Deterrence Believers Shoud Cheer the North Korean Bomb 151


If the theory of nuclear deterrence holds true – and it is the only argument the supporters of WMD have got – then we should all be cheering the North Korean bomb. The logic of nuclear deterrence is that it is much better that every state has nuclear weapons, because then we can all deter each other. It is demonstrably true that possession of nuclear weapons is not a deterrent to other nations acquiring them. But it is supposed to deter other nations from using them. In which case, surely the more the merrier, so we can all deter each other.

The madness of the argument is self-evident. We are borrowing hundreds of billions we cannot afford for Trident, yet in all the reams of analysis of what to do about North Korea, Trident never gets a mention. It is a system entirely useless even in the one situation in which it was supposed to be effective.

How did we get here? In the 1950s the USA dropped 635,000 tonnes of bombs on North Korea including 35,000 tonnes of napalm. The US killed an estimated 20% of the North Korean population. For comparison, approximately 2% of the UK population was killed during World War II.

That this massive destruction of North Korea resulted in a xenophobic, American-hating state with an obsession with developing powerful weapons systems to ensure national survival, is not exactly surprising. The western media treat the existence of the Kim Jong-un regime as an inexplicable and eccentric manifestation of evil. In fact, it is caused. Unless those causes are addressed the situation can never be resolved. Has any western politician ever referenced the history I have just given in discussing North Korea?

This has so often been my despair. My book The Catholic Orangemen of Togo recounts my frustration whilst Deputy Head of the FCO’s Africa Department, at failing to get the Blair government to pay attention to the massive historical and continuing grievances that underlay the horrific violence in Sierra Leone. Politicians prefer a simplistic world of enemies who are “evil” for no reason. Newspaper editors prefer it even more. It justifies war. The truth is always a great deal more complicated.


151 thoughts on “Deterrence Believers Shoud Cheer the North Korean Bomb

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  • giyane

    The current problems in Myanmar also has causes. A fellow Muslim who was brought up in Burma once told me that the Indian Muslims virtually enslaved the population like a colony. This I presume is the root cause of the enduring hatred of Islam there. Obviously there are no military solutions to historical grievances. If you’re in a hole, stop digging.

  • giyane

    Craig not believing in the po-faced FOC creed of nuclear deterrence must seriously irritate them. The Qur’an relates how in Pharaoh’s Egypt the only religion allowed was the worship of Pharaoh, making Moses in Pharaoh’s eyes a disbeliever. I wonder if anyone’s going to be talking about the British FOC in three thousand years’ time in any other terms than a global catastrophe. I’ve heard the religion of the stuffed cat still has some followers so Thatcherism might still have a few followers at that time, but rank Anglo-Saxon global hegemony’s a gonner in my humble opinion.

  • Gilly

    Wow I know I should have done but I didn’t know about the 20% of loss of life.
    What caused the Korean war?

  • Phil E

    Craig your history of Korea could have gone back a bit further and revealed more inconvenient truths. Korea was an independent kingdom for over a thousand years until the Japanese invaded in 1916. At the end of world war 2 the country was split in half at the 38th parallel by occupying soviet and us forces. Unsurprising many Koreans on both sides of the divide wanted a reunited country after 30 years of occupation at that time. The US has staunchly prevented this for its own interests, supported by the media. Google it on Wikipedia it’s easy to find out. Nothing will be resolved there until the separated people of these 2 states can cross the border and talk to each other. North Korea will not fall in its current state because the Chinese and Russians do not want he Americans on their border. For obvious reasons. Currently the total violation of the Vienna Convention by US federal agencies searching the Russian consulate in San Francisco come to mind. How does that grab your diplomatic antennae Craig?

    • nevermind

      The US has staunchly prevented this for its own interests, supported by the media.

      Yes, it can be argued that this long drawn out cease fire, the failure to agree to a peaceful solution after the Korean war finished, has fuelled the ambitions of North Korea’s dynasty politics, fostered the need for a strong hand.

      South Korea’s inability to demand such a peace treaty from their US protectors has further encouraged the militarists of North Korea, given them strength.

      Whoever knew and allowed Ukraine to sell missile guidance systems to North Korea, as well as those in ABB who updated their nuclear power stations some years back and made them more efficient and safe has a lot to answer for. Hallo Donald Rumsfeld how was that increasing bank balance for you? paid for with monies earned from emaciated workers on starvation rations.

  • John Wheatley

    In such scary times, it is salutary to read something which penetrates the fog. May this and like minded voices be heard by policy makers across the world!

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Hip hip hooray.

    Let’s reduce the global nuclear arsenal by giving a barking-mad despot his very own nukes. While much of his population is at or below the breadline.

    FFS.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      You don’t like deterrence, Craig. But what else have you got?

      Deterrence works when both sides are vaguely rational, and their leaders at least suspect they may be mortal. But nothing works in the current scenario. You can’t talk to the bastard, even if Trump could string ten words together coherently. Sanctions don’t work; Kim doesn’t seem to be losing weight, even if his people do. Sure, let’s give SK to NK and hope that’s the limit of Kim’s megalomania, while remaining politely silent on the subject of his tendency to mind-control and mass murder. Your position seems to be that the virtual enslavement of a previously more-or-less democratic, peaceful and well-fed country under its miserable neighbour (though smiling radiantly is compulsory at public events, sure) will solve the problem. So,what else have you got?

          • joel

            Funny how those outraged by dictators killing their own people are always so ready to excuse the mass murder of innocents by US bombs and invasions.

          • fedup

            Old hat to disguise aggression and expansionist aspirations of the psychopathic banksters’ gofers aka “our democratically elected dear leaders” as concern for benighted people living under despotic rulers. Incidentally the same despotic rulers whom have been set, and are maintained in place to keep the said benighted people in abject poverty because of the limited supply money and monetarist policies thereof. Just a glance at the most excellent sword dancing al saud pederasts ought to suffice in validation of the above contention.

            Despots and dictators and all the cock and bull that goes with the the whole kabuki; indeed we feel their pain!!!

            Homeless/poor/destitute people aka our bankrupt citizens whom cannot sustain to afford the rising fixed costs of living as a human being and not a feral animal, because of the hikes in the fixed costs* and diminished rates of their income is also the fault of the homeless who no doubt have brought it upon themselves to eat and sleep alfresco in our very democratic society.

            How else can the brainwashed will be convincing themselves of the veracity of the bullshit of “democracy” versus the world, nay the universe and beyond?

            *(council tax, energy bill, food bill, health bill, mental illness going unaddressed, unemployment without access to social safety net, due to sanctions of the job centre etc.)

      • Deepgreenpuddock

        I suppose weapons are all about ‘compliance’. I think it is likely that the US investment in weaponry is all about ensuring that the majorty of the rest of the world complies with the particular conception of the liberal west. The recent Afghanistan war is at root, about the US/west trying to ensure that an alternative or highly different social organisation (which is very challenging to the prevailing social and economic dogma of the west) does not prosper. It is not in compliance.
        The ‘religious’ elements within the conflict are very significant because in Muslim areas the religion is dominant to the material. In the west, the religious dimension is subordinate to the financial and economic conditions. In effect religion in the west is just an element of the prevailing order-co-opted and compliant and part of the elective and all consuming material consumerism. In a ‘Muslim’ country the religion is not optional or subject to a popularity contest.
        Also, one of the problems with nuclear weapons is that these are a consequence of the knowledge and understanding that was unleashed by, among others, the work of Clerk Maxwell and Einstein.
        It is impossible to remove this knowledge and understanding from our consciousness.It is a bit like evolution-it is not reversible.
        Even if there was some prodigious negotiation by the UN which led to the removal of nuclear weapons, the nature of human potential and inclination would ensure that within some time, it was re-discovered, or replaced with something equivalent, or even more dangerous. Indeed it seems to me that the demise of nuclear weapons, will be not by some negotiation but their replacement with something technically easier and cheaper.

        • nevermind

          weapons are not about compliance anymore, Obama made that very clear when he rejected regulating drones.

          The development of mini nukes is also not regulated, instead its called ‘reducing capabilities’ by making them smaller and more hideous.
          fact is that the war on terror is now becoming the prelude for a much more aggressive world that abuses diplomatic efforts.

          Then there are mini robots, already with AI, able to learn and change their plans according to their mission and the proximity they are released in, they are not regulated either.

          AI robotics and semi conscious weapons technologies are totally unchecked, imho. It all points to a world were the arms industries are calling the shots on wars, with the military looking for sustainable future job prospects and everyone ignoring the massive climate change scenario playing out in front of our eyes, we are going to hell in a hand cart/tank.

          I agree with your last point, humans are still animals, too dim to realise their spiritual and intellectual abilities to the full.

          • Deepgreenpuddock

            Not sure that was my last point.
            But your comments re robots and mini-nukes seem to me to be more or less what I meant about the ending of the current conception of nuclear weapons and the whole idea of ‘deterrence’. As already said, this makes sense only in the context of a small number of large players.The technology is now coming within the reach of multiple players and erodes any credibility in deterrence. Their recent forms -essentially the huge fusion type bomb which causes huge collateral damage, are very very crude.Their crudeness makes them extremely difficult to deploy. So much ‘better’= worse) if they can actually be used without triggering a wider societal collapse. The robots and the mini nuke are about creating selectivity and bringing the kind of killing power achievable with nuclear devices int the realm of usability.It is this that is the greater danger, as it creates the impression that WMD can be used without assuring ones own destruction.

        • Paul Barbara

          @ Deepgreenpuddock September 4, 2017 at 11:17
          ‘…The recent Afghanistan war is at root, about the US/west trying to ensure that an alternative or highly different social organisation (which is very challenging to the prevailing social and economic dogma of the west) does not prosper. It is not in compliance….’
          Actually Afghanistan was invaded and occupied because the US wanted oil and gas pipelines through Afghanistan, and they could not come to a satisfactory deal with the Taliban. The Taliban were offered ‘a carpet of gold, or a to be buried under a carpet of bombs’: ‘…According to sources, Taliban officials were told they could accept a ‘carpet of gold’ or a ‘carpet of bombs.’
          Talks of bringing the ‘peace’ pipeline project back to life have floated around since – the US government expressed its interests in peace with the Taliban….’http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/specialseries/2016/10/taliban-oil-afghanistan-161004085739050.html
          The OBL business was purely a smokescreen – the Taliban offered to hand OBL over if the US provided proof of his involvement in the 9/11 attacks. The US could not do this (even the FBI admitted they had ‘no hard evidence’) and refused; the Taliban therefore refused to hand OBL over.
          The real reason was the pipelines.

          • Deepgreenpuddock

            The pipelines are simply an aspect of the material means. The compliance that superior weaponry brings about is compliance and acceptance of the over-riding principles of the way that the West does business, their particular priorities, and accepting the established hierarchies and hegemonic conditions of business and trade.
            The pipelines are incidental, not fundamental, th are a bonus, not the meat.
            They are just part of a general movement that places the West’s priorities and interests central to all relationships.
            While it was a palpable falsehood for someone like Tony Blair to say that the Iraq was ‘not about the oil’ , it is possible for him to say that without blushing because the more correct way of thinking about it is that Iraq regime was not (fully) compliant with the appropriate values and methods ( that make it possible to exploit the oil) and Blair was part of the process of creating compliance.He is an enabler.
            This allowed him to deploy his comments about human rights violations etc, (knowing full well that Saddam had previously been in profitable compliance with the west with not a murmur about his astounding if convenient cruelty), and the wickedness of tyranny, and to obfuscate and dissemble, and make his phoney-religious defence of his actions, where he says he is quite prepared to ‘answer to his God'(subtlysuggesting that his (entirely human) thoughts and deficiencies, are beyond the realm of judgement in this place, and only suitable for the perfection of judgement of God. Blair would realise, such hubris, if he recognised his God, sees him eternally damned because it is a presumption of his innocence.
            One is judged by peers. Blair’s narcissism megalomania is revealed by that deeply inadequate comment and is one that he shares with the target of his condemnation-Saddam-whose tyranny also denied judgement of his actions.

            These compliances mean accepting subordination to the hegemony and its interest in keeping within the conditions that ensure a highly favourable settlement for the hegemon.
            The point about Blair and the ‘not about the oil’ comment is that somewhere in Downing street there was a very detailed report, in advance, about the implications of the Iraq war for the oil industry. It would have been highly detailed, and Blair would have been fully aware. However his ideas would have revolved around the general principles and not the detailed financial possibilities. He would advise BP, no doubt, but his mind was not on the centrality of oil.
            Not widely realised, but the North Sea oil industry was arranged in such a way, with the compliance of successive governments of the UK that the profits made in the North Sea went mainly to the US, in many different ways.
            It is an advanced form of very subtle colonialism. In a sense ‘we got our oil’, but not before the US and it companies and citizens had extracted a major slice of the benefits.

        • James Dickenson

          “The recent Afghanistan war is at root, about the US/west trying to ensure that an alternative or highly different social organisation (which is very challenging to the prevailing social and economic dogma of the west) does not prosper. It is not in compliance.”

          Maybe, it is also to do with this?
          “Let us not mention for the time being Afghanistan’s position as host for a gas pipeline from the Caspian Sea to the Indian Ocean, or what former President Hamid Karzai estimated as $ 30 trillion in mineral deposits. “
          http://dissidentvoice.org/2016/10/illegality-ignorance-and-imperialism/

          “If Afghanistan can become the central Asian ’roundabout,’ to use President Karzai’s term, to where it can be the new Silk Road, think of the implications for that, recalling that, of course, Afghanistan is blessed with the presence of what are trillions, with an ‘S’ on the end, trillions of dollars worth of minerals if, and only if, you can get the extractive technology, the human capital operated, the lines of communication to enable you to get it out of the country and all the rest of that. Very big ‘if.’ And of course, there’s a foundation of security that would be necessary on, on which to build all of that. But, again, the prospects are very significant if you can achieve objectives.” — Gen. David Petraeus, Meet the Press, Sunday, August 15th, 2010
          http://www.nbcnews.com/id/38686033/ns/meet_the_press-transcripts/t/meet-press-transcript-august/#.WZP8olGGOM8

  • Republicofscotland

    I see old saddle bag face Queen Lizzie, is to officialy open the new Forth Crossing, surely there must be someone more worthy and far more appropriate in Scotland, that could do the job.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      Yeah, when you’re 91 you won’t be looking all that fresh either. Unlike Nicola Krankie…

      • Republicofscotland

        We all could look good at 91, if we had the cosseted, sponging, poncing life that Old Droopy Chops, and her idle brood has had, throw in the very best of medical care as well.

        • Ba'al Zevul

          I’m jealous too, RoS. Though (re health) preserving the NHS is my priority over dismantling the monarchy.

          And of course HM serves as an easy target against which thoughts about gross inequality elsewhere in society can dissipate harmlessly. But that noble tradition (unlike, say Sir Philip Green) goes back to James 1/6 of Scotland, and well beyond. BTW, the Scots weren’t too keen on Cromwell…missed your chance there, didn’t you?

          And then, being on permanent public display and listening to boring speeches on a daily basis isn’t my idea of a good time either. Although it could be argued that is what we do here…

          • fred

            “As for the NHS, according to the Ministry of truth, it cost more than £300 million quid a year to keep the quee and her hive in the opulence that they’re used to.”

            Even discounting the money the Queen puts into the economy in various ways that’s still only 8p a week each between 70 million people. I’m not exactly a huge fan myself but I don’t begrudge 8p a week for the sake of all the people who are.

          • Ba'al Zevul

            …noble…
            For someone who ladles it out in bucketsful, you are remarkably unable to spot sarcasm…
            Or you might have read ‘noble’, equally validly, as ‘of or pertaining to the nobility’. Perhaps English isn’t your strong point. A+ for bickering, though.

          • Ba'al Zevul

            PPS.
            £300M, what an emotive figure…

            http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/scotland/12132556/300-million-cut-to-Scotlands-schools-after-SNP-targets-councils.html

            https://sbnn.co.uk/2017/07/20/edinburgh-south-east-300-million-regional-deal-funding-confirmed/

            The UK Government is investing £300 million in the Edinburgh and South East of Scotland City Region Deal, which will boost the economy of Edinburgh and the whole of South-East Scotland for decades to come. The Edinburgh deal will focus on the capital’s strengths of new technology, innovation and yadayada….

            And £300M is pretty well the entire annual income from the Crown Estate, which is what actually pays for HMQ, her vassals and encumbrances. So where did you pluck that figure from, anyway?

            http://bmsf.org.uk/red-pennies-the-queen-royal-finances-and-who-pays-the-bills/

          • Republicofscotland

            “So where did you pluck that figure from, anyway?”

            I didn’t pluck it from anywhere, its in the link I provided, do try and pay attention every now and again.

            As for your “attempt” at sarcasm, your Im not that bothered about the royals, belies your medicore defence of them.

            Of course the £300 million for a whole region, as opposed to £300 million for a whole family per year, is an equation you seem pleased with, the Chancellors job awaits you, a shoe in indeed.

  • Republicofscotland

    Meanwhile as SLAB’s branch office caretaker in Scotland Alex Rowley rails that Nicola Sturgeon, took the idead to remove the pay cap from SLAB.

    Rowley nor Corbyn have mentioned anything about Labour in Wales, where they point blank refuse to remove the pay cap.

    • reel guid

      Ros

      Yes Rowley tweeted the other day about campaigning for a council by-election in “Shots”. Instead of Shotts.
      Perhaps Corbyn’s ignorance of things Scottish is contagious.

  • J Galt

    I like the picture on many of the front pages today of Kim inspecting his new “H-Bomb” in the company of assorted flunkeys and I can imagine him saying “does it only come in white?”

    “No great leader it comes in any colour you want!”

  • Loony

    For today’s entertainment we have a palpable failure of logic.

    The fact that in the 1950’s the US killed about 20% of the population of the DPRK is offered as evidence to justify the existence of a “xenophobic American hating state with an obsession for developing powerful weapons systems.”

    What other countries may have suffered a comparable loss of population? Why Poland and the USSR. How come Poland is not a xenophobic German hating state? and how come Polish expressions of nationalism are either ignored or disparaged. How come the ruling elites of the west continue to despise Russia and provoke them at every turn. How come you love the German dominated EU and offer precisely zero support to Poland.

    How many people died in the Irish potato famine? Quite a lot is the answer. How come Ireland is not a xenophobic British hating state with an obsession for developing powerful weapons systems.

    Could it possibly be that the North Koreans are being judged by different standards that those applied to the Poles, the Russians and the Irish. Is it not the case that applying different standards to a population based solely on race is the very definition of racism. Unless of course the argument is that being killed in the 1950’s is worse than being killed in the 1840’s or the 1940’s.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Tony September 4, 2017 at 14:37
      Nuclear armed States will never give them up voluntarily, and who is going to force them?
      International laws mean diddly squat to the powerful. There are laws against torture and against aggressive war, which includes arming and supporting mercenary proxies. Do the US, France and UK give a toss? There are laws about how occupied territories should be administered, as well as laws against any territorial expansion into occupied territories. Does Israel give a toss? Did Suharto (safe in the knowledge he had Western support) accede to UN Security Council and General Assembly votes to get the heck out of East Timor? Only after Western countries ordered him to abide by the referendum.
      North and South Korea were cooperating at one time, not very long ago; but the last thing the Yanks want is cooperation between North and South. If they are getting along, then there will be no excuse for US bases in South Korea.
      So, North Korea wisely creates a deterrent against Western aggression. Given Grenada, Panama, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria (and lesser interventions across Africa), they judge that having a big stick is all that will keep the bullies at bay.

      • Peter Beswick

        The threat to the US from NK is minimal.

        “threat” = military threat

        The threat of Afghanistan to US was zero (apart from the CIA poppy trade deals), if you care to cast your minds back the reason the US and UK invaded Afghanistan was to get bin Laden (dead or alive) when it became clear he wasn’t there, they stayed.

        The threat to the US from Iraq was zero.

        The threat to the US from Syria is zero.

        The treat to the US from China and Russia is immense, they can still destroy the US.

        The US is a dying empire, it will die, there will be horrible consequences. The Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, even the British had to give up their control over people they had no business controlling.

        In 50 -100 years India will be a contender.

        The sooner the USA comes to the conclusion that a single government / religious belief can determine the aspirations of the rest of the world the sooner peace can break out.

        That won’t happen because of a simple truth. The US put into power the likes of Clinton, Bush (jr &snr), Obama and Trump (narrowly avoiding Hilary)

        This Kettle of twats are what the US stand for (they do not represent the decent and honest taxpayers) they represent wealth and power.

        If the downfall of the US requires the downfall of the human race; that is a worthwhile option. But hopefully the powers of Russia, China and those not in the grip of US control can explain nature must take its course or the alternative certainly will.

        • Peter Beswick

          Correction

          The sooner the USA comes to the conclusion that a single government / religious belief can determine the aspirations of the rest of the world the sooner peace can break out.

          Can = Can’t

        • Paul Barbara

          @ Peter Beswick September 4, 2017 at 16:04
          ‘….if you care to cast your minds back the reason the US and UK invaded Afghanistan was to get bin Laden (dead or alive) when it became clear he wasn’t there, they stayed….’
          That was the ‘stated reason’ (like WMD’s in Iraq, just BS).
          The Taliban offered to hand him over, IF the US provided proof of OBL’ involvement in the 9/11 attacks. The US refused to provide evidence (they had no proof; even the FBI admitted they had ‘no hard evidence’).
          When the US implodes, it will take us all with it.

  • mike

    The SAA are about to enter Deir Ezzor, breaking the ISIS siege.

    We salute the lions of Syria.

    Bibi wasn’t too happy when he spoke with Putin in Sochi last week. By all accounts, he was in panic mode. Iran is now on Israel’s doorstep, thanks to Regime Change Proxies Inc. The neocon idiots backed the wrong horse. Now it’s being turned into glue. You reap what you sow.

  • Jerry

    That’s a great argument but what if when everyone gets nuclear then some dictator thinks he or she can drop one first and get away with it?

    • joel

      America’s already nuked civilian targets twice and got away with it. But I guess that must be viewed by a different standard.

      • SA

        They did that when nobody else had them and when the other side was already very weak militarily. Yet these same people who whitewash this crime go on about ‘barrel bombs’.

    • SA

      How do you think that they think they can get away with it? Having a handful of nukes may deter but will not let you get out of the retribution that would follow if you use them. That after all is what our government preaches, that having nukes is not about using them but about deterrence.

  • mike

    Now Israel have announced their biggest military exercise in 20 years, along the border with Lebanon. After being dismissed by Putin, perhaps Bibi is going to take matters into his own hands after all.

    War seems to be elites’ answer to every situation.

      • Iain Stewart

        What he actually wrote (On War)
        “We maintain…that war is simply a continuation of political intercourse, with the addition of other means. We deliberately use the phrase ‘with the addition of other means’ because we also want to make it clear that war in itself does not suspend political intercourse or change it into something entirely different. In essentials that intercourse continues, irrespective of the means it employs.”

        • Republicofscotland

          Abbreviation dear chap, try recalling that after a few pints down at your local. 😀

          • Iain Stewart

            Well, not quite: “with other means” does not have the same sense as the usual misquote “by other means”.
            “Der Krieg ist eine bloße Fortsetzung der Politik mit anderen Mitteln.” 🙂
            Vom Kriege, 1. Buch, 1. Kapitel, Unterkapitel 24 (Überschrift)

  • mike

    we must address the past in order to address the future but the mass adhd complex of the world and it’s leaders seem to not understand or want to discuss the foundation of these elements and even more frightening is that do not even want to acknowledge it

  • rwendland

    The other important factor that set NK off on the nuclear path was the extremely large scale deployment of tactical atomic weapons in South Korea by the U.S. from 1958, well before the Chinese had even tested their first nuclear weapon. In contravention of paragraph 13(d) of the Korean Armistice Agreement which mandated that neither side introduce new weapons into Korea, other than piece-for-piece replacement of worn-out equipment.

    Buy 1964, when China tested its first nuke, the US had 500+ atomic weapons in South Korea, clearly ranged against North Korea. It got to near a 1000 nukes deployed to South Korea by 1967 – even the US realised this was a ridiculous OTT number and gradually reduced the number from this point. Back to 500+ by late-1970s, and by 1984 they were down to a “mere” 100 odd tactical nukes in South Korea, but of course by then had a huge air-deliverable arsenal elsewhere in south east Asia by then. Though all this was highly secret back then, and NK would not have seen this decline clearly, if at all.

    Unsurprisingly this worried NK enormously, and they decided they needed a nuclear deterrent. In the 1960s (pre NPT) they asked the Soviet Union and China to help them build a nuclear weapon, but were refused. So they sent scientists to study nuclear science abroad, and got a small research reactor from the Soviet Union – the US was also dishing out research reactors to everyone, eg the Congo and Iran.

    By 1979 NK figured they had learned enough to start building a series of nuclear reactors based on the UK Magnox design. As a carbon dioxide cooled, graphite moderated Magnox reactor does not require difficult-to-produce enriched uranium fuel or heavy water moderator, it was an attractive choice for a wholly indigenous nuclear reactor development.

    By 1986 they had their prototype 5 MWe Magnox reactor running OK. They then started a programme of full scale reactors, a 50 MWe and a 200 MWe for starters. If they followed the UK model, the 50 MWe (like Calder Hall at Sellafield) was mainly for weapons plutonium, and the 200 MWe (Hinkley Point A sized) was the first primarily power reactor.

    Then the 1994 Agreed Framework and other stuff was negotiated with the U.S., disabling the Magnox-like reactors, to try to stop them following this path, or at least slow them down. The Agreed Framework lasted, with difficulties, stopping NK plutonium production until the Bush Axis of Evil speech in 2002. After that NK set of with vigour to develop their nuclear weapons.

    For me, the interesting historical question is if the US had not deployed 500+ tactical atomic weapons in South Korea in the 1960s, clearly potentially to utterly destroy North Korea, would NK have started on its own very slow path to building its own nukes? An interesting counterfactual history to consider. To my mind, it underlines the fact that most actions cause a reaction, and in international politics you have to think ahead very carefully.

      • rwendland

        Sorry it is a bit of an essay. But this background gets no coverage whatsoever in the MSM, and it strikes me as rather relevant history, so I thought it was a time for an outing with it. Would have thought that NK’s plutonium reactor being based on the UK Magnox design would at least pique some colourful interest in the UK press, but it is never mentioned!

    • Kempe

      All US nuclear weapons were unilaterally withdrawn from South Korea in 1991 so why has North Korea continued with it’s nuclear programme?

      • rwendland

        A good question about the 1991 missed opportunity. There was the inertia of three reactors already running or under construction, leading to the 1994 Agreed Convention which paused the NK programme pretty much until the 2002 Axis of Evil speech. As in other countries, once a nuclear establishment is in place with a large number of workers, it often has a lot of political clout and inertia – becoming part of the deep state. Once the Agreed Framework fell apart in 2003 NK left the NPT and pushed ahead – fears of regime change attempts must have been part of the motivation. Also it must have become clear NK could not keep up in other areas of modern military technology (eg airplanes) now they no longer has Soviet support, so nuclear must have looked an attractive alternative. It’s an area of the history I’d like to know better – perhaps we will once govt archives are opened after 25 years or so.

  • Tony_Opmoc

    We had noticed it before whilst driving down to dorset..The private estate is enormous. Even its walls go.on for miles…but this time I wasn’t driving..my son was…with his son and me ane his mum..so I had time to.find out on the way. I know nothing about this man, who.owns the entire lot and receives over 2 Million Euros in Farm Subsidies for allowing his enormous amount.of.land to remain in much the same state as it was recorded.in 1066. He may actually be a really nice man. His working history is very.interesting.
    His garden is a lot bigger than mine…So what he.likes Deer AND Lions….and he is an MP. As. well as being one.of.the richest.people.in the world..You have probably never heard of.him.either…though he has been on telly the press qnd the radio as a journalist and spent 10 years in.the army and.hes younger than me. He obviously doesn’t make a song and dance about it but.maybe.he might be.interested in.hosting small music festivals.
    Tony

  • Sophia

    Anything that justifies War is great Business for Politicians and Media.
    Genocide is usually the result
    But who really cares?
    The World has short memory at the best of Times.

  • Tony_Opmoc

    Her parents hadn’t done it and neither had mine. I had only done it a bit when I was learning to fly. Then I lost my job and my girlfriend… and met her. We’d known each other for a few months and I was still unemployed. She said.me and my friends are going camping at Stonehenge. I burst into tears and said. “Aren’t I invited?” She smiled and borrowed her younger sister’s playtent and one gas burner from her sister’s boyfriend and just the 2 of us arrived at Stonehenge…and we both swam naked in the river in the local village. I asked her will.you marry me. She said Yes. We are still together and hopefully will still swim naked together next month in The Med at Cyprus Rocks
    Tony

  • Loony

    “The truth is always a great deal more complicated” – Well it certainly is when you are determined to ignore the truth. Here is some truth.

    AQ Khan, a Pakistani national, was hired by the Physical Dynamics Research Laboratory in Amsterdam. This laboratory was a subsidiary of Verenigde Machine Fabrieken which worked closely with URENCO. URENCO was a JV between the British, the Germans and Dutch who established the enterprise in 1970 so as to give themselves an option for enriched uranium that did not have the US as the origin country.

    Unbelievably AQ Khan was employed as a German-Dutch translator. Whilst employed as translator AQ Khan stole all of the information necessary for Pakistan to develop nuclear weapons technology. In 2004 AQ Khan gave an interview in English (Mr. Khan was obviously an expert linguist) in which he admitted to selling these same nuclear secrets to both Libya and the DPRK.

    …and so here we have a fully verifiable trail of evidence that implicates the Germans, the Dutch and the British as being those whose security was so woeful as to allow AQ Khan access to the most destructive technology known to man. What ever happened to AQ Khan? why nothing at all – none of the infamous British death squads were dispatched to terminate him prior to his being allowed to proliferate nuclear weapons. There was no widespread outrage that European security was so abject that this was allowed to happen. No-one was held to account and no one was deemed to be responsible.

    Today the US is dealing with the consequences of the most crass and egregious European stupidity and all of the usual suspects are lining up to criticize the US. Meanwhile Germans are encouraged to acknowledge their Nazi history and to carry their collective guilt down through the generations. No German is ever asked to acknowledge the complicity of their country in the proliferation of nuclear technology to some of the most unstable and/or crazed regimes in the world.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Loony September 4, 2017 at 23:08
      There’s a lesson there somewhere – Libya didn’t follow up, and now look at it; Qaddafi butchered in view of NATO troops, and the country a wreck.
      DPRK did follow through, and, by Jingo, they’re still alive and kicking.

  • giyane

    I don’t know much about ‘karma’, but from what Craig says it sounds as though the US has got tonnes of it, if it exists. I actually believe in a living God whose knowledge encompasses all, and I have little time for those Muslims who would apply revenge/qisas against the wrong people. I am not responsible for what my father might have done, or what his countrymen might have done. So it might lift Kim Jong Un’s skirts up a bit to be able to intimidate the US with the threat of nuclear war. Like Muslims who park on double yellow lines as a defiant gesture against the British Empire.

    But actually USUKIS has already tasted defeat at the hands of Russia and China in Syria. I don’t think the idea of karma is that you get to decide who or when or how gets it. I think the ideas is that you hand your grievances to God, who is infinitely better placed to deliver it to the right place and person in the measure that is just. Right now Boris Johnson is looking like a complete a***hole for suggesting that bombs are going to start flying on South Korea. No Boris, you as the successor to the British nuclear threatening power are going to be made to taste the same paralytic fear you inflict on others, forcing them to concede their minerals and sovereignty by the abomination of nuclear destruction. Nice taste?

  • Dave Lawton

    Kim Jong-un of North Korea saw what happened to Muammar Gaddafi of Libya which possessed chemical weapons and ballistic missiles and pursued nuclear weapons and then agreed to give them up and was double crossed and was given the Mafia kiss of death by Tony Blair.

  • mark golding

    The truth is complicated and fascinating when you know North Korea’s ICBM program has had extensive modifications to improve regression in a hybrid design all from Yuzmash blueprints. Oh and the hydrogen bomb neutron induction and timing, heavy water,lithium and tritium decay (fast neutrons are critical in miniaturisation of a nuclear bomb) design problem resolution is another fascinating story for another day.

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