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



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


August 15, 2017

Trump and a War with North Korea


We have an added introduction. The latest reports as of just before posting was that North Korea had backed down and decided to talk and cease their missile launching. We feel the article will still be relevant, as Kim Jong-un will likely play games similar to those we are all here very familiar with from Mahmoud Abbas. He will make demands, make half promises and then claim that the United States reneged on their promise, thus he will not need to keep his promise. Then more talking and somewhere between Thanksgiving and Christmas Kim Jong-un will announce he has had it with the American double-dealing and perversity and lies and return to firing missiles. The probable reason Kim Jong-un even agreed in the first place is he needs time to manufacture the weapons his latest nuclear breakthrough allows him to build. First, he needs to perfect the manufacturing process and then go into production. After he has made some number of warheads, thermonuclear warheads most likely, then he will return to his threatening ways as then he will have a number of deployable weapons making his threats real. For that reason, the article will still apply somewhere near when Americans are doing their Christmas shopping. It will just add more joy to the season, not.


The way we have read the potential conflict between the United States and North Korea has us somewhat confused. Much of the news appears to center on the threats President Trump has made in reference to the continued missile and other tests by the North Korean military and what President Trump has framed as threats coming from North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un. The framing has appeared to place the threats as coming from President Trump and any threats made by Kim Jong-un have been in reaction to things said by President Trump. This has given the impression that should any actual fighting or launchings of missiles should erupt that it would be on President Trump that all blame should be placed. The theory is that President Trump should never have stood so strongly opposing to the tests and actions by North Korea or to the statements from Kim Jong-un and instead should have sought to have coddled Kim Jong-un by seeking to placate the dictator and give him some room to retain dignity by being able to claim he had stood up to the United States, demanded relief of some kind or other demands and in the end probably just required sending funds and possibly other material support in order to end any potential for confrontation.


Then there are other reports which claim that Kim Jong-un has intentionally provoked President Trump and threatened actual missile attacks and implied heavily that such an attack may very well carry a nuclear warhead should the North Koreans decide that was a necessity. They have stated that President Trump has been responding to North Korean provocations and been attempting to prevent any such attack and bring an end to the North Korean nuclear program before they develop an active nuclear stockpile of weapons, of nuclear warheads of immeasurable potential for destruction. There have been reports of Kim Jong-un making threats to strike Guam if the United States does not back off their provocations. Exactly what these provocations are has been only vaguely referred to in most of the media, well, almost all of the media. So there appears that there are two contrasting media viewpoints with one claiming that the threats and belligerence has come from President Trump forcing retorts by Kim Jong-un and the other the opposite with the North Korean actions pushing this crisis and President Trump simply trying to protect the interests of the United States and her allies in the region.


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

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


We wondered ourselves exactly who has been pushing whose buttons. We thought back and remember some of the beginnings of this ever-worsening crisis. The North Koreans have been suspected of working in conjunction with the Iranians. There have been reports that Iran has invested large quantities of funding with the North Koreans and there have been North Korean scientists witnessing Iranian missile launches, Iranian engineers witnessing North Korean nuclear tests and reports of cooperation to a high degree between these two adversaries of the United States. Reporting on the Iranian agreement reached by President Obama and the Iranians stated that Iran would be capable of producing nuclear weaponry before 2025. This is interesting as some have theorized that Iran already has nuclear weapons and had tested them in North Korea. For this service, the Iranians presumably provided the North Koreans with funding and in return, additionally in this deal the North Koreans provided the Iranians with missiles and carriers modeled after Russian ballistic missiles. And where did we find corroborations for this, CNBC (see video at link below).


The dangerous tie between North Korea and Iran


The entire North Korea imbroglio has been playing out exactly as one might expect from a B-movie. Kim Jong-un has thrown missile after missile into the Japan Sea and Pacific Ocean as an open challenge to President Trump.

March 6, of four ballistic missiles.
April 5, a failed launch exploding immediately after launch.
April 15, in the parade celebrating the birth of its founder, Kim Il Sung, displays several new ballistic missiles.
April 16, there was another failed launch exploding after launch.
May 14, tests of one of the missiles displayed in the parade which experts assess that it is capable of a range of 4,800 kilometers.
July 4, North Korea successfully flight tested its first intercontinental ballistic missile, the Hwasong-14, and with that launch it included a functional reentry vehicle, something not stressed seriously enough by reports but the return to splashdown confirmed this fact.
August 8, a leaked Defense Intelligence Agency report found that North Korea has produced miniaturized nuclear warheads.
August 9, North Korean made a statement detailing a plan to test four Hwasong-12 intermediate range ballistic missiles.


President Trump did something by sending an aircraft carrier group into the Sea of Japan off the Korean Peninsula. Kim Jong-un launched another missile, this time straight over Japan registering alarms from the Japanese detection systems causing an alert. President Trump upped his ante sending a second aircraft carrier group to join the first. A third aircraft carrier was deployed to the area to take part in war games with the Japanese and South Koreans. That was the height of the United States presence but still Kim Jong-un continued leading to the latest threat to strike Guam. The United States since deployed additional bombers to Guam and other stations in the Pacific Rim. This is where the world stands at this point. There has been quite a large amount of talk about the prospect of imminent war between the United States and North Korea. There is one large and critical item, this noise and bluster is mostly relegated to the media with the intent of making President Trump appear unsettled and potentially unstable and thus forcing a situation which could result in war, or as they love putting it, nuclear war. The problem with their claims is that President Trump has promised “Fire and fury” should Kim Jong-un actually attack Guam, Japan, South Korea or anywhere else which falls within the range of his missiles. Kim Jong-un has been the sole person to mention striking anything with a nuclear missile though only through innuendo. The United States does not require nuclear weapons to strike at North Korea and probably could use minimal weaponry in a strike to simply decapitate the leadership of North Korea and end the communist tragedy which had victimized the people of North Korea since early in the 1950’s. The most serious threat is to Seoul, South Korea as North Korea has sufficient artillery and rocket artillery to all but wipe the Seoul metropolitan area from the map. That is and will remain the most pertinent threat held by the North Koreans, as they would only require a few salvos and a full launch cycle of the MLRS (multiple launch rocket system) to cause unrecoverable damages south of the border. The North Korean Army has sufficient troops located near the border to completely overrun the South Korean and United States troops guarding the DMZ (demilitarized zone). There are approximately thirty-thousand United States Army personnel assigned to the DMZ.


President Trump has also attempted to have China intervene and has pressed the United Nations and passed through the United Nations Security Council sanctions against North Korea to apply financial pressures into play. President Trump received a unanimous vote putting the sanctions in place, quite an accomplishment considering the record of the Security Council’s past. The one thing which can be assured is that President Trump will not break with the United States not being the ones to initiate a war without exhausting every other avenue and will continue seeking Chinese intervention, as they are the North Koreans closest ally officially. We felt the need for the official comment as nobody knows the full extent of the cooperation and reliance upon one another between North Korea and Iran which may actually be one another’s best friends, just not officially. Even if Iran is the best friend on Kim Jong-un’s speed-dial and rolodex, the Iranians are not about to be of any assistance to the United States and this is nothing new as they would not have assisted President Obama either despite what the media may have attempted to pass off as truth. The final reality is the leader most likely to initiate a war will be Kim Jong-un but President Trump will be the one to end it as well as the best hope to avoid the need or probability for war.


Beyond the Cusp


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