Beyond the Cusp

May 27, 2018

Story Why Trump Cancelled Korea Summit

 

The story we hear from most news organizations is that President Trump is thinking like a small time real estate broker where walking away from a deal is part of the negotiation tactic. They claim he is trying to look big and tough and out man Kim Jong-un and in the process is becoming even more of a clown. They claim he has now brought the Korean Peninsula and the world to the brink of Armageddon. The accusations don’t stop there. He has been said to be acting like a schoolyard bully throwing a tantrum just to get more attention. What has been amusing about this last accusation, and to some extent most of the others, is that it more accurately describes the actions of Kim Jong-un and the entirety of the North Korean power structure including, or maybe especially, the military.

 

Let us put this as plainly as we know how, or at least try. Let’s pretend we are the President of the United States. We have appeared to have pressured the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un into agreeing to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and to end any ballistic missile tests and nuclear tests. The North Korean strongman also has agreed to forgo the normal protestations of upcoming already known and planned joint South Korean-American military maneuvers. There has been a date set to meet in Singapore. Then when administration personnel sent to Singapore to work out the logistics of the summit attempt to contact North Korea to engage them in the planning and set up formalities, the North Koreans completely shut them out refusing to allow any communications. An administration senior official connected to the planned talks said, “The summit was halted because we couldn’t get them (North Korea) to pick up the phone. There was radio silence.” In other words, it was impossible to even set up the seating or achieve any of the necessities when the other side is refusing to even confirm who will be attending from their side, when anyone will be arriving, or even if they actually expect there to be talks. The North Korean actions were an initial signal that they were backing out of the talks.

 

This was accompanied during the same time-frame by two broken promises, two breaches of their former agreements. The North Koreans issued a major objection to legal military exercises between the South Koreans and Americans which they had stated they would accept without protest. Then they refused to denuclearize in a complete manner or to permit their denuclearization to be verifiable in any way. They basically were hedging away from everything they had stated in order to have the meeting such that they were now to use these items as bargaining chips in an effort, most likely, to gain economic relief, sanctions relief and some form of aid package which would include large amounts of food and energy to be given over by the United States in order to have a second meeting and for them to make these same promises a second time. They would demand these relief packages in aid and sanctions relief almost immediately for a meeting later. They would then renege on further discussions and return to their former habits of ballistic missile tests and nuclear research and bomb tests along with intermittent bluster about destroying Guam or possibly upping the ante to Hawaii. This was the exact same actions that previous meetings with North Korea had taken and probably should have been expected, and might have been expected, by the White House and administration members.

 

But even this was not the straw that broke the Trump’s back; there was one last insult which sent everything over the edge. North Korean Vice Minister Choe Son Hui, in addition to officials from North Korea calling Vice President Mike Pence a “dummy,” threatened, “Whether the United States will meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown is entirely dependent upon the decision and behavior of the United States.” This is old school communist bluster of meet our demands or face complete and total annihilation. This did not work with President Reagan and it will work even less with President Trump. If there is one thing President Trump knows, it is mindless bluster and extreme hot air, both of which he has proven countless times to the media’s delight. President Trump knows that Kim Jong-un, despite being as unbalanced as he has shown, is not near stupid enough to trigger a nuclear exchange with the United States. That is especially true with President Trump in the White House being advised by former CIA Chief Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State, former Marine four-star General as Secretary of Defense, Jim Mattis, whose nickname was “Mad dog,” and former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton as National Security Advisor who more than once claimed, “The Secretariat building in New York has thirty-eight stories. If it lost ten stories, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference.” With this group around President Trump, how can anybody claim that Trump is the least sane person in the room?

 

Still, threaten President Trump with a nuclear stand-off was exactly the path that the North Korean’s decided was in their best interests and the disloyal opposition exploded at President Trump having the audacity to be offended and cancelling the summit. They honestly are advising that the United States should walk into a room and negotiate with a group which broke every previous agreement ever made with almost every former President for the past quarter century and who had just broken every agreed condition for the meeting and threatened to start a nuclear exchange. How much weaker a position would they prefer and how could one imagine one short of sending an aid package as a concession to get them to the table. Wait, that is the exact position every President has taken with Israel since President Jimmy Carter, both Democrat and Republican, when they demanded that Israel sacrifice land, release terrorists, eventually even terrorists with blood soaked hands, and sometimes both land and release terrorists. Thankfully, President Trump has taken a different track here as well and especially with his moving the Embassy to Jerusalem, many thanks for this.

 

President Trump and Kim Jong-un in Missile Face-off

President Trump and Kim Jong-un in Missile Face-off

 

President Trump knows as a businessman that one does not walk into a meeting in a position of surrender; you do not start any negotiations by surrender before even sitting down. President Trump was possibly going to let some of Kim Jong-un’s antics fall to the wayside and see what could be achieved at least through meeting head to head and actually talking. The problem was that Kim Jong-un heaped insult of refusal to even talk upon backtracking on every point and every other general insult he could find and then threatened war if President Trump did not do his bidding at the talks, it became obvious that Kim Jong-un was not taking President Trump seriously and was going to keep upping the level to see where he would balk and if President Trump meekly met him despite the ever rising levels of insult, then he had a measure of Trump as somebody he could walk right over. Now Kim Jong-un is very probably going to get an entirely different measure of President Trump as it is likely that President Trump will grant Kim Jong-un a brief amount of time to be the meek one and try to undo the damage he has wrought before upping the ante from the White House either through China or simply tightening the sanctions further. Now Kim Jong-un has been informed that this is a different President who is willing to only negotiate as equals and if you refuse that, then he will insist on negotiating with you once you surrender all but unconditionally and maybe even that.

 

As for the immediate future, it is in the better interest of Kim Jong-un if he finds the better judgement and comes to President Trump offering peace and honesty and forgets the one-upmanship. It will also be better for the people of North Korea for their “furious leader” to step off his high horse and find some means of joining the rest of the world striving for peace and not world conquest or even peninsula conquest. Unfortunately for the people of North Korea, Kim Jong-un is not all that concerned with their welfare but rather more concerned with appearing like a giant on the world’s stage. Kim Jong-un needs to learn that he is nowhere near a giant even on his peninsula as the South Korean economy and standard of living is so far and above that of North Korea that there is no comparison. Of course, it is that wealth which Kim Jong-un strives to take in order to steal everything from them as well and use their economic engine and manufacturing to bolster his military and forge greater nuclear research for better and more deadly nuclear warheads. There is a great amount of parallel between North Korea and Iran as there is between Kim Jong-un and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Both of these leaders believe they are a god or are in direct communication with their god. Both leaders are more interested in building their militaries and nuclear weapons capabilities and missile delivery systems than the welfare of their people. The main difference is that Kim Jong-un rules a bankrupt nation with an economy on life support and even that is failing while the other has economic problems but with excessively large infusions of cash over the past decade is now capable of causing great disturbances over the entirety of the Middle East. By cancelling the meeting with Kim Jong-un, President Trump has placed the gauntlet down gently in a controlled and nonthreatening manner in what we see as an attempt to settle this amicably without any threats or actual violence but firmly enough to send the message that unless Kim Jong-un capitulates and returns to civil behavior, then things will become more agitated and worse for the North Korean leader. Perhaps a shot directly at Kim Jong-un and placing an embargo on caviar, French champagne and fine cigars will hit him hard enough to make him see that President Trump is no fool and can directly strike at Kim Jong-un’s lifestyle.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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May 25, 2018

Pompeo and Iran Faceoff

 

Pompeo is the new United States Secretary of State and he made a grand and flamboyant entrance. Apparently, President Trump finally got exactly what he desired at the State Department, someone who understands he works for the President and not in competition with the President when it comes to foreign policy. Pompeo understands he is there in order to advise and explain the implications, the intricacies, the consequences, the repercussions, the potential reactions of allies and adversaries plus, when requested, his opinion tempered by his years with the CIA. Pompeo has now stepped out with the suggestions for Iran to follow if they wish to be welcomed into the family of nations, or at least avoid sanctions from the United States. So, we guess that the best idea now is to produce the dozen demands from President Trump as outlined by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

 

1. Iran must declare to the IAEA a full account of the prior military dimensions of its nuclear program, and permanently and verifiably abandon such work in perpetuity.
2. Iran must stop enrichment and never pursue plutonium reprocessing. This includes closing its heavy water reactor.
3. Iran must also provide the IAEA with unqualified access to all sites throughout the entire country.
4. Iran must end its proliferation of ballistic missiles and halt further launching or development of nuclear-capable missile systems.
5. Iran must release all US citizens, as well as citizens of our partners and allies, each of them detained on spurious charges.
6. Iran must end support to Middle East terrorist groups, including Lebanese Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
7. Iran must respect the sovereignty of the Iraqi government and permit the disarming, demobilization, and reintegration of Shia militias.
8. Iran must also end its military support for the Houthi militia and work towards a peaceful political settlement in Yemen.
9. Iran must withdraw all forces under Iranian command throughout the entirety of Syria.
10. Iran, too, must end support for the Taliban and other terrorists in Afghanistan and the region, and cease harboring senior al-Qaeda leaders.
11. Iran, too, must end the IRG Qods Force’s support for terrorists and militant partners around the world.
12. Iran must end its threatening behavior against its neighbors — many of whom are US allies. This certainly includes its threats to destroy Israel, and its firing of missiles into Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. It also includes threats to international shipping and destructive — and destructive cyberattacks.

 

The Dry Bones cartoons described these demands as President Trump demanding “Unconditional Surrender” from Iran. Others have tried to represent them as demanding that Iran be like any peaceful democratic nations. There might be a small problem there; Iran is anything but a peaceful democratic nation, it is a Theocracy disguised as a democratic nation but run as a Mullocracy where the Supreme Leader who receives his orders from Allah, or so we are to believe, and whatever he dreams up in his overblown egotistical imagination is to be implemented. Iran responded with his message, which went like this, “The conditions of the United States are meaningless. Iran has no need for anyone’s permission to act in the Middle East. Our missile programs will be determined according to Iranian needs.” Meanwhile, from Israel we heard from the leader of the Jewish Home Party, Minister Naftali Bennett, who said, “The bottom line of Pompeo’s speech and the new policy toward Iran is that it can either invest in improving the lives of Iranians or invest in taking the lives of other people. It cannot do both.” The initial reaction here was a simple recognition that the gauntlet has been thrown, and that is where we will start.

 

Display featuring missiles and portrait of Iran's Supreme Leader Khamenei (Reuters)

Display featuring missiles and portrait of Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei (Reuters)

 

The Iranian threat is being met head on by President Trump, which he announced through Mike Pompeo’s speech. Now comes the long game, how long will depend on a number of conditions which will be recognized along the path as we progress. We might be watching the pages of history being written before us in the newspapers and blogs which cover the news of our age. The gauntlet was lain out in the Pompeo speech and responded to be the Iranian spokespeople in which they basically told President Trump, bring it. The ball is back in the court of President Trump and Secretary of State Pompeo. Iran is not going to comply, not now, not ever. Iran is willing to push the confrontation to whatever point it takes and will destroy their entire economy and the lives of thousands, if not millions, of Iranian citizens just to prove that they cannot be intimidated. The Iranian leaders, the Mullahs, all believe that they are destined to be the eventual rulers of the world, and as such cannot be intimidated, defeated or otherwise deterred from completing Allah’s will on Earth. So, the next step is going to be the initial sanctions as President Trump did say that the sanctions would be applied in steps getting ever more restrictive, as sanctions tend to be.

 

Where does this end? Where do things such as this ever end? When two nations, both of which believe the world is their oyster, come at loggerheads, there can be only one end, either one of the two backs down and accepts the other being of greater power or they go all in in a contest of one another’s mettle, and that means another war in the Middle East. That brings us to the big question, which nation will be the one to initiate hostilities and in what form will that attack take? That attack’s form will depend upon which nation initiates the actual hot war. The United States would likely use conventional weaponry and any initial attack will target the Iranian missile launch locations and their known nuclear research and enrichment facilities even to include the Fordow site near Qom built by tunneling deep into the mountain in an attempt to make it impervious to attack, but the entrances are above ground and not impervious, just defended by the Russian S-300 anti-aircraft systems. The escalations will be planned such that they do not impact the citizens of Iran, as President Trump rightfully believes that they are the ultimate weapon for ending the rule of the Mullahs. President Trump would most prefer that there be a revolution by the Iranian people to remove the Mullahs and install governance of their choosing. Then there is the problematic situation as to how the United States could assist the Iranian people without actually declaring or entering open warfare. The preferred means of accomplishing such a task usually falls to some of the most well trained warriors on the planet, the Navy Seals and the Army Delta Force.

 

Fordow Nuclear Site Near Qom Built by Tunneling Deep into the Mountain

Fordow Nuclear Site Near Qom Built by Tunneling Deep into the Mountain

 

But what if the Iranians decide to declare their war first? This would be where the United States anti-missile systems world-wide would face a real wartime test. Iran would likely use a multi-pronged attack. There would be a number of high altitude nuclear missiles aimed towards the heart of the United States which would be specially set for maximum electro-magnetic pulse. These warheads would initially be launched disguised as scientific satellites. These might even have actual equipment which would operate just as a weather satellite or other normative satellite. They could be placed in orbit years ahead of their use or simply months ahead of their use. These would be assisted with normal, high-explosive thermonuclear weapons launched at the major cities of the United States. These might even be launched from freighters which would be following normal cargo transport routes only deviating in the final hours to reach their launch points surrounding the United States. Such launchings would be difficult to intercept, as they would have flight times of less than one hour. The world would face an extreme situation, as the United States is the largest exporter of food responsible for feeding a large part of the world’s population. It is almost unnecessary to point out that the United States retaliatory strike would bring the end of Iran which would be carried out by the United States Boomers, their nuclear carrying submarines.

 

The world had best hope there exists a third means of ending this standoff, and unfortunately there does exist such a solution. The other solution could come in three years or seven, all depending on United States political elections. The change can come simply due to a new President being elected. In three years, President Trump faces a reelection campaign. Trump is quite likely to face his first test just retaining the Republican nomination, as he is sure to be contested. This is highly irregular, but there is a major part of the Republican Party which seriously desires removing the Trump blight they believe he has leveled against their party. Even should President Trump manage to continue on as the Republican nominee, the primary would leave him as an even more damaged candidate than he would otherwise have been. Then President Trump would face his Democrat contester in the General Election. Even should President Trump win reelection, he would not be permitted to run in the following election four years later. Should Iran choose, they could simply outwait President Trump and simply suffer the sanctions until somebody more favorable to Iran is elected. Even should the next President decide to continue the sanctions, eventually there will be somebody elected who would decide to lift the sanctions and seek better relations with Iran and the Mullahs. The United States might potentially elect a President who would turn out to be even more pro-Iranian than was any previous President. Such a selection could be one such as Keith Ellison, Abdul El-Sayed or Saba Ahmed or some other candidate who would wish to support relations with Iran (we cannot actually claim any of the above would support Iran).

 

Then there is a fourth possibility which could lead almost anywhere. Iran could decide that the sanctions would only make them weaker in the future and move on whatever target they desired next rather than wait for time to pass. They might initiate a conflict with Saudi Arabia, Israel or even Turkey. Iran could choose any target they have already in their plans for world conquest which the Supreme Leader, both Ali Khamenei and Ruhollah Khomeini, his predecessor. This is the destine and their belief is so deep that they believe that they rule the second Persian Empire, just as Turkey’s President Erdogan believes he is the first Caliph of the new Ottoman Empire. One can only wonder what other leaders hiding in the Middle East believe that they are some reincarnation or successor to some past empire, possibly Egypt, Babylon, Assyria, Carthaginian or choose your favorite lost empire. The only current people with delusions who are of any danger are the two mentioned above. Erdogan could have been contained had only the United States State Department have given just a small amount of encouragement to the Kurds to declare independence and have the United States provide a modicum of assistance. Iran, on the other hand, is already establishing their bases for the conquest of the Middle East after which they will need to choose either Europe or North Africa. We would make our best bet on Northern Africa, as they would desire to fully convert and bring the Islamic World behind any further conquests. Thusfar, with minimal notice from most of the world beyond the Israelis and the vanquished, Iran has established a corridor reaching from the Indian Ocean through to the Mediterranean Sea. They have also established a second front against Saudi Arabia in the south from Yemen to compliment their front from Iraq. One can only wonder what might happen when Turkey sweeping across the northern Kurdish regions in Syria comes to the attention of the Iranians as they believe that Syria is their sandbox. The world sure is an interesting place, particularly in the Middle East. Let us hope it does not get any more interesting.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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

 

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