My normal region of focus is the Middle East…..I never studied other regions much at all….but since North Korea and the world are having a good shouting match I have decided my horizons.
The news these days is fascinating…..one day it is Russia….the next DACA…..the next North Korea….all this while two or three major conflicts are being fought daily with little notice.
As it is today we have two macho bullies showing who has the biggest penis.
North Korea in the last couple of years has exploded several large nuke weapons and fired off many missiles to show their resolve…..and of course as a retort the US has shown its cajones by threatening all sorts of retaliation.
Their latest missile firing has indicated that they are progressing well and has struck the fear of the spirits in Japan…..
President Trump on Wednesday followed up on his “all options are on the table” warning to North Korea by suggesting that negotiations are not one of those options. “The U.S. has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years,” he tweeted. “Talking is not the answer!” It’s not clear what Trump means by “extortion money,” notes the New York Times. The new warning follows the North’s decision to fire a ballistic missile over Japan for the first time, and an analysis at 38 North sees a potentially “ominous” clue in the test results: The missile flew a relatively short distance of about 1,700 miles. It’s possible engineers deliberately shut down the engine early, but the distance (and reports of the missile breaking into three pieces) suggests a more troubling possibility: Pyongyang is testing something called a “post-boost vehicle” on the missile.
PBVs are standard on US and Russian ICBMs, explains Michael Elleman, because they not only provide an added boost for the payload (some kind of warhead), they also provide for more accuracy. If the North had tested the missile with a PBV, and the test failed, the distance traveled would make sense. If that’s the case, “it is another sign that Pyongyang is deadly serious about developing and fielding nuclear-tipped missiles capable of striking the US mainland, and critical US military bases in the Pacific Ocean,” writes Elleman, who thinks North Korea is a year or two away from posing a credible threat to the US. Meanwhile, the Navy shot down a medium-range ballistic missile during a test off Hawaii, reports NBC News. “We will continue developing ballistic missile defense technologies to stay ahead of the threat as it evolves,” says a Pentagon official.
Of course the word coming out of the US is that any attempt to strike an ally would be shear suicide for NK.
But would it be suicide? What would the US be willing to sacrifice? LA? Maybe Chicago?
“Are we really willing to risk Los Angeles or Chicago in retaliation for an attack on a US military base in the region? Probably not,” nuclear strategy specialist Vipin Narang tells the AP. And that’s exactly the calculation that gives North Korea a small shot at “winning” in a nuclear conflict, challenging the assumption that launching a nuclear weapon would be automatic suicide for the country. If North Korea feels threatened to the point of using a nuclear weapon, a first target would likely be a US military base in Japan; North Korea would then use its long-range nukes to threaten the US mainland and avoid a retaliatory strike. Experts say this is Kim Jong Un’s “theory of victory”—one that President Trump may be attempting to combat with an unsuccessful version of the “madman strategy.”
Trump said “all options are on the table.” This was, all things considered, a “measured” response from the president, according to the Atlantic. It was an official statement instead of a tweet, didn’t threaten “fire and fury,” and avoided calling Kim Jong Un a “wack job.”
While this situation is being mulled over by the “experts”……and then NK set off what is being called an “H-Bomb”……..(new twist)……
North Korea detonated a thermonuclear device Sunday in its sixth and most powerful nuclear test to date, which it called a “perfect success” as its neighbors condemned it. Though the strength of the blast is undetermined, the artificial earthquake it caused was several times stronger than tremors generated by previous tests. It reportedly shook buildings in China and Russia. The test was carried out at 12:29pm local time at the Punggye-ri site where North Korea has conducted nearly all of its nuclear tests. Seoul put the magnitude at 5.7, while the USGS said it was 6.3. North Korea’s state-run television reported Sunday that Kim Jong Un attended a meeting of the ruling party’s presidium and signed the go-ahead order. Earlier in the day, the party’s newspaper printed photos of Kim examining what it said was a nuclear warhead being fitted onto the nose of an ICBM.
North Korea in July test-launched two ICBMs believed to be capable of reaching the mainland US, reports the AP; this is the North’s first nuclear test since President Trump assumed office. The North claimed the device was a thermonuclear weapon—commonly called an H-bomb. That could be hard to independently confirm. It said the underground test site did not leak radioactive materials, which would make such a determination even harder. The North claims the device was made domestically and has explosive power that can range from tens to hundreds of kilotons. Outside experts suggested the yield might be in that ballpark, though closer to the lower range. The bomb dropped on Hiroshima had a 15-kiloton yield. Kim, according to the state-run KCNA, claimed all components of the device were domestically produced, which he said means the North can make “as many as it wants.”
What does that mean?
In military planning “all options” are always on the table….matters not the region…all angles must be covered.
Trump’s world becomes a bit more dangerous with each passing Tweet.