Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 08, 2016

North Korea (Again) Announces A Defensive Nuclear Policy

It was known to the various experts that North Korea poses no real "nuclear threat". It has sound reason to build nuclear weapon systems and it had never threatened to use them in any offensive capability.

But the "western" public learned little of these issue until now. It is somewhat refreshing to find two newspapers today which explain the basic issues.

First: Why does North Korea believe that nuclear weapon capability is to its people advantage?

Mr. Kim was using the rare political gathering to rally the party behind his so-called “byungjin” policy. On Saturday, Mr. Kim said that policy was not a temporary step but his party’s “permanent strategic line.”

The byungjin — or “parallel advance” — policy calls for stockpiling nuclear weapons in the belief that the deterrent would allow the country to focus on economic recovery.

During the Korea war North Korea was totally devastated. Nearly a third of its population died. Its industries were destroyed. Hardly any structure with more than one level had not been bombed. Thereafter North Korea poured an immense amount of human and material resources into the build up and maintenance of a large conventional army. The threat from the U.S. army and its South Korean cannon fodder was perceived as huge. All civil development was subordinate to a "military first" policy.

Attempts to find some accommodation with the U.S. failed. The probably best chance had been the Agreed Framework of 1994 that would have compensated North Korea for giving up any nuclear plans with hydrocarbon fuel deliveries and commercial nuclear reactors. Both the Clinton and the Bush administration first sabotaged and then abandoned the framework.

North Korea then decided to proceed with its byungjin policy. A credible nuclear weapon capability as deterrent against any invasion or decisive strike would allow for massive decreases in front line troops and mass artillery units. The saved expenses and resources would then be used for civil purposes. There are some signs that this strategy actually works. Currently neither the U.S. nor South Korea would dare to attack North Korea even though its nuclear arsenal is only small and unproven. According to some estimates the North Korean economy is now growing at a healthy 7% per years.

But "western" hawks, especially the revisionist rightwingers in Japan, want to use the imaginary "nuclear threat" from North Korea to build up their own (nuclear) capabilities. The U.S. military wants to use the "threat" from North Korea to install long range missile defense systems in South Korea. These systems would be useless against any North Korean system but could probably neutralize Chinese capabilities.

It is therefore important that North Korea now declared that it would not use its new weapon systems against South Korea or Japan unless these countries themselves deploy nuclear forces against it:

During the congress, Kim repeated the line that North Korea would not go on the offensive with its weapons.

“As a responsible nuclear weapons state, our republic will not use a nuclear weapon unless its sovereignty is encroached upon by any aggressive hostile forces with nukes,” Kim told the meeting, according to KCNA.

One might argue that such declarative policies are of no value but the seventy years history of nuclear deterrence have been build on such declarations and so far all of these have held what they promised.

Posted by b on May 8, 2016 at 10:31 UTC | Permalink


The empire is loath to allow the N Korean model to succeed because it might spread, but on the other hand it needs the North Korean "threat" to keep its Japanese and South Korean vassals on the plantation. The problems of empire I suppose.

Posted by: Secret Agent | May 8 2016 11:05 utc | 1

b, 'A credible nuclear weapon capability as deterrent against any invasion or decisive strike would allow for massive decreases in front line troops and mass artillery units.'

That was Eisenhower's strategy. Good enough for Ike and the USA, good enough for Kim and North Korea.

On the utter devastation and destruction of North Korea by the USA see Buce Cumings, The Korean War: a history

Posted by: jfl | May 8 2016 11:42 utc | 2

What are your thoughts about Mr. Kim wearing a suit and tie at the congress. That seems to me to be very symbolic. A first, I think, for a North Korean leader. Similar to Chinese giving up Mao jackets.

Posted by: TomV | May 8 2016 11:58 utc | 3

Bill Clinton's FAILED North Korean Nuclear Agreement

Posted by: okie farmer | May 8 2016 12:12 utc | 4

Clinton’s 1994 Nuclear Deal with North Korea

Posted by: okie farmer | May 8 2016 12:15 utc | 5

Demonizing people that you can't bend to your will, although it generates great profits for the MIC industry, never works as well as subverting them with bread and circus diversion. The DPRK has every right to pursue defensive weapons. The MAD system worked, so why not pursue it. Pursuing peace isn't as profitable as war. THAT seems to be the U$A's credo.

Posted by: ben | May 8 2016 14:02 utc | 6

Here's the 2003 article which first got my blood boiling about AmeriKKKa's contempt for North Korea. Since then it has become rather obvious that AmeriKKKa's ruling class treats the dreams and aspirations of the whole of Humanity with the same contempt with which it treats those of its stated enemies.

Desaix Anderson
Crisis in North Korea.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 8 2016 15:09 utc | 7

ben #11,

Pursuing peace isn't as profitable as war. THAT seems to be the U$A's credo

I’m sure ben that this is already familiar to you but it is always worth repeating:

I spent 33 years and 4 months in active service as a member of our country's most agile military force--the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from second lieutenant to Major General. And during that period I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism. I suspected I was part of a racket all the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all members of the military profession I never had an original thought until I left the service.

Smedley D. Butler (1881-1940)
double recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor

Posted by: juannie | May 8 2016 15:09 utc | 8

Historically, the aggressor has destroyed only defenseless nations. It has not directly engaged a nuclear power. Therefore, the aggressor establishes that only a nuclear-armed state has any real security against direct engagement.

That is, if indeed nuclear warheads exist.

Posted by: fast freddy | May 8 2016 16:39 utc | 9

- WHEN is the US going to lift the 50 year plus boycott of North Korea ?
- Lifting north korean boycott would mean that thousands of US troops would be left without a (well paying) job.
- According to one fearmongering person North Korea has 2 satellites in space that are able to send EMPs (Electro Magnetic Pulses) into the US that would cripple the US. What nonsense !!! North Korea can't even launch a space rocket wihtout a hiccup.

Posted by: Willy2 | May 8 2016 17:38 utc | 10

NK " civil" programs Is a useless BS phrase. North Korean leadership has shown murderous, torturous, starvation policy contempt for its own citizens, and its hate for its own people wouldn't change with the reduction of its overall military downgrade. "Civil" programs still means class war by a despicable evil dictator who would still run the economy for himself at the expense of his own people.

Still not as bad as the evil US Empire.

Posted by: tom | May 8 2016 18:16 utc | 11

Posted by: tom | May 8, 2016 2:16:03 PM | 16

There wouldn't be a North & South Korea, or a North & South Vietnam, without the unwelcome long-term interference of greedy, murderous pseudo-Christian cowards, liars and parasites with laughable delusions of Grandeur & Holiness.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 8 2016 18:51 utc | 12

Fletcher Prouty said that the US shipped 1.1 million North Vietnamese into Port of Saigon and dumped them there to fend for themselves. This was key in fomenting that war.

Today we have another US instigated refugee problem.

Posted by: fast freddy | May 8 2016 19:04 utc | 13

thanks b... again we get back to us meddling and the fringe benefits or liabilities as the case may be rearing it's ugly head again.. thus comments @1-18 all touch on the same theme for the most part, excluding the id thief of okie..

Posted by: james | May 8 2016 19:21 utc | 14

This is OT but may be important or interesting to some

""This is the Rockefeller Commission's 86-page section on CIA plots to assassinate foreign leaders that was excised from the final report and not made available to the public on White House orders. With limited access to documents and heavily dependent on a dozen interviews (including Richard Bissell, McGeorge Bundy, Colonel Sheffield Edwards, Richard Helms, Gordon Gray, General Edward Lansdale, General Lyman Lemnitzer, John McCone, Robert McNamara, Walt Rostow, General Maxwell Taylor and two unnamed CIA case officers), the bulk of the report focuses on U.S. covert activities against Cuba including some assassination plots against Fidel Castro. A smaller section of the report also investigates CIA actions against the president of the Dominican Republic, Rafael Trujillo. Although the report briefly mentions plans against Congolese President Patrice Lumumba and Indonesia's President Sukarno, it concludes that, "No evidence has been found involving any other attempts to assassinate any other foreign leader which had significant overt activities within the United States. However, the reports cautions that the "nature of the activity and the degree of secrecy and compartmentation within the Agency is such that it is difficult to find any evidence of this kind unless specific facts are brought to the attention of an investigative body."


Posted by: Terry | May 8 2016 19:37 utc | 15

Okie #, 8, 9.

Not like you, but the second link #9 highly offensive.

Posted by: Dominic | May 8 2016 21:04 utc | 16

I have no idea why b thinks positively about North Korea which is weird even among Communist states (well, now there are three to five, but we can compare with Vietnam and China). In the same time, hard to find anything positive in this blog about KSA, while there is plenty to notice there, as I learned today from NYT:

Saudi Shake-Up Moves Kingdom Down New Path


A series of sweeping royal decrees are part of a plan to reduce Saudi Arabia’s dependence on oil, diversify its economy and improve the quality of life for citizens.


I feel lazy today so I just cut/pasted from the front page, but I started to collect what I know about sand based economy. I have seen a story about two little girls full of entrepreneurial spirit opening a store with sand made products, like different types of bread and pastries. You need to use a bit of water so sand cakes stick together but proper use of forms requires a lot of practice.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 8 2016 21:26 utc | 17

Hello everyone.

I read all of the above (through #22) before I posted this. Normally Dimitri Orlov posts on Tuesdays, so I was surprised by his post today.
In my opinion each of us needs to read his post and consider it in terms of what has been said above and in previous MoA discussions.

What is said in the above blog is something that has been with us a long time. One that we refuse to acknowledge ... and it has been and is to our own demise.

Oh, and happy mother's day ...

Posted by: rg the lg | May 8 2016 22:43 utc | 18

@22 pb, 'no idea why b thinks positively about North Korea'

C'mon pb, where do you get that? b lays out a possible rationale for NK's actions in the face of US threats - the US did once utterly destroy NK and it seems it is becoming more rather than less likely that it might do so again.

And, as TomV @3 points out, they've dressed up their faceman in a suit this time. Its about the US that one has no idea how or why anyone might 'think positively'. The US has just stationed their latest and greatest air defenses in South Korea in order to make China and North Korea think about the consequences of a US nuclear first strike. The US is the world's most terrifying nation, impossible to 'think positively' about. NK is small potatoes indeed.

Posted by: jfl | May 8 2016 23:02 utc | 19

Piotr @22

Bemoaning lack of positive views of KSA is rich. They are promising to stroke the rabble at home to keep their heads, while continuing to export terror and the lunatic Wahhabist phony version of Islam worldwide. Besides their ongoing meddling in Syria, Iraq, Egypt and Libya, their latest stupid folly in Yemen is typical. Fund all the war, but not actually fight it. And still cannot defeat the Yemenese, the 2nd poorest (close, anyway) country on earth. That bunch will be lucky to still have their heads on their necks as opposed to pikes within a year. IMHO.

Kim Jong-un may nuts, but any sane person having to deal with the US and NOT pursuing his nukes would not last long with the Empire flailing around as it is...

Don't mean offend it my tone put you off.

Posted by: Tom in AZ | May 9 2016 2:41 utc | 20

Tom @ 25

Of course, my complaint was "rich" by design. NYT piece was typical puff piece, namely, whenever KSA is praised various hints are given that this is semi-serious. For example, to decrease dependency on oil "the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources was renamed the Ministry of Energy, Industry and Natural Resources." Take that!

But there was so much more! "The Ministry of Hajj, an important body in a country that derives much of its international standing from its management of Islam’s holiest sites, was changed to the Ministry of Hajj and Umra." [That actually makes some sense, Umra is a pilgrimage undertaken outside the short period of Hajj when millions circumabulate the sacred rock of Qaaba and take part in other rituals, so it can be organized with a lesser lethality for the pilgrims.]

What was totally missing, of course, was any attempt to wonder what it would take to ACTUALLY decrease the dependence of KSA on oil. The most concrete step was the plan to sell some shares of the national oil; company to "the public", thus substitute part of the oil export with the export of oil shares.

In any case, I tried to say that b is no worse than NYT here. Privately, I think that (a) conventional artillery is on balance cheaper than rather debatable nuclear weapons, but (b) American withdrawal from Korean peninsula is a necessary element of any improvement in that region. South Korea is quite rich and quite militarized and should not have any problems surviving with a distant military help and sharing of technology.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 9 2016 4:23 utc | 21

Not to worry.

Jeff Brown has just published an article about the China-Russia military alliance and some of its strategies. I had thought both countries were reining North Korea in somewhat, and maybe that's the case, but Brown speculates that they are actually also giving NK some free rein to build a nice poison-pill deterrent to the US. b's article here suggests that it works, and I find just from common sense that it can only help.

Gleaning from the many hyper sonic facts in Jeff Brown's article, we learn that the South Korean US system proposed is called THAAD. China has tested ICBMs that can strike anywhere in the world, delivering multiple nukes 12,000 km away - in 30 minutes (!). Russia has tested similar but launched from submarine, and has a system apparently sufficient to beat even THAAD, should it even be deployed. In short, China and Russia are already ahead of the US technology curve by a decisive margin. Decisive means overpowering any US military action, by the way.

What we can see of the Russia-China military alliance is sufficient to see that its strategic preparations are all squaring off for a hot war with the US-NATO. This may be the world's best hope for peace, and I take great comfort from it.

Brown's article is at the Saker and also here at source: China and Russia prepare for a hot war with Eurangloland

Posted by: Grieved | May 9 2016 5:02 utc | 22

The North American method of crony capitalist contracting at highest possible costs so as to enrich said cronies may not be the best way to advance technology. These fat cats obviously find it difficult to focus on anything other than hookers and blow. The more you can divert from R&D and put in your pocket, the richer you become.

Posted by: fast freddy | May 9 2016 11:15 utc | 23

Here's some amusing News on North Korea. An MI6 News Team(BBC) has been arrested and expelled from North Korea.
It's being sparsely reported elsewhere but here's the Perfidious Albion's favourite mouthpiece's version...

Wingfield-Hayes was looking quite smug last week when the team's plane landed in Pyongyang and it was obvious that he was taken aback by the modernity and orderliness of the immediate surroundings at the airport (which looked like any other modern civilian airport, and quite busy).

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 9 2016 17:19 utc | 24

@29 Rupert just couldn't resist slipping in a little Western bias...

Reports said that North Korean officials were unhappy about Wingfield-Hayes’s coverage of a visit to a children’s hospital in Pyongyang, along with Nobel Prize laureates.

In the report, which aired last week, Wingfield-Hayes said the patients at the hospital looked “remarkably well, and there isn’t a real doctor in sight.”

He said: “Everything we see looks like a set-up.

“This country appears obsessed with portraying an image of strength and perfection.

“The level of control and nervousness we have experienced betrays the weakness and insecurity that lies beneath.”

Posted by: dh | May 9 2016 17:55 utc | 25

4;Repeating ziopropaganda re NK will get you nowhere with intelligent people.
I remember some zioreporter for the NYlying times saying that the NKs were all happy and smiling.I guess their grass is good?
It's probably a paradise,but the monsters don't want US to know,that the alleged commies(At least in China,Graun-simply amazing photos) are more advanced socially,industrially and civilization wise than we'll ever be.
We get one tower,and 2 baseball stadiums(NY) for the rich,while China builds thousands for its people.

Posted by: dahoit | May 10 2016 13:40 utc | 26

@ matt lee part 2 on State Dept: Are Ahrar al-Sham & al-Nusra one & the same? 13 May 2016

what is reprehensible is the fact the usa has not agreed to the un request to define as a 'terrorist group' 'ahrar al-sham'... anything else is smoke and mirrors and more bullshite from the usa..

''we've seen some commingling''... thanks for a moment of honesty, lol...

Posted by: james | May 13 2016 22:41 utc | 27

Interesting, brief article about the UN pulling illegal sanctions out of its collective arse.
The sanctions are illegitimate by the rules outlined in several major resolutions, treaties & accords.
North Korea Challenges Legal Basis for Latest UN Sanctions Resolution
May 26, 2016
NK would be on a winner with this gambit, if the UN was an independent body and not just another tame instrument of FrUKUS foreign policy.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 28 2016 15:26 utc | 28

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