Is the Korean war scare real?


1.  Someone released to the Washington Post yesterday a supposed IC majority approved national intelligence estimate that concludes the North Koreans  already have miniaturized nuclear warheads that can be fitted to some sort of delivery system.

2.  The UN Security Council voted unanimously this weekend to condemns North Korea for its nuclear weapons/delivery systems program.  China and Russia voted for the resolution which imposes additional restrictions on Chinese trade with North Korea.  The Chinese and Russians would not have voted thusly if they had not been shown some US intelligence containing evidence that North Korea is a menace to peace in the Far East.

3.  Fox News reports that US intelligence has told them that US spy satellites have shown in the last week that North Korea and uploaded Stormpetrel (nfi) anti-ship missiles to a Wonsan Class (nfi) missile patrol craft at a North Korean naval base on the eastern coast facing the Sea of Japan where numerous US naval units are positioned.

4.  DJT continues his barrage of tweets against North Korea threatening fire and brimstone from his lair in New Jersey (a disclosed location).  Is he really there?

5.  Sebastian Gorka (a Dr. Strangelove seem-alike) intones that DJT's actions and tweets will bring North Korea to its knees.

6.  Nikki Haley continues to wage diplomatic war against North Korea at the UN all the while looking fearful.

7. General (ret.) Jack Keane has the ear of DJT and has urged a decapitating strike against North Korea.  He is evidently oblivious of the difficulty of locating a single man target in a security state like North Korea.


All of this leads me to four possibilities:

a.  All of this is real and the US is being inexorably driven to war against North Korea by North Korean actions.

b.  Alternatively a massive Information Operation is underway by factions in the US government conditioning the US population and indeed the world to the inevitability of war brought on by some North Korean action.  An incident at sea where facts are difficult to check would do.

c.  The IO campaign may have as its goal the intimidation of the North Koreans. 

d.  These events are coincidences.

I will not go on at length about the terrible cost that the people of the Two Koreas and the US armed forces would pay in such a war,  These costs have been much written of.


This entry was posted in As The Borg Turns, Borg Wars, Korea. Bookmark the permalink.

101 Responses to Is the Korean war scare real?

  1. kao_hsien_chih says:

    I have a strong suspicion that the war scare is not “real” in the sense that NK really has nuclear weapons capabilities of the sort they are given credit for in some of the more pessimistic/alarming assessments, at least not just yet.
    At the same time, though, I suspect this is a lot more than just an information operation. If it is an information operation, NK is at least “complicit” in it, for their own reasons. Escalating the danger that things might get out of control gives the North Koreans a significant leverage, against all their neighbors who would rather see things stay quiet–China, SK, Japan. NK wants them to pay whatever it demands, or they will unleash American bombs on the stability of the region, so to speak.
    If the NK did not have even an inkling of ICBM capability, we could call their bluff easily, by pulling out of the region rather than play their crazy threat to suicide bomb act. They could try to blackmail their neighbors if they like, but we won’t be their tool, so to speak. The ICBM act, however, is making that more difficult, though. In an ideal universe, we should deal with them as Russia did with Georgia–beat the crap out of them, take away their toys, and not go back, leaving the locals to pick up the pieces and do as they will…but that’s far more easily said than done. Alternatively, we should just quit the region, and let the locals deal with it, but run the risk that the NK’s might actually do something crazy to draw us in. I think the latter is still a viable option, if increasingly risky.

  2. blowback says:

    d. Putin steps in, calms DJT down, sorts it all out in everybody’s best interests and Trump starts tweeting about how important good relations with Russia are and the neo-cons and neo-libs look like the morons/useless idiots they are. I’m sure I’ve seen this plot on WWE sometime.

  3. Sam Peralta says:

    I know that much has been written about the costs of a pre-emptive strike by the US on NorKo.
    Since there are many correspondents with actual military experience at SST, as opposed to keyboard jockeys masquerading as military strategists on the internet and in many of the think-tanks as well as the MSM, I would love to read your opinions on the impact to China, Russia and S.Korea who have borders with NK. In particular, would tactical nukes be used since radiation would likely float across the borders into China & SK? What could NK accomplish with respect to retaliation assuming thousands of airstrikes around the clock as well as a ground offensive across the DMZ?
    Finally, why do you think China & Russia voted for the sanctions which I assume would primarily impact trade between China & NK?

  4. walrus says:

    For a start, it is relevant to consider the North Korean point of view. There is no peace treaty, only armistice. Their economy is under pressure from the stress of sanctions, feeding its population from poor arable land, running a huge defence program and trying to maintain political control of a one party state (a workers paradise of course) by continuing its wartime narrative from 1953, which is increasingly difficult thanks to modern communications. Kim Jong Un and his leading cadre know they will not die peacefully in bed if they lose control.
    We add to their troubles as “b” has pointed out, by staging highly realistic war games with South Korea twice a year at the most inconvenient times for the North Koreans.
    Add to this our support for ‘regime change”, our history in the Middle East and our inability to abide by agreements (summed up by the Russian Government as our inability to negotiate in good faith) and the failure of previous Clinton era? peace settlements.
    So exactly how do the North Koreans see their way out of this?
    I am told by the media that Secretary Tillerson says the door is still open for talks. However it is hard to see how Kim Jong Un could build a rationale for himself to accept such an offer given what has happened before. For him, the possession of a demonstrable nuclear ICBM deterrent is his best hope.
    In my opinion, both the Trump Administration and the North Korean Government are now at the point where they are risking their credibility if they back down and President Trump has just doubled down today.
    What is needed is a third party ‘circuit breaker” who can create a plausible reason for both sides to de escalate. However I think the emergence of one is unlikely. China and Russia are both aware they are going to have a humanitarian disaster on their doorsteps.
    My guess therefore is that the North Koreans will continue their nuclear ICBM development. President Trump will have already made the decision on a decision date for a strike on North Korea, probably on or after 1 September. The most likely option is a “decapitation strike” which as Col. Lang observes is easier said than done.
    War at harvest time on the Korean Peninsula. Dark days indeed.

  5. JohnsonR says:

    Preventive, not pre-emptive. It might seem pedantic to insist, but the difference is significant both legally and (more debatably) morally.

  6. JohnsonR says:

    Option b does it for me, although that doesn’t mean there is no truth in the allegations about NK behaviour, nor that the US regime will necessarily go through with it.
    Option a is inherently impossible, since nothing the NKs have done or might do, short of an actual military attack on the US or an ally, can “force” the US to attack it. Threats can be lived with, obviously (as the history of the Cold War proves).

  7. elaine says:

    It appears we have a fairly accurate understanding of NK’s nuclear aggressive capabilities.
    What are their defense capabilities? What are their vulnerabilities? I’d like more
    I’m also unclear on if they have any agreement(s) to act in concert with any nation state &/or rogue groups to simultaneously attack the U.S. I don’t have a complete enough picture to form an opinion. Have a gut feeling the next few months will be tense especially if these stories just quickly fade from the media. No sound, no fury may signal horrible things to come.

  8. BillWade says:

    Reuters is saying that NK is now threatening to pre-emptively attack Guam. I think that’s a huge mistake and game-changer on their part. Long ago I spent 3 years of my life practicing for this possibility out of the Philippines, there was never any talk of the aftermath, I suppose because, for us, there wasn’t going to be one.

  9. Mark Logan says:

    The article says both the DNI and the head of the DIA refused to comment. If this “summary assessment” is indeed the offical assessment of the intel community and that community is releasing it to the WaPo, why would they not confirm it?

  10. Degringolade says:

    Not meaning to belabor the obvious, but I remember a “Inteligence Estimate” that sent folks into Iraq.
    That too was based on fear of a “rogue state” coming up with WMD’s.
    I trust NK not at all, but I think that some time and thought should be laid down before we go about our “surgical strike” and “shock and awe” this time.
    We might want to do it, but I think that we need to be shown a lot more that what we have seen so far.
    Fool me once, shame on you

  11. VietnamVet says:

    Great Summary. I am not sure of the purpose of the President’s “Fire and Fury” threat except to out “Mad Man” each other diplomatically. This seems similar to the Cuban Missile Crisis without war veterans at the helm. There is no way for foreigners to decapitate their leadership without losing Seoul. If a nuclear weapon takes out even one city, the war will escalate by mistake or on purpose. It’s tragic that the old 1960’s movies like “Fail-Safe” and “Dr. Strangelove” are so ancient and in black and white. It isn’t like we haven’t gone through this before and we were lucky that Miami wasn’t vaporized.

  12. ToivoS says:

    The Chinese and Russians would not have voted thusly if they had not been shown some US intelligence containing evidence that North Korea is a menace to peace in the Far East.
    My take on their voting in favor of sanctions is that they are terrified that the madman in the Whitehouse might do something really stupid. They are treading carefully to not provoke him.

  13. Kooshy says:

    Colonel, I can not believe or accept that US has a better quality “operational” intelligence on DPRK than China does, unless Chinese are sharing these intellectce with US, which in that case one would wonder what their motif is for sharing that, and if thier UNSC vote was to make this motif sink in, by sharing/ forwarding this information to US. IMO NK is China’ buffer zone they will not let it go unless US leaves the pinensula and Sea of Japan, Russia, IMO is in support of this geopolitical standing.

  14. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Colonel, SST;
    I have been reading about this issue and cannot find any real data.
    1-Is there any consensus on the reality of North Korea’s miniature devices?
    2-If so, what would be the effective delivery range for these?
    3-If the USA were to attack North Korea, would they attack w/ conventional or nuclear weapons?
    Perhaps a war game might be useful to clarify our thinking.
    Ishmael Zechariah
    P.s: Daesh is trying to retake Sukhna but is not faring too well.

  15. Bill Herschel says:

    Does anyone reading this blog think that sanctions are going to stop North Korea from continuing development of delivery systems capable of striking the U.S. with nuclear weapons? I don’t.

  16. Thirdeye says:

    “China and Russia are both aware they are going to have a humanitarian disaster on their doorsteps.”
    And with that prospect DPRK’s nuke and missile programs stop being a bargaining chip and start being something they have urgency in curtailing. There’s not much of a bargaining chip if things spin out of control to the point that they damage China’s interests, as they would in the event of a military confrontation between the US and the DPRK. There would not only be the burden of dealing with a humanitarian disaster, but an economic disaster because of business interests between China and ROK. China’s support of sanctions has real teeth since most of DPRK’s trade is with them. I’m guessing that China is looking for an outcome where they have more direct control over the DPRK, probably with some face-saving measures for the Kimites in the form of some statement “respecting the DPRK’s sovereignty and independence” while making them a de facto Chinese protectorate.

  17. turcopolier says:

    we are not talking HUMINT in this case. We are talking about IMINT, SIGINT and MASINT as the basis for analysis. pl

  18. turcopolier says:

    We are talking about the net product of agencies’ analysis to which we have no access. We are also talking about the will of the decision makers. As usual in intelligence analysis the data is no complete. pl

  19. turcopolier says:

    Mark Logan
    It is standard policy to never confirm or deny leaked classified information. pl

  20. turcopolier says:

    As usual laymen expect perfect knowledge from the intelligence people and that is never available or releasable. pl

  21. eakens says:

    If a conflict does break out, how does India and China’s current land spat in which China has seemingly given India a 2-week ultimatum play into this.

  22. dilbert dogbert says:

    NK is a family run business same as Saudi Arabia. I expect they have been close observers of “regime change” that the US has practiced over the decades. Nukes are insurance that the US will not practice “regime change” on them. I am not sure the insurance is worth the price, esp, if the policy needs to come into force.
    Does anyone know if the nuke program is mostly for domestic consumption or what?

  23. Warpig says:

    Given the moans and wailings of the Pentagon on Capitol Hill re: readiness and equipment shortages, and given the US military’s aerial commitments in the ME, is there a feel among contributors to this blog about the capability of the United Sates to even launch a successful “preventative war” or how long might that take to build up.
    A decapitation strike… doesn’t sound realistic to me.

  24. Bill H says:

    Isn’t that the scenario that played out in Syria with Obama’s “red line” threat? Well, minus the part about the president stressing the importance of good relations with Russia, that is.

  25. Sam Peralta says:

    Preventive or pre-emptive is in the eye of the beholder. I suppose “preventive” is the PC nomenclature for “pre-emptive”
    In this interview of Donald Trump on Meet the Press from 1999, Tim Russert called it “pre-emptive”.

  26. James Vanasek says:

    Col. Lang,
    I think it is important to look at what we know (and don’t know) about North Korea’s nuclear program:
    1. North Korea has the bomb – Two successful test explosions a few years ago definitively proved this.
    2. We do not, however, have any idea of how many bombs North Korea has in its arsenal. Unless the intelligence community through its SIGNET or HUMINT sources has “proof” of an actual working number, we’re probably left with an answer that ranges somewhere between more than one to under 50.
    3. North Korea has missles – Again obvious based on the recent tests.
    4. How many working missles is again unclear.
    5. Those missles, however, are (a) not reliable (many have blown up in testing); (b) have limited range with payloads of 500-1000kg which is the size of any North Korean nuclear bomb – again a guess of about 3,000-4,000km vs. about 9,500km to reach Los Angeles; (c) burn up on re-entry like the last one did making them unusable delivery platforms (for now); and (d) are not very accurate, although to be fair if you want to vaporize part of a city, accuracy is not that important.
    6. Based on the tests, it appears that North Korean missle capability is advancing, albeit, in a stop and start manner.
    7. Absent some intelligence, at this point we have no idea if they can successfully marry one of their nuclear bombs to a missle and guidance system, much less deliver it to a target.
    8. It took the US 15 years to develop a miniature warhead for the Poseidon in 1972 which would be roughly the payload size and weight needed for the existing North Korean missle to have the range to hit the US.
    9. But, technology is obviously much more advanced than it was 45 years ago.
    10. The wild card is does North Korea have any special capability in their nuclear weapons program that has been kept under wraps?
    Add it all up, and my guess is that the North Koreans are still about 5-10 years away from producing a bomb to threaten the US which obviously some people within the government would know. Therefore, why the sudden escalation in rhetoric?
    If there was a real threat that North Korea really had the capability to blow up Los Angeles today, either you’d see the President go on TV and show the world the proof and give Kim an ultimatum ala what Kennedy did during the Cuban Missle Crisis, or the bombers/special forces raids to destroy the weapons and/or kill Kim would have already been launched.
    Absent that, the balance of evidence points me in the direction of #2 you described in your post?
    Again, why now?
    Again, your guess is as good as mine, but perhaps the neocons need a new enemy for regime change now that their efforts in Syria have fallen flat?
    I suspect that if Seattle instead of Seoul was within North Korean artillery range, the Borg’s enthusiasm and willingness to risk a second Korean War, might be somewhat lessened.

  27. Imagine says:

    I am continually astounded with the apparent lack of Theory of Mind towards our worthy opponents. Saddam + Kim are portrayed as having less cardboard dimension than Dr. Doom. I fear this extends to the planners and isn’t just tatemae.
    Has anyone asked in depth WHY N.K. feels compelled to expend serious resources to create a deterrent?
    [Being bombed back to the literal troglodyte age in the ’50s is a forgotten history worth reviewing.]
    Has anyone actually tried to LISTEN to their points?
    Has America tried, even for just one year, to NOT run live-fire invasion exercises?
    We are all human beings. Peace begins with imagining what a stable outcome situation would look like, and then working backwards as to how to achieve it. It has to be a non-lose for EVERYONE. That is, Kim and NK have to feel like they’re not being existentially threatened, and America needs to perceive it’s not being existentially threatened either. If no one in America can comprehend what it feels like to be a small militaristic nuclear country based on fear of constantly being wiped out, ask the Israelis for help.
    Scott Adams pointed out when two people want different things, if you try, a mutually-beneficial deal is always possible. In this case, NK wants not to be attacked, and America wants not to be threatened with nukes. His multi-part solution is for America + Russia + China to sign a military security agreement to protect both NK and SK from attack by anyone for 100 years, in return for NK suspending its ICBM and nuclear weapons program; NK and SK agree to unify in 100 years, details TBD; and everyone can say they won. (I note that shifting consciousness from How can we best attack NK?, to How can we take responsibility for these human beings, and best defend NK? is one of the win-win keys to this conundrum.) See more at:
    There is also a terrible mind-shuttering grey-fog feeling that “we MUST attack, because the situation is never going to change”. I note that in nine years, A.I. will have progressed to the point where it can negotiate a sophisticated win-win peace that everyone can understand. Our base-line MINIMAL task would then be to maintain status quo and survive until then. Shifting consciousness and reframing offer a better way forward above base-line.
    a, b, and partially c all implicitly assume a war with NK, they are “When did you stop beating your wife?” questions. They also assume intent. Another take is this is simply what institutional America does when it feels out-of-control, it’s instinctive. Dinosaur brains in action. See “the terrible dances of power”, and the new emotion of “righteously screwed”, in B. Oshry’s “Seeing Systems”.

  28. Peter AU says:

    A week or two back both Russia and China made a joint statement to the effect that they would not sanction NK to the point of strangulation. The new sanctions against NK seem to be meaningless According to Mercouris.
    A US strike on NK? Will China/Russia allow this on their borders? US is a long way from home on the Korean peninsular.
    A thought I had some time ago is that US will use NK to try and isolate China from the US west.
    Obama’s pivot on China came to very little with ASEAN officially ignoring the US backed Hague verdict on the SCS.

  29. aleksandar says:

    Decapitation ? Hum.
    Only if you have created a ” pattern of life ” and I’m confident that Kim has voluntarily an inpredictable behaviour.
    Even with IMINT, SIGINT and MASINT seem’s to be difficult to achieve.
    Last missile launch was from a NK zone that was not known as a potential launching zone.
    Most of NK military assets are underground moving from one place to another.
    C&C center probably doubled up or tripled.
    Not a cakewalk.

  30. bernard says:

    I cant believe the United States would launch an unprovoked attack on North Korea.
    After all the wars and disasters of the last 70 years, surely this would be the peak of folly.

  31. turcopolier says:

    We tried 17 times to kill saddam with air weapons and could never find him. pl

  32. FourthAndLong says:

    No one will mess with NK now. That is the takeaway from all this. The IC report has settled it, giving the North Koreans everything they dreamed of.
    And Trump is just being Trump.

  33. Allen Thomson says:

    This just in. (Question: Is this a DIA-only assessment, or has it gone through coordination and represents the IC consensus?)
    US Intelligence: North Korea May Already Be Annually Accruing Enough Fissile Material for 12 Nuclear Weapons
    North Korea’s arsenal could begin to grow at increasingly faster rates.
    By Ankit Panda
    August 09, 2017
    The Diplomat has learned from U.S. government sources with access to a new U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) assessment that North Korea may be accruing fissile material at a rate sufficient to add 12 nuclear weapons to its growing arsenal each year.
    Among the updated findings, the DIA assessment estimates North Korea to be fully capable of manufacturing a compact nuclear weapon for mating with its large ballistic missiles — likely its Hwasong-14 intercontinental-range ballistic missile and Hwasong-12 intermediate range ballistic missile, but also possibly its Pukkuksong-series of solid-fuel missiles, which includes a submarine-launched missile.
    U.S. government sources with knowledge of the DIA assessment who spoke separately to The Diplomat have confirmed the details reported by the Post, which also added that the U.S. intelligence community currently calculates that North Korea may potentially be in possession of enough fissile material for 60 nuclear weapons.
    The Diplomat understands that the latest assessment of 60 weapons is an upper-bound estimate that was revised up from 40 weapons, which was current earlier this summer. The latest assessment is based on estimated ongoing uranium enrichment activity at various facilities across North Korea.

  34. zk says:

    IMO I think the only way this situation goes hot is if the US decides to stage an attack or a false flag provocation.
    The US regime change policy has finally met its match. Think what you will about the NoKos, but we don’t see US warships firing signal flares at NoKos ships a few miles from NK shores, like they do at Iranian ships in Persian gulf.
    The NK is backed into a corner and the deescalation will happen only if the US wants it to happen.
    If the US attacks and things go badly for the populations of NK, SK and Japan, US will achieve a tactical win, but long term it will be the final nail into the coffin of US worldwide hegemony.

  35. The reference to the coming harvest is prescient. Indeed, the current crisis
    is timed to interfere with the DPRK harvest, for the purpose of causing famine,
    and toppling the DPRK government.
    Never mentioned, is the fact that the US reneged on it’s Yalta Committment to
    organize elections in the southern half of Korea and to LEAVE. The US instead
    used the ROK for the purpose of pressuring both the PRC and USSR.
    This specifically means that the US has no business in Korea.
    Instead the US has held mass maneuvers in and around the DPRK during spring planting and autumn harvest for the purpose of depriving the north of manpower needed by its farms during those times.
    This is being countered by the DPRK via nuclear deterrence. Which apparently
    is now to the point of effectiveness.
    So, we now have the DPRK threatening to nuke Guam, and the US claiming that
    THAAD will counter this attack so the US can continue it’s bellicosity.
    Frankly, I believe Guam is the target because the DPRK posessses sufficient
    missiles to penetrate THAAD, using most of them as decoys, equipped with
    HMX, or similar.
    The Chinese and Russians are buying time……… to defuse the crisis this
    autumn……. and to let the DPRK complete it’s deterrent capabilities….
    Look for the DPRK to launch a missile that crosses the Pacific and lands in the Sea of Cortez or Gulf of Mexico…… next year…….

  36. JohnsonR says:

    No, the two terms are crucially and objectively different, though in the fog of war and claim, counterclaim and denial it can sometimes be tricky to know the truth of which is which in practice. A preventive attack (what the US regime is proposing against NK) is straightforwardly illegal, whereas a pre-emptive attack (what they and their media and political enablers are pretending they are proposing) is, potentially at least, legal.
    The surprise Israeli attack on the Egyptian air force in 1967 was(if you believe the official stories) a pre-emptive attack. Pearl Harbor was a preventive attack.
    I suppose “preventive” is the PC nomenclature for “pre-emptive”
    Those who call it pre-emptive are either careless or ignorant, or are deliberately lying to cover up for the aggressor.

  37. wisedupearly says:

    “In the case of North Korea, God has given Trump authority to take out Kim Jong Un.
    So says Pastor Jeffress, evangelical advisor to Trump.
    Must be hard to find the right geo-political balance when you have advisors pushing some very sensitive POTUS buttons.

  38. bks says:

    Our host said that there would be no military involvement in removing a president unless he was barking mad. What would the tweets of a barking mad president look like?

  39. John Minnerath says:

    When the Missile Crisis began I was a young man in SFTG at Bragg. The school shut down and we went to full war readiness.I hadn’t finished training and didn’t have my security clearance yet so wasn’t assigned to one of the groups to vanish from Bragg to closer staging areas.
    We drew full weapon and ammunition loads and were in various alert modes, from restricted to barracks with our gear stacked outside near waiting trucks, to sitting fully geared up under the wings of crewed up Herks out at Pope Field.
    I don’t think any one of us had any idea what we might face. We loaded up in the planes a few times till finally on one day did it and were in flight with, if I remember a large part of the 82nd, and were told by our senior NCO’s that this was it.
    It was at that time the deal with Kennedy and Khrushchev was reached, the planes were recalled and we returned to a world still in one piece.
    It has been only recently that we learned that operational and ready tactical nukes were waiting for us on arrival in Cuba.
    We’re now approaching that same tense and destructive gamesmanship with NK, probably an even more unstable government than we’ve faced before.
    The costs would be unfathomable.

  40. ked says:

    What are the probabilities for losses to Korean lives if the US takes military action against NK? At what scales … 1,000 (decapitation) / 10,000 (limited force-on-force) / 100,000 (main combat + “collaterals”) / 1M (nuclear counter-strikes on population)?
    Is anyone explaining this to Trump in a manner he can process? Ivanka telling him what it might do to his ratings?

  41. 505thPIR says:

    North Korea has Bio Weapons and when those critters get out, they don’t come back home…..1.4 Billion Chinese are not overly impressed with the prospect of circumstances leading to their release.

  42. A.Pols says:

    Without having any qualifying background I think war in Korea, if it happens, will be started by us. What happens afterwards is the wild card, isn’t it though? That’s always the rub: that forecasting the future isn’t so easy.
    I try to imagine what the other guy is motivated by and, in that imagining, I would think the NK leadership lives in fear and hopes to make advances in nuclear weapons and delivery technology in such a way as to tilt the “cui bono” table enough so they can fear an attack by us a bit less than before.
    I recall the accounts of Stalin’s sober analysis in 1945 regarding American possession of the bomb and what it implied for the future of the Soviet Union in the event the USSR remained without it. These were the meetings with top leadership he held, in which he stressed the need to “lick liver and sleep on stones” if need be to develop parity. Nobody knows the future and we do know that things can happen suddenly in spite of general expectations. Lets hope nobody does anything dumb. Getting out of trouble is orders of magnitude harder than getting into it.

  43. Hood Canal Gardner says:

    I’ve yet to hear/read anything re Trump’s body language as he was barking ie arms tightly wrapped around himself/hands burried out of sight. Maybe something maybe nothing?

  44. Stueeeeeeeee says:

    China is goading…daring us to war. The recent UN sanctions, a clever acquiescence by the Chinese, is meaningless. Who is going to enforce it? By allowing it to pass, the Chinese can continue to falsely claim that they are doing their part. Ha.
    The Chinese wouldn’t mind us destroying North Korea at the expense of shattering South Korea. China can easily fill the power vacuum in North Korea and have more say in what would be left of South Korea. We are war weary and fractured and the Chinese know it.

  45. alaric says:

    This is an information operation that is designed to scare and possibly destabilize North Korea. It is also likely designed to take heat off of the Donald, which is to say that the neocon and “liberal” interventionist destabilization effort of the US President has distinctly negative ramifications for the entire globe.
    Donald is a showman and a BS artist. While i expect provocative language and actions from him i doubt he will actually go to war. The guy warned the Russians of his strike on that base in the middle of nowhere in Syria. Do you really think he is going to start a rather destructive war on the border of China and Russia which also threatens major shipping lanes, South Korea, Japan, the US and which see a nuclear strike on US soil?

  46. Seward says:

    According to Wikipedia, China considers the Korean War Armistice still in effect. Consequently, China might give the U.S. pause at least, if it publicly announced that it would regard any military attack on North Korea as a violation of the Armistice, and would defend North Korea against foreign occupation by a hostile power the same way it did in October 1950. While China cannot IMHO prevent any nuclear attack on North Korea, it likely is strong enough to repel any ground attack on North Korea somewhere, at least by the narrow waist. A public announcement like that might buy some time to let cooler heads prevail, before we launch armageddon.

  47. Stephanie says:

    Only in this case we will have to rely on the military men to rein in the president.
    Any day now I expect Trump to start rambling on about NK’s threat to our precious bodily fluids.

  48. b says:

    1. The DPRK had 5 successful nuclear tests
    2. We have good guestimates how much nuclear material (Plutonium, Uranium) the DPRK has. It is enough for 40-50 pits, some of which could be of hydrogen bomb type.
    3. DPRK has not only missiles but the capability to develop and build these in serial productions. That makes a big difference compared to, for example, Saudi Arabia.
    4. The number of nuclear capable missiles (intermediate or intercontinental range) is likely adequate for the number of pits they have. Non-nuclear missiles beyond short-range are probably in the low hundreds.
    a. Established DPRK missiles (many derived from SCUDs) are VERY reliable. Those that have blown up recently were all part of new developments. It is totally normal that these are unreliable (see U.S. development programs). Each blow up gives DPRK more data and the ability to correct mistakes.
    b. The two ICBMs DPRK successfully tested had both the capability to reach nearly all of the continental U.S. with a nominal payload in the nuclear weight range.
    c. The “burn up” of the reentry cap that one Japanese video showed was no different from the normal burn up we have observed in videos of Russian missiles. A reentry cap is SUPPOSED to burn up to protect what is behind it. Moreover: The ICBM tests were both made at high trajectories which puts more stress (temperature) on the reentry vehicle than a normal trajectory.
    d. Accuracy of DPRK missiles is UNKNOWN. But as you say – it is pretty much irrelevant when it comes to nukes.
    7. We do not know what DPRK can do. But so far the DPRK delivered on pretty much everything it said it would/could do. If they say they can do something it is likely that they are truthful.
    8/9. What took the U.S. 15 years several decades ago is now established technological knowledge and can be done within a year or so. DPRK said in March 2016 that it has nuclear bombs of missile deployable size. The latest WaPO report of the DIA assessment, if true, confirms that this has been done.
    10. Guess is that the DPRK HAS the capability to make mixed pits (Pu+U) and to use hydrogen as a trigger in those. That gives them hydrogen bombs in the megaton capability. They have not tested any of these, probably because of the difficulties they would have with such a large test.
    “Add it all up, and my guess is that the North Koreans are still about 5-10 years away from producing a bomb to threaten the US which obviously some people within the government would know.”
    You are certainly wrong. The last ICBM test was under field conditions with horizontal fueling, moved on an all-terrain transporter-erector vehicle, launched from a little prepared site. The bombs to go on that missile are tested and ready.
    Moreover – the DPRK is intensely testing submarine launched medium range missiles (SLMB). When those are ready in a year or so the DPRK will have a second route to delivering nukes to the continental U.S.
    You dreams of an “ultimatum” are nonsense. Do you think the DPRK tested its two ICBMs without having a third and fourth ready in this or that bunker? Would you bet on that? What about Guam, Okinawa and the U.S. troops in South Korea?
    There is no longer the chance of an ultimatum. The DPRK is a full fledged nuclear weapon state and must be accepted and handled as such.
    (I can provide links to the various knowledgeable sources to support my assertions under 1 – 10.)

  49. sid_finster says:

    Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin could personally save the world from Lex Luthor and Godzilla, live on CNN, and the neocons would still scream to high heaven for moar war.

  50. I agree. We’ve seen this movie before. Remember when Trump was said by the MSM to be sending a flotilla towards N. Korea? What ever happened to that? A week later, it was never mentioned again. Totally memory-holed. No, this is some kind of psy-op. I’m just not sure whether it’s for domestic or foreign cosumption.

  51. plantman says:

    Trump can either wait around while Mueller collects a bunch of info on his sketchy real estate deals or start a war somewhere.
    What other choice does he have?
    Hired assassins like Mueller know their assignment which is to bring down Trump any way they can.
    I’m sure Trump knows what’s going on by now and knows that his options are limited.
    So what’s he going to do: Hang around and get the Bill Clinton treatment, years of ugly scandals followed by a humiliating impeachment or start a war and silence his critics?

  52. Fellow Traveler says:

    Leaks usually have an agenda, and no one in their right mind on the anti-Trump side would have leaked this now. This is probably not a leak Trump would have preferred to generate distraction as debating with NK is really not top on the most-predictable-outcomes list.
    So someone acting independently in the Trumpsphere thought this would be a good distraction strategy, or it could be a parting disgruntled gift from one of the sundry sacked leakers. In either case, Trump is now stuck having to put on a good show and will default to rule-by-twitter mode.
    Worst case, Bannon is really one those guys who would like to see the world burn. He can emasculate the Kushner-Soros-McMaster wing (that’s a real thing if you follow alt-right) and make Trump a Real War President. Maybe someone should check if he’s is shorting Samsung stock.

  53. Imagine says:

    True story:
    Once there was an American who owned a goat in place of a watchdog, because he was convinced that it had to be evil. Every day he would come home, grab his beating stick, and beat the goat–just to make it mean, to send it a message, and to teach it a lesson. Then he would stand, beating stick in hand, on his raised porch in a high place, and look out over his land, thinking “God is truly on my side. I am Lord and Master of all in my dominion.”
    One day, while administering his normal beating, he backed the goat into a corner. There was no way out. The little goat gathered his courage, and butted the man in the breadbasket with all his might. The man fell from his high place, and died.
    When the sheriff came to capture the goat, he said that the goat had to be killed. But all the townspeople rose up, and declared the goat to be a hero. The goat was given a safe place to live. And the goat lived happily ever after.
    What goes around, comes around. Or,
    You get the reality that you create for yourself.

  54. eakens says:

    If South Korea gets hit hard, China has an immense amount to gain financially. For this reason, I’m not sure I would count on the Chinese. But of course, now that we have used fighting words, we have put ourselves in a situation where it’s hard to see how we can de-escalate the situation without the Chinese, short of basically apologizing. Genius at work.

  55. John_Frank says:

    fyi Japan defense review warns of enhanced North Korea threats
    As to the statement made yesterday, this was in response to a question put to the President at a press briefing.
    Remarks by President Trump Before a Briefing on the Opioid Crisis

    Q Any comment on the reports about North Korea’s nuclear capabilities?
    THE PRESIDENT: North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. He has been very threatening beyond a normal state. And as I said, they will be met with fire, fury, and, frankly, power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.
    Thank you.

    People can watch the remarks by the President to the media before the briefing, including the question and answer:
    President Trump Participates in a Briefing on the Opioid Crisis with Secretary of HHS Tom Price
    After reading the transcript and watching the video that the question and answer was scripted. The President and his team expected someone in the media would ask him a question in light of the news about North Korea placing anti-ship missiles on patrol boats and the US intelligence assessment.
    Since then, in response to criticism from some about the President’s answer, a spokeswoman for the President has told the media that:
    NEW: Trump and Gen. John Kelly “are and have been in constant contact with the NSC team” ahead of fire and fury comments, spokeswoman says.
    Also, while flying into Guam, Secretary of State Tillerson spoke briefly with the press:
    US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who refuelled in Guam on Wednesday while flying back home from Southeast Asia, said Trump was determined to send an unequivocal message to his North Korean counterpart.

    “What the president is doing is sending a strong message to North Korea in language that Kim Jong-Un would understand, because he doesn’t seem to understand diplomatic language,” he said. Tillerson said that he did not believe “there is any imminent threat” to Guam or other US targets and hoped that diplomatic pressure would prevail in the crisis.
    “I think Americans should sleep well at night, have no concerns about this particular rhetoric of the last few days,” Tillerson said.

    In that regard, the President posted two tweets this morning:
    My first order as President was to renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal. It is now far stronger and more powerful than ever before….
    …Hopefully we will never have to use this power, but there will never be a time that we are not the most powerful nation in the world!
    My own take, fwiiw?
    1. Secretary Tillerson is correct. The President’s extremely blunt talk is designed to send a very clear message to the North Korean leadership. The Government of North Korea has a choice, continued belligerence which will result in a horrific war, or talks which result in long term peace.
    2. In the face of the sanctions resolution, those in the US now calling for unconditional talks are playing into the hands of North Korea.

  56. ISL says:

    Dear Colonel,
    I cant see the US backing down and I cant see Trump allowing Russia to save the day as happened in Syria. I also cant see NK backing down – they are in a corner. The lesson of Libya was clear – give up you nukes get sodomized to death by jihadists in the name of freedom. I do think it is IO, but I dont see how it de-escalates.
    I would like to expand the question. Objectively, the planet and humanity will not care if a small nuclear war happens on the Korean Peninsula – and I cant see China or Russia ending life on the planet of Korea. Plus a radioactive peninsula (and maybe southern Japan) are nice buffers.
    (Note I write this dispassionately – I have good Korean friends who would die ).
    But I am not certain that our republic or the global economy (reverse order) could take the shock.
    In the 1950s, a Korean war helped global production, Korea was a backward economically, and the globe was not unbelievably massively indebted, Manufacturing was not just in time, and trade was such that advanced countries were self sufficient. Moreover, domestically, there was the concept in practice of honorable opposition, and the US was reasonably democratic (i.e., legislation followed the popular will). Today what happens in DC has no relationship to public opinions or voter wishes – inherently less stable).
    So, would the QE bomb that would be released into the financial system as the trillions or tens of trillions of dollars of debt and contracts to Korea became worthless (and their derivative contracts in other countries, like Japan, and the US and those banks become insolvent cascading to levels that make the 2008 crash small – and that required printing 16 trillion dollars by the US alone), grind the global economy to a collapse much much much worse than 2008, which we have never receoved? By all measures the global economy is now much weaker, Too Big To Fail Banks are worse, European unity is nearly non-existent?
    Under that economic pressure would the republic (and the millennial generation) stand? I expect this to radically accelerate a global re-alignment against the US?
    To magnify the risk, what if N Korea set off an EMP (no re-entry worries) over the western US – what would the economic implications be? I assume that would immediately lead to a suspension of the constitution as almost no one uses cash anymore and no computers or cash registers would work for about half or more (through multiplier effects) of the US economy.

  57. AriusArmenian says:

    Mr Lang’s post is a refreshingly honest analysis.

  58. John_Frank says:

    Washington (AP) — Pentagon chief: NKorea should stop ‘actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people’
    Follows is the text of the full Statement by Secretary Mattis:

    The United States and our allies have the demonstrated capabilities and unquestionable commitment to defend ourselves from an attack. Kim Jong Un should take heed of the United Nations Security Council’s unified voice, and statements from governments the world over, who agree the DPRK poses a threat to global security and stability. The DPRK must choose to stop isolating itself and stand down its pursuit of nuclear weapons. The DPRK should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people.
    President Trump was informed of the growing threat last December and on taking office his first orders to me emphasized the readiness of our ballistic missile defense and nuclear deterrent forces. While our State Department is making every effort to resolve this global threat through diplomatic means, it must be noted that the combined allied militaries now possess the most precise, rehearsed and robust defensive and offensive capabilities on Earth. The DPRK regime’s actions will continue to be grossly overmatched by ours and would lose any arms race or conflict it initiates.

  59. John_Frank says:

    The State Department has now posted the video of Secretary Tillerson’s remarks to the press:
    Earlier today, Secretary Tillerson commented on #NorthKorea with reporters en route to Guam.

  60. EEngineer says:

    The fragility and lack of resilience of our modern economy and financial system is rarely mentioned. The US can easily crush NK militarily, but they’re used to living in the dark. The US is not, and dropping the power grid in the US would become a large scale catastrophe in only a few days.
    I’m of the opinion that most of this bluster is IO “consensus generation” that has gotten out of hand. All the bullshitters in DC have been eating their own dog food for so long that I wonder if they’ve convinced themselves it’s steak. Even those who think this is a game can not remove the risk that some edgy solder somewhere pulls the trigger. That risk alone ought to motivate all involved to tone it down. That they haven’t is the real risk.

  61. Castellio says:

    The idea that China is looking for the demise of South Korea is asinine. South Korea’s main trading partner is currently China. China is happy with South Korean development, and South Korea is working for a larger integration within the Chinese economy.
    Yes, China would prefer if South Korea didn’t have US missiles and military bases, but that is quite a different matter. South Korea doesn’t have to be destroyed to accomplish that.

  62. John_Frank says:

    For those having difficult watching the video posted by State on twitter of Secretary Tillerson’s remarks:
    Secretary of State Rex Tillerson discussed #NorthKorea with reporters en route to Guam. Read the full transcript:

  63. Castellio says:

    Why do you think China has a lot to gain from a trashed South Korea? I really don’t think the Chinese see it that way. And I know the South Koreans would not prefer a trashed China.
    I am wondering what in your world makes you see it that way?

  64. Bill Herschel says:

    A limited nuclear war on the Korean peninsula, on account of prevailing winds would do more radiation damage, much more, to the United States than to Russia or China.
    Further, I think such a war would wreck the U.S. as a world power.
    If you were China and Russia, would you vote for sanctions in the Security Council? They hope the U.S. will do something stupid that will weaken it conclusively. Judging from the remarks of the people in power in the U.S. they have every reason to believe their hopes will be realized. They hope the sanctions will embolden Trump.
    23,000 U.S. troops in South Korea. How many will die on day one? For China and Russia, Trump’s rhetoric cannot get too extreme. From their perspective any military conflict in Korea is win-win-win-win-win.
    You could say that Russia and China are playing Kim Jong-un for a sucker. Yes or no, they could care less about him or about Koreans of any description. That is an historical fact.
    The ideal U.S. strategy in Korea is to facilitate reunification on Kim’s terms asap.

  65. Nancy K says:

    You really believe that starting a war that could potentially end life as we know it will silence his critics?

  66. Nancy K says:

    Is this really a true story? I love it.

  67. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    re: “Objectively, the planet and humanity will not care if a small nuclear war happens on the Korean Peninsula – and I cant see China or Russia ending life on the planet of Korea. Plus a radioactive peninsula (and maybe southern Japan) are nice buffers.”
    The planet is too small for “a small nuclear war”. See, for example,
    This is playing Russian roulette w/ an automatic.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  68. Mikee says:

    Courtesy of @EHSANI22 (Twitter):
    “Killing Ghadaffi after he gave up his WMD program is something #NorthKorea must weigh heavily when it comes to their own program.”

  69. DH says:

    Agreed. China is taking point (from PeterAU link above):
    “[After insisting the US sign off on the UN Security Council sanctions, in order to stress that this is something to be handled by the international community, the] Chinese in the meantime have made clear what route they want the contending parties in this crisis – North Korea and the US – to follow. They have again used the latest UN Security Council meeting to make clear that the option of regime change in North Korea is ruled out, and that they want direct negotiations between North Korea and the US. They also want North Korea to suspend its ballistic missile and nuclear tests and the US to end what China sees as its provocative military exercises in South Korea.”
    In the longer term the Chinese want North Korea and the US to agree a formal peace treaty with each other, with North Korea and the US normalising relations by opening embassies in each others’ capitals. and the US withdrawing all its forces including its THAAD anti ballistic missile interceptors from South Korea.
    In seeking these objectives the Chinese have the support of the Russians and of some other east Asian states and quite possibly of the new South Korean President as well.”

  70. b says:

    (My comment was in reply to James Vanasek above)

  71. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    To expand on JM’s recap of the Cuban Missile Crisis, we have also only recently become aware of two incidents well down the chains of command during which the situation came very close to going pear shaped with the launch of a nuclear weapon. If that had happened in either case, it’s likely few of us would be here.
    The USSR submarine S-59 was tracking a US naval task force headed by the USS Randolph, an Essex class carrier, in Caribbean waters. One of the escort vessels detected the submarine and, in accord with the prevailing intelligence estimate that the Soviets didn’t have any nuclear warheads in the western hemisphere yet, began dropping training depth charges in an attempt to suggest that the submarine surface. These have a much smaller explosive charge than the real thing, however when the sonar operators on the targeted sub hear the plop of it landing in the water they can’t tell whether it’s the real thing or not. The S-59 had one nuclear tipped torpedo and the standing order was that if it was assessed that war had started and the sub was out of communication with USSR Navy headquarters, the sub captain was authorized to launch the torpedo if the two other most senior officers aboard concurred. The captain and the XO voted to launch. The most junior officer of the three, Vasili Arkhipov, did not.
    Thousands of miles away on Okinawa the USAF had a base with a total of 32 cruise missiles. They were grouped in fours, with a launch officer assigned to each group, and the most senior of those eight was a captain. It was the peak hours of the crisis and the base had been on DEFCON 2 for some time. Each group of four had its own underground command center, which was connected to its peers by tunnels. A time and weather update message was received, which is usually a routine affair. However in this case a series of codes was appended which upon verification turned out to be valid codes ordering the arming and launch of all 32 missiles. The captain ordered the other launch officers to hold off until he had verified the correctness of the message. He did this first because there had been no earlier message ordering a readiness status change to DEFCON 1, and also because he had expected a launch message to be sent stand-alone, and not appended to a routine time and weather update. Furthermore, when they opened the sealed envelopes with target information, they found that a number of them were not in the USSR. After an initial query to the next level of command resulted in a repeat of the earlier message, one of the junior launch officers told the captain that he had received a confirmed valid order and that the captain had no authority to restrain him. At that point the captain told two airmen to proceed forthwith to the lieutenant’s command center and pass on his order to, upon pain of death, stand down unless and until an order to go to DEFCON 1 status was received. The captain contacted his superior again and finally got through to him how badly he’d screwed up, and a stand down order was received soon after. When the incident was over t he captain swore everyone in the base to life-long silence and secrecy, even amongst themselves. Two years ago one of the enlisted men on duty that day, former airman John Bordne who was in failing health, came forward with this story because he strongly believes its lessons should not be lost to history. His account has been denied by the Air Force but, considering the random relationships with the facts that various federal bureaucracies have developed over the past few decades, I find that unconvincing. Especially in the light of the fact that the gist Bordne’s account was confirmed by another airman on duty in that base that day during an interview with an Asian outlet. That individual, however, did not allow his name to be used.

  72. Thirdeye says:

    China would be left holding the bag for supporting the North Korean population and they would lose the benefit of their economic relations with South Korea in event of a war. It is in their interest to head off a war. But if a war happened they would have the objective of not allowing expansion of US power beyond the DMZ and they would want to be in the driver’s seat on any postwar settlement.
    When your main trading partner approves sanctions and talks about cutting off oil supplies you take notice.

  73. Dr.Puck says:

    How does a war silence his critics?
    The possible blowback effects of a war, especially if it involves the destruction of north Seoul, Pyongyang, and possibly the first use of a nuclear weapon by NK, or, even more horrible, the first use of tactical nukes by the US–considering various scenarios–would have what effects on, to pick just one vector, the world economy?
    Bonus questions: would a preventative strike require legislative authorization, and, substantial staging of assets to the Korean peninsula?
    (I do note that there are some on the alt-right who believe any kind of war might allow Trump Inc. to declare a state of emergency and do something about all those against him.)

  74. Dr.Puck says:

    “renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal. It is now far stronger and more powerful than ever before”
    Is this an example of the POTUS telling us a truth about what would have been a super fast modernization that took place under what special budgetary authorization?

  75. LondonBob says:
    The nuke warheads never arrived as the ships were turned around and the Soviets had only 10,000 troops. JFK called the Soviet bluff and they did a deal with the withdrawal of missiles from Turkey. The US clearly had the upper hand and was able to play it, in the current scenario no one has a clear upper hand. Also I am not sure the US has a clear picture of North Korea either.
    To answer the question I say C.

  76. turcopolier says:

    Bill Herschel
    I guess you missed the part about high air bursts. l

  77. Norbert M Salamon says:

    I do not agree to your hope that Russia and China will not react to nuclear bombs on their borders – just consider what would be the USA reply to such event on her border.
    Do recall that President Putin was absolutely clear any attack on Russia can be replied by nuclear bombs.
    Nor you, Sir, nor DoD can guarantee that the fall out etc. of nuclear bombs in the Korean peninsula will not have detrimental effect on Russia’s or Chin’s sovereign territory.

  78. John Minnerath says:

    It’s now known tactical nukes were already in place in Cuba.
    That in addition to the information written by ex-PFC Chuck.

  79. Imagine says:

    “Explicitly speaking again, the strategic weapons which the DPRK manufactured at the cost of blood and sweat, risking everything, are not a bargaining thing for getting acknowledgement from others and for bartering for anything, but they serve as substantial military means for resolutely countering the U.S. political and economic pressure and military threat as what has been observed now.
    Will only the U.S. have option called “preventive war” as is claimed by it?”
    Here I note that NK presents as being serious, that is, they literally say they are not going for bargaining chips, but are building a military system to take care of their people.
    It is quite important to listen to what the NK actually say, and not what people say they say.

  80. Mark Logan says:

    Thanks, I had not been aware the information is considered to be a leak.
    I think the US is currently well configured for the Kissenger/Nixon mad-man gambit. “Whatever works”, I say.

  81. ISL says:

    Ishmael Zechariah,
    I do agree that a nuclear war between NK and the US (Assuming it stayed there), would lead to NK using all their available (after bombing) nukes (the article was for Russia).
    Peter Kuznik recently pointed out on RT, that the Korean nuclear stock is enough to set off nuclear winter. In that case, I agree. the planet is too small for a small nuclear war.
    During WW2, the concept of a war that would kill hundreds of millions was not unthinkable. Now it sort of seems to generally be. Progress.
    However, no reason as a species that we might not return to the attitude of WW2.
    In such case, we would merit god turning his grace from humanity if we do. Perhaps to the cockroaches.

  82. turcopolier says:

    Nonsense. The concept of nuclear winter is based creation of a world blanketing floating cloud. If Chernobyl did not do that why do you think that a war involving tactical weapons in air bursts would do it? The number of NoKo weapons existing after what we are talking about would be unimportant. pl

  83. ISL says:

    Norbert Salamon,
    I would estimate the likelihood of a Korean peninsula nuclear war NOT spreading at around 80%. Both Chinese and Russian leadership would have to decide (separately) that retaliation from the US for either one’s destruction of the US was merited. 80% is gut feeling as something that is not likely but not impossible time two countries.
    I note that every year Russia practices all citizen nuclear war response (see RT video). So Russian leadership and population do believe they could survive a full scale nuclear war.
    Where it would get complicated is what would the US response be if Russia decided to use its anti-missile shield to protect North Korea, and their ABM system worked (it also might not work).

  84. ISL says:

    Yes, air bursts. You are right.

  85. turcopolier says:

    I don’t understand any of that . We would not be attacking Russia or China. pl

  86. turcopolier says:

    The three possibilities are : surface, low air burst and high air burst. pl

  87. ISL says:

    Dear Colonel.
    Nuclear winter only occurs if you get lots of dust into the stratosphere. Air burst = no dust = no nuclear winter. Note, a really good volcano can do the same (and has done so historically). For example, the ancient eruption of Thera (1550 BC-ish) that did in the Minoans may have caused crop failure as far as China. Volcanic pumice, though, is large compared to n-bomb dust and settles faster, so it clears out much sooner.
    In any case, I think our ability to predict nuclear winter with confidence is right up there with our ability to predict the weather with confidence more than a week out. Too many complete unknowns.
    I too think that a nuclear war between the US and NK (what is left of it) would be unlikely to spread to Russia or China. I do predict such a war dramatically accelerating the Russian/China realignment, while drawing in nearby countries on the EurAsia landmass (particularly former stans) under a defending nuclear umbrella, with Germany being the wild card.
    Financially, I think it would be a disaster for a debtor nation (US) and overall positive for a creditor nation (China).
    I assume (perhaps incorrectly) the US will use missiles (to limit the possibility US planes are observed crossing the border leading NK to immediately launch artillery, nukes, etc. I note, assuming radar invisibility could be a bad assumption – Serbia saw US stealth jets). If missile trajectories came close to Russian airspace, I could see the Russians giving their S500 a real world (unannounced) test.
    My analysis of the US missile attack on Syria and the amazingly poor performance of the tomahawks is that they were subjected to successful ABM/Electronics Russian warfare. If so, Russia saw no reason to announce anything. Russia seems to prefer to keep its successes quiet. So I doubt there would be any official acknowledgement of S500 use.
    While writing, I could see that the safest approach would be launching tactical nukes from South Korea by artillery. Not sure the US could do without South Korean approval, and there would be a big danger of North Korean spies. But it would have enormous advantage of surprise.

  88. elaine says:

    Colonel, NK supposedly has 60 or 70 submarines. I’m curious are you ruling out an attack by submarines? If so why would they have so many if they
    didn’t intend to use them?

  89. walrus says:

    What if the North Korean Army overan Seoul before we could respond? What if they overran the country and “won”? The use of tactical nukes seems the only way to stop this, we have to close the DMZ before the North Koreans get amongst the Southerners.

  90. turcopolier says:

    it is possible that some of the submarines are ballistic missile shooters. pl

  91. turcopolier says:

    “Nuclear winter only occurs if you get lots of dust into the stratosphere. Air burst = no dust = no nuclear winter” Thanks for agreeing with my point. The rest of your comment is a meandering collection of your own musings. They have little to do with military realities, radar visibility, trajectories near Russia, etc. pl

  92. turcopolier says:

    The civilians here do not seem to understand that to achieve the effect I am looking for in either a pre-emptive attack by the US or a US led campaign in response to a PDRK attack on the ROK or the US what I am talking about IS NOT a series of pinprick attacks a la Obama. that kind of thing would not stop a PDRK onslaught. No, I am talking about an air “program” that would have a couple thousand items in the air attack plan: air sorties, missile strikes from the big ballistic stuff, ground artillery fire and however many tactical nukes the National Command authority (NCA) thinks are necessary to destroy the PDRK’s ability to continue fighting or to re-constitute its forces. pl

  93. jld says:

    Doesn’t that mean a gathering of forces which would be visible not only to the DPRK but by any other “interested parties”?

  94. turcopolier says:

    So what? Surprise is irrelevant in this situation. pl

  95. jld says:

    I wasn’t thinking of the DPRK possible reactions but of those of other “interested parties”.

  96. Dr.Puck says:

    Tactical nuclear weaponry.
    I wonder if the second use of nuclear weaponry ever, by the same user as the first time, would land unpredictably as a ‘world historical’ event.
    I obviously (can) have no opinion on the utility of such weaponry.
    Nevertheless, from the armchair… There is a crucial irony hidden in the moral calculus of the atomic age, and this is a calculus I suppose is related to a military calculus. (Or, not related.)
    The idea is that such weapons are so horrifying that they cannot ever be used. This is different than figuring out what circumstance demands their use. The disconnect here is critical to furthering the arguments fundamental to the concept of non-proliferation. MAD bridges the two, but it seems its utility is in jeopardy.
    The irony is that we say of ourselves that, in practice, “we know how to use such weapons, but other kinds of states do not know what we know.” Then we make exceptions; Israel-okay, Iran-big no no.
    If we use tactical nuclear weaponry, wouldn’t the high moral ground disappear? Does this mean, then, we have brought such weaponry to the ground of ‘not-so-terrible’ tools of war-making?
    If so, at such point as our actions have certified the normalization of future fighting practice including tactical nukes as a proven and useful tool, I would suspect every country with an enemy would want something like a bunch of B61’s. Yes? No?

  97. John Minnerath:
    As a member of a flyaway dispensary team (an experiment in airborne MASH units) on McGuire AFB, New Jersey in October 1962, I and my fellow medics spent those thirteen days on alert to fly us and our gear to Cuba within thirty minutes’ notice.
    Unschooled in politics, I later grew to appreciate the cool hand wielded by JFK, a man who had seen war up close and who — in my opinion, though military historians justifiably continue the debate — wisely vetoed the blood lust of his generals.

  98. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The cease-fire deal on the Penninsula has ladted 64 years; there is no reason to ecpect it to fail now – specially after NK has establishef itself as a full-fledged nuclear weapon state.

  99. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I also think that the historical lesson is that in the nuclear age, cease fire deals, left to themselves and without a Peace deal, will become MAD deals – such as India-Pakistan, India-China, and now in Korea.

  100. Babak Makkinejad says:

    If I am correct in my estimation, then, in the absence of a Peace deal, Vietnam and Iran wil both become nuclear-armed states; just like Israel in the absence of credible Peace. I wonder if Serbia too eould be a candidate.

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