Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 14, 2017

Hyping North Korea To Relaunch Reagan's Star Wars?

Since Trump issued "fire and fury" threats against North Korea (the DPRK), sanity has taken over among serious people. The talk of preventive strikes on North Korea within the expert community has largely ended. It was never a seriously possibility. North Korea has many options to retaliate to any strike and all would come with catastrophic damage to South Korea and Japan and thereby to U.S. interests in Asia.

North Korea can be successfully deterred in the same way that all other nuclear weapon states are deterred from using their weapons. Unfortunately the National Security Advisor McMaster has not yet received that message:

STEPHANOPOULOS: But your predecessor Susan Rice wrote this week that the U.S. could tolerate nuclear weapons in North Korea the same way we tolerated nuclear weapons in the Soviet Union far more during the Cold War. Is she right?

MCMASTER: No, she’s not right. And I think the reason she’s not right is that the classical deterrence theory, how does that apply to a regime like the regime in North Korea? A regime that engages in unspeakable brutality against its own people? A regime that poses a continuous threat to the its neighbors in the region and now may pose a threat, direct threat, to the United States with weapons of mass destruction? A regime that imprisons and murders anyone who seems to oppose that regime, including members of his own family, using sarin nerve gase (sic) -- gas in a public airport?

Classical deterrence worked against the Soviet Union as well as against Mao's China. (Vice versa it also worked against the United States.) Both were arguably, like North Korea, brutal against internal dissidents, threatening to their neighbors and military opponents of the United States. If they could be deterred than North Korea can also be deterred.

To set the Trump crew straight. China re-issued its guarantee for North Korea's security. The Global Times, a party owned but unofficial mouthpiece, wrote in an editorial:

"China should also make clear that if North Korea launches missiles that threaten U.S. soil first and the U.S. retaliates, China will stay neutral," [..].

"If the U.S. and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so."

Any unprovoked war against North Korea would thereby escalate into a war with China and no one is seriously interested in that adventure. The only reasonable course is to negotiate some new level of balance between North Korean and U.S. interests.

The U.S. continues to run large scale maneuver together in South Korea and to fly nuclear capable strategic bombers near the North Korean borders. These actions necessitate that North Korea's military stays in expensive high alert against potential surprises. One aim of North Korea's nuclear armament is to lessen the necessity for such conventional preparedness.

North Korea has offered several times to stop all missile and nuclear testing if the U.S. stops its large maneuvers near its borders. The Trump administration rejected that offer but North Korea increased the pressure with its recent tests.

Last week North Korea again offered to decrease its own actions if the U.S. stops some of its provocations. It announced a possible test of four missiles targeted into the vicinity of the U.S. base on Guam. The strategic U.S. bombers flying near North Korea usually take off from Guam. Few noticed that the announcement was conditional and came with an offer:

Typically, the nuclear strategic bombers from Guam frequent the sky above south Korea to openly stage actual war drills and muscle-flexing in a bid to strike the strategic bases of the DPRK. This grave situation requires the KPA to closely watch Guam, the outpost and beachhead for invading the DPRK, and necessarily take practical actions of significance to neutralize it.

In the morning of August 8 the air pirates of Guam again appeared in the sky above south Korea to stage a mad-cap drill simulating an actual war.
...
[The US] should immediately stop its reckless military provocation against the state of the DPRK so that the latter would not be forced to make an unavoidable military choice.

In other words: Stop the overflights from Guam or we will have to test our missiles by targeting areas near to the island. The U.S. has no reliable defense that could guarantee to destroy four missile simultaneously coming towards Guam. If North Korea would indeed test near Guam the U.S. will lose face. If it tries to defend against the incoming missile and fails it will lose even more face. I am confident that the strategic bomber overflights from Guam will soon end.

Several commentators claimed that the U.S. is giving false alarm over North Korean abilities. That the intelligence confirmation of miniaturized North Korean war-heads is a lie, that the North Korean missiles can not reach the continental U.S. or that the reentry vehicle cap North Korea used in recent tests is not strong enough to protect its nuclear payload. But it was North Korea that showed off a miniaturized war-head in March 2016; the reach of a missile is variable and largely dependent on payload size and burn time, and the discussed RV cap failure was caused by the unusual trajectory North Korea chose for the test. The chance of North Korea being correct when it claims to be able to hit the U.S. is higher than 50%. For any practical consideration one thereby has to accept that North Korea is a nuclear weapon state that can successfully target the continental U.S. with multiple nuclear armed missiles.

The claim that the U.S. intelligence agencies are exaggeration North Korean capabilities is likely false. But it is also reasonable. The Trump administration, the Pentagon and weapon salesmen will of course use the occasion to further their aims.

One missile defense marketing pundit claimed today that the North Korean missile engines used in the recent tests were bought from factories in Ukraine or Russia. The usual propagandist at the New York Times picked up on that to further their anti-Russian theme:

Mr. Elleman was unable to rule out the possibility that a large Russian missile enterprise, Energomash, which has strong ties to the Ukrainian complex, had a role in the transfer of the RD-250 engine technology to North Korea. He said leftover RD-250 engines might also be stored in Russian warehouses.

But the engines in question are of different size and thrust than the alleged R-250 engines and the claimed time-frame does not fit at all. The Ukrainian government denied any transfer of missiles or designs. The story was debunked with in hours by two prominent experts. But implicating Russia, however farfetched, is always good if one wants to sell more weapons.

One Pentagon hobby horse is the THAAD medium range missile defense systems that will now be stationed in South Korea. This even as it is incapable to defend South Korea from short range North Korean missiles. It is obviously targeted at China.

The Reagan wannabe currently ruling in the White House may soon revive Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative, aka "Star Wars", which was first launched in 1984. SDI was the expensive but unrealistic dream of lasers in space and other such gimmicks. Within the SDI the U.S. military threw out hundreds of billions for a Global Ballistic Missile Defense which supposedly would defend the continental U.S. from any incoming intercontinental missile. The program was buried in the early 1990s.  One son of Star Wars survived. It is the National Missile Defense with 40 interceptors in Alaska and California. It has never worked well and likely never will. If NMD would function as promised there would be no reason to fear any North Korean ICBMs. Missile defense is largely a fraud to transfers billions of dollars from U.S. taxpayers to various weapon producing conglomerates.

I expect that the North Korean "threat" will soon be used to launch "SDI - The Sequel", another attempt to militarize space with billions thrown into futuristic but useless "defense" projects. It will soothe the Pentagon's grief over the success North Korea had despite decades of U.S. attempts to subjugate that state.

Posted by b on August 14, 2017 at 01:51 PM | Permalink

Comments

thanks b... regarding mcmasters words - "A regime that engages in unspeakable brutality against its own people?" how does this get supported? what is the evidence for it? it is the same mantra dished up regularly where ever the usa is - which is just about everywhere militarily..

Posted by: james | Aug 14, 2017 2:19:56 PM | 1

Now if this were to go viral. . . . . . which of course, it wont be allowed, because of the implications that the worlds only superpower is what some say, or shades of the "U.S. is a paper tiger"? The Pentagon hasn't been able to get it right since W W 2, but it has spent $$$$ like a drunken sailor. The truly sad fact, is that arms merchants have only one loyalty, that's to its own bottom line. Watching the actions since Trump got elected, reminds one of watching the scrum alongside a fishing boat when they throw buckets of chopped fish in the water, to attract sharks to the surface. It seems his administration may end up being named Murphy instead, as in Murphy's law fame.

Posted by: Eugene | Aug 14, 2017 2:26:51 PM | 2

"I am confident that the strategic bomber overflights from Guam will soon end."

Me too. There really is no other option for Trump. But he will need to come up with a good explanation to save face.

Posted by: dh | Aug 14, 2017 2:55:04 PM | 3

Something is wrong with the North Korea story. According to the NY Times (Zerohedge Aug 14) the rocket engines the DPRK is using on their ICBMs come from a factory in the Ukraine. The Ukraine is a U.S. client state. It seems inconceivable that the CIA would not know to whom this factory sells its engines.

Is the U.S. trying to use the DPRK like it has tried to use ISIS in Syria - to create an existential threat to justify a military intervention, and in the end to create another client state to use as a base to project power, only this time in East Asia?

Maybe this is why China warned the U.S. against regime change with respect to the DPRK (Zerohedge August 11).

Posted by: DH | Aug 14, 2017 3:22:13 PM | 4

@4 Upper case DH asks....."Is the U.S. trying to use the DPRK like it has tried to use ISIS in Syria..."

I think you give the US too much credit. They have been outsmarted in Syria and they are being outsmarted in East Asia. It's that lateral thinking thing again.

lower case dh

Posted by: dh | Aug 14, 2017 3:34:19 PM | 5

@5 That should be linear thinking darn it.

Posted by: dh | Aug 14, 2017 3:46:25 PM | 6

McMaster is pure bluster.

Soon he will receive some high priority emails from Wal-Mart, Dollar Tree, Apple, Samsung, Canon and other masters et al.

You know those daily essentials and critical components that are made in China, South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia. Empty shelves and assembly lines.

Global supply chain disrupted as the entire region is declared a War Zone with maritime insurance suspended. Who will insure the cargo vessels transporting daily essentials to the ROTW?

Sick of the USA war mongering.
Kim is having a good laugh watching Act 1 of The civil war in America, 2017.

Posted by: likklemore | Aug 14, 2017 3:50:27 PM | 7

Kim is most directly threatened by the annual spring and fall joint US-South Korean military exercises held annually (and have been for decades). The largest by far is the fall exercise, this year's is starting next Monday: Ulchi-Freedom Guardian 2017. Several other NATO countries and pals are involved as well. It usually runs for just under two weeks.

The exercise is a simulation of a US-ROK war with the DPRK. It's more of a command and control exercise rather than mass troop/armor movements. Various details have been pieced together over the years or described by various military sources. In recent years, the goal is not to simply repel a North Korean attack, but respond by invading North Korea, overthrowing Kim and the DPRK government and securing the country as part of South Korea.

THAT's the part that set Kim off a few years ago, and he's been pissed about it more and more every year. The US is delighted with that fact and is unlikely to just stop holding the exercise because it's provocative. McMaster's recent comments about a 'preventative war' didn't do much to calm Kim down.

Both North and South go on heightened military alert - I image about now - just in case the other one flinches. But the US military has gone overboard the last few days to assure the world that it is not gearing up for a war in North Korea. The White House a one point suggested the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier was heading to Korea, but that wasn't the case. The USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier is sitting in its home port in Yokosuka, Japan. Strategic bombers, currently B-1Bs, have been stationed on Guam for years as a show of support for regional allies.

In any kind of US war with North Korea, they have to have started it (Pearl Harbor) or appear to have started it (Gulf of Tonkin). OPLAN 5027 takes care of it after that.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Aug 14, 2017 4:25:31 PM | 8

the usa time the military drills at north korea's harvest time - right when they need to be working in the fields... coincidence? lol.. i think not..

Posted by: james | Aug 14, 2017 4:39:56 PM | 9

recap

Posted by: john | Aug 14, 2017 4:44:30 PM | 10

'brutal against internal dissidents'

you mean seditionists

Posted by: brian | Aug 14, 2017 7:01:04 PM | 11

Any unprovoked war against North Korea would thereby escalate into a war with China and no one is seriously interested in that adventure.
Well, John Bolton certainly would advocate for it. I don't know about McMaster. He is a known Zionist (as is Mattis), so his judgement may not be too good. He is quite alarming on the subject of Iran. I'm old enough to remember both Douglas MacArthur and Curtis LeMay. People like them but dumber seem to be in decision-making positions in this administration (and earlier).

Posted by: Procopius | Aug 14, 2017 8:06:35 PM | 12

US politicians seem to like phrases like "unspeakable brutality" when talking about a targeted leader or country, yet the US has committed much brutality against the citizens of target countries that it does not speak about.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Aug 14, 2017 8:31:18 PM | 13

I suspect that someone or more accurately, lots of someones, are missing the point made by China here...

...
The Global Times, a party owned but unofficial mouthpiece, wrote in an editorial:

"China should also make clear that if North Korea launches missiles that threaten U.S. soil first and the U.S. retaliates, China will stay neutral," [..].

"If the U.S. and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so."

That statement is a Chinese invitation to NK along the lines of...
"Ignore the Yankee loudmouths, get on with the planting/harvesting, and if the Yankees start something while you're busy sweating in the fields, we'll finish it."

It's a bloody good offer and NK should grab it with both hands.
Nothing would irritate the Yankees more than the NK Govt completely ignoring the forthcoming Operation Neutered Wankers, or whatever it's called.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 14, 2017 8:47:25 PM | 14

The "dog & pony" show continues. And still no mention in the corporate U$ media about the DPRK's willingness to ramp down it's nuke program, if the U$A and S. Korea will cease their war games.

Thanks b, for keeping these facts on the front burner.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/what-the-corporate-media-never-tells-you-about-north-korea/5587728

Posted by: ben | Aug 14, 2017 8:52:57 PM | 15

@9 james

I seem to remember reading that earlier overtures from DPRK used to include asking if the US would at least move the timing of its drills to a different season. Rejected of course. The timing is the most despicable part of the whole exercise.

@8 PavewayIV

I defer to your knowledge, but do we actually have real knowledge of Kim's being pissed off or acting in any temperamental sort of way? His entire strategy to me seems extremely wise and mature in a very grave situation, and this is all at odds with the character of a reckless, unheeding juvenile.

His extravagant manner makes the perfect front man for the national strategy, which certainly calls for a confident show of defiance. When I see all that smiling and radiant joy in all the photos we see of him and the gang gathered round, including the swooning women, it all seems much more like an ancient art of theater - or perhaps even ritual - than anything else, to project face, and to vitalize the spirits of the people and the gods. I'm actually quite impressed.

Posted by: Grieved | Aug 14, 2017 9:50:03 PM | 16

Grieved 16

I am starting to think there is a joint strategy between China, Russia and NK to take down the US perhaps in small ways, but perhaps with the view to eventually pushing the US out of Korea.
Signing the latest UN sanctions? Meaningless against NK and no doubt designed not to harm NK economy. Both China and Russia made a joint statement some time ago that they will not allow the NK economy to be strangled.
The UN sanctions then? To give US the confidence to step out on a limb?

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Aug 14, 2017 10:08:37 PM | 17

Dareth I say it?

#FireMcMaster

Posted by: Julian | Aug 14, 2017 10:23:05 PM | 18

Grieved@16 - This was, as I understand it, a reaction to US/ROK war plans. Those had always been billed as defensive in nature; what to do if/when North Korea attacked to defend South Korea. In 2015, North Korea became aware of the change in those plans to include regime-changing North Korea as part of the defense strategy, and also additional plans for a pre-emptive or preventative strike and 'beheading operations' to take out Kim.

Kim Jong Un Fears Assassination By Western 'Decapitation' Team: Report

"...The rumored "decapitation plan" to target Kim and key deputies in the event fighting broke out on the peninsula first surfaced in late 2015, when the U.S. and South Korea signed "Operation Plan 5015," a joint strategy for possible war scenarios with North Korea. According to the Brookings Institute, the plan "envisions limited warfare with an emphasis on preemptive strikes on strategic targets in North Korea and "decapitation raids" to exterminate North Korean leaders."

North Korean leaders (including Kim, reportedly) were understandably angered by the plans as they sounded more like 'regime change' than 'defense'. That clearly violated the long-standing truce that had always been the foundation of talks. DPRK sounded furious at the time and one can assume this was some reflection of Kim's own attitude. The article only portrays Kim as becoming paranoid since then - partially true, but not the whole story.

If you read any of the North Korean reaction from back then, their angry tone is unmistakable. I agree with you that Kim's actions today show more resolve than anger - I don't buy into the MSM's clownish portrayal of his or DPRK actions as tempermental or crazy. In fact, the tone of the MSM reminds me of their breathless portrayals of Qaddafi as some kind of lunatic (just before we regime-changed him).

Keep in mind that these war plans are what drives the spring live-fire (Foal Eagle/Key Resolve) and fall command and control (Ulchi-Freedom Guardian) exercises. To North Korea, the US/ROK are practicing for their eventual invasion and overthrow of the DPRK. It's an extra in your face insult to the already image-sensitive Koreans - how can this not anger Kim?

Posted by: PavewayIV | Aug 14, 2017 10:48:11 PM | 19

@ Peter AU 1

The strategy that I see bringing the US empire down is the death by a thousand cuts one and it seems to be working.

In the past, when empire was functioning smoothly, the core (US) could rally/bully the attendant satellite nations into following the R2P agenda. Now that the R2P agenda is bearing fruit the affected nations are having a harder time kowtowing to the R2P agenda while maintaining internal control/functioning economy.

@ Paveway IV & Grieved with insightful comments

The folks controlling the puppet strings understand the Asian culture and the buttons they are pushing with the various moves but the Western public is fed an entirely different picture of the situation, context and history.

We are watching the sick soap opera of hubris led humanity lurching "forward" towards who knows what fate. Will the death of the US empire represent a watershed event in mankind's evolution? It could and many hope will.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Aug 14, 2017 11:58:01 PM | 20

The United States wiped out 30% of North Korea's population during the Korean war. Not to mention the millions they killed in future wars which followed. Butality is a good word but it should apply to the United States!

Posted by: slorter | Aug 15, 2017 12:06:35 AM | 21

psychohistorian | Aug 14, 2017 11:58:01 PM | 20

The folks controlling the puppet strings understand the Asian culture

Would you kindly explain to me what an "Asian" culture is like.
I'm not aware of "an" Asian culture; but I sure have experienced the Lao culture, the Thai culture, and the Burmese (Myanmar) culture.
And frankly; the folks controlling the puppet strings are clueless when it comes to Asia, all of it.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Aug 15, 2017 12:14:54 AM | 22

@ V. Arnold who is critical of my comment

With my Asian culture statement I was referring to the last sentence in Paveway IV's comment:
"
It's an extra in your face insult to the already image-sensitive Koreans - how can this not anger Kim?
"
I am an semi-ignorant American who thinks that image is an identifiable Asian cultural facet. Please educate me further.

We may disagree about what the folks controlling the puppet strings know about Asia but you have to admit that they still are pulling the strings even in Asia, and have been for centuries, frankly....ever hear about opium?

Posted by: psychohistorian | Aug 15, 2017 12:53:35 AM | 23

@ V. Arnold again

I agree that the folks controlling the strings do not properly respect Asia, or other cultures not Western, but I think it is a stretch to say that they are clueless when it comes to Asia.....they are monotheist about economic aspects of culture and project/force that monotheism on others.....and if it clashes with culture, tough shit!

Posted by: psychohistorian | Aug 15, 2017 1:01:11 AM | 24

psychohistorian | Aug 15, 2017 1:01:11 AM |23 & 24

Oh, where to start?
Yes, the U.S. has been pissing off most Asian governments for well over 100 years.
The U.S. ambassador here, nearly trashed relations with Thailand by his sycophantic mantra re: democracy and voicing displeasure with the junta (my second one here).
I'm quite happy with the junta, as are most Thai's I know including my wife (she has a masters from Chula[Thailands best university]). I only point this out to say many highly educated Thai's are just fine with things as presently existing.
Ilegal land encroachment, a serious problem here, has been hugely dealt with, as just one example of not a few accomplishments of the junta.
Your "tough shit" comment @24 re: U.S. attitude, is precisely why the U.S. is losing S.E. Asia to China and Russia.
Vietnam has a 500 year history of conflict with China; but a long history with Russia as an ally.
IMO, one cannot "have a clue" while not respecting countries based on a racist belief system.
Language is another source of differences; Asian languages have no roots in English words or grammar.
The problem I've had with westerners here (mostly American) is an inflexable, western-centric (American) view of the world. I had lunch with a 50 yo American and he voiced his frustration with Thai culture by saying, why can Thai's be more like Americans? True story and I roundly said back to him; why the hell should they; this is Thailand, not the U.S.A.. This is not untypical.
I don't hang out with westerners; with very few exceptions, they're insufferable.
Anywho, I've been away for going on 15 years; so my POV is certainly not western centric any longer.
Thanks for your reply. I hope I covered it adequately.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Aug 15, 2017 1:55:12 AM | 25

^ ...why can Thai's be more like Americans?
Should be; Why CAN'T Thai's be more like Americans?

Posted by: V. Arnold | Aug 15, 2017 4:59:36 AM | 26

Posted by: V. Arnold | Aug 15, 2017 12:14:54 AM | 22

The people who pull the string do not instruct the sort of stuffed suite that are sent to various localtions here or abroad.

The people who pull the strings have hundreds of years of direct experience in Asia spanning the period from the arrival of European fleets to snatching away of Hong Kong + and all the rest that followed.

Successful protection rackets look distinct from defunct outfits. That message has been telegraphed wide and far. US is losing control over the puppet masters' far flung franchises and will soon be "FIRED!" and replaced by a "multi-polar" group of "partners" who currently run local area franchises and have their reps preen on conference stages displaying their talents.

Fake global catharsis per fake culture and fake news will follow "the demise" of the last superpower. Planet wakes up from "war on terror" to note that every single nation on earth is now rulled under now permanent emergency security regimes.

Who knows, we may even come to miss the evil empire.

Posted by: nobody | Aug 15, 2017 10:28:00 AM | 27

You highlighted the statement about China opposing the ouster of the NK regime. But what about the preceding statement: "China should also make clear that if North Korea launches missiles that threaten U.S. soil first and the U.S. retaliates, China will stay neutral" That statement about neutrality seems like a big break with China's previous policy of alliance with North Korea.

Posted by: Inkan1969 | Aug 15, 2017 10:30:10 AM | 28

Posted by: Inkan1969 | Aug 15, 2017 10:30:10 AM | 28

It's two separate, but not unrelated, warnings.
The "China will stay neutral" is a warning to North Korea.
The "China will prevent them from doing so" is a warning to AmeriKKKa.

The Yankees have demanded that China take a firm stance with North Korea. "China will stay neutral" is spectacularly firm, but less so than the "China will prevent them from doing so" message to AmeriKKKa.
It's Chinese humour.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 15, 2017 11:21:31 AM | 29

V. Arnold @25--

Yep, The Ugly American's still very much alive and well globally. An astute observer will note the initial Open Door policy is still very much in operation and is just as unequal today as in 1900. After Africans and First Peoples, more Asians have been illegally killed by the Outlaw US Empire than any other ethnic group, and have been domestically treated as sub-human from a policy standpoint during most of its existence. Koreans, both North and South, suffered a genocide delivered by Americans from 1945-1953--even the South's propaganda hasn't erased that truth from the memory of South Koreans.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 15, 2017 11:23:21 AM | 30

PavewayIV

OPLAN plans will take care of nothing. North Korea has escalation dominance over the U.S.

"Most definitions of escalation dominance stress the need for superior military capabilities in order to exert Influence over enemy decision making. A capability comparison should include relative vulnerabilities in light of potential effectiveness of active and passive defenses as a matter of course. Another important element in theories of escalation dominance is what has been termed the "balance of perceived interests" that is, the importance each side seems to attach to certain interests, and each side's apparent willingness to suffer in order to advance these interests."

Soviet Ballistic Missile Defense and the Western Alliance
By David Scott Yost
https://books.google.ca/books?id=fnqN-1UaNI4C&pg=PA157&lpg=PA157&dq=most+definitions+of+escalation+dominance+stress+the+need&source=bl&ots=HEmHDDfDdS&sig=ND4QM9E-4gt4MWbhAqGx_GFY_SU&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjElfbSodjVAhWCz4MKHWRCBGYQ6AEIJjAA#v=onepage&q=most%20definitions%20of%20escalation%20dominance%20stress%20the%20need&f=false


1.Seoul is within 35 miles of the border.
2.The DMZ is 250 kilometres (160 miles) long, and about 4 kilometres (2.5 miles) wide.
3.US has 39,000 troops In Japan. 23,500 troops in South Korea. Distance from NK to Japan 1,043 km.
4 North Korea has Nukes

The U.S can pulverize North Korea and its armed forces. But the cost of doing so will be too great. Over 60,000 american troops and Seoul will be pulverized.

Therefore a military option is not feasible.

Posted by: @Madderhatter67 | Aug 15, 2017 11:23:40 AM | 31

I'm amazed when I read about South Korea's President Moon Jae-in and his anti-corruption campaign - a real one where the ex-president, various political elite and corporate execs actually go to prison (or kill themselves before trial). Now that uppity Moon has insisted that South Korea is the only one that can declare war on the North, not the US. Why, the impudence...!

I know US is worried about North Korean nukes, but they have to be much more terrified at what's going on in the South. Part of being a US vassal is obedience. What does Moon not get about that?

The CIA is probably figuring its time for some US regime-changing on both ends of the Korean peninsula.

Hey... if you're not the enemy of my enemy, then you're my enemy, too! Prepare to be liberated and freedomized.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Aug 15, 2017 11:42:06 AM | 32

@Madderhatter67@31 - Koean OPLANs are highly classified - we only know a smattering of details. The objective of a war with the North and the time/price the US is willing to pay to meet those objectives is unknown. Trump's military advisers are not going to suggest executing a plan they think is infeasible. If there are truly no feasible plans from a military perspective (given the objective and the costs) then they will tell him that. What Trump then decides based on US foreign policy objectives and political costs is anyone's guess.

I don't disagree with your points, but I doubt Trump and Mattis will use the same calculus or see the same cost/benefit based on some unknown variant of Korean war plans.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Aug 15, 2017 12:11:20 PM | 33

@29 Hoarsewhisperer

I want to say in passing that the Chinese statement is one of the most beautiful manifestos I've ever encountered. Supremely elegant.

It's even symmetrical, increasingly scarce these days ;)

If we lived in an age with clear media reportage, these words would crack around the world like a gunshot.

Posted by: Grieved | Aug 15, 2017 12:16:41 PM | 34

Only the BBC seems to have reported on the peace concert at the N/S Korean border. Why?
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-40859175

Posted by: Mina | Aug 15, 2017 12:19:26 PM | 35

Excellent article B. I think you've hit the nail on the head in almost every regard in this piece. Glad to have some sanity and foresight in my news feed re North Korea.

Scary how little context is given to any news surrounding North Korea. When was the last time the Korean War was mentioned even in passing by the MSM? I know most Americans are totally oblivious to any of the nuance of that conflict and how its effects reverberate until today - most are even unaware of the death toll (which was absolutely massive on both sides). I feel flabbergasted when I talk to certain people and they aren't even aware of the major military "decapitation" exercises that the US/SK engage in, yet feel they have enough knowledge and authority with whicy to recommend (or cheer on) a pre-emptive strike. Nor are they ever aware of the proposals Kim's government has offered this far (stop the exercises and theyll stop the nukes). That last point is especially scary - that people can be so in the dark about potential peaceful solutions .

I always wish there could be some sort of mandatory non politicised education on major historical events, but that's obviously just a pipe dream considering most (perhaps all) nation states' educational institutions.

Posted by: George Smiley | Aug 15, 2017 12:35:48 PM | 36

@PathwayIV

The objectives of those OPLANS is and has been,US/ROK defense against a North Korean invasion.

Trump, " let's do a decapitation strike". Generals "Our 60,000 troops in the area will be wiped out."

PathwayIV What escalation from the US can neutralize NK's threat to those troops? Any suggestions?

Posted by: @Madderhatter67 | Aug 15, 2017 12:49:15 PM | 37

@Madderhatter67@37 - "What escalation from the US can
neutralize NK's threat to those troops? Any suggestions?"

Nuke Pyongyang when Kim and his generals are there.

When you constrain the objectives and costs
to such simplistic ones, the answer is easy. Every
"but about..." you can possibly bring up either modifies
the objectives/potential benefits or the costs. Same goes
for the political considerations.

Sorry, but I have no simple answer to a 60 year old
frozen conflict that we've been maintaining to ward off
the threat of Red Chinese territorial expansion. I
believe that is the threat. I remember a black-and-white
film about it from high school. Or maybe that was the
Soviet Union? One of them uses a gold star, I think...

Here's a plan: the US move every last soldier and piece of
equipment off the Korean Peninsula now and promise never
to build a base there. The benefits (to me as a US citizen)
outweigh the risks. China, Japan and South Korea are
perfectly capable of dealing with North Korea by themselves.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Aug 15, 2017 1:52:50 PM | 38

@Paveway 33

Not so fast. Taking down a president and Chaebol leaders is pretty impressive, yes. Such an 'anti-corruption campaign' is definitely politically motivated - but which side is which here? Is Moon the 'insubordinate' one, or was it Park and her corporate allies? In other words, is Washington losing grip - or tightening it? I'm really not sure (yet), just pointing out both are possible.

About Moon insisting that only SK can declare war - that's nice, but he's saying it only now, with things cooling down again...why not earlier?

@Peter AU 17

"I am starting to think there is a joint strategy between China, Russia and NK to take down the US perhaps in small ways, but perhaps with the view to eventually pushing the US out of Korea."

Yes, it looks like this might well be the bigger story here.
Which is why I'm really curious what Beijing will get in return for having defused tensions: Last week, it declared that it wouldn't accept 'regime change'. On Saturday, Trump and Xi talked on the phone, and shortly thereafter China halted imports, putting some real pressure (unlike the pro forma UN sanctions) on Pyongyang. Now if the latter backs down somewhat, Trump can claim this was 'thanks to his threatening a trade war'.
But what will be the price to pay for this 'success'? What's China's gain?

If this interpretation is correct, it would make it easily the most important geopolitical story of 2017.

Posted by: smuks | Aug 15, 2017 2:09:52 PM | 39

china at the time faced

tibetan issues.....
KMT issues.......
Russian issues.....
internal corruption issues....
famine issues......
korean issues......(against the greatest generation no less with half the UN thinking easy victory, and a logistical base in japan)


the biggest enemy for china was KMT
the second was the korean war.
the third was the tibet/indian push.


fighting the korean war against a bunch of hungry desperate farmers with donkeys for logistical resources who were facing the "greatest generation ever" with air superiority and a logistical hub in japan, certainly gave some people liquid courage, or confidence in their own beliefs. that war was not only a dent in the reputation to one country but the UN forces that gathered in korea.

the dead were not even properly buried in korea and some of them got adventurous again in vietnam since what at least the mid-1960's?

china saved some hardened divisions for KMT in taiwan/russia leaning warlords in manchuria/tibetan warlords in south. this is also a reason why the korean war was thought to be "easy" in logistical military sense and some determined that the goal to hit four five birds with one stone was too good to let go. mcdonald wanted to use the nuke not because it would have turned the tide of war........but it was more of a if i can't win in korea with all that happening, then we can all lose. since one can't really pull on a radioactive string, this was the first loss after ww2 essentially.

you can see their actions in grenada and coastal countries continues, and afghan....is landlocked.

Posted by: yuri | Aug 15, 2017 2:35:07 PM | 40

PavewayIV

re: "Nuke Pyongyang when Kim and his generals are there". China has said it will NOT allow regime in NK. Therefore preemptive "decapitation strike
Would be a bad idea.

Yes, removal of us bases in ROK is the best idea. ;)

Posted by: @Madderhatter67 | Aug 15, 2017 2:51:42 PM | 41

PavewayIV @38--

Yes, I've argued for several decades that it's in the very best of USA's Citizen's interests to close almost every overseas military and spy base the Empire's constructed--particularly Guantanamo. But such a reasonable act is exactly why the 1947 National Security Act was brought to life--to make the USA into a permanently militaristic Outlaw US Empire. The facts since then prove my thesis.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 15, 2017 3:04:08 PM | 42

smuks@39 - The implication I was suggesting is that Moon is doing stuff
to fix his country. His anti-corruption campaign is sure to snag some
Americans of some sort - corporate types, defense contractors, who
knows? That along with his assertion about a South Korea choice for war?
An obedient South Korean vassal only has two jobs in the eyes of the US:
host US troops to help bring down North Korea, and buy arms from US
defense contractors. Park was a good President by those (US) standards.
Moon? Not so good so far (by US standards). Whether Moon is ultimately
good for Korea or not isn't my call - I wish South Koreans the best.
Actually, I'm kind of jealous. The US will never throw any political
elite in prison, and will never throw a CEO in prison. At least none
that matter. Prison is for little people.

About Moon insisting that only SK can declare war - that's nice, but
he's saying it only now, with things cooling down again...why not
earlier?

Oh, come on now! This is a monumental declaration (however late) by
the leader of a US vassal state. It's almost like South Korea is
asserting their sovereignty. Enforceable? That's to be seen. But a
slave has dared question the master. Are you not entertained?

Posted by: PavewayIV | Aug 15, 2017 3:04:18 PM | 43

@b

On Pat Langs latest post about Korea he concludes with:

"It was not an IO. It was real and Trump/Mattis won. The fat kid blinked. pl"

Your reply made a mockery of Pat's ridiculous post, to which he replied:

"b

(irony alert) I know, I know, evil America against the world. pl"

Dammit b, PavewayIV provides some of the best commentary on the empire's world wide meddling available anywhere, yet you never bother to comment on anything Paveway writes. But you continually grovel to Pat on his star spangled banner IC bubble blog. I find it unbecoming.

Posted by: Heros | Aug 15, 2017 3:24:50 PM | 44

@44 heros.. it is an interesting comment.. if you put it in the form of a question to b, i would be curious to read his response!! i largely agree with you..

pat comes across as an out of touch old man a lot of the time.. sometimes he says something relevant, but regardless he has a thing about anyone speaking poorly of the usa.. his patriotism has clouded his vision.. that is beyond doubt..

Posted by: james | Aug 15, 2017 3:28:35 PM | 45

@44 b's response to Lang's victory dance doesn't look like grovelling to me.

Posted by: dh | Aug 15, 2017 3:44:02 PM | 46

Working on defensive weapons is always a good thing.

Posted by: gdpbull | Aug 15, 2017 4:20:50 PM | 47

@46 If you have been following SST for a while you will be well aware that this is by far not the first time that Pat has treated b rather shabily.

Posted by: Heros | Aug 15, 2017 4:23:07 PM | 48

@46 read for example @19 PavewayIV where he details the decapitation threat against Kim going back to the previous administration. I am sure b could add some interesting background to this comment from Paveway, yet he never does. I guess he is trying to insert some sanity into the US IC, but I would say that it is not worth being disrespected. IMO (btw I am banned from MoA and SST) b should focus on MoA and leave SST in the dust.

Posted by: Heros | Aug 15, 2017 4:42:33 PM | 49

@48 I do follow SST mainly for the comments. b seems to be able to disagree with the colonel without getting banned. No mean feat IMO. I got banned ages ago.

Posted by: dh | Aug 15, 2017 4:44:57 PM | 50

@50 dh.. pat acts like a petulant little kid most of the time.. it is entertaining to watch actually! it is hard to take his juvenile attitude seriously when it comes to how he treats posters who don't agree with him.. i guess this school yard bully extended to the world stage is something he has some first hand knowledge of, LOLOL!

Posted by: james | Aug 15, 2017 5:04:45 PM | 51

@ james #45

Would it be possible for you, or even anyone else, who thinks that Col Mustard occasionally provides unique insight, to supply doubting-Thomas' like myself with some links to examples of the good Col Mustards alleged unique, or "interesting", commentary?

Personally I never seen any.

I'm not saying they don't exist, but I've yet to see the bombastic Col say anything particularly interesting, let alone provide any unique insight.

I have so far seen nothing I couldn't have thought of by myself, (and I have zero Mil experience) nor read in the comments here. Admittedly I don't go there often so I could easily have missed a whole ton of interesting and unique insights from Col Pat.

Many here frequently claim he produces such commentary, so providing examples of same shouldn't be too hard.

So far I have seen nothing interesting nor little that could be termed "unique or insightful", but then I don't spend a lot of time @SST.

So maybe one of you people who spend time there might be kind enough to provide some info which would counterbalance the decidely underwhelming impression i am left with after reading SST

Posted by: Just Sayin' | Aug 15, 2017 5:14:37 PM | 52

@51 Very entertaining to watch. I imagine b does well by posting there. He comes across as sane and rational in contrast to the colonel. I enjoyed baiting him for a while myself but he eventually got mad at me.

Posted by: dh | Aug 15, 2017 5:15:58 PM | 53

The best video on youtube (and the question is why it is on youtube :)

https://youtu.be/6NMr2VrhmFI

Wouldn't be awesome if North Korea was the vanguard of the revolution? What a crazy little planet this is.

Posted by: nobody | Aug 15, 2017 5:44:38 PM | 54

@52 just sayin' - actually there isn't much of value that i recall him saying specifically.. on the other hand there are some posters that i enjoy reading where occasional insightful comments get made.. i am not sure if pat has made any of them! i like reading b's comments, fbali, babak, david h. and a few others who offer generally insightful commentary.. i like ttg's posts updating the syrian situation.. i like some of the guest posts sometimes, but overall i might be stumped if i had to find you an example!!!!

@53 dh.. i agree!

Posted by: james | Aug 15, 2017 6:15:22 PM | 55

@Paveway 43

I understand what you mean, just I'm not fully convinced yet.
Absolutely possible, of course - but there's been enough cases where a few folks were ousted/ jailed just so corruption could go on same as before, or even much worse. Dilma and Yanukovich come to mind.
"Sometimes governments have to change for politics to remain the same." is one of my fav quotes.

As for issuing confident statements after getting the go-ahead, it's better than nothing I guess.
Reminds me of Ban Ki-Moon.
But neither Seoul nor Washington will decide Korea's future.

Posted by: smuks | Aug 15, 2017 7:11:19 PM | 56

In related news, McMaster's harsh words might be brought about by the recent publication by Foreign Policy of what it calls "Here's the Memo that Blew Up the NSC," that I discovered reading an article related to it, http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/08/10/heres-the-memo-that-blew-up-the-nsc/ https://disobedientmedia.com/2017/08/fired-nsc-staffers-memo-outlined-vast-coup-attempt-against-us-government/

I don't recall any of this being discussed at MoA or detailed elsewhere. Perhaps I don't get out enough, which is certainly true. It does seem to be "old" news since The Atlantic was the first to publish a story about it on 2 August; it's linked in the disobedientmedia item. Perhaps PavewayIV read about it and can offer some of his sage insight. Trump read the memo and his changed attitude toward designated enemies seems to coincide, which I see as his throwing red meat to the War Party to keep it at bay.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 15, 2017 7:21:46 PM | 57

Paveway 1V @ 38 said: "Here's a plan: the US move every last soldier and piece of
equipment off the Korean Peninsula now and promise never
to build a base there. The benefits (to me as a US citizen)
outweigh the risks. China, Japan and South Korea are
perfectly capable of dealing with North Korea by themselves."

Great idea, but, the "captains of industry" would never go for it. Long as we're dream'n, let's not stop there.

Posted by: ben | Aug 15, 2017 8:19:45 PM | 58

V. Arnold @25

I'm not sure most Thai's are "quite happy" with the military regime but most are clearly relieved that the other "options" are not in power. As I've said before, the degrees of freedom for the Thai people are limited at the moment and they are very much back in a situation similar to the reign of Rama 4 where they had to juggle competing colonial powers to try steer an independent course. Instead of the British, French and Dutch, it's now the Americans, Chinese and Russians. What is clear though is that a color revolution was narrowly avoided and that nightmare was absolutely in play. Dangerous times and it will be interesting to see how the next several years play out given the lack of political options available that actually represent the best interests of the Thai people (as opposed to simply being sock puppets for the global hegemon or local elites). Prayut may be in power, but like the song goes, "everybody's got to serve somebody" and Thailand's in a tight spot with multiple much bigger powers jostling on the SE Asian dance floor.

Posted by: Sad Canuck | Aug 15, 2017 8:20:25 PM | 59

@52
Just reviewed a bit of the col Mustard drivel... at least some of the comments appeared intelligent.

An article about who blinked? REALLY?? Why not one about who has the biggest swinging d**k? Normally a host is usually a little more intelligent than the average commentator...

Of course for PR purposes the US (especially with Trump) has to be seen to have won in some spin-oriented way. I mean, the school yard bully always has to look good if the poor wimp is to get away without a thrashing.

But anyone with a brain can see that this school yard bully only succeeded in uniting the opposition against him. More long-term geo-political stupidity.

In fact, following up on the suggestion by smuks @39 I almost wonder if the Russians didn't keep silent while watching the engine tech transfer happen - knowing that it would give the US a real headache/something to bluster about instead of Ukraine or Syria. Perhaps they even helped smooth some open doors... not like they don't have some old grudges to settle from Caucasus days and some new ones from the West continuing the harassment of Putin even when Russia provided satellite data on the MH 17 thing.

Given the level of animosity between Putin and Obama at the time, and the likely-hood of a Clinton victory, a cauldron of trouble with N. Korea (which China and Russia could easily control) would buy both Russia and China the time they both need to finish major modernizations of their military.

Since about 2012 I have projected that the fall of 2018 is the point at which a US first strike on Russia becomes totally impossible. Given the open verbal alliance that exists between Russia and China, it too will be untouchable in a first-strike scenario.

The engines (and engineers necessary to operate them) transfer to N. Korea did NOT happen without Russian awareness. It was one of their contingencies to buy themselves time.

May we all live to see a multi-polar world.

Posted by: les7 | Aug 15, 2017 8:30:06 PM | 60

@ V. Arnold from above somewhere

Thanks for the reply. I try and not act/think like my fellow Americans have been brainwashed into thinking.

The carousel of empire is spinning furiously now trying to keep all the pieces attached. Can it hold together for more centuries? I hope not.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Aug 15, 2017 8:35:28 PM | 61

Just Sayin' @52:

... examples of the good Col Mustards alleged unique, or "interesting", commentary?
I used Col. Lang's first hand account of a meeting with Qatari officials to illustrate the potential for deceptiveness in the Qatar-Saudi dispute (see: Saudi-Qatar: Gambit du Roi).

The quote:

I was present at a meeting at the ruler’s palace in Doha in which the then emir laughed and told the group I was with that if the West wanted democracy he would create things for them to look at. He would have a parliament. He would have a “free” press (Al-Jazeera?).

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 15, 2017 10:18:21 PM | 62

karlof1@57 - Using the Higgins paper to link NSC purges just
doesn't fly with me. Others have suggested McMaster purged both
neocon hawks and Israeli-firsters. Thereafter, all the MSM squawking
to have HIM removed has been in retaliation for that. The
Higgins paper is supposedly a red herring - it was the neocon
hawks that demanded his removal. Seemed like a good idea to
McMaster or whomever fired him. I have no idea of the veracity
of that 'theory', but gut feel is that it makes far more sense
than a witch hunt based on Higgins' paper and 'supporters'.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Aug 15, 2017 10:24:34 PM | 63

Sad Canuck | Aug 15, 2017 8:20:25 PM | 59
I'm not sure most Thai's are "quite happy" with the military regime but most are clearly relieved that the other "options" are not in power.

To be clear, I said most Thai's I know, not most Thais.
Totally agree regarding the other "options" though.
And yes, mostly agree with the rest of your post.
Of the S.E. Asian countries, Thailand has the most to worry from the U.S., given the history of the communist
insurgency in the north of Thailand (the U.S. help to defeat it) and the butchery of the
war against Vietnam, Cambodia, and Lao. Speaking of which; I spoke with a Lao man in Vientiane, a veteran of that era, and he
held no animosity towards me, as an American.
He was however, very proud to have helped kick out the French and then the Americans; I laughed and gave him 2 thumbs up.
I think it's pretty clear that the U.S. is losing it's influence across the globe, the question is;
will it accept that gracefully or fight tooth and claw?
Thanks for that reply. Are you here?

Posted by: V. Arnold | Aug 15, 2017 10:34:05 PM | 64

psychohistorian | Aug 15, 2017 8:35:28 PM | 61

Thanks for the reply. I try and not act/think like my fellow Americans have been brainwashed into thinking.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Yes, that's pretty clear in your posts.

The carousel of empire is spinning furiously now trying to keep all the pieces attached. Can it hold together for more centuries? I hope not.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Me too. Maybe not my life time, but not too long methinks.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Aug 15, 2017 10:39:09 PM | 65

Sad Canuck | Aug 15, 2017 8:20:25 PM | 59

Addendum;
Thailand has never been colonized; I think that is very important and bodes well for the future.
Thai's are fiercely independent.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Aug 15, 2017 10:42:47 PM | 66

V. Arnold @ 64

Thanks and no I'm not there now but lived in Thailand for 6-7 years and I'm back several times per year to visit family (wife's side). I expect the girls and boys on wireless road will not give up without causing more grief as they have lots of paid local help "promoting democracy" in the media, NGOs and places like Thammasat. I'm not cheering for team Beijing either as they bring their own share of problems. Prayut seems a Thai nationalist and throws a few plums to everyone to try keep them marginally placated (Chinese subs, American missiles). Best strategy is probably lie low, not make any serious enemies, and try be in decent shape to deal with whatever emerges from the geopolitical and economic shakeup that seems inevitable.

Posted by: Sad Canuck | Aug 15, 2017 11:06:57 PM | 67

@62

Thanks for posting the link to that memo... I had read of its' existence but not seen it.

While I do not think Trump could identify a cultural Marxist if one came up and kissed him, I do think that the 'post-modern' theme/meme may be picked up by him. Trump had a set of narratives that got him elected. However, you can't gut the system and use it to run the country at the same time. Instead of politely posing as swamp creatures, they have fought like them.

The memo is brilliant in identifying the 'Trump fatigue' that hangs over his reactions to events. Trump needs a positive stance, not a reactive one. So Trump is in need of a new narrative to address the concerns he obviously resonates with in that memo. My bet is on the 'post-modern' as an embrace of modern, but not the "gone too far" implicit in "post".

Posted by: les7 | Aug 15, 2017 11:12:17 PM | 68

Sad Canuck | Aug 15, 2017 11:06:57 PM | 67

Indeed, that's a lot to deal with. For myself, I think your assessment is
on the mark.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Aug 15, 2017 11:21:16 PM | 69

Thanks, madhatter67, you saved me from wasting my time reading the comments here.

Posted by: DM | Aug 16, 2017 1:20:26 AM | 70

les7 68

I suspect in some ways Trump is setting the agenda rather than reacting.
The MOAB and the 59 missiles in Syria set up his creds. I wouldn't mind betting he will keep scaring the shit out of all the vassal states until they turn away from the US.
A false flag in Syria that the MSM is fully behind and Trump tweets "poor little children" and sends in the missiles. Neocons trying regime change in Venezuala, many south American countries on board, Trump threatens military action against Venezuela. This unites south America against US. NK the same. Trump threatens, South Korean leadership grows some balls and speaks out.
Same with Trump signing the latest Sanctions against Russia which will hurt the EU more than anyone. I expect Europe will need some more shocks and scares before it grows some balls.
Perhaps this theory will turn out wrong, but it seems as though rather than Trump taking on the neocons and globalists head on, he is making himself out to be the baddest of the neo-cons, to in effect scare the vassal states away and get the US out of foriegn entanglements.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Aug 16, 2017 1:36:36 AM | 71

Each Asian country has its own specific problems. Once I read about a problem affecting Thailand (and probably only Thailand): invasion of cute Lao girls. They started to return back all underage female citizens of Laos on Mekong bridges, but there are also two stretches of the border that do not follow the river. And once their cross, Lao girls are not particularly different from Thai girls -- a very insidious threat.

PS. I changed the story a bit, the idea is to improve border control for the benefit of the girls (or morals of Thai men).

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Aug 16, 2017 5:13:15 AM | 72

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-missiles-idUSKCN1AW0VY?il=0

U.S.-Japan conduct air drills as North Korea watches next move by "Yankees"

Looks like those bombers from Guam were in the air again. Looks like the US didn't blink.

Posted by: Out of Istanbul | Aug 16, 2017 6:52:30 AM | 73

73

From your linked article.. "Wednesday's air exercise took place close to Japanese-controlled islets in the East China Sea which are also claimed by China. The uninhabited territory is known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China."

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Aug 16, 2017 7:06:30 AM | 74

Good Lord! How long before some of you get over your problem with SST?

Posted by: Morongobill | Aug 16, 2017 9:18:48 AM | 75

@71 Peter AU 1 (the original)

This morning's news seems to support your theory. I was coming actually to make a similar point. I don't know why it's happening, and I almost hesitate to jinx it by speaking it out loud, but isn't it strange that on Trump's watch, the linkage between empire and vasal is being progressively broken?

Trump has now tweeted an extremely mild and sane statement that Kim is "wise and well reasoned." He took the face-saving way out that NK offered in its statement yesterday. Amazing, and yet so similar to the earlier Korea walk-back - if that's what an armada does - and similar to the rhetoric over Syria that turned into mildness in terms of real action on the ground.

As you say, one by one the vassals are pushing back, and the US is taking it. China has said no to the Korea play, South Korea is testing the waters of sovereignty. Latin America and now Lavrov has said no war in Venezuela. And now Germany is coming out in support of the Russia-China peace plan for Korea.

Your theory suggests intentionality by Trump. It may not be quite the case. They say the hour produces the man. In a strange way the tides of history may have produced this Geopolitical "useful idiot" to foster the necessary changes. Not that I call Trump an idiot. He was voted in, I believe, because he was perceived as a possible wild card - a card in Poker that can become whatever is most useful to the hand.

I think of him as a substantial human being, with an extremely personalized world view, and a management style that lets a lot of activity flow around him without his subscribing to it in his heart. How much of what flows in and out of his day actually belongs to his inner being, is something that I think is not clear, and that no one outside of a very small circle actually understands yet. Very interesting to watch.

All speculation aside - what's happening for real, as you note, is that Trump is in the White House, and in theater after theater, the empire keeps walking back from catastrophic action, amid the most awful bluster. It's a pretty cool thing that's happening. May it long continue.

Posted by: Grieved | Aug 16, 2017 9:46:14 AM | 76

@76 Nice summary Grieved. Hopefully we won't see headlines proclaiming 'Trump Blinks!' It really does look as though the West has met it's match finally with Russia in the ME and China in the East.

Posted by: dh | Aug 16, 2017 10:30:23 AM | 77

FROM MCMASTER: "No, she’s not right. And I think the reason she’s not right is that the classical deterrence theory, how does that apply to a regime like the regime in North Korea?" ( boldface emphasis,mine ).I'm sorry BUT isn't that N.Korea is thinking- "Deterrence"?

America- Mind your own damn business !!!

Problem solved.

Posted by: Freespirit | Aug 16, 2017 10:56:40 AM | 78

Grieved & Peter AU 1--

Your thoughts echo mine that I sort of alluded to @57--Massive bluster for the Domestic Show that appeases the War Party while appalling the saner Vassals, particularly Germany, Austria, and Hungary. Regarding events in Venezuela, I found this item rather helpful, https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/08/14/trump-versus-the-venezuelan-revolution/ I await the Russian reaction to the Ukrainians allowing the Empire to build a Navy base. Oh, and some news about Sadr's activities surfaced in this item that begs several further questions, https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201708151056492101-saudi-iraq-reopen-border-crossing/

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 16, 2017 11:04:13 AM | 79

PavewayIV @63--

Thanks much for your answer. It's still rather puzzling, but The Apprentice seems to be learning faster.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 16, 2017 11:07:08 AM | 80

Grieved says:

...the empire keeps walking back from catastrophic action...

your rosy synopsis is congenial and imparts some hope, and i understand you're talking of late, but let's not forget that crimes against humanity committed by the US and its allies are not front page news.

interesting to read that Thierry Meyssan is now saying what a few of us have been saying for years, that the imperial objective isn't resources and borders after all, but, rather, devastation. i suppose one could even shine a positive light on this revelation, that empire is indeed on its way out,

albeit without a shred of grace.

Posted by: john | Aug 16, 2017 12:23:26 PM | 81

Just Sayin' @52:

... examples of the good Col Mustards alleged unique, or "interesting", commentary?

I used Col. Lang's first hand account of a meeting with Qatari officials to illustrate the potential for deceptiveness in the Qatar-Saudi dispute (see: Saudi-Qatar: Gambit du Roi).

The quote:

I was present at a meeting at the ruler’s palace in Doha in which the then emir laughed and told the group I was with that if the West wanted democracy he would create things for them to look at. He would have a parliament. He would have a “free” press (Al-Jazeera?).

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 15, 2017 10:18:21 PM | 62

there's nothing insightful in that comment imho. As far as I'm concerned it's just another example of Col Mustard engaging in one of his fave pastimes: Name dropping

One would have to be extremely ignorant both history and politics to think for even one second that an absolute monarch like the Emir of Qatar would have a parliament for anything other than mere show. He's an absolute monarch who never once even pretended to indicate that he might even consider relinquishing so much as a mere ounce of his power - so what else could his parliament be other than a piece of theater?

And anyone paying attention long ago realised that Al J is anything but a functioning "Free" press. For several years now it has very obviously been nothing but a mouthpiece for Qatari royalty.
As the saying goes "Freedom of the press is confined to the people who own one" and the Qatari royalty one Al J, so it is not a Free press nor was it even intended to be one. It is the privately-owned mouthpiece of a medieval absolute monarchy.

For an observation such as Lang's to be insightful he would have had to have made it several years ago.

Part of being insightful is being "timely". All of those things were blindingly obvious to all but the the dimmest of observers, loooong before Col Mustard posted that comment in June of this year.
For it to have been insightful he would have had to have made it before everyman and his dog knew that Al J was just a qatari royal-family mouthpiece and the parliament there merely a smokescreen

It is about as insightful as a comment from the aptly named person commenting at #75.

Posted by: Just Sayin' | Aug 16, 2017 7:12:58 PM | 82

@52 just sayin' - actually there isn't much of value that i recall him saying specifically.. on the other hand there are some posters that i enjoy reading where occasional insightful comments get made.. i am not sure if pat has made any of them! i like reading b's comments, fbali, babak, david h.

Posted by: james | Aug 15, 2017 6:15:22 PM | 55

thanks for the reply


"David H." - Is that David Habakkuk?
If so, I completely agree - David Habakkuk is always an interesting read. Compared to him, Lang comes across as little more than an inarticulate very grumpy teenager.

that fact Col Mustard sub-heads his blog posts with the phrase "A Committee of Correspondence" is not only hilariously ironic but also ridiculously pretentious when one considers the reality

Posted by: Just Sayin' | Aug 16, 2017 7:30:35 PM | 83

Just Sayin' @82

I agree, Anyone paying attention could surmise the same BUT a firsthand account of such an admission is priceless.

A great number of people won't alter their view unless the truth is abundantly clear.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 16, 2017 10:35:47 PM | 84

Former President Jimmy Carter releases statement on North Korea

'During all these visits, the North Koreans emphasized that they wanted peaceful relations with the United States and their neighbors, but were convinced that we planned a preemptive military strike against their country. They wanted a peace treaty (especially with America) to replace the ceasefire agreement that had existed since the end of the Korean War in 1953, and to end the economic sanctions that had been very damaging to them during that long interim period. '
http://www.fox5atlanta.com/national-news/273096065-story

Posted by: brian | Aug 16, 2017 11:56:10 PM | 85

Just Sayin'

A number of good commenters at SST including b. The comments, and also guest authors can make a site. From what I can make of it, it is Pat Lang's site that he controls personally.
The complete site rather than just his own posts and comments give an insight into what sort of person he is. If the guest authors are banned and comments that do not reflect his views were banned then the site will not be worth reading.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Aug 17, 2017 1:21:43 AM | 86

Just Sayin'

A number of good commenters at SST including b.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Aug 17, 2017 1:21:43 AM | 86

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which is how this subject got to be discussed here anyway - Instead of replying to comments on his own blog b wastes his time replying to an idiot


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Just Sayin' @82

I agree, Anyone paying attention could surmise the same BUT a firsthand account of such an admission is priceless.

A great number of people won't alter their view unless the truth is abundantly clear.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 16, 2017 10:35:47 PM | 84

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so essentially what you are saying is that Col Pat Mustard IS insightful, if you happen to be the sort of dumbass that only considers an argument when it is presented as "argument by an [alleged] authority"

Posted by: Just Sayin' | Aug 17, 2017 3:02:19 AM | 87

Just Sayin' @87

There's value in the confirmation provided by documents or first-hand accounts. That value varies from person to person. Dumbasses and Kool-Aid drinkers in particular require such evidence.

You had asked for examples of Lang's "unique or 'interesting' commentary".

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 17, 2017 6:41:52 AM | 88

You had asked for examples of Lang's "unique or 'interesting' commentary".

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 17, 2017 6:41:52 AM | 88

Yes thank you for helping to narrow it down to:Lang seems "insightful" and "interesting" to people who are not very bright nor particularly knowledgeable.

Posted by: Just Sayin' | Aug 17, 2017 10:29:47 AM | 89

Just Sayin'

Like many, I've had some difficulty with Co. Lang. But how many ex-mil/intel officers PUBLICLY ...

... attack neocons?

Derek Harvey: One Less Neocon
I have known DH for a very long time... Bob Woodward in "The War Within..." writes that in the late 80s Harvey wandered the back roads in Iraq traveling about 500 miles, chatting with villagers, headmen and tribal leaders to learn what the true state of affairs might be. This is untrue. If Harvey told Woodward that, he lied IMO. Saddam was then fully in power and an American who wandered in Iraq would shortly have been in prison or worse. No, Harvey was scribbling away in his basement cubicle in the Pentagon and hanging around my upstairs offices whenever my staff were silly enough to let him in through the alarmed door. I finally banned him from the office suite ...

... are critical of anti-Trump WH leakers?

Another felonious disclosure.
The present or former official (or officials) who read these intercepts because of his or her clearance for hyper-sensitive compartmented information and have discussed them with the Washington Post have in IMO committed a felony for which they should be prosecuted.

... share their knowledge of the USS Liberty?

What I know about the USS Liberty - republished

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 17, 2017 10:24:31 PM | 90

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