean” caudillos. They may strut and prance on the stage, appear with Fidel on TV and draw a crowd by attacking the Yanquis, but the dream of uniting South America into a great anticapitalist, anti-U.S. bloc is as dead as Che Guevara.

So the geopolitics are favorable and the ideological climate is warming. But on a still-deeper level this is shaping up to be an even more American century than the last. The global game is moving towards America’s home court.

The great trend of this century is the accelerating and deepening wave of change sweeping through every element of human life.

. . .

This tsunami of change affects every society—and turbulent politics in so many countries make for a turbulent international environment.

. . .

This challenge will not go away. On the contrary: It has increased, and it will go on increasing through the rest of our time. The 19th century was more tumultuous than its predecessor; the 20th was more tumultuous still, and the 21st [century] will be the fastest, most exhilarating and most dangerous ride the world has ever seen.

Everybody is going to feel the stress, but the United States of America is better placed to surf this transformation than any other country. Change is our home field. It is who we are and what we do. Brazil may be the country of the future, but America is its hometown.

See http://www.naegele.com/documents/TheFutureStillBelongstoAmerica.pdf (bold emphasis added); see also https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/26/america-a-rich-tapestry-of-life (“America: A Rich Tapestry Of Life”)

The only thing on the horizon that might dampen the American future that Professor Mead has described is a nation-ending EMP Attack, which might kill all except for 30 million Americans, and end any future that we might envision.

Query whether we are totally and absolutely protected against such an attack, or whether America’s “prince of darkness”—and its consummate narcissistic demagogue, “Hamlet on the Potomac” and “Jimmy Carter-lite”—Barack Obama, is weakening our great nation’s military strength in ways that will dramatically change the course of history?

See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/emp-attack-only-30-million-americans-survive/; see also https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/barack-obama-is-a-lame-duck-president-who-will-not-be-reelected/

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29 05 2012
Timothy D. Naegele

US Special Forces ‘Parachuted Into North Korea’

This is the title of an article in the UK’s Telegraph, which is subtitled: “US and South Korean special forces have been parachuting into North Korea to gather intelligence about underground military installations, according to a senior US officer.” The article states:

Army Brigadier General Neil Tolley, commander of US special forces in South Korea, told a conference held in Florida last week that Pyongyang had built thousands of tunnels since the Korean war, The Diplomat reported.

“The entire tunnel infrastructure is hidden from our satellites,” Gen Tolley said. “So we send (South Korean) soldiers and US soldiers to the North to do special reconnaissance.”

“After 50 years, we still don’t know much about the capability and full extent of the underground facilities,” he said, in comments reported by the National Defense Industrial Association’s magazine on its website.

Gen Tolley said the commandos were sent in with minimal equipment to facilitate their movements and minimize the risk of detection by North Korean forces.

At least four of the tunnels built by Pyongyang go under the Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Korea, Tolley said.

“We don’t know how many we don’t know about,” he admitted.

Among the facilities identified are 20 air fields that are partially underground, and thousands of artillery positions.

In February, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported that [North Korea] had built at least two new tunnels at a nuclear testing site, likely in preparation for a new test.

See http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/northkorea/9296587/US-special-forces-parachuted-into-North-Korea.html

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28 01 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

North Korean Parents Eating Their Own Children After Being Driven Mad By Hunger In Famine-Hit Pariah State

This is the title of an article in the UK’s Daily Mail, which states in pertinent part:

A starving man in North Korea has been executed after murdering his two children for food, reports from inside the secretive state claim.

A ‘hidden famine’ in the farming provinces of North and South Hwanghae is believed to have killed up to 10,000 people and there are fears that incidents of cannibalism have risen.

The grim story is just one to emerge as residents battle starvation after a drought hit farms and shortages were compounded by party officials confiscating food.

Undercover reporters from Asia Press told the Sunday Times that one man dug up his grandchild’s corpse and ate it. Another, boiled his own child for food.

. . .

One informant was quoted as saying: ‘In my village in May a man who killed his own two children and tried to eat them was executed by a firing squad.’

The informant said the father killed his eldest daughter while his wife was away on business and then killed his son because he had witnessed the murder.

When his wife returned the man told her they had ‘meat’ but she became suspicious and contacted officials who discovered part of the children’s bodies.

Jiro Ishimaru, from Asia Press, which compiled a 12 page report, said: ‘Particularly shocking were the numerous testimonies that hit us about cannibalism.’

. . .

North Korea was hit by a terrible famine in the 1990s—known as the Arduous March—which killed between 240,000 and 3.5million people.

See http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2269094/North-Korean-parents-eat-children-driven-mad-hunger-famine-hit-pariah-state.html

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12 02 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

North Korean Nuclear Test: Serious Threat To US

Kim Jong-un

In a BBC article—which is subtitled, “North Korean military ambitions are a ‘serious threat’ to the US, outgoing Pentagon chief Leon Panetta has said”—it has been reported:

In a speech made after Pyongyang carried out its third nuclear test, Mr Panetta likened the North to Iran, describing them as “rogue states”.

In New York, the UN Security Council “strongly condemned” the nuclear test.

The council said it would begin work on measures against North Korea, after UN chief Ban Ki-moon said the test was a “clear and grave violation”.

Earlier, Pyongyang said “even stronger” action might follow, saying its test was a response to US “hostility”.

North Korea warned the US in advance that it intended to conduct a nuclear test, the state department said, but did not say when it would happen.

US President Barack Obama spoke to his South Korean counterpart Lee Myung-bak to coordinate a response.

He “unequivocally reaffirmed” the US defence commitment to South Korea, “including the extended deterrence offered by the US nuclear umbrella,” the White House said.

Nuclear test monitors in Vienna say the underground explosion had double the force of the last test, in 2009, despite the use of a device said by the North to be smaller.

If a smaller device was indeed tested, analysts said this could take Pyongyang closer to building a warhead small enough to arm a missile.

UN sanctions on North Korea were expanded after the secretive communist state launched a rocket in December, in a move condemned by the UN as a banned test of missile technology.

‘Stern’ message

North Korea’s latest nuclear test comes as senators in Washington prepare for the first votes on whether to confirm Chuck Hagel as successor to current Defence Secretary Leon Panetta.

In a farewell speech at the Pentagon, Mr Panetta said the US would continue to be tested by unpredictable regimes in years to come.

“We’re going to have to deal with weapons of mass destruction and the proliferation. We’re going to have to continue with rogue states like Iran and North Korea.

“We just saw what North Korea’s done in these last few weeks – a missile test and now a nuclear test. They represent a serious threat to the United States of America. We’ve got to be prepared to deal with that.”

President Obama, who is to make his State of the Union speech later, called the test a “highly provocative act” and called for “swift” and “credible” international action in response.

China, North Korea’s main ally and a veto-wielding member of the Security Council, summoned North Korea’s ambassador to Beijing to express its concern over the test.

. . .

The Vienna-based Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation said the “explosion-like event” was twice as big as the 2009 test, which was in turn bigger than that in 2006.

It is the first such test under new leader Kim Jong-un, who took over the leadership after his father Kim Jong-il died in December 2011.

The BBC’s Lucy Williamson, in Seoul, says the trouble, as ever, is what the international community can do in response without triggering an even bigger crisis – North Korea is already tied up in layers of sanctions which do not seem to have any impact.

She adds that some in Washington have talked of maybe targeting North Korean financial interests, but the only real pressure is seen to lie with China.

By defying the UN and launching its nuclear test now, our correspondent says, Pyongyang is giving the new leadership in Beijing a very public test of its own.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-21429544

In terms of America’s vital and strategic self interests and national security, Iran pales beside the threat that North Korea represents.

See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/emp-attack-only-30-million-americans-survive/ (“EMP Attack: Only 30 Million Americans Survive“); see also https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/the-madness-of-benjamin-netanyahu/#comment-2407

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7 03 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

North Korea Says It Will Launch Nuclear Attack On America

In an article subtitled, “NORTH Korea led by tyrant Kim Jong-un has sensationally vowed to launch a NUCLEAR attack on the USA,” the UK’s Sun has reported:

The provocative statement comes weeks after the country conducted underground nuclear tests which caused a massive earthquake.

America’s west coast cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco are feared to be in Kim’s sights.

A foreign ministry spokesman said: “Since the United States is about to ignite a nuclear war, we will be exercising our right to pre-emptive nuclear attack against the headquarters of the aggressor in order to protect our supreme interest.”

. . .

On Tuesday North Korea threatend to scrap the armistice that ended the 1950-53 war with South Korea.

And it criticised military exercises between the US and South Korea. Pyongyang said it was shutting off a military hotline with the US and South Korea.

North Korea’s KCNA agency quoting a military source said: “We will completely nullify the Korean armistice”.

Last month the world was put on high alert when North Korea carried out its biggest nuclear blast yet.

The giant underground explosion caused an earthquake with a magnitude of 4.9.

The banned blast—which took place in the remote, snowy, north-east of the country—drew global outrage, even from Pyongyang’s only major ally China.

The actual device was thought to be smaller than those in two earlier tests—raising fears that the crackpot Communist state is close to its aim of perfecting a missile capable of hitting its number one enemy the US.

. . .

In February North Korea poached Michael Jackson’s peace anthem We Are the World to soundtrack a chilling video showing a US city under missile attack.

The bizarre footage was uploaded on the secretive state’s official webpage.

The propaganda movie depicts a smiling lad dreaming of a regime rocket being launched into the air and travelling to America.

The three-and-a-half minute vid[eo] then showed a mystery city full of skyscrapers being attacked with multiple explosions, while the Stars and Stripes flag flutters in the background.

See http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4829035/north-korea-says-it-will-launch-nuclear-attack-on-america.html (emphasis added); see also http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2288445/Kim-Jong-Un-North-Korea-vows-end-ceasefire-South-Korea-revenge-nuclear-test-punishments.html (“North Korea threatens U.S. with ‘thermonuclear war’: Rogue nation vows to launch attacks ‘at any time’ in revenge for sanctions”) and http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2290052/North-Korea-cancels-peace-pact-South-revenge-tough-UN-sanctions-threatens-thermonuclear-war-US.html (“‘Prepare for all-out war’: Kim Jong Un vows to attack South Korea as he cancels peace pact in revenge for tough UN sanctions“) and http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323826704578353710011020122.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_MIDDLENexttoWhatsNewsThird (“North Korea Declares War Truce ‘Invalid’“) and http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/03/15/17327806-us-to-deploy-more-ground-based-missile-interceptors-as-north-korea-steps-up-threats?lite (“US to deploy more ground-based missiles as North Korea steps up threats“)

To some in this world, the destruction of San Francisco (e.g., the Gay capital of the United States) and LA (e.g., the global center of far-Left, immoral “entertainment”) would be the 21st Century equivalent of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah—which were completely consumed by fire and brimstone.

See also https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/08/earthquakes-the-big-one-is-coming-to-at-least-los-angeles/ (“Earthquakes: The Big One Is Coming To At Least Los Angeles”)

. . .

As reported by the UK’s Sun, North Korea has released a video that depicts 150,000 U.S. prisoners taken in a Blitzkrieg or lightning war that would overrun South Korea:

The bizarre mocked-up footage—released on the secretive state’s official website—imagines a full-scale war against the South and a quick victory inside three days.

US Navy ships in the region would be destroyed and thousands of troops and expats would be held prisoner according to the nightmare scenario.

The four-minute film, titled A Short, Three-Day War, starts with images of a massive rocket and artillery bombardment.

Tanks and infantry—carrying huge Communist banners—are then seen streaming across a snowy landscape towards Seoul amid dramatic Hollywood style explosions.

A male narrator describes different stages of the invasion, including the destruction of forces under the US Pacific Command with “powerful weapons of mass destruction.”

The video shows pictures of an American aircraft carrier, and images of the Seoul skyline superimposed with footage of paratroopers and North Korean military aircraft.

The narrator says: “The crack stormtroops will occupy Seoul and other cities and take 150,000 US citizens as hostages.”

The video was posted on the North’s official website, Uriminzokkiri, which distributes news and propaganda from the state media.

A video released early last month showed New York in flames after an apparent missile attack, and another two weeks later depicted US soldiers and President Barack Obama burning in the flames of a nuclear blast.

And earlier this week, another video showed the dome of the US Capitol building in Washington exploding in a fireball.

The latest offering from the Pyongyang propaganda department comes during escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Kim jong-un’s brutal regime has threatened strikes on US military bases in Japan and Guam, and is trying to build nuclear armed ballistic missiles that could hit Europe.

See http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4854885/nightmare-of-150000-us-prisoners-in-new-north-korean-propaganda-video.html; see also http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2297677/North-Korea-propaganda-video-shows-troops-taking-150-000-US-hostages-destroying-South-Korea.html and http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2300964/North-Korea-revealed-Inside-Kim-Jong-Uns-war-room-signs-plan-attack-US-mainland.html (“Kim Jong Un reveals his ‘U.S. mainland strike plan’: Pictures inside North Korean leader’s war room show him plotting to attack America (with a map of target cities on the wall behind him)“) and http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Military/2013/0329/North-Korea-What-happens-if-Kim-Jong-un-acts-on-his-threats (“In the event that the ‘bellicose rhetoric’ of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un turns into something more serious, the opening hours of conflict could be ‘pretty ugly,’ defense analysts warn“) and http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/03/31/17543980-us-navy-shifts-destroyer-in-wake-of-north-korea-missile-threats?lite (“South Korean President Park Geun-hye appeared to give her country’s military permission to strike back at any attack from the North without further word from Seoul”—”‘As commander-in-chief of the armed forces, I will trust the military’s judgment on abrupt and surprise provocations by North Korea,’ she said“)

. . .

ABC News has reported:

Gen. James Thurman, the top U.S. commander in South Korea, said that in his two years on the job he has never seen things as tense as they are right now, telling ABC News the situation on the Korean peninsula as “volatile” and “dangerous.”

Thurman said in his exclusive interview with ABC News that his ” job is to prevent war,” but that his greatest fear is a “miscalculation” that causes “a kinetic provocation.” In military parlance, kinetic refers to combat.

Thurman said North Korea’s recent rhetoric has made the situation on the Korean peninsula “a dangerous period,” but he added, “I think we’re managing it quite well because on this side of the line we’re very calm. And we’re confident.”

Thurman commands the 28,500 American military forces based in South Korea and also serves as the commander of United Nations Command.

. . .

While he described North Korea’s missiles as their largest threat, Thurman pointed across the DMZ and noted “there’s 14,000 tubes of artillery just across this line beyond that far mountain range over there.” That artillery poses a direct threat to Seoul, the South Korean capital which is located just 27 miles from the DMZ.

See http://abcnews.go.com/International/us-general-north-korea-situation-volatile-dangerous/story?id=18863864&singlePage=true#.UVtV27vLjZ- (emphasis added); see also http://www.latimes.com/news/world/worldnow/la-fg-wn-north-korea-danger-20130402,0,7973635.story (North Korea analyst: “[T]his is one of the most dangerous moments since 1953”“) and http://thehill.com/video/house/291579-rep-king-us-could-make-preemptive-strike-on-north-korea (“Rep. Peter King: US could make preemptive strike on North Korea“) and http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gpuimXzka5inwGnL0c9vZsbQ54fw?docId=CNG.4eb43e27607cb9d4be6b952b88ddefeb.01 (NORTH KOREA APPROVES ‘MERCILESS’ NUKE ATTACK ON US) and http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2303227/North-Korea-says-approval-use-cutting-edge-nuclear-weapons-United-States-merciless-attack-just-hours-Chuck-Hagel-calls-clear-present-danger.html (“North Korea says it has approval to use its ‘cutting edge’ nuclear weapons against the United States in a ‘merciless’ attack just hours after Chuck Hagel calls them a ‘clear and present danger’“) and http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4874435/north-korea-moves-second-missile-to-east-coast.html (“North Korea tells Brit diplomats to get out—then sets chilling April 10 deadline“) and http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/391376/North-Korea-states-nuclear-war-is-unavoidable-as-it-declares-first-target-will-be-Japan (“North Korea states ‘nuclear war is unavoidable’ as it declares first target will be Japan“)

. . .

It is only possible to deal with rash actors and actions if one’s opponent is rational if not sane.

We learned from Pearl Harbor and 9/11 that there are enemies in this world who want to destroy the United States, and are willing to defy conventional norms. One such actor is North Korea under Kim Jong-un.

He could launch an invasion of the south that would be tantamount to a Blitzkrieg, killing or taking American military personnel as prisoners, and overrunning our South Korean ally. He could launch missiles against Japan and American forces in the Pacific that would be devastating.

The U.S. would have to act quickly, and the only real deterrents are nuclear strikes against the command and control in North Korea, and against key military targets and forces massed against us and our ally.

No amount of talking would have prevented Pearl Harbor or 9/11, and the same may be true this time. Indeed, a massive strike against the North may prevent a “Pearl Harbor” that reaches American cities, including but not limited to a nation-ending EMP Attack.

See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/emp-attack-only-30-million-americans-survive/ (“EMP Attack: Only 30 Million Americans Survive“)

. . .

North Korea has always eclipsed Iran as a nuclear-arms threat to the United States, except in the mind of Benjamin Netanyahu—who has been the greatest threat to peace in the Middle East, and has continuously sought to provoke America into a third war in the region.

As I have written:

The path on which Netanyahu is leading the Israelis is fraught with peril for their tiny Jewish nation . . . and potentially for Jews worldwide. He is determined to take the United States and the American people on the “joy ride” with him, which is utter madness.

See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/the-madness-of-benjamin-netanyahu/ (see also the comments beneath the article)

Barack Obama should leave Israel to sink or swim, alone; and turn his attention to where it really counts for Americans, which is not Iran.

Also, as I have written:

I am an American nationalist, not a Jew or Israeli, or a Palestinian. . . . I do not have any allegiance to another country.

See also https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/20/israels-senseless-killings-and-war-with-iran/#comment-544

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26 09 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Putin’s Macho Posturing Obscures Russia’s Continuing Decline, And Prevents Action To Avert It

This is the conclusion reached in a fascinating article by Richard Spencer, which appears in the UK’s Telegraph:

As time passes, the more it becomes apparent, as it should have been from the start, that the Russian “triumph” over America on the chemical weapons deal in Syria was an illusion. Vladimir Putin is driving Russia ever deeper into a mire in Syria. The conflict is repeatedly compared to the Iraq war, but the comparison with Afghanistan is much closer. Some have called it “Iran’s Vietnam” but there’s a chance it may become Russia’s Afghanistan all over again. President Obama’s decision to call off air and missile strikes in return for a chemical weapons deal may have been a short-term tactical win for Mr Putin, in that America was stopped, for now, from intervening in Russia’s “patch” (though such an intervention was beginning to look less and less likely anyway). That is one stated goal of Mr Putin. His longer-term goal is to frustrate American expansionism (what Washington likes to see as the spread of Western democratic values).

. . .

We have been told in Britain to worry about hardened jihadists returning from Syria (or Somalia) to strike back home. Yet we are no longer such a target as we were, having pulled out of Iraq, and being about to pull out of Afghanistan. Yet jihadists are being regularly told to focus on the insurgencies in those parts of the Russian Caucasus home to Muslim populations, such as Chechnya, Ingushetya and Daghestan. Remember Beslan? And this is before Russia is sucked militarily into the conflict. A good opportunity for that will come if, as its foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov has promised, it provides troops to defend the chemical weapons inspectors tasked with dealing with the chemical weapons programme under the UN-sponsored deal.

. . . Russian prestige in its announcement depended on the outside world listening to two very strong messages—without noticing that they were contradictory. One, repeated by Vladimir Putin in his article for The New York Times, was that President Assad was innocent of using chemical weapons and that it was the opposition’s doing. The second was that Russia had scored a hit in persuading Mr Assad to give up his chemical weapons. There will be some who are so determined to deny Mr Assad’s guilt that they will insist that this was some act of extraordinary benevolence by both leaders—a supreme example of turning the other cheek, to be the victim of a chemical weapons attack and give up your own in response.

However, if that is the case, the implicit agreement must be that Russia will defend Assad to the end, having taken away its ultimate deterrent, and that Russia has tied its own fortunes to the regime, as it unwittingly did in Afghanistan in the 1980s. It is far more likely, it seems to me, that Russia is convinced that the Aug 21 attack was the work of Mr Assad and that giving up his chemical weapons was its own (despairing) demand in return for continued support. There’s an interesting anecdote (among many) in a New Yorker profile this week of the head of the Iranian al-Quds force in which US intelligence agencies in December saw Assad troops loading up chemical weapons, and, via Russia and Iran, had the attack stopped. It’s unverifiable—of course—but it makes much more sense to see Russia as also tearing its hair out over its Syrian protégé (even Putin has given hints of that). Now Mr Putin has been handed the Syrian brief, but it is one he cannot now win. Russia will be vilified for Assad’s crimes; but if Assad somehow wins—or at least stays in some sort of power—it is Iran whose interests will be preserved. It is not clear, any more, what interests Russia has in Syria, other than pride, and it can’t have a lot of that, can it?

So much for Syria, but that’s just one strategic loss suffered by Mr Putin. It is often said that he is more determined to oppose a UN resolution over Syria because he allowed one over Libya and felt cheated when the West used it to help topple Col Gaddafi. This argument has always seemed odd to me since it was perfectly obvious at the time that this was the intention of the UN resolution Britain and France pushed through, but it remains the case that the fall of Gaddafi also represented the death of someone else who—like Saddam before him—was an albeit eccentric and unreliable part-client of Russia (at least of its arms industry). Of course it needs to defend Assad—from Ceaucescu to Gaddafi, the final moments of Russian proteges have not been pretty. Meanwhile, while Mr Putin’s attention was turned elsewhere, he’s losing elsewhere too: see this Economist article) for how Russia is being replaced by China as the leading influence in Moscow’s former Central Asian colonies.

There is little evidence, to me, that by the time Mr Putin does eventually retire, he will have restored Russia’s place in the world. Much more likely, that his macho posturing will be seen to have obscured Russia’s continuing decline, and prevented action to prevent it. The worst that can be said of President Obama meanwhile is that he is making the same mistake in Syria as President George Bush senior (allegedly) did in Afghanistan. Mrs Thatcher’s famous warning about Mr Bush (“don’t go wobbly, George!) could certainly apply to his current successor. By standing aside as Syria burns in the fallout from the growing inability of Russia to control its fiefdoms, he may well be setting aside trouble for later. Assad is unlikely to win back his northern kingdom, which could easily become a lawless centre for al-Qaeda operations, as Afghanistan did. But the truth is that strategically America has little to lose. It still has its key Middle East allies—Israel, the Gulf states. If a consensus with Iran is formed, unlikely I know but not to be ruled out, it could find its position strengthened, even if conflict continues in Syria. It will not be lost on Russia that if some sort of deal is done allowing Iranian oil back on to the market, prices will fall and its own oil-dependent economy will be in jeopardy. And what of Assad? Will he not be strengthened by this deal? It hardly seems likely. The rebels are still as near to the centre of Damascus as they were on Aug 21. They still control large parts of the country. . . .

See http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/richardspencer/100237864/its-russia-not-america-that-has-most-to-fear-in-syria/ (“It’s Russia, not America, that has most to fear in Syria”); see also http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/12/opinion/putin-plea-for-caution-from-russia-on-syria.html (Putin: “A Plea for Caution From Russia”) and http://www.economist.com/news/asia/21586304-vast-region-chinas-economic-clout-more-match-russias-rising-china-sinking (“Rising China, sinking Russia”)

The article’s bottom line—”Vladimir Putin is driving Russia ever deeper into a mire in Syria”—is worth noting.

Down deep, Barack Obama is a pacifist. In his seminal book, “Dreams from My Father”—which discusses almost every aspect of his life, and sets forth his core beliefs—there is no hint of any militarism or global ambitions.

See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/

Because Obama has hated Apartheid in South Africa and British imperialism with a passion—and he made this crystal clear in his book, and by getting rid of the bust of Winston Churchill as one of his first acts as president—one can understand why he has drawn back from any strikes against Syria or confrontation with Iran.

He will not “carry water” for Benjamin Netanyahu because, on some level, he views the Israeli leader with the same disdain that Putin enjoys. Also, Obama hates the Israeli Apartheid and oppression of the Palestinians.

It is doubtful that Obama will ever intervene militarily in Syria, or Iran, because the American people do not want to be involved in any more wars in the Middle East. Obama understands this, which is consistent with his own innate pacifism.

Most Americans are “America-centric,” and only care about what is in the best interests of the United States. They do not have any allegiance to another country—especially Israel.

Next, Spencer’s observation is worth repeating:

There is little evidence, to me, that by the time Mr Putin does eventually retire, he will have restored Russia’s place in the world. Much more likely, that his macho posturing will be seen to have obscured Russia’s continuing decline, and prevented action to prevent it.

Amen!

Lastly, America’s attention has shifted to the Pacific, and rightly so. China is our greatest threat in the future, with Russia and North Korea behind it—not the Middle East.

See, e.g., http://freebeacon.com/russia-china-hold-large-scale-war-games/ (“Russia, China Hold Large-Scale War Games”); see also https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/china-is-americas-enemy-make-no-mistake-about-that/ (“China Is America’s Enemy: Make No Mistake About That”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/russias-putin-is-a-killer/ (“Russia’s Putin Is A Killer”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/22/the-next-major-war-korea-again/ (“The Next Major War: Korea Again?”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/emp-attack-only-30-million-americans-survive/ (“EMP Attack: Only 30 Million Americans Survive”)

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12 11 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

North Korea Executes 80, Some For Minor Offenses

The Los Angeles Times has reported:

North Korea staged gruesome public executions of 80 people this month, some for offenses as minor as watching South Korean entertainment videos or being found in possession of a Bible, a South Korean newspaper reported Monday.

The daily JoongAng Ilbo attributed the mass executions to a single, unidentified source, but at least one other news agency, run by North Korean defectors, reported hearing rumors of the killings in seven cities across the reclusive country.

Authorities in Wonsan, a port on North Korea’s eastern coast that is being transformed into a resort in hopes of attracting foreign investment to the impoverished country, gathered more than 10,000 residents in a stadium and forced them to watch the firing-squad executions, the newspaper reported.

The condemned were lashed to poles, hooded, then sprayed with machine-gun fire, JoongAng Ilbo quoted its source, who reportedly is familiar with North Korean internal affairs and recently returned from the country.

“I heard from the residents that they watched in terror as the corpses were so riddled by machine-gun fire that they were hard to identify afterwards,” the source was quoted as saying.

If confirmed, the mass execution would be the most brutal step known to have been taken by the country’s 30-year-old leader, Kim Jong Un, who came to power two years ago after the death of his father, Kim Jong Il.

The South Korean newspaper, one of the country’s largest and most influential, noted that the executions occurred in cities where the communist leadership is attempting to create entities that can earn hard currency and may have been intended to intimidate workers who stray from the regime’s dictatorial social strictures.

Some of those put to death had been charged with disseminating pornography, JoongAng Ilbo said it was told by its source.

In August, Kim was reported to have ordered the executions of a dozen entertainers from the Unhasu Orchestra and the Wangjaesan Light Music Band, including ex-girlfriend Hyon Song Wol. Chosun Ilbo, another leading South Korean daily, said the troupe members reportedly filmed themselves having sex and sold the videos on the black market to earn money.

Monday’s report said a South Korean official with business in the North had been told by North Korean authorities that an investigation into the Unhasu affair suggested Kim’s wife had been involved in similar prohibited activities. The source suggested that the entertainers were executed to prevent disparaging accounts from circulating about the first lady’s behavior.

None of those executed on Nov. 3 had been accused of capital crimes, which under North Korean law include sedition, treason and terrorism, the newspaper said. But it added that public executions are often carried out as a way of discouraging interest in what the regime considers corrupting foreign influence, which can include using a cellphone, religious proselytizing or viewing pornography.

“The regime is obviously afraid of potential changes in people’s mind-sets and is preemptively trying to scare people off,” said an official of the defector-run North Korea Intellectual Solidarity website, Agence France-Presse reported.

None of the executions were reported to have occurred in Pyongyang, the capital, where the regime nurtures a loyal following among the small elites by focusing its meager development resources on the city.

See http://www.latimes.com/world/worldnow/la-fg-wn-north-korea-executes-80-20131111,0,2954869.story#axzz2kPr2chvk; see also http://bigstory.ap.org/article/nkorea-executes-kim-jong-un-uncle (“NKOREA EXECUTES LEADER’S UNCLE AS A TRAITOR“) and http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/northkorea/10515047/North-Korea-executes-Kim-Jong-uns-uncle-as-a-traitor.html and http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303932504579254632008825604?mod=WSJ_hps_LEFTTopStories&mg=reno64-wsj (“North Korea said the uncle of dictator Kim Jong Un, who was until recently the country’s de facto No. 2 official, was executed for trying to overthrow the government”)

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10 12 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Barack Obama Is Gutting Our Military Forces, Which Will Affect Our National Security For Decades To Come

Obama Guts Our Military

As I wrote more than four years ago:

International terrorism and other very real national security concerns still loom, which might produce flashpoints at any time. We have enemies who seek to destroy us—a fact that is sometimes forgotten as 9/11 recedes in our memories. While it might be attractive . . . to take a “meat ax” to the Defense Department, it would be foolhardy to gut our military precisely when it has been performing magnificently and its continued strength is needed most. America’s economic and military strength go hand in hand. Both are indispensable ingredients of our great nation’s future strength.

See http://www.realclearpolitics.com/news/tms/politics/2009/Apr/08/euphoria_or_the_obama_depression_.html (“Euphoria or the Obama Depression?”); see also https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3125 (“Obama Accused Of Military Purge”)

John Lehman, who was secretary of the Navy in the Reagan administration and a member of the 9/11 Commission, has written in the Wall Street Journal:

As we lament the lack of strategic direction in American foreign policy, it is useful to remember the classic aphorism that diplomatic power is the shadow cast by military power. The many failures and disappointments of American policy in recent years, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Russia and Iran are symptoms of the steady shrinkage of the shadow cast by American military power and the fading credibility and deterrence that depends on it.

Although current U.S. spending on defense adjusted for inflation has been higher than at the height of the Reagan administration, it has been producing less than half of the forces and capabilities of those years. Instead of a 600-ship Navy, we now have a 280-ship Navy, although the world’s seas have not shrunk and our global dependence has grown. Instead of Reagan’s 20-division Army, we have only 10-division equivalents. The Air Force has fewer than half the number of fighters and bombers it had 30 years ago.

Apologists for the shrinkage argue that today’s ships and aircraft are far more capable than those of the ’80s and ’90s. That is as true as “you can keep your health insurance.”

While today’s LCSs—the littoral-class ships that operate close to shore—have their uses, they are far less capable than the Perry-class frigates that they replace. Our newest Aegis ships have been upgraded to keep pace with the newest potential missile threats, but their capability against modern submarines has slipped.

Air Force fighter planes today average 28 years old. Although they have been upgraded to keep pace with the latest aircraft of their potential adversaries, they have no greater relative advantage than they had when they were new. There are merely far fewer of them in relation to the potential threat. In deterrence, quantity has a quality all its own.

There is one great numerical advantage the U.S. has against potential adversaries, however. That is the size of our defense bureaucracy. While the fighting forces have steadily shrunk by more than half since the early 1990s, the civilian and uniformed bureaucracy has more than doubled. According to the latest figures, there are currently more than 1,500,000 full-time civilian employees in the Defense Department—800,000 civil servants and 700,000 contract employees. Today, more than half of our active-duty servicemen and women serve in offices on staffs. The number of various Joint Task Force staffs, for instance, has grown since 1987 from seven to more than 250, according to the Defense Business Board.

The constant growth of the bureaucracy has resulted from reform initiatives from Congress and by executive order, each of which established a new office or expanded an existing one. These new layers have accumulated every year since the founding of the Department of Defense in 1947. Unlike private businesses—disciplined by the market—which require constant pruning and overhead reduction to stay profitable, each expansion of the bureaucracy is, to paraphrase President Reagan, the nearest thing to eternal life to be found on earth.

The Pentagon, like Marley’s ghost, must drag this ever-growing burden of chains without relief. As a result something close to paralysis is approaching. The suffocating bloat of overstaffing in an overly centralized web of bureaucracies drives runaway cost growth in weapons systems great and small. Whereas the immensely complex Polaris missile and submarine system took four years from a draft requirement until its first operational patrol in February 1960, today the average time for all weapons procured under Defense Department acquisition regulations is 22 years.

The latest Government Accountability Office report, released in October, estimates that there is $411 billion of unfunded cost growth in current Pentagon programs, almost as much as the entire 10 years of sequester cuts if they continue. The result has been unilateral disarmament.

What is to be done? As with most great issues, the solution is simple, the execution difficult. First, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel must be supported in his announced intention to cut the bureaucracy of uniformed and civilian by at least 20%. Each 7,000 civilian reductions saves at least $5 billion over five years. Second, clear lines of authority and accountability, now dissipated through many bureaucratic entities, must be restored to a defined hierarchy of human beings with names. Third, real competition for production contracts must be re-established as the rule not the exception. Fourth, weapons programs must be designed to meet an established cost and canceled if they begin to exceed it.

While sequester is an act of desperation that adds more uncertainty to an already dysfunctional system, it does seem to be acting as a spur to focus Congress on the urgent need to stop our unilateral disarmament by making deep cuts in bureaucratic overhead throughout the Pentagon, uniformed and civilian.

The way forward for Republicans is not to default to their traditional solution, which is simply to fight sequester cuts and increase the defense budget. Instead, Republicans should concentrate on slashing and restructuring our dysfunctional and bloated defense bureaucracy. With strong defense chairmen on House and Senate committees already sympathetic to the overhead issue, and a willing secretary of defense, this Congress can do it. That will place the blame for the consequences of sequester and the earlier $500 billion Obama cuts squarely where it belongs, on the president and the Democrats.

The way will thereby be prepared for Republican victory in the 2016 elections based on a Reagan-like rebuilding mandate that can actually be carried out by a newly streamlined and more agile Defense Department.

See http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303562904579227842506498188 (“More Bureaucrats, Fewer Jets and Ships”) (emphasis added)

I respectfully disagree with Lehman. Obama and Hagel seek to gut our military, not make it more efficient. The Pentagon has always been bureaucratic. In fact, it is the only portion of American government that functions effectively and relatively efficiently. It must be strengthened; and we must stop Obama’s unilateral disarmament.

Obamacare is destroying our national health care system—or one-sixth of the American economy. Obama must not be allowed to destroy the U.S. military. Our very survival depends on it!

See, e.g., https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3156 (“Why Liberals Are Panicked About Obamacare”); see also https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/emp-attack-only-30-million-americans-survive/ (“EMP Attack: Only 30 Million Americans Survive“) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/china-is-americas-enemy-make-no-mistake-about-that/ (“China Is America’s Enemy: Make No Mistake About That“) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/russias-putin-is-a-killer/ (“Russia’s Putin Is A Killer“) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/22/the-next-major-war-korea-again/ (“The Next Major War: Korea Again?“) (see also the comments beneath the articles)

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15 12 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Portrait Of A Butcher: Kim Jong-un Is North Korea’s Stalin

Kim Jong-un the Butcher

The UK’s Daily Mail has an article about North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, which should be read by everyone who seeks to understand the country and its brutal boy leader:

On Thursday, in a plain courtroom in the centre of the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, a 67-year-old man called Jang Song Thaek was sentenced to death as a traitor to his country.

His ‘crime’, according to the special military tribunal of the country’s Ministry of State Security, was to attempt ‘to overthrow the state by all sorts of intrigues and despicable methods with a wild ambition to grab the supreme power’.

In its announcement of the sentence, the North Korean regime did not mince its words. Jang was ‘despicable human scum’, who was ‘worse than a dog’.

Furthermore, he ‘perpetrated thrice-cursed acts of treachery in betrayal of such profound trust and warmest paternal love shown by the Party and the leader for him’.

His supposed crimes against the regime included having ‘improper relations with several women’ and having ‘wined and dined at back parlours of deluxe restaurants’.

In addition, Jang was said to have ‘squandered foreign currency at casinos while he was receiving medical treatment in a foreign country under the care of the party’.

Worst of all perhaps, in the twisted logic of this supposed workers’ paradise, was that Jang was guilty of ‘such factional acts as dreaming different dreams’.

After supposedly admitting to his crimes, Jang was immediately executed, apparently by firing squad—further evidence, said Prime Minister David Cameron’s spokesman, of the ‘extreme brutality of the North Korean regime’. Yesterday, pictures of this broken man being led to his death were beamed around the world, in a rare and graphic display of the workings of this highly secretive nation.

These images followed those showing Jang being dramatically dragged away from a meeting of the ruling Politburo last Sunday, and his subsequent airbrushing from all official photographs.

However, what the regime’s official report fails to mention was that Jang, as well as being one the most senior leaders of the government, was also the uncle of the country’s 30-year-old despot, Kim Jong-un.

This brutal inter-familial conflict marks the culmination of what has been an extraordinary week in North Korea, one which has forced the world once again to ask the questions—how much of a threat to world peace is this rogue state that’s busy creating nuclear weapons, and who exactly is Kim Jong-un?

As the world’s youngest head of state, there is no doubt that he is shaping up to be the very model of a modern dictator.

. . .

In fact, he is behaving in a way that many people would if they were born into a family that is the subject of an extreme personality cult: his father and grandfather were both long-time leaders of North Korea before him.

Like any Mafia boss or medieval warlord presiding over a crumbling territory, Kim’s first priority is simply to stay in power. And to do that, like any sane man, he is creating the spectres of enemies within—such as his uncle—and enemies without, such as the United States, which he has threatened in recent months with a pre-emptive nuclear strike, a piece of absurd muscle-flexing purely designed to raise his prestige at home.

To deal with the enemies within—regardless of their innocence or guilt—Kim publicly strips them of office, and then has them liquidated and airbrushed from official photographs.

For Kim, the best enemies within to choose to vilify are those closest to him—such as his uncle—because this gives the public the impression that the enemy is very capable and dangerous. And in order to foster a sense of terror, the executions of these ‘enemies’ are often gruesome.

Less than a year after he came to power in December 2011, Kim had his deputy defence minister, Kim Chol, killed by army mortar rounds for disrespecting a period of mourning for his father’s death.

The condemned man was told to stand in a deserted spot on an army range where North Korean troops regularly carried out manoeuvres. Mortar shells then zeroed in on him and he was blown to pieces—or ‘obliterated’, as the South Korean media reported it.

Kim Jong-un had ordered that ‘no trace of him, down to his hair’ should remain.

This week, the South Korean government confirmed long-standing rumours that its northern neighbour had publicly machine-gunned members of a female musical group, Unhasu Orchestra—which included his ex-girlfriend—apparently for watching pornography and filming themselves naked. (Intriguingly, Kim’s current wife, whose name is Ri Sol-ju, was a former singer with the group.)

The number of mass public executions have soared—with estimates of between 40 to 80 so far this year in towns across the country, when last year the total was under 20.

It is compulsory for the public to attend these gruesome spectacles—even for children as young as seven.

Judges have pronounced sentence for crimes as trivial as owning a Bible, communicating with South Koreans or Christian missionaries, or simply complaining about the hardship of life in a state where millions spend their lives close to starvation.

The prisoners—a rock stuffed in their mouths to prevent them shouting out and ‘defiling the great leader’—are tied to a post and shot, one by one, by a three-man firing squad. Armed with rifles or machine guns, their killers shoot them so many times their faces are usually unrecognisable. The bodies are thrown into bags and dumped.

As with any ‘offences against the people’, not only are the perpetrators punished but also three generations of their families—with grandparents and children alike ‘disappearing’ into horrifyingly brutal prison camps.

Hundreds of thousands of political prisoners such as these are locked away in a network of North Korean ‘kwan-li-so’, or penal-labour colonies.

Such is the regularity of executions in these godforsaken places that according to one former prisoner, Kang Chol-Hwan, in his book The Aquariums Of Pyongyang, a bulldozer preparing some ground to become a field in his prison camp unearthed masses of body parts. ‘Scraps of human flesh re-emerged from the final resting place,’ he remembers. ‘Arms and legs and feet, some still stockinged, rolled in waves before the bulldozer. I was terrified.’

So punitive is the regime that even when an unfortunate—and almost certainly innocent—victim is shot dead, fellow prisoners are sometimes made to throw rocks at the corpse until its skin comes off as a final insult.

Casual cruelty is also a grim fact of everyday life.

One prisoner who was able to escape and slip into South Korea, Shin Dong-hyuk, recalls the punishment when he accidentally dropped and broke a sewing machine. Without pausing, the chief foreman grabbed his right hand, and with a kitchen knife, hacked off the middle finger. And Mr Shin’s reaction? Gratitude that his entire hand had not been taken.

In some ways, those who die are the lucky ones, and many prisoners do indeed choose suicide as the ultimate means of escape.

Such appalling cruelty is of course beyond the pale, but to Kim it is merely logical if one wants to stay in control of a dysfunctional hell such as North Korea.

The dictator spent much of his teenage years in Switzerland, where he reputedly attended a fee-paying international school near Bern, and spent an inordinate amount of time on his PlayStation video game. According to Kenji Fujimoto—his personal chef who later fled the regime—after Kim returned to North Korea he started to acquire a habit for Johnny Walker whisky and Yves Saint Laurent cigarettes.

Dr Adam Cathcart, a Korea specialist at Leeds University, says that Kim wants his people to believe he is bringing them only some of the desirable aspects of Western culture.

Examples have ranged from his friendship with the eccentrically flamboyant American basketball player Dennis Rodman to his establishing a Viennese-style riding school in Pyongyang.

The oddest Western influence has been his setting up of North Korea’s answer to the Spice Girls. The all-girl act, named the Moranbong Band, consists of five singers (all chosen by Kim) and a backing band.

The performers often wear spangly mini skirts and heels—shunned in North Korea for years as too decadent. Their first concert, in July 2012, saw them joined on stage by performers dressed in Disney character costumes such as Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh, while the band played tunes from Cinderella, and Tom And Jerry.

‘But they very rapidly turned into this pro-military act with missiles going off in the middle of their performance and songs about the war effort,’ says Dr Cathcart. Behind them, a giant TV screen would show computer-generated footage of a devastating nuclear attack on the U.S., with New York and the White House going up in flames.

‘Every politician relies a bit on theatre, but this is to the nth degree,’ says Dr Cathcart.

In fact, nearly everything about Kim is stage-managed. He likes to characterise himself as far more down-to-earth than his father, appearing on TV chatting to ordinary citizens and soldiers. But such events are carefully choreographed.

‘He prefers to be pictured with children, and then he’ll pull away in his boat and everyone plunges into the water saying “Please don’t leave!” and “Long live Kim Jong-un!”.’

Even his ridiculous hairstyle—reportedly the product of his cutting his own hair because he is scared of barbers—is venerated. In North Korea, it is known as the ‘youth’ or ‘ambition’ haircut.

For some observers, the latest violent events suggest that Kim’s grasp on power is weak, and that he is acting recklessly to secure his position.

But that would be to underestimate the young man whom the North Koreans are made to call the ‘Shining Sun’. For Kim, the step from playing on his PlayStation to dictator has been a short one—and this week he has shown that he plays the game frighteningly well.

See http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2523574/Scariest-thing-North-Koreas-Kim-Jong-Hes-totally-sane.html (emphasis added); see also http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2546506/North-Korean-leader-Kim-Jong-Un-executes-family-uncle-Jang-Song-Thaek.html (“North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un ‘executes the family of his uncle Jang Song-Thaek’“)

Stalin was even more brutal, and seldom trusted those around him, who were often executed as well.

See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/06/the-silent-voices-of-stalin%E2%80%99s-soviet-holocaust-and-mao%E2%80%99s-chinese-holocaust/ (“The Silent Voices Of Stalin’s Soviet Holocaust And Mao’s Chinese Holocaust“)

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13 04 2014
Timothy D. Naegele

North Korea Capable Of EMP Attack On USA [UPDATED]

EMP Attack on USA

It has been reported:

A long-suppressed report prepared by the Department of Homeland Security for the Defense Department concludes that North Korea could deliver on its threats to destroy the United States with a nuclear electromagnetic pulse attack.

The report remains blocked from release to the American public.

However, a copy obtained by Peter Vincent Pry from sources within DHS finds North Korea could use its Unha-3 space launch vehicle to deliver a nuclear warhead as a satellite over the South Pole to attack the U.S. from the south.

Pry, executive director of the congressional advisory Task Force on National and Homeland Security, pointed out that the U.S. “has no early warning radars or interceptors” to stop a missile from the south.

Read the book that’s documenting the worry about the EMP threat, “A Nation Forsaken.”

Pry also was the staff director to the congressionally mandated EMP commission, which concluded that the damage from either a natural or man-made EMP event on the nation’s unprotected electrical grid would have a cascading impact on life-sustaining critical infrastructures as well as electronic components and automated control systems.

Along with the electrical grid system, the critical infrastructures include telecommunications, banking, finance, petroleum and natural gas pipelines, transportation, food and water delivery, emergency services and space systems.

DHS conducted the study after the spring 2013 nuclear crisis with North Korea in which the communist government’s leadership threatened a “preemptive” nuclear strike on the U.S. and then released videos depicting a nuclear attack on Washington.

Pry said North Korea successfully practiced the EMP attack scenario three months before the crisis.

During the crisis, he said, North Korea issued a general mobilization order to its “nuclear forces” that included “space forces.”

“The North Koreans are seeing what they can get away with,” Pry said. “It shows that Pyongyang is planning something big against the U.S.”

Vulnerable backside

In its suppressed study, DHS said that if North Korea attempted to deploy the Unha-3 space launch vehicle or the Taepodong-2 intercontinental ballistic missile, the Defense Department should destroy the missile on its pad before launch.

At the time, however, President Obama and the White House “repeatedly asserted that North Korea did not yet have the capacity to attack the United States or U.S. allies with nuclear missiles.”

Separately, former U.S. Ambassador Henry Cooper, who was the first director of the Strategic Defense Initiative under then-President George H.W. Bush, said that North Korea generally tests its missiles by launching toward the South Pole.

He said, however, that the U.S. does not have its missile defense system oriented toward an attack from a southern polar missile launch attack on the U.S. Instead, all missile defenses are positioned for an attack from the north.

In addition, he said, the U.S. lacks adequate missile defenses against an attack on the East Coast.

Cooper has called for the deployment of existing Navy Aegis missile defense systems, both on ship and on land.

He said the Aegis system is capable of intercepting a nuclear weapon approximately 150 miles above the Earth, the height at which a high-altitude nuclear EMP attack would be most effective.

Nationwide disaster

In its December 2012 test, North Korea was able to launch a satellite, Cooper and Pry told WND, that could have been a nuclear weapon capable of orbiting the Earth and detonating on command over the United States or anywhere else.

In his interview with WND, Pry said Pyongyang in April 2013 had launched a satellite that was tracked orbiting over the U.S., first in the middle of country and then over the eastern most populated corridor between Boston and Washington.

Pry said that if the satellite were a nuclear weapon exploded above the middle of the U.S., the EMP effect on the vulnerable grid system would have been nationwide.

In its numerous underground nuclear tests, North Korea has been testing low-kiloton nuclear weapons that Pry said was a “super EMP” device designed to emit a large number of gamma rays, a form of electromagnetic energy.

Devious intent

In an interview with WND, Pry said the revelations in the suppressed DHS report are only the latest indications of North Korean intentions aimed at a possible nuclear EMP attack on the U.S.

He said the prospect is the latest in a series of recent North Korean actions.

Pry referred to the revelation of a Soviet-era nuclear-capable ground-to-air SA-2 missile that was discovered on a North Korean ship detained in the Panama Canal in July 2013 after leaving Cuba, only 90 miles from U.S. shores.

U.S. intelligence believes the missile was headed back to North Korea for refurbishment.

Cuba is assessed to have some 100 of the ground-to-air missiles ostensibly designed to knock out aircraft. However, Pry said that armed with a nuclear weapon and exploded over the East Coast, one or two of the SA-2s being launched over the East Coast would knock out the Eastern grid, which services some 70 percent of the U.S. population.

At the time of the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, the SA-2s were not an issue of contention for elimination from the island. Instead, the focus was on the ground-to-ground missiles the Soviet Union then removed. However, the SA-2s remain in Cuba to this day.

Revelation of a Cuban SA-2 on a North Korean ship also brought into focus the increasingly close military ties Pyongyang is developing with Havana.

Pry said that an EMP attack on the U.S. would not have to originate from North Korea but could be a missile, such as the SA-2, launched from a freighter off the U.S. East or Gulf Coasts. At that point, there would be no missile defense capable of halting such an event.

With a missile launched from a freighter, it could be difficult to identify who is responsible for an attack.

See http://www.wnd.com/2014/04/dhs-study-north-korea-capable-of-emp-attack-on-u-s/ (emphasis added); see also https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/emp-attack-only-30-million-americans-survive/ (“EMP Attack: Only 30 Million Americans Survive“) and http://watchdog.org/138940/solar-flare-emp/ (“Experts: Civilians not ready for EMP-caused blackout”) and http://www.wsj.com/articles/china-warns-north-korean-nuclear-threat-is-rising-1429745706 (“China Warns North Korean Nuclear Threat Is Rising“) and http://news.yahoo.com/n-korea-threatens-imminent-strikes-against-south-warns-233843374.html (“N. Korea threatens imminent strikes against South, warns US“) and http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/northkorea/11815637/North-Korean-troops-ordered-onto-war-footing-by-Kim-Jong-un-live.html (“North Korean troops ordered onto war footing by Kim Jong-un“)

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6 01 2017
Timothy D. Naegele

North Korea And War

Kim Jong Un

Charles Krauthammer has written in the Washington Post:

You can kick the can down the road, but when Kim Jong Un announces, as he did last Sunday, that “we have reached the final stage in preparations to test-launch an intercontinental ballistic rocket,” you are reaching the end of that road.

Since the early 1990s, we have offered every kind of inducement to get North Korea to give up its nuclear program. All failed miserably. Pyongyang managed to extort money, food, oil and commercial nuclear reactors in exchange. But it was all a swindle. North Korea was never going to give up its nukes because it sees them as the ultimate guarantee of regime survival.

The North Koreans believe that nukes confer inviolability. Saddam Hussein was invaded and deposed before he could acquire them. Kim won’t let that happen to him. That’s why Thae Yong Ho, a recent high-level defector, insisted that “As long as Kim Jong Un is in power, North Korea will never give up its nuclear weapons, even if it’s offered $1 trillion or $10 trillion in rewards.”

Meanwhile, they have advanced. They’ve already exploded a handful of nuclear bombs. And they’ve twice successfully launched satellites, which means they have the ICBM essentials. If they can miniaturize their weapons to fit on top of the rocket and control reentry, they’ll be able to push a button in Pyongyang and wipe out an American city.

What to do? The options are stark:

(1) Preemptive attack on its missile launching facilities. Doable but reckless. It is the option most likely to trigger an actual war. The North Koreans enjoy both conventional superiority and proximity: a vast army poised at the Demilitarized Zone only 30 miles from Seoul. Americans are not going to fight another land war in Asia.

(2) Shoot down the test ICBM, as advocated by the Wall Street Journal. Assuming we can. Democrats have done their best to abort or slow down anti-missile defenses since Ronald Reagan proposed them in the early 1980s. Even so, we should be able to intercept a single, relatively primitive ICBM of the sort North Korea might be capable of.

Though such a shoot-down would occur nowhere near North Korean soil, it could still very well provoke a military response. Which is why the new administration should issue a clear warning that if such a test missile is launched, we will bring it down. Barack Obama is gone. Such a red line could be a powerful deterrent.

(3) Return tactical U.S. nuclear weapons to South Korea. They were withdrawn in 1991 by George H.W. Bush in the waning days of the Cold War. Gorbachev’s Soviet Union responded in kind. A good idea in general, but not on the Korean Peninsula. Pyongyang had railed constantly against their presence, but they did act as a deterrent to any contemplated North Korean aggression. Which might make them a useful bargaining chip.

(4) Economic leverage on China, upon which Pyongyang depends for its survival. Donald Trump seems to suggest using trade to pressure China to get North Korea to desist. The problem is that China has shown no evidence of being willing to yield a priceless strategic asset — a wholly dependent client state that acts as a permanent thorn and distraction to U.S. power in the Pacific Rim — because of mere economic pressure.

(5) Strategic leverage on China. We’ve been begging China for decades to halt the North Korean nuclear program. Beijing plays along with sanctions and offers occasional expressions of dismay. Nothing more. There’s one way guaranteed to get its attention. Declare that we would no longer oppose Japan acquiring a nuclear deterrent.

This is a radical step that goes against our general policy of nonproliferation. But the point is to halt proliferation to the infinitely more dangerous regime in North Korea. China is the key. The Chinese have many nightmares, none worse than a nuclear-armed Japan.

The principal strategic challenge facing the United States is the rise of revisionist powers — Russia, China and Iran — striving to expel American influence from their regions. In comparison, the Korean problem is minor, an idiosyncratic relic of the Cold War. North Korea should be a strategic afterthought, like Cuba. And it would be if not for its nukes.

That’s a big if. A wholly unpredictable, highly erratic and often irrational regime is acquiring the capacity to destroy an American city by missile. That’s an urgent problem.

North Korea may be just an unexploded ordnance of a long-concluded Cold War. But we cannot keep assuming it will never go off.

See https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/cold-war-relic-present-day-threat/2017/01/05/623c720e-d384-11e6-9cb0-54ab630851e8_story.html (“Cold War relic, present day threat“) (emphasis added)

Unsettling, if not ominous.

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9 04 2017
Timothy D. Naegele

The Burier Of Bin Laden, USS Carl Vinson, Moves Into Korean Waters [UPDATED]

USS Carl Vinson

On May 2, 2011, following the death of Osama bin Laden, his body was brought aboard the USS Carl Vinson, which was operating in the Northern Arabian Sea, and buried at sea. Does this or a similar fate await North Korea’s brutal Kim Jong-un?

See, e.g., https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Carl_Vinson#2000s (“USS Carl Vinson“)

Fox News has reported:

The U.S. bombardment of a Syrian airbase just outside of Homs Friday was likely seen by North Korea as a clear warning that President Trump will use his military if United States interests are at risk.

The immediate focus after the strikes was on Russia’s Vladimir Putin’s reaction. Russia was not happy with the U.S., it spoke in defense of Syria and moved warships. But now the attention is on the next move by another world leader: Kim Jong-Un.

Gordon Chang, a Daily Beast columnist and author of “Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes On The World,” said in an emailed statement to Fox News Friday that the U.S. strike on the Syrian airfield “tells North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un that he must now heed American military power, something that he probably dismissed before.”

“Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il, disappeared from public view for about six weeks in 2003 at the time of the Iraq war. Kim Jong-Un loves the public spotlight, and it will be telling if he similarly goes into hiding,” the author said.

The airstrikes are “a warning to China’s People’s Liberation Army, which had grown dismissive of the U.S. Navy and Air Force. Xi Jinping, the Chinese leader visiting Mar-a-Lago, almost certainly interpreted the strike as a sign of disrespect to him,” Chang said.

Retired four-star Gen. Jack Keane told Fox News on Wednesday that the U.S. is “rapidly and dangerously heading towards the reality that the military option is the only one left when it comes to getting North Korea to denuclearize and not weaponized [intercontinental ballistic missiles].”

Trump made it a point to address the media about the Syria strike at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida just moments after dining with his Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping.

The strike was a culmination of a rapid, three-day transformation for Trump, who has long opposed deeper U.S. involvement in Syria’s civil war. Advisers said he was outraged by heartbreaking images of young children who were among the dozens killed in the chemical attack and ordered his national security team to swiftly prepare military options. The Los Angeles Times reported up to 15 dead in the strikes. A Syrian official said six were killed at the base and nine others in surrounding areas. The death toll could not be independently confirmed.

“This is Trump saying, ‘No, I am a man of my words,’” Reva Goujon, the vice president of Stratfor, told CNBC. “’When I make a threat, I will follow through.’ That’s certainly something the Chinese and North Koreans will be thinking about.”

Trump has said that if China doesn’t exert more pressure on North Korea, the U.S. will act alone. The missile strikes on Syria bring more weight to that statement.

See http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/04/08/expert-watch-to-see-if-kim-jong-un-goes-into-hiding-after-syria-strike.html (“Expert: Watch to see if Kim Jong-Un goes into hiding after Syria strike“) (emphasis added); see also http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/trump-orders-military-advisers-prepare-10197448 (“Trump orders military advisers to prepare plans to hit North Korea“) and https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/3314568/navy-seal-training-north-korea-kim-jong-un/ (“KIM’S FATE SEALED Elite US Navy Seal squad that killed Osama bin Laden ‘is training up in South Korea to take out Kim Jong-un’”)

Target Kim Jong-un

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10 04 2017
Timothy D. Naegele

Terminate The Rabid Dogs: Putin, Assad And Kim Jong-Un

Putin's death

The UK’s Sun has reported:

RUSSIA and Iran have said they will respond to further American military actions following the air strike in Syria last week.

In a joint statement, the command centre for the two countries and allied groups said “we will respond to any aggression”.

The statement read: “What America waged in an aggression on Syria is a crossing of red lines. From now on we will respond with force to any aggressor or any breach of red lines from whoever it is and America knows our ability to respond well.”

The warning comes on the same day that:

• A Russian politician warned the North Koreans could strike at any time

• A seven-year-old Syrian girl tweeted her support for Trump’s missile strike

• The President blasted claims his 59-missile strike on Syrian airfield missed targets

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani condemned “flagrant US aggression on Syria” following the missile strike on a Syrian air base in response to a suspected chemical attack by the Syrian government on innocent civilians.

The Iranian leader, a key ally of Syria’s dictator Bashar al-Assad, called yesterday for an impartial investigation into the chemical attack that killed at least 70 people.

He warned that the American strikes in response risked escalating extremism in the region, reported Iranian state television.

In a phone call with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, Rouhani told him: “Allegations that Syria launched the chemical attack were just a pretext to disrupt the Syrian peace process”.

The Syrian state news agency SANA said Assad told Rouhani the Syrian people and army were “determined to crush terrorism in every part of Syrian territory” – a reference to the rebels who have been fighting his bloody rule for six years.

He also thanked Rouhani for Iran’s support for “the Syrian nation”.

In a speech on Sunday, Rouhani also criticised US-allied Gulf Arab states for endorsing the missile strike.

He said: “Unfortunately, there are countries in our own region which encourage America’s acts of aggression.” He warned: “Your turn will come too.”

Saudi Arabia hailed the strike as a “courageous decision” by President Donald Trump and a Saudi ally, the United Arab Emirates, declared they also supported the action.

Both countries are part of the US-led coalition fighting ISIS in Syria.

See https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/3293221/russia-and-iran-say-they-will-respond-to-american-aggression-following-air-strike-in-syria/ (“Russia and Iran pledge to hit back against further Syria strikes as they blast US for ‘crossing red lines’“) (emphasis added); see also https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/22/the-next-major-war-korea-again/#comment-9880 (“The Burier Of Bin Laden, USS Carl Vinson, Moves Into Korean Waters“) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2017/01/04/the-president-and-first-lady/#comment-9876 (“Trump Attacks“) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2015/11/29/the-death-of-putin-and-russia-the-final-chapter-of-the-cold-war/ (“The Death Of Putin And Russia: The Final Chapter Of The Cold War“)

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17 04 2017
Timothy D. Naegele

Nuke The Midget [UPDATED]

Target Kim Jong-un

BBC News has reported:

North Korea will continue to test missiles, a senior official has told the BBC in Pyongyang, despite international condemnation and growing military tensions with the US.

“We’ll be conducting more missile tests on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis,” Vice Foreign Minister Han Song-Ryol told the BBC’s John Sudworth.

He said that an “all-out war” would result if the US took military action.

Earlier, US Vice-President Mike Pence warned North Korea not to test the US.

He said his country’s “era of strategic patience” with North Korea was over.

Mr Pence arrived in Seoul on Sunday hours after North Korea carried out a failed missile launch.

Tensions have been escalating on the peninsula, with heated rhetoric from both North Korea and the US.

How did we get here?

Despite the tension, North Korea may carry out a sixth nuclear test soon, observers say. It test-fired a missile on Sunday that exploded within seconds of launch, following a grand military parade on Saturday.

Will the US attack North Korea?

Speaking alongside South Korea’s acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn on Monday, Mr Pence said North Korea should not test US President Donald Trump.

“Just in the past two weeks, the world witnessed the strength and resolve of our new president in actions taken in Syria and Afghanistan,” Mr Pence said.

“North Korea would do well not to test his resolve or the strength of the armed forces of the United States in this region.”

He reiterated US support for South Korea, telling his host: “We are with you 100%.”

Last month, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned that pre-emptive military action was “on the table”.

But the US is also working with China, North Korea’s main ally, to pressure the regime to stop nuclear and missile tests.

The BBC’s Stephen Evans in Seoul says US policy now seems to be to persuade China to contain North Korea while keeping the economic and military pressure on.

What does North Korea say?

Vice Foreign Minister Hang Song-Ryol told the BBC that North Korea believed its nuclear weapons “protect” it from the threat of US military action.

“If the US is reckless enough to use military means it would mean from that very day, an all out war,” he said.

The North casts the US as the aggressor.

At a news conference at the UN on Monday, North Korea’s permanent representative Ambassador Kim In-ryong, condemned the US missile strikes in Syria, which targeted an air base after a suspected chemical attack by the government.

He said the US was “disturbing global peace and stability and insisting on the gangster-like logic that its invasion of a sovereign state is decisive and just and proportionate and contributes to defending the international order”.

And what about other world powers?

China has reiterated its call for North Korea to stop all tests, and has also called for a peaceful solution.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters in Beijing on Monday that the Korean peninsula was “highly sensitive, complicated and high risk” and that all sides should “avoid taking provocative actions that pour oil on the fire”.

On Sunday, Lt Gen HR McMaster, the US top security adviser, said his country was working on a “range of options” with China, the first confirmation the two countries were co-operating to find a solution to the North Korean issue.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow would not tolerate “missile adventures by Pyongyang” but a unilateral use of power by the US would be “a very risky course”.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday told a parliamentary session that diplomatic efforts were “important to maintain peace”, but “dialogue for the sake of having dialogue is meaningless”.

He added that Japan needed to apply pressure on Pyongyang to “seriously respond to a dialogue” with the international community.

See http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-39623882 (“North Korea ‘will test missiles weekly’, senior official tells BBC“) (emphasis added; diagram omitted); see also https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/3349474/north-korea-vows-to-test-missiles-weekly-as-foreign-minister-threatens-all-out-war-with-trump/ (“‘ALL OUT WAR’ North Korea warns ‘nuclear war could break out at any moment’ as country vows to test missiles WEEKLY'”)

The sooner that Kim Jong-Un is terminated, along with Putin and Assad—Like Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden before them—the safer that the world will be.

See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/22/the-next-major-war-korea-again/#comment-9885 (“Terminate The Rabid Dogs: Putin, Assad And Kim Jong-Un“)

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12 05 2017
Timothy D. Naegele

North Korea Prepares EMP Catastrophe For America [UPDATED]

Target Kim Jong-un

If anyone thinks that the potentially nation-ending risk to the United States and the American people of a North Korean-launched EMP Attack is a pipe dream, they are living in an alternative universe.

There is every reason to believe that this is Kim Jong-un’s goal; and all steps must be taken to thwart him, including but not limited to his termination.

See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/emp-attack-only-30-million-americans-survive/ (“EMP Attack: Only 30 Million Americans Survive“)

Aaron Klein, Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter, has written:

While the international community and news media focus on North Korean missile tests and the country’s nuclear program, one expert warned on Sunday that North Korea may be secretly assembling the capability to take out significant parts of the U.S. homeland via an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack.

Dr. Peter Vincent Pry is executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and is the chief of staff of the Congressional EMP Commission.

Speaking on this reporter’s talk radio program, Pry pointed to two North Korean satellites that are currently orbiting the U.S. at trajectories he says are optimized for a surprised EMP attack. . . .

Pry was referring to the KMS 3-2 and KMS-4 earth observation satellites launched by North Korea in April 2012 and February 2016 respectively.

He warned: “They are positioning themselves as sort of a nuclear missile age, cyberage version of the battleship diplomacy in my view. So that they can always have one of them (satellites) very close to being over the United States or over the United States.

“Then if a crisis comes up and if we decide to attack North Korea, Kim Jong Un can threaten our president and say, ‘Well, don’t do that because we are going to burn your whole country down.’ Which is basically what he said. I mean, he has made threats about turning the United States into ashes and he connected the satellite program to this in public statements to deter us from attacking.”

“If you wanted to win a New Korean war,” added Pry, “one of the things you would certainly consider doing is taking out the United States homeland itself.”

Pry surmised the North Koreans may be taking the idea from a Soviet plan during the Cold War to attack the U.S. with an EMP as part of a larger surprise assault aimed at crippling the U.S. military.

“During the Cold War, the Russians had a secret weapon they called a fractional orbital bombardment system,” he explained. “And the idea was to do a surprise EMP attack against the United States by disguising a warhead as a satellite. Because a satellite trajectory is different from an ICBM trajectory that is aiming to go into a city. You know, for accuracy on an ICBM you launch it on a lower energy, 45-degree angle that follows a classic ballistic trajectory. Like a rifle. To land your missile on a city.”

Pry continued of the original Russian plan:

But if you put a satellite in orbit it follows a different trajectory. It doesn’t have accuracy but it puts the satellite up there so that it stays in permanent orbit so it looks different in terms of the trajectory. And guys watching their radar screens tend not to get alarmed when they see a missile being launched on that satellite trajectory. Because they assume it is for peaceful purposes. . . .

So, the idea was to put a nuclear weapon on a satellite. Launch it on a satellite trajectory toward the south so it is also flying away from the United States. Orbit it over the South Pole and come up on the other side of the earth so that it approaches us from the south.

Because we didn’t during the Cold War and even today we still don’t have ballistic missile early radar warnings looking south. We don’t have any national missile defenses to the south. We are blind and defenseless to the south. We can’t see anything coming from that direction. Then when this gets over the United States you light it off so that it does an EMP attack.

Pry stated that in the Soviet plan, “They were mainly interested in paralyzing our strategic forces, our strategic command and control and communications so that we couldn’t talk to our forces. Maybe take out some of the forces themselves. And that would give them time to then launch their mass attack across the North Pole to blow up our ICBMs. So, kill them once with the EMP. Kill them twice by blasting our bases by using their long-range missiles. That was the Russian plan. But the cutting edge of the plan was this surprise EMP attack.”

North Korea, by contrast, “doesn’t have enough missiles or sophisticated missiles to blow up our missile bases and bomber bases. What they seem to be doing with the satellites is the EMP part of the Soviet plan.”

“I think what they are mainly going for is the unhardened electric grid,” Pry surmised. “Transportation, communications, all of the other civilian critical infrastructure that we depend upon to keep our population alive.”

Pry spotlighted recent North Korean nuclear and missile tests minimized by the news media for reported failures. When viewed through the lens of potential preparations for an EMP attack, Pry warned, the tests were actually successes.

Pry wrote about some of those tests in a Newsmax piece last week:

I am looking at an unclassified U.S. Government chart that shows a 10-kiloton warhead (the power of the Hiroshima A-Bomb) detonated at an altitude of 70 kilometers will generate an EMP field inflicting upset and damage on unprotected electronics. . . .

On April 30, South Korean officials told The Korea Times and YTN TV that North Korea’s test of a medium-range missile on April 29 was not a failure, as widely reported in the world press, because it was deliberately detonated at 72 kilometers altitude. 72 kilometers is the optimum burst height for a 10-Kt warhead making an EMP attack. . . .

According to South Korean officials, “It’s believed the explosion was a test to develop a nuclear weapon different from existing ones.” Japan’s Tetsuro Kosaka writes in Nikkei, “Pyongyang could be saying, ‘We could launch an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack if things get really ugly.’”

“The April 29 missile launch looks suspiciously like practice for an EMP attack,” Pry wrote. “The missile was fired on a lofted trajectory, to maximize, not range, but climbing to high-altitude as quickly as possible, where it was successfully fused and detonated — testing everything but an actual nuclear warhead.”

This weekend, an editorial published in the North Korean state-run media agency KNCA threatened the White House would be “reduced to ashes.”

The same news agency warned last week that “any military provocation against the DPRK will precisely mean a total war which will lead to the final doom of the US.” DPRK stands for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or North Korea.

See http://www.breitbart.com/jerusalem/2017/05/08/exclusive-congressional-expert-north-korea-prepping-emp-warfare-aimed-u-s-homefront/ (“Congressional Expert: North Korea Prepping EMP Catastrophe Aimed At U.S. Homefront“) (emphasis added); see also http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/05/12/electromagnetic-pulse-attack-on-hawaii-would-devaste-state.html (“Electromagnetic pulse attack on Hawaii would devastate the state“) and https://www.wsj.com/articles/north-korea-is-accelerating-plan-to-land-missiles-in-u-s-1494792608 (“Inside North Korea’s Accelerated Plan to Build a Viable Missile“) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/emp-attack-only-30-million-americans-survive/#comment-9902 (“Is A North Korean EMP Attack Imminent?“) and http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/english-hospitals-forced-to-divert-emergency-cases-over-suspected-cyber-attack/article34969186/ (“Massive ‘WannaCry’ cyberattack hits countries around world, cripples British health system“) and https://theintercept.com/2017/05/12/the-nsas-lost-digital-weapon-is-helping-hijack-computers-around-the-world/ (“LEAKED NSA MALWARE IS HELPING HIJACK COMPUTERS AROUND THE WORLD“) and https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/14/world/europe/cyberattacks-hack-computers-monday.html (“Cyberattack’s Impact Could Worsen in ‘Second Wave’ of Ransomware“) and http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/05/20/northkorea-missile-passes-re-entry-test-breakthrough-nuclear/ (“North Korea missile passes re-entry test in breakthrough for nuclear program me“) and https://www.wsj.com/articles/north-korea-dreams-of-turning-out-the-lights-1496960987 (“North Korea Dreams of Turning Out the Lights“)

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27 07 2017
Timothy D. Naegele

North Korea EMP Threat Advancing Faster Than Expected [UPDATED]

EMP Attack on USA

________

HEADLINE: “N. Korea leader says ‘all US’ within range after missile test”

See https://www.yahoo.com/news/n-korea-launches-another-ballistic-missile-us-160151910.html (“North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un said Pyongyang’s latest test of an intercontinental ballistic missile confirmed all the US mainland was within striking range. . . .“); see also http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4741100/North-Korea-hit-American-cities-experts-claim.html (“Gloating Kim Jong-Un issues ‘stern warning’ to America after another successful nuclear missile test that US experts claim can now hit CHICAGO“) and http://www.cbsnews.com/news/north-korea-tests-missile-that-could-threaten-los-angeles-chicago-or-new-york/ (“North Korea tests missile that could threaten Los Angeles, Chicago or New York“) and https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/4186461/north-korea-kim-jong-un-vows-attack-america-donald-trump/ (“‘REVENGE WILL BE THOUSAND FOLD’ North Korea vows to attack America as Kim Jong-un demands ‘justice’ for Donald Trump trying to ‘isolate and stifle’ his country”) and https://www.wsj.com/articles/no-north-korea-talks-while-missiles-are-flying-tillerson-says-1502084784 (“North Korea Says ‘Under No Circumstances’ Will It Negotiate Over Nuclear Weapons“) and http://news.trust.org/item/20170807113624-sgy96 (“North Korea ready to teach U.S. ‘severe lesson’, says U.N. abused its authority“) and https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/north-korea-now-making-missile-ready-nuclear-weapons-us-analysts-say/2017/08/08/e14b882a-7b6b-11e7-9d08-b79f191668ed_story.html (“North Korea now making missile-ready nuclear weapons, U.S. analysts say“)

________

Reuters has reported:

U.S. General Mark Milley, the chief of staff of the Army, said on Thursday that North Korea’s July 4 test of an intercontinental ballistic missile showed its capabilities were advancing significantly and faster than many had expected.

Milley, in remarks to the National Press Club in Washington, said there was still time for a non-military solution but also cautioned that “time is running out.” He said: “North Korea is extremely dangerous and more dangerous as the weeks go by.”

See http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-northkorea-army-idUSKBN1AC2V3 (“U.S. general: North Korea ICBM threat advancing faster than expected“) (emphasis added); see also http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/northkorea/2017/07/28/0401000000AEN20170728000200315.html (“N. Korea’s nuclear program will become ‘fait accompli pretty soon’: U.S. official”—”On July 4, Pyongyang successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching Alaska and Hawaii”) and https://www.wsj.com/articles/china-prepares-for-a-crisis-along-north-korea-border-1500928838 (“China Prepares for a Crisis Along North Korea Border”—”Chinese authorities have . . . been preparing for North Korean contingencies, including economic collapse, nuclear contamination, or military conflict. . . .”—”Beijing wouldn’t necessarily defend its regime, but is determined to prevent a flood of North Koreans from entering northeastern China and to protect the population there, U.S. and Chinese experts say. Beijing also appears to be enhancing its capability to seize North Korean nuclear sites and occupy a swath of the country’s northern territory if U.S. or South Korean forces start to advance toward the Chinese border, according to those people”) and https://www.defensenews.com/news/pentagon-congress/2017/07/28/pentagon-detects-north-korea-missile-launch/ (“North Korea may have just shown a capability to strike the continental US“)

As I have stated previously:

If anyone thinks that the potentially nation-ending risk to the United States and the American people of a North Korean-launched EMP Attack is a pipe dream, they are living in an alternative universe.

There is every reason to believe that this is Kim Jong-un’s goal; and all steps must be taken to thwart him, including but not limited to his termination.

See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/emp-attack-only-30-million-americans-survive/#comment-10008 (“North Korea Prepares EMP Catastrophe For America“); see also https://ca.news.yahoo.com/u-thaad-missile-hits-test-target-amid-growing-130132528–sector.html (“U.S. THAAD missile hits test target amid growing pressure from North Korea“) and http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4744612/Key-general-calls-North-Korea-urgent-threat.html (“Top general says the US is ready to use ‘rapid, lethal and overwhelming force’ on North Korea after Kim’s second intercontinental ballistic missile test”—”North Korea on Friday tested a Hwasong-14 for the second time this month, reaching an altitude and distance in the test that defense experts believe indicate the missile could reach the continental United States, including Los Angeles and Chicago. That would leave North Korea only the technical challenge of miniaturizing a nuclear warhead that could withstand reentry in order to back leader Kim Jong Un’s incessant nuclear threats against the US”) and http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4746444/Video-shows-U-S-THAAD-interceptor-test.html (“U.S. THAAD interceptor test shown in new video“) and http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-icbm-missile-launch-vandenberg-20170731-story.html (“U.S. to launch yet another test missile from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base“) and http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/hr-mcmaster-kim-jong-un-should-not-be-sleeping-easily-at-night/article/2630452 (“National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster warned North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un should not be sleeping easily at night and said the evolving situation with the North Koreans constitutes a ‘grave threat’ to the U.S.”) and https://www.infowars.com/black-sky-event-feds-preparing-for-widespread-power-outages-across-u-s/ (“‘Black Sky Event’: Feds Preparing For Widespread Power Outages Across U.S.”)

At a time when both Democrats and some in the GOP are trying to destroy the Trump presidency, North Korea’s Kim Jong-un has ambitious plans for us, which will end all of our dreams.

Today, a nation-ending EMP Attack can be launched from North Korea, or from a sub or barge located in the Atlantic or Pacific, or in the Gulf of Mexico or the Sea of Cortez. Our military is partially hardened, but the civilian sector is not.

Only 30 million Americans would survive, which is scary to say the least. This should be the number one issue in Washington and throughout our great nation, instead of the nonstop efforts to cripple or destroy the Trump presidency.

See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2017/05/16/americas-newest-civil-war-2017-and-beyond/#comment-10530 (“Democrats And Republicans Are Brain Dead“) and http://buchanan.org/blog/american-empire-worth-price-127455 (“Kim’s credible threat to one day be able to nuke a U.S. city is going to concentrate American minds wonderfully“)

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30 09 2017
Timothy D. Naegele

South Korean Banks Brace For EMP Attack

Target Kim Jong-un

The UK’s Sun has reported:

South Korea fears Kim Jong-un may order a devastating electromagnetic pulse attack aimed at destroying the country’s financial infrastructure.

It is also worried North Korea may even target an EMP strike on its nuclear power stations, airlines and government ministries.

The country has been the target of successful North Korean hacking attacks in the past and there are now growing concerns the nation’s financial institutions will be the next target.

An EMP attack – either sparked by a nuclear blast or a pulse weapon – would quickly bring the South’s financial institutions to their knees.

Now the national banks are looking into establishing data centres overseas, The Korea Herald reported.

Others are looking to build reinforced repositories designed to withstand the blast of a powerful EMP weapon.

Electronic equipment exposed to an electromagnetic pulse can experience damaging current and voltage surges, while data stored electronically can be corrupted.

“Current regulations prohibit the transfer of client information overseas, so we are discussing ways to revise those rules so we can set up data back-up centres abroad”, a financial official told the newspaper.

The banks are acting after the government warned North Korea is “highly likely” to carry out additional military provocations in the coming weeks.

After a series of nuclear tests and missiles launches, Pyongyang has been subjected to increasingly stringent sanctions imposed by the international community.

Kim’s regime continues to defy the rest of the world and insists that it will continue to develop and deploy weapons capable of reaching targets anywhere in the United States.

Kang Kyung-wha, the South Korean foreign minister, said intelligence agencies are anticipating some sort of action by Pyongyang on or around October 10, the 72nd anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea.

Another date that is being monitored is October 18, when the Communist Party of China is scheduled to open its 19th National Congress.

See https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/4574187/south-korean-banks-electromagnetic-pulse-attack-from-north/ (“South Korean banks brace for massive electromagnetic pulse attack from the North that could cripple economy“) (emphasis added)

Such an attack must be viewed as an attack on the United States and its other allies such as Japan. However, before it can happen, Kim Jong-un and North Korea’s leadership must be decapitated.

Nothing less will suffice.

See, e.g., https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/emp-attack-only-30-million-americans-survive/#comment-10008 (“North Korea Prepares EMP Catastrophe For America“); see also http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/congress-warned-north-korean-emp-attack-would-kill-90-of-all-americans/article/2637349 (“Congress warned North Korean EMP attack would kill ‘90% of all Americans'”)

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