Beyond the Cusp

June 22, 2017

Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iran, Al-Jazeera and the Gulf States

 

One of the places where that fabric of the world is stretched the tightest is along the Persian Gulf with the Straights of Hormuz being at the near breaking-point. The fabric was ratcheted even tighter right before United States President Trump’s recent visit when Qatar backed out of the deal made which made the Trump visit possible. Following right behind Qatar were both Oman and Bahrain, who also backed out of the deal, leaving Saudi Arabia in a predicament which has its problems and its rewards. The problem is now Saudi Arabia must foot the entire approximately four-hundred-billion dollar deal over three years. The good side is Saudi Arabia will be arming themselves to parity if not exceeding the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). The next problem is that Saudi Arabian Military is great at marching and wearing fancy dress and intimidating mostly unarmed protesters and putting down any aspirations for the Arab Spring within Saudi Arabia, which took almost five minutes after the Friday launch date when protesters were outnumbered by Saudi Troops in the streets. Then there was the Shiite Arab Spring uprising in Bahrain which was appearing as if they might overthrow their Sunni rulers until, you guessed it, Saudi Arabian armored columns used all six lanes of the connecting causeway sending troops to end the uprising (pictured below). The Arab Spring ended in Bahrain with just the show of force and not one person was killed. Overwhelming force has its place and advantages. So, the Saudis will be the eight-hundred-pound-gorilla with sufficient armaments for two such gorillas. In case these arms are required to defend Saudi Arabia, which includes Mecca and Medina being in Sunni hands, the excess armaments owned by the Saudis will be distributed to well-trained Egyptian troops. Believe it that if the Saudis are in danger from outside forces that Egypt will provide manpower and, if necessary, Pakistan is in agreement to provide the technology to produce along with, some claim, as many as a dozen nuclear weapons. Now we have the chess table set with only a few other necessities which will be revealed as we follow a possible story-line, a scarily possible story line.

 

King Fahd Causeway is the bridge between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia

King Fahd Causeway is the bridge
between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia

 

Currently, Saudi Arabia is less than thrilled with Qatar for their pulling from the deal. There are some who believe they did this as a means of financially testing or even injuring the Saudi Arabian Royal Family who are not as affluent with money overflowing coffers as many in the West believe. Of course, it goes without saying, that Iran was behind this idea for their friend and sometimes, more often than not, ally, Qatar. There are many, ourselves included, who believe that Iran not only asked forcefully that Qatar pull out right before President Trump arrived such that the Saudis would have no recourse but to take up any needs. Then it is thought that Bahrain and Oman were also requested under threat by Iran to also pull from the deal. This has set up a very tense situation in the area around Iran, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States and the length of the Persian Gulf with the Straits of Hormuz the shortest distance between the two rivals (see map below). Qatar is using their control over their news service, Al-Jazeera, which combines television, radio, cable, internet and print media. Much of their electronic media is transmitted via satellite making it next to impossible to block. Qatar has been using their visual media to almost constantly show the visit of President Trump and particularly his visiting sacred and sensitive Islamic areas with women not wearing hair cover or burkas. The women were modestly dressed but not to the strict demands of Islam. These pictures are being accompanied with charges that the Saudi Royal Family are not real Muslims and they have disgraced Islam with their reception of President Trump without forcing the women to be properly covered. These accusations and the near constant flow of the pictures are on order from Iran attempting to insult the Saudi Royals before the Islamic world. The divisions as they currently appear to be are as depicted below.

 

Saudi Arabia, Iran, the Gulf States and the Length of the Persian Gulf with the Straits of Hormuz

Saudi Arabia, Iran, the Gulf States and the
Length of the Persian Gulf with the Straits of Hormuz

 

The problem, and even possibly the intent, is the media assault on the Saudi Arabian rulers by Qatar can only end one of two ways. The first is that Iran orders an end to the constant attempts of insulting and defaming the Saudi Arabian Royal Family and Qatar along with Al-Jazeera move on returning to often broadcasting Iranian attacks on the United States and Israel with occasional mention of Saudi Arabia or Egypt, i.e. regular broadcasting. The other is the attacks on the Saudi Royals leads to their demand they stop or they will be considered as a declaration of war on Saudi Arabia and her allies. The stress of her allies is important. This could result in the Saudis sending troops into Qatar to close down Al-Jazeera and that could result in a reaction from Iran at the request of the rulers of Qatar. This has been the Qatari Ace in the Hole by which they are able to continue to attack their larger neighbor, Saudi Arabia, through their manipulation of their control of the media in the Arab world using Al-Jazeera. This has been their means of bludgeoning the Saudi leadership and governance in service of their Iranian sponsors. The problem is should there begin to be unrest and calls for the end of the rule of the Saudi Arabian Royal Family and things start to become close to a point where the Wahhabi clerics might believe they could take control directly through a popular revolt, the Saudi Royals would act before that point could come to be. This would force their hand and an assault on Qatar, and on the Al-Jazeera headquarters in particular, might become the most viable option.

 

Should things reach the point that Saudi Arabia uses their military superiority to squelch the media assault originating from within Qatar, this might be the flashpoint leading to a far larger military confrontation. Such an attack could result in an Iranian response attacking Bahrain, Oman, United Arab Emirates and counter the Saudi Arabian assault in Qatar. This might not even be the worst result. Should Saudi Arabia respond to such an attack with strikes inside Iran, the response could become a general attack by Iran across the Middle East on the heart of Sunni Islam striking towards Mecca and Medina from both Yemen and western Iraq using Houthis as their shock troops out of Yemen while they strike across Oman to Yemen and possibly land amphibious troops in Yemen for a pincher movement striking Oman from both ends and using Hezballah as their shock troops striking down out of Iraq getting a running start from Syria southward. There might be one feel-good side-effect; the Iranians may find it easier to simply eradicate Islamic State in the process. Jordan may or may not be amongst the targets of an Iranian first strike against Saudi Arabia, but they will be a target if for no other reason as they would allow Iran to surround Israel and Jordan has tens of thousands of Palestinian Arabs who might just join Iran if they were given the right promises. This would be the definitive war between Sunni and Shiite Islam with the winner taking all of Islam or at least a huge step towards that goal if Iran wins and the end of Shia Islam if Saudi Arabia proved triumphant.

 

The truth be told, if Iran were to defeat Saudi Arabia, their number one rival and quite possibly the top of the Iranian bucket list ahead of the United States and even Israel, they would control the two most important cities in all Islam, Mecca and Medina, and gain a treasure trove of weaponry. With the good relations that Iran has with the Sudan and the natural enmity between the Sudan and Egypt, almost a sibling rivalry between the two former British colonies and still Arab colonies, truth be told, Iran would have a natural front with Egypt, the sole power between Iran and total domination of all Islam. This would place Iran a stone’s throw from establishing the Shia dream for the past thirteen-hundred plus years, the defeat of the accursed Sunnis who murdered their leaders and actual descendants of Mohammad and true leaders of Islam, or at least that is their story. Of course, the Sunni will tell a different story about renegade Muslims who are merely apostates.

 

This is one of those pressure points upon which the world may turn upside down, or right-side up, depending upon how you view the world’s current state. Where this is but one of the far too many breaking-points where the stretched fabric of the world is measurably thinner than average and which makes it a point where even the smallest disruption could punch a hole in the fabric from which a tear would soon start if the violence spread leading to a series of events insuring an ever larger ring of violence. Leading to World War I there was an assassination which led to a state of war that even before it was declared began tearing the world apart. Each side began calling in their promises of mutual support and before you knew it, most of the world was engaged in a struggle which after the lines settled simply stagnated with intermittent slaughters when one side or the other sent their troops into no-man’s-land rushing from their trenches attempting to reach the other side’s trenches. Both sides had this little invention, though under separate contracts and differing names, known as the Maxim machinegun (see image below). Maxim became wealthy and by the time the war ended and all the treaties were signed and borders established with the movement of populations, the resultant death toll exceeded fifteen-million.

 

Maxim Machinegun Trenches and No Man’s Land

Maxim Machinegun
Trenches and No Man’s Land

 

Making matters worse, the impositions, including and specifically monetary, placed on Germany were all but directly responsible for World War II and another approximately eighty-million deaths. All told, an assassination of an Archduke and his wife led to close to one-hundred-million deaths and the toll is still being counted as the Sykes-Picot Treaty is responsible for much of the trouble and dissolution of the Arab world, where things are sensitive and reaching a critical mass. Even if the current crises are calmed, the entire situation will simply rise to another similar point of overt pressure in the future unless a permanent solution which recognizes the individual tribes and allegiances. Even then, who knows, and who can even believe they can know. Until humankind learns to live one with the others despite their differences and when the concept of world conquest is forever laid to rest, we will simply live from one crisis to the next until one ultimate crisis ends the existence of humanity leaving so few humans that all knowledge is lost within two or three generations and humanity has to begin again from square one. Who knows how many times we have come to this precipice and fallen, once, twice, one hundred, how many? There has been evidence found of a former cataclysm and there are the ancient Indian texts telling of weapons with unprecedented destructive powers. The world once again has such power, the power to end all civilized life on the planet and cause an unprecedented extinction event exceeded only once or twice in all of Earth’s history. In the famous T. S. Eliot poem, “The Hollow Men” ends with the following two lines, “This is the way the world ends, Not with a bang but with a whimper.” He was close as the last sound will be a whimper but all but immediately before that there will be a series of Earth-shattering bangs of near unprecedented destruction in all of human history combined as all the secondary nuclear powers release their destruction on all who are not fit to live by their definitions, which will be against the others and each other ending all, then the few who survive for a short period will finish with the whimper.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

June 13, 2017

Trump Sunni Middle East Plans to Crash and Burn

 

President Trump has planned this wonderful little arrangement for how to counter and defeat the Iranian menace hegemonic ambitions whose launch was assisted by President Obama and currently is assisting miring Russia in Syria. A quick aside, this Trump plan has very little if anything further to do with Russia, sorry kids. Trump’s master plan would be wonderful from a tactical viewpoint as it would add the Saudi Arabian money and weapons systems sold to them by the United States with the manpower of the Egyptian military and have them directed and assisted by the Israeli technical, intelligence, coordination and military superiority in an allied effort to oppose Iran. The Iran side is augmented by North Korean nuclear and missile technology, Chinese military plans and technical assistance, Iraqi military, Houthis and Alawite civil wars for expanding their spheres of influence, Hezballah terror infrastructure which spans the globe, and a recent influx of billions upon billions of American dollars with some in pallets and pallets of hundred dollar bills freshly minted and which were likely still warm when arriving. Iran and North Korea ally in coordinating their testing and development between their respective technical and physical abilities. On paper or in a game of Risk, President Trump’s policy might appear ideal. Unfortunately, in the real world it will run into some obvious and some not so obvious difficulties which will blow it to pieces. So, let us delve into the deep underbelly of this beast.

 

We will start with the obvious and work our way to the ridiculous in his perfect Middle East plan. First, no plan in the Middle East lasts more than thirty seconds from when it is attempted to be implemented. Second, plans which try to ally Arab nations with Israel, the Jewish State, or as they call it, the Zionist Entity, are guaranteed to be blown apart and possibly lead to a war to prove that there never was any such plan as soon as it hits general knowledge. Fortunately, or not so fortunate for us, BTC does not lead directly to general knowledge. The American mainstream media does and would more than happily place such an agreement made in secret very public while claiming that President Trump was out of his mind making this agreement public while they scream it from every newspaper front page and six and eleven o’clock news casts and radio news on the hour and at the halves. But this aside, they would wait until such a secret alliance of these abilities was most needed before making everything public, providing they could actually contain themselves that long. But Israel is more an inconvenience to blowing this plan apart. Allying Saudi Arabia and Egypt for any long-term agreement which requires their sharing responsibility and each allowing the other operational independence in command leaves large holes in any planning as each will assign the most dangerous and difficult field assignments to the other nation. Neither nation cares to take the more difficult upon themselves or place their soldiers at risk in an agreement with anyone else, as risking other nation’s soldiers is always preferable to risking your own. This was instrumental in their alliance against Iranian forces fighting in Yemen despite both nations having tactical and financial reasons to defeat that threat. Saudi Arabia has Yemen on their southern border which would provide Iran with a southern front against them in Yemen and a northern border with them in Iraq which would be intolerable and pose a difficult threat to address in any conflict with Iran. For Egypt, having Iran control the Bab-el-Mandeb strait at the southern exit of the Red Sea, this could make the Suez Canal useless to any ships Iran prefers to prevent passage. This would cause Egypt extreme financial difficulty as passage through the Suez Canal is one of the major inflows for funds to the Egyptian economy. Still, the two nations were incapable of coordinating and continuing an allied effort to fight the Houthis and prevent the Iranian efforts. Egypt pulled from the alliance without comment, normal in the Middle East, as they thought their losses were excessive for the effort share they had assumed. So, just getting Egypt and Saudi Arabia to play well together is enough of a difficulty and adding Israel to the mix is the same as throwing lighted Zippo lighters into a pool of gasoline while standing in a central island in order to remove the gasoline, it appears to work on paper but explodes in ones face in reality.

 

Trump in Saudi Arabia

Trump in Saudi Arabia

 

But let us assume for the remainder of the article that threats of being exiled from the military assistance of the United States will be sufficient to keep these three nations and the ancillary nations necessary to complete the alliance together. For the inquiring minds, the ancillary allied nations include the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Jordan, with some North African states whose addition is mostly inconsequential adding little military power but providing the appearance of a large coalition. So the alliance is rumored to have a number of Arab nations with reports that Israel is a silent ally though being crucial to the operational ability of the entire alliance as the Israelis have the critical command and control ability and experience as well as the intelligence capabilities and assets necessary for operational planning. The point of critical and highest contention would be the days immediately before any actions were required. This would be the absolute worst possible time for it to become common knowledge that Israel would be making decisions on where and against whom Arab forces would be fighting and that the Jews would be sending Muslims to fight other Muslims for the Zionist Entity’s benefit. Just imagine the destructive force a headline stating “Zionist Entity to Command Muslims Forces Against Muslims” would read as the one-inch print on the top half page of the New York Times (NYT). Exactly how long after that morning in New York and the NYT hits the streets and its news alarm gets around the world in seconds after 5:00 AM. That would be the absolute end of that coalition as every Arab and Muslim nation in the alliance officially announce their not knowing about the Zionist Entity’s inclusion in the coalition and demonstrably screaming they would never work with the forces of the Devil. That is why initially the mainstream media would be silent or even denying reports from Iran and their allies about the Israeli efforts as a part of the efforts for as long as such knowledge was not critical. Destruction of any Trump plans are best served when they will do the most damage to Trump and his Administrations even if doing so places the entirety of the free world at risk. Destruction of all that is good is but a small price to pay if Donald Trump can be brought low. The end of all President Trump attempts to accomplish is the main reason for having the mainstream media. News and accuracy are secondary to the deconstruction of all things Trump, that is the new call of news desks across the United States and much of Europe where Germany leads the anti-Trump charge.

 

The efforts by President Trump were almost completely ignored as he made his first foreign tour stopping in three critical points on the globe. Only the final stop was more photo opportunity than anything else, as the Pope has already made his disgust with President Trump more than adequately obvious. The work was completed by the time President Trump hit Rome and made coverage safe again. What was completely not newsworthy was that President Trump was presidential and had much success in his first two stops, Riyadh and Jerusalem. In Saudi Arabia President Trump met with fifty heads of Arab nations, all ruled by Sunni leadership. There was an agreement reached which simply placed a price-tag on President Trump’s visit and that was presumed to be shared between the three wealthiest nations, Qatar, UAE and Saudi Arabia. The agreement was struck and the arrival of President Trump imminent when suddenly Qatar backed out of the agreement which immediately led to the UAE exiting right behind. This left Saudi Arabia footing the entirety of the bill but also will provide all the American weaponry to the Kingdom. President Trump made his disdain for the two nations reneging on their agreement as unprofessional and of causing extreme displeasure. President Trump was not overt but showed his disdain subtly through giving a cold rift to the defaulting leaders. Trump gave them the idea that business rules now applied to the dealings with the United States and any actions would be taken as insult and treated as serious affronts. President Trump made evident to all, there is new leadership and the taking advantage of a weakened United States Presidency was past and that toeing the line was now expected and nothing less was acceptable. Still, President Trump was honored by participating in a sword dance and was awarded the top Saudi honors all while the women in his entourage remained with their hair uncovered. This too was a statement that wherever the President of the United States visited, the rules of conduct of the United States take precedence. President Trump stated in clear protocols and conduct of his people down to the woman who carried his briefcase with hair to the winds, the United States has resumed her position of leadership and the world take note. This was not meant as insult to the Saudi Royal family or the other Arab leaders, this was a political statement meant to claim the highest seat in the yard. This was very possibly a lesson which was taken hard but accepted as reality has returned to normalcy.

 

President Trump may have set up the initial structure with the Saudi Royals and Egyptian President Sisi. Presidents Trump and Sisi were reported to have held a cordial and warm talk during the Riyadh summit. Now, on to Jerusalem and President Trump in Israel where the President made all the regular pilgrimages to Yad Vashem, the Prime Minister’s house for dinner, the Knesset and on. President Trump also made a first when he prayed at the Western Wall. Whether President Trump left a note in the crevasses will remain a secret as that is the nature of such notes, they are not meant for us here to know, they are meant for a higher force. There was another notable event which showed that President Trump is growing in the high office. He was shown evidence which should have come from his advisers, but they too are learning that they are in a whole new game with its own rules and atmosphere. Somebody, we all assume it was Prime Minister Netanyahu, introduced President Trump to some of the delicious realities on You Tube showing the real education of incitement and the actual incitement by Mahmoud Abbas personally. This led to the dressing down in Bethlehem. President Trump was apparently very perturbed and let Mahmoud Abbas know that lying to President Trump, and especially doing so blatantly with the truth so readily attained, was unacceptable and only earns one a place of scorn in the President’s circle. President Trump read Abbas the riot act making it very well known that further financial assistance from the United States would be pinned to the ending of financial rewards for terrorists and their families and an end to incitement. This should become evident in a complete loss of funding by the Palestinian Authority and perhaps also UNRWA as Abbas will not change nor will their education of hatred and murderous desires against Jews, not just Israeli Jews, but all Jews. This dressing down and allowing it to be known publicly is a new precedent setting act by President Trump. Apparently being on his bad side can become costly.

 

Should the rumors that President Trump desires setting up a secret alliance where Saudi Arabia and Egypt, begin working together again under the direction of the United States which also will have them working in some manner with the Israelis, on the qt; this has all the intricacies of a good spy novel. We have seeming enemies being allied by an overseeing superpower with a new leader who is unlike any other previous leader. The contrast with the previous holder of the office makes Trump a complete game changer. The meetings in Riyadh were likely the most dramatic and far reaching in that President Trump was speaking to fifty Arab leaders and laying down an entirely new set of rules for his time as President. We can bet that many of these rulers long for the previous leader or a close facsimile. Unfortunately for those leaders, for at least four years and barring any surprises, this is what they have to work with. At the other extreme, the Israelis thought they had the change of a lifetime. The reality came up somewhat short as they did not exactly get the complete and total reversal as hoped. On the other side, there were few who were not pleasantly surprised with the public dressing down of Mahmoud Abbas by President Trump. Still, everything is still in the potential phase where there can be many a slip between the bowl and the lips. It remains to be seen how much of what was displayed and what the reality will be once the State Department gets their input and inflict their anti-Israel bias. This is where there needs to be much swamp draining. The lack of moving the embassy was presumably an upsetting bit of news, though if honesty is permitted, this was actually accepted. The news that moving the embassy would very probably become used as the bargaining chip used as a threat against Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority and as reward for Israel is extremely distressing as it makes the whole move questionable. The reason this was no surprise here at BTC was because, something we had previously reported as being the mistake by Prime Minister Netanyahu pressing Iran as more important than all other issues. Prime Minister Netanyahu had stated that Iran was the only Israel problem and refused to discuss any and all other issues until the Iran threat would be settled. Some, including us at BTC, thought this emphasis was used too strongly and that these other issues are equally important as the defensibility of Israel depends on having a defensible depth at the middle of the country. The nine miles which the Green Line offers is not acceptable and Abbas and the Arab world realize this and that is why their demand is for all the lands. Somewhere in the near future Israelis will need to wake up and find new and inspired leadership. We hope that day comes soon as the new leadership has already made themselves known and obvious, now we just need everyone else to catch on and see the light. Hopefully this will happen before another anti-Israel President is elected in the United States and the threat to Israel become unbearable.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

June 2, 2017

Where Will the Spiraling End?

 

The United States new President, Donald Trump, apparently is not reacting to the threats from North Korea in the routine and usual manner, giving in and sending money, food and meet whatever demands are made by the current psychotic leader of that Communist death trap claims must be met or else he will destroy the world starting with South Korea and moving on to Japan and finally the United States. The past administrations have all responded with the goods every time the North Korean leader has rattle sabers making foul sounding threats if his little realm had used all the treasure from the previous confrontation has reached its end. This was the routine which wound itself repeatedly over time. Apparently, this time may end differently. First, China has called an end to their calling their attack-dog to heel and desist or even make an effort which also was a change in the normal routine. Everything appears as if the forces who might make a difference and avoid the most horrific of results has decided that they prefer to stand aside and see what the mettle of the new President is made of. The Chinese are preparing to sit this little game out and watch from the sidelines after making the feeblest of attempts to calm their friend to their south and instead allowed him to continue bellowing his threats. It appears that China is not receiving the reaction they expected as it was likely their impression that President Trump was not versed in the game of brinkmanship and would simply fold and give in to the threats from Kim Jong-un and provide North Korea with a renewed treasury, feed their starving masses and walk away simply licking his wounds and broken ego, tarnished reputation.

 

Apparently President Trump does not respond well to threats from a proven madman, a leader who has murdered a general for contradicting him, executed his uncle simply because he thought him a threat to his leadership and ordered the assassination of his half-brother in a foreign country so there could be no successor to his leadership other than whomever he should designate. President Trump initially sent the aircraft carrier fleet with the USS Carl Vinson and Kim Jong-un simply continued his ranting and threats. Then President Trump sent the aircraft carrier fleet with the USS Ronald Reagan and Kim Jong-un simply continued his ranting and threats. Now President Trump has further upped the anti and sent the aircraft carrier fleet with the USS Nimitz. We are willing to bet that Kim Jong-un could not care less and might even react unkindly or he might respond with more missile tests and possibly even a full-blown nuclear test. This situation, to put it mildly, is rapidly spiraling and where it might end is simply terrifying to imagine.

 

Kin Jong-un (김정은) is the grandson of Kim Il-Sung (김일성), the founder of North Korea; the son of Kim Jong-il (김정일), the second leader of North Korea, and is the current leader of North Korea, obviously. His threats are not to be taken so lightly as to make it appear that he is being taken lightly, something this ever-escalating response could impart. Seoul, South Korea, the national capital city is the first place threatened to be destroyed by Kim Jong-un, a threat he could carry out in under fifteen minutes from making the decision. North Korea has approximately 13,000 artillery pieces positioned along the border which could be fired striking Seoul leveling most of the capital city. Making matters even more troubling is the report by the Federation of American Scientists telling of the North Korean known quantities of anthrax, mustard gas, sarin, botulism and phosgene. Such weapons placed in artillery shells designed to release poison gas would not only permit Kim Jong-un to all but flatten Seoul, but to guarantee his artillery fire murdered most of the over ten-million people living within the city. That would be the opening scenario of Kin Jong-un deciding to raise President Trump’s move of positioning three aircraft carrier groups within striking distance of North Korea.

 

The Kim Family

 

The problem in this situation is that President Trump may have stated that all options are on the table, but this does not mean, as some in the media have claimed, that he is out looking for a fight, that he wants a war to prove something. The hope has to be on settling this problem, this saber rattling, with the least amount of violence and a lowering of the threat options. Unfortunately, this is apparently not going to be an option which either side is wishing to utilize, opting instead to raise the stakes, or at least the consequences, should the other side opt to initiate violence first. This is the idea behind placing so much power within the theater surrounding North Korea. This hopefully is the idea behind President Trump placing sufficient firepower within range of North Korea thus making any threats for use of force by Kim Jong-un suicidal at best and foolhardy at the least. The problem is that Kim Jong-un has all the classical signs of numerous psychological disorders one of which is obviously paranoia. A preliminary analysis of Kim Jong-un’s personality by Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics reveals him to apparently be agreeable, acquiescent, charming, placing a high premium on external approval, sympathetic to others’ needs and socially gregarious on the plus side along with a few other lesser traits resulting in an assessment that he is relinquishing too much authority, failing to assert himself sufficiently, delegating too much responsibility, as well as showing hesitation in taking the initiative when circumstances demand boldness or daring. As they say next, just who is really in charge and pulling the strings presumably controlling Kim Jong-un from the background.

 

North Korean Artillery Display

North Korean Artillery Display

 

Should this personality inventory be accurate, then there is an even greater danger in the threats emanating from North Korea, the person making them is hiding behind a figurehead which they are taking the precaution of making appear pompous and unpredictable. Hiding behind this figurehead making threats may make such a figure so assured of their safety from acting in the shadows that they might take chances believing that boldness would force President Trump to weaken and possibly fold or meet their demands with a simple promise from China that they have received assurances that if a basic set of demands were met by the west that North Korea would end their missile tests and enter negotiations over their nuclear program. Then it would be up to President Trump to react to such an offer. The main risk is that should they send a warning shot such as trading artillery fire as happened and reported in the New York Times on August 20, 2015 when the two nations still technically at war exchanged rocket and artillery fire in the first major armed clash across their border in five years. This was an exchange which reportedly resulted in no casualties and was a show of intent and test of wills and response. North Korea has taken an offensive stance with threatening with missile tests into the Pacific Ocean when testing potential ICBMs, shorter-range ballistic missiles towards the Sea of Japan to threaten Japan and claiming to be ready to test a new and more powerful nuclear weapon. The threat to Japan has been sufficient that the parliament has been deliberating to revise the Japanese stance since the end of World War II and enlarge their navy and other military strength beyond simple island protection in response to threats perceived from both North Korea and China.

 

China is another reason that President Trump may be placing so much naval and air power into the west Pacific Ocean near both China and North Korea. China has been extending claims challenging Islands claimed by Japan, Viet Nam, Taiwan and the Philippines. These challenges are in addition to their building islands in the South China Sea moving towards the East China Sea and militarizing many of these islands even to the point of placing airstrips on the larger of these water-bound embankments. This challenges one of the most heavily traversed sea-lanes in the world which handles close to one third of the sea trade making it as important as the Suez Canal, Strait of Hormuz which controls the world’s oil flow from the Middle East, and the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait which controls the southern exit from the Red Sea into the Arabian Sea. Both the Strait of Hormuz and Bab-el-Mandeb Strait (see map below), through their control of Yemen using the Houthis Rebels, are currently under threat of control from Iran, an ally of North Korea, allowing the two to exchange information and technology regarding missiles and nuclear weapons as they share a common enemy, the United States and the Western world. Iran is also allied with Russia as well as China which makes for a real threat in response to the presumed former sole super-power, the United States. The power of the United States is formidable but would face a serious challenge from the combined strength and nuclear power of the combined forces of Russia, China, Iran and North Korea. The real question could at some point become are Iran and/or North Korea really worth facing down the United States for either China or Russia, especially with a presumed unknown in President Trump whose most powerful weapon might be his reputation of being a bit of a hot-head.

 

Strait of Hormuz and Bab-el-Mandeb Strait

Strait of Hormuz and Bab-el-Mandeb Strait

 

Still, one can be assured that President Trump would be best served and likely prefer some assistance from China defusing the current situation with North Korea. What is troubling is if the situation is as the personality profile of Kin Jong-un is accurate and he really is just a puppet being worked by a rogue general or party official working from the presumed safety of anonymity, then President Trump and his advisers plus those in the Pentagon all actually are operating blind as they do not know who they are working against. It is difficult to find a solution if you have no real clue who is the operator on the other side. Kim Jong-un either completely baffled those trying to inventory his personality or is just as unstable as he appears or somebody finds it advantageous to make the ruler of North Korea appear unstable. All of this leads one to really feel that North Korea is, and will continue for the time being, one threat which is front and center. But if that does not frighten you, then keep in mind that standing right alongside them is Iran that has spread terror armies throughout the world and thought to have more operatives living under cover inside the United States simply waiting for the code for them to strike a predetermined target or even instructions of where to strike. They have a training center in South America in an area known as the Tri-Border Area which sits at the borders of Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil. And you thought that you could sleep comfortably tonight. Well, probably for tonight, but for how many more nights is the big question.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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