The Road To War?

The base assumption of the armchair generals and foreign policy experts is that war on the Korean peninsula is suicide for all involved. The South Koreans know that the North Koreans have the capacity to inflict massive damage to South Korean cities. The North Koreans know that any war with the South brings in American air and sea power, which means the end of the Kim regime. Even assuming the Chinese step in to prevent a North defeat, the end result is monstrous for all concerned. As a result, we have a standoff.

That all sounds good, until you read something like this in the National Interest. Gordon Chang’s analysis may be way off base, but you cannot ignore the fact that Washington keeps pounding the war drums. It really does not matter if people outside Washington are listening. What matters is that official Washington seems to be gearing up for war. The Trump administration has been slowly building up offensive assets in the region. We now have three carrier groups operating within striking distance of North Korea.

Maybe it is all a bluff, but why would Washington bluff, if they accept the various war narratives popular with the foreign policy experts? If the North Koreans are sure that the South does not want a war, why would they think that Washington is doing anything other than bluffing? The whole point of saber rattling is so the other side thinks there is at least some chance that the guy rattling the saber is serious. More important, the guy with the saber needs to think he is serious too. Otherwise, you get Obama’s red lines.

There’s also the unknowns. In this case, no one really knows what South Korean and US military intelligence knows about the North Korean military. It is a safe bet that that the US has had spy satellites parked over North Korea for a long time. It’s also a safe bet that the South Koreans have been cultivating sources in the North Korean military. None of this information is made available to the so-called experts and armchair generals. In other words, Washington may be responding to things entirely unknown to the public.

One thing that is known is that North Korea knows they cannot win a war against the South. The proof of that is how they have organized their military. Those artillery pieces on the border are a one-shot threat. They get about 72 hours to inflict as much damage as possible, until US air power takes them out. If they play this card, they forgo their opportunity to send their infantry and armor south. Instead, the North will have to wage a defensive war, hoping the South elects a negotiated end rather than an invasion.

This means their best card to play in this game just about guarantees their destruction, either from a land invasion or an extended air campaign. It would certainly end the Kim family dynasty. That makes the threat significantly less credible. The US can pressure China or make a deal with China, to get help putting the screws to the Kim regime, knowing that the Koreans only have a doomsday card to play. In other words, the doomsday card prevents a US invasion, but does not prevent economic war.

Of course, it’s possible that the math has changed for the Chinese. Right now is peak China economically and demographically. Now is the best chance they will have to resolve their Korean problem. A decade from now, when China has an aging population and the North Koreans have the ability to strike Beijing, the Americans may not be interested in helping with this problem. The best time to address tough problems is when you have the resources to address them. There is no better time than now for China.

There’s also the Trump factor. Previous presidents have been willing to accept the options presented to them by the foreign policy establishment. Trump is psychologically incapable of accepting the options presented to him for anything. Everyone who has done deals with him says the same thing. Trump thrives under pressure, so he puts everyone under pressure. He’s sure he can wheel and deal with anyone under pressure, so that’s how he changes the negotiating table. He creates uncertainty and puts everyone under the gun.

That seems to be what he is trying to do with Asia. On the one hand, he is encouraging Japan to build out their military and take a more active role in policing the region. This puts enormous pressure on China. He’s helping the South Koreans get ready for war, which puts pressure on the North and on their relationship with China. All of a sudden, the US is doing things very different in Asia. Trump’s willingness to change course on a dime, adds an air of unpredictability to him, which always makes Asian leaders nervous.

No one outside the Trump inner circle knows what’s in the works, but the steady buildup of offensive assets in the region is not just saber rattling. To send a message, you send a carrier group and hold some joint exercises with the South Koreans. Maybe after a North Korean missile launch, you pass some more sanctions and give a bellicose speech. What Trump is doing looks a lot like the preparation for a decapitation strike or maybe a sustained air campaign to cripple the North Korean regime. It looks like war prep.

172 thoughts on “The Road To War?

  1. Gulf Wars are a bad example. Saddam didn’t have operating nuclear weapons, maybe he fooled some people into believing he did (maybe he fooled himself too) but he didn’t. Iraq never detonated a atomic device.
    North Korea has, frequently.

    Saddams Scuds had to stretch to reach Israel. Kim’s ICBM’s can probably reach the west coast of the USA, though as yet, not with a warhead. But that is coming, soon.

    We wasted money and blood in Iraq, we (meaning the President) have a duty to protect the country (even the west coast, unfortunately) from any possible attack by NK.

    That ‘Can’ has been kicked down the road for the last time.

  2. The operation will start with a massive information campaign, using drones and other techniques to organize a revolt against the greedy incompetents running the place. Won’t be hard to get the army to stand down, and let the rabid dogs running the place get slaughtered from the air.

  3. I think it would take more like 72 seconds for the U.S. military to take out any artillery pointed at South Korea.

  4. Arguably, all we need to know about the North Korea situation:

    1. If you think North Korea developed nukes and ICBMs by itself, you’re an idiot. Who helped them?
    2. If they use a nuke, it will get blown up, likely in the bunker. What part of thr world will the fallout and refugees will that effect?
    3. Last time Obama went to China, they didn’t even roll out the airplane stairs. They gave Trump a fete in the Forbidden City, a first in modern history for any foreign dignitary.

    Question: who’s shitting in this situation?
    Who will ‘fix’ this, or face all kind of economic ruin?

  5. Once Rocket Man is gone, NK would fold. Either Rocket Man makes the decisions, or no one makes the decisions. China resists change because they do not want to be responsible for 40 million starving little people.

  6. Is this about the One Belt (New Silk Road)?

    After their meeting, perhaps Ji asked the Don for help in ridding him of a difficult obstacle.

    Trump gains face as the tough guy, Ji saves face as a competent leader, expanding Asian ties by trade. Making his bid to resurrect the Asian Tigers.

    Both countries/regions benefit.
    We hand off some of our Islamic mess to China, such as Pakistan, Burmese Rohingya, AfriCom.

    This may be a job interview.
    China may be willing to join the Great Powers club.

  7. This is what I would do if I were Trump. I would meet with Kim and attempt to determine if is indeed insane. If he is then we attempt to make friends with him. We pull all troops out of South Korea and do our best to get on his good side. If we can accomplish that goal, then Russia and China have to deal with a nuclear armed madman on their border. Let them deal with his insane demands for a change. NK is our problem only because of some strange twists in history, but it should be China’s and Russia’s problem.

    • @ Bilejones – Give credit where it’s due. The Europeans were quite happy slaughtering every fuzzy-wuzzy they could find all around the world for centuries. Everyone should have their fair turn.

  8. Your assessment of NK’s relationship with China is dumbfounding and stunningly absurd:

    “Now is the best chance they will have to resolve their Korean problem. A decade from now, when China has an aging population and the North Koreans have the ability to strike Beijing”

    China and Russia have allowed NK to pursue its Nuclear program because NK is aiming them at the US; they do not fear nukes being aimed at them. China is NK’s greatest ally. China only fears a flood of economic or wartime refugees over the Yalu. China’s aims are simple, to establish hegemony over Asia, reunify with Taiwan, and oust the US from the region. I notice your “economic and demographic peak” carefully excludes “military”, because China is not yet ready to make a pre-emptive strike on the US. They will, on their own timetable.
    In addition, your war prediction assumes Japan and South Korea are prepared to accept a massive retaliatory strike — all the while China risking credibility by allowing a US attack, sans a NK first-strike.

    Sometimes you are too clever by half, and pretty much demonstrated complete ignorance of Asian affairs.

  9. I’m not sure the Kimster is entirely rational in the way we view it. I think he’s operating in an information bubble slash echo chamber. Everyone around him is feeding him what he wants to hear, out of fear of death. So, his generals all tell him he can easily defeat the US, that we will fold at the slightest bit of pressure. What reliable sources does he really have?

    • I’m sure the Chinese manage to remind him what’s what now and again. Note Glen Filthie’s post above.

  10. After the last missile launch, Trump said “We will take care of it.” He’s done talking. Something is going to give. My best guess is that Kim is now being offered a Golden Parachute. If he declines, then the money gets offered to the NK military command, leading to a coup that overthrows the Kim family dynasty. Should happen soon because winter is coming and starvation in NK will be catastrophic this year. That’s why Kim has been pushing the nuke issue and trying to force a handout.

  11. North Korea loses a war in a week – doesn’t matter what their strategy and tactics are. Far more lopsided technological and logistics disparities than even the Gulf War.

    The NK ace in the hole is that neither South Korean nor the Chinese want to take responsibility for their starving peasants. That elite North Korean border guard who defected last month was sick enough to warrant a hospital stay even if he had not been shot. Imagine how bad off the common peasants are.
    http://dailycaller.com/2017/12/04/north-korean-soldier-turned-defectors-nasty-health-problems-speak-volumes-about-life-in-north-korea/

    • The average IQ of South Koreans is supposed to be 106.

      Assuming they’re reeducable, those Norks would probably make pretty good immigrant stock here, compared to what we typically get.

      • @ bad guest – At your estimate they’re already 100-points above the average American liberal. 🙂

        You do know the Koreans developed the first metal-clad ship, right? Look up “Turtle Ship”. Your American “Old Iron Sides” was not an original idea. They also developed moveable metal type face for printing around 1200 and underfloor heating as far back as 5,000 BCE. They also developed the multiple rocket launcher and a bullet proof vest.

        They’re not as dumb as you think.

        http://self.gutenberg.org/articles/eng/List_of_Korean_inventions_and_discoveries

        • Karl-Why don’t you move here, since you’re the foreign resident expert on all things American, you’ll be right at home with all the other know-it-all genius military experts roaming round in the afternoon with nothing to do.
          I’ve never read such bullshit in my life.
          Have you no comparable internet blog in MerkleLand to post comments and keep you busy with the current takeover of your native land by the migrant horde of Islamic radicals?
          You seem to be preoccupied with everything here in my country from desert tracts in Utah (a place I guarantee you’ve never set your foot) to hospital bills and insurance coverage (what the f@ck is it to you?). Your kind of busybody arrogance makes me wish we never helped you lads back on your feet after we spanked the living shit out of you for trying to take over the world.

          • “We”? Do you have a mouse in your pocket? So were you personally on the beaches of Normandy, or anywhere else, “spanking the shit out of us”? Since you brought up the subject, have you visited the Omaha Beach D-Day Memorial? I have. Do you know how many German-Americans are buried there? Come visit, and count the names for yourself – but be sure you have plenty of time – because it will take you a while.

            Just to set the record straight, I pay health insurance, car insurance, home insurance and income tax and sales tax. Nothing here is free like you’ve been told. You do know how much we pay for gasoline over here, right?

            Your ignorance is typical of people who know nothing of Europe, let alone ever visited here. You can only mouth off about what you don’t know. Yes, I’ve been to Utah and most of the US. You should know I lived in the Bay Area for 10-years so I got to know many Americans first hand. To be honest, I’ve probably visited more places on earth than you can name or find on a map. And I’m not insulting you by calling you ignorant, education can cure that. And I would never call you stupid – we all know you can’t fix that.

            Unfortunately you sound like the kind of American that wraps themselves in the flag and brags of an America that is long gone, and honestly, it saddens many of us here in Europe who knew what America was.

            You fail to see the paint pealing on your own walls because people like Trump bring you false hope, like bringing jobs back to America. But why did those jobs leave (you fail to ask) – because that same government sold you out 2-decades ago. That same government sent your jobs to Mexico and China and Brazil so you could afford a $3 t-shirt and an iPhone.

            Why do I speak out about the military? Because we tire of watching your young men come home ruined and crippled for nothing – just as did ours not so long ago. Maybe you think it’s heroic to get your legs blown off in Afghanistan. I would bet those brave veterans who come back don’t think the same way. Do I speak out against the US military – never! I have had the pleasure of the company of your soldiers stationed here in Germany. They are truely your countries finest.

            I know what America was because it saved Germany from itself. Be honest, you know nothing of war. Come to Köln, and see the bomb scars on our cathedral, visit the area around Verdun where towns no longer exist, vaporized from maps and memory. While hundreds of military grave sites that cover Europe have replaced them.

            Only in YouTube film reels can you even comprehend 0.001% of what we Germans brought upon ourselves. We fear for you because we know what can happen and in case you missed it – America is the last chance any of us have if things really get bad – and they will my friend, they will.

            Because I am German, it doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate what America is and what it has become and it pains many of us in Europe to watch such greatness failing. Feel free to criticize my country all you want, but be educated about it when you do. I’m no green, no liberal, no friend of the EU and I no don’t think our chancellor is the best leader. Just the best we have at the moment.

            Be wise enough to think for yourself, to challenge and debate and understand other people’s view points. Not think lock-step, manipulated and divided between two parties that have brought your country into decline just as our single party once did. Open your eyes to the police state your country is slowly turning into. Think that Constitution really works for you? Try carrying $2,000 in cash in your car and see what happens next time you get pulled over.

            Honestly, Europe quit caring a long time ago and I fear we are heading into oblivion from which we will not be able to return – and it’s a path you must not follow.

            I enjoy this site because it’s not mainstream. it’s conservatives who seem to care about their country and can form an opinion and debate openly. You Americans are known for being the best fighters and are willing to fight – so open your mind and put up a good mental fight with me!

            But bring your facts and we will become friends through understanding each others misunderstandings.

          • Hamburg 2x- Garmisch Partchenkirchen/Munich/Berg/Klais4x-Caracassone/Bayeux/Colville-sur-Mer (Normandy) 3x- Paris 6x- Milan2x-Bevagna/Spello/Montefalco/Florence 3x- Madrid 4x-Córdoba/Granada/Malaga/Ronda 2x- Rome 5x- Ireland/UK lost count.

            You don’t know what you’re talking about.
            We’re Americans.

          • Well done Scullman! My goodness, an American who travels, excellent!

            But to be fair – how many years did you live in each these places? Or were they just tour bus stops? Living somewhere and getting to know the people is very different than watching those locations pass by from a tour bus window.

            And you can speak and read how many of these languages fluently – just want to be sure you’re able to read the local newspapers so you can appreciate ‘foreign’ published media and editorial commentary.

            I’d love to hear your take on Bavarian politics as it’s published in Süddeutsche Zeitung.

          • Sorry wise ass, no tour buses.
            I’m the tour.
            I’ve driven in all those countries including on the wrong side in the UK and Ireland, for business (photography) and pleasure. I could give you the tour via the Metro in Rome, Madrid and Paris any day, have rented apartments in all of them, and I well remember the afternoon in Aufkirchen visiting the local cemetery, respectfully honoring die Gefallenen from that village. And most of the people I’ve met were charming and intelligent and extremely welcoming and curious about Americans, or I wouldn’t keep going back. I don’t read or speak any of the languages fluently, but I’ve never had a bad moment with anyone anywhere in Europe in 25 yrs. But then again, I don’t go around shooting my mouth off about what “I” think about the way they live, and the choices they’ve made in their countries.
            So, You’re standing at Dead Horse Point in the Canyonlands National Park outside of Moab, Utah.
            Facing the LaSalle Mts. which way does the sun set? to your Left or Right?

            Oh, and the inscription around the chapel exterior, in the center of the American Cemetery in Normandy?- “These endured all and gave all, that justice among nations might prevail, and that mankind might enjoy freedom and inherit peace”

            That’s for the 9,387 Americans buried there.

        • I was not being facetious. I know they are smart. We could use them.

          They are also very brave. Many of them have set up shop in black neighborhoods.

          They’d be good for the north American gene pool.

      • Maybe – Prior to WWII, North Korea was the industrial center of Korea, the south was the agricultural heartland.

        But I’m not sure what a low-protein, starvation childhood diet does to an IQ. But they are good at following orders – put a Stop and Shop in a neighborhood and they’ll probably do whatever they’re told.

    • Really not an issue, Drake. The entire population of NoKo can be fed for 25 million a day on twice the rations they are getting right now. That’s the way in, not the warning off.

  12. All these interesting and thoughtful analyses seem to assume that China is the rational actor here and Trump is not. Fact is, Japanese rearmament is as much due to not-so-rational Chinese actions as those of the Norks’. These have reduced ‘Great China’s’ relative power and control over the situation in Korea because a well-armed, nuclear capable, hostile Japan is hardly in China’s long term interest. And the Kim family’s provocations against Japan are no longer useful or harmless for that reason.

    While not much reported here, the Chinese have been conducting an off-and-on, long-running hate campaign against Japan. This is probably to promote national unity in the usual way by setting up an external enemy and villainizing them as may be convenient. The basis for the PRC’s choice of Japan as their external enemy* is historical Japanese atrocity against China following the actual start of WWII in the late ’30s there.

    That no living Japanese today had any actual role in these atrocities** is of no matter to the Chinese campaign. Likewise of no matter to the PRC is the US record of supporting China against Japan as best we could under the circumstance for the entire period.

    The time tested threat assessment framework is Threat = Capabilities X Intentions. As Chinese military capabilities have been ramped up well beyond self-defense, their ‘Great China bestrides the East’ and anti-Japanese rhetoric has too. Any sane Japanese leader has to recognize a greatly increased threat from China (as do the rest of China’s neighbors***) due to the PRC’s demonstrated increasingly expansionist and hateful rhetoric showing their intentions.

    The Japanese know better than anybody how such propaganda campaigns can get out of hand and trigger wars of vast consequence. It was Japan’s militaristic, expansionistic propaganda post WWI that emboldened local generals in Manchuria (Japan took it from Russia) to kick off the war against China without formal permission from Tokyo. If Japan doesn’t have deliverable nukes now, they are weeks away: An unforced error by the PRC.

    Japan is in the same demographic box as China and would have happily been applying their nation’s considerable technological skills to creating the robots that could have saved China’s position as well as their own. Instead the Japanese are applying them to weapons development for use against China.

    * Could have just as easily been Russia or even the UK for similar historical reasons.

    ** Also true for Germany.

    ***Vietnam is now our strong, if unofficial, ally_! Thanks China_!

      • Karl;
        I was talking about the responsible perpetrators not any victims. If a man was a very young mid-level officer of 25 in 1945, hence capable of ordering an atrocity on his own authority, he’d be 97 today. So there might be an insignificant handful. Of my parent’s relatives who went into the war as near boys of 18+ only one remains alive today.

        • @ Al – Fair point. Thanks for clarifying. Still, we must remain vigilant that it can never happen again. Because it can.

    • Per my Asian friends, the Japanese are the Fascists, the Chinese are the cloud people, the Vietnamese are the Dirt people, and the Koreans are batshit crazy. Then there are the Siberian Russian hoodlums and the scary tough Mongolians. No one seems to like anyone else too much over there.

      • @ Dutch – Sounds like south San Francisco. Let’s be honest, the only real benefit of multi-culti is the excellent take-away!

  13. No offense to anyone here, but what I read is a bunch of armchair generals and Monday morning quarterbacks. Including myself. I have no idea what will happen. I have noticed the commentary from the MSM for the last 40 years. “The North Korean dictator is insane!”. I have never felt that was true. Narcissistic, sure. Corrupted, sure. Evil, probably. But, how is the Un family any different than the Bushes, the Clintons or the gay mulatto? Yes, there is a lot of difference economically between the US and NK, but human nature rules.

    There is a continuum of possibilities. The most negative possibility is that “the Big One 2” could be initiated and the world could end. Not going to happen. The world will not end. OK, say the world goes back to the stone age. Again, not going to happen. If war does happen, maybe Trump wins, maybe China wins, maybe nobody wins and the status quo of evil men controlling the money supply will continue. Maybe the whole thing is just a distraction for the “useless breeders” to continue to fear the unknown and show up at their pointless job to keep paying taxes and provide meat puppets for their masters. And, on the bright end of the spectrum, maybe this will lead to the re-unification of North and South Korea. Who knows? Get the popcorn.

    • If you know the history – the quest by the North Koreans to get nukes makes perfect sense.

      It’s very far from “insane”.

    • @ AWM – It could end and easily. A nuclear winter will definitely end humanity. There have been enough volcanoes in the past 1,000 years that have effectively changed the weather in Europe and other places in the world. Read about the “Year without Summer”. Fortunately, at least, the fall out from volcanoes is not radioactive.

      Fukushima and Chernobyl are good examples of how just how fragile and unrecoverable the real world actually is. Even the best bug-out bag isn’t going to help you if you happened to be living near mount Saint Helens when it went off.

      • So, Fukushima, Chernobyl, and Mt. St. Helens ended the world, did they? Oh, wait they didn’t. Those who actually believe the propaganda that this planet is so fragile that humans can destroy it don’t recognize the fact that it was created to repair itself. I remember the hysteria around the Exxon Valdez. “It will destroy the environment forever!” Today there is no evidence it even happened. If humans actually could threaten the safety of this world, all it would take would be for the planet to shrug its shoulders and turn on its axis. Even that wouldn’t kill everyone.

        • No human will be around by the time the earth repairs Fukushim and Chernobyl. All though the oil has mostly disappeared from view, many Alaskan beaches remain polluted to this day, crude oil buried just inches below the surface. You might read up on the condition of the US Gulf after BP disaster.

          • I live in Texas. What, you live in Germany? I’m sure you’ve traveled to the Gulf several times to review the damage. Books are fine but they are limited by the writing ability and the intelligence of the author, as well as the intelligence of the reader. What you are trying to imply are mortal wounds to the planet are insignificant scars. Believe me, the need to think that man can destroy the world is just hubris. Man is just part of creation, not the be all and end all. Think about the thousands of nuclear explosions there have been. And yet, life goes on, doesn’t it? You speak of Chernobyl. 30 years later, there are still trees, as well as hotels and a tourist zone in the “contaminated” area. At the Mt. St. Helens, wildlife and vegetation thrives. In fact, there was another eruption in 2008. I’m old enough to realize that whenever someone starts yelling “The sky is falling, the sky is falling!”, someone is trying to make some money or get some attention.

          • AWM – Ah, Texas. I know a great place in Ft. Worth Stockyards, all the ribs you can eat. Very good!

            Unfortunately Gaia isn’t going to recover from an all out nuclear war. Not as long as you’re alive – which will end about one mili-second after the first detonation. Once you obliterate the atmosphere, the earth will look a lot like Mars in very short order.

            Keep in mind in your scenario, those were individual explosions. Very different from the sum of all of them going off at about the same time as would be the case in a nuclear exchange.

            So based on this, do you think nuclear reactors are a good idea? Please – let us know how to resolve the massive problem with nuclear waste. Because no one else has yet – except for burying it in in a cave in Finland.

            Maybe Gaia can turn all those spent fuel rods into rainbows and unicorns?

          • Do all Krauts not know how to shut-up, Karl? It would explain a lot. Look back at just your posts on this thread. Logorrhea is not an attractive trait. Say, you don’t have a little mustache and foam at the mouth when you get worked up, do you?

          • (Merica)
            AWM, please don’t be to harsh with Karl, he was speaking metaphorically. I think he means Gaia, earth to you, is spiritually damaged.
            Gaia wept.

          • Karl Horst (Germany) is really fired up tonight. No counterpoint, no measured observation, no gentle herding back to the point of the thread, will detain Karl; he knows all, he sees all; no corner of history, or science, is obscure to him. He’s here to point out how limited and backward we are, as frontiersmen living out on the plain with only our bible and ten-year-old newspapers to guide us.

      • That’s bollocks , I was around the year after Mt. Saint Helens erupted.

        It was amazingly cold where I lived in places but there were no food shortages, starvation or any other serious impacts in a well run developed country

        Fukishima while bad across the board hasn’t wrecked the planet nor has Chernobyl. Neither are habitable for people but people safely visit on a regular basis

        In any case the chance of a nuclear war on a doomsday scale over North Korea is nil. It might have nasty economic implications and maybe a city could get nuked maybe but life will go on

        Now exhausting the land and sea is an issue and so is overpopulation and some kinds of resource limits but since the Cold War ended , baring a US attack on Russia , Nuclear Armageddon is not a huge concern

        • ABP – So you think the middle east nut jobs just want nukes as expensive decorations? Unlike the West and Russia, they plan on actually using them.

          • Despite what Neo Conservatives say the governments of the middle east are not suicidal crazies.

            They just want the US to leave them alone

            The only threat that your nation gets from that region is internal , Frau Merkel and the rests immigration policies basically/

            Have a far stricter policy, as in very very few , deport them all and a solid border security and you’ll be fine.

            No one in the MENA regions will commit nuclear suicide over border controls

            Now I concede you might want to get nukes and a stouter defense of your own but this is a minor issue, be responsible for your own defense

            The other upside or proliferation is it will make another fraticidal war in Europe highly unlikely

  14. My default assumption about a Second Korean War was that it wouldn’t happen. The most likely endgame was a few days of horrifically deadly artillery rained down on Seoul, inflicting hundreds of thousands of casualties (and hundreds of billions in damage) before Pyongyang was turned into a compliant, glowing sheet of glass. And it wouldn’t even necessarily resolve anything, since China likely wouldn’t tolerate a Unified Korea that was friendly to the Americans. The risk-reward ratio was unacceptably low.

    But I’ve started questioning that assumption. Any time I realize that I’m in agreement with the talking haircuts in the mainstream, I slap myself in the face and think again. I vividly remember the attitude in the press in the weeks leading up to the Gulf War in 1991. Forget about its merits (or lack thereof) for now – everyone on the Nightly News was convinced that a Gulf War would result in Vietnam or D-Day level casualties. Everyone was convinced that Israel would be exterminated under a choking cloud of poison gas. Instead, we saw one of the most lopsided clock-cleanings in history.

    The American Military hasn’t really racked up any brag-worthy victories since then, and has been stuck fighting the types of wars and insurgencies that it doesn’t like and doesn’t do well in. But a North Korean War might be closer to the toe-to-toe slugfest that it excels at. I’m not trying to rev my monster truck and wave my ‘Murica flag here; I’m just saying that mainstream assumptions have been wrong before – very wrong.

    • Most of this discussion assume America will continue to remain China’s major market. However America may well fall out of favor since is no longer a growing, developing country. Like Europeans, Americans have everything they need – you can’t sell a man a washing machine if he already has one. The boom years after WW-2 are long gone, in Europe and America.

      That means American (and European) influence of China can change, as China gets tired of offering credit to countries so in debt, they can’t possibly pay their bills. What influence can a low demand customer put on a high production supplier? Basically, none.

      BRIC countries will continue to demand goods and services into the foreseeable future as they develop their own economies. America and Europe, not so much.

      • Here’s some larned history for ya, Karl. China is not going to tire of giving credit to countries in order that they may buy Chinese products. They have trapped themselves into doing so, exactly as Americans did in the 1920’s. Nobody wants to be the guy shutting down the party. Oh, and the American educational system? It went German in the 1880’s.

        • @ James+wilson – The U.S. debt to China is $1.2 trillion as of August 2017. That’s 30 percent of the $3.05 trillion in Treasury bills, notes, and bonds held by foreign countries.

          Consider how much of the US China actually owns outright and I doubt they’re too worried about the loans. They’ll get it back one way or another.

          http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-04-03/chinese-are-buying-large-chunks-land-across-america-and-zillow-now-enabling-it

          FYI – Germany has been giving credit to southern Europe who in turn buys our cars and other consumer good. It’s a great system!

          • You’re wrong. By holding these bonds all the Chinese hold is.. bonds. Any investor knows this. It isn’t a claim on privately-held property or real assets in the US, the total value of which staggers the mind, even today.

            The weakness in a creditor/debtor relationship is all on the side of the creditor, if the debtor refuses to pay and has the wherewithal to back up this refusal.

            Chinese investors don’t trust the Chinese banking system, with good reason.

            The US national debt is outrageous, from a moral and mental health point of view, but geopolitically it makes complete sense: The USA is cashing in on the fact that the entire world is destabilized, and a US treasury note is the best bet in a bad world. It’s why zero or negative interest rates, which are now seen from Germany, another “relatively” stable banking entity, still enjoy a market.

            Thought experiment: How many westerners are buying up Chinese yuan? If not, why not, if China is the new home of financial stability? Waging war on the US won’t recover the debt; it’ll just be a nuclear holocaust.

            America is now the world’s tapeworm, feeding on its host. I get that. But do you tear out your intestines to get at the worm, or just feed it?

    • I tend to agree. Trump is a money man. So are the Chinese. All wars are essentially about money and power…and very rarely, politics and religion.

      There’s no markets in North Korea worth fighting over. China does not want a war with Uncle Sam. Contrary to the media and the hysterical liberals, Trump is not unstable and won’t start a war over his ego or because the fat kid with the bad haircut thumbed his nose at Uncle Sam. Trump will posture and preen and use the situation to his advantage politically – but he knows where his battles are. The only way this one will go hot is if Trump (and pretty much all his allies) – sense a threat to existing markets and investments. And if NK has to be taken out – I will bet that the Chinese, Japanese and possibly even the south Koreans will do it first.

      • @ Glen Filthie – Hopefully America has learned from the disaster in the Middle east, that the friend of your enemies is not always your friend. Muslim solidarity is proof enough of that.

        Other Asians may view a US attack on N. Korea in the same way. They may be different countries, but they know they are all ethnically Asian.

        Hopefully Trump can convince other local Asian nations to bring N. Korea down for their own best interests, and keep the US out of it.

        Asian resentment is long held and not easily forgotten.

        • There is no ‘Muslim solidarity’. Aside from religion, there is essentially nothing which binds the Afghani with the Libyan or Syrian or Yemeni. You see this in the refugee camps. They hate each other.

          You are lumping very disparate people together by race, much as the Japanese did in WW2 by assuming that all “Far East” peoples would live in harmony in what they called an ‘Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere’. Never mind the massacres of Nanking, the heartless annihilation of Manila, the enslavement of Thai and Burmese coolies to build their railroads and airfields.

          We are brothers!

          Here in my benighted and evil land, the United States, you will find – if it matters to you, o student of history – the indigenous peoples hated each other so viscerally that the contingents of white settlers and explorers never had real difficulty in dividing and ruling; they just made use of the tribal hostilities.

          “Asian resentment”. Really? I thought all that went out with Franz Fanon.

  15. Politicians like to tackle the easy stuff and let the hard ones go. Successful businessmen know to go after the hardest problems and the rest tend to melt away. Korea is a really hard problem. Trump is using his tools to split the shared interests of China and NK into competing interests. Trump knows his limits, and China knows his limits. The trick is for Trump to frame the taking out of Rocket Boy to appear to be in the best interests of China. He seems to have travelled far down that path already. Given what Rocket Boy does to his own people, success would be a very good thing. The tough part of the whole deal is probably convincing China that while they can work with Trump, he will only be there for a few years, and who comes on the scene next? See Ghadaffi and Libya for a relevant example.

    • That is not going to be a hard sell.

      The North Koreans have no problem flipping the finger at China either. During a particularly nasty famine, Rocket Boy’s father was in charge and China sent a trainload of food and humanitarian supplies to help out.

      The old man confiscated the train. And the personnel. Seriously.

      Chinese “negotiation teams” were sent in and the train was promptly released back to them within a day. One supposes that the negotiation went along the lines of “Give us our damned train back or you’re dead…”

  16. Feel free to dismiss this as internet bullshit, but I have a pal quite well connected with various decision-makers in the British and US military. He says Washington is gearing up for an attack in the spring: the Japanese are interested, the South Koreans don’t want to know, but the Americans have decided to deal with the problem. They’ve spoken to the Chinese and asked them how far down the peninsula they intend to come, and a finger was planted on the map which the Americans have agreed to. The priority for the Americans and Chinese is to secure the nuclear sites. Again, might be bullshit, but this fella is a good pal of mine and is rather well-placed.

  17. I have a hard time believing that NK is acting independently, that it is not doing China’s bidding. Flip the map around: if China had a huge military and economic presence in the West (the way we do via Japan and South Korea in the East) would we not want to use a proxy to sow fear and chaos? To disrupt the enemy’s thinking at every turn? To drain its resources? China has already said that if we attack NK first, it will come in on NK’s side. This checkmates any preemptive strike by us, leaving China free to break our balls pretty much at will.
    NK will soon have deliverable nuclear warheads.
    China will control them with an iron fist, while delivering enough food and fuel to keep Rocket Man in power. China has many weaknesses, including a lack of any real friends in the area and a decline in both population and economic growth. This scenario will ensure it’s continued neutralizing of America in the region and its dominance of Asia while it figures out its future.

  18. I think NK is banker puppet state, supported covertly by the West, all along, like China, North Vietnam. Like Cuba. All bogeymen to keep up the Cold War scam.

    If NK has nukes, the West gave them. Like it gave nukes to another low tech donkey shit country, Pakistan, to threaten India. War is the ultimate profit center.

    • You deserve an upvote for writing ‘bogeymen’ (correct) and not ‘boogiemen’ (incorrect), in the manner of Karl Horst (Germany).

      The rest of your comment is ridiculous.

      • PN – thank you for the spelling correction. I would argue Kim could well be a Chinese sock puppet as Hardvanger commented. Just to keep the Americans off balance and spread the American forces thin enough – you can guess who’s hand is in that sock.

  19. The most interesting tidbit of data to become public was the physical condition of the soldier that recently defected over the DMZ. Ostensibly the “A” team is stationed right up on the border, yet one of the non-comms is malnourished, riddled with roundworms, and has uncooked corn in his stomach. Really have to wonder what condition the NorKs are really in. If they are a hollow core that doesn’t need much of a push. Assuming you can decapitate and hit enough of the tubes and rockets fast enough. MOABS are useful both physically and psychologically for massed artillery.

    Original Kim and Son of Kim at least played by the old rules and were useful to the Chinese. The Kid, maybe not so much. And now Trump has become the “X” factor–he also refuses to play the game that Obama, Bush and Clinton played. The Kid did not expect that. You are right about Trump’s negotiating style. One of my old firm’s directors was the senior workout guy at Citi, reporting directly to Reed. Used to tell the story of getting handed a bunch of Trumps casino loans that went south during the early 90s recession to resolve. Were presented as “senior secured”, he quickly found out that Trump’s team had eviscerated the normal covenants during negotiations, so they really had no control of the pledged assets. But Trump paid senior secured rates. He got that by creating so much chaos during the process that he completely outwitted the bankers who were used to a civilized, linear negotiation. Our guy had never seen anything like it. He despised Trump. But he admired his ability to unfocus everyone else and get exactly what he wanted.

    • ” Used to tell the story of getting handed a bunch of Trumps casino loans that went south during the early 90s recession to resolve. Were presented as “senior secured”, he quickly found out that Trump’s team had eviscerated the normal covenants during negotiations, so they really had no control of the pledged assets. But Trump paid senior secured rates. He got that by creating so much chaos during the process that he completely outwitted the bankers who were used to a civilized, linear negotiation. ”

      Most of us (including me) probably have NO idea what any of that means. It sounds interesting, could you rephrase it in english?

      The trouble terms are ‘resolved’ (does it mean collected on?), ‘senior secured’, ‘covenants’, ‘control of pledged assets’, and ‘linear negotiation”. I tried to google them, but they are deep bankspeak, and you know how google has trouble with local dialects.

      • Trump and Carl Icahn (the one whose tactics are familiar to me) use chaos at the negotiating table to extract a better deal for their side of the table. Without getting into arcane definitions, you can leave it at that. After everyone signs the deal and walks away, over time people find out that the contracts aren’t quite what they appear to be, and the terms of the deal are lopsided. Trump and Icahn, amongst others, use that chaos and intimidation technique to break up the cozy Wall Street deals into something that favors their side, instead of favoring everyone at the table, to the detriment of the rest of the world. Now Trump is introducing such a technique into politics, supposedly as the advocate for “the rest of us”. Whether or not we benefit or somehow the benefits just flow to Trump, seeing the cozy relationship where all the politicians at the table make out, to the detriment of the rest of us, has value in and of itself.

        • So not like ” you have to sign the bill to know what’s in it”
          as fancy Nancy said of Barry the Kenyans great theft.

          That’s now costing me $1,600 plus dollars a month.

      • Geezus.

        Not sure why this is hard to figure out.

        My guesses:

        – “control of pledged assets” = you want a loan , you ‘pledge’ assets to the bank and they must be able to take control of those assets if the loan goes south and you don’t repay. No control = no control. Trump outwitted the bankers

        – “senior secured rates” = different people get different rates on loans. Joe Turdbucket who works at 7-11 is going to get a different rate on his mortgage than some guy like Trump who is part of the in-crowd. Trump = senior , pretty much everybody else = junior

        – “linear negotiation” =
        Party 1: I want X
        Party 2: No
        Party 1: Then I want Y
        Party 2: No
        Party 1: Then how about I want Z
        Party 2: Ok – that I can do

        Did I get it right?

    • @ Saml Adams – The word you are looking for is “decoy”. Convince the world N. Korean troops are all in that shape and what’s the effect?

      Americans were convinced the Japanese were nothing but buck-toothed, slant eyed idiots. Those same “idiots” pulled off Pearl Harbor.

      Learn from history.

      • Is that really what Americans were convinced of, Karl? Really? All 140 million of them? I yearn for evidence aside from your schoolboy assumptions…

        “Learn from history”. – Karl Horst (Germany).

        Ok, I’m all ears. Give me the history.

        • @ PN – Not all 140 million Americans, just the ones in charge of Pearl Harbor who didn’t think the Japanese could pull it off.

  20. Alternate scenario: like all democrats, Obama hated the military and made no secret of it, even going so far as to humiliate the forces by making a squaddie stand out in the rain to hold an umbrella over his empty head. Military budgets were slashed, and the money diverted to pork for the democrat media/welfare complex. Foreign policy-wise, he was a weakling and a fool and the world’s turdies played him for one. Obama constantly complained that Bush handed him all his problems. Trump has a serious REAL mess to clean up after America’s failed affirmative action president.

    The navy set a record for unreadiness several months back, with a record number of vessels in dry dock awaiting maintenance and basically moth-balled. The military’s best personnel were retired or driven out and replaced by unqualified but politically correct vibrants, women, and sexual freak shows.

    North Korea is a yapping mutt. If the fat kid with the bad haircut gets stupid, China will likely slap him down themselves. Nevertheless – he makes an ideal bogeyman to frighten the greasy hippies, the elderly peaceniks and liberal hag squads. Strategically America may need to be able to dispatch a mad dog half a world away – and they will need the military to do it.

    Perhaps North Korea is being used to justify the ramp up in military readiness? This is the same problem many Americans have problems with: they can’t play out alternate scenarios. Sure, maybe Saddam Hussein, for example – didn’t have WMD’s. (We know he had nerve gas because we sold it to him, and he even used it on the Kurds). The man expressed his intent – and eventually would have had the means – to procure WMD’s and he was stupid enough to use them. Bush had no choice – Hussein and half his cohorts had to die. Unfortunately so did thousands of others that defended him. It was a small price to pay, compared to having a radioactive crater in Tel Aviv, Paris, or New York.

    Trump is ramping up the military and cleaning it up. He’s telling the world’s gangsters that he won’t take any of their chit. He’s telling the American people that he is there to do a job and not play golf like the last black baboon that had the job.

    The navy’s gonna do what they do for a few weeks, come home with a gripe sheet and a list of recommendations for improved readiness. The fat kid with the bad haircut will proclaim that he scared the eeeevil Murkins away. The Chinese will be watching everyone very closely as they always do. Japan will need to re-arm and that is a good thing if they do it as allies.

    It’s way too early to panic.

    • Obama gutted the military with budget cuts and sequestration. We cannot fight NK today without breaking what’s left of our military. Our Navy is short a 100 warships, massively short of spare parts for it’s aircraft, don’t have funds to do proper maintenance, etc.

      That 3 carrier BG off NK is a one shot deal. The Navy had to strip all of it’s aviation assets across the country to put planes on all 3 carriers. That’s how bad we are.

      Only 5 of the Army’s BCT’s are combat ready. The other 30 or so would take a year or more to bring up them up to combat ready.

      The AF is short 2000 pilots because of high operation tempos and other issues.

      It’s so bad we didn’t even have ground forces in country to back up our Spec Ops in Mali when things went pear shaped for them.

      None of this can be fixed in under 4-5 years even with increased funding. First we need a massive cut back in overseas operations for a while before we burn out what assets that are still good.

      • Rod;
        It’s not beyond possibility that one secondary reason for the Pacific buildup is to weed out the incompetent affirmative action senior officers that Obama placed over the last 8 years. They had ample cover because Bush II failed to weed out a lot of the ones Clinton placed over his 8 years.

        One reason Trump puts people under pressure, as Z Man says, is that it works to weed out the lazy and incompetent.

      • Far more important than that, the Military has been hollowed out and destroyed by social engineering. It is amazing to me that so many people believe that the military establishment is somehow different than the larger government. They are the same people, selected for the same reasons.

        The U.S. government is a clown patrol and the military is no different.

      • @ Rod – Given the technological advances in today’s world, how much hardware to you think you really need? Aircraft carries have gone the way of the battleship. The days of superior numbers don’t mean much anymore especially since most of modern warfare is asymmetrical.

        Thinking Korea will play by US rules of engagement is folly – North Vietnam didn’t why so would the Koreans?

        The Russians already demonstrated they don’t need bigger tanks, faster jets or longer range missiles. They did so by simply hacking into the FBI, CIA and other sensitive government agencies. N. Korea doesn’t need to launch a nuke to bring the US to its knees, it only needs access to the national grid and telecommunications systems.

        All of which means the US needs a bigger IT department and a better software engineers than they have. Not bigger ships and more planes and tanks.

        The Chinese currently have about a 100 to 1 advantage of software engineers over the US. Most of whom got their degrees from US universities. Let that fact sink in.

        • A well-equipped carrier group is mobile and packs serious destructive power. It hasn’t “gone the way of the battleship”; the battleship came to an end with the advent of mobile airpower. This is well-known, or, as Karl Horst likes to say, “I think it’s common wisdom”.

          The USA empire has demonstrated over the last 25-30 years an unexcelled capacity to kill thousands of people and blast remote cities and towns and caves all over the world, thanks to its carrier groups, often – it seems – just for the fun of it. No national goals are ever achieved, but it has sure demonstrated the soundness of sub-ICBM military technique, and it generally doesn’t even make the papers.

          Oh my gosh, the older I get, the more I sound like Noam Chomsky… killing people is one thing, never accomplishing anything by doing so just seems like, I dunno, murder. At least the A-bombs brought peace; the rest of it, not so much.

          • @ PN – I believe a dedicated hacker, or a building full of them, can trump your carrier force pretty much every time. Bombing caves is easy. not getting your national power grid hijacked is something all together different.

          • You missed the point, as I was sure you would. I’m speaking of military assets, in direct response to your point about battleships.

            Violent military response to any sort of attack – cyber or otherwise – is, obviously, a deterrent. Equally obvious is that the presence or absence of traditional military capability is not a substitute for other modes of defense or attack. All of this is well-known.

            Take your country, Germany: Its panzer armies swept over the helpless peoples of Poland and Ukraine, supplemented by aerial raids by the Luftwaffe, frequently on women and children stumbling down dirt roads with their handcarts full of household possessions.

            The government, nonetheless, maintained expensive espionage and other covert operations in neutral as well as belligerent countries, as well as a program in the laboratories, for devising weapons that would yield total victory. Of course, every mature nation maintains these secondary programs, without sacrificing its direct military power; in our day, cyber security (on one hand) and cyber attack (on the other) are crucial to such secondary activity. No one disputes this; it in no way obviates modern force on the high seas, which as I attempted to make plain, is not obsolete as regards actual, lethal operations against obscure positions.

          • LOL. If you’re sounding like Chompsky, maybe ya should pause to reflect!!! 🙂

            I am thinking Karl may be right and you are wrong. Not only is the aircraft carrier rapidly becoming obsolete, the friggin AIRPLANE is damn near there too! The best manned fighter planes are now so expensive, it would make sense to overwhelm a carrier group with drones and missiles. A battle like that would all come down to numbers and electronic counter measures … and those boats, by today’s standards, are mighty big targets and they are also soft.

            The battlefield is changing. Smart weapons are cheap and plentiful now, and ECM/Assymetrical warfare are going to be the order of the day.

        • You vastly overestimate hackers. Most are just low grade white collar criminals. As for their hacking exploits. Many are simply a result of badly implemented INFOSEC rules. I’ve seen plenty of that as a DoD IT manager for some very high profile programs.

          90% of the hacks disappear when their targets tighten up on security or simple close off outside access altogether.

          In regards to the Norks crippling our power grid. Not going to happen. Even if they did, it’s a declaration of war and their only city would vanish in a wave of carpet bombing along with their power grid 24 hours later.

          A aircraft carrier strike group is a floating airbase. They can strike just about anything in range of their planes and cruise missiles. They can cripple a major city with little effort.

          Yes the Chinese have a lot of S/W types. Most are just “grinders” or hacks. They still need to steal American and European IP to accomplish anything. Hell their only aircraft carrier is one they bought from the Russians. Their latest jets are American designs. Their high speed trains are European designs they stole. Their space program is based on stolen NASA tech and manuals.

  21. The build up all this comes from joint US-China folly with the North Koreans. The Uns ran a successful blackmail operation and Clinton, Bush and Obama were all more than willing to capitulate and kick the can down the road. China was more than happy to let the Uns do their thing and stood and let their proxy state do their thing. It was perfectly clear they were Uns bodyguard and the US & the allies were not going to risk any confrontation with China. I’m frankly surprised that China did not finally go in and take over Taiwan during Obama’s reign. He wouldn’t have lifted a finger to stop it, but I digress.

    Then Trump comes along and says the can stops here. Yeah he thrives on the pressure, but the pressure is mostly on the Chinese here. Now their lapdog proxy is putting them into a very difficult situation. We have a build up of forces that tells our Allies there we are there for them, unlike Obama crapping all over them before. It tells Un, go ahead and make Trump’s day.

    Trump can bring all the pressure to bear, as long as he does not fire the first shot. China is pledged to defend NK if they are attacked first, but if NK starts fires first, China has already hinted they will go neutral and stay out of it. Either scenario is bad from China’s point of view. NK will be massively destroyed and those millions of starving NK refugees will all trying to go into China for sanctuary, something China does not want or need. Japan is building up because of Un, something China fears even though they have the numbers advantage.

    Everything they’ve spend the past few decades building up is in danger of being lost. The folly of letting their lapdog proxy rattle its blackmail sabre is not so funny any more to Bejing. Its like two brothers, the older one who lets his younger one be an a-hole and thinks its funny. The younger one is not worried about getting his ass whipped because his older brother is a tough guy. Except eventually the young one pisses off the wrong fellow, a tough guy who can whip his older brothers ass. Now the older brother is in a bind.

  22. Could be just louder rattling. Have seen talk that a space launched kinetic weapon may have already taken out the nork’s capacity to process any more uranium. What’s happening now may be to ensure they don’t rebuild.

    • @ teapartydoc – It could also be just another one of many distractions to keep your plebs looking the other way. Americans are historically paranoid and always seem to need a boogie-man. Guess you’ve found a new one in Kim since Trump and Putin now are such great friends.

      It would seem the dreaded Red Threat has gone away (unless you’re Hillary Clinton). It must be a tragic day for people like you to realize Germany was right – Russia was never a threat to the west and never will be. But at least it kept your military industrial complex busy and people employed for the past 50-years.

      You must feel so proud that your government blew trillions of your tax dollars on useless military hardware instead of – oh, I don’t know – decent education system for your young people, apprenticeship programs for the trades and an effective and affordable health care system that’s available to all American citizens.

      • Karl;
        Either you are just spitballing here, looking for something to stick to the wall or you are woefully uninformed about American education. If there’s one thing that’s been demonstrated repeatedly about it across time and geography it’s that more money /= better results.

        Now, you may well have a point about apprenticeships.

        About healthcare, the main problem is political, not funding levels. It has been created by Progs. advancing incremental stealth welfare step-by-step for the last 60 years. Each step created a large, redundant bureaucracy so the pretense could be maintained that it’s not blanket welfare for the ‘undeserving’. As a result, additional money has largely been eaten up by overhead, just like in education. So more money alone is not the answer

        • @ Al – I think it’s common knowledge Americans have failed to promote STEM subjects for decades. Thousands of ill-prepared students pushed off into colleges with less than 10-grade reading skills and no understanding of advanced maths. Millions have been spent on education, if not billions. And trust me, it’s not better. Not from the dozens of articles I have read and especially from personal conversations I’ve had with Americans face to face – if anything, the more money you seem to throw at US education, the worse it gets.

          Thank you for acknowledging apprenticeships. We Germans, like you Americans, are also making the same mistake that some how a college education guarantees a good paying job. Those days are long gone, and we all know not every child is destined for university, no matter how precious he or she may be. We still need mechanics and technicians to keep thing going in our complex societies. Even ditch diggers are still necessary – we have to put drain pipes and internet fiber into the ground somehow – there’s no “app” for manual labor.

          As to health care, I would argue it’s about your legal system and an unwillingness to cap profits and salaries at hospitals. Control those and things would change for everyone. There is no justification for any surgeon to make on average $500,000* a year. But if you think that’s a fair salary, then don’t complain when your insurance premium comes due.

          (*According to the Merritt Hawkins data)

          • Karl:

            Socialized/universal health care is tough to implement and keep running in a mono-ethnic north euro nation-state with a deep & embedded culture of work, integrity, and community. It is pretty much impossible in a multi-ethnic empire like the USA has become.

            Diversity is our weakness.

          • You do know Germany doesn’t have socialized heath care, right? You’re thinking of the Brits NH system. We actually pay for it here out of pocket, either through a government insurance program or private. But it’s not free.

            FYI, it’s law in Switzerland to buy private health insurance. Again, nothing socialized about it here either.

          • The US has a large population of people who are incapable of learning to read well much less going into STEM.

            Some of this is cultural (Latinos and Blacks mostly don’t read) some of it situational (broken families) but a a lot of its is genetic

            To be useful in STEM you need at the minimum an IQ over a hundred fifteen or so and excellent impulse control . We have increasingly fewer people who meet the criteria.

            Its roughly 8% of the population, mainly Whites and Asians of which the former are often kept away from STEM by quotas or sometimes preference (more money in finance) and by cheap labor addicts

            So the STEM pool in the US is maybe 15 million, a bit more than Germany.

            Its not worth the money expense for large scale training and in terms of problem solving there are no long term solutions for the US’s problems that involve training

          • @ ABP – My guess fewer and fewer whites are going for STEM subjects because they’re either not bright enough or too lazy. While the Asians dominate due to an education-ethos, and blacks are just there for sports scholarships?

            If your STEM pool is only 15-million and just “a bit more than Germany”, you’re in serious trouble when you compare the population of the US (323-mil) to Germany (86-mil).

            I would argue there are plenty of problems well trained STEM students can be solving. You’re the only country with a budget and willingness to take on these sorts of challenges the future holds.

            Germans are just busy gaming vehicle emission restrictions and that’s about it at the moment.

          • Very few problems the US faces need to be solved with STEM.

            When complexity is the source of your problems, if you want to solve them, the last thing you do is double down on complexity, more tech is the opposite of a solution

            A real political solution would be mass deportation and a right wing authoritarian populist state

      • @Karl Horst – I think “keep the plebs distracted” is part of the formula, but, as you suggest, the bigger part is an unspoken agreement between the military contractors and the government to keep the tax dollars flowing. While a certain part of the power elite class in the USA actually enjoys having enough military muscle to make threats, most common Americans seldom think about the world outside our borders. For this reason, the Yankee neo-British Empire project has always needed a reason to exist, at least for home propaganda purposes, other than mere power politics. Hence the need to build up Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein, or Kim Jong-Un into vaguely Sauron*-like figures in the U.S. press, especially after Soviet Russia ceased to serve that purpose.

        How uninterested are we Yanks in “the rest of the world?” Despite our nation’s wealth, look at how few American live abroad, apart from a few retiree enclaves in northern Mexico. Are we even willing to tour Europe, Africa, or Asia for more than about two weeks?

        As a side note, while some foreign observers attribute Yankee resistance to the metric system as “American arrogance”, but I think that it’s much more the case that most Americans simply see having two measuring systems as a non-issue. For us, the problem seldom goes beyond having to own a second set of tools to do light maintenance work on our imported cars. For all other purposes, the Imperial measurement system looks “good enough”, so why switch?

        Okay, now I’m meandering, so, I’ll wrap up with a silly list, just like the professional “writers” at BuzzFeed do!

        Handy Guide to What Most Americans “Know” About Selected Nations:

        U.K. – drink tea rather than coffee, polite, adorable accents
        Ireland – another adorable accent, fond of the drink
        Denmark – pastries
        Germany – technology (especially cars), opera, beer, kinky porn
        Italy – tasty pasta dishes, more opera
        Russia – chess, ballet, no longer Communist (hoorah!), also fond of the drink
        India – home of yoga, spicy food
        China – tasty rice dishes, kung-fu, still Communist (boo!)
        Japan – like Germany without opera, and less beer
        Saudi Arabia – 1001 Nights, an inspiration for Ray Stevens https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLB15kBvn_c

        *Obscure The Lord of the Rings reference.

  23. “Right now is peak China …” Right now is peak every advanced country, and for the same exact reasons. What counts is relative power, and China’s vs. us is increasing.

    That aside. You have ignored the four elephants in the room: China, Russia, and the pacifist component of both South Korea’s and Japan’s populations.

    Any war with North Korea will immediately draw in both China and Russia, especially if the war starts because of an American pre-emptive strike. We know so because they have said so in a joint communique. Only a negotiated settlement will be permitted.

    The pacifists in both South Korea and Japan will not permit the destruction of all they have built up since’45 and ’53. Neither country will fight unless they are attacked first. So, if Kim is smart, he leaves Japan alone, and Japan sits out the war. Moreover, they will not allow us to use our bases in Okinawa and mainland Japan.

    The South Korea government, led by a pacifist sympathizer, Moon, might disavow any US attack on the North, and attempt a separate peace.

    The important point is that a coalition of China, North Korea and Russia has both conventional and nuclear supremacy over South Korea and the US in the Korean theater. Their victory over us is absolutely guaranteed. We would be expelled from East Asia, the South would fall to rule by the North, and Japan would end our alliance with them and seek an accommodation with Russia and China.

    If you want to get rid of the North’s nuclear deterrent, you have to guarantee the security and permanence of the Kim regime, and you have to BUY his arsenal. That’s probably $1 trillion.

    • interesting perspective. not sure I buy it all. seems to have quite a few moving parts and a very complex decision tree. if your theory takes one wrong branch turn, there’s a whole different set of outcomes possible. fog of war and such.

      • @ Tully – Agreed. Russia won’t go to war over anything that’s not historically Russian.

    • Bloody hell.

      This is same line of defective reasoning used by all those people who want to shit all over the decision making process pre-WW2 and throw people like Chamberlain under the bus for “appeasing Hitler”.

      Maybe before throwing shit like this out there you ought to go do some minimal reading on the state of Japan and Korea after WW2 – and do some further reading on the state of North Korea after the Korean War.

      Long story short: we bombed the living shit out of them and their countries were basically completely in rubble and needed to be rebuilt. The fact that we did this to North Korea in particular – is not a small insignificant fact in light of what is going on today. Given that they went full commie – their ability to rebuild themselves from all that destruction was severely curtailed. So (I’m guessing here) – I would be willing to bet there is pretty deep institutional memory among all those countries of a time when they were reduced to rubble and defeat.

      And they probably don’t want to repeat it if there is some possible chance of avoiding it. This is the same mindset the people were operating under pre-WW2 – because the memories of the horrendous losses of WW1 were still very fresh in their memories.

      There seems to be a pretty big portion of the population in this country that don’t seem to have any concept of how much is actually involved in building things. What I typically do with those people is say the following:

      ” I have been doing extensive renovations on my home for 15 years now. I’ve added a floor , built a barn , poured more yards of concrete than I can remember, done my own roof – etc. I’ve done more hard labor than you can probably even fathom. Your suggestion that we get into war completely pisses me off because you’re basically telling me I should get on board with having my home burned down and having all that labor flushed down the toilet. Since you can’t seem to grasp why this would piss me off – I’m going to suggest we do a little educational experiment in labor and costs. First I’m going to burn your damn house down – then I’m going to leave you a hammer and a saw and a pile of wood – and you’re going to be COMPLETELY on your own to rebuild your home. All labor and materials is going to ON YOU. (insurance doesn’t cover acts of war) Get back to me in 15 years or so and let me know if you want to repeat the experiment”

      That usually either completely pisses them off or shuts them the hell up.

      Anybody who can’t seem to fathom why Japanese and Koreans might not want a war – is welcome to participate in my proposed experiment. Send me your address and I’ll happily come by and burn your house down to get started.

      • And here I thought NoKo attacked SoKo back in the day. We bad! And only now I learn if the war was not fought to preserve the south, the NoKos would not be mafioso communist! We bad again. Well, as they say, nobody is entitled to his own opinion but everybody is entitled to his own facts.

      • @ calsdad – Americans are famous for rebuilding countries which “they bomb the shit out of.” Seems the real losers are always their allies. Just ask the Brits and the French – you might well have just bombed the “shit” out of them given their economies have never recovered.

        I’m sure Nissan and Toyota are very appreciative. Volkswagen sends their tanks…er…thanks.

      • My address is 7493 James St. Fayetteville, New York. If an irate woman comes out screaming about a recent divorce, just ignore her and burn it down.

  24. North Korea is simply letting the US, and the rest of the world, know they have nukes so they don’t end up with a US emposed regieme change which has been very much part of US policy for over 100-years.

    Kim is obviously smart enough to do his homework on the history of US enforced regime changes and knows a nuke is the only thing keeping him from ending up being dragged out of office – or a drain pipe.

    I still remember back when Bush Jr. was all upset about WMDs in Iraq and at the same time N. Korea was jumping up and down pointing at their nukes. But the US just ignored them. My guess is N. Korea doesn’t have oil, or any other resouces the US is interested in so all the US can do is make them look like the next evil empire.

    And so what if they are?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_involvement_in_regime_change

    • If you hadn’t noticed, exploiting our own resources (and there are plenty that previous administrations have put off limits for now) has made the USA the greatest producer of hydrocarbon energy in the world. We’ve never been lower than third that I know of, and are not big exporters. The notion that we would go to war to have or control the resources of other countries is absurd now and always has been.

      This is for other readers: read Karl’s comments carefully. They are almost all mere virtue signaling. You pity him because he lives in a country in a spiral of decline; while he thinks he’s better than you and has no problem saying so, all the while being an apologist for Merkel. A recent instance is him talking about how we need to a dress others with dignity, etc. Recall a while back when he was denigrating our system of education and compared a surgical technician to a monkey, virtually calling all Americans poorly educated idiots.

      • Ah, and this from a man who’s profession is so poorly manged most Americans can’t afford it and where infant mortality is 5th behind Slovenia. Please. Doctor, heal thyself.

        It always sounds so noble that American meddling in other countries is about freedom and democracy and not about taking their resources. I would love to hear your arguments for U.S. government overthrowing democratically elected governments in Syria in 1949, Iran in 1953, Guatemala in 1954, Brazil in 1964 and Chile in 1973.

        The Trump administration just reduced the size Bears Ears National Monument by 85 percent, and the Grand Staircase-Escalante, to about half its current size. The only reason was to reduce restrictions and implement more development on public lands.

        I see. So America is only interested in screwing Americans out of their land to get the resources, but not the rest of the world out of theirs? Yeah. Sure. Would you like to try and sell me the Brooklyn Bridge while you’re at it?

        • I forgot to include my source…

          “The decision to reduce Bears Ears is expected to set off a legal battle that could alter the course of American land conservation, putting dozens of other monuments at risk and possibly opening millions of preserved public acres to oil and gas extraction, mining, logging and other commercial activities.”

          Again, since your government is only screwing Americans out of their lands and resources, this would never happen anywhere else. Okay. And how much was that bridge again?

          https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/04/us/trump-bears-ears.html

          • Karl;
            Are you really one of those hopelessly emotional urban greenies that fall for this kind of stuff_? The intermountain US West in general and those ‘national monuments’ in particular mostly resemble Kazakhstan. They are *nothing* like anywhere in your land or ours E of the great plains.

            They were set up as much to spite and impoverish political enemies of the bi-coastal elite as for any other reason. You see, by making land ‘federal’ the much-derided locals cannot derive any economic benefit, particularly tax revenues, from them.

          • @ Al – So it’s okay for corporations to exploit public land – land you pay to support with your tax dollars? Wasn’t that what Teddy Roosevelt was trying to prevent when the national parks were established?

            It’s not about being “green” as you say. I’ve spend time in Yosemite and Yellowstone, and many of your wonderful national parks. I would be horrified to see oil dereks or fracking in these pristine areas.

            In all honesty, the US should have seized the middle east 70-years ago and pumped every last drop out of those god forsaken countries as fast as humanly possible. Why ruin your own beautiful country and afford them an economy that has only enabled them to spread their culture to the rest of the world, fueled by petro-dollars?

          • It was important that the West give up Imperialism. It was virtue signalling on a national level. Now in retrospect look at all the good that money transfer has wrought. Virulent forms of Islam have been spread across the globe by Western oil money. The road to hell is paved with good intentions…but maybe we should change that to something more accurate…. The road to hell is paved with virtue signalling.

          • ” land you pay to support with your tax dollars?”
            Why are tax dollars required to “support land”?

          • Karl;
            You are confusing ‘national monuments’ which can be anything, some are even open ocean, with ‘national parks’ which are specific areas of natural beauty such as you cite. This confusion is deliberately promoted by green fundamentalist fanatics everywhere. Seems you have fallen for it.

            The land in question is largely ‘open range’ which means in practice that it grows rocks, sagebrush, rattlesnakes and roadrunners in that order. But mostly rocks. You can be sure that only the most picturesque few acres are the ones shown.

          • @ Al – Map and GPS locations please. Would be good to know to check facts. It’s a big country, I can’t be expected to know where everything is.

          • Karl;
            Of course you nor or anyone else can know where everything is. But what you really need to do is to develop is a healthy skepticism about the always self-serving governmental, not to mention global green fanatic, driven Cloud Folk pronouncements in the media.

            Behold the magnificent Bear Ears National Monument:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bears_Ears_National_Monument#/media/File:Along_Hwy_95_in_SE_Utah_-_shortcut_along_Hwy_261_-_(17914025559).jpg

            It is as I said, mostly rocks. They are arguably somewhat pretty ones in this best-of-all-possible-pictures of them. The Native American ruins pics are thrown into the article for pure greenie eyewash: They are actually not in Bear Ears National Monument at all and are already separately protected federal land under other legal designations. They were not unprotected by Trump’s announcement, btw.

            The current political point is that all these federal land grabs (in this case in 2016) are a real burden on the local folks. The greenie-driven fed-gov’s entire stated mission has been to remove as much as possible of the US land surface from human economic development. So I guess those folks who live there now are supposed to be happy about becoming a nature preserve just in case coastal Cloud Folk might want to visit someday, all without any compensation.

            To illustrate: In my current location which is a mere ~2,000 km + straight/air line distance ~NE from the place in question, various higher governmental entities tie up well over 50% of the land area via state forests and national forests, etc. (no national parks). This takes them entirely off the local tax rolls. Yet our local governmental entities are demanded by the almighty state and federal governments to provide the full panoply of legally mandated governmental services hereabouts. Yet the feds in particular pay not a dime towards funding most of those services. At the same time they prevent us from doing so through using the logical economic moves of developing at least some of those lands into local tax-paying parcels.

          • Karl-bob: If’n your going to jack your jaws on a subject, then you are expected to know the basics of that in which you speak… ALL the information you need about the great American west can be read at : the westerner.blogspot .com soapweed

          • Karl you don’t know what you’re talking about. The government has been on a quiet buying spree for decades. Much of the nation is actually owned by the federal government, and they are still buying. That is a problem in a “free country”.
            You also don’t know what you’re talking about regarding our medical system. You quote statistics that are skewed by third world immigration, but I expect your infant mortality rate is going to be taking a nose dive soon enough, since you’re getting your own third world invasion.

          • Really? So the US federal government is buying up the land? Does that mean private citizens can’t own it now? Not sure that’s such a good thing. Wasn’t the US based on private ownership, especially for land?

            Immigration or not, statistically, they still count. Actually, ours will probably remain the same for a while. It was mostly single males that came here from way down south, they’re not populating just yet.

          • @ DFCtom- Must be, as you say, “a hell’va” big warehouse! Ah, like Indiana Jones. Got it.

        • Oh, honey…that tired trope about infant mortality exposes the chip on your shoulder, assuming you’re not just being disingenuous.

          • @ Klawnet – I’m actually concerned that a country as great as the US doesn’t have better health care. When I travel to the US, I actually have to buy additional health care coverage because of the sky-high prices of US health care. At least I can afford it.

            Why does the US government have billions to give away to people who hate you, yet so little for it’s own people?

            Disingenuous is a country boasting how great it is to the world, yet unable, or unwilling, to provide for it’s own in need.

          • Screen out urban minorities and American infant mortality is just fine.

            Provide what for us? Health care? Their first step hasn’t helped one freaking bit. I can’t wait for the universal system.
            The US is on big country, highly divergent (not just race). Your system doesn’t scale well even if it is a good one, which I have no idea.

            But yeah, we are screwed but so are you. Nice huh?

          • @ David-Wright – True enough. We’re all in the same boat. But it’s a sad commentary that the urban minorities you point out, who are also Americans, have to suffer in this way. No mother, regardless of status in society, should have to bury her child. Especially in such a wealthy country as the US.

          • Do you ever read the articles on which you comment? Most of these minorities suffer from their own lack of intelligence and common sense. The government has tried to fix it, but as the saying goes you can’t fix stupid. Even the talented 10th leaves as quick as they can, and the ghetto grows dumber because of it.

          • DFCtomm – True, there are some groups you just can’t help. The Chinese are in for that lesson in the Congo. Probably not that different from Baltimore or Detroit, just not as well armed (in the Congo).

          • Peoples outcome in life should be a reflection of their abilities and behaviors, not on who they happen to live next to.

          • @ bilejoned…Said the realtor to the residence near Three Mile Island just before it was built.

          • Herr Horst, why are you so bitter about a country you don’t live in? Nature has been good to you, you are German, you live in a country free of all blemish. Why not just enjoy your blessings and leave us to our own problems?

            We’re at a disadvantage; what is done here still matters, whereas no one cares – outside its client EU states – what Germany does, or is.

            This ‘Three Mile Island’ remark is just mindless snark. No realtor did this, and you probably suspect that. But you’re all worked up.

            Ignorance is ignorance. I used to enjoy your quirky comments here. Now you just strike me as a prick.

          • Seriously Horst, spare me the lectures about the superiority of German healthcare. It’s utter bullspittle. A little about me: I was born in Germany to a German mother and an American expatriate father. My family moved back to the States when I was six after the death of my little brother from “care” he received in a German hospital. He had a case of diarrhea and the German doctors destroyed his kidneys with their treatment. After a year-long fight for his life he died of kidney failure before his 4th birthday. All due to malpractice for which we had no legal recourse. His death is my earliest childhood memory.

            Fast forward to today. My German cousin regularly flies to New York at his own expense for treatment for his leukemia. He does this because the German healthcare system has given up on him and will only give him drugs to ease his pain until he dies. He’s still alive three after the German doctors said he should be dead due his treatments from American doctors.
            F**k socialized medicine in all it’s forms. I know better.

          • @ Guzalot – Your experience is unfortunate and should not have happened. Not to diminish what you went through, but I’m sure there are others on this forum who have either had similar experiences with the American health care system, or know someone who has. Which why American doctors pay sky high malpractice insurance rates.

            I’m not saying the German system is superior, but I am saying it is accessible to all Germans. Quality and accessibility are two different things. But to the point of the American health care system. fiscal controls on cost are one way to make it more affordable. Caps on HMO profits and physician salaries are one good start.

          • High infant mortality rates in the ghetto really have nothing to do with “access to healthcare” per se. It is unfortunately all about the lifestyle choices that these women make. How exactly would the German healthcare system stop Laqueesha from smoking pot and partying all night while she’s pregnant?

          • @ JerryC – At the moment we’re not full up with Laqueesha’s and her type. We’re more for the Muhammed crowd and they’re not really into taking drugs.

            But to your point – German parents are required to bring their children to the doctor for a medical examination after 7 days of being born. Then again after 4 weeks and again after 3 months. It’s enforced like going to school is enforced.

          • The American system is accessible to everyone. Go into any emergency room and see who is sitting there. You are literally talking out of your ass. Your assumption is that everyone pays or they don’t get treatment. What you don’t realize is that one of the reasons why American healthcare is so expensive is because those who can pay subsidize the treatment of those who cannot pay.

          • I would argue it’s expensive because cost control is not part of the total program. But let’s be honest, visiting the emergency room because you’re sick is not exactly health care in the sense of what real heath care is all about.

          • That is one of the reasons, and you can read Karl Denniger’s blog if you want more details about how health care companies are screwing the public, but like most things there isn’t simply one reason.

            Here is how it generally works. Illegals walk into an ER and they like ERs because unlike a regular office visit the paperwork is often filled out for them, or someone is provided to assist them, even in their own language. Then they walk out and don’t pay. If they are a poor U.S. native then they’ll file bankruptcy to get out from under the bills. The hospitals make that up by over charging those who pay.

            Denniger makes the point that in any other business that is illegal, and in violation of state and federal laws. You wouldn’t be able to run an automotive repair shop like that. They would put you in jail.

        • Seems that infant mortality has a lot to do with the number of infants who actually make it to birth, with some countries saving those as young as 4-5 mos. old. And if the government pay for health care, can the citizens be said to be able to ‘afford it”? Comparing a collective to an individual system is apples and oranges. BO overstepped his bounds (AGAIN) on gobbling up land for the government; DT set it right. That said, couldn’t agree more about “nation-building” and am glad we are back in the “America First” business. Only wish Europe could join us in this crusade.

    • I remember a time when Germany worked very hard for regime change. Wanted it on a global scale if I recall.

      Putting that aside, the Un’s have gotten away with everything they have because Bejing was there to protect them. I know you’re bitter because your savior Saddam got taken out, but to take out Un would have meant going to war with China. Big difference.

      • The China theory is one of those Cold War axioms that may no longer be true. Kim is a bigger problem for China now than for us. Think about it. If North Korea was turned onto demilitarized trade zone under the protection of China, would the US need to have troops on the DMZ? Would it make sense for these countries to host US military assets? If China can be free of Kim, maybe the Yankee goes home.

        • Very true, couldn’t agree more even posted about that earlier. Liberals like Karl always crying that Bush went after Iraq instead of NK because they didn’t have the oil which couldn’t have been further from the truth. Back then if NK didn’t have China to back them up, maybe Bush does something, but its a moot debate.

          But I agree Un is a headache Bejing doesn’t want right now.

          • @ D&D – Nothing “liberal” about keeping your nose out of other people’s business. Ask any police officer – the most dangerous situation a domestic dispute. That’s exactly what the US got involved with the middle east and we’re all paying the price.

          • @ Lorenzo – Tell me about it! 🙂 Actually we’re quite happy to have your service men here despite what our media might way. Wonderful people your military. But since the air bases in the Hunsrück have mostly closed, I do miss the sounds of jets overhead.

        • “Think about it. If North Korea was turned onto demilitarized trade zone under the protection of China, would the US need to have troops on the DMZ? ”

          What sort of crazed world view do you have to have to think that the US needs to have troops in the DMZ now?

          Absolutely fucking insane.

      • @ D&D – Just in Poland actually. Everything else was just a misunderstanding. Saddam my savior? I think not. Actually, I always admired President Reagan. He wouldn’t have made the same decisions Bush did, I’m pretty sure of that.

    • The war for oil stuff was always a way to distract from the neocon conspiracy. The neocons went to war with Islam to make the world safe for Israel and Saudi Arabia. There’s also the ghost of Alexander II that the neocons cannot let die.

      • “When it comes to reconstruction, before we turn to the American taxpayer, we will turn first to the resources of the Iraqi government and the international community.”

        Donald Rumsfeld
        Secretary of Defense
        March 27, 2003

        “There is a lot of money to pay for this that doesn’t have to be US taxpayer money, and it starts with the assets of the Iraqi people. We are talking about a country that can really finance its own reconstruction and relatively soon.”

        Paul Wolfowitz
        Deputy Secretary of Defense
        testifying before the defense subcommittee
        of the House Appropriations Committee
        March 27, 2003

        As an ignorant German, interested in American policy, just how is all that working out for you? Seems wars are profitable enough, just not for the average American taxpayer.

        • The bigger question, of course is why the resources of the Iraqi people should be used to repair the damage perpetrated by murderous filth like Rumsfeld.
          We should strip the US political filth bare first. Then AIPAC and all the other “Dual Citizens”- A Status created by a (((Judge))).

      • @ Lorenzo – Pleasure to be back. Always enjoy the banter in here. Good cerebral fights are always the best.

  25. If Trump’s plans for NoKo were mildly incompetent this would represent a great improvement over the American policies of the last forty years, but I’d say he has a good handle on little rocket man, and the Chinese. He’ll leave Kim a way out, and an attractive one. But the family is out, and business as usual with it.

  26. I believe there is tacit consent that wars between/among the “Big Three” are to be avoided; wars involving 3rd world nations are not meant to be won but rather extended indefinitely, ad infinitum if possible. The NORK situation, however, is likely something of a wild card and I suspect there is genuine danger with respect to how it will be played.

  27. Every time North Korea gets up to hijinks I wonder just what the CIA/DoD/Executive branch/etc. knows about DPRK. Then I wonder what they (Ibid.) *think* they know about DPRK.

    Lord, I hope Trump has enough sense to not start another war. The best outcome of a shooting war on the peninsula is a repeat of the 1991 Gulf War. A war which, we should note in retrospect, turns out to be ongoing still. No thanks.

    (Interesting idea: the 1991 Gulf War was the first war to be broadcast live on CNN, and CNN was then what we consider Twitter to be now. How much did CNN coverage extend ill will in the Islamic world? How much does unfiltered and individually biased coverage on the uncensorable Internet extend ill will? If the former is greater than the latter, does that indicate a short half-life on outrage?)

    For all of the hoo-rah noises from the military class of America, we really can’t fight a lot of wars. Forget nationalism, intra-State football rivalries are more hotly contested than foreign expeditionary wars.

    • -as much as I’d like to agree with your comment – it is demonstrably rubbish. As a veteran the last thing in the world I want to see is another war but… The problems with the Kims have been growing for decades – this issue has nothing at all to do with Trump except that it landed in his lap.
      Kim publicly talks about an EMP attack on us which would kill about 90% of the population. His most recent missile test was a high altitude ICBM which makes an EMP attack very very very very possible.
      Say what you will about the middle east wars. This is COMPLETELY different and a real ‘clear and present danger’.
      Go read about EMP and the Johnston Island discovery in the 60’s, perhaps peruse the congressional report on this as well. this is NO JOKE.

      • From what I’ve read, North Korea would like to enter into direct talks with the U.S. that lead to a signing of a peace treaty thus finally closing the Korean war. But that we (U.S.) refuse. Also, in exchange for U.S., South Korea and Japan ceasing joint military exercises, including decapitation exercises, NK would stop shooting off missiles. But U.S. won’t agree. We want them to stop developing nuclear capability but clearly NK (and the whole world) sees what the U.S. does when someone gets rid of their weapons per our request — just look at Libya and Syria. Why would any sane leader give up their weapons and leave their country vulnerable to a unilateral (and probably lawless as usual) attack that leads to utter destruction of their country? NK had their country completely destroyed by us only 60 some years ago, killing some 15-20% of their people. We stopped bombing because we ran out of targets. Who is leading the people of NK is not my concern, it is the concern of the NK people, and when they’re ready for a change I expect they’ll act to do so. All this crap you hear about young sex slaves, etc is pure propaganda brought to you by the war industry and probably holds as much truth as Trump being a pussy-grabbing abuser of women. Nonsense.

  28. You’re correct that individual psychological and personality elements can determine how far brinkmanship goes before this possibly goes hot (I don’t think it will, but it’s possible). Some of the people around Kennedy claimed Curtis Lemay came within a cunt hair of talking JFK into a nuclear strike on Cuba. Kim Jong Un has a “pleasure squad” of nubile girls (and probably boys) checked for virginity before they get handed over to him, so he may be too hedonistic to want to do anything but saber-rattle himself (if Bubba Clinton knew about this squad, he might be enticed to make a “diplomatic” visit to Pyongyang). Uncle Pat has talked at some length about the parallels between Nixon and Trump (as far as they go), so maybe hopefully Trump can pull a similar diplomatic thaw with China, though a cordon sanitaire/containment isn’t going to solve much when the other guy spends all day worrying about missile range rather than boots on the ground. The corpse that is Kissinger has been seen at the White House, which sends a signal to China in and of itself.

    • You have to wonder what the “after” looks like in this.

      After generations of torture and starvation, the “human capital” in North Korea is certainly very spent. They are a broken lot, broken physically, and psychically broken as well.

      And it’s not like the shithole is known for it’s vast natural resources, right? What to do, what to do?

      Perhaps the most humane thing to do is go total glassworks on the place.

      • I was just thinking the truly humane thing to do would be an all-out war on the regime (which would crumble immediately) followed by the world’s largest humanitarian effort.

        Not exactly in our national interest, but we could make endless documentaries on the failure of socialism / communism which might come in handy.

        • “….make endless documentaries on the failures of communism….”

          Sounds good, but would be a total waste of time and digital “film.”

          Communism has a 1000% perfect record of failure, poverty, murder, mass exterminations, etc..

          And what has that produced?
          Let’s see:
          The CPUSA is STILL !!!! headquartered in Manhattan. (try setting up a national hdqtrs of the NAZI Party USA in Manhattan and see how far you get.)
          Much if the media- 90% – is very sympathetic to Stalin, the former USSR, Cuba, etc., and communism in general
          About 99.999 % of all college faculty are communists or commie sympathizers as are about 75% of college kids and about 85% of democrats in Congress.
          The SPLC and the ACLU (which, by the way was founded by a communist) is 90% commies.
          ANTIFA, BLM, ANSWER, etc., are all 1000% violent communist thugs , as was SDS and the Weatherman (check out where Ayers, Dohrn, Rudd, et. al. are now) .

          No, if you want to make folks really see what being a communist will bring, you really have to deport them all from the USA or just eliminate them.
          There is no other way.
          The latter way is a more permanent solution.

        • I suppose that did come across as a little “scorched earth” of me.

          The problem is, what do you do with all of those Commie Zombies after the fact? Look at poor Germany. They let all of their Commie cousins filter back in, and now they’ve got Frau Merkel, former Stasi poster girl, fucking up the side that won for all eternity.

          I’ll bet you more than than a few Germans who look around at their forcibly diversity-fied Fatherland and rue the day the wall came down.

    • ” Kim Jong Un has a “pleasure squad” of nubile girls (and probably boys) checked for virginity before they get handed over to him”

      Says who?

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