Beyond the Cusp

January 28, 2018

United States and North Korea Attaining Slow Boil

 

Despite media silence for the most part, North Korea has been slowly deescalating the tensions ratcheting up internal communications on open networks. Countering the rhetoric has been some talk coming from several international think tanks. The background talk is about intentions of North Korea not to simply test nuclear weapons or to build a pretty showcase where they are displayed for all the world to quake in fear but to build an arsenal equal or superior to that of any in the world and declare their seat at the table as an equal. CIA Director Mike Pompeo has warned in a speech at the American Enterprise Institute, “Kim Jong-Un will not rest with a single successful test. The logical next step would be to develop an arsenal of weapons that is not one, not a showpiece, not something to drive on a parade route.” He pointed out that Kim Jong-Un desired, “the capacity to deliver from multiple firings of these missiles simultaneously. He is trying to put in our mind the reality that he can deliver that pain to the USA.” Pompeo added that the goal for Kim is not simply to protect his autocratic regime. He pointed out, “We do believe that Kim Jong-Un, given these tool sets, would use them for things besides simply regime protection.” Pompeo pointed to Kim’s ultimate goal as being “reunification on the peninsula under his authority.”

 

North Korean Family of Rockets and Missiles with Ranges

North Korean Family of Rockets and Missiles with Ranges

 

North Korea recently launched a Hwasong-15 missile; a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) which officials said can fly over 13,000 km (8,080 miles). Pyongyang said, following that launch, that it had test-fired its most advanced missile, putting the United States mainland within range, and also declared itself to be “a responsible nuclear power.” There have been words over the past months. One of the exchanges was amusing by itself when Kim Jong-Un stated on New Year’s Day to the North Korean media which was subsequently repeated by the world’s media almost like an amplifier repeating his statement of, “The entire United States is within range of our nuclear weapons, and a nuclear button is always on my desk. This is reality, not a threat.” (See video below.) President Trump, refusing to be outdone and insisting on him having the final word in the exchange, Tweeted in reply, “Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!” Not to be outdone Kim Jong-Un included during a New Year’s Day address that North Korea would spend 2018 mass producing nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles, and that the United States would never be able to start a war against them. The media said virtually nothing about Kim Jong-Un’s escalation in the rhetoric as such does not fit the ‘Trump is so childlike while the other rulers are mature adults’ formula.

 

 

There has been an increase in tensions in the Korean peninsula, with North Korea carrying out missile and nuclear tests, in defiance of international pressure and United Nations resolutions. But despite the one-upmanship between President Trump and Kim Jong-Un, there has been the appearance of offering of an olive branch from North Korea to South Korea. Mostly unnoticed was the poison ivy wrapped around the olive branch. When the North Korean dictator mentioned his willingness, read desire to, send a delegation to the Winter Olympic Games that the south is hosting in the city of Pyeongchang in February; South Korean President Moon Jae-in eagerly agreed almost as if he believed that Kim Jong-Un was offering him a great honor rather than begging for inclusion into a worldwide event. It has been fairly obvious since the election of South Korean President Moon Jae-in that he places finding some means of working to unite the peninsula. President Moon Jae-in favors a peaceful reunification between the two Koreas. Moon Jae-in promised when elected that his first visit would be to North Korea. President Moon Jae-in has a very left wing, liberal positions with the two main points being Human Rights and Peninsula Unification. The difficulty comes in because Kim Jong-Un is willing to unify the Peninsula with one small concession, that the North Korean government is granted the positions of power and Kim Jong-Un is granted complete power. Kim Jong-Un has absolutely no desire for sharing power with South Korea, he is a firm believer that Communism is the governing force in the world and has it in his head that he will be amongst those who will rule the world when the time comes.

 

North Korean Missile Classes and Ranges

North Korean Missile Classes and Ranges

 

Kim Jong-Un was raised believing he is a divine being just as were his father and grandfather before him. So the world has an unbalanced megalomaniacal leader who believes that he is the chosen one to lead the Korean Peninsula to be the world’s leader into a new age. Kim Jong-Un believes that he is amongst the chosen to lead the Communist World Governance into the future in the Communist version of a New World Order. This is a different New World Order from the one the capitalists are working to achieve as it is based on Marxism. We really do not desire either New World Order as either one places people who think they know exactly what everybody requires and how to run the world and they believe they have all the answers. We know we have the answers and that the answers are simply every person is granted the space in which to conduct their lives, the right to choose how to live, the respect to be given the freedom to choose their friends and everyone is permitted to lead their own life with all the possible freedoms and liberty possible. We see a world with some very basic principles, which grant everyone the right to their own choices in life and believe that the reason for governance is to protect the people from the interference of the governance. There is a code for life that has existed for a very long time, which permits each person the room for their privacy of thought and independence of actions. The way of life we follow has every person responsible for their own actions, their permitting each person to live their own way responsible for their actions and everyone living respectfully granting all their space and independence. Unfortunately, many today have no use for our way of life calling it ancient and outdated. Rabbi Hillel stated the rules for life while standing on one foot as explained in the famous account in the Talmud (Shabbat 31a) tells about a gentile who wanted to convert to Judaism. This happened not infrequently, and this individual stated that he would accept Judaism only if a rabbi would teach him the entire Torah while he, the prospective convert, stood on one foot. First, he went to Shammai, who, insulted by this ridiculous request, threw him out of the house. The man did not give up and went to Hillel. This gentle sage accepted the challenge, and said:

“What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation of this – go and study it!”

FYI, we are far from done with North Korea and Kim Jong-Un, as he will develop into another of those causing disruptions and making the world far more dangerous.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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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

 

December 5, 2017

Partisanship and North Korean Threat

 

The November 28, 2017, ICBM missile test by North Korea of a Hwasong-15 missile, the first test of this missile, was a development which forced the world, the United States particularly, to be placed on notice that Kim Jong-un just entered near parity with all other nations in launch capabilities. The missile reached an altitude of around 4475 km (2780 miles) and traveled some 950 km downrange with a flight time of almost one hour. If fired on a more traditional attack trajectory, then the Hwasong-15 would easily be able to reach anywhere in the United States and the world (see map below for ranges of previous tests including the Hwasong-14 ICBM). This latest missile is considered to be capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. Whether North Korea has the technology to produce a tactically usable warhead has been debated by Pentagon and CIA personnel. The two questions which would require North Korea to be capable of making a tactically usable weapon come down to miniaturization of an actual weapon to sufficiently small size and weight, and survivability of reentry while retaining all capabilities. Most estimates grant the miniaturization part of the process, though some still have their doubts, but the jury is still out over the survivability part of the equation. We believe that North Korea has likely solved all of these problems and had done so even before Kim Jong-un came to power and he simply lacked the missile for delivery of the package. Now he has all the elements necessary making production and distribution of the missiles and warheads is all Kim Jong-un requires to have the ability to threaten the world whenever he chooses.

 

Hwasong-14 ICBM Estimated Range

Hwasong-14 ICBM Estimated Range

 

President Trump made a statement on the economy and tax cuts but began the media meeting with a short mention of the North Korean missile test in the video below. The remainder of his talk he stressed that the Democrat leaders of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, and the Senate, Chuck Schumer, were absent from the meeting to which they were invited for a discussion with the President and their Republican counterparts. The President noted that the Democrats and Republicans are far apart in their ideas for the country and the direction it should be required to move. The main differences were defined as crime, immigration and national defense and how these issues should affect the budget and the issue of tax cuts and simplification. It was obvious that this meeting with the media had been planned for addressing economic priorities and that the President knew and was well prepared to make hay out of the Democrat leadership refusal to join him just to be harangued over their positions. Sometimes a small shame is preferable to a drawn out spectacle, and the President is long on spectacle and thus far short on production. This has mostly to do with two simple facts, one blaming the Democrat Party and the other the Republican Party.

 

 

We will return to the budget, taxes and the divided Congress and nation, but first a short trip to the United Nations where the Security Council held an emergency meeting on North Korea and their Ballistic Missile Launch. Below is a video about said meeting with commentary from United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley as well as the Ambassadors from Japan, Great Britain, China, Russia and South Korea. The approximately one hour meeting spent much time on the seriousness of the breaking of the United Nations placed limitations on North Korea. The Breaking of this treaty is a serious and threatening action which requires the United Nations to take steps. The estimate was given that if flown on a standard trajectory it would have a range in excess of 13000 kilometers. The polar circumference of the globe is 39,931 kilometers which means that this North Korean ICBM could readily strike anywhere over around two-thirds of the planet with Africa and South America being the only continents not mostly within range and leaving the southern most parts of Australia beyond the missile range. This missile is the game changer which President Trump had set as one of the parameters of the North Korean capabilities which would force the United States to act. The other items included miniaturized warhead capability and reentry-hardened capability, both of which may already have been realized. The problem is without an actual successful deployment of a nuclear weapon on an ICBM, hopefully into an empty part of the oceans and after warnings with adequate time for ships exiting the effected area, there is no means of actually verifying these last two items.

 

 

The meeting was as much of a punch-down on the Democrats and list of their opposing attitudes for the future of the United States. The fact is that the Democrat Party members in Congress, both the House and Senate, will vote almost exclusively as a single entity opposing everything and anything which President Trump or the Republicans attempt to pass as legislation. The President also took a jab at the media for their misreporting on his words parsing his words looking for any single misstep to flaunt before the people. The recent Senate passage of tax reform legislation was a perfect display of both problems faced by President Trump and the shortfall of the Republican leadership in and outside of Congress. The tax cuts were passed without a single Democrat voting in favor, not a single Democrat Senator voting favorably. This has become the expected voting by the Democrats where their leadership has taken an extreme position of complete and total opposition. The sole example of the Republican opposition of President Obama and his legislation was against Obamacare, otherwise the Republicans were permitted to vote their conscience and representing the desires and needs of their constituents. Not so from the Democrat Party which has decided that everything passed which was not of their drafting will be opposed totally and completely until the Republicans realize the error of their ways as the majority party and allow the Democrats, who are in the minority and do not hold the White House, to write and pass into law everything according to their demands and ideas. Very simply stated, the Democrats have decided that only their party may lead the country and they will oppose everything not of their authorship. That is more dysfunction than principled stance. A principled stance would permit those in the party who felt that something written by the other party was worthy, could support that legislation. That is no longer permitted by the Democrat Party and any Democrat voting for any legislation will not be permitted funds from the central party and may face party sponsored opposition in the primaries. That is not the actions of a functional party, that is the attempt of the few to assume all-powerful positions given even the slightest opportunity.

 

The other side of the coin has exactly the opposite problem, as there are a group of Republicans, specifically in the Senate, who willingly oppose the Party leadership and especially the President and his proposals by refusing to pass necessary legislation. Even this tax legislation was held up by the ‘Never Trumpsters’ until they were permitted to weaken some parts and add their own pet propositions which were not desired by the President as his aim was to simplify the tax code and this small set of demands accomplished the opposite. These are the same Republicans who while guaranteed their legislation to repeal Obamacare was guaranteed under President Obama passed legislation calling for exactly that over one hundred times yet now that such legislation would be received with great enthusiasm by President Trump, this small group of anti-Trump Republicans who believe that only political functionaries such as themselves should be permitted to seek the White House, have refused to try and repeal Obamacare now. These few recalcitrant Republican Senators, which include a former losing Presidential candidate, believe their positions are more popular than those upon which the President of the United States campaigned. These problematic Republicans could guarantee that President Trump would be reelected simply passing two or three of the Presidential programs, tax reform, border wall and stronger immigration vetting, to make the Presidential 2020 campaign one based on accomplishments. They appear to prefer he fail and the Democrats gain control. This may be because they find it easier to oppose from the minority than act as a majority and take responsibility for the country and the needs of the people. So the two problems the nation is facing are the complete opposition by the Democrats and the lack of unity in the Republicans. There will always be those who side with the other side and others who insist on the limelight not capable of sharing center stage. If they only would realize that they are but the clown left to entertain before the adults take the stage, perhaps they would act responsibly for a change.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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