The North Korean Danger 272


Military technology has moved on since the Vietnam war. The defeat of the United States by an army employing basic artillery and machine guns supplemented by creative use of bamboo, has left an indelible impression on the western psyche. But it is in many ways a false one. Many trillions of dollars have been spent since on military technology, and the gap in resources between the USA and most potential opponents is enormous.

The effect of this technology gap is plain to see in recent conflicts. In Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya the conventional fighting was won extremely quickly. In Iraq really substantial Iraqi conventional forces, technologically rather more advanced than North Korean, were wiped out while they inflicted almost no damage. The Falklands War was also a striking instance of the difference between the most advanced and middle ranking military technology. The gap has grown since. Modern western military aircraft technology is very little vulnerable to the air defence systems that can be deployed against it.

Of course, all those conflicts illustrate that winning a conventional war phase is the beginning, not the end, of problems for the western powers and that such conflicts are extremely damaging not just to the attacked party, and to the world in general, but to the western powers that “win”. But great for shifting wealth from ordinary western people to the military and armaments industry.

North Korea has massive military resources in numerical terms. But in truth North Korea deploys almost nothing on the ground that would have been extremely startling to an informed person in 1946. If the United States chose to throw a really serious percentage of its military resources at North Korea, more than it threw at Iraq – and I specifically mean aerial forces and missiles – it could wipe out North Korea’s military capacity extremely quickly. It could even do so before North Korea could inflict damage on Seoul of cataclysmic proportions.

All this would of course involve the deaths of millions of North Koreans, mostly civilians, and hundreds of thousands of South Koreans. But it could be done.

There are two groups of people who will be irked by this analysis. The first group are those who detest the United States and therefore dearly wish it was militarily weaker than it is. But the truth is that for my entire lifetime, the United States military has had over three times as much money spent on equipping it as the Soviet/Russian and Chinese militaries combined. That is a very bad thing for the United States, but nonetheless it is true. That does have an effect.

The second group who will disagree vehemently with me are, counter-intuitively, the western arms manufacturers and military lobby.

During the cold war we were taught for years that the mighty Red Army was set to roll over Europe. I recall television programmes showing diagrams with scores of Russian tanks for every NATO tank opposing them. After the fall of the Soviet Union, in many of the former Soviet Republics and, for a period under Yeltsin, in Russia itself, western military attaches were able to get a close-up look at what had been the Soviet war machine. The overwhelming trend of a great mass of evidence was that the West had vastly over-estimated Soviet military capacity, both in terms of quantity and especially quality of its capabilities.

This was, of course, not an accident. The arms industry, the military and the security services were the institutions which were responsible for estimating Soviet military strength. The arms industry, the military and security services all had the strongest possible motive for over-estimating Soviet strength. Their own funding and thus the incomes and career opportunities of those doing the estimating, all depended on the over-estimates.

There was a very brief period at the end of the Cold War when this reality was acknowledged in Whitehall and I remember it clearly within the FCO. It was, as I say, a very brief period. The armaments, military and security industries will always massively over-estimate the “opposition” and explain that only vastly more resources fed their way can “keep us safe”.

To return to the United States’ ability to crush North Korea militarily if it really puts major resources into it, my worry is that Donald Trump is aware of this. He appears to be crazy enough to consider doing it, or at least to threaten to do it, which is almost as dangerous.
But the danger is not, as media pundits have it, that North Korea is too strong and would pulverise South Korea. That is not a real danger, unless Trump’s attack was half-hearted or token. The obvious and massive danger is that China would never accept a military attack on its ally, and Trump would be risking a nuclear conflict which ruins us all.

I do not think Trump is crazy enough to risk a military attack on North Korea. But he plainly is crazy enough to think that this kind of crude threatening posture is the way to get China to take serious action against Kim Jong On. That is a very serious misreading of China. How the United States copes over the next decade with being overtaken by China as the biggest global superpower, will define the coming century. Trump appears to be making a calamitous start.


272 thoughts on “The North Korean Danger

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  • Mark Doran

    “the United States military has had over three times as much money spent on equipping it as the Soviet/Russian and Chinese militaries combined. That is a very bad thing for the United States, but nonetheless it is true. That does have an effect.”

    Yes. But ‘spending’ is not a straightforward measure. There’s a non-trivial difference between US ‘pork-barrel spending’ and Russian ‘smart spending’. That has an effect too — though it would take a serious military confrontation to clarify how much of one.

    • craig Post author

      Mark,

      You think there is no corruption in Russian defence spending? No, I am afraid this is simply wishful thinking on your part of the kind I outlined in the article.

      • michael norton

        A BIG question is why did The Donald claim they were no happy for Assad to contiue leading Syria, it was no longer their pre-condition to anything that he and his mates needed to be removed, then a week later 59 Tomahawks rain down on a Syrian airfield -WHY?

        But a follow up question is,
        what happened to half of the Tomahawks, were they taken out by Syria-Russia, were they aimed at other targets – perhaps Islamic State, were there only half the missiles fired, as claimed by Donald, or did the missiles fail?

        • craig Post author

          I think that question is better phrased as why did the Americans deliberately not do serious damage to that airfield, because that is what happened. And it is a very interesting question.

          • dunwich

            I’m rather puzzled similarly by reports that the US told the Russians what they were going to do, supposedly I think so Russians could make sure its personnel weren’t hit. This is all very well but presumably the Russians are not entirely stupid, and could ensure both that their personnel were moved, and equally that their ally’s aircraft were similarly moved.

        • michael norton

          Or was Syria irrelevant and this demonstration was for the benefit of CHINA – North Korea – rest of the Globe?

          • michael norton

            Well Craig, that airfield, clearly had, fifty hardened aircraft shelters, and two runways,
            so if you wanted to total the whole place, fifty nine Tomahawks would be the minimum, to take out most of the hardened shelters, damage air traffic control, destroy maintenance hangers, fuel dumps, weapon dumps.

            So, yes Craig, your point is to the point.
            Syria would have been only a bit de-activated by those strikes.

          • MJ

            Only 24 of the 60 tomahawks hit their targets. The runways and key operational facilities were undamaged and the Syrian airforce was able to take back control within 24 hours. There remain 35 missiles unaccounted for (one ditched into the sea shortly after launch). At $1.5M per missile this doesn’t represent good value for money.

      • Peter Adams

        The US has spent how much, a trillion, 1.4 trillion I read, on the F-35 aircraft?

        It requires chinese parts and has already rendered obselete by Russia’s S-400 system, which cost almost nothing in comparison.

        Of course the MIC do not CARE. They’ll just build another one.

        THAT is the difference between the two budgets.

  • Tony

    “During the cold war we were taught for years that the mighty Red Army was set to roll over Europe. I recall television programmes showing diagrams with scores of Russian tanks for every NATO tank opposing them.”

    The USSR and its allies had ‘overwhelming’ superiority in conventional forces. I can remember even ‘Militant’ making such a ridiculous claim.

    I can only recall one newspaper article that cast doubt on this. It was in the Observer in about 1988.
    At school in the late 1970s the RAF once visited and told us about the imbalance of forces. Soviet aircraft were always shown against a background of dark, menacing clouds. The music added to the sense of threat.
    NATO planes, by contrast, were shown in nice bright sunshine. The soundtrack was cheerful flute music.

    We were regularly told about the number of tanks that the USSR had. Winston Churchill MP even told us that that was more than Hitler had!
    But the sheer cynicism of this was exposed in late 1988 when Gorbachev announced cuts in troops and tanks in central Europe. The age or quality of the tanks had never been mentioned before but now we were told that these were all old and obsolete tanks and so their withdrawal did not amount to much.

    People need to question what we are told. We cannot rely on the media to expose such blatant manipulation.
    Thank you.

  • Habbabkuk

    “That is a very serious misreading of China.”
    ____________________

    That, of course, is the essential question.

    I am not as sure as you are but without knowing why you think so it is difficult to say more.

    +++++++++++++++++

    Anyway, a good post. Just one thought, though : it is easy to see how it was in the arms industries’ and the military’s interest to estimate high (even though you know the difficulties of obtaining accurate info at the time – another example was the difficulty of assessing the GDR’s real economic strength..) but why should it have been in the security services’ (or at at least the analysts’) interest to do so? I should have thought they were just doing their best to make realistic assessments in extremely difficult circumstances and without the assistance of certain technologies available today?

    • craig Post author

      Very simple – the bigger the threat, the more you are willing to spend resources on keeping tabs on it.

  • Anon1

    This is worth a read…

    The most deadly of the real-life kaiju prowling the oceans today are the fourteen Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarines, which carry upwards of half of the United States’ nuclear arsenal onboard.

    If you do the math, the Ohio-class boats may be the most destructive weapon system created by humankind. Each of the 170-meter-long vessels can carry twenty-four Trident II submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) which can be fired from underwater to strike at targets more than seven thousand miles away depending on the load.

    As a Trident II reenters the atmosphere at speeds of up to Mach 24, it splits into up to eight independent reentry vehicles, each with a 100- or 475-kiloton nuclear warhead. In short, a full salvo from an Ohio-class submarine—which can be launched in less than one minute—could unleash up to 192 nuclear warheads to wipe twenty-four cities off the map. This is a nightmarish weapon of the apocalypse.
    _________

    The rest of the nuclear-armed world is a long, long way off anything approaching that capability.

  • Muscleguy

    I wonder also about assessments of the West’s military capacity. Not everything the US and its allies used or tried to use in Iraq or Afghanistan worked as advertised. The UK failures in equipment and availability were heavily covered in the media for eg.

    Another issue which is relevant is intelligence. Are all the artillery pieces menacing Seoul real? how many of the more obvious and vulnerable ones are dummies there to attract attacks. NK’s capacity may be what you say but does the US have sufficient intelligence to target it efficiently and effectively?

    And finally the other problem you have not mentioned is increasing Western resolve to suffer military losses. You may recall during the Falklands war the aircraft carriers were positioned so far SE of the Islands pilots had scant time over them to interdict Argentine planes due to fuel worries. The carriers were there because of fears of Argentine attacks. Assets not used to full capacity because of a fear of putting them in harm’s way.

    Then there was the high level, inaccurate carpet bombing of the frontline in the North at the start of the Afghan campaign because the US was afraid of old Russian SAMs.

    Drones, cruise missiles and the like do give the Bravery of Being Out of Range in Roger Waters’ words but they cannot replace boots on the ground. In the same way that tanks can be used to take ground but are not so good at keeping it.

    I suggest to you that the willingness of the North Koreans to put themselves in harm’s way and sacrifice themselves for the cause is orders of magnitude greater than that of the average GI.

    Remember how the much less militarily capable Iranians held off the Iraqis with ‘Human Wave’ tactics borrowed from the Soviets in WWII. The casualties were high as were the injuries. Back home young women were urged and did marry disfigured heroes as a way of supporting the war effort.

    IF the NK army floods forward, will the GI’s stand and fight? I’m not sure. The South Koreans might, they will be defending their homes, but holes left in the line by fleeing GI’s won’t help them.

    • lysias

      It was the use of human wave tactics by the North Koreans and the Red Chinese that prevented U.S. victory in the Korean War.

      • Habbabkuk

        For the sake of historical accuracy that should read “United Nations victory in the Korean War”.

      • Habbabkuk

        United Nations Security Council Resolution 84 of 7 July 1950 refers.

        Passed with three abstentions and no votes against.

  • David

    Western Military technology has advanced so far it unreal. The last Red Flag exercise combining stealth with conventional 5th gen fixed wing aircraft showed just how devastating an air attack would be today against the very defences set up to stop such a thing. The F35 scored a 15-1 kill ratio against determined and relatively advanced F16 opposition, and took out ground defences with relative ease. The wests ability to wage conventional warfare is staggering. The simple fact is that with a couple of carrier groups and some airbases in S Korea the US could obliterate the North’s conventional arms in a very short time frame. As Craig points out the disparity between the Iraq army and the western forces facing it was huge. Its not just in airpower either. Western tanks have no real opposition on the ground with both challenger and abrams demonstrating that they can take multiple hits and still fight, not to mention that they can hit targets at vast distances and so keeping their armour outside of effective counter fire ranges. A conventional war with N Korea would be over fast. But as has been demonstrated over and over again its not the initial fighting that is the problem militarily, its what comes next. Since Vietnam and since the Russian invasion of Afghanistan its been shown that the west has no effective counter to A-symmetrical war fighting.

    China plays the long game and it would not be in her interests currently to engage the US in a war, she cannot win conventionally and its unlikely they would use Nukes as the retaliation would be world ending, literally. The USA and China actually need each other currently and you can be sure that those self interests will allow for the USA to attack N Korea without a significant Chinese involvement. As Kim -Jong keeps threatening nuclear attack against the US and her regional allies it creates the excuse that the USA needs, and gives China a way out of defending N Korea.

    Look at recent meetings between China and the US. All the economic noise has been turned down to mute, china is no longer a currency manipulator etc etc. I think the deal has already been done, china will sacrifice N Korea in exchange for an easier time across the rest of the world. Trump will score a fairly straight forward win in N Korea and so boost his popularity at home.

    Its the every day North Koreans I feel for, its very possible that soon everything they know, their entire way of life is going to disappear in a shower of high explosives, and there will be no one to hear their screams. As we have seen over and over again, a western military intervention will leave them with nothing and no hope for decades to come. China wont allow S Korea to take the territory, the USA will have no interest in it once they have removed the “threat” and its not beyond the bounds of possibility that China will seize the territory.

    Craig is correct, even in a conventional exchange million of N Koreans will die, not in the initial fighting, but certainly over the next 10 to 15 years of chaos they will have to endure.

    People keep talking about moving around the planet to find a better life, personally I wish there was another planet to I could go too, although I’ve been accused of living on a different planet many a time 🙂

    • Muscleguy

      I’m not convinced by your assertion that China would or could stop SK from taking over NK. China has not shown any interest in running NK and would have done so before now if they did.

      To stop SK taking over the Red Army would have to pile in like last time which would result in nuclear war. MacArthur had to be restrained from using nukes in the last war. If a US or SK formation was at serious risk from a Red Army formation would they resist ‘tactical’ nukes? I’m not so sure.

      I think China would accept Korean reunification IFF the US pulled out of the peninsula. With NK defeated the US would have no more reason to be there and SK might well not want them any more and SK may well do that deal.

      • bevin

        China has no objection to South Korea except that it is a major US base aimed at China. Without the US presence South Korea would very easily and happily orient itself towards China.

  • Martinned

    My understanding is that this bit is problematic:

    It could even do so before North Korea could inflict damage on Seoul of cataclysmic proportions.

    Since Seoul is within artillery range from North Korea, it wouldn’t take very long to turn it into Sebastopol 1855 or Berlin 1945.

    • craig Post author

      Martinned

      That is precisely my point. They wouldn’t get very long at all. Enough to inflict some serious damage, but no more.

      • Martinned

        Sure, but “serious damage” is a pretty, well, serious reason not to rush into a shooting war with the North.

        As Dover discovered during WW II, it’s not as if air raid sirens give enough advance warning before an artillery bombardment. And a modern city like Seoul is not very well equipped to handle that kind of punishment even if the people are safe from shelling. (I.e. it is not very resilient. A lot of things can go wrong very quickly if one key electricity substation gets hit.)

        There are 25 million people in the Seoul metropolitan area, as many as in all of North Korea.

    • David

      Martinned, Yes the North would be able to fire artillery into Seoul, but modern millimetre band radar allows very accurate counter fire in a very short space of time from the South’s artillery positions. In artillery terms, him who fires first, dies first. That’s why the USA has invested so much into high mobility artillery pieces they fire and move before counter fire has an effect. The damage to Seoul would look horrific and the loss of life would be large, but an artillery round doesn’t pack much of a punch in truth, at least not compared to an air dropped 2000lb bomb. You need a lot of bombs to flatten a city, and an insane amount of artillery rounds to do the same job. The south also run regular drills for exactly just this event. There would be death, but not enough to deter the USA.

  • M

    It has come to my attention that not all present have drawn their pens and notepads out!

    • Trowbridge H. Ford

      Right, M.

      Analysis of the past is quite superficial. Sometimes, the underdog had unknown surprises for the USA and its western partrners, like when the Soviets had those 82 SS-23 nuclear weapons which would have reduced ‘Mad Maggies’ UK to nuclear rubble after they assassinated Swedish PM Olof Palme to trigger what they hoped would be a non-nuclear conclusion to the Cold War which did not happen because of Soviet spying, and the adoption of such counter measures.

      Just read Mark Urban’s UK Eyes Alfa, for example, about the failures of the arrogant Brixmas operations in the DDR, and the likely consequences.

      What if North Korea has been able to adopt effective nuclear and missile measures which CM makes no mention of despite its just playing along with US covert ones to make out falsely that it is an serious international threat?

      Remember that arrogant way that the US, especially Admiral Lyons, made out the Moscow had no answer for ABLE ARCHER exercises which that Cambridge disinforrmer Christopher Andrew got completely wrong too.

      Won’t still be back unless CM makes my absence so obvious.

    • bevin

      You are right. ‘b’s earlier post on the timing of US South Korean exercises was equally good.

  • Sharp Ears

    Whatever is said on here, nothing will change what Trump does or doesn’t do to state the obvious.

    Here is his latest rambling. He reminds me of those speak your weight machines that you used to see on railway station platforms.

    Trump: Chance of ‘major conflict’ with N Korea
    The US President says he would “love to solve” the North Korean problem diplomatically – but “it’s very difficult”.
    http://news.sky.com/story/trump-chance-of-major-conflict-with-n-korea-10853746

    In another Sky piece he says he misses being able to drive and go anywhere he liked including restaurants. What did he think being US president entailed?

  • Courtenay Barnett

    Craig,

    ” I do not think Trump is crazy enough to risk a military attack on North Korea.”

    I hope that you are right on the view that you expressed.

    It seems to me that since no mature, balanced and stable adult conducts himself or herself the way Donald Trump does; then the behaviour manifested by Trump – brings into question his mental stability.

  • bevin

    The Cold War background, of which Craig reminds us, is a great importance: the entire shape of western civilisation after 1945 was determined by a theory-that the USSR was aggressive and that it was so well armed that it could roll over Europe in a matter of hours- that was not just false but obviously so. It took very little understanding of either Soviet foreign policy or its military equipment to realise that the entire ideology of the west was based on a series of flagrant untruths.

    This is no small matter: we have been telling lies to each other, and the rest of the world, for more than seventy years. Millions of people have died simply to maintain the illusion that their local nationalisms (reactions to foreign rule) , their simple communalism (born of a rejection of colonial policies taking land and giving it to white settlers) , their desire to take time to adjust to the changed circumstances of colonialism (making a transition from traditional tribal governance to the imposed borders and centralisation of imperial rule) , added up to a world wide campaign, directed from Moscow, to impose Communism on the world.
    Millions of Africans were killed; millions of Latin Americans were the victims of the most sordid crimes, carried out at the behest of the United States-to keep Communism at bay. In East Asia the carnage was even worse.

    And now the lies have taken hold of us- we cannot live without them. The spectre of communism has vanished but slavophobia does very nicely in its place.
    We are so deeply invested in perpetual war for ideological reasons that we are employing wahhabi militias to fight governments we accuse of bigotry on such matters as gay rights!
    You really couldn’t make it up: Aristide was removed from office, by the “west”, on the grounds that Haiti’s Senatorial Elections had been run on a First Past the Post basis rather than having a second round ‘run-off”. For this offence against democracy our governments armed and sponsored a gang of drug dealing criminals, from the Ton Ton Macoutes, to take over Port au Prince, after removing the elected President.

    Something similar happened in Honduras, where the President removed from office had been accused of asking Congress to consider the law restricting term limits on elected offices.

    Assad stands accused of not representing the sectarian interests of fundamentalist Sunni communities, and employing secret police forces to sustain his power.

    Ghadaffi was killed and Libya reduced to anarchy of the less attractive kind because, in a speech, he had threatened to crush any rebellion.

    Yemen is in flames, its people starving, because the “President” imposed on it by Saudi Arabia and the US, was kicked out in a popular uprising. His mandate consisted of winning an election in which he was the sole candidate!
    Most of the ridiculous excuses imperialists have proffered for their interventions have been forgotten. Most people have no idea why Haiti is in such a mess, they assume that there must be a good reason. Most people, aware that, in their experience, governments are crooked, take the easy way out-that it is no real loss when an Assad or a Saddam is dethroned. It is easier than questioning the powerful people who impose their lies on us and demand that we believe them.

    And now, incredibly, we are on the verge of war because the lies that we have told each other about Korea cannot be dispensed with, without ‘loss of face.’ North Korea is no threat, desperately seeks Peace and reunification and an end to sanctions and the bullying that has kept it on the brink of famine for decades, but, because it is no threat, it makes an easy target- a cheap victory, of the sort to which our ‘civilisation’ is addicted.
    (Meanwhile in Estonia and Ukraine our forces mass, again, to hold off the threat of Russian aggression-an imminent invasion by a million tanks to roll over eastern Europe and re-incorporate it into a Russian Empire.)
    And the lies pass without challenge. They will be our epitaph.

    • Anon1

      “Yemen is in flames, its people starving, because the “President” imposed on it by Saudi Arabia and the US, was kicked out in a popular uprising.”

      Er, no. Yemen is “starving” because two thirds of its agricultural land and 40% of its water supply is given over to the production of khat, a narcotic plant that Yemenis spend most of their income on.

      Can’t be bothered with the rest of your drivel.

  • Boo hoo hoo my army

    “In Iraq really substantial Iraqi conventional forces, … inflicted almost no damage.”

    Yes, well, now that you mention it,

    http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread597957/pg1
    http://www.crazyontap.com/topic.php?TopicId=42985

    Initial tactical rout did not change the eventual course of the war, but it spurred a massive US disinformation campaign to conceal the cost Iraq imposed. From North Korea, long accustomed to doing more with less, we should expect no less ingenuity.

    • Habbabkuk

      It sounds as if you’re rather pleased with the notion that Iraki forces imposed a “cost” on coalition forces. But you shouldn’t be because your sources are dubious and your information erroneous.

    • Manda

      Iraq had also been under “genocidal” and crippling sanctions for the ten years, plus had been weakened in the first Gulf war.

      I still get angry there is so little discussion about the viciousness of western/NATO allied actions over decades targeting countries that don’t toe the line, never mind their legality in International law.

      I also think the aim was to destroy Iraq as a sovereign country, further divide its citizens to fuel infighting and terrorism, destroy the culture and sense of place leaving a fractured and weak area full of infighting factions. Same in Libya, Afghanistan and now Syria… Yemen.
      Destroyed or weak, infighting states are easy to plunder and profit from intervening in the vile, never ending, ‘war on terror’ that is a self fulfilling, cynical cycle there is no incentive to break for war profiteers. There is a racist (or xenophobic) neo colonial thread running through all these assaults and atrocities against countries, their societies, cultures, citizens and sovereignty that makes my stomach churn.
      So much suffering and horror inflicted and what danger were any of these countries to us? I do not buy the RTP doctrine at all, destroying countries, societies and lives, killing hundreds of thousands, even millions, is no way to protect citizens!

  • Manda

    Why is the anti war movement so quiet? We are in probably the most dangerous era ever, surely it is better to stand up now to prevent a catastrophe, even the end of life on earth, rather than let the forces around Trump, May, NATO etc. push past the point of no return.

    I have no doubt the forces pushing the western military alliance is mad enough…

    • Manda

      I didn’t read much of it as it reads as a typical western exceptionalism and US indispensable skewed narrative, I am sick of reading reams from that perspective to be blunt. Hasn’t N.Korea a right to independence and sovereignty? With chief bully nation US armed to the teeth and having destroyed a series of countries recently, often on false pretexts, surely anyone rational would want to protect their country and citizens? The Korean war is not still officially over…

      If the piece changes tone let me know and I will read it fully.

  • Charlie Primero

    I have watched this North Korea clown show repeat 6 or 7 times in my life.

    North Korea is expert at playing The Heel on the world stage.

    American Cattle fall for it every time.

  • Herbie

    “In Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya the conventional fighting was won extremely quickly. In Iraq really substantial Iraqi conventional forces, technologically rather more advanced than North Korean, were wiped out while they inflicted almost no damage.”

    Afghanistan and Libya are obviously irrelevant to any comparison with N Korea.

    Padding only. Why’d you include them.

    You say Iraq inflicted almost no damage.

    On what exactly.

    US forces?

    Again irrelevant to the N Korea comparison.

    Iraq had no civilian populations other than Israel worth attacking, and in any event had crap missiles.

    Again irrelevant to N Korea.

    This isn’t about N Korea.

    It’s about the potentiial of S Korea electing an administration more friendly to the North and less friendly to Japan and by extension the US.

    The US is by proxy threatening S Korea with a N Korean strike, by stirring them up.

    And Russia and China, of course.

    • Habbabkuk

      “Iraq had no civilian populations other than Israel worth attacking”
      ____________________

      Ah, so Israel was worth attacking by Saddam’s Iraq?

      Good that someone admits it at last.

      Any thoughts on why was Israel worth attacking by Iraq, Herbie?

      And is Israel worth attacking by any other state in the region?

      Give readers the big picture. please.

      • Herbie

        The main point is that Iraq did not have a S Korea to attack, with all that that implies for Craig’s comparison.

        “Any thoughts on why was Israel worth attacking by Iraq, Herbie?”

        Kicking out at the only thing they could attack.

        A vain hope that the Arab Street would rise up in support.

  • John Spencer-Davis

    Noam Chomsky on North Korea and the USA.

    “Actually, there’s one proposal that’s ignored. I mean, you see a mention of it now and then. It’s a pretty simple proposal. Remember, the goal is to get North Korea to freeze its weapons systems, weapons and missile systems. So one proposal is to accept their offer to do that. Sounds simple. They’ve made a proposal. China and North Korea proposed to freeze the North Korean missile and nuclear weapons systems. And the U.S. instantly rejected it. And you can’t blame that on Trump. Obama did the same thing a couple of years ago. Same offer was presented. I think it was 2015. The Obama administration instantly rejected it.

    And the reason is that it calls for a quid pro quo. It says, in return, the United States should put an end to threatening military maneuvers on North Korea’s borders, which happen to include, under Trump, sending of nuclear-capable B-52s flying right near the border. Now, maybe Americans don’t remember very well, but North Koreans have a memory of not too long ago, when North Korea was absolutely flattened, literally, by American bombing. There was—there was literally no targets left. And I really urge people who haven’t done it to read the official American military histories, the Air Quarterly Review, the military histories describing this. They describe it very vividly and accurately. They say, “There just weren’t any targets left. So what could we do?” Well, we decided to attack the dams, the huge dams. That’s a major war crime. People were hanged for it at Nuremberg. But put that aside. And then comes an ecstatic, gleeful description of the bombing of the dams and the huge flow of water, which was wiping out valleys and destroying the rice crop, on which Asians depend for survival—lots of racist comment, but all with exaltation and glee. You really have to read it to appreciate it. The North Koreans don’t have to bother reading it. They lived it. So when nuclear-capable B-52s are flying on their border, along with other threatening military maneuvers, they’re kind of upset about it. Strange people. And they continue to develop what they see as a potential deterrent that might protect the regime from—and the country, in fact—from destruction. This has nothing at all to do with what you think about the government. So maybe it’s the worst government in human history. OK. But these are still the facts that exist.

    So, why is the United States unwilling to accept an agreement which would end the immediate threats of destruction against North Korea and, in return, freeze the weapons and missile systems? Well, I leave that to you. And remember, that’s bipartisan in this case. Could negotiations go—the usual argument is “Well, you can’t trust them,” and so on and so forth. But there is a history. And I—there’s no time to run through the history. It’s quite interesting. Begins in 1993, when Clinton—under Clinton, the North Koreans made a deal with Israel to terminate North Korean missile shipments to the Middle East, which is a great, serious threat to Israel and the world, and, in return, Israel would recognize North Korea. Now, the Clinton administration wouldn’t accept that. They pressured Israel, which has to do what they’re told, to withdraw from it. And North Korea responded by sending—by firing their first intermediate-range missiles. I won’t go on with the rest. It’s a very interesting story.

    There was actually an agreement in 2005 that North Korea would completely dismantle its nuclear weapons and missile systems, end them, finish, dismantle them, in return for a nonaggression pact from the United States, an end to threats, provision by the West—that means by the United States—of a light-water reactor, which can’t produce nuclear weapons but could produce—be used for peaceful purposes, research, medical, other purposes. That was basically the agreement, 2005. Didn’t last very long. The Bush administration instantly undermined it. It dismantled the consortium that was supposed to provide the reactor. And it immediately imposed—pressured—and when the U.S. pressures, it means it happens—banks to block North Korean financial transactions, including perfectly legitimate trade. So the crazy North Koreans started producing missiles and nuclear weapons again. And that’s been the kind of record all the way through.

    So, yeah, maybe the most horrible regime in human history, but the fact of the matter is the regime does want to survive, and it even wants to carry out economic development—there’s pretty general agreement about this—which it cannot do in any significant way when it’s pouring resources, very scarce resources, into weapons and missile production. So they have considerable incentive, including survival, to perhaps continue this process of reacting in a kind of tit-for-tat fashion to U.S. actions. When the U.S. lowers tensions, they do. When we raise tensions, they go on with these plans. How about that as a possibility? I mean, it is—if you look at the press, it’s occasionally mentioned. In fact, there was not a bad article in The Washington Post about it recently by a U.S. professor who teaches in South Korea. So, occasionally, it’s this strange possibility of letting the North Koreans do exactly what we want them to do. Sometimes this is mentioned, but it’s pretty much dismissed. We can’t do that sort of thing…

    …But, very strikingly—and this—there’s one lesson that you discover when you carefully look at the historical record. What I just described about North Korea is pretty typical. Over and over again, there are possibilities of diplomacy and negotiation, which might not succeed—you can’t be sure if you don’t try them—but which look pretty promising, which are abandoned, dismissed, literally without comment, in favor of increased force and violence. In fact, that’s also the background for the 1953 moment, when the clock moved to two minutes to midnight and the U.S. faced the first serious threat to its security, that, in fact—you know, since probably the War of 1812—could have been avoided. There’s pretty good evidence that it could have been avoided. But it was—the possibility was literally not even considered. And case after case is like this. It’s worth looking at the historical record from that perspective, to ask whether that general comment has some validity. I think, if you do, you’ll find that it has considerable merit.”

    https://www.democracynow.org/2017/4/26/chomsky_on_north_korea_iran_historical

    • Plato

      There is also this, China remembers the opium wars!

      The US might consider it just a bombing run on a small expendable nation, and believe that bullying and mass murder would pave the way for meek (and never ending) concessions.

      As China know firsthand how horribly the flooding of drugs by UK and US went, and see ample evidence everywhere how dishonest and unscrupulous the US and its proxies still are, it might take a stand. It knows US history of “burning the Iraqi missiles to preserve the peace, then invade” in every form. It might prefer not to be backed into a corner with reduced ability to defend itself. And allowing an ally to be bombed back to the stone age is just that.

      China may respond as if this is an existential matter.

      I worry that in the psychopathic bogeyman war-of-the-month roll the US and its proxies fail to notice.

  • Brianfujisan

    There seems to be amid the BS and Lies, rather a lot of Racism directed at NK..” their’e all Crazies, and Mad

    It was the us that, – just like Native American Treaties – who failed to uphold it’s end of ‘The Agreed Framework’ Which was meant to end Nk’s Nuclear program and herald peaceful relations with the us

  • Republicofscotland

    I agree I don’t think Trump will attack North Korea, for fear of involving China, which could quickly escalate hostilities.

    However Trump is attempting to bully NK, into abandoning its nuclear programme. I am though not entirely comfortable at the thought of NK possessing nuclear weapons, but I’m even more uncomfortable at the thought of a Chinese intervention if, Trump did order a strike.

    It was widely reported in the press last week that has China built its first aircraft carrier without any outside help. Trump’s somewhat menacing approach, will inevitably see China built more and more military weapons, ships and aircraft. As I don’t see China giving up NK’s buffer zone to China.

    More importantly do we in the West and the Europe want to follow Trump down this road of madness. Do we really want to aid the US in its self appointed police man of the world tag? I’m confident many many people do not.

    • Brianfujisan

      RoS

      ” More importantly do we in the West and the Europe want to follow Trump down this road of madness. Do we really want to aid the US in its self appointed police man of the world tag? I’m confident many many people do not.”

      Much the same Question as Manda @ 14;57 ( three posts ending in 57 mins )

      ” Why is the anti war movement so quiet? ”

      here is one I was reading yesterday –

      Why Is There So Little Popular Protest Against Recent Threats of Nuclear War?

      ” Finally–and perhaps most significantly–people are reluctant to think about nuclear war. After all, it means death and destruction at an unbearable level of horror. Therefore, it’s much easier to simply forget about it.

      Of course, even if these factors explain the public’s passivity in the face of a looming nuclear catastrophe, they do not justify it. After all, people can concern themselves with more than one issue at a time, public officials are often more malleable than assumed, accepting the mass slaughter of Koreans is unconscionable, and if nuclear deterrence really worked, the U.S. government would be far less worried about other nations (including North Korea) developing nuclear weapons. Also, problems–including the problem posed by nuclear weapons–do not simply disappear when people ignore them.

      It would be a terrible thing if it takes a disastrous nuclear war between the United States and North Korea to convince people that nuclear war is simply unacceptable. The atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki should already have convinced us of that.

      http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/46944.htm

      • Republicofscotland

        Brian.

        I think it’s a case of helplessness, look at the demonstrations against the Iraq war, how many good people stood up from all walks of life and said “Not in my name.”

        Yet we went ahead anyway and murders thousand of Iraqi citizens, the sanctions and embargos kilked many more. We the people are not listened to by the Westminster government.

        If certain politicians and the media make a good enough case for an attack on a country, then that attack will go ahead unfortunately, regardless of whether that information is deemed trustworthy, or not in some cases.

      • RobG

        By all accounts I’ve read, there was much the same kind of ‘public numbness’ in the run-up to the First World War and the Second World War.

        I should add that in my humble opinion I don’t think we are heading into a Third World War: the public are much more clued-up these days, and many realise that they are ruled by complete psychopaths and corrupt loons.

      • Manda

        “It would be a terrible thing if it takes a disastrous nuclear war between the United States and North Korea to convince people that nuclear war is simply unacceptable. The atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki should already have convinced us of that.”

        Hiroshima and Nagasaki convince me the exceptional nation is capable of anything no matter how horrific. If the burying heads in the sand reason is really a factor, I despair.
        Putting the nuclear threat aside for a moment what about the heinous toxins left behind in these wars that are damaging people and their children as in Iraq and now reported in Yemen probably from depleted uranium coated bombs and shells? I have read there are rumours terrorists (moderate rebels) have got of DU coated shells in Syria.
        Just a reminder of what modern conventional wars do and leave behind.
        http://johnpilger.com/videos/paying-the-price-killing-the-children-of-iraq

        “Of course, even if these factors explain the public’s passivity in the face of a looming nuclear catastrophe, they do not justify it”

        I wholeheartedly agree.

  • Godfree Roberts

    China and North Korea has a friendship treaty. Here is the full text.
    July 11, 1961
    THE Chairman of the People’s Republic of China and the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, determined, in accordance with Marxism-Leninism and the principle of proletarian internationalism and on the basis of mutual respect for state sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and mutual assistance and support, to make every effort to further strengthen and develop the fraternal relations of friendship, co-operation and mutual assistance between the People’s Republic of China and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, to jointly guard the security of the two peoples, and to safeguard and consolidate the peace of Asia and the world, and deeply convinced that the development and strengthening of the relations of friendship, co-operation and mutual assistance between the two countries accord not only with the fundamental interests of the two peoples but also with the interests of the peoples all over the world, have decided for this purpose to conclude the present Treaty and appointed as their respective plenipotentiaries:
    The Chairman of the People’s Republic of China: Chou En-lai, Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China.
    The Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea: Kim Il Sung, Premier of the Cabinet of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,
    Who, having examined each other’s full powers and found them in good and due form, have agreed upon the the following:
    Article I
    The Contracting Parties will continue to make every effort to safeguard the peace of Asia and the world and the security of all peoples.
    Article II
    The Contracting Parties undertake jointly to adopt all measures to prevent aggression against either of the Contracting Parties by any state. In the event of one of the Contracting Parties being subjected to the armed attack by any state or several states jointly and thus being involved in a state of war, the other Contracting Party shall immediately render military and other assistance by all means at its disposal.
    Article III
    Neither Contracting Party shall conclude any alliance directed against the other Contracting Party or take part in any bloc or in any action or measure directed against the other Contracting Party .
    Article IV
    The Contracting Parties will continue to consult with each other on all important international questions of common interest to the two countries.
    Article V
    The Contracting Parties, on the principles of mutual respect for sovereignty, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit and in the spirit of friendly co-operation, will continue to render each other every possible economic and technical aid in the cause of socialist construction of the two countries and will continue to consolidate and develop economic, cultural, and scientific and technical co-operation between the two countries.
    Article VI
    The Contracting Parties hold that the unification of Korea must be realized along peaceful and democratic lines and that such a solution accords exactly with the national interests of the Korean people and the aim of preserving peace in the Far East.
    Article VII
    The present Treaty is subject to ratification and shall come into force on the day of exchange of instruments of ratification, which will take place in Pyongyang. The present Treaty will remain in force until the Contracting Parties agree on its amendment or termination. Done in duplicate in Peking on the eleventh day of July, nineteen sixty-one, in the Chinese and Korean languages, both texts being equally authentic.
    China is treaty-obligated NOT to ally with state against North Korea, and offer assistance if North Korea is invaded. This Treaty is good until 2021.

    Five reasons why the US cannot attack North Korea
    US President Donald Trump’s sudden strike on Syria and Washington’s doubling down on aggressive military posturing has led to wide speculation that Pyongyang could be the next target for unilateral action.
    Watch: Massive military parade in Pyongyang
    Even though the administration has indicated that military option is among the options under review, there are many signs that North Korea is not Syria – as military action against the former carries far greater risks.
    1. Why can’t the US attack North Korea like it did Syria?
    The Korean Peninsula technically remains in a state of war. Fighting halted on July 27, 1953 under an armistice signed between Washington and Beijing. If the US initiated an attack, it would break the treaty endorsed by the United Nations.
    2. What are the most important differences between North Korea and Syria?
    While Syria is believed to have pursued nuclear weapons, North Korea’s nuclear weapons capabilities have matured in recent years. Pyongyang has conducted five nuclear tests and claims it has successfully “miniaturised” nuclear warheads – though such claims have never been independently verified. It experienced a series of embarrassing failures while launching the Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile last year. Despite that, military experts believe that North Korea learnt from those setbacks and might even be able to develop a nuclear-tipped, intercontinental ballistic missile that can reach the United States within the coming four years, during Trump’s presidency.

    3. Why must China stand by North Korea if it is attacked by the US?
    China is North Korea’s ally. In 1961, the two countries signed the Sino-North Korean Mutual Aid and Cooperation Friendship Treaty, in which both parties are obliged to offer immediate military and other assistance to the other in the case of an outside attack. This treaty has been prolonged twice, and is valid until 2021.
    4. Why does China insist on a peaceful resolution and oppose military option floated by the US?
    China is concerned that its border provinces would be inundated with North Korean refugees if the Kim regime collapsed. From a geopolitical point of view, Beijing views North Korea as a buffer zone from the potential encroachment by powers are aligned with the US, including Japan and South Korea.
    5. Besides China, which other countries oppose a military strike against Pyongyang?
    Both South Korea and Japan prefer non-military option. The South Korean capital, Seoul, is only about 40km from the border and is particularly vulnerable to North Korean attack. Sam Gardiner, a retired Air Force colonel, was quoted by an interview by The Atlantic magazine as saying the US “cannot protect Seoul, at least for the first 24 hours of a war, and maybe for the first 48”. Even though former US president Bill Clinton seriously debated bombing the Yongbyon reactor in 1994, he was convinced by his defence officials that the intensity of combat with North Korea “would be greater than any the world has witnessed since the last Korean War”.

  • Republicofscotland

    Speaking of military strikes, Israel bombed a military installation near Damascus airport yesterday. The aim of the strike was raise the moral of terrorist groups, backed by anti-Assad forces, aka the usual culprits.

    Does Israel get a free-pass from the UN when it bombs somewhere? On this occasion it would seem so.

    • Sharp Ears

      ‘On Wednesday, a high-ranking Israeli military officer briefed reporters that approximately 100 missiles intended for Hezbollah had been destroyed in the raid.’ Of course they were.

      Previous attacks listed on the BBC website.

      ‘Recent suspected Israeli attacks in Syria

      23 April 2017: Alleged Israeli attack on a training camp used by militia in Syria’s Golan Heights region, kills three members of the Syrian pro-government National Defence Forces, according to the group.

      17 March 2017: The Israeli military says its aircraft attacked several targets in Syria and shot down a Syrian missile.

      22 February 2017: Israeli aircraft reportedly bomb several Syrian air bases near Damascus, including a Hezbollah convoy travelling with the Syrian army.

      12 January 2017: The Syrian government accuses Israel of firing several rockets on the Mezzeh air base from the Sea of Galilee.

      30 November 2016: Israeli aircraft fire missiles on the Syrian town of Saboura, west of Damascus, according to Syrian military sources.

      18 January 2015: Six Hezbollah fighters and several Iranian soldiers, including a general, die in suspected Israeli air strikes in Syria’s Golan Heights region.

      19 December 2015: Suspected Israeli missiles hit Jaramana district of Damascus, killing nine Hezbollah fighters, including leading figure Samir Qantar ‘

      Israel shot down “a target” over the Golan Heights, hours after it was accused of a missile strike at a military site near Damascus international airport.
      Israel deployed its Patriot missile defence system and media reported the target was a drone.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-39739787

      Israel has impunity. Israel knows no law.

      • Habbabkuk

        And Syria and Israel are still officially at war with one another. Did you know that? Jordan and Egypt signed peace treaties, Syria declined.

    • Manda

      I believe Israel says it was targeting a Hezbollah munitions or supply centre.

      Israel gets a de facto pass on all UN resolutions against it and illegal acts just like US, NATO and all their allies do. UN is an entity that appears to have been either largely co opted or cowed by US led faction. The biggest recent hypocritical actions in the UN being Saudi appointment to the UNHRC and now the UN women’s rights panel. Personally I find such actions by UN deeply insulting.

  • RobG

    Craig said: “Many trillions of dollars have been spent since on military technology, and the gap in resources between the USA and most potential opponents is enormous.”

    Many would argue that this statement is not correct, as many recent events have shown, but I won’t get into all that.

    I would just like to say, if I’m allowed to say it, that Craig makes no mention of the American THAAD missile deployment in South Korea (and the demonstrations against it), nor that there’s going to be a presidential election in South Korea in early May, and the candidate who’s way ahead in the polls wants re-unification with North Korea and all US military removed from South Korea.

    • nevermind

      That would mean an end to all the arms sales, would it not RobG.?

      All that filthy lucre would be not forthcoming and the gods of war machinery would get angry, sticking needles into their political puppets, who in turn would get loud, hallo Boris, and scream at us all until we are frightened enough to let him push a button or two. alleyhoop

      • Herbie

        The issue is whether the US would allow them to unite.

        And given this US interference in the coming election, that’s not likely.

        The US will have to be excised from the region bit by bit.

    • bevin

      Rob, sadly you are wrong, so far as I can tell about the South Korean election. It looks as if the leading candidates favour the US. Or pretend to.

      • Herbie

        There are two leading candidates who have about 80% support between them.

        One of them favours THAAD – Ahn Cheol-soo

        The other, Moon Jae-in, is not so sure.

        Inciting threats from N Korea, which is what the US is doing, should help the candidate who favours THAAD.

        That’s the idea.

        That’s why the US is interfering in this election.

        And a bit more demonstrably than the Russians ever did, eh.

        • Herbie

          Join the dots.

          “The Art of the Deal”

          Twist a few arms. Bang a few heads.

          “US President Donald Trump on Friday called for South Korea to pay $1 billion for a missile shield’s deployment here, and vowed to renegotiate a bilateral free trade pact, stirring heated reactions in South Korea.”

          ““Why are we paying a billion dollars? So I informed South Korea it would be appropriate if they paid,” Trump said in an interview with Reuters, stressing the system is intended to protect South Korea.”

          ““It’s phenomenal. It’s the most incredible equipment you’ve ever seen — shoots missiles right out of the sky. … We’re going to protect them. But they should pay for that, and they understand that.””

          “Seoul refuted his argument on THAAD, saying it has not been “informed” of any payment. The deployment plan had also been settled in line with the South Korea-US Status of Forces Agreement, which governs the stationing of some 28,500 US troops here, the foreign and defense ministries said.

          “Our basic position remains unchanged that according to SOFA, we provide the land and related facilities and the US will pay for the THAAD system’s operation and maintenance costs,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement.”

          http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20170428000499

          Remember how clumsily the Carl Vinson made its way to N Korea.

          That’s not quite how you prepare for an attack.

          It’s more like someone used to deal-making pulled the idea out of his arse, when he found his client backing off.

  • Laguerre

    I think I’m rather less impressed with the technological superiority of the US forces. Anything that involves blowing things and people into small fragments they can do, but not much else. The reason that they won quickly in Iraq (1991 and 2003) was that the Iraqis didn’t want to fight for Saddam. Open desert terrain is also ideal for American tactics. That’s why ME wars have now migrated to the cities. It’s where you can hide in the ME. Everybody learnt the lesson of Falluja, where the Sunni rebels tortured the Yanks for weeks.

    It’s got a lot to do with determination, popular and/or governmental. You can find ways around technological inferiority if necessary.

    What the Yanks are good at – and it doesn’t often get mentioned – is economic sanctions. Because they control so much of the world’s financial mechanisms, their sanctions can be very effective in bringing an enemy to his knees. Unfortunately, too often poorly used.

    • craig Post author

      Laguerre

      I think you were reading another article. I very plainly stated that they have the capability very quickly to obliterate conventional forces, but that this is ultimately no use to them at all.

      The rest of you who like to soothe yourselves with fantasies that the USA is weak militarily, if it helps you sleep comfortably at nights, I suppose this is a good thing. But underestimating the USA is the most stupid way of opposing it.

      The fantasy of South Korea asking the American bases to leave in the next decade at least is not worth addressing.

      • Herbie

        Yes, yes.

        We all have to be very very frightened of the exceptional one.

        The big fat over-extended complacent one.

        The eternal empire.

        I think the days of taking that for granted are very quickly coming to an end.

        Jumping ship, or queuing to do so.

        All over the world.

        They are.

      • Laguerre

        Not that I particularly want to dispute with you, Craig, as I nearly always agree with you. But I think you might have slightly misunderstood – my point goes on to the end of the first paragraph and the reference to Falluja. I quite accept that the US can easily defeat conventional military forces, but it is of no use to them. My point was to add that it only works on a terrain that suits them. Vietnam has not stopped being relevant. Indeed Aleppo and Mosul are the proof. The US cannot go to war again in such a context. They’re excluded.

        • craig Post author

          Laguerre

          Yes my point is that you don’t seem to understand that I am saying exactly the same thing as you.

      • bevin

        “..The fantasy of South Korea asking the American bases to leave in the next decade at least is not worth addressing.”
        You are wrong. It is more than likely that there will be no bases in Korea within ten years. Whether this comes about because a South Korean government requests it, is another matter.
        As to underestimating the USA, you are right to call it a stupid way of opposing it. On the other hand there is the, much more common, problem of overestimating its capacity, particularly at the decision making level. Trump is a perfect example of the kind of bluster combined with ignorance and a liberal attitude towards the wealthy which tends to rise through the ranks of the US bureaucracy. His Generals are other examples of the same type.

      • RobG

        Craig, I’m not going to get into who has most technical superiority when it comes to weapons of war.

        I will. again, point readers towards recent events – and I could also add that the MIC charges $100 for a simple spade.

        Who’s in charge here?

        The American Empire is rapidly collapsing, and bods like Craig are on the wrong side of history.

    • Plato

      One of the lessons learned from Falluja were that white phosphorus maim and kill rebels, children, pets and elderly alike.

      The hell the US soldiers were given were given by their commanders, not the opposing force. A hell they have to live with. Being responsible for the misery.

      Napalm, shooting “gook-babies”, bombing rice fields to cause mass starving, and more in Vietnam were bad. But the present suicide rate among US ex soldiers should indicate the scale of the atrocities. “Winning” at all costs.

      The miscarriages, disfigurements and disabilities in newborns in Falluja is staggering and tell who pay the price.

  • Loony

    As goes banks so goes boats and tanks and planes.

    US aircraft carriers come in at a bargain basement $13 billion in CAPEX and burn through $6.5 million/day in OPEX. That makes them too big to fail which makes them useless, as they cannot be deployed if there is any risk that they might sink.

    In addition to sinking all that money there is also a crew of 6,500 people to worry about – 6,500 drowned sailors is not what the public demand for their peak evening viewing delight.

    Chinese anti ship missiles are available off the shelf for $1.2 million, Maybe Chinese missiles are as reliable as most other Chinese products but seeing as you can buy 10,833 of them for the cost of 1 aircraft carrier then maybe enough of them will work to sink the too big to sink boat.

    A lot less than 10,833 missiles were deployed against the USS Cole and it did not make out so well.

  • Habbabkuk

    “On Wednesday, a high-ranking Israeli military officer briefed reporters that approximately 100 missiles intended for Hezbollah had been destroyed in the raid.’ Of course they were.” (note the scepticism in those last 4 words)

    BUT…..just a few lines further down in the same post :

    “Israeli aircraft reportedly bomb several Syrian air bases near Damascus, including a Hezbollah convoy travelling with the Syrian army” (note the last 8 words).

    YCNMIP 🙂

  • nevermind

    A recent article researched by 4 journalists of der Spiegel will bring Habby off his fav. rogue nation, about to cloud its relationship with Germany for the worse.

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/deadly-game-donald-trump-and-kim-jong-un-risk-nuclear-war-a-1144745.html

    Craig might not think that Trump is crazy enough to risk a military attack, but the synergy between the two might just provide enough events to get China into a confrontation and then the feathers will fly and we will die.

    “Trump sees Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal as the greatest danger facing U.S. national security, but he isn’t just inexperienced when it comes to foreign policy — he often veers into downright clumsiness. A recent example came two weeks ago, when he announced that he had directed a U.S. aircraft carrier to head toward North Korea as a warning — even though the vessel was actually heading in the opposite direction to take part in a maneuver near Australia. Whether it was a bluff or whether Trump had misunderstood something remains unclear — even as the vessel, the USS Carl Vinson, is now steaming toward Korean waters — but it does show the degree to which things can go wrong under this commander-in-chief.”

  • bevin

    Burt @ 13.01 Posted Thus:
    ” I’d urge you to read the excellent post over at Moon of Alabama regarding ‘How Bio-Weapons Led To Torture … And North Korean Nukes.
    The comments are also excellent/informing.”
    I agreed with him, having read just the post. Since then I have read the comments too. And they really are exemplary. everyone should look through them.
    Here is one of them, by Outraged. It is an excerpt from a Chinese editorial making it crystal clear that any attack on North Korea would have very serious consequences.
    ” … If harsh sanctions cannot stop Pyongyang from developing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, Washington and Seoul need to reflect deeply over how much they have contributed to Pyongyang’s nuclear program obsession. If Washington refuses to probe deeper into this overall issue and only replies with military force, a word that has not been used in over half a century within the common vernacular of the Korean Peninsula will return, and that word is “war.”
    “Of course China is adamantly against engaging in war, but opposing it is not enough. Like the world’s other major powers, it must always be ready for war of any kind. Then Washington and Seoul would not have effective ability to threaten Beijing with war, and would respect and consider Beijing’s suggestions on a greater level.

    “Now would be a good time for Beijing to brief Washington on its pre-established position should a war break out. If Pyongyang’s unwavering pursuit of its nuclear program continues and Washington launches a military attack on North Korea’s nuclear facilities as a result, Beijing should oppose the move by diplomatic channels, rather than get involved through military action. It would be in Washington’s best interest if it would take into full consideration the high level of threat that could emerge over a revenge attack on Seoul carried out by Pyongyang. Such a revenge attack would be too heavy for Washington and Seoul to withstand.

    “However, if US and South Korea armed forces cross the Korean Demilitarized Line in a ground invasion for the direct purpose of annihilating the Pyongyang regime, China will sound its own alarms and ramp up their military immediately. Beijing would never sit back and watch foreign military forces overthrow the Pyongyang regime. If it has not done so already, Beijing will rather quickly illustrate their overall position in a clear fashion to both Washington and Seoul.

    “China opposes North Korea’s nuclear program, and also opposes changing the status quo of the Korean Peninsula through military force. China should work closely with the US and all related parties in order to inspire Pyongyang to cease its nuclear activities. China should also stick to its bottom line to the end, no matter the expense. Right now more than ever, China has the power to remain steadfast with its own agenda without having to bend its knees to foreign pressure, and this is the underlying stance supported by millions of Chinese people…”
    – Source: China – Global Times editorial – Apr 22 17

  • Brianfujisan

    Yep The us could obliterate the Earth.. with their roughly 900
    nuclear weapons on ‘ Hair Trigger ‘ and the Russian’s have about the same on prompt-launch status

    Here is what the worlds best SpokesWoman has to say Re the Koreas –

    Maria Zakharova

    “Switching from polemics to power actions is unacceptable. I do not think one has to be an expert to understand that the military scenario to resolve the situation on the Korean Peninsula will trigger a colossal global catastrophe in all dimensions,” .
    “It will affect everyone and become another, unfortunately, bleeding source of instability to give its terrible results and consequences for many years to come, before everyone tries to think how to retrieve a peaceful situation,”

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