Tag Archives: North Korea

Korea and Venezuela, Flip Sides of the Same Coin, by Jacob G. Hornberger

Jacob G. Hornberger makes an astute point: threaten one nation with military action, say Venezuela, and you make everyone else, including say, North Korea, apprehensive. From Hornberger at the Future of Freedom Foundation, fff.org:

By suggesting that he might order a U.S. regime-change invasion of Venezuela, President Trump has inadvertently shown why North Korea has been desperately trying to develop nuclear weapons — to serve as a deterrent or defense against one of the U.S. national-security state storied regime-change operations. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Venezuela and, for that matter, other Third World countries who stand up to the U.S. Empire, also seeking to put their hands on nuclear weapons. What better way to deter a U.S. regime-change operation against them?

Think back to the Cuban Missile Crisis. The U.S. national-security establishment had initiated a military invasion of the Cuba at the Bay of Pigs, had exhorted President Kennedy to bomb Cuba during that invasion, and then had recommended that the president implement a fraudulent pretext (i.e., Operation Northwoods) for a full-scale military invasion of Cuba.

That’s why Cuba, which had never initiated any acts of aggression against the United States, wanted Soviet nuclear missiles installed in Cuba. Cuba’s leader Fidel Castro knew that there was no way that Cuba could defeat the United States in a regular, conventional war. Everyone knows that the military establishment in the United States is so large and so powerful that it can easily smash any Third World nation, including Cuba, North Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Venezuela.

Castro’s strategy worked. The Soviet nuclear missiles installed in Cuba drove Kennedy to reject the Pentagon’s and CIA’s vehement exhortations to bomb and invade Cuba. The way the Pentagon and the CIA saw the situation was that Kennedy now had his justification for effecting a violent regime-change operation in Cuba. The way Kennedy saw the situation was that a violent regime-change operation through bombing and invasion could easily result in all-out nuclear war between the United States and Russia.

To continue reading: Korea and Venezuela, Flip Sides of the Same Coin

 

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Is North Korea Showing the Emperor is Naked? By Pepe Escobar

North Korea may be in the perfect position to show the limits of US power. From Pepe Escobar at lewrockwell.com:

Amid the thick fog of (rhetorical) war between Washington and Pyongyang, it’s still possible to detect some fascinating writing on the (unbuilt) wall.

A case can be made that President Trump is using North Korea to kick the 24/7 Russia-gate narrative out of the US news cycle. It’s certainly working. After all, in Exceptionalistan weltanschauung, the prospect of war and its possible rewards certainly trumps hazy accusations of Russian hacking and election interference.

Capitol Hill would never even consider an attempt to impeach a president — on top if it surrounded by generals — while American geopolitical primacy is in danger. Besides, Congress has already made it explicit Trump does not even need permission to bomb North Korea.

So, according to this working hypothesis, if Robert Mueller finds anything seriously damaging to the Trump brand, the president might actually consider a bomb North Korea/wag the dog operation.

Meanwhile, anybody paying attention to what Edward Snowden has disclosed in detail knows hackers of all persuasions are fine tuned to all Mueller-related IT systems and cell phone communications. They will know what Team Mueller has managed to find on Trump in real time — and plan their contingencies accordingly.

As for the rhetorical war itself, a US intel source used to thinking outside the Beltway box points to the crucial variable, South Korea; “South Korea will not maintain its alliance with the US the day they believe that the US will attack North Korea to protect itself at the expense of the death of thirty million people in South Korea. South Korea is in secret talks with China for a major security treaty because of the US position that they will bomb North Korea in their own defense irrespective of the destruction of South Korea which the US would regard as most unfortunate.”

To continue reading: Is North Korea Showing the Emperor is Naked?

NYT Shocking Report: US “Ally” Ukraine Is Source Of North Korean Missile Engines, by Tyler Durden

Who would have thought that Ukraine’s corrupt and incompetent regimes might be the source of North Korea’s missile engines? How many times has John McCain praised that government and advocated giving it arms. That would probably be as successful as John McCains idea to give Syrian “rebels” arms, most of which ended up in the hands of ISIS and affiliated groups. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

When the US State Department supported Ukraine domestic forces and nationalist elements to stage a successful and deadly coup against then pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych in 2014, the outcome was supposed to be a nation that is a undisputed US ally and persistent threat, distraction and non-NATO opponent to bordering Russia. Instead, it now appears that it has been Ukraine which was, as the NYT writes, the secret behind the success of North Korea’s ballistic missile program.

Specifically, in a blockbuster report this morning, the NYT alleges that North Korea has been making black-market purchases of powerful rocket engines from a Ukrainian factory citing “expert analysis being published Monday and classified assessments by American intelligence agencies.”

 The studies may solve the mystery of how North Korea began succeeding so suddenly after a string of fiery missile failures, some of which may have been caused by American sabotage of its supply chains and cyberattacks on its launches. After those failures, the North changed designs and suppliers in the past two years, according to a new study by Michael Elleman, a missile expert at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

According to the report, analysts who studied photographs of Kim Jong-un, inspecting the new rocket motors concluded that they derive from designs that once powered the Soviet Union’s missile fleet. “The engines were so powerful that a single missile could hurl 10 thermonuclear warheads between continents.”

Since the alleged engines have been linked to only a few former Soviet sites, government investigators and experts have focused their inquiries on a missile factory in Dnipro, Ukraine, on the edge of the territory where Russia is fighting a low-level war to break off part of Ukraine. During the Cold War, the factory made the deadliest missiles in the Soviet arsenal, including the giant SS-18. It remained one of Russia’s primary producers of missiles even after Ukraine gained independence.

To continue reading: NYT Shocking Report: US “Ally” Ukraine Is Source Of North Korean Missile Engines

Trump’s ‘Fire and Fury’ Wouldn’t Be the First for North Korea, by Sheldon Richman

North Koreans know all about American “fire and fury.” Americans have forgotten about the Korean War, but the North Koreans haven’t. From Sheldon Richman at antiwar.com:

Leave it to Donald Trump to threaten to rain “fire and fury” on the North Korean people the same week the world observed the 72nd anniversary of the U.S. government’s vindictive atomic bombings of Japanese civilians. In case anyone missed the message, Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis warned that the Kim Jong-un regime’s actions risk the “destruction of its people.” He wasn’t talking about Kim’s cruel communism.

We know what Trump and Mattis mean, even if many conservatives twist themselves like pretzels to transform the threatened savagery into something more benign. Trump and Mattis were referring to America’s nuclear arsenal.

Trump promised “fire and fury like the world has never seen.” No one would expect him to know this, but the North Korean people have seen their share of fire and fury at the hands of the US military. It happened almost 70 years ago, when Harry Truman, another president who went ga-ga over generals, unleashed America’s savage vengeance during the Korean War. It’s called the “forgotten war,” but even when it wasn’t forgotten, few Americans realized how brutally the United States treated people that posed no threat whatever to Americans.

How many know that, quoting historian Bruce Cumings, “far more napalm was dropped on Korea [than on Vietnam] and with much more devastating effect, since the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) had many more populous cities and urban industrial installations than North Vietnam…. By late August [1950] B-29 formations were dropping 800 tons a day on the North. Much of it was pure napalm. From June to late October 1950, B-29s unloaded 866,914 gallons of napalm.” It was also known as “jellied gasoline.” Regarding its effect on the human body, Cumings quotes the survivor of a “friendly fire” attack on Americans: “Men all around me were burned. They lay rolling in the snow. Men I knew, marched and fought with begged me to shoot them…. It was terrible. Where the napalm had burned the skin to a crisp, it would be peeled back from the face, arms, legs … like fried potato chips.”

To continue reading: Trump’s ‘Fire and Fury’ Wouldn’t Be the First for North Korea

Russia-gate’s Fatally Flawed Logic, by Robert Parry

Having taken away Trump’s negotiating ability with Russia, Iran, and North Korea, Congress has left him only one option: belicosity. From Robert Parry at consortiumnews.com:

Exclusive: By pushing the Russia-gate “scandal” and neutering President Trump’s ability to conduct diplomacy, Democrats and Congress have encouraged his war-making side on North Korea, writes Robert Parry.

There was always a logical flaw in pushing Russia-gate as an excuse for Hillary Clinton’s defeat – besides the fact that it was based on a dubious “assessment” by a small team of “hand-picked” U.S. intelligence analysts. The flaw was that it poked the thin-skinned Donald Trump over one of his few inclinations toward diplomacy.

President Trump delivers his brief speech to the nation explaining his decision to launch a missile strike against Syria on April 6, 2017. (Screen shot from Whitehouse.gov)

We’re now seeing the results play out in a very dangerous way in Trump’s bluster about North Korea, which was included in an aggressive economic sanctions bill – along with Russia and Iran – that Congress passed nearly unanimously, without a single Democratic no vote.

Democrats and Official Washington’s dominant neocons celebrated the bill as a vote of no-confidence in Trump’s presidency but it only constrained him in possible peacemaking, not war-making.

The legislation, which Trump signed under protest, escalated tensions with those three countries while limiting Trump’s power over lifting sanctions. After signing the bill into law, Trump denounced the bill as “seriously flawed – particularly because it encroaches on the executive branch’s authority to negotiate.”

As his “signing statements” made clear, Trump felt belittled by the congressional action. His response has been to ratchet up bellicose rhetoric about North Korea, bluster appearing to be his natural default position when under pressure.

Remember, in April, as the Russia-gate hysteria mounted, Trump changed the subject, briefly, by rushing to judgment on an alleged chemical-weapons incident in Khan Sheikhoun, Syria, and firing off 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian military base.

He immediately won acclaim from Official Washington, although Hillary Clinton and other hawks argued that he should have gone further with a much larger U.S. invasion of Syria, i.e., establishing a “no-fly zone” even if that risked nuclear war with Russia.

What Trump learned from that experience is that even when he is going off half-cocked, he is rewarded for taking the military option. (More careful analysis of the Khan Sheikhoun evidence later raised serious doubts that the Syrian military was responsible.)

To continue reading: Russia-gate’s Fatally Flawed Logic

Avoiding Nuclear War: Why Kim Jong-Un’s Strategy Makes Sense, by Federico Pieraccini

Everything both North Korea and the US do with regards to the Korean peninsula is with an eye on China. From Federico Pieraccini at strategicculture.org with an unconventional but plausible analysis of North Korean strategic, diplomatic, and military thinking:

Looking at the recent North Korean testing of two intercontinental missiles, it may seem that Pyongyang wishes to increase tensions in the region. A more careful analysis, however, shows how the DPRK is implementing a strategy that will likely succeed in averting a disastrous war on the peninsula.

In the last four weeks, North Korea seems to have implemented the second phase of its strategy against South Korea, China and the United States. The North Korean nuclear program seems to have reached an important juncture, with two tests carried out at the beginning and end of July. Both missiles seem capable of hitting the American mainland, although doubts still remain over Pyongyang’s ability to miniaturize a nuclear warhead to mount it on an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). However, the direction in which North Korea’s nuclear program is headed ensures an important regional deterrent against Japan and South Korea, and in some respects against the United States, which is the main reason for North Korea’s development of ICBMs. Recent history has repeatedly demonstrated the folly of trusting the West (the fate of Gaddafi remains fresh in our minds) and suggests instead the building up of an arsenal that poses a serious deterrence to US bellicosity.

It is not a mystery that from 2009 to date, North Korea’s nuclear capacity has increased in direct proportion to the level of distrust visited on Pyongyang by the West. Since 2009, the six-party talks concluded, Kim Jong-un has come to realize that the continuing threats, practices, and arms sales of the United States to Japan and South Korea needed to be thwarted in some way in the interests of defending the sovereignty of the DPRK. Faced with infinitely lower spending capacity than the three nations mentioned, Pyongyang chose a twofold strategy: to pursue nuclear weapons as an explicit deterrence measure; and to strengthen its conventional forces, keeping in mind that Seoul is only a stone’s throw away from North Korean artillery.

To continue reading: Avoiding Nuclear War: Why Kim Jong-Un’s Strategy Makes Sense

 

What Are We To Believe? by Justin Raimondo

We have no idea whether or not we  can believe the intelligence community’s intelligence regarding North Korea. From Justin Raimondo at antiwar.com:

Fake news plus phony “intelligence” equal disaster

The Washington Post has published a story claiming that the North Korean regime of Kim Jong Un has succeeded in miniaturizing a nuclear warhead small enough to fit onto an intercontinental ballistic missile. It’s another “leak” coming from an intelligence community that seemingly does little these days but leak like a sieve. Which raises the question: Should we believe them?

What we are dealing with is a national security bureaucracy that is not only highly politicized – that’s not really anything new – but is also engaged in an extended campaign to accomplish specific political objectives. The leaks coming out of Washington have had a clear political purpose – to a) discredit President Donald Trump, and b) push us closer to some sort of conflict on the international stage. And of course the two are not mutually exclusive: indeed, they are congruent. For a war on the Korean peninsula, for example, would define –and, I would submit, discredit – Trump’s presidency, as many thousands would die in a conflagration of unimaginable horror.

The Post quotes a single sentence of a Defense Intelligence Agency assessment dated July 28:

“The IC [intelligence community] assesses North Korea has produced nuclear weapons for ballistic missile delivery, to include delivery by ICBM-class missiles.”

That’s it: that’s the whole thing. The Post hasn’t actually seen the document: it was read to reporters by the leaker. Oh, and “Two U.S. officials familiar with the assessment verified its broad conclusions.”

What “broad conclusions”? The conclusions drawn by this article aren’t in the least bit broad, but are instead quite specific. Are they true? We just don’t know, and, what’s more, we cannot know. Indeed, we know almost nothing about this alleged “assessment.” We don’t know the identity of the leakers. We don’t know their motives. Based on the sparse information we have, we cannot evaluate the veracity of this latest “revelation,” and this is doubly true not only due to the laconic nature of the reporting, but also because of the journalistic context in which it appears.

To continue reading: What Are We To Believe?