Guam rejoices!


"North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reviewed his military's plans to rain "an enveloping fire" around the U.S. territory of Guam — but opted not to fire missiles at this time, according to state media. Despite the stand-down, some Guamanians were alarmed after two radio stations aired an erroneous emergency alert Tuesday.

Kim visited the Korean People's Army as the self-imposed mid-August deadline for a missile demonstration approached, the Korean Central News Agency reports. But after hearing the plan and considering it, Kim opted not to give the order to launch missiles, but instead "would watch a little more the foolish and stupid conduct of the Yankees," the report says."  NPR


It was not an IO.  It was real and Trump/Mattis won.  The fat kid blinked.  pl


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78 Responses to Guam rejoices!

  1. BillWade says:

    I never thought Kim’s Ace in the Hole was his nukes but more his DMZ forces/artillery.
    Perhaps one of his generals told him it would be wise to keep it around for more than 72 hours.

  2. b says:

    I vehemently disagree with you.
    The announcement of the possible plan to launch towards Guam was conditional. It demanded that the U.S. stop B1-B flights out of Guam over South Korea near the North Korean border.
    Since the announcement was made no B1-B flights near NoKo took place. Thus the temporary suspension of the plan. This suspension includes the explicit warning that it can or will be changed into action should the U.S. return to such action.
    He said that the U.S. imperialists caught the noose around their necks due to their reckless military confrontation racket, adding that he would watch a little more the foolish and stupid conduct of the Yankees spending a hard time of every minute of their miserable lot.

    In order to defuse the tensions and prevent the dangerous military conflict on the Korean peninsula, it is necessary for the U.S. to make a proper option first and show it through action, as it committed provocations after introducing huge nuclear strategic equipment into the vicinity of the peninsula, he said, adding that the U.S. should stop at once arrogant provocations against the DPRK and unilateral demands and not provoke it any longer./endquote/

  3. Fredw says:

    Hallelujah! The reality was no doubt much more complicated than that, but the overall effect is that the fat kid blinked.

  4. John Minnerath says:

    He might have blinked and pinched out the fuse, but now it’s shorter and the fat kid has lots of matches to play with.
    We’re still faced with a lot of totally out of touch people in the DPRK who could get to the point where they think they can get away with the unthinkable.

  5. turcopolier says:

    you should not think that complex situations are necessarily complex in fact. Often they are merely matters of personality. pl

  6. turcopolier says:

    (irony alert) I know, I know, evil America against the world. pl

  7. Red Cloud says:

    Trump threatened “fire and fury” if North Korea continued with threats. NK promptly threatened to incinerate Guam.
    What was Trump’s response? “Uh….. what I meant was……”
    Trump blinked first. Fact

  8. turcopolier says:

    Red Cloud
    Oh BS. North Korea threatened the US and has decided to think about it. pl

  9. Norbert M Salamon says:

    With great respect Colonel:
    The USA has threatened North Korea for years, and caused untold economic damage via sanctions.
    The war of words increased, and then decreased, NOBODY BLINKED, all players decided that hey do not want to get China upset by being the first idiot to act in a war like manner.

  10. BillWade says:

    Laughing here. how many minutes away do you think our tactical air forces at Kunsan and Osan are away from doing enough damage to NoKor to make them think twice and think hard?

  11. Bsox327 says:

    Red cloud i agree with you and below is a quote by Pat Buchanan showing that the U.S does not seem too interested in dealing with the very real consequences of attacking N.K.
    ‘assuming this crisis is resolved, what does the future of U.S.-North Korean relations look like?
    consider the past.
    In 1968, North Korea hijacked the USS Pueblo on the high seas and interned its crew. LBJ did nothing. In April 1969, North Korea shot down an EC-121, 100 miles of its coast, killing the crew. Nixon did nothing.
    Under Jimmy Carter, North Koreans axe-murdered U.S. soldiers at Panmunjom. We defiantly cut down a nearby tree.
    Among the atrocities the North has perpetrated are plots to assassinate President Park Chung-hee in the 1960s and ’70s, the Rangoon bombing that wiped out much of the cabinet of Chun Doo-hwan in 1983, and the bombing of Korean Air Flight 858, killing all on board in 1987.
    And Kim Jong Un has murdered his uncle and brother.
    If the past is prologue, and it has proven to be, the future holds this. A renewal of ICBM tests until a missile is perfected. Occasional atrocities creating crises between the U.S. and North Korea. America being repeatedly dragged to the brink of a war we do not want’
    The North Koreans are at the very least as intransigent and possibly way more as Fidel Castro was in his confrontations with the U.S

  12. Red Cloud says:

    NK threatened Guam right after they were told “you better not make any more threats OR ELSE”
    That’s not backing down. That’s more like telling Trump to pound sand

  13. FourthAndLong says:

    The article at the link below, titled “The Secret of North Korea’s ICBM success”, is a worthy read IMO. OUtlines many pitfalls and unknowns, including unforeseen perils of sanction regimes. Suitable for a lay audience:
    More readily accessible, however mildly inflammatory, is this piece from The NY Times which links to the iss piece:
    FWIW, the Yuzhmash company has posted on its website emphatic disagreement with some of the latter articles’ inferences.
    My own takeaway is that it all underlines the monumental stupidity of our post 1991 Russia policy. George Keenan and more recently Jack Matlock have gone on record very strenuously in this regard.
    The author of the iss piece, Michael Elleman, concludes that room for diplomacy remains but is diminishing rapidly.

  14. aleksandar says:

    I wonder if koreans play Kabuki.
    Or maybe Go ?
    Kim has the willingness to attack Guam ?
    Or just spoke about it ?
    The fat boy ( educated in switzerland )blinked ?
    Maybe but so what ?
    Nothing has change.

  15. DJK says:

    Maybe the fat boy blinked and Trump/Mattis won or maybe there was hidden deal, or the hint of a deal. I’m reminded of the events of 1962 when it was said that Kruschev blinked and Kennedy/Rusk won. The fact that there was a deal to remove US missiles from Turkey didn’t emerge for several years.

  16. bluetonga says:

    Well maybe some expert arbitration might be needed to determine once and for all who blinked first.
    Yet ain’t it a wee bit creepy that possibly, the general issue of extinction of species, and more generally life on Earth, might be settled through a stare contest beween Fat Kid and Yuge Ego?

  17. b says:

    @Pat – this does not have to do with good or bad America. It has to do with negotiations and with under standing the signaling of the opponents side.
    Take the bluster away from the North Korean statements and read what is left as conditions and consequences.
    Here Cheryl Rofer took the original announcement of the Guam test apart.
    I contend that the North Korean statement issued in response to Donald Trump’s “fire and fury” threat contains an invitation to negotiations. As is often the case, that invitation is not stated as such. Diplomacy guards such invitations so that nobody loses face when they don’t work.
    …(textual analysis)…
    In simpler words, stop threatening us with bombers from Guam and we won’t attack Guam.
    Quid pro quo.
    It reeks of blackmail, but that is how North Korea negotiates. If we want negotiations, rather than war, it would be smart to respond to the offer to negotiate. That doesn’t necessarily mean ending the B1B overflights, although my adventurous side says, hey, why not?
    Since August 9 six B1-B are at Guam but have not flown towards North Korea.–bombers-arrive-from-south-dakota/article_c12e3f5e-7cda-11e7-ad48-737a61ecfb7d.html
    Thus the suspension of the North Korean “test”.
    To see this as a NoKo capitulation to Trump’s bluster is the wrong take. It will likely prevent you to correctly judge the next steps in the negotiation process.

  18. zk says:

    If NoKo’s goal was to incinerate Guam and invite the US retaliation, they have indeed blinked.
    Somehow, however, that goal makes no sense to me. After all, one would expect that the plans for attack on Guam have been made a long time ago, and not necessarily by North Korea.
    I believe, while everyone is focusing on Guam, NK’s true goals are still unaffected. This conflict has no military solution IMO.

  19. turcopolier says:

    Invade Guam? Guam. was ceded to the US by Spain 120 years ago. What are you talking about? pl

  20. turcopolier says:

    Our air flights over S Korea did not threaten anyone unless North Korea wished to force us to give up our alliance with South Korea. We have not given up anything. The fat boy has given up his threat to try to hit Guam. Where is a statement that the US and South Korea will not hold Combined exercises this month? pl

  21. turcopolier says:

    Guam is not just a US “Base.” The inhabitants of the island are US citizens and the island is sovereign US territory as much as a state is. pl

  22. turcopolier says:

    b and all who think NOKO won the confrontation,
    I will believe that is true when the US and South Korea call off their big exercise without conditions. On the other hand if negotiations begin for re-unifications of Korea without pre-conditions then everyone won. pl

  23. Fredw says:

    Or maybe not. The message North Korea sent to the world seems pretty clear, but there seems to be some notion that they may be too delusional to realize that. Sure enough. Personalities matter.
    Many longstanding observers of the North Korean regime expressed concern that the US could misinterpret the message that it sent on Monday when Kim said he would “watch a little more” how the US acted in the region before deciding whether to go ahead with a plan to launch missiles over Japan aimed at the seas around the US territory of Guam.
    In some of the US media, that statement was portrayed as a withdrawal of the Guam plan in the face of threats of overwhelming retaliatory force from Donald Trump and US defence secretary James Mattis.
    That would be the wrong way to read the signs, said Vipin Narang, an associate professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology specialising in nuclear strategy.
    “I think people are not reading the statement,” Narang said. “This is literally restating the threat and leaving space for some quid pro quo and space for negotiation.
    “But the threat remains. It’s not like he took the threat off the table. If the US does anything that he sees as provocative, he has reviewed the plan and now stands poised to execute it,” Narang added.

  24. turcopolier says:

    IMO if NoKo fires into the sea around Guam NoKo will cease to exist. The Russians and Chinese would not lift a finger to save NoKo. pl

  25. kao_hsien_chih says:

    I don’t think anything ever actually “ends” for good until and unless one of the parties to the “negotiations” disappears completely, and even then, it may not actually end.
    The immediate crisis does seem to have ended, though. There is a limit to which even NoKo’s can ratchet up the pressure. Once you get to the Pearl Harbor stage, which dropping missiles around Guam would have been, there is no more “negotiations.” NoKo’s still have much by means of threatening assets and they will try to use them, no doubt, but now everyone knows where the limit is, and that is a good thing. I don’t oppose giving them some concessions, for the right price, but not carte blanche to demand more whenever they feel like it and threaten to throw a crazy tantrum if they don’t get their way.

  26. eakens says:

    I also believe this is exactly right. Many on here have indicated that they have been a rational actor in the face of US belligerence. If one believes that, then it should be accepted that suicide is not an option for them, particularly against an enemy which will undoubtedly suicide even if North Korea were able to get a couple hits in.
    Hopefully this is in fact the crescendo from which the parties can begin to deescalate the situation, and try finding an alternate path to resolving this conflict. NoKo has a lot to offer by giving up the nuclear threat they have been able to put together, and if they are a rational actor like many claim, they will take advantage of the situation and use it to negotiate a good deal.

  27. eakens says:

    I meant to say undoubtedly survive…

  28. AriusArmenian says:

    If you think that Kim blinked then the US should blink more often instead of rushing into wars and creating chaos as was done in Ukraine, Libya, Iraq, and Syria.
    I also expect more from you than calling Kim a fat kid.

  29. Seamus Padraig says:

    Pyong Yang and Washington have been playing these games for decades. Only the liberal MSM seriously entertained the idea that this was going to erupt into a full-blown war, because … Trump. Neither side has any interest in a war, and legend to contrary, both Trump and the Norks are rational actors, as are the Chinese.

  30. BillWade says:

    I imagine it goes something like this: We hold our exercises with our allies on a schedule that is convenient for us. In all the years we’ve been holding these exercises we have never attacked NK, the reason we haven’t attacked is not because they are ready for us, it’s because we choose not to, their rice planting season is or is not a concern to us. Their decision to how best use their military is or is not a concern to us. However, when they threaten us we do listen. We may make a show of force in response or we may not. We may not know all their nuclear capabilities or we may know every last detail, their decisions are theirs but they might consider erring on the side of caution. They have decided now on caution.
    BSox mentions all the times NoKor has provoked us. That we haven’t responded with overwhelming force during those times is a sign of our strength. Perhaps one of those events is when we decided it was now more convenient for us to hold exercises at a less convenient time for NoKor, who knows – I don’t.
    Kim might launch another missile, that’s his decision. We might make him toast before he does that, or while he does it, or after he does it, or not at all. I don’t know, B doesn’t know, but most importantly, Kim doesn’t know.

  31. BillWade says:

    B, don’t you recognize that rice farming is for rice farmers and not GIs, you make us look bad with that propaganda.

  32. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg says:

    There are clearly discussions going on in the background. The US would never admit to negotiating with North Korea, but most of the reason for their petulance is constant muscle flexing by the Americans and South Koreans. They probably ought to just relax. I doubt the US and South Korea would ever launch an attack. There’s nothing to be gained from it on any level.

  33. turcopolier says:

    Arius American
    you should go elsewhere. For me me, he and North Korea are abominations. pl

  34. masoud says:

    Any word on whether the the planned ROK-US maneuvers will be going ahead? It may in fact be Trump that blinked. But the announcement will made in the name of the new South Korean president.

  35. turcopolier says:

    You don’t know that Trump “blinked.” you are just hoping. pl

  36. TonyL says:

    IMHO, both Trump and Kim blinked. Perhaps Kim has been waiting for any gesture that allow him to stop the planned missile launch. Perhaps Trump has realized it is foolish and unecessary to proceed with the B1-B missions (the US-South Korean military exercise is still a more important show of force).
    They both came out of this potential crisis as loosers. And Trump certainly had gotten us close to the brink of WW3/nuclear war with his exchanges of childish rhetorics with Kim.

  37. SAC Brat says:

    Anyone have Sergey Lavrov’s travel or phone logs? He was in SE Asia last week.

  38. A. Pols says:

    Maybe the whole Guam thing was just a head fake and the NOKOs were just engaging in a bit of trolling. After all, if you threaten to do something you have no actual intention of doing, then pretend to back down, what is that other than a prank?
    More and more we live in a world of hoaxes.
    But what do you all think the latest information about the transfer by Ukrainian interests of RD250 engines to NOKO? The story has the appearance of plausibility and, if true, sure is cause for some awkwardness…

  39. Yeah, Right says:

    The old James Bond dictum springs to mind: once is an accident, twice is happenstance, and three times is…. war.
    To decide if those exercises is deliberately timed to be harmful to North Korean rice production we would need to know:
    a) How long is the NK rice harvest season?
    b) What reasons make it uniquely advantageous for the USA/SK to conduct exercises during that same period, year in and year out.
    I don’t doubt that nobody wants to get out of bed in the harsh Korean winter to much up the hill and down again. Sure. But I doubt that the North Koreans have given a guarantee that they’ll only attack during the summer months, and it’ll all be over by Xmas.
    That strikes me as the main difficulty with claiming happenstance i.e. of necessity the North Koreans can’t change when the rice needs to be harvested, but the USA/SK should be varying the timing of their military exercises.
    After all, what if the GIs only find out after the shooting starts that their guns don’t work in the cold?

  40. DW says:

    Fat Boy waffled as soon as China announced that if Fat Boy attacks the US…….he is on his own. I attribute Fat Boy’s change of attitude to that alone.

  41. turcopolier says:

    Yeah, Right
    Ever heard of Arctic Lubricant? pl

  42. Green Zone Café says:

    Just more time for NK to improve its nukes (soon to include thermonuclear), warhead design, reentry vehicles, and missiles.
    Aside from the craziness of the Kim regime, more nuke states = more chance of accidental launches. It’s gonna happen someday.
    What would Colonel Lang do? Strike now before NK more powerful and take the risk of Seoul, maybe Tokyo or more being destroyed, or resign yourself to deterrence?

  43. TonyL says:

    FYI, in an impoverish totalitarian regime, rice farmers are soldiers, and vice versa. That’s reality.

  44. Yeah, Right says:

    No, never heard of it. Though it sounds like something that should be advertised on porn sites.
    But the point I made still holds true: military exercises on the Korean peninsular shouldn’t just be held in the same month year in, year out. Doing so presupposes a gentleman’s agreement about when any war is going to be fought.
    And I assume everyone here accepts that such a gentleman’s agreement has not been struck with the North Koreans?

  45. b says:

    Elleman speculated wrongly. And the NYT (Sanger) used that to engage in the usual anti-Russian propaganda.
    The North Korean missile motor has one combustion chamber the regular R-250 has two. The outer appearance has similarities with R-250 but is not identical.
    North Korea has the capability to develop and manufacture these themselves. Like everyone else they copied parts of existing designs.
    Three new piece today seem to confirm what several experts (countering Elleman) said yesterday:
    North Korea likely can make missile engines without imports: U.S.
    U.S. Believes North Korea Produces Its Own Rocket Engines
    North Korea’s New High-Performance Missile Engines Likely Weren’t Made in Russia or Ukraine

  46. b says:

    The U.S. uses B1-B flights to “threaten” North Korea and “in response” to North Korean testing. These flights are marketed as special “show of force”. They are not routine.
    It did so last September:
    The United States often sends powerful warplanes to South Korea in times of heightened animosity between the Koreas, but it is still unusual for such aircraft to fly near the rivals’ border, the world’s most heavily fortified.

    U.S. Pacific Command said on its website Wednesday that the flight was the closest a B-1 has ever flown to the border.
    It did so recently:
    US sends B-1B bombers in show of force after North Korean ICBM test

  47. b says:

    The North Korean army mostly feeds itself. Many military facilities have fields nearby and the soldiers are engaged in agriculture as well as other types of production (Songun policy).
    Additionally the (very short) planting and harvesting seasons demand a peak of labor force – the military units are ordered to help their local communities in these. Readiness requirements during South Korean/U.S. maneuvers collide with these needs.
    That is the argument North Korea officially makes to justify its nuclear program. It is intended to replace the too costly conventional deterrence and free up labor force.
    You may disagree with that argument but you will have to admit that it is coherent and somewhat reasonable.

  48. notlurking says:

    Like the Axis of Evil?…..

  49. notlurking says:

    Would changing San Francisco for Seoul or Tokyo for Seattle make a difference to this logic?…..

  50. turcopolier says:

    IMO we now have to wait to see if they actually make a hostile move and if they continue in their drive to a nuclear armed ICBM. pl

  51. Greco says:

    The US-led sanctions aside, this is a country that employs millions into slave labor and practices total political control over its society. Is this a place where anyone would want to trade goods? Sanctions or no sanctions, I wouldn’t want anything out of this God forsaken hellhole.
    And if nobody blinked, then why is Kim now suggesting he won’t strike near or at a US territory like he said he had planned? Clearly he has thought things over and has balked. And I don’t see where the US has blinked. Trump responded threat for threat, backing down from none, while at the same time he has shown a ready eagerness for a peaceful solution to ending North Korea’s nuclear ambitious.
    This is a positive development. And Kim will be more careful to avoid making similar threats he can’t back up going forward.

  52. walrus says:

    You will never guess what we called the regular temperature weapon lubricant.

  53. Fred says:

    Yeah, Right,
    How many decades has North Korea had to diversify its industrial base so that it can build its own tractors and thus free up all that manpower from harvesting rice every year when they know, just know, that the evil South and those American allies are going to rush across the DMZ?

  54. Greco says:

    I respectfully disagree with their position and on the matter of whether they’re indeed reasonable.
    We don’t know if Kim is a nihilist. He’s under enormous pressure to maintain control. He may see things as all or nothing for him and that he won’t care if he takes millions of others down with him.
    And even if assuming he’s acting on totally reasonable mertis now, who’s to say how reasonable he will be in the future if we allow him to become more emboldened. Ten years from now he may very well fall out of power and someone more dangerous may assume his place.
    This is a problem that has been allowed to fester to a point that may soon be no longer acceptable. If North Korea gets a pass now, they and others will become emboldened and act in a manner that is even more egregious and reckless.
    I find their position unacceptable. I find their system of governance reprehensible. And we ultimately endanger ourselves if we fail to meet the challenge of confronting them on the strongest of terms.
    Could more have been done to discourage where we stand now? Perhaps, but we’re here now and we need to force North Korea’s weaker hand and get them to back down. This administration has a shown willingness to do that and I think they will succeed in getting North Korea to abandon their plans for a nuclear deterrent while ensuring a tentative, if not lasting peace. That is assuming Kim Jung-Un is a rational and reasonable actor as some may have done well to argue.

  55. Jackrabbit says:

    Didn’t China force them both to blink?
    My reading of the China statement was that China would defend NK if NK was attacked – with the implication that it would NOT help NK if NK were the aggressor.

  56. Jackrabbit says:

    China’s position makes each side wary of being deemed to be the aggressor.

  57. ISL says:

    Dear Colonel,
    A third possibility (of which I have no evidence) is that NoKo looked at their test data and realized there is a technical flaw that requires fixing to avoid a high probability of an embarrassing prang. I would not assess this as low probability, but definitely not zero.

  58. dilbert dogbert says:

    Too bad he blinked. Those missiles would have made good and cheap target practice. I assume we have the national technical means to recover the stages of the missiles and find out where the technology came from.

  59. dilbert dogbert says:

    “I find their position unacceptable. I find their system of governance reprehensible. And we ultimately endanger ourselves if we fail to meet the challenge of confronting them on the strongest of terms.”
    This was advocated during the Cold War. Fortunately we chose “Containment” and a nuclear exchange with the USSR was avoided. I remember JFK, Khrushchev and Cuba and it was a close thing. I don’t want to relive that experience in my declining years.

  60. Bandolero says:

    I think it’s win-win: both Trump and Kim won.
    Trump can credibly claim that his “tough talk” was effective in deterring Kim from launching missiles close to Guam. And Kim can credibly claim that he established the DPRK as a new nuclear weapon power.

  61. SmoothieX12 says:

    Fat Thing blinked–that much is clear. He may have been “helped” in blinking by China and Russia, who is second to China in NoKo policies–that is how China goes, Russia follows on this issue. Nobody involved needs any trouble in the neighborhood. With or without American rhetoric it has to be remembered that it was Kim Il Sung who unleashed the war in 1950. Three times he pressed Stalin for support, two times he was refused, on the third Stalin surrendered. We all know the rest. Has to be stated, though, that there were no nice people on both (South and North) sides then–mostly SOBs in political top.

  62. Freudenschade says:

    The US and the two Koreas have long been in a Mutual Assured Destruction love triangle. The US just got pulled a little more into the center of the bed, that’s all.

  63. Kooshy says:

    Looks like the real behind the seen negotiations that cooled both sides, was rightfully between China and US. Doing Stuff in South China Sea, ends of having proxies thirteen our stuff. I think what Henry Kissinger said about Iran is better fit and applied on US, He said “US (Iran) needs to decide if it wants to be a nation or a cause” sounds like a lot of people in the world are not accepting the post 9/11 formatted US. Like Henry said they see us as a cause and not a nation,
    U.S., China Sign Military Agreement To Improve On Communication US Fang Dunford agreement direct communication

  64. b says:

    The same arguments were made over China and the Soviet Union.
    Deterrence policy won with regard to the Soviet Union and to China. It will also be the policy towards North Korea.
    Besides – it is too late now to preempt North Korea. It is a full fledged nuclear weapon state. Get over it.

  65. b says:

    Those who think that B-1B were not the issue at hand over which the recent (secret) negotiations were made should read the NBC piece below which was published on August 9.
    The B1-B flights were clearly test runs for a preemptive strike and/or decapitation strike. No wonder North Korea disliked and countered them.
    B-1 Bombers Key to a U.S. Plan to Strike North Korean Missile Sites
    The Pentagon has prepared a specific plan for a preemptive strike on North Korea’s missile sites should President Trump order such an attack.
    Two senior military officials — and two senior retired officers — told NBC News that key to the plan would be a B-1B heavy bomber attack originating from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam.
    Pairs of B-1s have conducted 11 practice runs of a similar mission since the end of May, the last taking place on Monday. The training has accelerated since May, according to officials.

    North Korea knew this and wanted to end it. Thus the Guam “test” threat and the negotiation offer discussed above. The U.S. agreed to stop the B-1B flights and North Korea put the “test” on hold.
    No side lost face. No side won or lost. After building confidence over this issue both are now ready to discuss the less urgent stuff.

  66. BillWade says:

    “Kim Jong Un of North Korea made a very wise and well reasoned decision,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
    “The alternative would have been both catastrophic and unacceptable!”
    Joint US-SK exercises in 5 days.

  67. jonst says:

    and you figure the audience, ‘the world’, is going to notice these nuances you allege?

  68. A.I.Schmelzer says:

    My own take is that Kim knowlingly made a bogus threat that he could cancel without much loss of face (due to the bomber thing referred to by B) , which makes Trump look stronger and makes Trump hopefully more content.
    The North Koreans are fairly weird (associate of mine who worked at MGIMO refered to North Korea as “the one place where you are definitly not going to get laid”), fairly racist and a bit alien (they take ideology at least as serious as the USSR under Stalin, which gives Russians odd vibes), but irrational they are not.
    There seems to be a Chruschev like thaw with North Korean aspects in economic terms. The state also cares a bit less about what its citizens are doing then before (Russia is the freest country North Koreans can travel to and work in, and North Korean work crews have currently more liberties then they used to have)
    Frankly, if Nukes were distributed according to objective need, North Korea would be first in line. They border 2 Nuclear powers with vastly greater conventional militaries which also have a history of attempting to military dominate Korea (Russia and China), they are at de facto war with 2 countries which could get nuclear weaponry in likely less then a year (South Korea and Japan) and are formally at war with the worlds preeminent nuclear power (USA).
    Doesnt mean that the US is evil, North Korea simply doesnt have the means to deterr the USA from attacking, let alone compell the USA into signing a peace treaty. North Koreas abject poverty serves the USA as an example of how long Uncle Sam can fuck you up if he wants to, as such, being in a state of war with them is useful for Washington. Few to none states disliking the US want to be in the situation North Korea is in
    US behavior in this aspect is mostly in line with how a hypothetical Russian or Chinese “Super power” would behave if the roles were exchanged. (The USA does other things which, imho, Russia or China would not do if positions were exchanged)

  69. kao_hsien_chih says:

    There is something to be said about b’s comments, I think.
    While I think we definitely won this round, the dealings with NoKo will not only be long and protracted, but filled with unpredictable turns and twists. There is no set routine, norms, or conventions that limit actions of the participants in the dealings between NoKo, its neighbors, and us and NoKos have been very clever and creative over decades in finding ways to turn up the tension in region. They will no doubt find some other avenue through which to ratcheet things up, even if they might have learned (as I think) that some things are definitely off limits. The game won’t be over for a long time, either until the NoKo regime is gone (seems improbable in the near future at the very least–they are survivors of first order) or until some regularized code of conduct, if you will, is established–which they will desperately resist accepting, since that will reduce them to the status of insignificant country with very few leverages that they would normally be.

  70. b says:

    Since when is “the world’s” notice relevant in political issues?
    Besides – the media slowly, slowly starts to wake up.
    CNN: North Korea gives US a clear choice: Restraint or missile launches

  71. turcopolier says:

    And so you think the US will be “restrained” by North Korean power? pl

  72. kao_hsien_chih says:

    NoKo is not the world’s most economically deprived country. Even if they are close, they would be better off if they didn’t waste resources on military and political projects. But, yes, there is a chicken and egg nature to this diversion of efforts: they do this because they think their leadership can get more political advantage by threats and extortions of military nature than by improving the economic lot of their people. In this regard, they have a lot in common with the Borgish leaders in the Western world.

  73. Fred says:

    “In the US, Wal Mart, Target, and all the other big superstores … will just waft away into vapor as their suppliers gradually disappear”
    Why would they disappear and what will happen to all the then unemployed Chinese nations who used to work at those suppliers?

  74. BillWade says:

    Allies: what you say would be true if we don’t retaliate after a NoKor attack on our interests.
    Big Box Stores: have been known to eliminate local stores/economies, might be nice to see them go away.

  75. b says:

    More evidence that “The fat kid blinked” (NOT!)
    UPI “Report: U.S. scales back deployment to Korea for drills”
    Aug. 18 (UPI) — Strategic assets of the U.S. military, including an aircraft carrier and a nuclear-powered submarine, may not be deployed during the upcoming joint exercises on the Korean peninsula.
    South Korean television network SBS reported Friday the United States canceled plans to deploy the strategic assets during the drill set to begin next week, and the move is taking place a week after tensions spiked between Washington and Pyongyang.
    The United States and South Korea originally planned to deploy two U.S. aircraft carriers, a nuclear-powered submarine and a strategic bomber to the peninsula.
    A South Korean government source who spoke to SBS anonymously said Seoul agreed with the proposal to scale back.

    The exercises known as Ulchi Freedom Guardian came under verbal attack from North Korea this week, when Pyongyang warned of a “second Korean War” should Seoul and Washington go ahead with the drills.
    After a week of high tensions, Pyongyang also stated leader Kim Jong Un would “monitor” the United States before taking unprecedented measures against Guam, the location of a key U.S. air force base.
    Not only where the B-1Bs held back but the U.S. stopped the participation of other “strategic assets” in the upcoming maneuvers. (NoKo had referred to these “strategic forces” in some of its statements)
    Someone thought through what a salvo test of NoKo missiles near Guam would actually demonstrate and mean for the U.S.:
    – multiple overflight of the “ally” Japan which the U.S. could not prevent;
    – proof of the (likely) incapability of missile defense against multiple targets;
    – proof of inherent vulnerability of Guam – otherwise an anchor of the U.S. security system in the area.
    The price to pay and the risk was too high to justify a continuation if the maneuver plans.
    The “fat kid” won this round.

  76. turcopolier says:

    “The “fat kid” won this round.” I will believe that when the big Kahuna exercize is cancelled or delayed. BTW you are exaggerating the criticallity of Andersen AFB and the Guam naval station. You know that US capabilities are much greater than that. pl

  77. b says:

    @Pat – cancelling the big exercise was not demanded in the NoKo statements. The B-1B and the “strategic assets” were specifically mentioned. Details will have been discussed in the unofficial-official meetings in New York.
    The sole point is that certain (not all) announced military movements by the U.S. were stopped in exchange for a halt of the announced salvo test.
    I am well aware what assets the U.S. has. Still, Guam is important for its position in the wider area. Significant damage to the airbase or the harbor would make any operation against North Korea, China or various fremenies in the area more complicate.
    It is also difficult to assert “we will take care of you” to various partners if the base where “taking care” depends on is suddenly proven to be endangered.
    North Korea chose an excellent target area for its test. Even a somewhat failed test with dummy load missiles landing 50 miles from Guam would have embarrassed the U.S.. The circumstances gave it maximum leverage for negotiations.
    What color will the next rabbit have that the fat kid will soon pull out of his hat. Blue for the submarine launched missiles North Korea is working on?

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