Beyond the Cusp

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

 

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

 

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