Beyond the Cusp

January 4, 2018

Iran plus Korea Update

 

Iranian protests against economic stagnation, disinterest of the government placing foreign wars they chose above its people and against an oppressive regime which strangles their youth and their desires to be free and live as they choose. There have been over two or three dozen already murdered and many hundreds arrested with a good number of those likely to never be seen again and the only reaction from the government has been to televise pro-government demonstrations which were more likely than not staged using IRGC* and Basij Militias members who are a small minority of the nations but extremely loyal to the regime. Both organizations are religiously fanatical as is the government. The Iranian top leadership is made up of religious clerics, the Mullahs, who hand pick who are permitted to run for elected office thus making their appearance of democracy merely that, appearance. Nobody who would work against the Mullahs and their program of continuing the revolution spreading it at every opportunity to the remainder of the world would ever be permitted to stand for election to office. Worse yet, the elected officials also would be fully supportive of any measures the Mullahs and the Supreme Leader decide are necessary to end the protests including mass shootings of demonstrators in the streets. That is the point where many would really be interested in exactly how far President Trump and the United States might go should this become reality and hundreds, if not thousands or tens of thousands were to be gunned down on the streets of Iran.

 

The first thing to remember is that President Trump was elected largely on his domestic policy promises of curbing immigration and economic improvement through tax reform and regulations rollback. As we might recall, his slogan was “Make America Great Again” or MAGA. That is completely separate from intervening or making threats simply to prevent Iran from putting an end to internal protests which the government has already blamed on Israel and the United States claiming that the CIA and Mossad are the leaders implementing and fomenting the protest in an attempt to derail the revolution which is the core principle under which the Iranian regime operates. What it comes down to is would the United States actually resort to use of arms to prevent further regime violent pushback against the protests. Our best guess is as such, beyond what President Trump would be willing to authorize, he would first instead attempt to get United Nations Security Council to enact enforceable sanctions on Iran and, lacking that, placing United States sanctions and attempting to get other allies to also impose sanctions. As far as Security Council sanctions are concerned, after the United States veto of the Security Council vote to forbid nations from placing their embassies in Jerusalem and condemning President Trump recognizing Jerusalem making it an international city under United Nations protection from Israeli overreach, we could probably count on Russia using their veto to protect Iran from the mean United States and possibly even adding that the United States move was being taken to serve Israeli interests and nothing more. As far as getting European countries to join in sanctions, at best a few of the eastern Europeans might join in sanctions and otherwise, at best, the British might also join but Germany, France and the remainder of the European Union have Euros in their eyes when they visualize Iran and are too self-absorbed in taking advantage of monetary opportunities to join in sanctioning their potential money pit. United States sanctions of and by themselves would have little if any effect on Iran and would do little to prevent them from doing as they please, even to slaughtering the protesters en-masse, in ending the protests against the government.

 

Even if President Trump in normal times in a normal world wanted to prevent the murder of the protesters, he would need to be extremely wary of intervening as such actions would inevitably result in war. The citizens of the United States did not elect President Trump to get them into another war in the Middle East and the quickest way to assure that he would be a one term President would be to engage in another Middle East war. The United States electorate would hold him responsible and in 2020 they would elect almost anybody other than Donald Trump were he to cause a war with Iran. Further, President Trump has enough on his plate with North Korea and a looming potential for a war on that front, and even that war would be a difficult sell. The main reason that a war with North Korea might be more palatable to the United States people is Kim Jong-Un is an identifiable threat and has been pressing all the wrong buttons challenging the United States almost calling them every derogatory name in the book and despite many of those names being directed at Trump, they have not been received well by the United States voters. The United States has danced this dance with leaders from North Korea for years with each go around costing more than the previous and they are willing to risk war rather than give in to blustering blackmail. For a parallel one need look to the Barbary Pirates who would sell protection for sailors and then still kidnap United States sailors off merchant ships to ransom with along with the constantly rising price demanded for protection finally drove even President Thomas Jefferson, a devout isolationist as far as wars were concerned, to declare war on the Barbary Pirates and their respective Caliphs. North Korea is very likely approaching a similar point with the United States currently and if they push too hard, they may get something they really had not bargained for.

 

President Trump likely has little desire to enter into any wars. Iran probably is not prepared to fight a war with the United States at this moment. China does not desire to war with the United States in particular. Japan very much desires to avoid any costly wars, as their financial situation is quite precarious and just recently starting to recover. Kim Jong-Un, despite his bluster, would likely prefer to live a long life. Russian President Putin is seeking some means of extricating himself out of the war raging in Syria while retaining his naval bases on the Mediterranean Sea. Europe could not fight a meaningful war even if it was brought to their shores. Turkish President Erdoğan is prepared to fight the Kurds in order to extend his domain but is not prepared to go beyond such. Even Israel’s neighbors are not seeking an active war with Israel with Hamas settling to toss a rocket or two out of Gaza each week and Hezballah already stretched to the breaking point between Syria, Yemen and retaining control in Lebanon. Egypt has barely sufficient taste for conflict to hold its cities in the Sinai Peninsula while terrorist groups mass there for future conflict, and even they are looking towards future and hoping Egypt does not feel its hand pushed too far and react against their hold on the area. So why is North Korea‘s Kim Jong-Un testing ICBM’s and other missiles as well as nuclear weapons? Why has Japan altered the Japanese Constitution to allow them, for the first time since World War II, to increase their armaments, military size and is debating the development, which means using the technology they already possess, of nuclear weapons intended as a deterrent? Why is Iran instigating conflicts across the Middle East in Iraq, Syria and Yemen while developing ever-longer range ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons and possibly even building stockpiles of such weapons? Why has there been all the chest thumping between Kim Jong-Un and President Trump with the most recent round on Twitter being an exchange of Tweets about their nuclear button size on one another’s desk? Why is Iran once again pressing an internal conflict followed by the world to the point where sanction may very well be imposed once again? None of these acts signals a world seeking completely peaceful solution to their problems both internal and external. The two most dangerous, currently, are Iran and North Korea as we mentioned just the other day. So, why not take one last look at them and their pressing all the wrong buttons with the United States and why.

 

First North Korea, as it may be the less complicated situation currently. Kim Jong-Un did take an unexpected move and respond to urgings from the newly elected South Korean President Moon Jae-in, elected this past May of 2017, for binational talks to defuse the building tensions emanating from North Korea. The danger is that these talks fail to resolve the international situation while South Korea, currently in a mood to redress past grievances and mending fences while absolving differences. There is even some mood to sacrifice in order to reunify the Korean Peninsula should a proper and beneficial proposition be presented, though the possibilities of this are next to nil. The problem is the unknown and unpredictable results of these talks. Fears are that North Korea will press for reunification with some form of unity governance headed by Kim Jong-Un which South Korea would be foolish to permit. Almost as bad an omen would be for North Korea to offer to curb their missile tests and nuclear testing and development in exchange for aid running in the tens if not thousands of billions of dollars to be paid largely by the United States in exchange for a treaty and an end to this round of extortion. Such a demand could not come at a worse opportunity as President Trump is unlikely to swallow such a demand quietly and would likely enter into a very dangerous game of chicken with Kim Jong-Un which, with the slightest miscalculation, results in an open conflict potentially nuclear in nature. Such a conflict would have the immediate consequences of the devastation of Seoul and most if not all of South Korea, the destruction of almost all large cities of Japan, and an exchange between the United States responding to the attacks by North Korea where North Korea would also cease to be recognizable while a number of United States major cities would end up destroyed or worse, a Super EMP detonation over Kansas City area wiping out the North American electrical grid potentially destroying over half of the main transformers upon which the grid is dependent. What would follow would very likely be extremely destructive for much of the world should China, Russia or anyone else left standing decide it was time to strike while the irons of war were hot only to run afoul of the United States submarine nuclear retaliatory forces which are quite formidable and perfectly capable of carrying out countering any threat to the United States, especially the few naval and air bases which would remain to the United States military which is spread across the globe and thus would still be operational even if in a somewhat less formidable manner. When a nation is capable of destroying the entirety of the planet hundreds of times over, even twenty percent force power is sufficient to make anyone hesitate pressing too far.

 

World at War from 1984 by George Orwell

World at War from 1984 by George Orwell

 

Iran, on the other hand, is a completely different kettle of fish. Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei is tasked with the spread of the Grand Islamic Revolution which brought the initial and previous Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Sayyid Ruhollah Mūsavi Khomeini to power after United States President Jimmy Carter refused to defend Shah of Iran Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and actually signaled he should go into exile and allow Khomeini to come to power and out of his exile in Paris. President Carter was quoted as claiming that as a religious man and a cleric that Khomeini would be a man of peace and would bring a reformation to Iran which would be a positive force in settling the Middle East. President Carter really had no clue about Shiite Islam or Islam in general. The Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution is responsible for keeping the faith and extending the revolution, as it is called, by which in time two events will result. The first is that the Islamic world will bow to the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution and see him as the Strong Horse and the Sunni Muslims will largely convert to Shia Islam rather than be put to the sword. Once the world of Islam has been conquered by the true Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, then the remainder of the world can be brought under the flag of Islam and Sharia Shiite style. This will lead to a world in conflagration which is believed to be when the Mahdi will appear and protest his being revealed to the world as explained by Nu’aym ibn Hammad who stated, “The Mahdi will not come until one third die, one third are killed, and one third remain.” One can only imagine a world which meets those criteria. This is the far vision each Iranian Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution must adhere. This is not meant to claim that the present Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei desires to force such a world into being, but that does not mean that he would be reluctant to take any position which could result in the coming of the Mahdi. The eventual aim of the Iranian version of Shiite Islam is the coming of the Mahdi and the submission of what remains of the world to Allah through Shiite Islam with no other religion permitted on Earth. Still, Iran is not ready to take on the world and this attempt to reach this desired aim to subjugate the world with it suffering two-thirds of human life snuffed from existence in a great conflict, but once they believe they have reached such a threshold, then will come a conflagration unparalleled in known human history. There are some who point to evidence that some form of humankind existed which were more advanced than our technology today and were involved in a great cataclysm ending their civilization and humankind went through an extended era where the knowledge returning to a more primitive humankind and we are only now reaching for similar technologies if not the identical technologies with which our forebearers destroyed themselves. The state of our world today gives such a theory some degree of credence.

 

The frightening reality reached in researching for this article was that we really are about to go beyond the cusp. The only question is beyond which cusp will we go? Many, if not the vast majority, of these choices would have us going beyond the cusp and finding ourselves tumbling into a deep and endless chasm and taking all of our so-called civilization with us into oblivion. There are a few narrow choices where going beyond the cusp leads the human race into the stars and eventually to a space filled initially with peace and beyond that depends on what we encounter. If we will be destined to meet extraterrestrial intelligent entities, we can only pray that they are peaceful and willing to share knowledge, technologies and the arts which make their hearts soar. But first, we will be required to get our own houses in order and eschew violence as the means of settling our differences. Truth be told, our differences are minor compared to what we may find in the stars, so we had best learn how to handle our petty differences first and foremost, then we can find the best means of coexisting or merging everything into a set of universal truths which are inclusive and satisfactory to all establishing ideals as close to the real truth as we are able. The truth is that our knowledge will never be capable of understanding the entirety of the Universe as much, if not the vast majority, will remain beyond that which we can see and every minute we spend trapped as we are in this one solar system, the less and less we will ever have revealed will represent. Human curiosity is a strange beast which will insist on seeing what is around the next bend, beyond the horizon, and comes tomorrow and tomorrow in endless succession and finally, why all of these things exist and where they came from. But for now, can we at least survive without destroying civilization until we colonize another planet orbiting a different parent star. Such an accomplishment would promise survivability to the human race. After such has been achieved, then we can place starter colonies jumping from one star to the next setting up workable colonies which can grow into entirely new civilization but which will share their advancements with the rest of humankind and perhaps also other intelligent species we should meet, assuming that such exist. So, let us proceed forward and pray we choose wisely and do not falter or find ourselves at the brink of extinction with no way to prevent going beyond the cusp and falling to our deaths and as such our failings.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

* IRGC = Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps

 

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January 2, 2018

War with North Korea Now Inevitable….Iran?

 

Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael Mullen, who served under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, told ABC News “This Week” in a Sunday interview, “We’re actually closer in my view, to a nuclear war with North Korea and in that region than we have ever been.” When queried on possible routes for negotiations or other options to actual war, he replied, “I don’t see the opportunities to solve this diplomatically at this particular point.” Mr. Mullen’s commentary on President Trump’s efforts did shed some light as he stated, “I think President Trump has made China move more than they have in the past. Whether they continue to do that to help resolve this is the open question. A real measure of how this all comes out is whether China is going to commit to a peaceful resolution here. If they don’t, then I worry a great deal that it’s much more likely there will be conflict.” On the other side of the coin, Mr. Mullen criticized President Trump stating that his actions have been “incredibly disruptive, certainly unpredictable in many many ways. Those who have been our friends for many years ask questions about our commitments to them…and our enemies, those that would do us ill, seem to be able to take advantage of the uncertainty.” Towards the end of the discussion Mr. Mullen added another worry into the mix, Iran, stating, “I worry greatly about the fact that the Iranians will bring forward a nuclear weapon capability. They were very close when the deal was struck. They can redevelop it, I think, very rapidly.” The remarks were in obvious reference to the fact that President Trump decided not to certify that Tehran as being in compliance with the treaty in October leaving the final decision to the Congress.

 

The first thing we would like to point out is that Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael Mullen has been out of the loop and not receiving briefings or other information since 2011, quite a period without such vital input for making anything other than broad conjecture. Sure, he has friends and other contacts but many of these would probably not be friendly to President Trump. We have to admit that those who are tied in any way to either the Bush family or President Obama, and Mr. Mullen served under both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama, likely view President Trump in a dim light. With that in mind, let us proceed. First, As far as the charges of President Trump being, “incredibly disruptive, certainly unpredictable in many many ways. Those who have been our friends for many years ask questions about our commitments to them…and our enemies, those that would do us ill, seem to be able to take advantage of the uncertainty.” What does Mr. Mullen think happened under President Obama when our former allies were directly rebuked and former adversaries taken in a coddled like no nations had been so adorned with affection in American history. Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia were all thrown under the bus, Iraq and Afghanistan were evacuated prematurely, the Taliban allowed to return in Afghanistan, ISIS left unchallenged until they became a threat to the Russians who, with the help of the Kurds with President Trump’s air support and weaponry, were eliminated in approximately six months. Under President Obama Iran was rewarded for going ahead with their nuclear weapons research during negotiations, left to inspect themselves and probably had a fairly substantive stockpile of nuclear warheads to fix atop their numerous ballistic missiles. They were also left completely free to develop ballistic missiles and likely have come close if not already having an ICBM. Further, under President Obama North Korea was not sanctioned any more seriously than the United Nations would allow, which is to say nothing additional was imposed, while they developed nuclear warheads to include thermonuclear weapons and Super EMP weapons and the ICBM capable of striking at the least Chicago if not all of the globe. Calling President Trump returning to a more traditional foreign policy and supporting Israel like no president since Truman’s initial recognition, visiting and having a fairly successful summit with most of the Arab League members in Saudi Arabia and restoring our relations with Egypt while placing Iran and North Korea on notice that the party is over and they are being scrutinized once more as the problem rather than a solution a disruptive foreign policy confusing our friends and coddling our enemies explains why he was so admired by President Obama, he has friends and enemies confused just as his President had.

 

The real item here is whether or not the world, the United States in particular, is on the verge of a nuclear war with North Korea or will things inevitably go beyond the cusp leading to all out nuclear war between the United States and North Korea. The one item we agree with Mr. Mullen is that probably the second greatest influence on this entire situation is China. The leadership in China can assist President Trump in two means and work to his detriment in only one way. China has already placed a modicum of pressure on Kim Jong-Un and they can certainly do far more. The two means of assistance they can offer is, of course, putting on a full press and freezing all trade with North Korea and giving President Trump their complete support, or on a lesser note, simply letting Kim Jong-Un know that if he decides to take on the United States that he will be in that endeavor completely on his own and China will do absolutely nothing to prevent the United States from acting as deemed necessary in their own defense. Either of these will help greatly in relieving the pressure unless Kim Jong-Un is truly insane and suicidal. The one means China, or Russia, have of making the situation far more dangerous would be to make known that they are willing and capable to protect North Korea and come to their aid should the United States take any action against the regime of Kim Jong-Un, even in self-defense.

 

President Trump, Kim Jong-Un, President Xi Jinping, President Putin

President Trump, Kim Jong-Un,
President Xi Jinping, President Putin

 

That now allows another layer to be examined. We must determine if Russian President Vladimir Putin or Chinese President Xi Jinping are likely to attach their fate to that of Kim Jong-Un and would they risk war with the United States over protecting North Korea even from an American attack in response to a North Korean offensive strike. Let’s say both Russia and China were to warn-off Kim Jong-Un impressing upon him that they will not support him in attacking the United States and would only protect him from an attack were he to enter negotiations and while the negotiations progress, refrain from any testing of nuclear weapons or ballistic missiles. Even should they arrange four party talks, that should be acceptable providing the Chinese and Russians assure President Trump that their participation will not be in order to protect Kim Jong-Un but to bolster reasonable negotiations. They need also put to rest any ideas of the United States needing to bribe or in any other means reward North Korea for acting responsibly beyond loosening sanctions in stages as they prove their good intentions. The antics and threatening behavior exhibited by Kim Jong-Un is something President Trump would be well advised to make an example such that when the time comes to deal with Iran, they will understand that there will be no rewards or knuckling to threats. President Trump might even invite Russian President Putin to join in pressuring Kim Jong-Un and let the leftists scream Russian collusion anew. Their insane reaction to cooperating with Russia and possibly China as well could prove amusing and even more deranged than the current round proved. However, you slice it, North Korea is but half the problem and even once they have been tamed, there will remain Iran. We would like to close with something which the mainstream media has left unemphasized, Iran and North Korea have colluded, cooperated, traded technology, exchanged knowhow and in all ways worked together to advance their mutual nuclear and ballistic missile technology to the point of carrying out tests, one for the other, to get around sanctions.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

August 10, 2017

Guam, North Korea, Nukes and Trump’s Predicament

 

President Donald Trump is in a precarious predicament when it comes to North Korea and the pressing threats. We can get to the predictable results shortly, but first it bears analyzing the sticky situation in which the President has been forced by his own Congress in which his own party presumably has a majority. The one thing which is always tricky when one sits atop a democratically elected government in a nation which is in no mood for military adventurism, getting backing for starting a conflict. This is even true when the adversary is an obviously crazed dictator with delusions of grandeur who believes he is holding the upper hand. Kim Jong-un believes that now that he presumably, if his threats and intelligence reports are to be believed, has the more powerful position with a nuclear weapon miniaturized and capable of being mounted atop any of his ballistic or ICBM missiles. Even if we were to grant that the North Korean weapons was sufficiently powerful as half a megaton, he still would need five just to level any sufficiently targetable metropolitan area within the United States and a degree of accuracy to give the optimal spread of impact sites. Despite this and now a direct threat by Kim Jong-un to strike Guam with one such said missile, President Trump still has his hands tied.

 

Logically, one would believe that the current situation being what it is, President Trump could simply order a decapitating strike on North Korean leadership and with one set of at most a dozen high explosive missiles from an Arleigh Burke Destroyer and the top generals and Kim Jon-un could be entered into the history books and the North Korean threats put to bed while the United Nations Security Council decided who would be assuming the reconstruction of North Korea, the United States, China or preferably South Korea with a unified Korean Peninsula. That is where the problem enters the picture. While history has shown that virtually no Democrat Senator would ever vote to impeach a Democrat President, Republicans are more than willing to entertain and even advise a Republican President to resign as they will refuse to protect their own Party’s President from impeachment as was the case when Republican Senate leadership informed President Richard Nixon that should he actually fight impeachment, they were ready and very likely to vote for his impeachment. So, should President Trump actually take it upon himself without a declaration of war from Congress to attack North Korea, we can bet that within hours the House of Representatives would have drawn up charges of impeachment, approved them by a significant majority and sent the case to the Senate for trial. All that is required in the House of Representatives to bring forward charges is a simple majority and then a two-thirds majority in the Senate is required to convict, which with the several “Never Trump” Republicans becomes a distinct possibility. On the other hand, should North Korea launch a successful attack then we could expect Congress to again attempt charges of impeachment for President Trump’s lack of action in the face of an obvious menacing threat. President Trump is in a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation.

 

Arleigh Burke Destroyer Missile Firing

Arleigh Burke Destroyer Missile Firing

 

Even should Kim Jong-un launch missiles at Guam, should all the missiles either be intercepted, the preferred case, or simply miss their target thus causing no actual harm, President Trump would remain to be facing the previously described situation of not having complete authority to act without facing potential impeachment and facing the exact same result should he not act and a subsequent strike prove successful. This is most definitely an unpleasant situation faced by President Trump. The latest, as of this writing, the ball had been shot into President Trump’s court with Kim Jong-un’s announcement that North Korea has manufactured a miniaturized nuclear warhead with which they can now top their missiles and his making a direct threat to attack Guam should the United States continue their belligerence. The current ballistic missiles in the North Korean arsenals which potentially could strike Guam include the Hwasong-10 liquid fueled, Hwasong-14 solid propellant and the Pukguksong-2 solid propellant. The liquid fueled missile would require a fueling cycle which might make it being detected by satellite imagery while the solid propellant are ready to launch by the pressing of a launch signal without any preparation other than raising the launch on the mobile carriers, which many claim were provided by China (see image below), or opening the silo on the underground silo launch sites. Each of these missiles is capable of carrying the claimed nuclear warhead or a sizeable high-explosive traditional explosive warhead. These facts make Kim Jong-un’s threat a credible threat and is just another step further climbing the tree and neither side has shown any indication of attempting to steady the situation and reduce tensions. This latest threat was in response to the reaction to the previous slightly more vague threat of severe consequences by Kim Jong-un if the United States did not pull back to which President Trump promised in his response stating, “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.” This drew the directed threat upon Guam by North Korea. The comments by President Trump received the expected criticisms from Senator Dianne Feinstein as well as Senator John McCain (video blow).

 

Presumed China Provided North Korean Mobile Missile Carrier

Presumed China Provided North Korean Mobile Missile Carrier

 

 

The situation currently stands with the exchange of threats and promises resting with President Trump and the likelihood of actual action sitting with Kim Jong-un as it is highly unlikely that President Trump is willing or ready to initiate and military actions. This in no way intends to claim the United States is not fully capable of taking actions to tackle this problem at any point of its own choosing. Kim Jong-un need understand that the United States could lay waste to his entire nation without taxing more than one ballistic submarine which would still have missiles to spare if further response were required. This does not even begin to take into account the three aircraft carrier groups sitting well within range of their aircraft and the missiles on the support vessels which include numbers of Arleigh Burke Missile Destroyers. There is one pitfall which it might be advisable that President Trump not fall into, and that is considering and contending with the size and variety of attack which would be launched against North Korea should it be deemed necessary. We can recall the “Shock and awe,” promised by President George W. Bush at the initiation of the air campaign against Iraqi Dictator Saddam Hussein. Remembering watching the coverage of the initial airstrikes on Baghdad, we recall being somewhat less than “shocked” and well short of “awe” as it appeared that the main damage came in the form of secondary explosions (video below). Don’t get us wrong, the precision was impressive but the display lacked the traditional carnage and city left in flames images. One needs to perceive the exact effect upon the psyche of your opponent when making a display of strength. Sure, the United States military were extremely pleased with the exact precision of their warheads and the minimal amount of collateral damage to the city left by the attacks. One example which was regularly repeated was the removal of a transmission tower striking it such that it missed striking either of the buildings reportedly close on either side. Saddam Hussein would probably been far more impressed had the attack on said broadcast tower taken down the blocks of buildings in every direction and was probably thinking that if this is what the United States calls laying waste to a city, then they are pretty pathetic. Sometimes, when dealing with dictatorial, or even elected, thugs and self-professed military geniuses who, as Saddam Hussein was want of doing, when striking a village or town in order to send a message, they usually laid waste to the entirety of the town, the majority of the residents, and possibly even destroyed the roads and basements of the school house. Simply put, they caused devastation when sending a message. There was the message sent to the Kurds in northern Iraq where chemical weapons were utilized and not a single person escaped, that was the Saddam Hussein understanding of sending a warning, not taking out a single building with a concrete bomb (that is a thousand pounds of concrete in a thin metal shell, such that only the restaurant where Saddam was presumed to be dining was destroyed and the buildings on either side were undamaged. Had a two-thousand pound World War II blockbuster (called such as it would drop and entire block of buildings) bomb been used, then Saddam Hussein, who was less than a few hundred yards from the restaurant having just left, would have been removed by the attack. Sometimes bigger is better as it assures you destroy the intended target. Just because you can guide munitions through the third window from the end on the fifth floor and only destroy that room leaving the rest of the building structurally sound does not mean that would be the best manner of striking that room. Sometimes the entire building need be destroyed to get the message across.

 

 

When it comes to Kim Jong-un, it is unlikely that any amount of damage to his country would have much of an effect upon him. This is a maniac who had a top general hung for being late or contradicting or correcting him in a meeting, had his uncle murdered for treason and had his half-brother murdered in another country simply because he might make a claim to Kim Jong-un’s position. We are speaking of a man who ordered all men to wear their hair styled exactly like his hair (which begs the question of what bald people were to do) or face execution. Wait, he later ruled that men must not wear their hair styled as he does and must choose from fifteen particular styles. You just cannot make this stuff up. What would it take to impress Kim Jong-un that your airstrikes really were serious and, quoting President Trump, “North Korea best not make any more threats to the U.S. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” That is setting the bar pretty high when one remembers the twenty-four hour bombing of Dresden during World War II (image of firestorm below B&W). There is no way, honestly, that Kim Jong-u would accept that the damage was more than his subjects were willing to endure in support of his rule. He was raised as a man-god and believes of himself as incapable of errors in judgement or that he could be outsmarted or outmaneuvered by any mere mortal, especially President Trump. Kim Jong-un very probably believes his own propaganda.

 

Image of Dresden Firestorm Consuming the City

Image of Dresden Firestorm Consuming the City

 

The only attack, which would work to prevent Kim Jong-un from carrying out any threat made, would be to remove him from the scene. The required move against North Korea would mean choosing between formulating a coup and implementing a decapitation strike where Kim Jong-un and his top generals are all taken out with one strike. The strike could include several locations, but it would be imperative that the strikes, if at more than one location, be timed close enough such that no one attack point has time enough to convey to their superiors or officials of the state about what was occurring before it was all done. Such an attack could be performed when it is known that Kim Jong-un is attending a launch of one of his missiles or is visiting one of the nuclear facilities or at a test of a nuclear weapon. It would be imperative that the majority of the general staff also be present which is why we chose such events. If there is a known general who would look favorably upon the idea of reconstituting a unified Korea under an elected, honestly elected governance, then sparing him or them would be preferred but they must not be told when and where such a strike might take place as such might allow Kim Jong-un to become suspicious thus leading to his not attending the targeted location. Striking and not removing Kin Jong-un from power would be the greatest possible disaster as it would lead to an immediate launch of an attack on Guam, Hawaii, Alaska and anywhere within the continental United States (CONUS), his missiles could deliver a nuclear payload. It can be assumed that North Korea had at least ten if not many more of these announced miniaturized nuclear devices. Kim Jong-un would not have risked their vulnerability without knowing that he was sufficiently armed with these warheads before allowing their disclosure. President Trump and advisors should take such into consideration and make choices preferably consulting Congress. The problem with consulting Congress would be whom do you trust not to leak the information and thus warning North Korea of the United States intended action or lack thereof.

 

The brinkmanship from both sides is providing a hazardous situation all around. Neither side is showing any signs of climbing down from the tree they find themselves trapped within. The other problem is at what point one side will take action and of what action will they avail themselves. North Korea can technically use knowledge gained from the Iranians very likely with an entire freighter arming kit which would turn any freighter container ship into a missile silo. With this knowledge, Kim Jong-un can use the most basic scud missile to deliver nuclear warheads with little advance warning to every coastal city. Should any freighter so armed receive approval for sailing to make a delivery somewhere along the Mississippi River, then almost every city of any size would become a potential target. Some of the coastal port cities along the east, west and southern coastal regions include but are not limited to New York, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, New Orleans, Miami, Philadelphia, Tampa, San Diego, Baltimore, Norfolk, Houston and, of course, Washington D.C. despite not being a port city, it is vulnerable from the Chesapeake Bay or Potomac River all the way to the Tidal Basin in the heart of the government. Since North Korea has proven to be capable of orbital insertion, they could place that ever dangerous EMP device they have presumably mastered into a satellite and utilize such at any time simply by detonating the satellite miles over the center of North America and they might wipe out the entirety of the electrical grid or simply destroy well-beyond half of the electrical grid and hundreds, if not thousands, of expensive and in tight supply massive transformers. These devices are manufactured in Germany and Japan and while awaiting delivery, it is possible that the United States might lose as much as three-quarters of its total population with Canada taking similar if not even higher percentages of population loss. Both nations would be decimated and the retaliation upon North Korea might appear to be a purely spiteful move and thus rejected by the State Department and also the Congress. Neither group appears to be sensitive to the people’s desires except at election time, but then they brag about the two or three brave stands they made on legislation they know would be vetoed. Where this is headed appears frightening and one can only hope that the inevitable can be redirected away from any course of actions which includes the destruction of either nation. Thus far, that possibility looks to be bleak.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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