Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Are We Going to War With North Korea?

That's a trick question.  We're already at war with North Korea and have been since the early '50s.  The 1953 Korean War was ended with a ceasefire, the 1953 armistice, not a surrender and declaration of the end of the war.

A lot of good ink has been spilled over this in the last few weeks (well, good bits on your screen).  Some of the best are LL's at Virtual Mirage today, especially related to the Norks' recent threat to Guam.  Within the last hour, the DPRK state press dismissed President Trump's remarks yesterday as a "load of nonsense".
The communist nation also said it would complete its strategy to attack the waters near the U.S. territory of Guam by mid-August.

North Korea would then wait for its leader Kim Jong Un's order to strike, with its military stating that “only absolute force” would work on Trump.
This strikes me as a bad sign because it's continuing the continuous escalation we've been watching for months now, but I don't have a scale that reads how bad it is.  Considering what appears to be their cultural predilection to bombastic hyperbole, I don't know how worked up we should get.  As LL says, though, threatening Guam "... takes the situation to another level - where it didn't need to go. But it's what the Norks want to do, and they've been wanting it for a long time. The mouse will get one last roar off."

Nuclear weapons are an odd thing.  It seems that with the exception of the two times that we used them (including 72 years ago today) the principle use for having nuclear weapons is as a deterrent.  Essentially, the lesson I see in the 20th century is that if you have nuclear weapons, nobody messes with you.  It's a Mutual Assured Destruction club that everyone with enough nuclear weapons joins.  No one without nukes would start a war with the superpowers that would justify a nuclear response because they'd be utterly destroyed.  But the doctrine of MAD essentially said countries wouldn't protect their citizens so that the other guys' missiles were still a deterrent.  After all, if you can swat away their warheads with no damage, and they have to absorb your hits, there's nothing "mutual" about that.  Many found MAD to be morally abhorrent, but there has never been a nuclear exchange or use of nuclear weapons since Nagasaki, 72 years ago. 

Virtual Mirage quotes a statement from the DPRK saying that the moment they see something that looks like we're planning a preemptive strike, they'll pre-preemptively strike us first.
“The US should remember, however, that once there is observed a sign of action for ‘preventive war’ from the US, the army of the DPRK will turn the US mainland into the theatre of a nuclear war before the inviolable land of the DPRK turns into the one.”
Do they honestly think they can defeat the US?  (By the way, that paragraph includes some impossible physics as a bonus) 
“The DPRK is an invincible ideological power in which all the service personnel and people are united around their leader in single mind and a country of an impregnable fortress in which all the people are armed and the whole country has been fortified.”
An invincible ideological power?  A country of an impregnable fortress?  See my previous references to "what appears to be their cultural predilection to bombastic hyperbole".  The first paragraph, though, is fraught with problems.  The Norks aren't an experienced military.  It's entirely possible fighting could break out by their simple misinterpretation of something innocent our forces are doing. 

LL says he personally thinks, "the Norks themselves are past the point of no-return" and active fighting is on the way.  It looks like it.  If this 60 year armistice breaks and goes kinetic, it's going to be very, very bad.  It's going to make bad days in the Sandbox look good (and the anniversary of the worst was a couple of days ago, too).  There are over 20 million people in Seoul, South Korea, and it has long been said the North has enough conventional artillery aimed at the city to level it.  Millions dead?  Could be.

The hurricane warnings from the National Hurricane Center have a pretty good phrase they use.  The warnings are the final notice that the storm is expected to hit, and they include the advice, "all preparations should be rushed to completion".  It looks like a storm is coming.  Pay heed.


  1. There are always concerns of fifth column elements inside of the US and it's large Korean-American population, too. I think that the threat may be overblown to some degree, but if this thing hits the wall, there undoubtably will be sabotage domestically.

    1. Sabotage! Surely you know that the liberals have decided that the Japanese internment was unnecessary because they were all good assimilated citizens.

  2. I hope the Good Lord sees fit to give us another 6 or 7 weeks to get clear of the LA/LB harbor.....

  3. What I am concerned about is China getting sucked in. My gut feeling is that their nuclear capacity is far more built up than commonly acknowledged.

  4. All the threats and bluster are not aimed at N.Korea but at China. China is the key to putting a lid on N.Korea. The trade talks with China earlier were all about letting China know that trade will be at risk if the US does not see any benefit from trade. The US has installed multiple THAAD missle systems in S.Korea and I also hope they are in Japan as well. The Chinese hate THAAD not because of the missles but because of the advanced radar system associated with the system. THAAD monitors the Chinese as much as the N.Koreans. They can mount no surprise attacks with THAAD in place. As a next step the US can lend nukes to Japan and then slowly shut down trade with China. The key to a poorly behaved N.Korea is a China that clamps down on their belligerence. India has, by treaty, come to the aid of Bhutan as China has been trying to take over some of its territory over the last couple of months. They have threatened India with war if they don't back down and have given them until the 19th of the month to leave. Combine all of this with their island building in the China sea and anyone can see they must be confronted. We have had the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations that have done nothing about Chinas behavior and finally there is someone that has a plan...hopefully it will work. indyjonesouthere

  5. Indy, if you believe the US can "slowly shut down trade with China", you haven't been shopping anywhere in this country in the past ten or twenty years. I've made a game of searching the stores I go into (or buy from on-line) for items that are _not_ made in China, and let me tell you, it's slim pickin's. If we set out today to see that just the _necessities_ - say, like toilet paper, for example - were once again made in America, it would take years to make it happen. In the meantime, our economy would tank were we to shut off the trade in all that is made in China and sold here in this country.

    It would be a worthy cause, but would be very difficult to manage, let alone in a timely fashion.

  6. Government's gotta do something to distract from government bankruptcy. Hey, let's have that weak country which is no match for us attack their neighbor, and keep the mess of the battle far away from CONUS. Then problems from bankruptcy can be blamed on war.

    Many found MAD to be morally abhorrent

    As far as I can tell, MAD is the only evolutionarily stable strategy. Everything else is merely wishing that the other entity happens to have behavior which benefits you. If the other entity is a human being, sometimes they are instinctually and culturally programmed to have good behavior. However, entities which are groups of humans don't compute their decisions in the manner of a single human brain. Groups are hard to culturally program, and their instincts are sociopathic.

    1. A lot of people have been saying for a long time that the with the entire western world in an economic death spiral a war is the only thing we can count on.

      I have to agree with your assessment of MAD as "the only evolutionarily stable strategy". If MAD is "morally abhorrent", then NOT protecting your population to the best degree possible is even more abhorrent.

    2. Except, Anonymous, how much of that debt is "owed" to the Federal Reserve Board? The info I have seen says more than 50%. Now what if the Federal Reserve Board can be shown to have engaged in rampant fraud and corruption for MANY years? THEN how much is "owed" to them?

      Everybody wants to scream that the government is bankrupt. From my point of view, the US government is in far better shape in that regard than any other nation on the face of the earth.

    3. Whatever happened to penny candy? Why is the Five and Dime store now the Dollar store? Suppose on Gilligan's island the Federal Reserve manufactures 1 thousand currency tokens from coconut shell. These are said to equal in value all goods and services currently being exchanged in trade on the island. The tokens are given to the government, with a string attached: interest. The Fed wants 2%/year for its loan of tokens. At the end of the year, the government as royal owner of all the land and people owns 980 tokens, and the Fed bankers own 20 tokens (2%). What an investment payoff for the bankers! They produce 1,000 tokens, and a year later can acquire and consume 2% of the GDP. Issue 5% more tokens each year, official counterfeiting which reduces the purchasing power of saved tokens. Repeat for 100 years, and here we are. For the full history of money in the US, google the pdf book _Mystery of Banking_ by Rothbard from

      the US government is in far better shape in that regard

      The government is holding a large number of Federal Reserve Note currency tokens. However, these are just tokens, not wealth. What people want is not tokens, but 30 years of a warm house and meals followed by hip replacement surgery. Government can't trivially manufacture food and medical care. The retirees are not going to receive what they expect, no matter how many currency tokens government prints.

      the entire western world in an economic death spiral

      There is no such thing. There is no ebola killing off 20% of the humans. No crop disease wiping out the food supply. No deadly worldwide pollution from flooded nuclear reactors. No extraterrestrial space monsters attacking. The sun is not exploding. The population bomb, peak oil, and global warming are all myths. Robotics is here and nanotech is right around the corner, and these will produce another industrial revolution of material plenty. The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades.

      What there is, is a lot of government telling people they aren't permitted to produce, and a lot of people obeying those government edicts. But government is a paper tiger. A quarter million people in Connecticut ignored gun registration edicts, and government "went hot" against the people. Nothing bad happened because the government war plans against the bulk population don't work, and government knows it. If a million people took the license tags off their cars, nothing bad would happen. If a million people noisily stopped paying taxes, nothing bad would happen.