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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November 15, 2017

Could United States Forces Prevent North Korean Attack?

 

Lieutenant General (ret.) Jan-Marc Jouas wrote in a leaked letter to members of the US Congress, US troops “are vastly outnumbered by North Korean forces, as well as (South Korean) forces that will conduct the overwhelming majority of the fighting.” General Jouas adds, “Unlike every conflict since the last Korean War, we will not be able to build up our forces prior to the start of hostilities.” May we add that in our opinion, the general is a flaming optimist. There is anywhere, depending on the assessed threat levels, between thirty-five thousand and fifty thousand United States Army forces on the line at any given time backed up by what is considered a significant number of South Korean forces. They are backed up by air power and artillery stationed in South Korea as well as air-power from Guam, the Philippines, Hawaii, Japan and the naval forces from United States Seventh Fleet (Seventh Fleet Battle Group pictured below).

 

United States Seventh Fleet Battle Group

United States Seventh Fleet Battle Group

 

The following is our own assessment of the situation for the United States forces stationed in South Korea and their civilian employees and the rest of the population of South Korea. They are all toast should North Korea decide to initiate a war. The initial threat would be the launching of rockets and firing of artillery which might include chemical weapon rounds and would lay waste to much of the northern sections of Seoul. The initial firings and launchings could be utilized to a devastating effect on the entire length of the DMZ emplacements which defend South Korea and are often referred to as the first line of defense. The name we gave these soldiers was the trip wire which would notify command that everything they prayed would never happen, was in fact happening. These troops were never designed to prevent North Korean troops from invading South Korea, they were placed there such that the United States would have an excuse to reengage in the actual longest running war in which the United States has ever been engaged. The Korean War never ended, it only was suspended with the signing of an armistice which is merely a cease-fire. Every time even a single bullet crosses the DMZ, even an accidental discharge, the armistice is technically broken and the other side could reengage in hostilities while blaming the other side for actually initiating the renewed war. Other than the troops “guarding” the DMZ, the population of Seoul would be the other major group of victims as North Korea has made everything clear that they would intentionally target all of Seoul murdering civilians. This is their intentions despite North Korea being a signatory to the Geneva Convention Protocols.

 

Known North Korea Artillery Sites with Range of Fire

Known North Korea Artillery Sites with Range of Fire

 

In the end, the resulting carnage would be something the Korean Peninsula would find recoverable but requiring decades if not centuries. North Korea would likely face destruction on a scale previously thought unimaginable should this occur while President Trump is in office as it is doubtful Secretary of Defense James Mattis, a retired Marine four star General as well as Commander of United States Central Command, Commander of the United States Joint Forces Command, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation and whose dress blues are decorated with an impressive amount of salad, would even wait for President Trump to order an attack before readying all the forces which could conceivably engage North Korea to prepare to act immediately when given the go command. He did not earn the nickname “Mad Dog” for a passive demeanor, so one would expect him to be ready for any threat. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson may try to be a voice of reasoned response and advise caution, which we would not be surprised to hear, but between Secretary of Defense James Mattis, White House Chief of Staff and John F. Kelly, also a four star Marine General, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph F. Dunford, another four star Marine General and active as well, and if three retired Marine Four Star Generals were not sufficient to convince President Trump to overreact immediately, there would likely be one more voice demanding action, United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley. One might almost feel sorry for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson trying to make himself heard as the voice of reason calling for some degree of hesitation to try to end the confrontation without resorting to escalating the situation. Then again, we are prejudging that Secretary of State Tillerson would not also be in favor of making South Korea into an island off the coast of China.

 

The truth is that should Kim Jong Un actually desire uniting the Korean Peninsula knowing that the United States is tied by treaty and United Nations edict to come to the defense of South Korea should they be attacked by North Korea, Kim Jong Un would be more likely to act first on his threats against the United States as well as President Trump. This could be accomplished in any of a number of means. The most obvious is the expected firing of ICBMs at the major cities of the United States. There has been discussion of the southern vulnerability to orbital missile attack which the United States faces. This exists as the United States defenses were all designed in addressing an attack from the Soviet Union. North Korea is a new threat and was given access to the Soviet Union southern attack plans which they developed back in the 1980’s in order to address a means of avoiding the United States defenses. North Korea has already launched satellites which would have been capable of using just such an approach in the past. But this attack plan has given way to something more realistic, so keep reading.

 

North Korea has tested six nuclear weapons in the recent past. The last two were reportedly thermonuclear weapons, in the vernacular, hydrogen bombs. Most of their weapons have had much lower yields than what most expected such weapons to produce. There is but one rational explanation for this result. These weapons are intended for a specific purpose, to produce the maximum EMP which, for reasons which nuclear expert scientists can ably explain, are a special orientation which while producing the maximum EMP yield and also a rather dirty bomb with high but very short lived radiation, produce lower than expected explosive yields. In other words, they give less pop but more pizzazz than the normative thermonuclear device of old which was designed to destroy a city. These devices are called Super EMP devices which are the result of a concerted effort between the Soviet Union and China and provided to North Korea by their ever-caring provider, China. Yes, the same China which now claims to have lost their leash and declared Kim Jong Un to be outside their control. Of course that is simply only partly true as China and her trade and support financially of North Korea is responsible for most of the economy.

 

The threat such a weapon poses were it to be exploded high in the atmosphere over the central United States is potentially devastating. Such a detonation could conceivably destroy the majority of the North American electrical grid plunging all but the east and west coasts into blackout as the transformers would be overloaded and rendered inoperable. Estimates are that it could take as long as a decade to completely repair the damage. The worse case scenario would have well over three-quarters of the population of the United States perishing in the first year alone and also rendering the United States vulnerable to invasion. There would also be problems for central Canada though northern Canada and her coasts would be unaffected. The dire consequences of such an EMP device is well defined by Dr. Peter Vincent Pry as well as debunking the detractors who claim otherwise. Needless to point out, the United States vulnerability to such a devastating attack should be of far more importance than it has received to date. As pointed out by Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, “For 17 years the EMP Commission warned, in the words of the 2004 EMP Commission Executive Report: “The current vulnerability of U.S. critical infrastructures can both invite and reward attack if not corrected; however, correction is feasible and well within the Nation’s means and resources to accomplish.”

 

The truth is that the Congress and President were first briefed by the military upon their surprise discovery of the dangers of EMP after their own nuclear tests having knocked out electrical devices at a distant base after a nuclear above ground test in the Pacific theater. This was back in the 1950’s when adapting the electrical grid would have been far simpler and almost inexpensive by even the standards of the day. The electronic grid could be modernized and protected from an EMP device and implemented in 3-5 years at a cost of $10-20 billion. The complication is that every year the price will rise and the time required would also grow. Such an upgrade could include other upgrades making the grid intelligent which would lead to lower maintenance costs as well as numerous other advantages. But as nobody in Congress can place their name on an upgrade, the funding will go into items which often are unnecessary but are new constructions which Senators or Representatives can place their name on a sign taking credit. When someone becomes the first to place a sign taking credit for an upgrade, such as this resurfacing brought to you care of Senator Blah, perhaps upgrading on substations could begin. Until such a time or when the people find out the truth of the EMP vulnerability of the United States and entire North American electrical grids, then perhaps the required and necessary upgrades will be considered. What would it take to get these upgrades done, probably a miracle from Heaven. Still, the North Korean madman, Kim Jong Un, is most likely to attack the United States before attempting to unify the Korean Peninsula and such an attack would take the form of an EMP attack. As far as the United States preventing such an attack, that might take a miracle where just the right balance between bluster and pressure on China to pressure North Korea. There will always be those claiming that pressure should come from the United Nations Security Council sanctions where approximately seven sets of sanctions passed already have had absolutely minimal effect. This could be something which can be done with no desired result just to say it was tried, but some point of strength and threat need be put in place always leaving that small amount of doubt in Kim Jong Un’s mind just to keep him balanced, unbalanced is his normal condition.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

September 5, 2017

North Korea and a Time for War

 

United States Secretary of Defense James Mattis stated flatly that North Korea’s threats and actions were unacceptable and threatening the peace of the world. Secretary Mattis warned Kim Jong-un that North Korea would suffer a “massive military response” (video shown later in the article) should they attack the United States, her allies or protectorates. He stared further, “Any threat to the United States or its territories including Guam or our allies will be met with a massive military response.” Also, “Kim Jong-un should take heed the United Nations Security Council’s unified voice. All members unanimously agreed on the threat North Korea poses. And they remain unanimous in their commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. Because we are not looking to the total annihilation of a country, namely, North Korea.” Secretary Mathis added “many military options” are available to the United States and President Donald Trump insisted on being briefed on all of them.

 

Trump Kim Showdown at Guam

Trump Kim Showdown at Guam

 

Secretary of Defense James Mattis was flanked by Joint Chiefs Chairman General Joseph Dunford, another four star Marine General, and whenever you are facing two four star Marine Generals, you are looking at a real and viable threat. The generals of North Korea should also note that there was no State Department representative at the press briefing which to us signals that the playing of games and screaming threats back and forth are done. President Trump has apparently lost all patience with the petulant child leader who believes his own propaganda that he is a godly endowed beloved Dear Leader of North Korea and that his sweat does not stink, if you catch our drift. President Trump has a Congress to conquer and cow into submission, and we do not mean the Democrats but the presumed members of his own party which presumably are helping get his agenda accomplished. To do this, he needs to straighten out the Republicans in Congress or promise to run campaigns against them in the Primary Election and again in the General Election if that is what it demands to get them replaced with somebody willing to end Obamacare, cut and simplify the tax codes and finally address and keep a thousand and one promises he made along the campaign trail. President Trump would much rather work on reducing the load of government regulations which prevent small businesses from succeeding and find some way to inject more competition into the seeming monopolies which have all but taken control of the largest media network in the history of the world, the Internet.

 

North Korean missiles are simply flies to be Swatted by Trump

North Korean missiles are simply flies to be Swatted by Trump

 

North Korea and all of its missiles are simply flies which require swatting out of the air so that the President can get to rebuilding the United States as he had promised. But, Winston Churchill stated clearly once that, “To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war.” President Trump would likely agree wholeheartedly and already traveled that road. You might remember his use of “jaw-jaw” which was covered extensively by the media under claims that President Trump was going to start a nuclear war any second. President Trump never said anything about starting even the shooting of a rifle unless provoked by an actual attack by North Korea. The initial promise by President Trump to answer in kind with that little extra touch called complete destruction if North Korea followed through on any of their three most stated threats, the complete destruction of Seoul, South Korea and a full assault on South Korea, a missile attack which would potentially include nuclear warheads on Japan or striking Guam with nuclear tipped missiles destroying everything on the island American Protectorate was overshadowed by the media circus. It must have been because Kim Jong-un doubled down on his threat by claiming the nuclear attack on Guam was imminent and the decision was already made and the time was approaching. President Trump again chose to jaw-jaw promising to reply to such an attack with rain of “fire and fury” down on North Korea. The media went ballistic again screaming fearfully that war with North Korea was imminent. What was odd was they said almost nothing or absolutely nothing when Kim Jong-un backed down and remained silent and promised he was ending missile tests. When the threat of war fell to almost zero, the media went as silent as Kim Jong-un with nary a mention that President Trump had backed down North Korean lunatic President Kim Jong-un and instead started their non-stop coverage of Charlottesville and the war on Confederate War statues.

 

 

When Secretary of State Rex Tillerson decided to publically brag about the back down of Kim Jong-un by President Trump and his administration to the media, it proved to be a provocation according to Kim Jong-un. What needs to be understood is Kim Jong-un is unstable and fully believes that he is invincible and that North Korea can stand toe-to-toe against the United States militarily. Kim Jong-un also fully believes his own greatness and superiority in all things, after all, this is the man who shot an eighteen the first time he went out and played golf. When Secretary Rex Tillerson challenged Kim Jong-un, he challenged his manhood as far as the North Korean man-child was concerned, and nobody is permitted to insinuate that Kim Jong-un is anything but an invincible god-man. It was no surprise that Kim Jong-un launched missiles the very next day and the day after and has returned to threatening to launch nuclear tipped missiles at Guam. Secretary of Defense James Mattis flanked by Joint Chiefs Chairman General Joseph Dunford gave what are most probably President Trump’s final words on the matter and as long as this final warning is heeded, the world will return to a nice peaceful place with nothing further from Kim Jong-un. This is exactly what would happen in a perfect world.

 

The problem is we live in this world. President Trump is pretty much done with Kim Jong-un and the whole North Korean threat. He has requested the different scenarios available from the Pentagon and how each one would be implemented. The President has likely also requested other plans for situations likely including decapitation of Kim Jong-un, preemptive strike to destroy Kim Jong-un’s ability to launch attacks on Guam or anyone, and other scenarios as well as what additional steps are required to provide full missile protection from the North Korean threat. The most difficult jobs will be protecting South Korea and Japan, as they are geographically neighbors of North Korea. As far as the probability of an actual war between the United States and North Korea, that is highly improbable. It would be an exchange of military might which would last less than two days, more likely less than thirty-six hours. The most probable outcome will be that things will start to cool as China or Russia will talk Kim Jong-un down from the perch and ground him for the duration of Trump’s Presidency. A war, even one of under a week, between North Korea and the United States would not prove good for either of their present plans, as they desire a United States concerned with internal problems and turning a blind eye to their plans and operations. Russia has their little arrangements for Middle East hegemony with Iran and its Shite Crescent stretching across from the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea while China is quite busy creating their own Islands out of sand in the South China Sea. Neither of these ventures needs an alert and active United States looking around as to what needs addressing in this world.

 

President Trump is finished with jaw-jaw and will now allow Kim Jong-un to continue to scream and, with any luck, President Trump can avoid responding either in speech or by Tweet, then the world will be treated to Kim Jong-un sounding more and more desperate and futilely trying to gain some response from President Trump and permit him to gain some notoriety. This will be a test for the new Chief of Staff General John F. Kelly to control President Trump and keep him and the administration in a nonresponsive state no matter the challenge or threat from North Korea. This situation did not need to get this far but both China and Russia decided early on that they were not going to assist President Trump in any way and simply leave him to twist with a media roasting his every decision as if each were an impeachable offence and his entire administration suspected of the worst corruption or incompetence. They may have decided that this was a quick way to judge and frame exactly who President Trump is and what they can expect from him and how far he might be able to be pushed or pressured and what the signs are in order to judge him in the future. If this was their thinking, then they are also partially responsible along with the American media who spent their time tearing down the United States President than covering this conflict accurately and factually allowing Kim Jong-un to move the crisis to a more pitched height which was unforgivable. Should this terse conflict reach open warfare, there will be sufficient guilt and blame to go around but the only coverage which will be covered by the mainstream medias will be simply that President Trump was culpable for the entire mess and that Kim Jong-un was willing to end the crisis if only President Trump had simply made concessions and pay North Korea and provide them with fuel, food, money and who knows how much more and as North Korea has used this method of extortion multiple times before with success. Nowhere will one hear that the best solution for the people and the world would be the end of Kim Jong-un and the tyranny which has misruled the nation, all to the severe degradation of the lives of the people of North Korea, the real victims of the Kim family tragedy.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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