Beyond the Cusp

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

 

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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

 

October 17, 2017

The Storm Before the Calm

 

President Trump was quoted to have made mention that we were experiencing the calm before the storm, and at the very point one might say started the storm before the calm. The media went into a feeding frenzy making all forms of predictions of doom, World War III, nuclear Armageddon and the end of all sanity. Some predicted that, finally, President Trump had gone too far and this had to be impeachable material as if a President can be impeached because he said something that some, or many, or even most people found offensive. For all we know, President Trump could have been referring to the calm in the media who had found nothing he had said worthy of impeachment in the last twenty seconds, and now he had so the storm was sure to ensue. That would have been an accurate interpretation, as any, of the media eruption over the statement, “calm before the storm,” words which Trump had spoken. But let us assume that President Trump meant that things were starting to look quite dangerous in the world. Well, can anybody say that such a description of the current state of the world was exactly wrong? There is an upstart young and rather unstable fool firing rockets over the Islands of Japan and across areas of South Korea out into the oceans and seas surrounding these nations while exploding nuclear weapons and having restarted the plutonium producing reactor, making fuel for more such weapons ruling North Korea. There are some rather less than stable religious fanatics very likely making nuclear weapons and testing ever more capable missiles threatening to destroy the Great and Lesser Satans of the United States and Israel and then launch their troops to conquer the world. There is a war still raging in Syria where it appears that a murderous dictator backed by Iranian Mullahs and their IRGC troops and Hezballah terrorists will win the day backed with Russian air support. Libya is still in a state of chaos with intertribal fighting and Iraq is in a state of unrest with Iran and the Iraqi government about to go to war with the Kurds in the north just as Bashir al-Assad also may be fighting the Kurds in his north. As far as fighting Kurds, there is Turkish President Erdoğan, who has been at war with the Kurds of his nation as well; yet the world refuses to allow a state for the Kurds where they would live in peace if only permitted such a privilege.

 

Perhaps President Trump was being too kind referring to the present state of the world as calm. Anybody calling the present state of the world as calm might just be as daft as the media claims. Europe has an economy which has been steady in its inability to show much in the way of life. The new infiltrators and immigrants in much of Europe have brought with them crime and unrest and threats of revolution and jihad with an ending target of the imposition of sharia. China has been spreading tendrils building islands in the South China Sea which will lengthen a main trade route between the Indian and Pacific Oceans or potentially giving China complete control over this trade route while they also tend to solidify their claims over islands also claimed by Japan, Viet Nam or the Philippines. China apparently has decided to try their hand at hegemony themselves and is still spending like there is no tomorrow on their Navy and Air Force. Russia is continuing their agreement with Syrian dictator Assad in exchange for the use of Syria’s Mediterranean Sea Ports while Iran consolidates their Shiite Crescent across the Middle East (see map below). Turkey’s Erdoğan still sees himself as the next leader of the renewed Caliphate. President Sisi in Egypt has made all the right and noble statements of reforming Islam such that they learn to prefer their Mecca verses of coexistence and tolerance over the Medina verses of war and conquest until the entire world submits to Allah but has been dreadfully reticent about taking stronger actions than a speech or two at Al-Azhar University in Cairo while Coptic Christians remain targets for murderous jihad. India and China, the world’s two most populous nations and both nuclear powers are in a standoff over their border as the Chinese are constructing a road into the disputed province. Meanwhile, in Kashmir, India and Pakistan are still standing armed to the teeth and both with nuclear weapons in their standoff over who actually owns what once was an independent nation. While, what we presume, most probably accurately, is a nuclear power, Iran is rushing towards a war potentially with Egypt and more definitely Saudi Arabia, which could get nuclear weapons from Pakistan amongst other places, over who will have control over the Muslim Middle East and be the preeminent power of all Islam. Iran and Israel are in standoff mode as of the reality spoken of above where Iran has promised to wipe Israel from the map while Israel prefers to remain where she stands. And there is the growing threat globally of terrorism.

 

Shiite Crescent including Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Iran

Shiite Crescent including Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Iran

 

Then there is the threat of a civil war in the United States. The media is fanning the flames and leftists worldwide are willing to pay any price to be rid of President Trump. There is presumably a plan for a full-blown nationwide uprising in protest for November 4th hoping that it will grow in proportions until President Trump has little choice but to resign in order to save the nation. Somewhere in this plan, there may be a small problem though we would be hard pressed to point it out. Such a demonstration could be seen as an attempt to overthrow the government which would permit the President using any and all power at his disposal to end the uprising, but other than that, what could go wrong? Meanwhile the media is fanning these flames for all the ratings they are worth even to the point of Jimmy Kimmel crying over spilt milk. What else could go wrong other than perhaps a flu pandemic if they got the flu shot formula wrong?

 

There is a coming water shortage in many places on the planet and despite clean water technologies being available, little is being done to distribute it where needed as the cost would be rather daunting challenge. Funny how people are willing to spend billions to pursue political ends but they find it difficult to spend even thousands to benefit all mankind. There are also threats of famine from crop failures from poor land use and so little is being done to teach the farmers of the world better techniques let alone getting them the equipment necessary to increase yields. Israel is working in Africa and elsewhere with assisting in such efforts but cannot reach everywhere and the United States also has taken up efforts worldwide but they could use others to help more with these efforts than in starting revolutions. There will be weather and other natural disasters which the world will need to give their assistance. And there are so many other areas in which the world could be improved such as providing medical assistance to the world including such things as Saving a Child’s Heart which not only saves children with heart defects from around the world but trains surgeons and sets up hospital departments to treat children around the world. Yes, we thought ending with hope would make more noise than another story over a Trump gaff.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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