I'm struggling to keep up with all this. Is Trump really planning to attack North Korea if they do another nuclear test? Is it seriously being considered as a possibility? Or is it just sabre rattling? And is this type of brinksmanship the best approach to foreign policy?
To understand President Trump a person needs to read The Art Of The Deal. No doubt, Trump and Xi made a deal on trade that is more fair for the US economy. The deal must be sweet for China since they have stepped up to finally stand up to Kim Jong un.
China was going to be cut out of the TPP, thus they were getting ready to defend their backyard in the South China Sea. Trump stopped the unfair TPP, and an inevitable war in the SCS.
Interesting. According to former British foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the US may have sabotaged Kim Jong-un’s missile test through a cyber-attack. He says they have done that sort of thing before.
From what I understand the recent Vault 7 dump by Wikileaks revealed that US intelligence embeded software in everything computer controlled and can shut anything down, including nuclear power plants thanks to Honeywell, (plus all their spying technology was revealed). Even their codes were revealed (so the deep state lost big league). So, Sir Rifkind may be right. Every humanitarian effort must be taken first, and I believe we're working on it night and day.
The Chinese are a proud people and are all about saving face. My feeling is that China will fire first if Nork missiles are fired, as Xi said, so I think that is a part of the deal. Japan and the US are in this with China. North Korea wouldn't stand a chance.
I hope there is a US Navy Seal team already on the ground seeking to put Kim Jong un in a straight jacket and his comrades. They have threatened and bullied Japan and South Korea long enough and they are the countries that have the most to lose if Nork nuclear weapons are launched.
The North Korean people are good people, but they are suppressed by a dictator. Most of the North Koreans have no electricity, it wouldn't be hard to take down the power grids. The citizens are malnourished and that is why they are so small. They are brainwashed and basically uneducated but I believe they would appreciate caring leadership, as well as a hand up.
Anyway, these are some of the pieces of the puzzle I have put together so far from different sources.
I guess we have Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton to thank for North Korea's nukes, and Obama kicked that can too.
I think Trump as off now is trying to cozy up with the Chinese (the only ally N Korea can rely on). In all likelihood an attack might not happen as of now, that's probably because they need to throughly assess the capabilities of North Korea, which I believe CIA has failed to do so far. Has NKorea miniaturised the nuclear paylods to be carried off on the ICBMs is still not a confirmed fact in the public domain. Do they have ICBM strike capability and to what range? They do have the advantage of nuclear deterrance though. US would also need to look into the safety aspect of its ally - South Korea which is in firing range.
There is another possible scenario, can N Korea launch a preemptive strike? Kim Jon Un is a mad man and may be he can make a hasty decision. At this juncture though, especially post US dropping the MOAB on Afghanistan, it appears to be a failed scenario. The message has been sent to all parties.
I get that Trump is trying to use China as leverage against N. Korea. If that works, then great.
But what happens if N. Korea refuses to play ball? Pence today said N. Korea should not test the resolve of Trump. Is Trump backing himself into a corner, with no other option but military force? If or when N. Korea do test another nuclear weapon, then what? War between the US and N. Korea? Seriously? Would Congress approve that (assuming Trump asks their approval)? If Congress does not approve, then what? If Congress does approve, on what legal basis can the US attack N. Korea? The possibility that it might at some unknown point in the future attack the US? That seems a bit flakey to say the least.
Has US ever required a legal basis to destablize nations and topple govts or regimes???.. You let loose some propaganda pimps like CNN or sponsor human right sham groups like White Helmet and you have enough incriminating evidence.
Btw WMDs are still missing from the scene...supposedly they went to Syria...and may be from there to Libya..so on an so forth
Conjuring an international incident is a popular way for politicians to distract voter attention from problems at home.
He'll keep banging the drum as long as our intelligence agencies keep rolling out evidence about Russian help with the election.
It's really too bad there isn't a smidgeon of evidence showing that Russia either actually "helped" with the election, OR that they "helped" Trump, to give any credence to your conspiracy theory.
How many times do our intelligence agencies, British intelligence and even Republicans like McCain and Graham have to say there is a problem?
Have you seen TV interviews with Carter Page admitting to meetings? Have you read about Michael Flynn's demand for immunity? Have you read the public admissions of meetings with Russians by Carter Page, JD Gordon and Jared Kushner?
I don't have a theory. I have facts from interviews with people that I see and hear. I'm not suffering from denial like the people who voted for Trump.
How many times do you have to be told that "People know people in Russia" does not indicate that Russians were successful in affecting our election? Perhaps you should quit making the claim until such evidence can be found: something more than "they tried" or "Business people know other business people".
No, you're not suffering from denial, just from fantasy.
You didn't answer my questions. I'm sensing a pattern again.
Did you see the interviews? Did you you read Flynn's demand for immunity? Did you read or hear the information from our intelligence agencies, British intelligence and even Republican members of Congress who are now investigating the intelligence reports?
Feel free to evade.
promisem - I have not seen any form of evidence that President Trump or any of his cabinet have done anything illegal in regards to their dealings with Russia? I have seen the media reports in regards to Carter Page, as well as Flynn. There has been nothing reported in regards to illegal activity on their part. I think you may be getting ahead of yourself speculating that they did something illegal? If I were to speculate, I actually would speculate that if our Government agencies found any proof of illegal activity on the part of our president or anyone one in the administration, they would bring charges Both men you mentioned have not even been questioned yet. If there was indication that they broke the law, I would think they would have been questioned. I think it wise to wait until the investigations re complete.It is not just or fair to smear these men's name's just because we can...
In regards to Flynn and his request for immunity. Think back to the Hillary Clinton email investigation, and how all of her cohorts took immunity... It appears you are exhibiting a bit of a double standard. Immunity just may let lawbreakers off the hook once again. Not a pleasant thought...
It doesn't seem to matter if actions were illegal: if we don't mention what interactions were for the insinuation is that any contact with the evil Russians contaminates the person talking to them as well, smearing them quite effectively.
You're right. For some people, breaking the law and colluding with foreign governments doesn't matter if it means their candidate gets the Presidency.
Wonderful word, "colluding", isn't it? It can be used whenever any contact at all is made, turning a tip of the hat while crossing the street into outright treason. At least if you don't care about truth - much like claiming Trump broke laws by "colluding" with Russia.
Sharlee, I didn't say Trump and his cabinet members did anything illegal. Please carefully re-read my posts.
We are not talking about Hillary's email server. We are talking about the potential for treason. I'd say there is a big difference.
promisem- "How many times do our intelligence agencies, British intelligence and even Republicans like McCain and Graham have to say there is a problem?" I have heard many of the media reports. However, each and every time I find myself asking, what evidence are they offering? They don't even give an innuendo of what they are referring to. I truly believe if Comey had any evidence that would prove that anyone in the Trump campaign colutted with Russia to interfere with the election, he would act on it.
"Have you seen TV interviews with Carter Page admitting to meetings? Have you read about Michael Flynn's demand for immunity? Have you read the public admissions of meetings with Russians by Carter Page, JD Gordon and Jared Kushner?"
Once again there is no evidence what so ever that these men colutted with the Russians to interfere with our election. Only innuendo.
Actually your comments are in the same vein as the media. You offered vague innuendos that Carter Page, Michael Flynn, JD Gordon and Jared Kushner colluted with the Russians, which by the way would be a crime.
You offered your opinion without any form of facts to prove your theory.
You also make this glaring statement in a post to "wilderness".
"You're right. For some people, breaking the law and colluding with foreign governments doesn't matter if it means their candidate gets the Presidency."
The director of the FBI stated on national TV, in front of Congress, that there is an ongoing investigation and that he can't reveal details of that investigation.
Yet Trump supporters claim it's all smoke by the media. So is the FBI director lying to the nation and Congress?
Which person (above the age of 18!) in the US does not have the potential to commit treason?
None, you say? Then perhaps we should quit building "potential" into "treason" until there is actually treason being committed. Or did you not care if it was or not - any lie that can be forced down the throat of gullible people will suffice?
I dislike saying this, but my common sense makes me believe that North Korea will at some point attack perhaps Japan, South Korea or America before our president will be forced to take action against North Korea. It's sad to see many believe president Trump would choose to be an aggressor. I see him as a man that if he was in the position that he had to protect America he would. I don't think he would be quick to do anything just over North Korea testing missiles. This has been going on for years. If they develop the capability to deliver a long range missile, hopefully he will take action, and quickly...
Hi Don W. I wish I could join this conversation with some depth of understanding, but I can't, so I will just offer a speculation.
In the past, we have assented to N. Korea's militaristic threats blackmail with - oil, food, and humanitarian shipments. I recall that each time N. Korea rattled their sabers, we responded with appeasement shipments and concessions.
I think, Pres. Trump is announcing a change of position - to use the trending term, " there is a new sheriff in town," to let N. Korea know the game has changed.
Unfortunately, my shallow, (hear that ahorseback), knowledge of its leader causes concern that he may be willing to escalate - rather than rethink, his actions.
I am not optimistic. If he has ever watched any high-stakes poker, he may decide his only choice is to go 'all in!'
Playing devil's advocate, what right has the US got to tell N. Korea (or any sovereign country) what weapons it can and can't develop? And what right does it have to threaten a country because it refuses to do what the US president demands?
Might makes right.
What right did Kennedy have to tell Cuba to get the missiles out? What right did we have telling N. Vietnam what to do, or N. Korea either? What right do we have to tell other countries how to treat their people? To tell Saddam not to gas his own people? To tell Assad how to behave? What right did the Allies have to give land they didn't own to Israel?
Might makes right, it seems.
Hello Wilderness, I would suggest it is not a "might makes right" authority, but a national security authority.
Of your listed examples, I believe Cuba, and today's N. Korean situation clearly demonstrate our national security interests.
Although debatable, if one were of the mind of the times that believed in the accepted 'Domino theory' of the advance of Communism, then Vietnam could also be seen as a national security interest.
But Saddam... you might be right on that one.
How about Assad? Do we have the right to interfere in how he treats his people?
Yes, security can be used as a reason, but is it really a valid one? Even if we perceive a security risk, do we have the right to "throw the first punch"? We certainly had the right to enter Kuwait, and thereby Iraq, but our friends were already invaded and asked for help - going after Saddam because of WMD's doesn't fit that idea at all.
And I will submit that using our security, that starting a war because we think the other guy might be dangerous, is more excuse than reason, And Vietnam, or the Korean war, were both good examples - starting a war in another country because we demand they use our form of government is an excuse to spread our culture, but not a valid reason to kill thousands or millions of people.
Yes, I think that if we do perceive a national security threat we do have the right to throw the first punch. I addressed your examples that I think could easily be defended as such instances. The ones I did not address, and your further example here, don't seem to be as easily attributed.
As for your other point... that has been a national debate for decades hasn't it. Humanitarianism or Imperialism. Isolationism or Globalism. You know, that '... all it takes for evil.. etc.' thought.
If you, walking down the street, suddenly punch a passerby in the nose because you "perceived a threat" I daresay you're looking at at least a little time behind bars.
Perhaps it's not OK because someone bigger (city cops) say so, but the US has no one bigger.
Don't misunderstand me here - I supported invasion because of WMD's even when we couldn't find any. But I'm not sure I can wiggle an ethical reason out of it, and I'm darned sure I can't find an ethical reason to kill thousands of Koreans because a madman might or might not attack with vastly inferior forces.
I don't think your "...street..." example is a comparable one. Let's try a more real world theoretical: Would Israel have a right to the first punch standing if they knew Hezbollah was bringing a convoy with a nuclear bomb across Jordan's Northeast border?
So that you don't misunderstand me either, let me offer an analogy;
If I, as a father, knew that there was a nest of baby rattlesnakes in the corner of the backyard my toddler children play in - would I not have a family security, ("might makes right"), justification to contain, disarm, (defang), or remove those baby rattlers?
And for further clarity, I do not, (at this point), support any U.S. military "first punch" action against N. Korea.
Trivia: A little piece of puzzle from seven years ago (March 2010) South Korea accused the North of torpedoing the Cheonan, it sank.
When Hezbollah crosses the border, a clear right to do pretty much whatever they please exists. Until then, their "knowledge" is but guesswork (unless they have a crystal ball?) and that is insufficient, ethically, to kill.
Not that I wouldn't take out the convoy 200 miles short of the border, and let the chips and consequences fall where they may. Pretty much what we did over the WMD question.
LOL You don't like my example and I don't like yours. You may do whatever you wish with a rattlesnake (or a puppy). You do not have that right with a person.
What???? You didn't like my example? Well, I guess it's back to the drawing board then.
ps. I convinced those snakes to relocate, but the puppies got to stay.
Is the US the only country that has the right to pursue it's own national security interests? Does N. Korea not have the same right?
The US has nuclear weapons capable of hitting N. Korea. So do Russia, China, India, Pakistan, UK, France, Germany, Italy etc.
Are all those countries offering to dismantle their nuclear weapons in return for N. Korea not developing any?
If the US threatens N. Korea with military action for developing nuclear weapons, while it continues to point such weapons at N. Korea, then Wilderness is correct, it's a case of might is right.
N. Korea has no less authority to develop nuclear weapons, than the US or any other country that currently possesses them.
Pretty much the way I see it.
But I will say that frightening the biggest, baddest fighter on the block isn't smart. Not smart at all, and has resulted in negative consequences more than a few times.
Don, with the theoretical '...all things being equal' qualifier, the logic of your point is sound.
Do you think that has been the case with N. Korea's leaders; Kim Jung -sung, -il, -un?
In the real world that we live in, Wilderness is right. My point was that in some circumstances, that "might makes right" reality also has the legitimacy of national security validation.
If you want to make a comparison that's relevant to the national security of both countries:
How many countries has N. Korea invaded in the last 30 years?
How many countries has the US invaded in that time?
How many sovereign nations has N. Korea bombed in the last 30 years?
How many sovereign nations has the US bombed in that time?
How many nuclear weapons does N. Korea have that can reach all parts of the globe?
How many does the US have that can reach all parts of the globe?
How many battle groups does N. Korea currently have in the vicinity of US territorial waters?
How many does the US have in the vicinity of N. Korean territorial waters?
How many troops does N. Korea have permanently stationed on the US border?
How many troops does the US have permanently stationed on the N. Korean border?
By these measures, which country is the greater risk to the other?
In other words, where is the "national security validation" that legitimizes this "might is right" reality? I can't see it.
Don, if I thought your list of comparisons were relative to the situation, I would retract my thought that we should attack N. Korea first - if I had ever presented it.
But I didn't support that notion before, nor do I now. I also don't support your inference that N. Korea is a blameless innocent. I just can't see it.
Not suggesting you made the inference that the US should attack N. Korea first. I took your comment more as a suggestion that the US has a "national security validation" of the "might is right" reality..
My point is that by most objective measures, N. Korea has engaged in less military conflict in the last 30 years than many other countries in the international community. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding what you mean by "national security validation". I take it to mean that a country's actions are justified because they are in the interests of its national security.
If so, then in a world full of nuclear weapons, why isn't it justified for N. Korea to want to develop its own nuclear weapons? Don't get me wrong, it's equally justified for the US not to want N. Korea to have nuclear weapons. But it's not more justified. And you're right, the motivations are not necessarily innocent. But the US desire to bully other countries with its big guns, is no more or less valid than N. Korea's desire to develop big guns to bully others with.
Don, Please don't take what follows as an attempt to lecture you, or to 'inform' you about the N. Korean situation - because I am certain you are already aware of its realities. It is merely an explanation of the perspective behind my opinion.
Still, I do find your points and rebuttals to be specious. You address, (or it appears so to me), the situation as an academic exercise of logic. Logic that looks sound on paper, but is far from sound in the real-world situation it addresses. You imply that our right to security, (or any nation's), goes no further than the nose of another nation. Relative to N. Korea, I heartily disagree.
Regarding N. Korea, I am sure most of us hold the same media supplied perception of a nation that showcases its crown jewels, (Pyongyang), and holds the rest of its citizens in a near permanent state of
destitute subsistence. This is not a false impression, or 'fake' news - even though it comes from media presentations.
The media also presents the image of unstable and uncaring leadership - at least in reference to Kim Jung-un and Kim Jung-il. Again, I say this is not a false impression.
I confidently say these are not false impressions because I recall multiple commentaries from past writings of presidents, ambassadors, and military leaders. I would list specific names, but I don't recall them. But I do have faith in my recall of their descriptions - and they match the picture presented by the media. So, on the whole - I am confident most folks that have an interest in the N. Korean situation will have a similar perception as I have described. The N. Korean leadership is dangerous, unstable, and completely willing to start a war, (or appear prepared to) - without reality-based provocation.
The U.S. and its neighboring nations cannot afford to gamble on the possibility of appearances. And before this latest Trump story, I don't recall any instance of the U.S. bullying N. Korea. To the contrary there are several historical instances where the U.S. has acquiesced to the blackmail of their saber rattling. If I recall correctly, most of those saber rattling incidents occurred at times of extreme need of the N. Korean leadership. Whether it was desperation for oil, or food, or trade concessions - the more dire their need, the more dangerous their proclamations.
That is my perspective of the N. Korean situation. That is why I see them as an extreme danger - potentially requiring extreme safeguards. And that is why I see your responses as I described.
Perhaps my perspective could best be described by an epigram I recently read; "Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right."
Likewise, I don't want to teach grandma to suck eggs, but what you call addressing the situation as an "academic exercise of logic" is, I think, just being objective.
N. Korea has a horribly oppressive regime. I have no reason to doubt that, based on what we know of the country.
But as far as I'm aware, Trump is not on a mission to liberate the people of N. Korea. He just wants to stop N. Korea having nuclear weapons because that could adversely affect the US at some point in the future. Unfortunately being afraid of what another country might do in the future, doesn't give you any authority over that country.
You suggest N. Korean is "willing to start a war, (or appear prepared to) - without reality-based provocation." The facts indicate that N. Korea likes making proclamations about starting wars, not actually starting them. Looking at it objectively, in terms of starting wars, N. Korea is less "dangerous" than many other countries, including the US.
So I'm not sure where the validation you believe exists comes from. All I can see is the fact that you, like me, dislike the N. Korean regime and have sympathy for the plight of it's people. Unfortunately, again, disliking a regime, and being appalled by the plight of its people, does not give us any authority over that regime.
N. Korea, as a sovereign country, has every right to tell the US to take a hike and continue developing whatever weapons it chooses, within the confines of its own borders. The US has no right whatsoever to attack it for doing so.
On this we agree Don.
It is what N. Korea will be able to do outside its own borders, along with a reasonable interpretation of his possible actions, that I believe gives us the right to protect our own national security interests.
To see the fault with that reasoning you only need apply it to another country:
China has the right to demand, under threat of military action, that the US dismantles its nuclear weapons immediately, because what Trump is able to do outside his own borders, along with a reasonable interpretation of his possible actions, gives China the right to protect her own national security interests.
So 25,000 Chinese troops will be permanently stationed on the Mexican side of the Mexico/US border. And China will be carrying out joint annual military exercises with Mexico. Right now, a Chinese aircraft carrier and accompanying battlegroup is heading towards the Gulf. The president of China has also publicly stated that China will "deal" with the US if no other country wants to help, and the Chinese Vice President has visited the Mexico/ US border where he was photographed with members of the Chinese and Mexican military looking across the border at US troops on the other side.
By your reasoning, these are perfectly justifiable actions on China's part. By my reasoning they are not.
To me, this is the way children act in a playground.
But I did not apply my reasoning to any other country. I was addressing N. Korea specifically. The baby rattlesnake of a previous analogy. I still hold that my reasoning is sound.
Alas, the fact that you haven't applied the same reasoning to other countries, doesn't mean other countries can't apply it to the US.
But I see you're not convinced, so I won't flog that horse. You have provoked some thoughts though, so I'll do some thinking out loud for the sake of putting it out there, if that's okay.
Adopting an ad hoc approach to deal with a specific rattlesnake is all well and good, unless others see you as a rattlesnake and apply the same approach. Or until you meet a rattlesnake the same size as you!
I think adopting an approach for dealing with rattlesnakes based on a set of general principles would be better. Principle number one would be: unless in immediate danger, optimize safety, but that analogy has now been stretched within an inch of its life, so I leave it to rest.
I think dealing with countries who are "bad" international citizens using an approach that optimize for the safety of both parties (it's not the N. Korean people's fault) is a better approach.
Starting from the principle that no country with nuclear weapons, has any right to tell another it cannot develop its own, under threat of force.
Based on the above principle, China has no right to threaten N. Korea with military force. But does China have the right to control its own imports and exports to/from N. Korea, and place conditions on its own trade with N. Korea? Yes.
Likewise, adopting the above principle means the international community has no right to tell N. Korea it can;t develop nuclear weapons under threat of force. But does the international community have the right to control the trading of companies operating within its own jurisdiction? Of course. And this is where globalization can be, dare I say it, a useful thing.
I believe N. Korea being deprived of 75% of its export revenue (China*), and the ability to do business around the world, is a more effective way of influencing their leader's behaviour than Trump shooting his mouth off on Twitter like . . . a leader from N. Korea. Plus it doesn't require any country trying to make threats it can only make because N. Korea has less guns.
But how do you get China and the rest of the international community to play ball? If "the art of the deal" is the new president's forte, then now is his time to shine. This is a great opportunity to show the world those deal-making skills. Anyone can makes threats, especially to a smaller country. A deal that uses China's leverage, and doesn't involve the use of military force. That would be something.
* https://www.cia.gov/library/publication … 50.html#kn
I hear what you're saying, but...
When the grim reaper leaves China to visit Korean homes, they won't care whether he brings a bullet or starvation. You're taking a stand that military warfare (bullets and bombs) are different than economic warfare (blockade of food, medicine, etc.), but I have almost as hard a time with that as with GA's thoughts that it is OK for us to use the stick because we're bigger and wrap it in "security" concerns. When the goal is to force NK to do what they don't want to, I cannot see it matters what form the "force" takes.
Of course, that's also predicated on the idea that whatever it is we want NK to do, it is something that does not have a direct impact on us. We aren't asking them to stop fishing our waters, we aren't asking them to quit using taxes to support their exports. We're asking them to stop doing exactly what we do ourselves!
Hey bud, your "Grim Reaper" point is a good one. As are most of the rest of the points you make in this comment. Except, maybe a couple.
The first is that I noted a couple times that I do not support "first-move" military action. I think a military response would be the worst possible choice. The "stick" I promote is the use of our "power" to get China to do what it appears to be doing now. My "stick" would have covert action danglers, and financial impact danglers directed at the elite of N. Korea, and, dangling carrots to reward their leadership for changes.
Those "carrots" have been tried in the past, and it only seems to have emboldened the N. Korean leaders. So my "carrots," would be 'after the fact' carrots.
Now, here is the tough question... as you noted, any punitive action, whether military or economic sanction, will harm the poorest of N. Korea's citizens long before it has an impact on the leaders and elite class - is there a way to avoid that? Given N. Korea's political and social structure, I don't think so. We have historical proof that appeasement actions - that did somewhat benefit the poorest citizens, didn't work.
Is there any action that would mitigate N. Korea's danger to the world community, (primarily its geographical neighbors), and not impact its poorest citizens?
Most of my post was directed at pointing out there is no real difference between economic and military warfare. People die either way.
The rest of it - you keep pointing out that we need to take action against NK to stop their military might before our people are killed. I won't disagree.
But I also won't argue that we have a moral or ethical "right" to do so. If we do it, we will be doing it purely from a "might makes right" standpoint, for fear does not convey that right. That we prohibit other countries from taking the same stance we do (using our might again) is very indicative that there is no conveyance just because we (or they) are afraid.
Just when I thought I was done with the thread, you go and make some sensible points and drag me back in.
I can't disagree with the observation that bullets and starvation are variations on the same theme.
I guess the only alternative approach is: wait and see.
That may be a viable option, because if N. Korea managed to cobble enough of the relevant resources together to create a viable ICBM, is it likely their leadership will suddenly develop a death wish?
The number of significant military conflicts N. Korea has been involved in since the Korean war is zero. Is having a nuclear weapon suddenly going to make the regime start trying to invade, or blow up other countries? Is it likely that such weapons would cause their leadership to lose the desire to survive? I can't see it.
On the other hand. If the US attacks N. Korea to prevent it testing nuclear weapons, it is almost guaranteed that civilians in N. Korea and many thousands of civilians in S. Korea, and possibly Japan will be killed. Does the fact these deaths would mostly involve non-US-citizens make this a "better" option? I'm guessing it does for some.
I don't know, Don - you're putting rational, reasonable attitudes onto NK leadership, and if there is one thing we should have learned by now it is that culture changes across the face of the world and with it the definition of rational, reasonable and even what attitudes are either rational OR reasonable.
You're assuming, for instance, that NK leaders put more value on life than they do on "face"; a very dangerous assumption to make and one that was NOT true in years past (think Japanese leadership in WWII). Given that, and possession of a nuke-tipped ICBM, and they just might send it our way.
And at the point I have to side with GA - it may be necessary that we eliminate that possibility before it happens. Right or wrong, it is more important to protect our people. Hating the thought, and that of the dead surely to come, we may still have to do it.
Another thought - we're fighting terrorism all over the near east. Can't we protect our borders without killing civilians there? Can't we catch them before they can cause damage? Their rationale and reasoning is almost beyond our understanding, but can't we do something besides drop bombs over there?
And can't we stop NK from sending an ICBM without starting a war...
Self-defense in the face of a direct, immediate threat is a different issue. I don't think anyone could reasonably argue against using force in that context. But that's not the situation.
I do believe N. Korea is rational when it comes to survival, but it's not an assumption. It's based on available evidence.
If "saving face" were valued more by N. Korea than survival, it's reasonable to believe there would be some time in the last 60 years where N. Korea engaged in significant military conflict because of some perceived slight or loss of face.
N. Korea has not engaged in any significant military conflicts under previous or current leadership in the last 60 years. In fact N. Korea has not done any actual signficant harm to any other country in the last 60 years. I'll happily stand corrected if there is some historical information I've missed.
Actions speak louder than words, and the actions of N. Korea indicate its leadership loves making provocative threatening statements, not starting wars it know it can't survive.
But that's not even the main issue. The main issue is what does "victory" in a war with N. Korea look like? Is the US planning to occupy N. Korea? How long for? If not, then if airstrikes significantly reduces the country's military capabilities, then what? What's the goal and how do we know it's been achieved?
Also, it's extremely unlikely the N. Korean population will view the US as "liberators" in such a war. They are more likely to be viewed as imperialist occupiers trying to destroy the country. That's what N. Koreans have been conditioned to believe for many generations. So is the US willing to be sucked into a war that would include an insurgent N. Korean population, hell bent on expelling the foreign invader? If Vietnam was bad, I can't imagine what trying to occupy N. Korea would be like!
Is it likely China will tolerate the presence of such significant US military activity right on it's border, or the possibility of US troops occupying one of its neighbours. I think China will cooperate with the US while it's in her interests. But it would be foolish to think of China as an ally. The minute it's not convenient, I think it's very likely she will act according to her own interests.
And what about N. Korean intelligence assets overseas? Are we to believe N. Korea does not have any? Would we see the birth of a N. Korean terrorist movement?
War with N. Korea cannot end well. It's complete madness. And someone saying provocative things is no justification for it. The US may succeed in making more N. Korean soldiers and civilians die than US, but there will be no "winner". Everything should be done to prevent this. If that means Trump losing face, then so be it. As you rightly point out, choosing loss of face over loss of life is the more rational course of action.
Jong-un has been president for 6 years - talking about NK actions 50 years ago is irrelevant in that context. It is not the country that I don't trust to be rational, it is Jong-un. He has built the military of that small country far beyond any rational needs - if he never intends to use it, why do that? It has cost the country enormously, as has Jong-uns general policies on nuclear power - why, if not to use it?
But I do agree that there IS no "winning" here - the best possible outcome of starting a war there is to create another Iraq.
If Jong-un values "saving face" more than survival it's reasonable to believe there would be some time in the last 6 years where N. Korea engaged in significant military conflict because of some perceived slight or loss of face. In fact, if that were the case we'd be at war right now given the last few weeks of rhetoric? The fact we are not indicates that as provocative and threatening has Jong-un's messages are, he is not suicidal.
How about this for a deal: in return for N. Korea not developing nuclear weapons, all the countries that currently have nuclear weapons capable of hitting N. Korea e.g. China, Russia, India, Pakistan Israel(probably), UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain etc) will start dismantling their nuclear weapons. Andt the dismantling will be independently verified by the UN weapons inspectorate. Write that up into a treaty and offer to N. Korea.
If "security" is so important to all these countries, then they should put their money where their mouth is and do something that could bring it about.
My question: "He has built the military of that small country far beyond any rational needs - if he never intends to use it, why do that? "
Your basic answer seems to be that "He hasn't for 6 years, choosing to build his military and now nuclear options instead, so that means he never will". This is an answer that, on the face of it, is ridiculous and can't be honestly intended as anything reasonable. Want to try again? Because that question really is central to the question of the sanity of Kim Jong-un.
That's not my argument. My argument is that if Kim Jong-Un valued "saving face" more than survival, you would have seen N. Korea engage in at least one significant military conflict in the last 6 years because of some perceived slight. There has been ample opportunity. The fact it hasn't indicates that Jong-Un does not consider his own survival as less valuable than saving face.
And by your reasoning, every country in the world is an immediate and direct threat to the US, even if it hasn't engaged in any signficant conflict for over half a century. That's unreasonable.
And it's obvious why N. Korea would maintain a large army:
1) Politics: it projects an image of power and status. As leader of the regime Jong-Un needs to appear to be the toughest person in the room among the elite at home.
2) National security: To the South there are 25,000+ US troops stationed on the border, along with 625,000 troops and 3 million reserves in S. Korea. To the north, they share a border with China. Enough said. In addition, multiple countries around the world have nuclear weapons that are capable of flattening Pyongyang with the press of a button, including Russia, China, India, Pakistan, US, UK, France Germany, Italy etc.
3) N. Korea is not part of any military alliances. If the country is bombed or invaded, no other country is bound by treaty to help.
So my question to you is, why wouldn't N. Korea want a large military under those circumstances?
And that's the thing, when you look at it objectively, far from being insane, Jong-Un's desire to have nuclear weapons seems driven by the most ancient of motivators: self-preservation.
"My argument is that if Kim Jong-Un valued "saving face" more than survival, you would have seen N. Korea engage in at least one significant military conflict in the last 6 years because of some perceived slight"
Really? Take a good look at a map, think about American forces in South Korea, and tell me which country you think they would have attacked, with almost nothing but ground forces to use in that attack. China?
"And by your reasoning, every country in the world is an immediate and direct threat to the US, even if it hasn't engaged in any significant conflict for over half a century."
And which other country has an military the size of North Korea's? Or half the size? A quarter? How about ones that are not strong allies but are nuclear powers, that are not a threat?
"National security: To the South there are 25,000+ US troops stationed on the border, along with 625,000 troops and 3 million reserves in S. Korea."
And N. Korea has over 7 million men and women they can put in the field. Your point, then? That the south is grossly overwhelmed in manpower?
Yes, other countries can flatten N Korea with the push of a button. That would be a great comfort to the survivors of a N Korean nuclear strike on, say, Los Angeles. At least if they would - personally I highly doubt that any current country, with the single exception of N. Korea, would use a nuke at all. Maybe for self-preservation, but I would doubt even that.
"So my question to you is, why wouldn't N. Korea want a large military under those circumstances? "
We're not talking a large military - we're talking about the biggest military force in the world, bar none. Three times the size of the US forces (as we face responsibility for policing the world), double that of China (with it's Billion people). 308 out of every 1,000 North Koreans are in the military or paramilitary (leaving what - aged, infirm, very young and pregnant women that are not?), and you think it is because they have no close neighbors to ally with? This is not self-preservation and you know it as well as I do, just as you know that the lack of allies shows the same fear I'm talking about here.
Yes, the presences of US troops as part of S. Korea's alliance with the US has mostly likely deterred Jong-Un from attacking S. Korea.
And that's exactly my point.
Regimes that do not value their own survival, are not deterred by anything.
The fact Jong-Un has not attacked S. Korea, is an indicator that their is some rational thought going on there. And if there is some rational thought, then there is a chance of a non-violent solution. In my opinion that chance, however slim, must be pursued as far as humanly possible.
Yes, we likely deterred it...until Kim decides he now has enough force to win, whereupon our soldiers die. Because people like Kim are deterred by survival fears, and won't try what they think will fail. Just like any other bully.
But yes, it should be pursued as far as possible...within the limitations of not allowing an escalation of the war to come by allowing Kim to accumulate better weapons.
This is nothing new - we didn't have to use nukes on Japan. We didn't have to fire bomb Dresden, and we didn't have to invade Iraq. All were done with the idea of saving American lives - right or wrong that was the intent and is something I support.
Don, You are right about that horse, but I must give one last whinny. As much as we would like it to be so, the world doesn't deal in just black and white, nor are all world partners equal. There is a lot of gray out there. On that basis, I do think ad hoc policies regarding non-peer nations is the only reality-based path to take. Rules, or policy guides don't work if only one-side recognizes them.
So moving on...
I will pop down to Wilderness' comment and reiterate this point - I did not and do not advocate a military 'first-move' solution. I think it would be the most disastrous move of any available.
I think your "thinking out loud" solution is the ideal choice in this particular situation. And I wonder if the news of China's latest moves of turning away N. Korean coal shipments, and stopping air travel from China to N. Korea, (I have not checked these items, I am only recalling recent news announcements), might indicate a move similar to your 'plan', and I also wonder that since these came after the Chinese met with Trump - where he declined to call them currency manipulators, if Pres. Trump might not have promoted these choices. Hmm... you did mention 'The Art of the Deal'...
I think it is a possibility. I don't see Trump as commonly issuing empty threats, and that includes the threat of war - in this case there is a real fear and possibility of a NK atomic bomb being detonated in NYC, and that isn't something that anyone should make empty threats about, let alone Donald Trump. Minus the religion, I really don't see a lot of difference between the barbarism of ISIS and NK, and NK has a madman at the helm!
For sure that Trump's policies aimes at givin a clear and concise message, there's a new sheriff in town. However this approach of flexing the military might of the US is a dangerous policy as it risks backfiring at him. Of course the possibility is there and there is a real chance that the attack might happen, however im sure that both leaders are quite cautious of their role and their responsibilities towards their nations. Let's hope that The US and North Korea find a middle ground and avoid a potential senseless loss of men in a war that if happened can drag on for years and potentially became a new Afganistan.
Regards, Don W
It came out over a month ago that the Obama Administration initiated a campaign to remotely manipulate data inside of North Korea's missile system. (NYT)
The Trump Administration inherited that technology, and it looks like the US Military may have used that technology when the Nork missile launched.
It would be wise not to broadcast that capability to the world, so we may not take credit if that's what went down. Instead, let Kim Jong un be embarrassed.
That's what the propoganda machinery says, I highly doubt that. A failed test could be technical difficulties it happens all the times even to the best ones.
And if it that's the case it remians to be seen how far have they penetrated. Till they dont assess and neutralize all possibilities threating US or it allies, I don't think they would act anyways!
the reason why the N.Korea is coimg back on trump because trump started it bt puting syria out there and there coimg back for trump so i dont blame the N.Korea people to do wjat they have to do
Honestly, I think that if Trump is using China to solve the North Korea problem, it's a pretty good strategy because China absolutely does not want the U.S. to attack North Korea nor does it want North Korea to start a war. If China can exact some pressure on North Korea but shutting off trade, this seems like a good strategy to start. China knows that if there's a war, then they will have U.S. troops on their doorstep and they would prefer that not happen.
Let's face it, the North Korea problem was going to come to a head sooner or later and diplomacy and/or appeasement was only going to work for so long. Democrat or Republican - were we really going to let North Korea develop nuclear weapons that they could deliver onto U.S. soil? Nobody, no matter how pacifistic, was going to allow that.
That said, I think what North Korea wants is respect. It's possibly worth a try to talk to them - invite Kim Jong Un to the U.S. and show him the sites. You can always talk first then bomb later. But if we bomb first, there probably won't be much talking later, except maybe North Korea surrendering prior to wiping out South Korea, we hope.
A war is not in the interest of either China or North Korea. North Korea doesnt have a standing against the US military might, perhaps the USS fleet and the warships in adjoining waters would be enough for deathly blow. Having said that, I am not to optimistic of Trump's plans either and I reckon he wouldn't prefer a conventional war for the cost it would bear and there isnt oil either as a payoff. If he do take that step, its gonna be total annihilation. But for him to do that there has to be a stronger case and China comes into picture here as a North Korean ally with its own interests in that region. Who knows if they have defence treaties in place?
That reminds me how the Soviets were reassuring as an ally for us when Nixon ordered his mighty 7th fleet into Bay of Bengal fearing that India would anihilate Pakistan in the 1971 War. That was almost the tipping point of WWIII, cuz if Pakistan wouldnt have surrendered the US would have attacked India pulling in Soviet and China. It intially intended to only scare off India. Thoughs its interesting that Nixon administrations request to line up Chinese troop on Indian border was also rejected due to Peace Treaty between Soviet and India, China avoided facing Sovoet retaliation.
Mr. Trump will not take such a drastic step. Korea may experiment one more nuclear missile what is it going to get is only World Wide protest only and becomes cheap in the eyes of other countries. The GDP of Korea is only is 15 billion whereas that of U.S is 18 trillion. The population density of Korea is nearly 202/sqare whereas the figure for U.S is only 32/sq.k.m.Moreover, it has not earned any reputation globally. With such poor face, it can not face U.S in any front. They may beat their own drum, but if it crosses the limit it will break their drum only.
So what you are trying to imply is because Korea is a small nation it should surrender and essentially become a US base. What absurd logic is that? As far as its nuclear capability goes, its good that they have acquired it else America would have long bombed it to stone ages!!!
How is that? If American would have bombed it to stone age long ago, then why isn't the country a slag covered rock by now? After all, their nuke ability, small thought it is, is new and there was lots of time to slag it if that's what America does.
Mr Dictator threatened Australia today, telling them to stop being a sycophant toeing American line, reiterating they are very well in DPRK's nuclear range.
Does that bring us one step closer to nuclear war?
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