Anguish as North Korea Marches Into 1955 110

By nearly having an intercontinental ballistic missile and not quite nearly having a nuclear warhead and detonator small enough to fit on it, North Korea has brought its military technology almost to the point of being just sixty years out of date.

The panic this has caused is not unjustified, as nuclear weapons are a terrible thing. Hundreds of thousands of column inches have been deployed by mainstream media all round the world. This from the Economist is a fine example of the top intellectual thinking upon which the elite consensus prides itself.

It is also a perfect exemplar as it illustrates a defining characteristic of all this week’s analysis following the North Korean missile test. Nowhere at all does it mention Trident missiles. Nobody does, because they are obviously a total irrelevance and in no sense enter the calculations of Kim Jong Un.

When the establishment writes serious stuff about North Korea, they never ever mention Trident, because they would look stupid.

Yet strangely, when they write about Trident, they always mention North Korea. We need Trident, they say, to deter rogue nuclear states like North Korea.

Extraordinary, isn’t it. Apparently we have no need at all to worry about nuclear attack from North Korea, because we have the perfect deterrent by spending an astonishing amount of our national income on Trident missiles.

Except when people actually think about North Korea, when they realise that Trident is as much use as a chocolate teapot.

It is exactly the same with ISIS/Daesh. Nobody writing any of the millions of articles about ISIS/Daesh has ever written “but you don’t have to worry about them because we have Trident missiles.” Because they would look very, very, stupid.

But when Trident is under discussion, we hear it defends us against, err, North Korea and ISIS.

Now they throw in Russia. In all the reams of analysis of Putin’s Russia, nobody has ever been crazy enough to argue that nuclear attack on the UK (or even conventional invasion of the UK) is something Putin would wish to do. Because to claim that would look absolutely stupid. Plainly the desire of Russia to attack with nuclear weapons is at absolute zero. Anybody writing otherwise would rightly be written off as crazed.

Yet the Trident argument takes place in an entirely isolated political bubble, in perfect quarantine, in isolation from reality, where the elite are allowed to stand there and say it protects us from North Korea, ISIS and Russia and the mainstream media pretends this is not absurd.

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110 thoughts on “Anguish as North Korea Marches Into 1955

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  • Brian

    Britain’s participation in Iraq was not a decision for the UK to take, Blair understood that. Britain’s participation in Syria was not a decision for the UK to take, Cameron understood that.
    Whether US nuclear missiles are based in the UK or not, is not a decision for the UK to make. All British PM’s since the invention of the technology have understood that.
    Britain has hung onto the EU as long as it possibly could for the sake of the special relationship. Once out of the EU the interest of the US in UK affairs will start to evaporate, then “our” concerns over North Korea can take their proper place in our priorities of things to worry about.

  • Tom

    “In all the reams of analysis of Putin’s Russia, nobody has ever been crazy enough to argue that nuclear attack on the UK (or even conventional invasion of the UK) is something Putin would wish to do.”

    I am staunchly anti-trident, and agree most arguments in its favour are risible, but I see a weakness here! All world leaders are by definition psychopathic, so what would discourage any of the (nuclear club members) from launching the first, or indeed a retaliatory strike?

  • Clydebuilt

    The Labour Party in Scotland are unwittingly at the forefront of the Trident debate with their proposal to increase taxes. Labelled the Trident Tax it will raise approximately the same amount as Scotland’s spend on the project.

  • Martinned

    Yes, that’s the thing about Schelling-style MAD. It doesn’t work if one of the parties is actually, well, mad.

    (What that says about Trident in general is a different story. I suppose the key variable that I don’t have a good handle on is how long it would take to rebuild Britain’s nuclear capabilities if a more traditional enemy ever came along.)

  • Tony_0pmoc

    “Because to claim that would look absolutely stupid”. Check out the Spokesman for the United States Department of State – John Kirby – he manages it regularly and he presumably is the best communicator they have got.

    Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs have already stated, that they will use Nuclear Weapons if attacked.

    The fact that the UK has both Nuclear Weapons and places like RAF Fylingdales (part of the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System) makes us a Prime Target as does recently announced US Plans to Quadruple Military spending in Europe. These guys not only “look very, very, stupid”, they also really are “crazed”. They really do want to attack Russia in every conceivable way.

    The best thing the UK can do is withdraw from NATO, as being a member of NATO is completely counter-productive to the Defence interests of the UK. Such things are possible because that is what France did for over 30 years until 2009.

    Having Nuclear Weapons is also totally counter-productive to the Defence interests of the UK.

    A Chocolate Tea Pot is far more useful. For one thing – you can eat it.


  • giyane


    The BBC’s Naughtie was in the US yesterday interviewing Presidential would-be’s.

    well says Trump, I couldn’t possible know what I would do if I was president until I knew what the situation was.

    Refreshing honesty.

    If you asked John McCain what he would do about North Korean missiles, he’d show you a photo of himself chatting with Kim Jong Un.

    After our success in buying up Al Qaida as a check to the spread of Islam, we decided to buy up North Korea as well as a check to the increasing power of China.

    Mad, stupid or psychopathic? I prefer the biblical word ‘abomination’ to describe the present political class.

  • giyane


    Privatisation means that the keys to all nuclear programmes in the UK are owned by Israel, quite apart from political ownership.

  • MerkinScot

    I don’t ever feel in danger of attack from North Korea.
    And I don’t feel that ‘A Penny for Trident’ as espoused by Scottish Labour will help to make me safer.
    Fallon pointed out that NK’s possession of nukes actually makes them a target.
    Faslane must be the same in that case.
    I remember ‘Maimon’ a Guardian CiF commenter saying that ~ ‘… one M.E. country needs to keep nukes in case it is necessary to pay back Europe for the crimes of the Nazis’.
    Now, that did make me scared.

  • Old Mark

    Our ‘independent nuclear deterrent’ hasn’t really been ‘independent’ since we bought Polaris from the US in the 60s. When MacMillan decided we didn’t want to spend money developing our own delivery system (‘blue streak’ missiles), and once the Vulcan bombers were obsolete, elite opinion favoured nuclear armed subs as the answer- and we’ve been paying thru the nose for a succession of these for the past 50 years.

    But hell, so what, we’ve kept our seat at the ‘top table’ over the last 50 years as a result, and we ‘punch above our weight’ in the world blah blah

  • Ba'al Zevul

    At the current rate of economic decline, we’ll have nothing left to ‘defend’ anyway. We’re in thrall to global oligarchs, our culture is debased and decadent, and we haven’t any natural resources worth a damn. Trident only makes a bare minumum of sense if the UK is a stand-alone nation state with goodies to steal. It isn’t any more. Our most lucrative ‘industry’ is usury…and that’s all done offshore.

  • Chris Rogers

    It’s a thorny within Labour the question of a nuclear deterrent and Trident’s replacement, and as like many of the old Labour right I believe Corbyn made a grave tactical error in making Trident a focal point for his enemies within and without the Labour Movement. That said, like Nye Bevan I find myself conflicted on the issue of a nuclear deterrent – the UK’s bomb being developed more for diplomatic purposes than actual defence from its origins under Attlee’s first administration.

    Hence, as crass it sounds, I’m not opposed to the UK having a fully independent nuclear capability and my emphasis is really on ‘INDEPENDENT’, which Trident certainly is not. Further, and given the complexity of Trident’s replacement it’s an expense our nation can ill afford, the money being better spent on conventional capabilities to actually defend us against real risks and not some mythical myth.

    If the decision were mine to take, I’d certainly retain a nuclear capability as a last ditch defence strategy but reduce both its complexity and requirement to be housed in a nuclear powered submarine. Indeed, Israel does fine without Trident and nuclear powered submarines with complex launch systems, for it now has a submarine nuclear capability based on conventional powered submarines supplied by Germany and medium distance missiles capable of hosting a nuclear device. Lets be blunt here, again contrasting with Israel, if Israel wasted most of its money on a intercontinental ballistic seabourne nuclear capability its conventional forces would be decimated, despite huge infusion of funds from America.

    So on a bangs per buck basis I’d take my lead from Israel, from a moral perspective I’m conflicted knowing all WMD’s are evil and that the world would be safer without them, something our US masters fail to understand, but I’m aware that they exist and offer one threat to our nation, and I’m not talking rogue states here or Putin.

    As a longtime socialist and political animal my opinion is that Corbyn should have tried to avoid talk of the UK’s nuclear capability and concentrated more on pressing domestic issues. However, I realise he’s a honourable man and detests these weapons, much as I do, but the bloody things exist and we should retain a limited nuclear capability, one we can use as a bargaining chip to finally make all WMD’s illegal. Again though, how the hell would you get that one through the massed ranks of neocons in the States, never mind our own rightwing nutters here in the UK.

    So yes to a limited nuclear capability but a big no to Trident’s proposed replacement, which really does seem like a waste of money and a spend that gains little in return apart from more nuclear waste.

  • giyane

    Talking about punching above our weight, Cameron refuses to tell anyone who his 70.000 moderate rebels are because Assad will attack them. Who said it was legal to punch the elected government of sovereign governments above, below or at your normal weight?

    What Cameron means is that nuclear power enables us to get away with war-crimes and increase USUKIS hegemony at the expense of weaker nations.

    Put like that, there is no moral justification for Trident.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    …that’s all done offshore.

    Sorry. That should have read: ‘that’s all done in cyberspace’ There’s actually not much worth stealing in Jersey or the BVI either.

  • Pete

    Despite all the blather about Trident in the mainstream media, the question of whether it is really “independent” is never ever discussed. Nearest I’ve seen to any clear information was in a link supplied on here, by “Phil” I think, which said that (a) it relies on the GPS network which is controlled by the USA, and (b) the guidance software is also American. This suggests to me that Trident could never be used without agreement of America (and I’m sure they would only allow it as a small part of a general attack launched by themselves).

    I’d be interested to know if anyone has any further technical info on this point.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    …if Israel wasted most of its money on a intercontinental ballistic seabourne nuclear capability its conventional forces would be decimated, despite huge infusion of funds from America.

    Good point. But I think you are overlooking the points that (a) Israel is still developing long-range syatems and (b) its submarines can get nearer Iran (the focus of its efforts) than ours can to central Russia (still the focus of ours)

    I agree re. an independent deterrent. For an independent country. Which we aren’t. We’re shackled to the economics and politics of global markets now, and they effectively own us. It’s not likely to be our decision unless the public grows a pair.

  • Chris Rogers

    @Ba’al Zevul,

    Whilst I concur with much you say, I think we must clarify the difference between short, medium, long range and intercontinental rocketry, my understanding is that Israel has an emphasis on medium range rockets, that is a distance of approx. 3,000KM, similar to cruise missiles in fact, whilst intercontinental missiles actually cross the space barrier – as such Israel can hit Russian territory I believe, and given, despite the bollocks, its Russia the UK fears, the reality is that its quite easy to deploy a weapons system with a range of approx 3,200KM or 2,000 miles, basically you can hit Moscow from London. That said, its all madness for anyone stupid enough to attack Russia would reap a firestorm, and that includes the Yanks.

  • Chris Rogers


    In answer to your enquiry, it is my understanding that the submarine capability is all British, whilst the missiles are Yank and the nuclear warheads are leased from the Yanks. Of greater concern is the fact that in order to utilise the latest guidance systems we are 100% reliant on the Yanks – the UK of course being able to actually build its own warheads if it desired to do so, together with non-space reliant guidance systems.

    So, Trident’s replacement is not “INDEPENDENT”, its guidance system, launch system and missiles are all Yank, so far from being an independent deterrent, it is in fact reliant on the goodwill of the USA, and given as far as Israel is concerned you cannot trust the USA, I’m of the opinion the UK should follow its lead or abandon the damn things and spend the money on conventional forces that we actually can use for defence and not bloody offence under an American cloak.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    CR – I’m basing my comment on a range of 1500 Km for an Israeli sub-launched cruise missile. (Trident’s range is given as 11,799Km). They don’t have sub-launched ballistics. Their medium range land based ballistics won’t make it very far into Iran, even though they can hit Russian territory, and I’m guessing that the sub force is the ace in their hand. Their Jericho III (5000Km+) still seems to be an active programme, and its precursor has launched at least two satellites. And perhaps it’s relevant to ask whether they could have done any of this without the active technical collaboration of and $3 Bn annually from the US.

    Which leads me to respectfully suggest, Mr. Obama, Sir, if you want us to keep your proxy attack dogs in our yard, you can bloody well pay for them yourself.

  • Bert.

    Craig, I have to say that I think you are on error.

    The cheap-skate tory apologists that constitute the main stream media on these islands are constantly producing absurdly inconsistent twaddle and carry on as if their rhetoric is plausible.

    They are not written off as crazed nut-bags even if they spout so.

    I am regularly writing emails to Daily Politics; Sunday Politics; NewsNight and Andrew Marr condemning the absurd inconsistencies which adorn their product.

    If only they were dismissed as loons, how refreshing that would be.


  • Pete

    It would be interesting to know where Israel’s missiles are targeted- one might assume they’re all pointing at the cities of the Islamic world, but I have seen reports of hints occasionally dropped that this might not be the case- along the lines of “if Israel goes down, we will bring the whole World down with us.”

  • Phil

    It is independent, we don’t lease parts from the U.S. We used their designs, that’s all………

  • fedup

    All world leaders are by definition psychopathic, so what would discourage any of the (nuclear club members) from launching the first, or indeed a retaliatory strike?

    Getting pummelled in due course of the returned favours back to them!!!

    The simple fact is predatory countries/systems such as US, zionistan, et al are exclusively ready to attack any weak and underdeveloped country with little or no military capabilities. This is because as any two bit hoodlum knows; it is best to pick on a little old lady coming out of the bingo parlour to mug, rather than a strapping six foot sailor who will be handing the mugger’s arse back to him with a new hole drilled into it, for certain!!!

    Any psycho is generally blind to others’ pain and suffering and they have little empathy for their victims or ready even to entertain the consequences of their actions; attack, beating up, maiming, invasions, mass murder, genocide,….. However this does not mean that these same psycho are impervious to pain an anguish themselves! They will be the first to engage in hue and cry if they so much as suffer a paper cut!

    The pernicious intent of the US et al can be plainly seen in action with regards to DPRK and her missile program. The predatory US cannot stomach the underdog to begin arming itself or to develop strategies to beat back the attacks by the predators. Imagine if Impala grow razor sharp hooves and poisonous horns that could see off their predators, and kill them in due course of their attacks!

    The lions and big cats would be up in arms about such a development and may even convene a forum and a security council to pass sanctions on the impala!

    The current brouhaha about DPRK and Iran missile systems are pre emptive disarmament of the potential future victims of “weapons of mass destruction” shenanigans and invasions thereof! The Yanks don’t play by the Queensberry rules, they need the other counties to remain defenceless and unarmed making them ripe for “libation” and “democratisation”!

    As Craig has set out even the notion of any progress to to 1950s levels of armament by any of the victim target countries is a dangerous development ans it is far removed from the sophistication levels of WWI muskets and Bren guns!

  • Chris Rogers

    @Ba’al Zevul,

    My personal understanding, and having worked with some cutting edge Israeli businesses on the IT front, is that Israel can get along fine without US technological assistance, however, being canny operators they understand the meaning of “never look a gift horse in the mouth.”.

    That said, my issue is that for a fraction of the cost of the UK nuclear deterrent the Israeli’s have a nuclear deterrent, one if push comes to shove they’ll utilise in their so called ‘Doomsday” scenario whereby they’ll leave much of the Middle east in flames if its existence were threatened – which actually answers Pete’s enquiry on the topic. I’ve no doubt the Israeli’s mean it, although it goes against Jewish scripture.

  • Chris Rogers

    @Phil – 12.51PM

    Sorry to rain on your parade but much of Trident’s capabilities are US-owned, the UK leases the warhead from the Yank’s and these are all maintained in facilities in the USA and not in the UK. The advanced targeting/guidance systems utilised in trident and whatever replaces Trident is also 100% Yank technology, unless you are now suggesting the UK has its own GPS satellite systems and secret satellite systems for military purposes, which we do not. As such, whilst the requirement for accurate guidance systems is actually unnecessary for targeting a City, its most necessary for taking our first and second strike launch capabilities, this based on the fact the Yanks have a first strike policy.

    Hence, anyone who claims Trident is a 100% independent British nuclear deterrent that can be used without consulting with the Yanks is in denial of the facts.

    I may be an old left-winger, but the fact remains if the UK is to have these awful weapons then best they be 100% British – of course given our economic condition and apathy of many of our elected politicians that is but a pipe dream, but like Otto Von Bismarck and DeGaulle I’ve always thought the USA was a greater threat to Europe than Russia and i see no reason to change my opinion on that!

  • Clark

    Trident is useless and dangerous:

    Trident whistleblower: nuclear ‘disaster waiting to happen’

    “Another test was the Battle Readiness Test (BRT) which proves that the muzzle hatches could’ve opened whilst on patrol; if they needed to launch, they could’ve launched. The BRT was cancelled due to the main hydraulic system containing mostly sea water instead of actual hydraulic oil. Basically they’re endangering the public and spending Billions upon Billions of tax payers money for a system so broken it can’t even do the tests that prove it works.

    Join the protest against Trident, Scrap this heap of junk.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    That said, my issue is that for a fraction of the cost of the UK nuclear deterrent the Israeli’s have a nuclear deterrent, one if push comes to shove they’ll utilise in their so called ‘Doomsday” scenario whereby they’ll leave much of the Middle east in flames if its existence were threatened – which actually answers Pete’s enquiry on the topic. I’ve no doubt the Israeli’s mean it, although it goes against Jewish scripture.

    Fits the Rapture mob’s model perfectly, though. My case is that if we were dependent on cruise missiles, our opponents’ technology is approaching or at the state where it can reliably detect and shoot down these slow-moving vehicles. But again, a lot of cruise missiles might swamp their systems and get through in sufficient force to do widespread. damage. I can’t see that being a hell of a lot cheaper.

    Frankly, glazing Israel would be a major step towards ME peace…

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