Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 07, 2019

North Korea's Game Plan And Its Upcoming Satellite Launch

John Bolton won. After a short period of calm and talks between the U.S. and North Korea both sides are again walking towards a conflict. But one important thing changed.

The recent talks between President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un in Hanoi failed when the U.S. overplayed its hand. In his New Year speech Kim had already warned that he was ready to take a "new way" if such a problem would occur. As we wrote:

History shows that North Korea has always gamed out such talks. It is always prepared to let them fail and it is ready to take the next step whenever that happens. The "new way" may well allude to some new weapon that North Korea is ready to test. Cruise missiles are a possible candidate.

There are no cruise missiles (yet) but a satellite launch that is supposed to pressure Trump to come back to the table:

Commercial satellite imagery from March 6 of North Korea’s Sohae Satellite Launching Station (Tongchang-ri) indicates construction to rebuild the launch pad and engine test stand that began before the Hanoi Summit has continued at a rapid pace. Given that construction plus activity at other areas of the site, Sohae appears to have returned to normal operational status.

There are also signs of new activity at the Sanumdong missile factory which produces both, space launchers as well as ballistic missiles.

The U.S. media turn the upcoming space launch into another scare stories about North Korea. Quoting the usual anti-Korean 'experts' NBCNews writes:

North Korea is pursuing the "rapid rebuilding" of the long-range rocket site at Sohae Launch Facility, according to new commercial imagery and an analysis from the researchers at Beyond Parallel.

Sohae Satellite Launching Station, North Korea's only operational space launch facility, has been used in the past for satellite launches. These launches use similar technology to what is used for intercontinental ballistic missiles.
...
"The activity they are undertaking now is consistent with preparations for a test, though the imagery thus far does not show a missile being moved to the launch pad," Victor Cha, one of the authors of the report, said.

"The activity on the ground," Cha said, "shows us that they do have a (nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile) capability that is not just developmental, but in the prototype phase. They've already tested a few of these and it looks like they're preparing the launch pad for another act."

The highlighted phrases are false. They are war propaganda. Ballistic missiles use different technologies than space launchers:

An ICBM requires a short burn-time of the rocket engines in order to minimize gravitational losses and the risk of early interception in boost-phase by anti-ballistic missile (ABM) systems. The typical ICBM rocket motor burn time is about 180-320 seconds.

The Unha-3 boost-phase is estimated at to be between 550-570 seconds.

Ballistic missiles usually have different motors than space launch vehicles. There are also different structural issues, differences in the control systems, different launch trajectories. See here, here and here. Most significantly ballistic missiles need to reenter the atmosphere to deliver their payload. It is only there that North Korea still has problems using them. Space launch vehicles are unsuitable to test the reentry phase.

Moreover the Sohae facility has never been used to launch ballistic missiles. For geographic reasons it is exclusively used for space launches.

To understand why North Korea is using this satellite launch to maybe bring the U.S. back to the table we have to go back to the negotiations between the two parties.

Before the first summit between Trump and Kim in Singapore both sides agreed that the U.S. would freeze large scale maneuvers in and around Korea while North Korea would stop ballistic missile testing as well as nuclear tests. This 'freeze for freeze' agreement was held up since. Trump recently reconfirmed that no large maneuvers would take place.

North Korea would like to keep the 'freeze for freeze' agreement alive. A satellite launch is not contrary to that agreement. Unfortunately  some U.S. officials, i.e. John Bolton, and North Korea hawks like Victor Cha may well want to use a satellite launch to declare it dead.

The first summit ended with a signed Joint Statement, a sequenced four step agreement in which the U.S. promised to lift some sanctions (1) and an end to the state of war (2) while North Korea commited "to work towards complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula" (3) and to recover remains of U.S. personal killed during the Korea war (4).

Trump had asked for and was granted an additional personal favor. Kim promised Trump to blow up North Korea's nuclear test tunnels and to dismantle a missile engine test stand. He fulfilled both but is now walking back on the second point.

The U.S. has not fulfilled its side of the bargain. The Trump administration still demands the "full denuclearization" of North Korea before the lifting of sanctions. That position contradicts the Joint Statement. It is also utterly delusional. North Korea never agreed to and will never agree to completely denuclearize. The best deal the U.S. can get (pdf) is one that limits the extend of North Korea's nuclear arsenal and prevents the proliferation of its nuclear technology. The logic is simple:

North Korea has the bomb. This is how deterrence works. If Saddam Hussein or Muammar al-Qaddafi had finished their bombs, they’d both likely still be around.

During the recent summit in Hanoi North Korea offered to destroy its largest nuclear complex which includes the Yongbyon reactor used to make plutonium and an uranium enrichment site. As a "corresponding measure" it demanded the lifting of those sanctions that most directly hurt its people. But the U.S. side was not willing to take that deal:

With Trump preparing to leave the hotel, North Korean Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Choe Son-hui hurriedly brought the US delegation a message from Kim, two senior administration officials and a person briefed on the matter said. The message amounted to a last-ditch attempt by the North Koreans to reach a deal on some sanctions relief in exchange for dismantling the Yongbyon nuclear complex.

US and North Korean officials had been haggling over a shared definition of the sprawling, three-square-mile [Yongbyon] site and the last-minute overture sought to advance the North Koreans' proposal for dismantling it. But the message did not make clear whether the North Koreans shared the US's expansive definition of the facility and US officials asked for clarity.

Choe rushed back to get an answer. Kim replied that it included everything on the site.

But even when Choe returned with that response, the US delegation was unimpressed and didn't want to resume the negotiations. Within hours, Trump would be wheels up for Washington.

"We had to have more than that," Trump said when asked about Yongbyon before leaving Hanoi. "We had to have more than that because there are other things that you haven't talked about, that you haven't written about, that we found."

The destruction of the Yongbyon complex in exchange for the lifting of some sanctions would have been a great deal. The U.S. blew it.

In a press conference the Foreign Minister of North Korea Ri Yong-ho declared that this was the best deal the U.S. would get. He said the North Korea expected "corresponding measures" to be taken by the U.S. in exchange for the destruction of Yongbyon but that the U.S. was unwilling to offer any.

In a later interview the Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui accused the U.S. of moving the goal posts:

"I think about whether (we) should continue talks," she said, recalling leader Kim Jong-un's New Year's message, in which he said his regime will be left with no other choice than pursuing a "different path" to dialogue unless the U.S. takes reciprocal steps.
...
[A]mid the lack of any sign that the U.N. will lift the sanctions, the U.S. has gone too far toward the "reckless assertion" that North Korea should dismantle nuclear and missile facilities, Choe said.

She accused the Trump administration of having moved the goal posts, saying it initially talked about dismantling the Yongbyon nuclear complex and is now taking issue with other sites as well.

The U.S. continues to walk away from the Joint Statement Trump signed in Singapore and is back to making threats:

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton warned North Korea it must be willing to completely give up its nuclear weapons program or perhaps face even tougher sanctions.

“If they’re not willing to do it, President Trump has been very clear they’re not getting relief from the crushing economic sanctions that have been imposed on them,” Bolton told the Fox Business Network on Tuesday evening. “And we’ll look at ramping those sanctions up, in fact.”

North Korea never promised to stop its space launches. It will soon revive them. The U.S., especially John Bolton and other hawks, will use the upcoming space launch to claim that it is a 'ballistic missile test' and that the 'freeze for freeze' agreement should thereby end. New large scale maneuvers will be held to train for the invasion of North Korea and the U.S. sanctions regime will be further tightened.

A similar situation already occurred in early 2012. Shortly after Kim Jong-un was formally declared North Korea's new leader, talks between the U.S. and North Korea were held in Beijing. In February, on 'Leap Day', the two sides agreed on a deal. North Korea promises a moratorium on nuclear and long range ballistic missile tests in exchange for significant U.S. food supplies. A month later North Korea announces its plans for a space launch. Two weeks later the U.S. stops the promised food supply. In April North Korea attempts to launch a weather satellite. The space launch fails, but the U.S. uses it to ramp up UN pressure against North Korea for its 'ballistic missile development'. Another satellite launch later that years results in more pressure. In February 2013 North Korea conducted another nuclear test.

A repeat of that situation is now highly likely. The U.S. already walked back on the Singapore Statement Trump signed. It did not accept the quite reasonable offer made in Hanoi. It rejects to take "corresponding measures" until North Korea fully denuclearizes which it will never do.

The upcoming North Korean space launch will be used by Bolton and others to condemn North Korea for 'ballistic missile' testing. The U.S. will probably declare the 'freeze for freeze' agreement dead and restart its maneuvers. The North will take "corresponding measures" and restart nuclear and missile tests. U.S. sanctions will further increase.

We will be back to the situation of early 2018 when both sides hurled insults against each other and Trump threatened with war.

But one important thing will have changed.

During the latest round China, Russia and South Korea were on the side of the United States. Now, after North Korea demonstrated that it is reasonable and made good offers to get to a deal, neither China nor Russia will support further sanctions. Indeed China already urges to lift sanctions in response to the "positive will" that North Korea demonstrates.

China is North Korea's biggest trade partner. If it reopens its border to North Korea trade, all U.S. sanctions are in vain.

By overreaching with his demands the 'great deal maker' Donald Trump will have lost his biggest negotiation asset, the international solidarity that held up the sanctions.

As said above:

History shows that North Korea has always gamed out such talks.

 

Posted by b on March 7, 2019 at 02:27 PM | Permalink

Comments

More than one million North Koreans will soon be threatened with starvation if the economic war aka sanctions are not relaxed. This is tantamount to genocide. It would be the second after the one in Yemen for which the Tronald administration is responsible. How long can one stand by and watch?

Posted by: Pnyx | Mar 7, 2019 3:03:48 PM | 1

We all knew Trump couldn't be trusted, but now the whole world knows. Trump came out and lied to the world when he said the North Koreans wanted all the sanctions lifted in exchange for the test site dismantling. They immediately corrected the record with their press conference. Now the whole world is on notice that Trump will double cross you behind your back to the rest of the world. The Chinese are on notice when it comes to their trade deal and are getting cold feet wondering what Trump will pull on them.

Posted by: RenoDino | Mar 7, 2019 3:12:24 PM | 2

thanks b.. it is hard to view the usa as an honest broker in all of this.. and as you note towards the end, china, russia and north korea are not affected by the western msm and will form a conclusion that is consistent with the reality, as opposed to the oppressive views of nutjobs like bolton... at what point does north korea say screw it to the usa? that is the point i am waiting for..

Posted by: james | Mar 7, 2019 3:19:12 PM | 3

north - meant south in all of that..

Posted by: james | Mar 7, 2019 3:19:36 PM | 4

And it most likely "gamed out such talks" with both Russia and China so that the three will face together whatever bluster Bolton Trumpets. And judging from RoK's Moon, since he's quite gung-ho to further economic reunification, the Outlaw US Empire's position will erode further without having gained anything. Indeed, watch Kim invite Moon to have one of RoK's satellites launched using DPRK's launcher and Moon accept! Talk about a diplomatic coup!

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 7, 2019 3:25:05 PM | 5

It will not matter what the North Koreans sign with the USA. They are not agreement capable, period, as the Russians and Chinese have found out. Totally unreliable people to deal with, agreements signed today are not worth the paper printed on the day they are signed.

Posted by: Taffyboy | Mar 7, 2019 4:30:50 PM | 6

Yet another case where the Russian definition of American negotiation/diplomatic credibility is proven correct: 'nedogovorosposopbnye'. Intrinsically unable to keep treaties.

Posted by: Josh | Mar 7, 2019 4:33:19 PM | 7

Pnyx @ 1: North Korea has been living under US economic sanctions since the 1950s.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanctions_against_North_Korea

The country has been (more or less) self-sufficient in its food supplies since then. Most NK soldiers are conscripted farm workers. For these people the busy times of year are April (rice-sowing time) and August-September (rice harvesting) and these times are usually when the US and South Korea hold military exercises close to the NK border.

NK can ill afford having to pull farm workers off the land during the times they are most needed to sow and harvest rice when joint US-SK exercises take place so close and involve threatening activities like storming beaches and practising assassinations of NK leaders. That's why NK developed a nuclear weapons program in the first place. MoA even had an article on this.
https://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/04/the-reason-behind-north-koreas-nuclear-program-and-its-offer-to-end-it.html

The world has been standing by and watching NK being sanctioned for nearly the past 70 years.

Posted by: Jen | Mar 7, 2019 4:52:18 PM | 8

I take issue with the presumption that Trump was serious about the Singapore Agreement. IMO the Singapore Agreement played on perceptions like Trump’s ‘pull-out’ from Syria did. Trump wants to be perceived as something he is not: the good-cop to the Deep State’s ‘bad-cop’.

For similar reasons, I also take issue with the notion that Bolton overrides Trump’s saintly inclinations. Trump has brought Bolton and other Deep Staters into his Administration. Why would he do so it he were “at war” with them?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 7, 2019 4:57:07 PM | 9

John Bolton = the most dangerous man in the world.

But in a larger sense, this is just following the arc that has existed since Bush II. The same scenario is played out again and again. From the US side, it really helps that we live in a media vacuum where there is no history and no memory. It's like putting on a play in a memory care facility for old people; you never have to change the script because no one remembers the same play being presented the day before.

Posted by: worldblee | Mar 7, 2019 5:25:03 PM | 10

The plan was always to walk away, even if the NoKos had offered full denuclearize in return for nothing. Trump has been getting hammered by Fox News and he needs his base for any chance to survive the coming legal troubles. With out them the rest of the Republican party will turn on him for their own survival. Again American domestic politics trumps all. I suspect Moon is absolutely seething these days.

Posted by: BraveNewWorld | Mar 7, 2019 5:47:48 PM | 11

@ Pnyx | Mar 7, 2019 3:03:48 PM | 1

Imagine what a fantastic opportunity for Russia and China a looming famine in NK would present to once again show the world how things should be handled in a beneficial manner for all parties involved.
My guess, Russia and China would be riding in as knights in shining armor to save the bride - aka send in large aid convoys carrying real goods in short supply for all to see.
Logistically that be wholly different to the Yemen situation as these countries share common borders with no potentially hostile forces threatening the supply routes.
Tactically, tell the Nks' behind closed doors not to worry about the food situation because they will not face such a crisis without major support - plentiful supplies of food - from these two countries.

Posted by: Hmpf | Mar 7, 2019 5:54:05 PM | 12

UN Report on DPRK Crisis was just published by Sputnik. I find it interesting how harvest quality can be assessed so early in the year. This similar Report was published just a week prior to Hanoi Summit. IMO, the Trump double-down was predicated by DPRK's domestic crisis. Note from the first Report that the $ amount of aid requested often isn't the amount actually provided, which in this case is significantly less. The Outlaw US Empire's been using food as a weapon since its inception. Too bad the native peoples were too ethical to do the same to the initial colonists.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 7, 2019 6:12:05 PM | 13

Excellent, b, this presentation of the facts. A very readable SitRep, with details.

One goal of Bolton's action was to isolate President Moon and marginalize his efforts. The South was getting too close with the North on economic, military and the Peace Agreement, finally ending the war.

The US pulled the rug out from under Moon. He had been on the edge of the curve all along. He was close with Russia. He and his administration was the moving force for reconciliation.

Bolton and the nut-jobs in the DC madhouse could not have Moon set the pace.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Mar 7, 2019 6:12:22 PM | 14

Why are earth are Russia and China siding with the U.S.? They clearly have learned nothing.

Posted by: timbers | Mar 7, 2019 6:25:16 PM | 15

A little off topic, but, with the Russians still selling their RD180 engines to the USA, while North Korea goes at it alone somehow! Is it because the Russians get a billion or more USD dollars? I cannot figure this out somehow. The USA shits all over the Russians and they still send the RD180's, go figure, what do I know.

https://www.rt.com/business/434709-russian-rocket-engines-us/

Posted by: Taffyboy | Mar 7, 2019 6:45:05 PM | 16

President Moon's remarks prior to Hanoi.

President Moon's opening remarks on 4 March at National Security Council Meeting. In his third point, Moon referred to his March First Independence Movement Day address, which can be read here.

Clearly, Moon's undeterred. But it's difficult to decipher how he actually felt about the Summit's outcome through his typical Asian Guanxi. IMO, it would help if he were a bit annoyed that essentially nothing of substance was accomplished.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 7, 2019 7:02:10 PM | 17

Taffyboy @16--

It's about keeping what little goodwill--and leverage--exists alive. 100% negative relations are never good and usually have drastic consequences.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 7, 2019 7:06:03 PM | 18

Jrabbit @ 9 said;" Trump wants to be perceived as something he is not: the good-cop to the Deep State’s ‘bad-cop’.

" Trump has brought Bolton and other Deep Staters into his Administration. Why would he do so it he were “at war” with them?"

Yep, you just captured the essence of DJT, in two sentences.

Why, after all, does anyone believe ANYTHING the empire's caretakers utter?

Posted by: ben | Mar 7, 2019 7:24:08 PM | 19

P.S. Your articles are massively informative b, Thanks..

Posted by: ben | Mar 7, 2019 7:26:01 PM | 20

An ICBM requires a short burn-time of the rocket engines in order to minimize gravitational losses and the risk of early interception in boost-phase by anti-ballistic missile (ABM) systems. The typical ICBM rocket motor burn time is about 180-320 seconds.

The Unha-3 boost-phase is estimated at to be between 550-570 seconds.

I looked up the author of this and found he is no more of a "rocket scientist" than myself. Does Mr. Tariq Rauf imagine that breaking away from Earth's gravitation isn't precisely the same problem for "space launches" as it is for ICBMs? And he appears to have forgotten that one of the reasons the "burn time" (in the boost phase) is longer comes from the need for the "space" rocket to reach orbital velocity while the final top speed of the ICBM will be considerably lower - its destination is somewhere back on Earth.

Military rockets can be used for "space launches". After the USSR put the 83kg Sputnik 1 into orbit, the horror in the West increased a month later when the 508 Sputnik 2 went to space carrying a dog. Yet a month after that, the US made its on-TV effort to use the Vanguard rocket to try to launch a 1.36kg satellite. When it failed with a spectacular explosion, Eisenhower authorized the Army to use the IRBM Jupiter-C to orbit Explorer 1. Later Alan Shephard flew a hundred miles high and 300 miles downstream in a "suborbital" flight. Again on a converted military rocket. "Space Launch" rockets will launch atomic warheads just fine, but they're hardly the optimal way to do it, what with their price, fragility, and general "too-big" configuration. There are very few uses for 100 megaton and larger warheads. As I see it, the North Koreans need to figure out a way to build functional re-entry systems for their warheads. But maybe not - one theory suggests NK ICBMs would carry EMP devices. This would be far less expensive for them, and a much more effective "deterrent". The destruction of LA would be a disaster, but could not compare with the US deaths from one or more high-altitude blasts.

Just because the Trumpies are clueless fools doesn't mean the North Koreans are some kind of innocents or saints. It's a darned shame they need a deterrence against the neocons, but that's life. Their present rockets are kind of pitiful, and they're going to work on improving them. In this day and age if you really want a useful satellite in orbit, you usually build or buy one, then pay the Europeans or US-Americans or Russians to launch it. Whenever North Korea or Iran do their own launch, I suspect it's to "make a point" or "give the middle finger". When somebody like the apartheid Jewish state puts a satellite into orbit, my suspicion is that they're reminding everybody that their Samson Option is real, and that they really can put a megaton device just about anywhere they please.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Mar 7, 2019 7:52:17 PM | 21

timbers @15--

An interesting rebuke, but is it worthy?

This page contains Lavrov's remarks at an 11 March 2016 Presser not long after UNSCR 2270 was initiated and the Outlaw US Empire added additional illegal sanctions on top of it. Note that this joint Presser is with China's Foreign Minister and that Lavrov says he agrees with him. Lavrov's statement's short and is supplemented by this PR by his Ministry the day after 2270's adoption. Important excerpt:

"The new resolution is tough. However, this is a forced measure, necessitated by the fact that over the past 10 years North Korea has blatantly ignored the Security Council’s demands under Resolutions 1695, 1718, 1874, 2087 and 2094 whereby Pyongyang was to immediately abandon its nuclear missile programmes. It may be recalled that Security Council resolutions are binding on all UN member states."

UNSCR 2270 was the 6th passed to try and deal with the issue. The reason Russia and China joined with the Outlaw US Empire on this about 9 months after JCPOA was signed was the agreed upon need to force DPRK back into negotiations, which after the successful conclusion of JCPOA might yield positive results. IMO, there's blame to be placed on both sides, particularly the Outlaw US Empire for beginning the entire mess in 1947. The current state-of-affairs between North and South are better than at any previous time thanks to Kim and Moon. It would be very helpful if Japan entered into the discussion on the side of Russia, China, and the Koreas, to provide additional leverage to get the Outlaw US Empire to accommodate, negotiate honestly and to display some passion for Peace--all of which its lacked since negotiations began years ago.

Hopefully, timbers and likeminded others will now offer more detailed critiques.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 7, 2019 7:54:44 PM | 22

Zach @21--

One needs to attain escape velocity to place satellites, whereas ICBMs don't.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 7, 2019 7:58:01 PM | 23

At this point, why would any country negotiate anything with us?All they do is break every agreement they sign and we have zero credibility anymore. Its actually embarrassing. The rest of the world avoid honestly conspire with one another to stop us at this point becuase this government is out of control. We can’t be trying to starve or bomb everyone who won’t bend the knee

Posted by: DannyC | Mar 7, 2019 8:04:47 PM | 24

Taffyboy @ 16:

In 1997 Energomash (Russian company) signed a business contract to supply the engines to United Launch Alliance (US buyer) until 2020 when the contract expires. This is a private business contract.

It seems a case of "damned if you do, damned if you don't" - Energomash could be sued for breach of contract by ULA if it didn't continue to supply the engines. There is no harm either in being a good business partner by carrying on supplying the engines.

Posted by: Jen | Mar 7, 2019 8:07:12 PM | 25

The real unknown here is South Korea. It should be obvious by now that the US will never accept peace, so the only way to have genuine peace in the peninsula is for the South to kick out US troops, by any means if necessary. As long as there's a US military presence there, no peace is achievable, since the US can always act as a spoiler; if there's none anymore, then the US might keep being belligerent, but sooner or later it'll have to choose between open hostility to the North as well as to the South or to come to terms and accept genuine peace.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Mar 7, 2019 8:25:35 PM | 26

@ karlof1 #23

I believe "escape velocity" means getting out of Earth's gravity well entirely. Even more boost is needed to leave the Sun's influence. That's why the Voyagers and New Horizons used the large planets in a "slingshot effect" to increase their velocity.

Recall that the Titan ICBM was used to launch most if not all of the Gemini spacecraft - after adding a few safety features. I think Gemini 11 set the record for highest non-Lunar orbit.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Mar 7, 2019 8:37:47 PM | 27

I agree with the whole posting by b except Bolton being key to the failure.

You can't have a good cop without a bad cop. Think about what it takes to make Trump look like a good cop.

Bolton is a good bad cop and Trump is surrounded by similar creatures.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Mar 7, 2019 9:12:55 PM | 28

...
For similar reasons, I also take issue with the notion that Bolton overrides Trump’s saintly inclinations. Trump has brought Bolton and other Deep Staters into his Administration. Why would he do so it he were “at war” with them?
Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 7, 2019 4:57:07 PM | 9

It would be more correct to say that The Swamp/ Deep State is "at war" with the world, including the American People. Trump needed to give influential neocons enough freedom to expose themselves by demonstrating how irrational and deaf they can be. There's still a fair way to go before they've QED themselves into a corner, imo.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 7, 2019 9:34:30 PM | 29

Re: #28 Psychohistorian,

This looks less like good cop and bad cap and more like dirty cop and incompetent cop

Posted by: Kadath | Mar 7, 2019 9:34:40 PM | 30

A small addition to this discussion post. It was actually Bolton who spiked the talks right at the end, until then they had been progressing satisfactorily. Bolton intervened and spoke to Trump and apparently added in the requirement that the North Koreans give details of all weapons and where they were, ala chemical etc.etc. The North Koreans ended the process then and there. Source Richard Butler former UN Ambassador and non nuclear proliferation expert(see: https://johnmenadue.com/richard-butler-nuclear-nonsense )

Does not matter how you cut it Bolton is the go to for the continued overturning of anything Trump does. Draw your own conclusions as to where goes American Foreign Policy goes. Iran here we come.

Posted by: mh | Mar 7, 2019 9:39:29 PM | 31

The North Koreans don't have to be able to accomplish re-entry. They could always denote the nuclear payload above the atmosphere over central US for its EMP effect. Another high priority target would be over Fort Greely, AK, where the ground-based interceptors are. Kim has said in the past that their weapon has been designed with the EMP alternative in mind. Its already good enough to do its deterrent job.

Posted by: Palloy | Mar 7, 2019 10:04:03 PM | 32

@ mh who wrote
"
Does not matter how you cut it Bolton is the go to for the continued overturning of anything Trump does.
"
To those that think that Trump is being played instead of an inside player, please provide some facts.

I had my fill of that 11 dimensional chess BS with Obama. Trump is doing an Oscar winning job of playing his good cop part in this circus....a real Liberace grifter for the elite.

To portray any of what Trump has done as noble or for the common good is a lie or misrepresentation and comparisons to FDR are sick.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Mar 7, 2019 10:08:25 PM | 33

jackrabbit @9 asks: " Trump has brought Bolton and other Deep Staters into his Administration. Why would he do so it he were “at war” with them?"

As LBJ used to say it is sometimes better to have one inside the tent pissing out than outside pissing in.

Posted by: ToivoS | Mar 7, 2019 11:11:58 PM | 34

@29

"Trump needed to give influential neocons enough freedom to expose themselves by demonstrating how irrational and deaf they can be. There's still a fair way to go before they've QED themselves into a corner, imo." I think to ascribe any response to DJT that could be considered strategic or noble is totally naive. I am dismayed that I voted for him. He is NOT playing 4D Chess as so many of his cult followers suggest. He's not stupid like a fox. He's just a MORON.

Posted by: Skip | Mar 7, 2019 11:15:30 PM | 35

As bad as Trump is not just him, the entire political and foreign policy establishment was against the deal with North Korea. Even a Democrat is elected president in 2020 we will still have conflict with North Korea. That the truth, even though it is much easier just to blame Trump.

Posted by: QuietRebel | Mar 7, 2019 11:21:48 PM | 36

I don't know why the South and North Korean people don't just walk over the DMZ just as the Berliners did and demonstrate that the USA is no longer needed on the Korean Peninsula. The mutual benefits would be outstanding and there appears to be goodwill from both parties except for a few military types who see their sand castles crumbling. Frankly the USA is no longer needed in Japan, in Europe and in the Middle East. Why don't they just F... off.

Posted by: Ike | Mar 7, 2019 11:41:53 PM | 37

@31 mb "It was actually Bolton who spiked the talks right at the end, until then they had been progressing satisfactorily."

Sorry, but I don't believe that for an instant.

Trump is what he is, and you are claiming that a negotiation of his was going "satisfactorily" only to have an underling come in and piss all over it.

So sorry, but the instant an underling did that to Trump is the exact instant he would shout "You're Fired!!!!!".

And quite rightly too.

Bolton's moustache would now be nailed to the wall if your claim were true. It isn't, and so neither is your conjectures.


Posted by: Yeah, Right | Mar 8, 2019 1:15:01 AM | 38

I have posted before that Korea will unite and throw the US out.

Moon has reshuffled his cabinet and the link from Reuters has this quote
"
But Kim’s appointment could also exacerbate divisions within Moon’s government, some analysts said, and fuel U.S. concerns that the South may be moving too quickly with the North.
"

Posted by: psychohistorian | Mar 8, 2019 1:29:14 AM | 39

@ psychohistorian #39

"Uniting" has a fine sound to it, but the practical details look very bad from here. Consider the per capita income of the two nations. SK is about $38,000 while NK is around $2,000. The south has double the population, and there are significant cultural differences these days. South Korean Big Business would doubtless drool at the chance to move north for cheap labor, but wouldn't this cause the south to explode?

I'm no sociologist, but I don't see how a good outcome can be arranged over there from "reunion". Even if something could somehow be worked out, I don't see China, Japan, or the US permitting such an outcome.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Mar 8, 2019 1:57:15 AM | 40

@39 Physcohistorian Yes, you and me both.

To my mind it is inevitable the North and South Korea will announce a "surprise" treaty that has among its articles a sentence that reads that both parties agree that no foreign troops will be stationed on the Korean Peninsula.

South Korea will then announce (as it is perfectly entitled to) that it is giving the 12 month notification that it intends to withdraw from the ROK/USA mutual defence treaty.

This will all come as a complete shock to Washington. Obviously so, because if they ghad an inkling that this was being negotiated then they'd assassinate Moon, or Kim, or both.


Posted by: Yeah, Right | Mar 8, 2019 2:33:29 AM | 41

@ Zachary Smith who writes that China or Japan would not permit Korea to reunite

I think you are wrong about China that doesn't want the us military on its border and Japan is way more of an arm of empire than South Korea so of course it will do what empire wants.

From what I have read there is a strong desire by the people to reunite and if Germany can do it, why not Korea?

Korea is one of those spinning plates of late empire that only projects military in the region, not industry, so what value is to the locals? You can say all the spending by the military is great but ask Okinawa about the US base there where they have voted not to move the base to a new location which empire wants....and have you read about our soldiers treatment of the locals?......entitled Americans

I guess we will wait and see

Posted by: psychohistorian | Mar 8, 2019 2:36:43 AM | 42

@40 Zachary I find your argument unconvincing because it doesn't weigh up the true cost/benefit.

Yes, reunification will cause immense problems as South Korea takes a huge economic hit, as well as causing massive social disruption in North Korea.

Yeah, it will.

But the alternative is to continue to be led by the nose by Washington neocons who are just salivating for a war that will be fought to the last Korean, and will certainly involve the nuking of Seoul and Pyongyang.

So the choice is this:
1) Social and economic disruption, but nobody gets incinerated
2) Social and economic disruption BECAUSE millions of Koreans get incinerated.

Not really a choice at all, is it?

Korea will reunite, because that's the only way to stop Bonkers Bolton and his ilk from getting his war on.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Mar 8, 2019 2:56:29 AM | 43

@psychohistorian et al. You misunderstand the point here. This is not to suggest that the POTUS is not as cunning as a shithouse rat with a gold tooth but he is an old man, he has a demonstrated short attention span and a notoriously poor grasp of briefs or detail. No matter how well he may think he can play Kim that is not the point, after marathon talks lasting all day, he was giving nothing. It is a time honoured trick to get something through the CEO that otherwise may have been rejected you drop it in their lap at the eleventh hour when you know they are either tired or distracted or both. Bolton did exactly this, he did not suddenly waft in with a new list of demands that was in the waiting. He spiked the meeting and the Koreans walked out. I would trust Butlers sources long before any idle pop speculation about the POTUS's psychology or character. It was a neat trick and it worked. Trump had no skin in the game, nothing is going to change and as usual they have not kept to any agreement they originally signed up to simple. Kim is working to his only allies in all this the PRC and Russia.

Posted by: MH | Mar 8, 2019 3:04:58 AM | 44

ToivoS @34: ... inside the tent pissing out than outside pissing in.

But they haven't been neutralized as that phrase suggests. They are now making policy - or - nonsensically - taking the blame for Trump's policies that they also support. WTF?

So the excuse you provide is just more Trump apologist nonsense.

<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

I'll say it again: I'm not anti-Trump and I'm not pro-Trump. IMO Trump is a member of the Deep State team. He's not a puppet. Nor is he a dictator. He's a faux populist bullshitter - the Republican Obama.

The faux populist leader is a political model. It is not a phenomena, it is a well-studied, well-executed con. Some elements of the con: an insider that is portrayed as an independent outsider; the populist 'hero' never holds the prior President and his Administration accountable; an urging of reliance on the vision and skills of the hero (Qanon: "trust the plan") as he loses battle after battle with the establishment he pretends to fight.

Furthermore, the Deep State needed a nationalist to win in 2016 to counter the challenge from Russia and China. IMO by alienating various groups - like Sanders progressives, Blacks, and White 'deplorables' - Hillary deliberately threw the race and caused to Trump win. In the process, the Deep State manipulated the election and arranged to trap Wikileaks, Manafort, and Michael Flynn.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 8, 2019 3:16:43 AM | 45

Th U.S. State Department envoy for the North Korea negotiations Biegun (largely ignored by Bolton) gave a phone briefing to the media.

Senior State Department Official On North Korea

It makes clear that the U.S. is blocking any step by step progress. The demand is the full capitulation of North Korea and of its political/economic system.

It’s going to be the degree to which we can satisfactorily achieve the steps that we feel are necessary to finally and fully verify the denuclearization of North Korea. That’s what we’re working for . QUESTION: You said, “We believe this all is achievable within the President’s first term.”

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yeah, it’s quite – writ large, what I’m talking about is the finally, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea. That means taking out all their key – parts of their nuclear fuel cycle, removing all their fissile material, removing their nuclear warheads, removing or destroying all their intercontinental ballistic missiles, permanently freezing any other weapons of mass destruction programs, and moving them on a course to reorient their economy towards civilian pursuits in order to make this a permanent direction for their country. In exchange for that, what the North Koreans will be able to enjoy is integration into the global economy, a transformed relationship with the United States of America, a permanent peace regime on the Korean Peninsula, and a closure to a 70-year relationship characterized by hostility and warfare between our two countries.
.
nobody in the administration advocates a step-by-step approach. In all cases, the expectation is a complete denuclearization of North Korea as a condition for all the other steps being – all the other steps being taken
.
The President has made abundantly clear to Chairman Kim that he’s personally invested in taking North Korea in this direction if North Korea gives up all of its weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivery. That’s a position that is supported by the entire interagency,
.
I can certainly affirm what the President proposed to Chairman Kim, which was the complete elimination of their weapons of mass destruction program.
.
we have a confirmed belief that we can achieve our goals for final, fully verified denuclearization in the course of the President’s first term.

These folks are nuts. The talks are over. Neither North Korea nor China can agree on such terms.

(With this they have also thrown South Korea's president Moon under the bus.)

---
Thanks also to the Democrats who have fostered this outcome:

Democratic Hawks Helped Scuttle the Hanoi Summit on Korea

Posted by: b | Mar 8, 2019 4:09:13 AM | 46

What with this and the disgusting (and illegal) actions against Venezuela, I am beginning to think Trump is thinking quite simply (as he would, being a simpleton), "A war to distract them, that's what I need. A new war!" If it isn't North Korea, it'll be Venezuela or Iran. Because, why not? Americans support every damn war the people in charge design for their consumption/participation without much quibbling and never argue about the money spent on war while their own country is falling apart, no-one can afford health care, and a lot of them can't even afford food.

And Congress will go along with it because they don't want to address the issues at home, either.

I am so ashamed to be an American, I swear. Who in the hell looks at a neighbor's house - going with the metaphor that all countries on this little planet are neighbors - and thinks, "I'm going to starve them, harass them, and then steal their shit at gunpoint"? We are a seriously sick country.

Posted by: teri | Mar 8, 2019 4:11:30 AM | 47

OT: I just read that Venezuela has suddenly plunged into darkness; sabotage at Guri hydroelectric shut down the grid in Caracas and 18 of the 23 states. Marco Rubio seemed to know about the blackout immediately, sending out a tweet within minutes.

https://www.rt.com/news/453310-venezuela-outage-sabotage-us/

Posted by: teri | Mar 8, 2019 4:24:55 AM | 48

Whether Trump is a 5D chess player or an ignoramus seems to me to be irrelevant. The only relevance is the outcome, not the side plays. The outcomes seem to all be what the so-called deep state wants, the rest seems to be entertainment.
Trump I assume wanted to be President to stroke his own ego, he cut what deals he had to to get that. He is simply the current incarnation of a long run of idiot puppets that posture grandly and feign intellect. The show must go on...

Posted by: Rancid | Mar 8, 2019 6:50:12 AM | 49

@Zachary Smith #40

West and East Germany give a less extreme example. Yes, it would be very expensive for S. Korea, but it could be done. As you say cultural differences that have developed would take a generation or two in order to fade. But, the North and South also share a much longer cultural heritage, as did the Germans.

Posted by: SteveK9 | Mar 8, 2019 8:31:22 AM | 50

Sorry, it appears other had already given more complete consideration of the reunion of N. and S. Korea.

Posted by: SteveK9 | Mar 8, 2019 8:33:46 AM | 51

For those who think Bolton spoiled the negotiations

TWO AND A HALF YEARS before Trump appointed Bolton (March 2018), candidate Trump cited Bolton as one of only two people that he admired in military affairs - despite Bolton's lack of a military background (he's a foreign policy wonk).

Meet The Press, August 16, 2015 transcript:

Who do you talk to for military advice right now?

DONALD TRUMP:

Well, I watch the shows. I mean, I really see a lot of great-- you know, when you watch your show and all of the other shows and you have the generals and--

CHUCK TODD:

So you do the--

DONALD TRUMP:

And you have certain people that you like--

CHUCK TODD:

But is there a go-to for you? You know--

DONALD TRUMP:

Probably there are--

CHUCK TODD:

--every presidential--

DONALD TRUMP:

--two or three--

CHUCK TODD:

--candidate has a go-to--

DONALD TRUMP:

Yeah, probably there are two or three. I mean, I like Bolton. I think he's, you know, a tough cookie, knows what he's talking about. Jacobs is a good guy--

CHUCK TODD:

Do you mean Ambassador John Bolton--

DONALD TRUMP:

Yes. I think he's terrific--

CHUCK TODD:

You mean Colonel Jack Jacobs?

DONALD TRUMP:

Colonel Jack Jacobs is a good guy. And I see him on occasion.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 8, 2019 8:51:46 AM | 52

Excellent article b.

"During the latest round China, Russia and South Korea were on the side of the United States. Now, after North Korea demonstrated that it is reasonable and made good offers to get to a deal, neither China nor Russia will support further sanctions. Indeed China already urges to lift sanctions in response to the "positive will" that North Korea demonstrates."

And this paragraph is everything, DPRK is the one pushing honestly for a deal, the world now knows it, and with that, US pressure will mean nothing, even ROK will continue to pursue a parallel dialog with DPRK, and it is also clear Russia and China will step up their help to DPRK through an agenda of investments in infrastructure that will benefit both Koreas.

At the end DPRK will be in a much better position than the US, this is the price to have Bolton and Pompeo on the meeting, they are there to derail progress, that is their job.

Posted by: Canthama | Mar 8, 2019 9:05:02 AM | 53

Forgot to add the link: Meet the Press transcript

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 8, 2019 9:07:55 AM | 54

The unaccountable factor in the relations between North and South is the Southern deep state, the security apparatus, the intelligence services, the military, which is under the command of a US General, the 'chaebols' and similar elements.
It is important to bear in mind, firstly, that South Korea was a fascist dictatorship for most of its history, and that this regime was the successor state to the long, extremely ruthless, Japanese colonial occupation and secondly, that the genuine and widespread yearnings of Korean nationalists for re-unification come from the same radical political tradition, born from anti-colonialism and allied with the communist movement, which the Korean War was really all about suppressing.
One of the reasons why millions of Koreans were killed was that they were seen as allies of the Soviet Union and China. Civilians were the victims of massacres not the co-lateral damage imperialists make them out to have been.
There is a civil war in Korea that has to be fought out-hopefully at the ballot box and the peaceful political level- and there is a very strong Fifth Column on the side of the US, a force that would resist to the point of prevention, attempts by the people to wipe out the DMZ and re-unite the country themselves.
How well Trump, Bolton and Pompeo go down with this fascist constituency is a moot point-the chaebols, for example, are very interested in the trade war with China, as of course is Japan.

Posted by: bevin | Mar 8, 2019 10:03:44 AM | 55

Trump's a genius-

no he's not

yes he is

no he's not

yes he is

Posted by: arby | Mar 8, 2019 11:11:50 AM | 56

47/48 Teri, I agree about being a sick country. As for the power outage, what's next; spraying agent orange on VZ crops?

Posted by: Bart Hansen | Mar 8, 2019 11:15:13 AM | 57

Oh b, today the misspelling made me smile. "to allure" has a number of synonyms: "powerfully attract or charm, tempt, lure (like the fish to a worm on a hook), entice, tempt, appeal to, whet the appetite of, make someone's mouth water, captivate, draw, beguile, bewitch, enchant, ..." In other words, the charm of new weapons may be irresistible. Unless "the new way" was alluding to some new weapons, then they do not have to be so attractive as to make us salivate.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Mar 8, 2019 11:22:48 AM | 58

Expecting Kim to give up his nuclear weapons which are his only deterrent from regime change is certifiably nuts. Shows how delusional the US foreign policy establishment are. Kim has learned the lessons from Saddam, Gadhafi and Assad. He's never gonna give up his nukes.

Kim of course is a Chinese vassal. He is entirely dependent on China. China will influence Kim to aid its competition with the US which is getting to a very interesting stage with the trade negotiations.

China's track record on trade is that it gave a sales pitch to the west to provide it capital and technology in return for market access. The Party of Davos in their greed bought into it and dismantled the US industrial base and gave China entry into the WTO and Most Favored Nation status. China continues to ignore all adverse rulings of the WTO. They are selling Trump they'll buy hundred of billions of ag products and not manipulate their currency, etc. Trump needing a win will likely cave and sign a deal with nice headlines. The Chinese will then ignore any real changes they need to make until the Party of Davos is back in the White House.

Posted by: ab initio | Mar 8, 2019 11:28:02 AM | 59

A number of decades ago I knew a South Korean graduate student in Economics at a top university (i.e., coming from a certain level of society). I was shocked one day when he casually remarked that the preferred place to urinate, in his country, was in the streets - on a poster of the South Korean President (the genocidal Park, at that time). He claimed such preferences were widespread in South Korea, because people detested Park so profoundly.

I have no way of knowing how common it really was at that time to urinate in the streets on posters of Park (one would assume also pretty dangerous), but it makes a very striking statement. It is quite possible that the majority of the South Korean population may hold a depth of derision for the right-wing fascist minority elite that might be so intense, it is difficult for us to relate to. At the same time, because of the history of US-supported death squads and torture and related barbarities - and similar atrocities from the Japanese before them, meted out by the exact same South Korean compradors - one would expect a strong reticence among most of the population to display their true political position, out of fear of the consequences. That implies that if a situation were to arise where the ordinary people see a real opportunity for radical change - away from the right-wing elite - some really powerful forces of "people power" could be unleashed. We saw some hints of that in the long-running protests that led ultimately to the collapse of the Park dynasty and the coming to "power" of Moon (although his real power is obviously very limited by the dark forces of the right under which he has to operate).

I am sure there is a lot of strutting and manoevering behind the scenes between the two power factions - people power on the one side, led by Moon, and the dark forces of the elite on the other. Each side has very different strengths and weaknesses to bring to bear in the power struggle. There is a lot of potential for unpleasant surprises on either side (meaning, unpleasant to either one side or the other, that is).

I really hope that the people of South Korea who profoundly want and need to reunite with North Korea are able to bring about the radical structural changes in South Korean society and government that are essential for peace and justice in that country, and that they can achieve a workable, sustainable and socially just reunification with the North.

Doing so will necessarily be "over the dead body of the USA" - not literally but in the sense that the US will fight tooth and nail to the last Korean to prevent it.

That is why I disagree with B Posted by: b | Mar 8, 2019 4:09:13 AM | 46 that the Trump regime have thrown Moon under the bus - it is certainly the US's heartfelt desire to throw Moon under the bus and that is certainly their full intention, but the result is perhaps the opposite! This is what Moon needs to be able to push forward WITHOUT the US. Trump is - in certain very limited respects and with gigantic provisos/dangers - creating the ideal conditions for Moon to go ahead without him.

There is absolutely not the tiniest possibility that peaceful reunification will go ahead with the agreement of the US. One of the most effective ways the US could sabotage it would be to do exactly what they did to Iran - or for that matter what the US/UK did to Libya in agreeing with Ghadafi to eliminate his nuclear programme, then a few years later murdering him and completely destroying his country. Therefore I resolutely believe that the best outcome for Korea of the US-North Korea talks is that the US is openly seen to be trying to sabotage the talks and be maximally unreasonable, while Kim is openly seen to be sincere and offering genuine concessions - because nothing could be more conducive to the go-it-alone option - which is the ONLY realistic option.

Go for it Moon and Kim!

Posted by: BM | Mar 8, 2019 11:33:48 AM | 60

@60 BM... peace would happen if the usa wasn't involved... but the usa doesn't want peace.. it wants dominance in a unipolar world..

Posted by: james | Mar 8, 2019 11:57:52 AM | 61

@ Posted by: Ike | Mar 7, 2019 11:41:53 PM | 37

> I don't know why the South and North Korean people don't just walk over the DMZ just as the Berliners did...

It's full of land mines, for one.

Posted by: AshenLight | Mar 8, 2019 12:00:40 PM | 62

BM @60--

If you haven't, I highly suggest you read about Moon's recent activities I linked to @17 above, especially his 100th Anniversary of Korea's Declaration of Independence Speech. Kim is supposed to visit Russia soon, and I'd think China, too. Koreans I've met have a keen sense of their history and know very well what entities are responsible for their repression. But their Asian cultural ways mask their innermost feelings--until a mass venting occurs.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 8, 2019 12:32:55 PM | 63

@ MH #44

This is not to suggest that the POTUS is not as cunning as a shithouse rat with a gold tooth but he is an old man, he has a demonstrated short attention span and a notoriously poor grasp of briefs or detail.

Funny stuff! Last week I was using the same line of reasoning with a relative - me saying that while Trump may not have much upstairs, he still has a lifetime of practice in backstabbing, corruption, and living as if he was part of a real-life non-stop soap-opera. Why else did he need helpers like Cohen?

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Mar 8, 2019 12:59:14 PM | 64

BM @60 said: "...the majority of the South Korean population may hold a depth of derision for the right-wing fascist minority elite that might be so intense, it is difficult for us to relate to."

I believe that is a profound understatement. Open displays of strong emotions are very much proscribed by East Asian cultures. Such open displays of strong emotion are seen as a characteristic of less evolved creatures that are ruled by knee-jerk instinct and reptile brain reactions rather than intellect. Unlike most Americans who view intellect with disdain, East Asians see mental discipline and intellect as the principal feature of advanced human personhood. Individuals (and the cultures that spawn them) who lack the discipline to control their emotional outbursts are seen as somewhat primitive and not quite civilized.

The point here is that you will never see an East Asian screaming and gesticulating wildly in rage unless they are mentally ill. They can be utterly furious with you while maintaining a smile on their faces. This leads westerners to frequently misunderestimate how badly they have screwed the pooch when dealing with East Asians.

For the same reason polling East Asians by western companies often yields false results. They will never answer "yes" if you ask if they hate Americans, even if they really hate Americans. They will also never directly tell a guest that it is time for them to leave and instead just offer hints like serving tea. Just because the Koreans have not come out and bluntly told Americans that they have overstayed their welcome and it's time to go home doesn't mean that is not what they are thinking. Instead they serve the Americans tea and wonder why the Americans are not getting the hint and getting lost.

Posted by: William Gruff | Mar 8, 2019 1:56:00 PM | 65

Zachary Smith @ 40: Political reunification will not be that hard for the two Koreas. They just coordinate their foreign and military policies and combine their militaries. The two nations can run their economies in parallel as China does with its own system and Hongkong's. There would need to be some sort of border patrol for a while to prevent overcrowding in Seoul.

Posted by: Jen | Mar 8, 2019 2:39:05 PM | 66

@29 Hw

Trump needed to give influential neocons enough freedom to expose themselves by demonstrating how irrational and deaf they can be.

This is laughable. Put down the Trump juice.

Posted by: Circe | Mar 8, 2019 9:49:42 PM | 67

Why hold your breath waiting for Trump to prove he invented the wheel? As you can see, all he has done is impose worse sanctions on NK and Iran that'll only have a bad outcome, and NO DEAL. He tore up a deal, trashed everyone involved in that deal, bragged up and down he knows better, and now he just proved he can't make a deal, any deal. I could have told you to exhale a year ago cause nothing was gonna happen cause Mr. NO DEAL has no clue what the art of the deal is; he's a con, he's a Neo con and a Zionist scammer blowhard. He's already proven over and over what he really is. He's proven it in business and now as the Chosen White House stooge. It's over; he's done. NEXXXXT!

Posted by: Circe | Mar 8, 2019 10:53:43 PM | 68

Posted by: Jen | Mar 8, 2019 2:39:05 PM | 65

I see it that way too, Jen. One country two systems. Under the protection of Russia and China - without which they stand zero chance of survival. Some commenters above are talking about "demilitarisation of the Korean Peninsular" - that is out of the question - it is a standing invitation to US invasion and won't last two minutes.

Not only that, but they vitally need military protection from the South Korean right wing minority, who can and would definitely want to stage a military coup. That is going to be the tougher nut, and also at the same time the leverage/entry mechanism for the US.

Posted by: BM | Mar 9, 2019 6:59:10 AM | 69

It never occurs to the rather dim-witted neocons [or libcons either for that matter] that simply ignoring NK's nukes, rather like it does with Israel's nukes, might work. It's a neighborhood problem. but those are the problems of an increasingly failing empire. It started in 1893 with the war on the Hawaiian Kingdom and is now collapsing, one hopes as gently as the Soviet/Russian Empire collapsed.

Posted by: stevelaudig | Mar 9, 2019 9:27:11 AM | 70

Bolty pushed the envelope to include demissiling in addition to the agreed denuking deal, and Kim balked.Next the redneck could ask for all kitchen knives in N Korea tobe smelted !!!

Posted by: Anon | Mar 9, 2019 9:27:53 PM | 71


The paranoia of the United States (Wall Street) that ANY nation that is not totally controlled by WS would DARE to have nuclear weapons is transparent.

Posted by: omygosh | Mar 19, 2019 11:24:37 AM | 72

The Wall Street globalists/New World Order cannot permit any resistance to their total domination. Putin appears to conclude otherwise.

Posted by: omygosh | Mar 19, 2019 11:38:06 AM | 73

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