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.

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272 thoughts on “The North Korean Danger

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  • Loony

    Quite a lot is known about Donald Trump and the forces that direct US foreign policy – and so some form of judgement can be reached regarding their levels of “craziness”

    Much less is known about Kim Jong-Un and the people (if any) that advise him. Who knows how he reaches his conclusions, and what he does with those conclusions. If he became convinced that the US was about to attack then why launch a preemptive attack of his own?

    The last I read the DPRK could fire 30,000 missiles an hour into Seoul. Even with all of its military superiority (and assuming no nuclear launch) it would surely take the US more than minutes to silence those guns.

    Japan too is in range of the north. Japan a country with 43 nuclear reactors. Could get nasty.

  • Republicofscotland

    With such a huge military and budget to boot, the US needs to find countries to threaten and invade to justify such a force.

    The thousands of companies that depend on US government military spending, want to hear that Trump is intending to increase spending on hardware.

    I wonder what the average American thinks about it all? Do they find it ludicrous that their tax dollars are spent on a every increasing military? I don’t recall any major protests against such spending, though I’m not American and best placed to answer that particular poser.

    It raises another question, has there been in recent times a POTUS, who has said no, to the increase of the US military budget?

    Do American’s actually believe that if they didn’t keep on increasing the military budget, that America would come under attack?

    Finally why is America such a warmongering country? is it because it enriches the neocons?

    • reel guid


      The culture of over the top US military spending can be traced back to a 1950 report called NSC 68, authored by Washington official Paul Nitze, and presented to Truman and the National Security Council. In the report Nitze not only advocated a huge step up in the military budget but also high taxes to make that level of spending permanent. The establishment, in other words, of the military-industrial complex that Eisenhower warned about some years later.

      At first Truman was sceptical but Nitze managed to win round the influential in Washington with the argument that the programme would increase GNP by more than the costs of the increased military spending. The onset of the Korean War that year persuaded Truman to agree and the defence budget was increased threefold.

      An author who brings the history of all this into focus is former US General Andrew J Bacevic. In particular his book ‘The Limits of Power’.

      • bevin

        FYI Colonel, not General. Not that it makes any difference- he was too clever and honest to become a General Officer in the US Army.

  • Republicofscotland

    In my opinion, people today are so full of apathy towards war’s (desensitised) that a war between North Korea and South Korea, aided and abetted by China and the US would, provoke a reaction but not nearly enough to have a great affect on it.

    Possibly because a war in a far of land, doesn’t have the same physical and emotional impact as a war on your own doorstep.

    The media would bring the war right into our living rooms, and dress it up to suit the narrative. But what would the publics reaction be? We’ve had Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq and now Syria, beamed into our front rooms and a running broadcast on the fighting and bombing, did we make ANY difference with regards to those invasions?

    No? So what should make any of use think that we could make one bit of difference in a war between NK and SK backed by China and the US?

    Infact we’ve sat back for almost seventy years and watched Israel commit unspeakable atrocities on the people of Palestine, what’s another 5 million, 10 million or even 50 million deaths, in NK and SK, that we can do nothing about.

  • Hmmm

    Why you all worried about nuclear war? Those gimmicks are just another money making scam. You thought Tomahawk was crap? Wait till you see these firecrackers in action.

      • Hmmm

        You only had to ask.
        And your massive intellect can prove the points raised are insane. So easily, in fact, that you won’t even waste time posting them here

        • Anon1

          So just to confirm, you believe that Nagasaki/Hiroshima were faked, and that there are in fact no nuclear weapons at all? That they don’t exist?

          • Hmmm

            Just to try to discuss anything with you would require levels of energy akin to tsar bomba.
            I don’t believe anything. I like to question things. The video raises some very good points, points you cannot answer.
            Are you certain that Japan has had 2 A bombs dropped on it? If so why?

          • glenn

            I don’t like agreeing with you, Anon1 – it leaves me wanting a shower. But I will on this occasion.

          • Hmmm

            Game set and match to me! Too easy, like beating kittens with a cricket bat. Please grow a pair next time you want to respond to any of my posts.

          • Resident Dissident

            And surprise surprise the faking of nuclear bombs was all a Rothschilds Illuminati conspiracy. Perhaps Craig might wish to remove the link to such racist garbage.

          • Hmmm

            You introduced the racist element. Why? And then demand it is removed!!! All because your puny intellect cannot respond. I understand you get frustrated, all the grown ups on here constantly shooting you down but don’t take it out on me.

          • Resident Dissident

            The YouTube video you linked to is quite clear in its references to the Illumninati/Rothschilds.

          • Hmmm

            And that is racist? Unfortunately you are running out of ideas. I’ve encountered real racism so please don’t demean the word with your pathetic efforts.
            Now, if you can disprove any of the points please do. I doubt you can but would be pleasantly surprised to see some proper discussion.

          • Resident Dissident

            As for disproving the points please read the evidence I provided by that fine journalist John Hersey – it has rather more substance than your racist crap.

          • Hmmm

            The more you use the word the more power it gets. Cunning.
            It’s an emotive piece, nothing that any presstitute couldn’t knock up. Seversky is a much more reliable witness.

          • Resident Dissident

            It is based on accounts from eye witnesses of the Hiroshima bombing – note how it is totally inconsistent with your racist friend’s explanation of carpet bombing.

          • Resident Dissident

            What part of accounts from eye witnesses don’t you understand.- to the best of my knowledge Seversky wasn’t on the ground when the bomb was dropped.

          • Hmmm

            So you agree an expert on the subject has raised a reasonable doubt on the effectiveness of the bombs in question. It’s a start.

          • Resident Dissident

            I note how you are changing your tune from there being no nuclear bombs to their effectiveness at Hiroshima. Just a guess but I suspect their effectiveness may have increased since 1945.

          • Hmmm

            I believe I started by calling them firecrackers. Seems more like you are trying to divert. Fake or crap they’re still a money making scam.
            What my point would develop into, if I was discussing with grownups, is that the images used are fakery. To hide the fact that nukes are either fake or not as world-destroyingly wonderful as our leaders would have us believe. You are free to believe what you want. But in the internet age ignorance is a lifestyle choice.

  • Habbabkuk

    Disgraceful scenes of fighting in the FYRoM parliament today as FYRoM nationalist thugs – supporters of recently ousted thuggish nationalist President Grujewski – break into the chamber to protest against the appointment of an ethnic Albanian as the Parliament’s Speaker.

    The behaviour of those nationalist thugs is disturbingly similar to that of the supporters of thuggish former Serbian “strongman” Slobodan Milosevic. And look where HE ended up after he had his ass whupped 🙂

    • Loony

      These are only minor disturbances – nothing to worry about. Macedonia is absolutely critical to NATO and will continue to fulfill its obligations in this regard.

      Each Macedonian soldier is worth 100 soldiers of any other NATO country.Given that the entire country has only 8,000 soldiers this must be true otherwise NATO could get along just fine with the 3.5 million troops available to it from member states other than Macedonia.

      John McCain has repeatedly pointed out the crucial import of Macedonia to NATO – and anyone that disagrees with him is, as has pointed out, working directly for Vladimir Putin. John McCain is a war hero and is steeped in the concept of duty and public service therefore he would never lie so what he says must be true.

      That Vladimir Putin is slavering over Macedonia merely demonstrates its crucial importance. Imagine if Putin were to gain control of Macedonia – he could unleash 8,000 troops to conquer the whole of western Europe. 3.5 million men could not possibly withstand them.

    • bevin

      Milosevic died of heart disease, in jail. Evidently not very well treated heart disease. Habbab’s comments are those of a Nazi. They too used to laugh at the deaths of their political opponents in concentration camps, particularly if medical neglect-and all the horrors that it entails- was involved.

      • Resident Dissident

        The Judge ordered an enquiry into Milosevic’s medical treatment and it found nothing untoward. Not that it will convince Slobbo’s supporters.

        • Hmmm

          Anyone who questions the west must therefore support the enemy. You cannot be neutral or independent. The truth can go fuck itself eh?

          • Lucius Driftwood

            This is footage of soldiers walking into the aftermath of an atomic bomb test. Purely for research purposes. Looks a little bit like the photos taken of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Think there might even be witnesses to the event. Do you still maintain atomic weapons probably weren’t dropped on Japan at the end of WW2?

        • Resident Dissident

          I think in Bevin’s case it is absolutely clear that he supports the enemy.

        • Habbabkuk

          Thank you, Resident Dissident.

          And Bevs falls silent……for Hmmm to take over 🙂

      • Habbabkuk

        From Bevs: ” Habbab’s comments are those of a Nazi”

        Wow! All that for merely posting the following? :

        “Disgraceful scenes of fighting in the FYRoM parliament today as FYRoM nationalist thugs – supporters of recently ousted thuggish nationalist President Grujewski – break into the chamber to protest against the appointment of an ethnic Albanian as the Parliament’s Speaker.

        The behaviour of those nationalist thugs is disturbingly similar to that of the supporters of thuggish former Serbian “strongman” Slobodan Milosevic. And look where HE ended up after he had his ass whupped ?”

        Tthe reference to where he ended up is, of course, to an International Court set up by the United Nations.

        And Resident Dissident has stated that the tin-pot dictator’s medical condition was NOT neglected while he was in gaol.

        Bvs owes me – and all readers – an apology, which I trust will be prompt.

  • Mark Golding

    Russian Military Nuclear Capability as of 2017: From Pavel Podvig -principal investigator of the Russian Nuclear Forces project.

    As of January 2017, the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces were estimated to have 321 operational missile systems of five different types. Intercontinental ballistic missiles of these systems carry approx 1500 warheads.

    Main Army Systems:

    SS18 have two liquid-fuel stages and can carry 10 warheads. The Russian missile army & guards have 68 systems.
    Topol-M (Silo) and RS-24 (Mobile) can carry 4 warheads. The Russian missile army & guards have 93 systems.

    My own assumptions from Naval intelligence is Russia maintains 14 strategic submarines with say two subs in refit group. Therefore deployed subs are seven Borey-class submarines with 672 warheads and 112 launchers and five Delta IV’s with 320 warheads and 80 launchers. Russia declares 50 strategic bombers, that is another 50 warheads and 50 launchers. Total here so far is 1042 warheads deployed on 242 ‘launchers’ We add the army silo and mobile and get another 1052 warheads.

    Total Russian nuclear warheads is more like 2094 which at say 50 Kt each is about 105 Mt or about 5000 times the ‘Fat Man’ gravity bomb yield dropped on Nagasaki that killed around 40,000 Japanese citizens instantly. The yield from all Russian nuclear bombs if successfully detonated over cities would wipe out about 200 million human beings at once with many more dying from radiation poisoning.

  • RobG

    North Korea is in no way a ‘danger’ and people like you pushing this line/meme are war criminals, because what you’re really pushing for is another totally illegal invasion by American.

    Have you ever heard of international law?

      • Peter Beswick

        Complete nob rot!

        The head of the US is mad. (the alternative was madder)

        The heads of Russia and China are not (their democracies preclude it).

        The UK will be destroyed, not because we are a threat, not by association, but stupidly.

        • Salford Lad

          Donald Trump has been emasculated. He has no real power. That went when he was forced to dismiss his Security Adviser Flynn and the incessant media accusations of the Russiagate nonsense
          He is now just the front-man for the Military Industrial Security Financial Complex. He puts on a show, just like Obama. The real Foreign Policy decisions are now made by the Pentagon. i never met a General who did not like a good war. The outcome is not important, The campaign medals are distributed ,the heroes buried and the Armaments factories are busy. Nothing has changed, the regime change wars continue and new ones created,as with Korea to keep the Weapons Industry busy and the money flowing.
          Donald is allowed a few domestic toys to play with,such as Healthcare and the Mexican wall.This keeps the citizens distracted.
          Britain tags along like a good puppy,obedient to its Master.

          • glenn

            Why did Flynn go again? Just so many goddamned commies in the “Liberal press” – was that the reason?

          • glenn_uk

            So General Michael Flynn, who did not disclose (as required by law) his work on behalf of foreign governments, his involvement with Turkey, accepting money from Russia, serving as a foreign agent – none of this actually mattered a bit right? Just those damned commies in the media caused the entire thing. Riiiight.

          • Michael McNulty

            I also wonder sometimes if China’s elite isn’t still communist and using capitalism to fund its eventual domination. And why not, if greedy western businessmen are funding it in their pursuit of profits? It doesn’t mean the Party’s leaders and the bulk of its people can’t enjoy western goodies like German cars, Italian suits, French wines, English cigarettes and American….er….er….bubble gum.

      • Anon1

        Rob needs to concentrate on how he is going to pay back his poor elderly mother, having spanked the last of her savings (after the failed ‘Bates Motel’ gite enterprise) on a ludicrous bet on Melenchon winning the French general election.

        • Salford Lad

          Flynn had a phone conversation with the Russian Ambassador.He omitted some of the details , when speaking with VP Pence. The phone conversation was tapped. The contents released to the Media. Everyone overlooked that the tapping of a phone conversation of a private US Citizen is illegal.
          The CIA most likely did the tapping and used the media to undermine Flynn and thus Trump.
          The Russiagate hysteria by the media , destroyed Trumps authority and ultimately neutralised him.

          • lysias

            It would almost certainly have been the NSA that did the tapping (if it was not an allied Five Eyes eavesdropping outfit like GCHQ), but any of that intel is distributed to the CIA, the DNI office, and probably eventually the NSC and the White House.

      • RobG

        My dog hasn’t fallen, michael, it’s rising.

        You unfortunate folks who live in the Matrix are just not aware of it.

        The psychos and loons are champing at the bit for World War Three,

        I’ll repeat, yet again, that with a reality tv star in the White House, there’s a chance that Russia and China will go for a first strike.

        This is the biggest danger at the moment.

        Ie, all you egits will be incinerated on a wave of propaganda.

        You will die completely ignorant, just as you lived completely ignorant.

  • reel guid

    Theresa May has another of her ‘It’ll Be All White On The Night’ by invitation only rallies today in Leeds.

  • Habbabkuk

    I have just seen, on YouTube, a speech by Jean-Luc Melenchon from a couple of years ago in which he lays into the comedian Dieudonne’, accusing him, inter alia, of intolerable racist speech.

    Why, I wonder, is M.Melenchon not advising his supporters to vote against Mme Le Pen, who is also rather good at intolerable racist speech?

    Does M. Melenchon hate the centrists more than the extreme right?

    • glenn

      Intolerable racist speech

      I’d agree. But your faithful hound Anon1 declared her insufficiently right wing for his liking. What does that say about the people you’re happy to cuddle up with around here?

      I haven’t heard yet whether Bevan approves of her, because her opponent is so bad etc. etc., as he does with her US counterpart Trump.

      • bevin

        You, currently known as glenn, would be a lot more convincing as a critic of my opinions if you knew how I spelled my pseudonym.
        As to Melenchon his attitude, quite clearly stated is that nobody should vote for Le Pen (I told Habbab this last night). He cannot recommend that anyone should give Macron a mandate for his promised attacks on the working class.
        The attitude would seem to be-as expressed I am told in a current popular hashtag in France- ‘You can do it without me’.
        Habbab knows this.
        It is a perfectly reasonable position to take now that the battle has left the electoral arena and will take place-whoever may be elected- on the streets.
        When there are massive abstentions the winner has no moral authority to claim a mandate for changes which have certainly not been approved by the electorate. If Macron wants Melenchon’s endorsement he must be ready to ‘buy it’ by promising that he will not initiate neo-liberal changes to the economy.
        That is politics. Hasbara bullshit isn’t.

        • glenn

          I’ve always been known as “Glenn” since my parents named me that way. I’m known to Craig personally that way, given that’s my name. I haven’t changed my name here for many years, and only did that for a laugh very briefly (eg “Mike Giggler”, if that means anything to you). You’ll find a number of Discus posts under the name glenn_uk on various international sites. I’m sorry I misspelt your Bevin name earlier.

          I have to admit considerable disappointment that you don’t apparently appreciate the hideous nature of Trump. Perhaps that’s because you don’t follow US politics as closely as myself, but then very few people do (I sometimes question the wisdom of it myself).

          If you’re really interested in moral mandates, perhaps you should consider that Hillary had millions more votes than Trump – and that’s even after the wretchedly undemocratic, not to say racist, play going on in the massive vote suppression drive the Repugs have going on there. The US ranks pretty low on democracy and freedom of voting.

          Glad to hear you confirm that you don’t favour Le Pen.

          • Iain Stewart

            “Glad to hear you confirm that you don’t favour Le Pen.” So am I, since the last I heard was Bevin saying that Macron was a worse enemy than LePen.
            Mélenchon’s belated advice yesterday afternoon against abstention and against the FN was welcome, though, at the same time that LePen herself was sucking up to his supporters. (Thomas Piketty and others take the same line in this morning’s Libération.)

        • Habbabkuk


          Your screed at 01h16 merits a reply because I believe that misinformers and roundabout extremist supporters should be called out.

          1/. What has my post to do with “Hasbara bullshit”? It is about the French Presidential election. No mention of the middle East, Israel or Zionism.

          Apologies please.

          2/. So . Melenchon is saying, essentially, that his supporters should refuse to vote in the 2nd round. Just like the defeated 1st round Communist candidate M. Jacques Duclos, who recommended the same for the 2nd round of the 1969 French Presidential. Of course, M. Duclos offered his supporters a second idea : that of spoiling their ballot paper. At least M. Melenchon has not gone that far (he is too cunning for that).

          Objectively, therefore, M. Melenchon is assisting in the process of reducing the margin by which the French electorate will reject Mme Le Pen’s horrible vision of society. It could even be claimed that, objectively, he is increasing her chances of winning in the 2nd round.

          3/.” It is a perfectly reasonable position to take now that the battle has left the electoral arena and will take place-whoever may be elected- on the streets.”

          I am puzzled by this reference to a battle in the streets. Please assure readers that you are not calling for the overthrow by violence of the next duly elected legal President. If you are, please say so explicitly.

          4/.” When there are massive abstentions the winner has no moral authority to claim a mandate for changes which have certainly not been approved by the electorate.”

          You are saying here in essence (mutatis mutandis) that no government which has not received more than 50% of the vote of the entire electorate has the authority to claim a mandate. That is a desperate argument from someone who has admitted his adherence to Trotskyite politics and therefore Trotskyite methods of gaining power. Furthermore it has the effect of nullifying the mandates of most Western European and US govts for the last several decades (and probably longer) ; it is simply a silly position for anyone to adopt given that everyone – including those who will not or cannot be bothered to vote – knows the rules of the game.

          Hope that helps.

          • Iain Stewart

            Actually, Habbabkuk, Jean-Luc Mélanchon announced yesterday afternoon that he was not going to abstain, but that he would vote against the FN, leaving his supporters to choose whether to follow his own decision.

    • Resident Dissident

      “Does M. Melenchon hate the centrists more than the extreme right?”

      I don’t know about Melenchon but it is certainly true for most Marxist Leninists. A view which is supported by much historical evidence.

    • Chris Rogers


      What a misleading enquiry, but fact remains the Left does detest the ‘centrists’ more than those on the far right given its these so called ‘moderate’ forces that have fucked over much of Europe for the best part of 40 years beginning on our own shores – by contrast, the far-Right has had little say as they have had no power – of course, persons like you would like to see the real Left waste its time concentrating on fringe threats in order that the neoliberal/neoconservative cabal running the show can do its deeds without any scrutiny – Macron is but a front, an empty vessel to be filled, a disaster of epic proportions that if elected will guarantee Mme Le Pen’s rise to authority in five years time – unless of course the actual Left can offer an alternative narrative, one not sullied by Third Way bullshite.

      • Habbabkuk


        “fact remains the Left does detest the ‘centrists’ more than those on the far right given its these so called ‘moderate’ forces that have fucked over much of Europe for the best part of 40 years”

        With great respect, I suggest that the “fucking over” (congratulations on the elegance of the expression) of the last 40 years is slightly less serious than the fucking over inflicted on Europe by far-right regimes a few decades before.

        Or for that matter by that of the “Communist” fascists which held sway for a few decades after 1945.

        • Chris Rogers


          Your bait and switch techniques aww well known on these boards, regrettably, whilst extreme Rightists, those that appeared in the inter-war years, were quite keen on highlighting how many they killed, our ‘moderate’ friends after 1973 are not so keen on deaths attributable to the policies they pursue seeing the light of day. The fact remains life expectancy stats in the USA paint a chilling picture for those on less than US$26K per annum, combine with neoliberalism rammed down Russia’s throat after 1991 when Russian life expectancy figures collapsed – never mind all the wars since 1998 our neoconservative/interventionist friends have brought us. And yet, to you it’s the European Far Right that constitutes a danger. Go back to your bunker and support your ‘callous’ Moderates who have been in power since the advent of Thatcher and Reagan in the West – with the first experiment run in Chile after the coup that removed their democratically elected leader in 73, the beneficiary of whom Thatcher adored.

  • fwl

    Take a poker game. There is Jack & Joe. Both are good players. They respect each other. The game has been in play for years. Jack started with a load. Joe was poor. Jack knows that if Joe concentrates and stays calm Joe slowly slowly eats into Jack’s pile. It’s slow but there is a tendency, a shift. Jack could go all in it at some point and blow up Joe, but the game is Jack’s life. He needs the game. Still he is worried what will happen if Joe gets the lion share of the chips. Will Joe feel the same way and keep the game going or will he go all in. Jack tries out little strategies. If he can rattle Joe then Joe loses his equilibrium and the tendency in the game reverts. Jack plays with the other small timers to see if he can provoke them to rattle Joe. He needs to rattle Joe. Jack has to rattle Joe. Joe has to stay calm.

    I wouldn’t say Trump has misunderstood. It is dangerous though.

    • Herbie


      Adam and Eve.

      First two peeps on the planet.

      They can either fight eachother or cooperate and become productive.

      Economics. My spending is your income.

      Life is intertwined.

      A dance.

      It ain’t that black/white thing some seem to advocate.

  • Mark Golding

    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.

    A very bad thing indeed. That small paragraph reminds me of a speech by Craig at the Oxford Union in January 2013. I feel no shame in this play-back of Craig’s voice for your peace of mind.

    • RobG

      Craig has been co-opted (god knows what the security services have got on him). I believe that Craig is an honorable person, but his post here is beyond the pail. He’s promoting/excusing an American war against North Korea, and seems to be arguing that if 100s of thousands of South Koreans die in the process it is of no consequence.

      This is mass murder, and I will find it very difficult to post on a blog that promotes such policies.

    • Kerch'ee Kerch'ee Coup

      During 1951-55, Chinese spending on defense and arms-related industries took up 61% of the budget, even according to official statistics.Under The Great Leap Forward and in the Cultural Revolution, spending continued at very high levels althoughfigures are unrelaible.Estimates of consequent deaths are around 60-80 million.
      This may be outside your lifetime but I wasn’t born yesterday and ,inshallah, I don’t want to die tomorrow

  • Laguerre

    It’s unclear to me that Trump wants war. He gabs off, but I doubt that he wants to pursue it to serious war. let’s tell neocons that we’re serious, but in fact hang back.

  • mike

    Expect more terror plots between now and the election.

    Fear and austerity go hand in hand. Just in case we had any funny ideas about voting for something else.

    BTW, Craig, if you do a little research into Russian electronic warfare equipment, such as Khibiny or Krasukha-4, you will see that they render any attacking force pretty much inoperable. I suppose you can almost use the word “super weapon” to describe what this kit can do.

    A classic Judo strategy, you might say: using your enemy’s strength against him.

      • Habbabkuk

        “And unavailable elsewhere”.

        Available nowhere?

        Not even in all those Russian sources?

        Only from “mike”?

        I wonder why that should be…….

    • Bayard

      “Expect more terror plots between now and the election.”

      We don’t seem to be as good at this as the French, who can rustle up an atrocity, shoot the perpetrator dead and then find identification papers conveniently left on the scene, all right on cue.

  • J

    Thanks Craig. Your thoughtful commentary is precisely why I come here regularly, where else am I going to find it?

  • Lemme

    It’s all well and good to frighten fat-ass Pentagon desk jockeys with the prospect of nuclear war, but the SCO can incapacitate the US long before it comes to that. The SCO has dozens of options for crippling US aggression far below the nuclear threshold. A minimal Russian force in Syria has cut off the USA’s balls and taxidermically mounted them for public inspection.

    The USA cannot attack North Korea any more than it can attack Ukraine. It’s a discredited pariah state subject to secure containment with a range of proportional measures.

      • Sharp Ears

        Very important matter for our Donald apparently.

        ‘So it was no surprise that, when he sat down to sign some bills in the White House’s Roosevelt Room on Monday, all he could think about was the size of his desk.

        “It’s a child’s desk, but that’s okay,” Trump said to laughs from lawmakers gathered for the signing of four bills reversing Obama-era rules, including two on education.

        “It’s the smallest desk I’ve ever seen,” Trump added as he examined the writing table affixed with a Presidential Seal…..’

  • bevin

    Former Ambassador Melkulangara Bhadramakur is one of the most astute observers of the Eurasian scene and geopolitics. This article on Iran and Trump ends:
    “Thus, the Trump administration’s projection of Iran as the greatest long-term threat to the US interests in the region, coupled with the deeply ingrained antipathy toward Iran (and Russia) amongst the neocons who are steadily gaining ascendancy on foreign-policy issues – there is even talk that neocons may yet find a home at the State Department – need to be taken seriously.

    “Suffice it to say, in the New Cold War climate in world politics of late, Iran has a crucial role to play. Therefore, a coordinated Russian-Chinese approach toward Iran is needed, in parallel with the «thaw» in Russia-Pakistan relations. Drawing Iran into the matrix of the Eurasian Economic Union, SCO, One Belt One Road and BRICS – and even the Collective Security Treaty Organization – in appropriate partnership formats will be a step in this direction.

    “The strengthening of Iran’s strategic autonomy to withstand US pressure – politically, militarily and economically – will be in the overall interests of regional security and stability and can only reinforce the processes leading to multipolarity in the world order. ”

    At Information Clearing House there is this by Pepe Escobar:
    He concludes ” Whatever the practical outcome, in the long run, of the turbulent, two-hour, trilateral Putin-Lavrov-Tillerson meeting, ultimately Russophobia – and its sidekick, Iranophobia – won’t vanish from the US-NATO geopolitical spectrum. Especially now that Trump may have finally shown his real face, a “housebroken dog to neocon dogma.”
    Mike Whitney looks back to the collapse of the Soviet Union, with Vladimir Putin, “The triumphalism of western capitalism was summarized in the jubilant words of President George H. W. Bush who stated in 1990 before the launching of Desert Storm: (From now on) “what we say, goes”. The pronouncement was an unambiguous statement of Washington’s determination to rule the world and establish a new order.

    “Now, 27 years later, the United States has been stopped in its tracks in Syria and Ukraine. New centers of economic power are emerging, new political alliances are forming, and Washington’s authority is being openly challenged. Putin’s task is to block Washington’s forward progress, create tangible disincentives for aggression, and put an end to the foreign interventions. The Russian president might have to take a few steps backward to avoid WW3, but ultimately the goal is clear and achievable. Uncle Sam must be reigned in, the war-making must stop, global security must be reestablished, and people must be free to return to their homes in peace.”

    • bevin

      I should add that the world has changed a great deal in the past few years.
      The military hegemony that Craig talks of no longer exists, if indeed it ever did, for despite the vast sums that the USA attributes to its Defense budget its ability to dictate its desires to lesser powers seems to be restricted to Europe where it has, even today, clients aplenty, and its own hemisphere where the Monroe Doctrine still, largely, prevails.
      In short the only people who appear to be impressed by US military might are, curiously enough, its allies, most of whose military experts understand what a shambles the US forces are. And, critically, how allergic they are to performing the first task of any military-risking casualties on their own side. The rapid success of US forces in, for example, Afghanistan and Iraq, was purchased at the cost of conceding defeat by bombing everything-and everyone- lying between the US Army and its objectives. By reducing the country to ashes and massacring civilians US tactics make ultimate victory virtually impossible. Unless they are ready to resort to actual genocide.
      This has been the doctrine of the US forces since Independence.
      Most of the guerrilla wars in the Philippines can be traced back, over more than a century, to the US intervention/conquest which began in 1898. The US simply cannot win wars because it has no interest in doing so- it prefers, and Korea is a case in point, to keep them going.

  • Sharp Ears

    ‘Let’s tell the Americans they can carry on killing each other.’

    Trump to NRA: The ‘assault’ on gun rights is over

    Channelling Charlton Heston there – ‘from my cold dead hands’

    and ‘Let’s wreck what’s left of the Arctic.’

    Trump executive order aims to allow Arctic drilling

  • Zeke

    “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.”

    But the US already tried that, and failed!

    • Zeke

      And in case you were too lazy to read the link, it states that the Yanks like to bomb the North Korean rice crop in May (It now being the end of April) leaving the Korean to starve next year and thus enabling western media to tell us how Kim “starves his own people”.

      • Salford Lad

        The US and S.Korean military conduct their exercises on the border DMZ area, each year at this time. This is the peak harvest time for the rice crop in N.Korea.
        As military exercises are sometimes the prelude to invasion in conflicts, the North Koreans are forced to mobilize their forces.
        This diverts many personnel from the harvest work and leads to shortages in the North, sometimes famine.
        As per usual the Western compromised media never tells the full story on any US Foreign policy, whether it is Iraq WMD, Chemical weapons attacks in Syria, destruction of Libya and Yugoslavia, the US coup in Ukraine ,French Presidential election candidates etc etc.

      • Kempe

        Yes they’ve been doing it every year since 1953 but the Illuminati controlled MSM don’t report it.

        On the subject of Kim’s oppression of his own people maybe you can find a twisted way of blaming the US for that as well.

        • bevin

          If you read the article, Kempe, you will see that he has found a way of ‘blaming the USA”. That way being that, by deliberately ensuring that north Korea, which has a very short growing season, mobilises its reserves during the planting time the US reduces food production in Korea. This causes famines and death.
          That the policy is deliberate is undisputable. As to ” Kim’s oppression of his own people” the South Korean propaganda mills are very good at inventing evidence of such oppression, do you know of any evidence? Or is it something that ‘everybody knows” ?

      • Habbabkuk


        The Kim dynasty has been starving its peoolke for quite a few years now.

        Could you just remind us of when the US last bombed North Korea’s rice fields?

        Feel free to mention any month of the year you like, not just April.

  • Sharp Ears

    South Korea and the United States held a joint training exercise on Thursday to serve as a deterrence as tensions mount in the Korean peninsula

    I was looking for the one where S Korean heavy artillery/tanks were practising by destroying markers on hilly ground. I thought that’s another part of Korean land being poisoned and made toxic.

    Reminder of the killing and wounded numbers. 1950-1953

    Were those hundreds of thousands in each category not sufficient?

    I can just about remember being told about our ‘Glorious Gloucesters’. Wiped out defending a hill. What a waste of life..

    • michael norton

      Thirty years ago i was working on a building site near Heathrow, the foreman was outraged that I did not know about
      the ‘Glorious Gloucesters’

      I think he was one.
      When you are stuggling to pay for food and rent it is difficult to keep abreast of World events.

      • bevin

        “When you are struggling to pay for food and rent it is difficult to keep abreast of World events.”
        Were you really struggling to pay for food and rent in 1951?

  • giyane

    Anyone with any doubts about the nuttiness of USUKIS should read this piece written by one of the nuttiest among them. Thomas Friedman. :
    ” America’s goal in Syria is to create enough pressure on Assad, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah so they will negotiate a power-sharing accord with moderate Sunni Muslims that would also ease Assad out of power.”
    Unfortunately there are no moderate Sunni Muslims except the ones fighting for Assad against the proxy terrorist armies of USUKIS

    My point being that a terrorist organisation like USUKIS is probably demonising North Korea in the same way they have demonised and then deployed terrorism in Syria and Libya. Nobody should take anything stated by the Foreign Offices of USUKIS at face value. I can find no repeatable metaphors for the dirtiness of their politics. Rather than fester in fear about US attacking North Korea, I think it more advisable to reflect on the deviousness of our current leaders, as opposed to the straightness of Russia and China, without whom already we would be witnessing a repeat of the dreadful dismantling of Libya by Cameron and Hollande, RIH.

  • bevin

    “During 1951-55, Chinese spending on defense and arms-related industries took up 61% of the budget, even according to official statistics.”
    It is surprising that you find this surprising: during these years China was under enormous military pressure, including attacks from several directions by proxy guerrilla armies, basically by the United States.

    “Under The Great Leap Forward and in the Cultural Revolution, spending continued at very high levels although figures are unreliable.Estimates of consequent deaths are around 60-80 million.”

    Figures are certainly unreliable. As to ‘estimates of consequent deaths’ -consequent upon what? Consequent upon budget priorities? Consequent upon attempts to amass capital for economic development?
    These are interesting questions but only if viewed within proper context. Which would include comparisons with other bloated military budgets and other countries, including the UK and the USSR, involved in rapid industrialisation.

    The bottom line figure regarding China ought to be the dramatic increases, since 1949, in life expectancy.

    • Habbabkuk


      Could you give a little more detail about who was attacking China in 1951 – 1955. please?

      Perhaps you refer to Formosa and Quemoy / Matsu, those tiny islands off the Chinese coast (regularly shelled from the mainland)?

      Anyone else?

    • Kerch'ee Kerch'ee Coup

      My argument is the ‘surplus’ of the fifties and sixties, as you put it. was largely derived from taxes in kind on farmng and grain production and that mistakes in collectivisation and household steel production ‘(to overtake Britain’s then tseel in three years’)und r the Great Helmsman held China back at least 20 -30 years.It was only after Deng,whose son was criippled in the Cultural Revolution and who was out of favour for years,shifted away from Maoist policies to adopt the Manchuko, Singapore, Taiwan development model, that China has again prospered.
      The current appraisal”Mao was 70% right and 30% wrong ” should be reversed
      The increases in life expectancy are most noted in the post Mao era and still lag those of the Republic of China(Taiwan)or Singapore.. I would agree that barefoot doctors .,hygiene, and greaterattention to traditional medicine have been very beneficial.
      When was the UK involved in rapid industrialisation?

  • Bobm

    “reel guid
    April 28, 2017 at 20:36


    The culture of over the top US military spending can be traced back to a 1950 report called NSC 68, authored by Washington official Paul Nitze, and presented to Truman and the National Security Council. In the report Nitze not only advocated a huge step up in the military budget but also high taxes to make that level of spending permanent. The establishment, in other words, of the military-industrial complex that Eisenhower warned about some years later.”

    Do, please, read this review:

    • glenn_uk

      I think there’s going to be a lot more of that as the months wear on. People will be denying they ever welcomed his sort-of victory over Clinton, even though almost everyone here was – and currently is – stupid enough to do so, suffering CDS as they do.

      • bevin

        So you would argue in favour of a Clinton victory, would you? With Clinton being mandated to continue the regime change policies which have wrecked Libya, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen and to extend them with more aggressive policies towards Russia and China.
        Or do you deny that these were policies on which she campaigned?
        The fact that Trump, who most people understood was an unstable, ignorant con man, has surprised nobody very much by appearing to fall back into line with Clintonian policies is hardly a reason for not celebrating her election loss. The fact that she has attempted to mitigate the consequences of that loss by blaming it on Russia is another reminder of the cynicism and dishonesty of the woman and her party.
        On what grounds did you support her, rather than do what most of what you call Trump supporters here did, namely to choose neither of the major party candidates in the election or joined the more than fifty per cent of adult Americans who declined to vote for either.

        • glenn_uk

          Clinton would have governed with the restraint of the Democratic party and the entire progressive movement against any hawkish inclinations. Trump is being positively encouraged by racists, religiously inspired lunatics, teabaggers, fascists, and war-mongers to increase his belligerence.

          If you hadn’t noticed, the situation in Korea in particular has been heating up to an extent not known in decades. He has been running the US government like a family business, putting relations and cronies in charge of key positions – such as foreign policy – for which they are entirely and dangerously unqualified. Antagonising foreign leaders is sport to this moron Trump.

          Perhaps you are unaware of his domestic policies. Screw the environment, Large tax cuts for corporations and the rich. The resulting deficit will be paid for by the poor. Scores if not hundreds of millions of people will lose their health-care. Corruption at an unprecedented scale is underway.

          Racism is a domestic and foreign policy. People are having their families destroyed by being thrown out of the country in a brutal fashion by the thousand. Trump wants torture re-instituted, and wants it to be far worse that “just” partial drowning.

          Trump has removed checks and procedures which were necessary before strikes against foreign subjects (such as with drones) are carried out. The military can now make up their own minds who they’d like to kill and just do so, no need to civilian oversight.

          Foreign aid is being removed, domestic assistance – from meals on wheels to welfare – slashed. The religiously inspired withdrawing of all assistance for organisations which even mention family planning, has devastating consequences for women and children in developing countries. This will lead to misery and death for millions.

          Any of this getting through to you, Bevin? This is the result of not supporting his opponent. And this pig bastard has only been in office for 100 days so far.

          • Ben

            I finally had a rational reply to the emotional bond to Trump..

            “He’s not a politician. .”

            Can you imagine hanging yourself on that noose?

            I want someone to govern who has no concept of Civics or hoe government works as a functional entity.

            I want a physician who has no medical training or experience.

          • Bayard

            “Any of this getting through to you, Bevin? This is the result of not supporting his opponent.”

            I take it then, that you are entirely happy to vote for anyone, however bad, so long as you consider their opponent worse. You are also making the common mistake of assuming that the choice that didn’t happen would have turned out for the best and comparing that best case scenario with the actuality of how things have turned out. We will never know what sort of decisions Hillary Clinton would have made as POTUS, because she wasn’t elected.

            In any case “This” is also the result of not supporting Hillary’s opponent in the primaries, but I notice you aren’t mentioning that.

          • glenn_uk

            Bayard: “I take it then, that you are entirely happy to vote for anyone, however bad, so long as you consider their opponent worse.

            Yes, that’s correct. It’s the grown-up thing to do.

            You mention Sanders – what’s the point? He did not win the primaries. Instead of sulking and staying at home or voting for Trump, anyone concerned should have done what Sanders urged following his defeat – campaign for Clinton. You apparently think he was wrong in this position.

  • bevin

    The Chinese see the crisis over North Korea as an opportunity to put an end to a seventy year old dispute that benefits nobody-except the shareholders in the MIC. Their Foreign Minister told the UNSC:
    “Of course we believe that the continued nuclear tests violate UN Security Council resolutions, but carrying out non stop military exercises around the Korean Peninsula is clearly not in line with the spirit of Council resolutions,” Wang Yi said. He added that it is imperative to return to dialogue as soon as possible.
    Wang Yi said that the goal of the Chinese side is firm; that is, to realize the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and establish a mechanism for peace on the Peninsula. He said China is willing to continue to play a constructive role to that end, but warned of the dangers of the situation. “As for the likelihood of war, even a one percent possibility of war breaking out is not acceptable,” Wang Yi said. “The Korean Peninsula is not the Middle East. If war breaks out, the consequences would be unimaginable.”
    The world is changing quickly.

  • Resident Dissident

    Pity Dave’s comment didn’t go into moderation first.- I thought Craig wanted anti-xxx to be highlighted and ridiculed. It appears the mods haven’t got the message.

      • Habbabkuk


        I think it’d fairly clear what Dave’s purpose was. Good to see you seem to approve.

  • Tim Whittingham

    I think Craig you are wrong here. Trump’s posturing and meetings may look like diplomacy but they aren’t. For Trump only one thing really counts and that is popularity at home in the USA. What happens to Korea and how China might respond, how many deaths and at what cost, that is all secondary. His primary calculation is ‘Will it make me look good?’

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