Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 14, 2017

Why North Korea Needs Nukes - And How To End That

(Updated below)

Media say,
the U.S. may
or may not
kill a number of North Koreans
for this or that
or no reason
but call North Korea
'the volatile and unpredictable regime'


Now consider what the U.S. media don't tell you about Korea:

BEIJING, March 8 (Xinhua) -- China proposed "double suspension" to defuse the looming crisis on the Korean Peninsula, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Wednesday.

"As a first step, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) may suspend its nuclear and missile activities in exchange for the suspension of large-scale U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) military exercises," Wang told a press conference on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People's Congress.
Wang said the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula is mainly between the DPRK and the United States, but China, as a next-door neighbor with a lips-and-teeth relationship with the Peninsula, is indispensable to the resolution of the issue.

FM Wang, 'the lips', undoubtedly transmitted an authorized message from North Korea: "The offer is (still) on the table and China supports it."

North Korea has made the very same offer in January 2015. The Obama administration rejected it. North Korea repeated the offer in April 2016 and the Obama administration rejected it again. This March the Chinese government conveyed and supported the long-standing North Korean offer. The U.S. government, now under the Trump administration, immediately rejected it again. The offer, made and rejected three years in a row, is sensible. Its rejection only led to a bigger nuclear arsenal and to more missiles with longer reach that will eventually be able to reach the United States.

North Korea is understandably nervous each and every time the U.S. and South Korea launch their very large yearly maneuvers and openly train for invading North Korea and for killing its government and people. The maneuvers have large negative impacts on North Korea's economy.

North Korea justifies its nuclear program as the economically optimal way to respond to these maneuvers.

Each time the U.S. and South Korea launch their very large maneuvers, the North Korean conscription army (1.2 million strong) has to go into a high state of defense readiness. Large maneuvers are a classic starting point for military attacks. The U.S.-South Korean maneuvers are (intentionally) held during the planting (April/May) or harvesting (August) season for rice when North Korea needs each and every hand in its few arable areas. Only 17% of the northern landmass is usable for agriculture and the climate in not favorable. The cropping season is short. Seeding and harvesting days require peak labor.

The southern maneuvers directly threaten the nutritional self-sufficiency of North Korea. In the later 1990s they were one of the reasons behind a  severe famine. (Lack of hydrocarbons and fertilizer due to sanctions as well as a too rigid economic system were other main reasons.)

North Korean soldiers on agricultural duty - bigger

Its nuclear deterrent allows North Korea to reduce its conventional military readiness especially during the all important agricultural seasons. Labor withheld from the fields and elsewhere out of military necessity can go back to work. This is now the official North Korean policy known as 'byungjin'. (Byungjin started informally in the mid 2000nds after U.S. President Bush tuned up his hostile policy towards North Korea - Chronology of U.S.-North Korean Nuclear and Missile Diplomacy)

A guaranteed end of the yearly U.S. maneuvers would allow North Korea to lower its conventional defenses without relying on nukes. The link between the U.S. maneuvers and the nuclear deterrent North Korea is making in its repeated offer is a direct and logical connection.

The North Korean head of state Kim Jong-un has officially announced a no-first-use policy for its nuclear capabilities:

"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 Workers' Party of Korea congress in Pyongyang. Kim added that the North "will faithfully fulfill its obligation for non-proliferation and strive for the global denuclearization."

During the congress, as elsewhere, Kim Jong Un also emphasized (transcript, pdf, v. slow) the above described connection between nuclear armament and economic development. Summarized:

After decades of emphasizing military strength under his father, Korea is moving toward Kim's “byongjin” — a two-pronged approach aimed at enhancing nuclear might while improving living conditions.

The byongjin strategy, despised by the Obama administration, has been successful:

What are the sources of [North Korea's economic] growth? One explanation might be that less is now spent on the conventional military sector, while nuclear development at this stage is cheaper—it may only cost 2 to 3 percent of GNP, according to some estimates. Theoretically, byungjin is more “economy friendly” than the previous “songun” or military-first policy which supposedly concentrated resources on the military.

To understand why North Korea fears U.S. aggressiveness consider the utter devastation caused mostly by the U.S. during the Korea War:

via Jeffrey Kaye - bigger

Imperial Japan occupied Korea from 1905 to 1945 and tried to assimilate it. A nominal communist resistance under Kim Il-sung and others fought against the Japanese occupation. After the Japanese WWII surrender in 1945 the U.S. controlled and occupied the mostly agricultural parts of Korea below the arbitrarily chosen 38th parallel line. The allied Soviet Union controlled the industrialized part above the line. They had agreed on a short trusteeship of a united and independent country. In the upcoming cold war the U.S. retracted on the agreement and in 1948 installed a South Korean proxy dictatorship under Syngman Rhee. This manifested an artificial border the Koreans had not asked for and did not want. The communists still commanded a strong and seasoned resistance movement in the south and hoped to reunite the country. The Korea War ensued. It utterly destroyed the country. All of Korea was severely effected but especially the industrialized north which lost about a third of its population and all of its reasonably well developed infrastructure - roads, factories and nearly all of its cities.

Every Korean family was effected. Ancestor worship is deeply embedded in the Korean psyche and its collectivist culture. No one has forgotten the near genocide and no one in Korea, north or south, wants to repeat the experience.

The country would reunite if China and the U.S. (and Russia) could agree upon its neutrality. That will not happen anytime soon. But the continued danger of an "accidental" war in Korea would be much diminished if the U.S. would accept the North Korean offer - an end to aggressive behavior like threatening maneuvers against the north, in exchange for a verified stop of the northern nuclear and missile programs. North Korea has to insist on this condition out of sheer economic necessity.

The U.S. government and the "western" media hide the rationality of the northern offer behind the propaganda phantasm of "the volatile and unpredictable regime".

But it is not Korea, neither north nor south, that is the "volatile and unpredictable" entity here.


Yesterday's Day of the Sun / Juche 105 (the 105th birth anniversary of Kim Il-sung) parade in Pyongyang went along without a hitch and without interference from the U.S. side.

Several new types of missile carrying Transporter-Erector-Launcher vehicles (TELs) were shown. The three hour TV transmission is available here. The military equipment display starts around 2h14m; the nuclear capable carriers are seen from 2h20m onward.

An early-impression remark from The Diplomat: North Korea's 2017 Military Parade Was a Big Deal. Here Are the Major Takeaways

Even though Pyongyang withheld from testing this weekend amid rumors of possible retaliation by the United States, North Korea is still looking to improve its missile know-how. Moreover, the long-dreaded ICBM flight test also might not be too far off now. Given the ever-growing number of TELs — both wheeled and tracked — North Korea may soon field nuclear forces amply large that a conventional U.S.-South Korea first strike may find it impossible to fully disarm Pyongyang of a nuclear retaliatory capability. That would give the North Korean regime what it’s always sought with its nuclear and ballistic missile program: an absolute guarantee against coercive removal.

The "absolute guarantee against coercive removal" would, in consequence, allow for much smaller conventional forces and less resources spend on the military. This again will enable faster economic development for the people in North Korea. The byongjin strategy will have reached its aim.

Posted by b on April 14, 2017 at 13:09 UTC | Permalink

« previous page | next page »

Wow - I'm impressed with this approach from China. But they still need to be a bit stronger about denying the US the right or the chance to attack NK. Even Russia has several times sent a fleet to Syria. China should do this to ward off the Hegemon.

Posted by: paul | Apr 14 2017 22:40 utc | 101

@or, @p au

interesting discussion on the likelihood of war, upcoming.

i think certainly outraged has the 'rational' analysis of war well in hand. but i don't think that war is rational in, literally, the end.

i think the 'smartest guys in the room' in the us are not military types, but financial types. the same guys who run the hedge funds run the 'rational analysis' and forecast the 'outcomes' of wars, purely imaginary. and they have the rest of the world backing down before the 'overwhelming' might of the us wehrmacht, though a good part of their analysis is based on their own 'funny money' based 'power', which is only as good as everyone else's willing suspension of disbelief. no 'rational actor' would not back down, they say, in double negative. they're reductionists, and their results only hold true in the very much reduced world they've disconnected, bottled, and simulate their 'trades' in.

i think there is a very real chance that they'll take us all over the edge, especially now that they have the donald himself unequivocally - well for him - on board. we'll see, won't we?

we won't be safe from all this until after the air has been let out of their financial balloon, for good this time, and they are no longer the 'smartest guys' in the room. and then we'll only be safe if we claim our world and install an alternative management.

thanks b, for the excellent perspective on the ceaseless grind the us has put the peninsula under over the past six decades. i never noticed their lockstep of stress and torture with the agricultural cycle either. hades and persephone all over again. i guess it never stops.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 14 2017 23:00 utc | 102

Jen @94--

Thanks much for the complement. There are two main credible reporters on the Korean War that I use: IF Stone's The Hidden History of the Korean War was published in 1952 and was excellent for its timely veracity; Bruce Cumings, recently History Chair at University of Chicago, has written extensively on Korea, and his two volume The Origins of the Korean War is the most extensive examination of the conflict. In 2010, he published a very abridged version that looks serviceable, easier to find and much less expensive. This links to a review of Stone's book in doc format, Cumins also co-authored Inventing the Axis of Evil: The Truth about North Korea, Iran, and Syria which is short and very readable. Cumins has also examined and written about the relationship between War and Television within the USA. And here's a website containing many of IF Stone's writings,

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 14 2017 23:01 utc | 103

I am amazed by the depth of the comments on Trump’s military threats against North Korea (trolls excepted). I would hope that Trump is just playing Teddy Roosevelt who “carried the big stick” using the white fleet to intimidate Japan:

Unfortunately, would appear that Trump actually wants to degrade North Korea’s nuclear program using strategic bombers (B52, B-1b and B2) currently deployed at Guam (a rerun of the US attack on Iraq nuclear reactor?).

The US has positioned two cruise missile carrying destroyers within 300 miles of the North Korean nuclear test site awaiting the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier strike group including the WC-135 “nuclear sniffer” aircraft.
U.S. Air Force has also just staged and epic Elephant Walk at Kadena Air Base Japan comprised of HH-60 Pave Hawks, F-15 Eagles, E-3 Sentries and KC-135 Stratotankers as a show of force (see Superstation95 for photos).
In addition to the thermobaric bomb demonstration in Afghanistan, the US just tested the upgraded B61-12 nuclear gravity bomb (just linked by Anon1)

Trump’s “Big Stick” approach has led to mass movements of:
(1) China moved 200,000 troops on the border of North Korea;
(2) Evacuation of about 600,000civilians from Pyongyang;
(3) Plans by Japan's National Security Council on how to evacuate its nearly 60,000 citizens from South Korea;
(4) Lots of flights out of South Korea.

There are reports that China has sent its submarines sent out to sea (setting on the bottom?) and is likely making additional preparations without fanfare.
North Korea has recently stated that if an attack is perceived a nuclear war will occur. I would expect that the first strike would be an airburst meant to wipe out all electronics not protected by Faraday cages, including unhardened military communications systems. I hate to speculate on where the other nuclear bombs will be “ delivered”. Under a worst-case scenario it could result in some global cooling about 20% of that predicted
On the US West coast it would be wise to stock up on iodine tablets as attacks on nuclear reactors and other nuclear facilities will release iodine 131 from fuel rods as well as other biologically hazardous radionuclides including strontium-90, cesium-137, and uranium-234.

It may be the Make America Great Again is actually represents the Jewish word for combat (MAGA). Such an approach was warned against by General Smedley Butler in his critical essay “War is a Racket”.

As a side note the South Korean elections are coming up soon. Does anyone have a point of view?

Posted by: Krollchem | Apr 14 2017 23:13 utc | 104

@104 The hedge fund guys are only good if they make the right bets. What they depend on is inside information, which companies are in trouble, which country is going to get whacked etc. But they don't always get it right. And their thinking is mostly short term.

'Alternative management' would be nice. Maybe a race of benevolent aliens could take over.

Posted by: dh | Apr 14 2017 23:15 utc | 105

I feel I should simply repeat what I said yesterday on this site. It still seems rather relevant:

This is where this is going, I would guess:

US Airstrike on North Korea Risks Leading to '5-6 Chernobyl-Type Disasters'
"Approximately 30 nuclear power plants are operational in South Korea. Several of them could be destroyed even if conventional bombs and shells are used. This could lead to five-six Chernobyl-type disasters on a relatively small area of 99 square kilometers that could instantly turn into a place unsuitable for life," he explained.

But that's not all we're going to get:
The Pentagon "cannot but take into account that in case of an airstrike against North Korea, US-made Tomahawks will fly toward the territory of Russia and China. This is a more dangerous scenario than the show of force in Syria," he said. "Russia will not be able to wait for US missiles to accidentally land on its territory. Moscow will be forced to shoot down the missiles while they are in North Korean airspace."

Meanwhile, tens of millions of South Koreans perish, with a few becoming radionuclide refugees. Good job, eh?

Posted by: blues | Apr 14 2017 23:18 utc | 106

@ blues
I would guess that SK, Japan, Australia, are all viewed simply as forward military bases by the US, that can be abandoned if required.

@ jfl
I have read although ,in a casual way rather than a study, too much of the history of wars.
Often what comes across the insanity of a country starting a war and then is itself destroyed.
Nazi Germany - leading edge tech, smart people. Country of sixty million conquered virtually all of Europe with ease then took on Russia. Instead of being content with being a leading country, they were willing to gamble everything to have it all.
This is somewhat where the US is at today. The position is that it has over reached and now needs to pull back and consolidate, but we are not seeing that. instead, we are seeing the US become more threatening.
So for me that needs to be matched/reconciled to Outraged comments on pre-positioning, indicators ect.

Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 14 2017 23:43 utc | 107

TRUMP READY TO REMOVE CRAZED NORTH KOREAN KILLER [GLOBE as observed in my supermarket yesterday, front page reported on-line]

IN a gutsy move to save the world from global disaster, courageous ­President ­Donald Trump has drawn up a ruthless, top-secret plan to kill North Korean ­warmonger Kim Jong Un before he can push the ­button that would unleash nuclear holocaust!

D.C. insiders tell GLOBE the iron-willed president is fed up with roly-poly Kim’s blustery bull and is determined to squash the pint-sized dictator, who recently launched four intercontinental ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan!

“Trump has put the elite fighting teams of Delta Force and SEAL Team 6 in Trump has put the elite fighting teams of Delta Force and SEAL Team 6 in South Korea on standby and ordered Tomahawk missiles and nuclear weapons to the North Korean border!” a White House insider tells GLOBE.

Get all the details and the latest information on the White House's latest moves against the tyrannical North Korean dictator in this week's issue of GLOBE.


Piotr: I understand how "top-secrets" can make it to our intrepid GLOBE reporters. But how did they determined who is "iron-willed" and who is "rolly-polly". E.g. it seems to me that Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim have similar BMI. Or how both leaders exhibited iron will firing employees.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Apr 14 2017 23:51 utc | 108

- MEDIA MATTERS had a VERY interesting take why we could see a US attack on North Korea:

Posted by: Willy2 | Apr 14 2017 23:53 utc | 109

@109 p au

i agree. no matter what happens, it won't be good ... until the Mother Of All Bubbles has burst. and then it might be but a brief respite indeed if we don't take advantage of the lull in 'play' to 'decapitate' our own 'leadership'. it's our sheer, mere 300 million+ souls (600 million+ soles?) to their 535 caputs ... think we have a chance?

Posted by: jfl | Apr 15 2017 0:27 utc | 110

@jfl #114:

A primary problem there is that they have convinced at least 20% of those 300M to be human shields in the service of Empire.

Posted by: Dr. Wellington Yueh | Apr 15 2017 0:39 utc | 111

Apologies if this has already been mentioned - but if the USA were to unilaterally launch strikes on North Korea could Russia itself intervene and launch missiles against the ships/fleet at fault - ie - against those who have abrogated their responsibilities to international peace and security? The aggressor nation.

Could Russia sink the ships with the USS Carl Vinson in the name of maintaining international peace and security??

What side of Korea is the Carl Vinson and is it closer to the coastline of Russia or Syria?

Posted by: Julian | Apr 15 2017 0:44 utc | 112

According to Jim Stone NK has a very formidable 50+ submarine fleet. He also said these subs are of NK manufacture based on their upgrades to Russian 1990's designs. They are nowhere to be seen at the moment and as they run on batteries when still, there is no easy way to detect them if they are on the ocean floor. Many are nuclear, have on average 100 mile range and the largest one could travel to and hit the West Coast. So if the Trump armada attacks they may quickly find themselves on the bottom of the South China Sea. And as for a war with China, IMO there is no way the US can win conventionally IMO. And if it looks to go to nuclear, Russia will regretfully reduce us to ash. It appears Trump has turned over management of the military to the generals. I have the same sense of pending disaster that I would have if I, on rounding a corner bumped into 1000 Daleks and with not a Doctor in sight.

Posted by: frances | Apr 15 2017 1:02 utc | 113

please buy a copy of that globe and put it in the time capsule. there is no copy near me.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 14, 2017 8:46:59 PM | 118

I guess a local landfill will get some copies. Do you want a copy to be mailed to you, or a scan of that funny article? Together with a story on Hillary being a Russian spy?

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Apr 15 2017 1:21 utc | 114

A Russia missile cruiser arrived in Korea on April 11th:

Posted by: Krollchem | Apr 15 2017 1:24 utc | 115

Amazing how Kim Jung-un is demonized. Certainly a bully but there is much worse ... and Erdogan is untouchable.

Posted by: DemiJohn | Apr 15 2017 1:33 utc | 116

blues @108

Good point about the nuclear reactors.

In addition nuclear reactors require fossil fuel power plants as backup up they suddenly lose power. In case of an air blast over South Korea the electrical grid would shut down with possible meltdown of reactors which didn't go into standby prior to the nuclear detonation.

An even more critical issue is that a lack of power would shutoff cooling water to the spent nuclear fuel storage ponds. This would result in the water boiling off and
"Once the fuel is uncovered, it could become hot enough to cause the metal cladding encasing the uranium fuel to rupture and catch fire, which in turn could further heat up the fuel until it suffers damage. Such an event could release large amounts of radioactive substances, such as cesium-137, into the environment."

It is important to remember that there is more spent nuclear fuel in spent fuel rods than in the reactors. There is a DOE computer program for calculating the radionuclide composition of the fuel vs storage time (Origin code). but I cannot find it on the internet. The release of these daughter products and the long term dispersal onto the land would turn Korea into a dead zone for hundreds of years.

Posted by: Krollchem | Apr 15 2017 1:43 utc | 117

@125 username ... not your real name. my name is john francis lee. i've never understood people who hide behind 'clever' usernames.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 15 2017 2:13 utc | 118

This is very disturbing but I still believe it is show and that trump is just using theater to intimidate N Korea and actually China to control N Korea.

i fully expect that China will give him a bogus way of looking tough that will achieve nothing and do little to n Korea. The problem is what happens if n Korea and China call his bluff and give him no way to look tuff.

Is it possible this is a distraction for further actions in Syria?

Posted by: Alaric | Apr 15 2017 2:17 utc | 119

Maybe connected.....maybe not? With the election of Trump....word gets out that North Korea is very interested in talks with the incoming administration....and then what happens: Kim Jong-un's brother dies in a spectacularly suspicious fashion. Now that Park has been impeached.......and her likely successor looks to be someone open to talks with North Korea, the US is suddenly on the brink of war with the DPRK. Coincidence...neocon serendipity? Inquiring minds wanna know!

Posted by: marcus_lepidus | Apr 15 2017 3:11 utc | 120

into sci-fi entertainment much?

Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 15 2017 3:12 utc | 121

@29 - This is why Trump acting so tough now, he know China+UN+EU+Nato will support his coming war.Posted by: Anon1 | Apr 14, 2017 12:49:02 PM | 29

ridiculous idea to even contend with. scared of what? the very first place for he n.korean nukes will be US army basesin japan, even before s korea.

everyone knows the so called armada is a bluff here in asia, on other note, it shows USA doesn't provide security to the freedom of navigation that it keeps on pushing onto others. it does the opposite, it shows all the nations what freedom of navigation really means ..... to push for war instead of protecting trade, of which almost all the trade is coming from china anyways.

it brings a huge conundrum in decision making,if trump doesn't do anything, all countries in asia will switch alliances towards china in the long run, except for broke jokes japan/usa. if trump does do something ridiculous, there won't be much of US/japan influence left in asia as china/russia will be forced to respond, and respond it will not like the fake wars washington is content with nowadays. trump obviously wants to change the tune of the conflicts....... but sending an armada into enemy territory while espousing support from nato..... (pacific nato?) puts so much fear into any nation here, knowing there is no petroleum logistics here for the war lovers.

where u going to buy oil from Hong kong? singapore? japan? russia?

Posted by: yesu | Apr 15 2017 3:23 utc | 122

@127 The simple answer is much like Obama, Trump is turning to bumbling around the international stage now that his domestic Presidency is finished. Between the Freedom Caucus and extinction of the Democrats who have been reliable crossover votes, there isn't a working majority in Washington.

The key event wasnt the chemical weapon false flag or Rachel Maddow's latest Glenn Beck screed but the failure to repeal ACA and the recognition the Republicans don't have a plan to go or much of anything. The budget will be up in a few months, and he still has the same problem he has ACA: Demcorats who cant provide cover and the Freedom Caucus types.

"Wag the Dog" scenarios focus on salacious scandals, but the collapse of domestic Presidencies are usually followed by war Presidencies. Trump is largely the idiot he appears to be and is simply grabbing onto the various interests within the borg. Trump will bounce from "enemy" to "enemy" trying to find an issue to get his Presidency back on track.

Posted by: NotTimothyGeithner | Apr 15 2017 3:33 utc | 123

One other jewel of US propaganda is why US is there,
Keeping peace between NK and SK?

Not at all US is there to keep peace between both Koreas and Japan and US stake imperial claim against China.

Numerous cases of Japanese even minute encroachments on territorial waters of whole Korea were met by SK and NK alike with joint condemnation recalling ambassadors and even small shooting war and that including sharp conflict between both Koreans and Japan over so called disputed islands and waters.

In fact a claim that US role there is stabilizing the situation cannot be entirely dismissed however the issue is that it is the US THAT CAUSED THIS INSTABILITY IN THE FIRST PLACE pushing regional divisions what amounts to precluding possibility to really end WWII among enemies resolve issues that still remind unresolved like Korea and move on with acknowledgment of reality of Chinese economic and political leadership which would be just return to historical situation just two centuries ago with modern solutions for coexistence.

But that would spell the end of globalist project under US imperial umbrella, a prospective that is strongly opposed on all sides for diametrically different reasons.

Posted by: Kalen | Apr 15 2017 3:34 utc | 124

Something that has struck me as this thread goes on..
WWII never ended. Nazi/imperial Japan quest for empire morphed into US quest for empire that is coming to a climax today.

Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 15 2017 3:47 utc | 125

Wide ranging fascinating interview with former high ranking CIA intelligence officer, Robert David Steele

Posted by: Anoncommentator | Apr 15 2017 3:51 utc | 126

continuing from 135
Russia/USSR won WWII in Vietnam, and Vietnam is now an independent sovereign country.
US won WWII in Germany and Germany is still an occupied country.
Japan has never been disputed and remains a US occupied country.
Korea has never been settled and WWII is still ongoing.

Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 15 2017 3:55 utc | 127

“Deputy Defense Minister General of the Army of Russia, Dmitry Bulgakov has arrived in Khabarovsk Krai near North Korea to inspect troops.”

“Russia also moved military vehicles (Air Def) toward Vladivostok not far from the border with North Korea”

Link also shows videos of Chinese units moving toward the North Korean border

Posted by: Krollchem | Apr 15 2017 3:58 utc | 128

If North Korea, Russia, Iran, China or any other country that resists Zio-U.S. imperialism sent an Armada off the U.S. coast on the fourth of July, the U.S. wouldn't hesitate to sink it immediately, no questions asked.

Trump is proving every day that he's a dangerous idiot.

Posted by: Circe | Apr 15 2017 4:12 utc | 129

This is going viral and so it should!!!

Posted by: Anoncommentator | Apr 15 2017 4:31 utc | 130

so mark pence is in sk with the troops 'observing easter prayer',
what fucking hypocrites , 'god's army' on the way to another killing spree. !

i wonder if pence's son is with the grunts ?
mao sent his son together with the troops to help nk beat back the murkkans, hundreds of thousands never went home, including mao's son.

but nuthin about the chinese sacrifice was mentioned in the nk war memorial hall, its all about the 'great leader'.
during the sino/soviet split, nk had no hesitation ditching beijing for the more powerful ussr.

by all accounts kim jong un would dearly wish to dump beijing for the more powerful unitedsnake...if only washington would accept him.

wouldnt be surprised if kim is eventually 'cowed' by trump's armada and submit to washington wish.

then trump would brag
'didnt i tell you all the past prez are pussies, it takes a real man to get things done'


Posted by: denk | Apr 15 2017 5:03 utc | 131

@ outraged.
What would we see for a naval and to a lesser extent air war to blockade China?
No ground war component with the massive logistic tail that requires.
Obama's pivot on China entailed moving 60% of US naval assets to Asia pacific region.
Where are US subs located? Where are US missile ships located. What is classified in the way of US naval asset positioning and not available to the public?
Carriers are smoke and mirrors. A bygone era.
From what I can make of it, Carter pre-positioned India as a US asset in 2016.

Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 15 2017 5:10 utc | 132

it may be that b has hit the nail on the head again ...

"As a first step, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) may suspend its nuclear and missile activities in exchange for the suspension of large-scale U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) military exercises," Wang told a press conference on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People's Congress.

... what happens is that tee-rump unveils essentially this plan at the 'last minute' and takes credit for it, having exercised us all and directed the attention to his spotlight on the yellow sea.

i hope that's what happens. we're stuck with this clown for four more years. he has no talent of his own, unless you call this kind of 'performance' talent ... and in fact he seems to have claimed it ... he may be an a**hole but he's the world's biggest a**hole! ... at least we might all live through it, ruled by a 70 year-old enfant terrible. tee-rump will play dummy and putin and xi can alternate as ventriloquists ... smiling and holding the dummy up to take the bows.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 15 2017 5:20 utc | 133

@145: I don't really consider folks here'bouts as peasants. There are trolls and sock puppets. B and the commentators here (you and jfl are high on the list!) comprise a collection of 'reality lenses' that I find useful.

RE: My initial response to jfl, the 20% I envision as human shields might be splittable, but you're only going to flake off a few %. Also, ignorance/apathy/fear (or incapacity for some other reason) on 'our side' brings the numbers way down. Add to that attrition from whatever course of action Empire attempts, and you have even fewer. Since we seem to be dealing with the 'upset-the-table' kind of losers, I'm sure they'll do something spectacular as a coda.

Anyway, currently reading "The Shining", "Conquest of the Useless", "Roughing It", "Moby Dick". Just finished Gregory Benford's "Galactic Center" series...that was gripping and depressing for 6 long volumes.

Posted by: Dr. Wellington Yueh | Apr 15 2017 5:21 utc | 134

North Korea's statement names the

"Trump's administration serious military hysteria"

This description is correct.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 15 2017 5:30 utc | 135

Hmmm. Hmmm.

Zero Hedge -- Krunch Time for Korean Krackpot Despot, Kim Jong-Un: Missile Crisis Countdown Has Begun -- Apr 14,2017

Vice President Pence is scheduled to visit Seoul on Sunday, during his first Asian trip. The timing of his visit, after the Day of the Sun, might indicate the US does not plan any pre-emptive strike against North Korea on the Day of the Sun However, while Pence is ostensibly going to South Korea to talk with the government there about North Korea's nuclear development, the White House has also said it has contingency plans for the VP’s visit, should North Korea carry out another nuclear test, indicating the possibility of a sudden shift to a war footing if Kim goes ahead with his apparent plans.

What if Pence doesn't make it out in time?


Posted by: blues | Apr 15 2017 5:31 utc | 136

@146 denk, 'by all accounts kim jong un would dearly wish to dump beijing for the more powerful unitedsnake...'

but that's a plan made looking in the rearview mirror ... isn't it? the future is china's. the very recent past is the 'legacy' of the us, burnt-out shooting star. sacrificed to the greed of its ruling class. in this life, at any rate.

any opportunist worth his wages would go with china at this point in the game. and isn't kim really just the korean version of trump?

an apprentice working for the apparat that really runs the country as their frontman, to bound about on stage and keep the world's attention on korea?

Posted by: jfl | Apr 15 2017 5:34 utc | 137

Ignorance/apathy covers the middle 75% or so. A US manual on special forces hybrid/covert warfare covers that well. Even has a pie chart.
Too many home brews at the moment to dig up the link, compounded by the fact that it is nearly time for my nana nap.

Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 15 2017 5:40 utc | 138

Re: Posted by: Pft | Apr 14, 2017 5:41:44 PM | 97

If Kim does want to 'provoke' the Americans and test a missile or nuke surely he's most likely to do it a bit later than people think - ie - like Tuesday night Korean time - perhaps just before US markets open for Tuesday after the holidays. Or are they open on Monday? If they are, perhaps 9-10pm Monday night Korean time???

Try and cause a 'panicked' market crash before Trump can react? Ensuring he will react against the backdrop of a market crash should he choose to react.

Anyone know - are US markets open on Monday?

Posted by: Julian | Apr 15 2017 5:53 utc | 139

@151 tjk

i re-read moby dick myself a couple of years ago. found a whale chart to go along with it, which helped bring the voyage to life ... back in the day ... when i was a kid there were always films from africa on tv, millions of gazelles and wildebeasts. i imagine they're all gone now, as are the buffalo, as go the whales.

i think that, just as the man himself has turned on a dime when confronted with 'reality', so too will we and many of our usian brothers and sisters, many his followers, once we reach the point of personal betrayal required to open our eyes to our real enemies, to forget the scripted 'enemies' our real enemies had taught us to love to hate. but i've never been through a real meltdown and revolution before, so i don't know. that looks to me the way things are headed though. deplored by all sides, yet thought to be well under control, yet we all have our own peculiar 'red lines', and are being pushed, relentlessly toward them. we are many and growing more numerous; they are few and getting fewer, by their own design.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 15 2017 6:05 utc | 140

@135 Peter AU

The wars to consolidate the world under one power has been going on for well over a century. Britain took the lead early on before passing the torch to the US once Rhodes plan to recover America was accomplished, sometime between Mckinleys assassination and the and of WWI . Wall Street and the money power in the city of London were always in sync. Albert Pike predicted 3 World Wars would be needed.

The main change has been the form of government envisioned for the future. This has changed from Communism to Fascism. Many supporters of fascism here in the 1930's including FDR. After WWII many of the fascist bankers and industrialists in Germany and Japan got off light and were reintegrated into the global economy where they trained up the next generation of fascists. They joined forces with those likeminded folks in the US and Brits by working together in BIS, various international agencies and groups like the Bilderbergers and Trilaterals to develop strategies to acccomplish their goals in the short and long terms

This is oversimplistic but time is short

Posted by: Pft | Apr 15 2017 6:29 utc | 141

After all, given the insane and surreal rabid propaganda in western MSM, what difference would it make re supposed 'image' in the eyes of the supposed 'International Community' (US/UK/Israhell & good time vassals) ... any ?
Posted by: Outraged | Apr 14, 2017 4:03:27 PM | 78

That's a really good question.
Imo, Western propaganda often seems to have an influence on the actions and statements of AmeriKKKa's fake enemies. There are two (maybe more?) ways of looking at this.
1. The fake enemies really are worried about public opinion in the West.
2. They're not worried, but deem it sensible to pretend that they are, because anything they can do to encourage AmeriKKKa to believe more of its own bullshit should lead to an escalation to the point where it crosses the line dividing the sublime from the ridiculous - which is what seems to have happened this year.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 15 2017 6:31 utc | 142

we are ruled by idiots, con men, war-mongers, and neanderthal whackos

Any attack by the US would be a massacre and humanitarian disaster of epic proportions. Plus, I assume, the north korean army that remains would likely shower much of south korea with tens of thousands of rockets, mortars and missiles.

Whackos in Washington: the Risky Game of Regime Decapitation
by Dave Lindorff

.....But what would the result of such a strike be?

For one thing, almost certainly it would mean the contamination of part or even much of the country in North Korea with nuclear fallout and radiation. For another it — given the long history of US “precision” targeting going terribly wrong — it would mean much death and destruction for the long-suffering North Korean people.

It would also mean chaos in a country that for nearly three-quarters of a century has been ruled by one absolute tyrant or another, in which there is simply no organized system of governance at lower levels to handle anything, from delivery of health services to distribution of food. If you think the chaos that followed the US invasion and overthrow of Saddam Hussein and the Baathist leadership of Iraq was bad, or that the chaos of the US overthrow of Gaddafy in Libya was bad, you ain’t seen nothing yet if North Korea’s leader gets offed in a US strike.

In theory, China, South Korea or Japan could step in with troops, money and civilian personnel to help reestablish some kind of order and peace, while preventing the rise of yet another tyrannical government, but none of that is likely. The Chinese would probably not want to take it on, the Japanese are viewed negatively as a former colonial power, and South Korea may not want the financial burden of rescuing the North, which would be staggering.

Meanwhile, while the US could relatively easily, and at minimal cost, “take out” North Korea’s missiles, nukes and leadership, especially in the case of the Trump administration, there is absolutely no interest in taking on the costs of occupying and subsidizing the rebuilding North Korea following such an ill-conceived attack......

Posted by: michaelj72 | Apr 15 2017 6:40 utc | 143

"Any attack by the US would be a massacre and humanitarian disaster of epic proportions."

Just part of human nature. Very common throughout history.
As technology increases, the scale increases.

Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 15 2017 6:51 utc | 144

A lot of people do not know that the US bombed the hell out of the entire of north Korea during the war. Like to ashes. The Chinese, and even more so, the Soviet reconstruction project for north Korea was the biggest of its kind post WWII. Even bigger than what actually went to European reconstruction I believe, but don't quote me on that (not in terms of what was earmarked but spent).

ALSO perhaps the biggest crime was bombing the north's huge dams. Unless your a poor farmer you don't know what kind a thing that it is to do. No military value (I heard it was bombed because they ran out of other targets in some way).

Its insane and breeds a toooon of animosity. Plus rejecting all attempts at peace talks. Plus having the media only present it in one way and an attitude of RA RA we don't engage in diplomacy with the terrorist obviously he only listens to force.

Crazy world. And most people can't see past it at a level more deep than "crazy dictator with a bad haircut."

The world is so fucked up.

Posted by: George Smiley | Apr 15 2017 7:27 utc | 145

The 'mother of all bombs' is big, deadly – and won't lead to peace Medea Benjamin
“I’m really very good at war. I love war, in a certain way,” bragged candidate Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Iowa. This is the same Donald Trump who avoided the Vietnam draft by claiming a bone spur in his foot, a medical problem that never kept him off the tennis courts or golf courses, and miraculously healed on its own.
But with the escalation of US military involvement in Syria, the record number of drone attacks in Yemen, more US troops being sent to the Middle East and, now, the dropping of a massive bomb in Afghanistan, it looks like Trump may indeed love war. Or at least, love “playing” war.

Posted by: okie farmer | Apr 15 2017 7:28 utc | 146

I've also heard the total death toll was between 1/10 and 1/5 of the total population.

Of the TOTAL population. Imagine knowing no one could name a person not being touched by the violence. Having total families decimated. Breeds a ton of hatred and understandably so. We need to get that its not just as one sided as having everyone "brainwashed" without access to outside culture. Its an insane outlook.

Posted by: George Smiley | Apr 15 2017 7:30 utc | 147

Solo sorry for the triple post, also needed to say that because everyone hates this crazy dictator people never take the anti war position. Its just we should charge in with our guns - or giant missiles - blazing hooorahh.

No one sees the death and destruction that will take place. The artillery alone not even nukes, would smash Seoul. They can't see beyond the black and white of 'allow dictator nukes' and 'kill him.' There's never room for diplomacy here - its just as bad as 'negotiating with terrorists.' What a crock of shit. And trumps played his hand badly cause he has no wiggle room. Makes Syrian strike looks like a joke. So much for being friendly with China. How about a piece of delicious cake as consolation?

Posted by: George Smiley | Apr 15 2017 7:37 utc | 148

Trump is escalating foreign conflicts
So we’re not going into Syria, but neither are we going to tolerate the tactics Assad has been using for six years. Where exactly is the “red line” in Syria? The president’s spokesman, Sean Spicer, further muddied the waters, making similar statements about barrel bombs.
This kind of confusion doesn’t help American allies or even our foes like Syria, Russia and Iran who are trying to navigate this conflict. Trump needs to take a page from the book of his cabinet members who have been talking with more clarity about Syria and Russia.
“I think it is clear to all of us that the reign of the Assad family is coming to an end, but the question of how that ends, and the transition itself, could be very important, in our view, to the durability, the stability inside of a unified Syria. … We are not presupposing how that occurs,” the more measured Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was quoted by The Washington Post as saying in Italy before he flew to Russia.

Posted by: okie farmer | Apr 15 2017 7:40 utc | 149

@Outraged - deleted a bunch of your comments with long list of military equipment no one is interested in

provide links to such stuff, don't copy it.


@all - deleted a bunch of nonsensical one-liners and some sniping at each other that I considered off topic. Go back to kindergarten if you need that.

Posted by: b | Apr 15 2017 7:45 utc | 150

LOVE B's take on the economics of nuclear might is. Crazy I never heard of those documents. Doesn't help that the North has been straved of food - and more importantly OIL. Means a lot of money when you get down to brass taxes. Worst of all, north Korea NEEDS subsistence farming and its so mountainous you need oil and diesel to blow these hilly as hell fields. When you strave them of oil, you strave them of food again in a way. Without subsistence farming they strave for the most part. And people think that drives people AWAY from a demagogic/personality cult type figure. It only endears them more. It, in a way, is proving the dictator right... That the US IS OUT TO GET US (and it is) and THE US IS STARVING YOU NOT ME (also true).

Posted by: George Smiley | Apr 15 2017 7:45 utc | 151

@all - done some housecleaning here for Day of the Sun - Juche 105 (

The parade in North Korea yesterday was quite a show. Lots of new TEL (Transport-Erector-Launch Vehicles) for big intercontinental missiles. We don't know if real missiles were inside but NoKo likes to show new stuff off and only field it a year or two later.

Video of the 3 hour parade from NoKo TV
The interesting mil stuff starts around 2h 14m with the leg swinging girls (intentionally?)

Some remarks on the off-road capable TEL
North Korea's 2017 Military Parade Was a Big Deal. Here Are the Major Takeaways

Even though Pyongyang withheld from testing this weekend amid rumors of possible retaliation by the United States, North Korea is still looking to improve its missile know-how. Moreover, the long-dreaded ICBM flight test also might not be too far off now. Given the ever-growing number of TELs — both wheeled and tracked — North Korea may soon field nuclear forces amply large that a conventional U.S.-South Korea first strike may find it impossible to fully disarm Pyongyang of a nuclear retaliatory capability. That would give the North Korean regime what it’s always sought with its nuclear and ballistic missile program: an absolute guarantee against coercive removal.

(will put the above in a post update)

Posted by: b | Apr 15 2017 8:02 utc | 152

smoothie X2 82
Ah ! what lies beneath the waves? . I remember in the early 1970's comments in the Western press that China through budget constraints was putting its 'eggs' into the submarine basket - cost effectiveness - . The article stressed that Chinese strategists deliberately eschewed using non-Chinese designs and 'fast track' technology so as to develop submarine systems that would have unique , secret capabilities honed to Chinese conditions . Perhaps of all weaponary the Chinese sub-mariners may have some surprises in store . Let's hope we never have to find out !

Posted by: ashley albanese | Apr 15 2017 8:31 utc | 153

Dear b and community. I read all of your posts on this topic with interest.

The focus seems to be on what DPRK (north), PRC and USA might do. I would like to suggest that closer scrutiny should be applied to what is actually going on in RK (South). I think that this tension is being ratcheted upwards primarily to influence the outcome of the presidential election in the South. For the past two presidential terms, the South has had Lee Myung-Bak and Park Geun-Hye both of whom took a hardline against North Korea and have killed the Sunshine Policy of their predecessors (Kim Dae-Jung and Roh Moo-Hyun). As we all know, Park has recently been impeached. In normal circumstances it could be expected that an opposition figure like Moon Jae-In would be the favourite to win the election. This may not be in the interests of either the US, Japan or the powers-that-be in South Korea.

The election is 9 May 2017, and the US president has just ensured that North Korea will be front and centre in the campaign.

Just a thought. Thanks for everyone's contributions. This is a really good place to gain insight.

Posted by: oneoffposter | Apr 15 2017 8:38 utc | 154


Extremely interesting take. Plus the anti THAAD movement is growing. Incidents between American soldiers in South Korean bases and the locals have been growing and that doesn't help. Remember that Osprey crash a couple months back?

It all adds up.

Posted by: George Smiley | Apr 15 2017 9:17 utc | 155

oneoffposter@154 - Thanks for that, oneoffposter. Korea would (supposedly) have been re-unified in the late 90's if it wasn't for US and Japanese efforts to prevent that from happening. I don't have specifics to back that up, but that 'feels' about right with regards to US actions over the years.

South Korea is clearly benefiting economically (finally) from US support, but also pays a price by being another lapdog to the US and an eternal host for our military presence, willing or not. I suspect it's 'willing' because the US does everything possible to remind South Koreans of their peril by demonizing the North. South Korean press is worse than the US MSM. Likewise, the US does everything possible to antagonize North Korean leaders and rattle their cage, making them seem even more insane than they usually are. Resulting, of course, in the South Koreans eagerly approving an eternal US presence for protection and the North Korean leaders sliding further into a black hole of indignation and rage. We didn't create the psychopaths in North Korea, but we're sure good at keeping them in power. They're useful to us.

I'll be watching the elections in the South with much interest now.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Apr 15 2017 9:24 utc | 156

i wonder how much we really know about the koreans. it's hard for me to imagine that the korean people hate and fear each other. korea is not a settler country, like us five eyes, where the possibility of setting one group against another is so conveniently ready to hand to the oppressors. can either set of koreans hate and fear one of their governments more than the other? i think, as someone else pointed out above, the worst of the terror after the war was undertaken by korean compradors of the japanese, at american instigation. i remember reading about a program to 'allow' southerners to cross the border for family reunions. i think it was terrifically popular.

who pointed out above that wwii has not yet ended on the korean peninsula. i always knew that the war was 'technically' not over in the sense of no peace treaty's having been signed ... the same obtains between russia and japan, doesn't it? that's an indictment right there of the us. in both cases, as the us still has japan on a short leash.

treating peoples like objects, we'll be objects of hate ourselves, finally. already are in many quarters, of course. but in far fewer than we 'merit'. i don't see how that cannot change now that we have embraced 'the dark side', as cheney put it, and now the unabashed evil-clown/wicked-witch with trump/clinton in the 2016 coin toss.

now with mercenaries, cruise missiles, drones, chemical weapons, and none of our own skin in the game ourselves any longer, we really do fit the description of creatures from another planet to our victims. the image of hg wells' aliens in tripods sticks in my mind. that must be just what americans - not even in - drones and cruise missiles must seem to our victims.

atonement. at-one-ment a friend of mine used to say. with the human race. how long will that take for america and americans, once 'the pride of man' is broken in the dust again.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 15 2017 10:15 utc | 157

Well, it's 19:02m in Korea, on the 15th and no nuke blast.
President Loon (my apology to the bird) will have to pack up his toys and go home.
I wonder how much that hubris cost the US?

Posted by: V. Arnold | Apr 15 2017 10:36 utc | 158

Posted by: oneoffposter | Apr 15, 2017 4:38:31 AM | 154

From German experience this would not work. Every South Korean knows that war with the North was/would be total desaster.

It is also clear that North Korea will only open up if they feel safe. The break down of communist systems is over, there is no use to wait for that.

German Social Democrats had their best election results when promoting a "change by approach" policy.

The main issue will be South Korea's relationship with the US and China. Traditionally South Korea has profited more from the US than from exchange with China. I bet this has already changed. But the US managed to create a security conflict between China and South Korea that ensures increased Chinese military support for North Korea.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 15 2017 10:43 utc | 159

@159 sb, 'South Korea has profited more from the US than from exchange with China. I bet this has already changed. '

you win your bet...

The top export destinations of South Korea are
China ($131B),
the United States ($72.7B),
Vietnam ($26.6B),
Hong Kong ($26.3B) and
Japan ($25.5B).

The top import origins are
China ($90.1B),
Japan ($44.6B),
the United States ($42.7B),
Germany ($20.2B) and
Saudi Arabia ($17.7B).

Posted by: jfl | Apr 15 2017 11:14 utc | 160

@160 jfl

Thanks for posting the figures. I don't know what the present day figures are like (your source seems to be posting figures for 2015).

Since then, Park Geun-Hye gave the go ahead for THAAD to be installed overriding the objections of the local people. People more informed than I question (to put it mildly) the benefit this gives to South Korea. However, it has already had an impact on the South's economic relationship with China (and I guess, the political relationship too), showing just how important the question of who holds power in South Korea really is.

Posters here often refer to the US/NATO attempt to split the Russia/China axis. It seems to me that this KOR/CHINA relationship also would not be welcomed.

The ideas and slow-build towards reunification as evidenced by Kim Dae-Jung & Roh Moo-Hyun (e.g. Sunshine policy and the Truth commissions) were (in my opinion) logical steps to be taken towards first reducing the tensions on the peninsula leading perhaps to reunification talks (you never know). It is impossible to know now where they would have led, but they have been thoroughly discredited at this point and it is difficult to see how they could be restarted.

Posted by: oneoffposter | Apr 15 2017 11:54 utc | 161

S.Koreans file petition with constitutional court against THAAD deployment

SEOUL, April 6 (Xinhua) -- South Korean residents and civic group activists on Thursday filed a petition against the deployment of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system, which they depicted as unconstitutional.

Residents from Seongju county and Gimcheon city in southeast South Korea and peace activists gathered outside the constitutional court in central Seoul, holding a press conference before submitting the constitutional appeal.

According to the petition document, the residents and activists said the THAAD deployment violated many of the constitution clauses while failing to follow any appropriate procedures.

Seoul and Washington abruptly announced a decision in July last year to install one THAAD battery in the county by the end of this year. Just three days before the announcement, Defense Minister Han Min-koo told lawmakers that he hadn't been informed of any notice about the THAAD installation.

Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se visited a department store when the THAAD deployment decision was announced, indicating no advance discussions between ministers of defense and foreign affairs and the presidential office.

The petitioners said the decision-making process on THAAD was rough and ready as there was no approval in the cabinet meeting, and that it was unilaterally determined by the national security council of the presidential office.

"The THAAD decision did not follow any proper procedure. No effort has been made for dialogue with residents," said Ha Joo-hee, an attorney at Lawyers for a Democratic Society, an advocacy group composed of liberal lawyers.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 15 2017 11:57 utc | 162

So much provocation, vilification and preparation of the public...for nothing.

The Neocons had really hoped that NK would react in some spectacularly 'menacing' way on its national holiday...but no, just a parade with some huge, missiles. Sad.

It doesn't really matter *who* starts an aggression, but somebody at some point would surely lose his nerves, no? And NK would make for such a good villain, reminding SK and Japan of how dearly they need all that 'protection'.

Let's see where the next act will play out. Ukraine once again, or Libya?

(on that MOAB - looks like a strong message that 'we' are not about to give Afghanistan up, but rather willing to up the ante...)

Posted by: smuks | Apr 15 2017 12:17 utc | 163

Beautifully written 157 jfl esp NOW

Posted by: col from oz | Apr 15 2017 12:26 utc | 164

@ oneoffposter | Apr 15, 2017 7:54:29 AM | 161

Yet bet NATO wouldn't be happy. The entire 'containment' policy towards Beijing rests on the surrounding states being hostile to/ scared of China. Already SE Asia has all but 'fallen' (from a western viewpoint), what remains is Japan and SK. Detente? God forbid!

The THAAD deployment places SK (even more) firmly in the cross-hairs of China's missiles. So now, at least they have some reason to fear it and scramble for 'protection'...mission accomplished!

(President Park didn't approve of this...which is why she was removed.)

Is there a way out of this? Not really. The US running out of money, maybe.

Posted by: smuks | Apr 15 2017 12:32 utc | 165

I read the link and it does not tend to match your narrative in that paragraph although I agree that official narratives tend to twist the truth. I cannot see the Soviet motives towards Korea as anymore altruistic than Japan's especially in that time period. The Soviets are no more saints in the WWII period than the US.
I do agree that US maneuvers close to the borders of "opponents" whether Russia or NK are antagonistic and unnecessary. And sometimes stupid action takes place after them like we saw in Georgia 2008. Putin shook a finger at Bush and rightly so. If Mr. "Art of the Deal" really were a deal maker he would meet at Panmunjon with the leaders of NK, SK, Russia, and China and sign an final official end to the Korean war and set the framework for demilitarization of the peninsula and trade/other deals.

Posted by: Curtis | Apr 15 2017 12:59 utc | 166

somebody jfl
Excellent points. What South Korea wants should be paramount to the issue of what the US should do. Seoul is very vulnerable.

Posted by: Curtis | Apr 15 2017 13:01 utc | 167


For nothing? The american ship have pretty much just arrived, within next 4 weeks we probably will see something happen by the US. He simply cant back now.

Posted by: Anon1 | Apr 15 2017 13:06 utc | 168


According to US MSM the Chinese are totally on board and only have moved troops to bolster the border and help the US. And Russia and China really aren't conducting military exercises together. This constant mistranslated rhetoric and literally putting of words into foreign leaders mouths is of course one aspect of the western propaganda arm. Even when the headline or text of the article is updated, corrected or removed the meat of it remains in social media like Facebook.

I have friends who use Facebook, I don't, who constantly say the oddest, incorrect things to me that could only have been fomented there.

Posted by: Gravatomic | Apr 15 2017 13:18 utc | 169

@ oneoffposter

Yes, when the arm twisting doesn't suffice they remove you, that's part of what the NSA and CIA do. Smear, blackmail and gather corruption evidence, whether real, perceived or planted to keep US puppets in line.

Posted by: Gravatomic | Apr 15 2017 13:23 utc | 170

@161 oop,

yes, somebody's link had the china-south korea trade at 300 billion, whereas the numbers in the link i found were at ~220 billion. but the the china-south korea trade at 220 billion was just about twice the us-south korea trade in that period. i imagine it ratio was higher, if anything, up until thaad.

@162, sb,

maybe the trade value lost due to the thaad deal will make everyone 'notice' its illegality ... now that they're starting to bleed. money speaks louder than the law, in most countries these days.

@167 curtis

they'd set the peninsula on fire if they thought it would bring them closer to world domination. the us ruling class cares not a whit for humans of any 'brand', americans included. certainly not for koreans, north or south.

@170 gravatomic

i have no proof but that's exactly the thought that ran through my head when park went down : she wasn't 'on board' the thaad train. i suppose it was the memory of the pictures with xi ... and of the vile cia's past actions, all over the world.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 15 2017 14:29 utc | 171


I saw your response earlier about how no writer can represent both sides equally, and I agree. I still lurk here and find no fault with your insights 99% of the time. You know perfectly well that in most situations, I am a staunch non-interventionist. I simply disagree (strongly) on this particular issue. Anyway, I apologize for sounding so hostile--especially at you. This situation just has my nerves pretty frayed right now.

I don't want to be dragged into a giant tu quoque match, so I won't respond to much more here, except to address George Smiley @155, above. I'm not sure where you read that the anti-THAAD movement is "growing," but that certainly doesn't seem to be the case from here on the ground. I am about 20 minutes from Seongju, and have spoken to many of the anti-THAAD people about their concerns. There's very, very little going on there politically; Seongju is a very poor area which is economically dependent on a particular melon crop they are famous for. Most of the anti-THAAD demonstrators were local farmers who had gotten the idea that the EM radiation coming from the THAAD radar would hurt their crops. In the wake of China's economic retaliation against THAAD, however, a good many of the locals have reversed their opinion and now support it. When the deployment was first announced, there was a lot of buzz about it (nobody wanted it here in their backyard,) but now when the subject is brought up at all (increasingly rarely,) it's usually digging in their heels about how China deserves it for kicking out their K-pop stars and shutting down the Lotteria fast food restaurants unfairly. Public opinion might change again if Moon Jae-in declares a firm position about it instead of waffling back and forth, but at this moment it's only a small but vocal minority that are opposed to it.

Posted by: Monolycus | Apr 15 2017 14:32 utc | 172

@158 The US armada will be off to Pattaya soon for some well deserved R&R.

The BBC coverage is worth a watch BTW for those who like to read between the lines. Lots of spin of course but the commentator does admit at one point that NK needs its nukes to avoid going the way of Iraq and Libya.

Posted by: dh | Apr 15 2017 14:33 utc | 173

@168 anon

was there ever an 'official' announcement of a nuclear test planned for saturday? or was it just an 'expectation' ... if the latter, maybe the cia fostered it, knowing it wasn't going to happen, so they could thwack tee-rump's rump and have him take a 'victory lap' when it didn't? if they're serious about nukes ... and they should be as long as the us has them in its sights ... the north koreans have got to test more at some point.

it's really hard for me to imagine any good excuse for a us battle group to be between china and korea in the yellow sea without an invitation. what would the us position be if a chinese - not to mention a russian - battle group showed up in the caribbean, or hudson's bay, concerned about the rogue american state and it's mad leader ?

Posted by: jfl | Apr 15 2017 14:47 utc | 174

jfl 137

here's the oft derided 'unelected' ccp partial plan for 2017,
'to lift another 10-20m people outta poverty and step up the anti corruption battle'.
thats in addition to the 70m already bailed out , cited by UN as a text book case of social development.

whats the vaunted 'elected' leaders of murkka plan for 2017,
to do 'syria, nk, iran, china, russia.... '?
350 ships for the 'depleted' USN ?
'star war' redux ?
by the guy who got 'elected' on his 'anti deep state' and 'populist' platform !

Posted by: denk | Apr 15 2017 15:03 utc | 175

lots of people say mdm park is a murkkan stooge and she's been removed by people power.

well like i say many times before, park is a very reluctant 'stooge',
first off she is a known sinophile who's well versed in chinese culture,
she had been dragging her feet over the thaad installation for years and china is sk's largest market.
hence antagonising china must be the last thing on her mind.

anyone of the above is enough reason for a regime change.
the last straw was most likely when she defied washington's dictat and join putin in china's ww2 memorial ceremony in 2015.
mind you, she's the only leader from the murkkan camp with 'cojones'to attend. [1]
i guess her fate was sealed from that moment.

so is her ouster yet another color rev masqueraded as 'people power',like the 'arab spring' etc ?

some observers think so.

we shall see.

Xi extended a particularly warm welcome to Park, who attended the ceremony over the objections of Japan and the U.S.

Posted by: denk | Apr 15 2017 15:09 utc | 176

jfl / 174

Re: US provocations

Yes you are of course right, as usual when US does it themselves, it is apparently the fault of the other party (North Korea) according to the useless MSM in the west.

There are some rumours that NK will test its nuclear tech. again soon and then US will strike.
China is getting nervous somehow, apparently dont understand what they effectively have giving a green light to:

China : “We call on all parties to refrain from provoking and threatening each other, whether in words or actions, and not let the situation get to an irreversible and unmanageable stage.”

The chinese cant even condemn the foreign aggressor anymore.

Posted by: Anon1 | Apr 15 2017 15:27 utc | 177

Thank you very much for this important and critical posting, b. I wish for you and all who come here a joyful and rich Springtime holy season to assuage our fears and give us hope for the future.

Peace to all.

Posted by: juliania | Apr 15 2017 16:13 utc | 178

Sure would be nice to find the original of the comments attributed to MacArthur. I've looked at the references in "Napalm: an American biography" by Robert M. Neer but can't find any original sources online. The footnote for this passage is jumbled, citing seven sources for this passage.

I did find that at the time MacArthur was advocating far more attacks in Korea, not less, which makes such comments suspect. Why would someone who was losing their job, and likely their career, due to their stance advocating more military action make such comments?

Posted by: Rick | Apr 15 2017 18:37 utc | 179

It’s Time for America to Cut South Korea Loose

From Foreign Policy Magazine (behind the paywall)

The first step to solving the North Korean problem is removing U.S. troops from the middle of it.

By Doug Bandow
April 13, 2017

It’s Time for America to Cut South Korea Loose

Asia contains the world’s two most populous nations, the country with the largest Muslim population, the two largest economies after America, and the next superpower and peer competitor to the United States. But when U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited the continent recently, small, impoverished North Korea nearly monopolized his attention.

Why is the United States, which dominates the globe militarily, politically, and economically, fixated on this poor, isolated, and distant nation? Because America has gotten entangled where it does not belong.

Washington has been deeply involved in the Korean Peninsula since the end of World War II. Subsequently, the Cold War gave a zero-sum quality to international relations, with Washington’s loss being the Soviet Union’s gain. Having invested some 37,000 lives to save South Korea during the Korean War, America’s credibility was also at stake. And with the “loss” of China to communism fresh on Americans’ minds, nobody was willing to see another Asian nation go red.

But that world disappeared long ago.

The Korean Peninsula has lost its geopolitical significance, South Korea its helplessness, and America’s Korea commitment its purpose.

The Korean Peninsula has lost its geopolitical significance, South Korea its helplessness, and America’s Korea commitment its purpose. While there is much to criticize in the approach of Donald Trump’s administration to the rest of the world, the president correctly sees the need for a foreign policy that more effectively protects America’s interests. A good place to start shifting course is the region home to the world’s newest and least responsible nuclear power.

The Koreas are no longer a proxy battleground between superpowers. There was a time when U.S. withdrawal from a confrontation with a Soviet ally in Asia would have, analysts believed, signaled weakness a continent away in Europe. But the Soviets are long gone and the cause for American commitment with them. An inter-Korean war would be tragic and the body count enormous, but absent American involvement the fighting would largely be confined to the peninsula. The continued presence of U.S. forces, by contrast, virtually guarantees the spread of conflict.

South Korea’s defense no longer requires Washington’s presence. The South’s economy began racing past its northern antagonist during the 1960s. Democracy arrived in the late 1980s. By the 1990s, when mass starvation stalked Pyongyang as Seoul’s economy boomed, the gap between the two Koreas was already huge and growing. The South’s military potential is correspondingly great though as yet unrealized — in part because dependence on the U.S. presence has affected strategic choices.

Yet America’s military presence has remained sacrosanct. Jimmy Carter’s plan to bring home U.S. troops was opposed even by his own appointees. Ronald Reagan pushed a more muscular confrontation with the Soviet Union and other communist states. With the end of the Cold War, his successors expanded alliance commitments, particularly in Europe, but also in Asia. Today, 28,500 troops remain in South Korea, backed up by U.S. forces in Okinawa and other Asian-Pacific bases, and highlighted by periodic decisions to overfly the North with bombers or send aircraft carriers to nearby waters whenever Washington wants to demonstrate “resolve” to Pyongyang.

So why is America still there?

One argument, advanced by analyst Robert E. McCoy, is moral, “since it was American ignorance that facilitated the division of the Korean Peninsula in the concluding days of World War II.” Some Koreans malign America for this division. But this is the wisdom of hindsight; in the chaotic aftermath of global conflict, no U.S. official wanted to push the Soviets over a faraway peninsula. The alternative was pure inaction, which would have resulted in South Koreans joining their northern neighbors in the Kim dynasty’s new Dark Age. Perhaps inadvertently, Washington did a very good deed. For that it deserves praise, not criticism and claims that it must forever police the peninsula.

More practical is the contention of analysts such as the Heritage Foundation’s Bruce Klingner that U.S. backing is “necessary to defend” the South. Yet, in contrast to 1950, there is no reason the South cannot protect itself — if properly motivated to do so by the departure of U.S. conventional forces. With a bigger economy, larger population, and significant technological edge, as well as greater international support, Seoul could construct armed forces capable of deterring and defeating the North. Doing so would be expensive and take serious effort, but so what? The South Korean government’s most important duty is to protect its people.

Taking on that responsibility also would force Seoul to treat Pyongyang more consistently. The “Sunshine Policy” begun under former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung resulted in the transfer of some $10 billion in cash and assistance to the North, even as the latter was developing missiles and nuclear weapons. That approach was viable only because Washington provided a military backstop (and if the new South Korean president, to be elected in May, revives the Sunshine Policy, as some have suggested, there’s no telling if the Trump administration would be so forgiving). The South needs to bear both the costs and benefits of whatever approach it takes.

But even if South Korea couldn’t defend itself, the argument would still fall short.

American soldiers shouldn’t be treated as defenders of the earth, deployed here, there, and everywhere.

American soldiers shouldn’t be treated as defenders of the earth, deployed here, there, and everywhere. The United States should go to war only when its most important interests are at stake.

South Korea’s prosperity is not one of those vital interests, at least in security terms. A renewed conflict confined to the two Koreas would be horrific, but the consequences for the United States would be primarily humanitarian and economic, not security. The cost would be high but fall primarily on the region. In contrast, direct U.S. involvement in another Korean War would be much more expensive than the Afghan and Iraqi conflicts, which have cost America thousands of lives and trillions of dollars.

Of course, the North’s possession of what we assume to be a growing and at some point deliverable nuclear arsenal skews the peninsula’s balance of power. However, this doesn’t create a need for a conventional American military presence on the peninsula. Washington could still guarantee massive retaliation against any North Korean use of nuclear weapons, providing a deterrent against the North’s threats.

But it is worth contemplating whether it would be better to allow South Korea to construct its own deterrent. In the late 1970s, South Korean President Park Chung-hee worried about Washington’s reliability and began work on a Korean bomb — only to stop under U.S. pressure. Since then, support for reviving such work has periodically surfaced in South Korea. Encouraging such efforts might actually be in the best interests of the United States, even if America has to maintain its nuclear umbrella while the Korean bomb is developed.

Yes, encouraging nuclear proliferation is a risky path. But the United States would gain from staying out of Northeast Asia’s nuclear quarrels. China, fearful that Japan would join the nuclear parade, might take tougher action against Pyongyang in an attempt to forestall Seoul’s efforts. The South could feel confident in its own defense, rather than remaining reliant upon U.S. willingness to act.

A potpourri of broader claims is also made for maintaining U.S. forces. America’s presence supposedly constrains China, promotes regional stability, and deters an arms race. Let’s consider those claims in order. What sort of constraint is allegedly being posed to China? If the idea is to coerce it into assuming responsibility for North Korea in the event of its collapse, Beijing has shown no interest in attempting to swallow a Korean population likely to prove indigestible. And if the calculation is rather that Washington can persuade South Korea to pressure China on non-Korean matters, it’s easy to predict the unfriendly response Seoul’s Blue House would give if invited by the White House to join it in warring against China to, say, save an independent Taiwan, counter Chinese moves in the South China Sea — or, horror of horrors, defend Japan. Indeed, absent U.S. protection, South Korea and Japan might feel greater pressure to finally settle historical disputes so often misused by their nationalist politicians.

As for the idea that the U.S. presence deters a regional arms race, building weapons so others don’t have to is not the sort of charity America should engage in. Alliances can deter. But, as dramatically demonstrated by World War I, they also can act as transmission belts of war. Moreover, small nations often act irresponsibly — such as underinvesting in defense — when protected by big powers.

The U.S. security presence in South Korea is an expensive and dangerous commitment that America can no longer afford. Nor has it ever brought the United States much popularity in the country, where U.S. soldiers are a constant irritant to nationalists. The South is no longer a poor nation in need of protection from the specter of global communism but one more than capable of standing on its own two feet.

Posted by: mauisurfer | Apr 15 2017 19:14 utc | 180

@172 That makes me sad to hear. I appreciate a perspective that comes from first hand experience. Its hard to get a proper outloom I feel outside of speaking with Koreans or even knowing the language.

Perhaps reading articles published by journalists opposed to THAAD has distorted my handle of the situation. Sad the movement doesn't have more traction.

I do know more than a few Koreans firsthand pissed off at US army personnel behaviour though. Perhaps that can be channelled into meaningful change. They tell me that the impunity from judicial retribution plays a big role in the anger. Certain bases in Japan have had similar problems (I get the sense it cause more anger there though unfortunately). Perhaps this is just the views of a few people I talk to in SK though.

Any thoughts? I appreciate your response greatly.

Posted by: George Smiley | Apr 15 2017 20:50 utc | 181

What is real Russian position on this WWIII POTENTIAL STANDOFF.
NK only one condemned attack on Syria while if what I hear is true, they want NK disarmed even in face of open US aggression. Also China if awfully quiet while repeating thirty year old equitable solution rejected by US that never looked for any solutions but domination.
What's going on?

Posted by: Kalen | Apr 15 2017 21:01 utc | 182

Rick @179--

I wanted to see the footnotes for that section, too, but I don't have a paper copy of the book. However, based upon other readings of same testimony, I believe they were made during Congressional testimony.

Perhaps the most important element to learn from the aggression waged against the peoples of Korea, Indochina, and Iraq by the Outlaw US Empire is their Genocidal nature, and the additional fact that in their post-war environment the killing and maiming continues unabated: All casualty categories combined add up to well over 10 million and rising, far outperforming Hitler's genocide of jews, gypsies and others.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 15 2017 21:19 utc | 183

@ b 150

Apologies. Understood. Will comply.

Re b @ 152 & post update

Heres an 8min38Sec Youtube of the military personnel & 'hardware' portion only:

North Korea Holds Massive Military Parade 'Day of the Sun Parade' in Pyongyang ( Show Case Missile )

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 15 2017 21:21 utc | 184

@182 Don't know about Russia but I have some thoughts re. China. Xi made it clear to Donald that China would support Kim if NK is attacked i.e WW3.

At the same time Xi told Kim not to provoke Donald i.e. no nuclear test. Let them think they've won.

Posted by: dh | Apr 15 2017 21:22 utc | 185

@ Posted by: dh | Apr 15, 2017 5:22:19 PM | 185

Fully concur. And the Chinese are 'civilized' re public discourse, just because the are not openly bellicose and full of aggressive rhetoric, does not mean they are push over pussies, exactly the opposite behind the agreeable, diplomatic, 'face'. Talk softly, yet have a big stick ready, just in case.

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 15 2017 21:42 utc | 186

@180 mauisurfer

the foreign policy article extends tee-tump's 'pay for a native implementation of us policy' a la nato to south korea ... and wouldn't it be a good idea if south korea had nukes, too. their summary of us 'involvement' in korea post-wwii is shameful ...

The alternative was pure inaction, which would have resulted in South Koreans joining their northern neighbors in the Kim dynasty’s new Dark Age. Perhaps inadvertently, Washington did a very good deed. For that it deserves praise, not criticism ...

depraved foreign policy recommendations from the us foreign policy establishment might as well stay in their echo chamber, behind their paywall, as far as i'm concerned. news of the us foreign policy establishment's depravity is dog bites man.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 15 2017 22:26 utc | 187

@ Anon1 168

Why should that happen, if no side is willing to fire the first shot? There's been 'increased tensions' many times before, missile and nuclear tests, naval far it's all just scaremongering to me, and I don't quite see why it should be heating up *now*.

Posted by: smuks | Apr 15 2017 23:05 utc | 188

Looks like NK may have done a missile test. Failed apparently.

Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 15 2017 23:11 utc | 189

there's a brief summary at the nation of the most germane us-north korean history by Burce Cumings, on 23 March This Is What’s Really Behind North Korea’s Nuclear Provocations.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 16 2017 0:10 utc | 190

Other authors sympathetic to the plight of Korea are...
Gavan NcCormack
Gregory Elich
Desaix Anderson, who delivered an address on the US monstrous and systematic betrayal of NK to the Nautilus Institute called Crisis In North Korea. Anderson was the CEO of the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organisation (KEDO).
I can no longer find the article on the www but one of the sleuths here may be able to track it down.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 16 2017 5:21 utc | 191

Actually, all the problems started with the demands that Kim Jong Un made to USA !
First, he has demanded that USA give up all of its nuclear weapons, that USA stop all nuclear research, that there should be a "regime change" in Washington, plus he had the chutzpah to send assassins to USA to kill the POTUS !! So I'm not surprised at the reaction of D Trump to this provocation ??

Posted by: Mr Reynard | Apr 16 2017 6:44 utc | 192

@ #192.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 16 2017 8:05 utc | 193

Had forgotten this when I wrote the post above:

Wikileaks, Podesta email about the Hillary Clinton speech for Goldman Sachs

"We don't want a unified Korean Peninsula" because China, not the U.S., would naturally dominate it.

The U.S. will do everything it can to prevent reunification.

Posted by: b | Apr 16 2017 14:11 utc | 194

The NK offer says that they "MAY suspend its nuclear and missile activities in exchange for the suspension of large-scale U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) military exercises"

It does not say that they WILL suspend its nuclear and missile activities.

Posted by: JMiller | Apr 16 2017 14:26 utc | 195

@ JMiller

Would that be Judith Miller, perhaps, or possibly just a hero/role model ? ;)

One perfectly reasonable phrase comes to mind, 'Subsequent to good faith negotiations & actual, guarantees'.

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 16 2017 14:32 utc | 196

Link to Desaix Anderson's Nautilus Institute address
Crisis In North Korea.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 16 2017 16:28 utc | 197

The NK offer says that they "MAY suspend its nuclear and missile activities in exchange for the suspension of large-scale U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) military exercises".

It does not say that they WILL suspend its nuclear and missile activities, just that they may. It is not surprising that the U.S. turned down the offer since it did not guarantee that NK would do anything.

Posted by: JMiller | Apr 16 2017 18:39 utc | 198


Yeah how dare NK offer peaceful ways to solve problems in this world. Yeah no wonder US not accepted it, go figure.

Posted by: Anon1 | Apr 16 2017 19:08 utc | 199

NK was offering nothing definite Anon1.

Posted by: JMiller | Apr 16 2017 19:33 utc | 200

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