Beyond the Cusp

March 9, 2018

Back on the North Korea Merry-Go-Round

 

Once again, we hear out of Pyongyang the idea of giving up its nuclear weapons in return for U.S. security guarantees of nonaggression and which will also soon add the demand for food, energy and monetary aid. Speaking with reporters about these developments, President Donald Trump was quoted by AFP as having stated, “I believe they are sincere.” President Trump further stated, at a joint news conference with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, “I hope they’re sincere,” soon adding an ominous, “We’ll soon find out.” Further commentary from President Trump claimed, “I think they’re sincere also because of the sanctions and what we’re doing with respect to North Korea.” President Trump added, “(China) can do more but I think they’ve done more than they’ve ever done for our country before.”

 

Vice President Mike Pence in Washington added to the President’s message stating, “Whichever direction talks with North Korea go, we will be firm in our resolve. The United States and our allies remain committed to applying maximum pressure on the Kim regime to end their nuclear program. All options are on the table and our posture toward the regime will not change until we see credible, verifiable, and concrete steps toward denuclearization.” Yes, he actually demanded that Washington needs to see North Korea take concrete steps toward denuclearization.

 

The story appears to have gone something like this, starting from the beginning. President Trump took office and North Korea celebrated with additional missile and nuclear tests on an increased rate. President Trump and many Western Leaders became incensed protesting with great words of accusation and threats of embargoes. There were even threats of annihilation from invasions, conquering of South Korea by the North Koreans, North Korea threats to nuke Guam, President Trump threatened to destroy North Korea in return of their attacking anyone and most of all there was the hope that China would exercise some restraint on their “pet attack dog” Kim Jong-un.

 

This series of events lead us to fall into some kind of hazy trance, it was as if we were living something over once again which had been promised to have been settled and done before. When we emerged from the haze, still with thoughts swirling and slowly crystalizing we realized we were no longer in this century, we had magically been sent to the ending decade of the Twentieth Century. We were not in the scene but observing from above looking through some clear, glass aperture. We were at a newsstand with all the major newspapers of the day and an old man watching the news on an old television. They were talking of the crisis on the Korean Peninsula. The date was October 18, 1994, and the headlines pretty much say it all. The New York Times headlined with, “U.S. and North Korea Agree To Build on Nuclear Accord.” Reading further, with haste, as we cannot be sure how long we will remain here, the article stated the following,

 

The Clinton Administration announced tonight that United States and North Korean negotiators in Geneva had reached a broad agreement that would freeze North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and allow the resumption of international inspections.

Administration officials said the agreement included some concessions by Washington, including arranging for American allies to build in North Korea two modern nuclear power plants valued at several billion dollars. The Administration also agreed to a delay in the inspection of two nuclear waste sites that were expected to reveal evidence of North Korea’s production of weapon-grades material.

Administration officials hailed the agreement — worked out over three weeks of tense negotiations — as a breakthrough. But after an 18-month dispute marked by stinging rhetoric, broken promises and failed negotiations, Administration officials remained wary that there could still be problems carrying out the accord.

Administration officials said North Korea committed itself to phasing out its five-megawatt nuclear reactor, freezing construction of two larger reactors and rejoining the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
“Personally, I think it is a very good agreement,” Robert L. Gallucci, the chief United States negotiator in Geneva, said tonight after closing the round of talks that seemed close to collapsing on several occasions. “Broadly, it is an acceptable, and very positive agreement.”

With North Korea isolated and distrustful of the West, Administration officials said they agreed to delay inspections of the waste sites in part to allow for time to build trust with North Korea. The expectation, they said, is that in a few months or perhaps years Pyongyang would allow the inspections of the nuclear waste sites.
Administration officials insisted that they would not back off their insistence on such inspections and that North Korea would never receive technology from the promised new light-water reactors until inspections of the waste sites are carried out.

In another concession, the Clinton Administration backed down on its demand that North Korea quickly send to another country the 8,000 spent fuel rods, from which enough plutonium could have already been obtained to construct four or five bombs.

Under the agreement, those rods will remain in a cooling pond in the North for a considerable time, perhaps more than a year. But Administration officials insisted that those rods will ultimately be shipped to a third country for reprocessing.

Mr. Gallucci said the agreement reached today would now be sent to Washington and Pyongyang for final approval. He said the agreement served the interests of the United States, South Korea and Japan, all of which are concerned about North Korea’s ambitions to become a nuclear power.

He said he planned to fly to Washington on Tuesday to consult with senior Administration officials and leading members of Congress. If the agreement is endorsed, he said he would sign it on Friday in Geneva with North Korea’s chief negotiator, Kang Sok Ju.

 

The haze slowly encompasses our entire group and off we float again feeling all weird and strange. After a brief period, well, we think it was brief but cannot really be sure, as we may have dreamt for some period, we cannot be sure. The haze is parting and, and, and we are looking at the same newsstand and all looks pretty much the same. Wait, the man is somewhat older and has a white and grey streaked beard. We can see a paper, well, we see the date first, just as before, and it is January 29, 2002. The headline starts to come into focus as does the name of the newspaper, the Washington Post with the headline reading, “Text of President Bush’s 2002 State of the Union Address.” Part of the article appears highlighted and is becoming clear enough to read, and some words are bolded, strange, but helpful. The passage reads,

 

Our second goal is to prevent regimes that sponsor terror from threatening America or our friends and allies with weapons of mass destruction.

Some of these regimes have been pretty quiet since September 11, but we know their true nature. North Korea is a regime arming with missiles and weapons of mass destruction, while starving its citizens.

Iran aggressively pursues these weapons and exports terror; while an unelected, few repress the Iranian people’s hope for freedom.

Iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward America and to support terror. The Iraqi regime has plotted to develop anthrax and nerve gas and nuclear weapons for over a decade.

This is a regime that has already used poison gas to murder thousands of its own citizens, leaving the bodies of mothers huddled over their dead children. This is a regime that agreed to international inspections then kicked out the inspectors. This is a regime that has something to hide from the civilized world.

States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world. By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger. They could provide these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred. They could attack our allies or attempt to blackmail the United States. In any of these cases, the price of indifference would be catastrophic.

 

Here comes that haze again and really feeling sleepier this time. As we are pulling back there came another headline from the Guardian stating, “North Korea withdraws from nuclear treaty.” Well, too late to read more, it has faded. One can only wonder whether we will arrive back in our own time or are there to be more stops on this strange trip into the past. Waking as the haze thins and we could be back, we are looking at a CNN web page and it is, wait, it is from March 1, 2012 and the headline reads, “North Korea agrees to halt nuclear activities for food.” There is a picture and three or four paragraphs visible. Here is the picture as we were gifted a copy which came along with us by some miracle and below that the story we were permitted to see. Again, there was one part bolded allowing us to fix this as during the time with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama and the unprecedented amount of aid being provided to North Korea.

 

The Picture of Kim Jong-un and Some Generals

The Picture of Kim Jong-un and Some Generals

 

North Korea has agreed to halt nuclear tests, long-range missile launches and enrichment activities at its Yongbyon nuclear complex in exchange for food aid from the United States, the State Department said Wednesday.
The state-run North Korean news agency, KCNA, announced the agreement separately.

“Today’s announcement represents a modest first step in the right direction. We, of course, will be watching closely and judging North Korea’s new leaders by their actions,” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday before the House Appropriations Committee.

In return for the moratorium on nuclear activities at this key site, the United States has agreed to a package of 240,000 metric tons of nutritional assistance to North Korea.

 

The haze returns and this time we are sure we are nodding off. The time seemed to pass faster, though that may be due to our not being fully conscious. The haze lifts and we are back at our computers feeling a little groggy and disoriented, as expected, we guess. We have no idea how long we were gone, though we can tell you there is a different show on the television, which is impressive as the new Smurf movie had just started as we left. We were quoting President Trump and Vice President Pence and how they believe that North Korea will be earnest and will negotiate in good faith. Perhaps they need to go on our little time travel revelation that every President before them going back at least three Presidents as our trip was not all inclusive. If nothing else, we are positive that there were likely headlines on July 27, 1953, celebrating and noting the Armistice between the United Nations forces led mainly by the United States and the Communist forces consisting of North Korea and the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army. Below please find President Dwight David Eisenhower announcing the negotiations to establish an armistice pausing the Korean War. This was an armistice which is merely a time-out which has resulted in saber-rattling threatening to resume the conflict periodically ever since.

 

 

There has been a pattern with North Korea. They used to threaten to resume the war which held the threat of many casualties on both sides and potentially the near complete destruction of Seoul, South Korea followed by similar destruction throughout North Korea with the main targets being military assets. Nobody in the West desires such a renewal of this horrific conflagration. We always would like to believe that the same is true for the leaders of North Korea, but apparently one can never be sure, as the result of each episode has proven. Originally, North Korea would only make these threats when their nation was desperately in need of food, oil for electricity and including other necessities as North Korea has a very limited economic energy. Most of their economic production relies on the sale of coal and other minerals mostly to China and some limited subsistence farming. This leads to crises from malnutrition to absolute starvation of large sections of their population. With each passing of the leadership, the frequency of these crises would increase. Kim Jong-un has tested the resolve of every President since taking over after his father, Kim Jong-il, on December 17, 2011. Kim Jong-un immediately started to test Barack Obama continuing the crisis started by his father during the Presidency of George W. Bush by launching missiles anew and advertising the progress being accomplished at the Yongbyon nuclear complex. This eventually led to the partial capitulation as stated above with the food for promises President Obama accepted on March 1, 2012.

 

Now we are hearing of President Trump triumphantly claiming he believes that Kim Jong-un is negotiating in earnest and with respect, as we quoted above of President Trump claiming, “I think they’re sincere also because of the sanctions and what we’re doing with respect to North Korea.” and “(China) can do more but I think they’ve done more than they’ve ever done for our country before.” This shows once again President Trump’s lacking in depth of knowledge of history, recent or otherwise. Somebody, any of the generals, needs to inform him that he is being taken and that there is not an earnest bone in Chubby’s, sorry, we mean Kim Jong-un’s body. Kim Jong-us is playing the President and his belief that everyone thinks and treasures peace and reaching agreements as much as he. The Art of the Deal has to be sometimes not making any deal, as the other side is not dealing honestly. They are simply attempting to play for badly needed sustenance and other vital requirements. This has been the North Korean policy for the past twenty years. The North Korean economy is spent entirely on weapons, the military, nuclear research and keeping Kim Jong-un entertained, wined and dined in the manner in which he has become accustomed, which is quite lavish. Any nourishing provisions will largely be given to those in the military and the remainder of the population will be largely left to fend for themselves the best they are capable. Many people have been reportedly eating grass and bark off of trees, insects and anything else they can find which is at all edible. The one thing that Kim Jong-un has shown a desire to do is unify the entirety of the Peninsula, under his rule, of course. Any negotiation reached with Kim Jong-un today will be worthless by the end of May, as he believes that he is destined to be the leader of humankind.

 

Should President Trump be very fortunate, any agreement he reaches will last through the end of his time in office. The one thing the world can count on is that as soon as there is a new President, Kim Jong-un will be launching missiles, probably threatening San Francisco this time and testing nuclear weapons possibly even above ground in total disdain for all treaties. Kim Jong-un believes that the Western nations are soft and stupid and will fold before his demands every time. He knows that he will eventually get a leader elected to South Korea who will agree to some form of unification possibly with some form of shared leadership. Once the unification has been established, Kim Jong-un will slowly move his military throughout all of South Korea and, once in place, he will likely murder the South Korean leader and take rule of the entire peninsula using the wealth of South Korea to feed and assist the people of the now former North Korea and build as many missiles and nuclear warheads as he is able. Once he has attained the level with which he feels he is sufficiently well armed, then he will threaten and this time possibly force a confrontation. Within a couple of years of any future unification of the peninsula, the people of the former South Korea will be facing the same deprivations the North Koreans face today. The wealth and manufacturing of South Korea will be wasted and falling into disrepair as it is not required for maintaining his military, the only item he actually cares about other than the missiles and warheads. The entirety of the South Korean industrial infrastructure will be used to construct more military equipment, more planes, more tanks, more ships as Kim Jong-un sees himself as a conqueror and the leader of the world should he get half the opportunity. That is the man President Trump is about to trust, a man who only believes there are two kinds of people, those who are strong and meant to rule and those who treasure peace.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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January 28, 2018

United States and North Korea Attaining Slow Boil

 

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

 

North Korean Family of Rockets and Missiles with Ranges

North Korean Family of Rockets and Missiles with Ranges

 

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

 

 

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

 

North Korean Missile Classes and Ranges

North Korean Missile Classes and Ranges

 

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

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

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

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

January 4, 2018

Iran plus Korea Update

 

Iranian protests against economic stagnation, disinterest of the government placing foreign wars they chose above its people and against an oppressive regime which strangles their youth and their desires to be free and live as they choose. There have been over two or three dozen already murdered and many hundreds arrested with a good number of those likely to never be seen again and the only reaction from the government has been to televise pro-government demonstrations which were more likely than not staged using IRGC* and Basij Militias members who are a small minority of the nations but extremely loyal to the regime. Both organizations are religiously fanatical as is the government. The Iranian top leadership is made up of religious clerics, the Mullahs, who hand pick who are permitted to run for elected office thus making their appearance of democracy merely that, appearance. Nobody who would work against the Mullahs and their program of continuing the revolution spreading it at every opportunity to the remainder of the world would ever be permitted to stand for election to office. Worse yet, the elected officials also would be fully supportive of any measures the Mullahs and the Supreme Leader decide are necessary to end the protests including mass shootings of demonstrators in the streets. That is the point where many would really be interested in exactly how far President Trump and the United States might go should this become reality and hundreds, if not thousands or tens of thousands were to be gunned down on the streets of Iran.

 

The first thing to remember is that President Trump was elected largely on his domestic policy promises of curbing immigration and economic improvement through tax reform and regulations rollback. As we might recall, his slogan was “Make America Great Again” or MAGA. That is completely separate from intervening or making threats simply to prevent Iran from putting an end to internal protests which the government has already blamed on Israel and the United States claiming that the CIA and Mossad are the leaders implementing and fomenting the protest in an attempt to derail the revolution which is the core principle under which the Iranian regime operates. What it comes down to is would the United States actually resort to use of arms to prevent further regime violent pushback against the protests. Our best guess is as such, beyond what President Trump would be willing to authorize, he would first instead attempt to get United Nations Security Council to enact enforceable sanctions on Iran and, lacking that, placing United States sanctions and attempting to get other allies to also impose sanctions. As far as Security Council sanctions are concerned, after the United States veto of the Security Council vote to forbid nations from placing their embassies in Jerusalem and condemning President Trump recognizing Jerusalem making it an international city under United Nations protection from Israeli overreach, we could probably count on Russia using their veto to protect Iran from the mean United States and possibly even adding that the United States move was being taken to serve Israeli interests and nothing more. As far as getting European countries to join in sanctions, at best a few of the eastern Europeans might join in sanctions and otherwise, at best, the British might also join but Germany, France and the remainder of the European Union have Euros in their eyes when they visualize Iran and are too self-absorbed in taking advantage of monetary opportunities to join in sanctioning their potential money pit. United States sanctions of and by themselves would have little if any effect on Iran and would do little to prevent them from doing as they please, even to slaughtering the protesters en-masse, in ending the protests against the government.

 

Even if President Trump in normal times in a normal world wanted to prevent the murder of the protesters, he would need to be extremely wary of intervening as such actions would inevitably result in war. The citizens of the United States did not elect President Trump to get them into another war in the Middle East and the quickest way to assure that he would be a one term President would be to engage in another Middle East war. The United States electorate would hold him responsible and in 2020 they would elect almost anybody other than Donald Trump were he to cause a war with Iran. Further, President Trump has enough on his plate with North Korea and a looming potential for a war on that front, and even that war would be a difficult sell. The main reason that a war with North Korea might be more palatable to the United States people is Kim Jong-Un is an identifiable threat and has been pressing all the wrong buttons challenging the United States almost calling them every derogatory name in the book and despite many of those names being directed at Trump, they have not been received well by the United States voters. The United States has danced this dance with leaders from North Korea for years with each go around costing more than the previous and they are willing to risk war rather than give in to blustering blackmail. For a parallel one need look to the Barbary Pirates who would sell protection for sailors and then still kidnap United States sailors off merchant ships to ransom with along with the constantly rising price demanded for protection finally drove even President Thomas Jefferson, a devout isolationist as far as wars were concerned, to declare war on the Barbary Pirates and their respective Caliphs. North Korea is very likely approaching a similar point with the United States currently and if they push too hard, they may get something they really had not bargained for.

 

President Trump likely has little desire to enter into any wars. Iran probably is not prepared to fight a war with the United States at this moment. China does not desire to war with the United States in particular. Japan very much desires to avoid any costly wars, as their financial situation is quite precarious and just recently starting to recover. Kim Jong-Un, despite his bluster, would likely prefer to live a long life. Russian President Putin is seeking some means of extricating himself out of the war raging in Syria while retaining his naval bases on the Mediterranean Sea. Europe could not fight a meaningful war even if it was brought to their shores. Turkish President Erdoğan is prepared to fight the Kurds in order to extend his domain but is not prepared to go beyond such. Even Israel’s neighbors are not seeking an active war with Israel with Hamas settling to toss a rocket or two out of Gaza each week and Hezballah already stretched to the breaking point between Syria, Yemen and retaining control in Lebanon. Egypt has barely sufficient taste for conflict to hold its cities in the Sinai Peninsula while terrorist groups mass there for future conflict, and even they are looking towards future and hoping Egypt does not feel its hand pushed too far and react against their hold on the area. So why is North Korea‘s Kim Jong-Un testing ICBM’s and other missiles as well as nuclear weapons? Why has Japan altered the Japanese Constitution to allow them, for the first time since World War II, to increase their armaments, military size and is debating the development, which means using the technology they already possess, of nuclear weapons intended as a deterrent? Why is Iran instigating conflicts across the Middle East in Iraq, Syria and Yemen while developing ever-longer range ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons and possibly even building stockpiles of such weapons? Why has there been all the chest thumping between Kim Jong-Un and President Trump with the most recent round on Twitter being an exchange of Tweets about their nuclear button size on one another’s desk? Why is Iran once again pressing an internal conflict followed by the world to the point where sanction may very well be imposed once again? None of these acts signals a world seeking completely peaceful solution to their problems both internal and external. The two most dangerous, currently, are Iran and North Korea as we mentioned just the other day. So, why not take one last look at them and their pressing all the wrong buttons with the United States and why.

 

First North Korea, as it may be the less complicated situation currently. Kim Jong-Un did take an unexpected move and respond to urgings from the newly elected South Korean President Moon Jae-in, elected this past May of 2017, for binational talks to defuse the building tensions emanating from North Korea. The danger is that these talks fail to resolve the international situation while South Korea, currently in a mood to redress past grievances and mending fences while absolving differences. There is even some mood to sacrifice in order to reunify the Korean Peninsula should a proper and beneficial proposition be presented, though the possibilities of this are next to nil. The problem is the unknown and unpredictable results of these talks. Fears are that North Korea will press for reunification with some form of unity governance headed by Kim Jong-Un which South Korea would be foolish to permit. Almost as bad an omen would be for North Korea to offer to curb their missile tests and nuclear testing and development in exchange for aid running in the tens if not thousands of billions of dollars to be paid largely by the United States in exchange for a treaty and an end to this round of extortion. Such a demand could not come at a worse opportunity as President Trump is unlikely to swallow such a demand quietly and would likely enter into a very dangerous game of chicken with Kim Jong-Un which, with the slightest miscalculation, results in an open conflict potentially nuclear in nature. Such a conflict would have the immediate consequences of the devastation of Seoul and most if not all of South Korea, the destruction of almost all large cities of Japan, and an exchange between the United States responding to the attacks by North Korea where North Korea would also cease to be recognizable while a number of United States major cities would end up destroyed or worse, a Super EMP detonation over Kansas City area wiping out the North American electrical grid potentially destroying over half of the main transformers upon which the grid is dependent. What would follow would very likely be extremely destructive for much of the world should China, Russia or anyone else left standing decide it was time to strike while the irons of war were hot only to run afoul of the United States submarine nuclear retaliatory forces which are quite formidable and perfectly capable of carrying out countering any threat to the United States, especially the few naval and air bases which would remain to the United States military which is spread across the globe and thus would still be operational even if in a somewhat less formidable manner. When a nation is capable of destroying the entirety of the planet hundreds of times over, even twenty percent force power is sufficient to make anyone hesitate pressing too far.

 

World at War from 1984 by George Orwell

World at War from 1984 by George Orwell

 

Iran, on the other hand, is a completely different kettle of fish. Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei is tasked with the spread of the Grand Islamic Revolution which brought the initial and previous Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Sayyid Ruhollah Mūsavi Khomeini to power after United States President Jimmy Carter refused to defend Shah of Iran Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and actually signaled he should go into exile and allow Khomeini to come to power and out of his exile in Paris. President Carter was quoted as claiming that as a religious man and a cleric that Khomeini would be a man of peace and would bring a reformation to Iran which would be a positive force in settling the Middle East. President Carter really had no clue about Shiite Islam or Islam in general. The Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution is responsible for keeping the faith and extending the revolution, as it is called, by which in time two events will result. The first is that the Islamic world will bow to the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution and see him as the Strong Horse and the Sunni Muslims will largely convert to Shia Islam rather than be put to the sword. Once the world of Islam has been conquered by the true Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, then the remainder of the world can be brought under the flag of Islam and Sharia Shiite style. This will lead to a world in conflagration which is believed to be when the Mahdi will appear and protest his being revealed to the world as explained by Nu’aym ibn Hammad who stated, “The Mahdi will not come until one third die, one third are killed, and one third remain.” One can only imagine a world which meets those criteria. This is the far vision each Iranian Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution must adhere. This is not meant to claim that the present Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei desires to force such a world into being, but that does not mean that he would be reluctant to take any position which could result in the coming of the Mahdi. The eventual aim of the Iranian version of Shiite Islam is the coming of the Mahdi and the submission of what remains of the world to Allah through Shiite Islam with no other religion permitted on Earth. Still, Iran is not ready to take on the world and this attempt to reach this desired aim to subjugate the world with it suffering two-thirds of human life snuffed from existence in a great conflict, but once they believe they have reached such a threshold, then will come a conflagration unparalleled in known human history. There are some who point to evidence that some form of humankind existed which were more advanced than our technology today and were involved in a great cataclysm ending their civilization and humankind went through an extended era where the knowledge returning to a more primitive humankind and we are only now reaching for similar technologies if not the identical technologies with which our forebearers destroyed themselves. The state of our world today gives such a theory some degree of credence.

 

The frightening reality reached in researching for this article was that we really are about to go beyond the cusp. The only question is beyond which cusp will we go? Many, if not the vast majority, of these choices would have us going beyond the cusp and finding ourselves tumbling into a deep and endless chasm and taking all of our so-called civilization with us into oblivion. There are a few narrow choices where going beyond the cusp leads the human race into the stars and eventually to a space filled initially with peace and beyond that depends on what we encounter. If we will be destined to meet extraterrestrial intelligent entities, we can only pray that they are peaceful and willing to share knowledge, technologies and the arts which make their hearts soar. But first, we will be required to get our own houses in order and eschew violence as the means of settling our differences. Truth be told, our differences are minor compared to what we may find in the stars, so we had best learn how to handle our petty differences first and foremost, then we can find the best means of coexisting or merging everything into a set of universal truths which are inclusive and satisfactory to all establishing ideals as close to the real truth as we are able. The truth is that our knowledge will never be capable of understanding the entirety of the Universe as much, if not the vast majority, will remain beyond that which we can see and every minute we spend trapped as we are in this one solar system, the less and less we will ever have revealed will represent. Human curiosity is a strange beast which will insist on seeing what is around the next bend, beyond the horizon, and comes tomorrow and tomorrow in endless succession and finally, why all of these things exist and where they came from. But for now, can we at least survive without destroying civilization until we colonize another planet orbiting a different parent star. Such an accomplishment would promise survivability to the human race. After such has been achieved, then we can place starter colonies jumping from one star to the next setting up workable colonies which can grow into entirely new civilization but which will share their advancements with the rest of humankind and perhaps also other intelligent species we should meet, assuming that such exist. So, let us proceed forward and pray we choose wisely and do not falter or find ourselves at the brink of extinction with no way to prevent going beyond the cusp and falling to our deaths and as such our failings.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

* IRGC = Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps

 

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