Archive

Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

The Modern ‘Western’ Nation State Does Not Have a Viable Future: 1

November 4, 2017 20 comments

A couple of years ago, I first considered writing a series on the many, and now very apparent, failures of USA as a nation-state. However, every time I started writing, it became obvious that the failure de jour was not unique to USA. In fact, every single type of systemic failure attributed to the american system can be found in one or more other western-type nation states. It is just that the american state exhibits more signs of systemic dysfunction and failure than other similar nation states.

As many of you also know, predictions about the looming demise of modern (post-ww2) nation states have been a staple of libertarian public figures and their corporate funders for the past decade or two. It is therefore necessary to be very clear about what I am talking and how it is different from what those idiots and shills are peddling. Hence, I have compiled a short list of the precise meaning of each term being used how it differs from other usages and interpretations of that term.

So, let us begin..

1] Readers might have noticed the use of a peculiar word construct (modern ‘western’ state) in the title. So, what am I talking about? It goes something this.. the first iteration of the state as we understand it today came into being in nascent industrializing west-european countries during the early 1800s. This iteration accepted or tolerated slavery, had very limited electoral franchise, possessed limited bureaucracy and perhaps most importantly lacked the ability or desire to provide public goods and services to the majority of people living within its boundaries. In other words, it was a slightly more representative version of the previous setup.

The second iteration, which started appearing in the mid-1800s, was the first version that would be somewhat recognizable as a state to most people living today. Its most relevant advancement over the previous version was provision of some public goods and services such as clean drinking water, public sewer systems, free basic education etc. The third iteration, which started appearing towards the end of 1800s was marked by even greater public access to goods and services and the beginning of universal suffrage. It is also most associated with nationalism and the two world wars caused by that ideology.

But what does any of this background information have to do with the concept of a modern ‘western’ state’? and why put single quotation marks around the word ‘western’? Well.. it comes down to defining the fourth (post-ww2) iteration aka the modern nation-state which has become the default for all major countries in the world today. While it may have originated in western countries, this type of nation-state organization is now seen in countries as diverse as Russia, China, India. So what made it acceptable to people in so many different countries, some of whom never went through the first three iterations?

It comes down to an implicit deal offered by this particular mode of organisation- to all parties involved. The ruling elite of a country and their flunkies can maintain popular legitimacy as long as they can provide (or facilitate the provision of) extensive public goods and services including an environment conducive to continual increases in material well-being of the general population. In return, the general population provides a safe and predictable environment for elites and their flunkies to live big and lord over others. This deal is how things used to work in USA from 1945 to mid-2000s and is still how things work (for the most part) in many other countries.

In future parts, I will explain the many interconnected systemic contradictions which unraveled this deal and why the rise of neoliberalism is more of a symptom rather than the main cause of the slow motion demise of modern ‘western’ nation states.

2] The other somewhat odd term used in the title is ‘does not have a viable future’. While it does sound a bit like ass-covering legalese, that term is used to convey a very specific concept. Unlike many libertarians and other assorted retards, I do not think that modern ‘western’ nation states will collapse all over the world within a very short timespan. Nor do I think that they will be replaced by largely autonomous and small libertarian city states. In fact, it is quite possible that nothing will be able to fill the giant gaping hole left in the aftermath of their slow demise.

What I am trying to tell you is that the current system will lose viability as it loses popular legitimacy. Think of it as analogous to people slowly losing faith in a religion which no longer provides a believable explanation of the world around them. Or people slowly losing faith in a god or deity who has apparently stopped answering their prayers. But how can the most successful system of socio-economic organization in human history lose popular legitimacy, especially given lack of a well-known alternative? Well.. for starters, the legitimacy of a system or belief in it are not linked to the availability of alternative options.

As mentioned earlier, popular legitimacy of the current setup is almost completely linked to its ability to provide an extensive list of public goods and services in addition to continual improvements in living standards. Consequently the inability of provide them, even if that occurs gradually, will result in the system losing popular legitimacy. Note that I am talking about actually providing public goods and services, rather than simply possessing the means to provide them. Observant readers might have noticed that I have not linked a government being democratically to it being perceived as legitimate by the general population. Once again, I will explain that concept in more detail in future posts.

I will try to make future posts in this series sound less stilted and explain each concept with multiple contemporary examples.

What do you think? Comments?

Three Erroneous Assumptions Made by Most Americans about DPRK

October 25, 2017 5 comments

As regular readers know, I have written more than a few posts about the current situation caused by DPRK aka North Korea testing nuclear weapons and ICBMs. The gist of those posts is as follows: Accepting DPRK as a bonafide nuclear weapon state with a rational foreign policy and acting towards it accordingly is infinitely better than pretending otherwise.

Having said that, I have noticed that a lot of americans keep on making a number of erroneous, and unrealistic, assumptions about DPRK and the current situation. While we certainly cannot go over every one of them in a single post, I thought it would be a good idea to cover the three most important erroneous assumptions (or beliefs) about that country and the current situation.

Erroneous Belief # 1
: Current situation between DPRK & USA can be resolved by military force.

While jingoists, keyboard warriors and many west-point educated generals might want to believe that the USA could resolve its current situation with DPRK through military force, even a basic reality check and some knowledge of relevant history suggests otherwise. Let me remind you that the decision by USA to not attempt a Korean War 2.0 after the 1953 armistice was based in military calculations, rather than humanitarian considerations- to put it mildly.

As many of you know, DPRK has hundreds (if not thousands) of artillery pieces capable of bombarding Seoul on a moment’s notice- not to mention the tens of thousands of rocket artillery and swarms of short-range missiles. The acquisition of nuclear weapons by DPRK in the later half of 2000s makes the destruction of Seoul Capital Area (about 25 million people) almost inevitable if a serious war was to break out between DPRK and USA. To make a long story short, Korean War 2.0 = No Seoul

Then there is the question of whether large urban aggregations in Japan, specifically the Greater Tokyo Area, would get nuked in the event of such a war. It is no secret that DPRK has a number of liquid and solid fueled SRBMs which could deliver a few nukes on top of such large urban aggregations. While Japan claims to have many types of “effective” anti-ballistic missiles, it is highly doubtful that they can do much against a swarm of dozens of warheads within a 2-3 minute window, especially if only 5-6 of them were nuclear.

My point is that even the most optimistic projections of casualties caused by DPRK’s response to a military strike by USA involve millions of dead and dying people in South Korea and Japan plus long-term (potentially irreversible) damage to two of the largest and most prosperous urban areas in the world. And we have not even started talking about the effects of a few nuclear weapon tipped ICBMs going off over large cities in mainland USA.

Erroneous Belief # 2: DPRK is a vassal state of China.

One belief constantly resurfacing in regards to the current situation with DPRK is that China is somehow the real power behind the show. Another version of this belief is that China possess extraordinary leverage over DPRK. The reality is, however, quite different. While China has always been the most important trading partner for DPRK and was its most important weapons provider in the past, its actual leverage over DPRK has been rather limited. Even worse, the political relationship between them has never been especially warm.

China’s support for DPRK has to be understood through the lens of history and pragmatism. To put it bluntly, China intervened in the Korean war because it did not want an american puppet state on its eastern border- which is also why it got involved in the Vietnam war. Of course, China is quite happy to let DPRK poke and prod South Korea, Japan and generally undermine the rationale for american military presence in that region. But let us clear about one thing, Beijing does not control Pyongyang. Nor do they want, or can afford, the current regime in DPRK to fail.

A related delusion still popular among americans is the belief China will help the USA secure DPRK after a “successful” invasion of DPRK. Even if we discount the possibility that major urban centers in South Korea and Japan will be nuked within the first few minutes of a serious armed confrontation, we have to contend with the reality that DPRK’s leadership (or their population) do not see China as their master and will not hesitate to use their weapons against China. Yes.. you heard that right. If DPRK feels that China is cooperating with USA to invade it, there is a pretty high likelihood that some of their nukes will go off over Chinese cities.

Erroneous Belief # 3: DPRK will agree to give up its nuclear weapons.

Another popular delusion harbored by the establishment in USA is that they can somehow convince DPRK to give up its nuclear weapons. While this delusion is especially funny, it is worthwhile to point out that “denuclearization” of DPRK is still the main and only focus of any talks USA is willing to have with DPRK. Let us be clear about one thing, only one nation (namely, South Africa) has ever voluntarily gave up its arsenal of self-developed. Also they had less than a dozen of very primitive nuclear weapons- so it wasn’t exactly a big sacrifice to begin with.

In spite of all the sanctimonious talk about global denuclearization, no other nuclear weapon power has seriously considered giving up its nuclear weapon arsenal. In fact, all nuclear weapon powers have kept on improving their weapons even if two of them (Russia and USA) did reduce the absolute numbers in their inventory in the 1990s. However the total number of nuclear weapons in the world had remained largely constant since those early post-cold war reductions. It is not realistic to expect any nuclear weapon power, let alone one who needs such deterrent capability, to give up nuclear weapons- especially if they were developed indigenously.

Furthermore, the experience of DPRK of negotiating with USA in the mid-1990s, and then again in the early-2000s, has left them with the correct impression that any treaty with the USA is not worth the paper on which it was printed. They correctly recognized that credible lethal force is necessary for any future talks with USA. In other words, DPRK now rightly believes that acquisition of a credible capability to launch a nuclear attack on american cities is a prerequisite to any worthwhile talks between the two parties. The recent fiasco over Trump decertifying a multinational nuclear deal with Iran has simply demonstrated that their strategy towards USA is correct.

In this situation and environment, it is supremely delusional to believe that a regime whose survival is predicated on possessing a credible nuclear deterrent will give it up to satisfy another country which has consistently demonstrated its unwillingness to respect the terms of any agreement it has ever signed. In other words, DPRK (and many other countries) will require a credible nuclear deterrent as long as the USA continues to exist in its current form. Also, USA is no longer seen as an omnipotent military power- especially after its recent humiliating defeats in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.

What do you think? Comments?

Passwords are Vastly Superior to Biometric Identification: Oct 22, 2017

October 22, 2017 1 comment

I am just trying to finish a post that I started writing some time ago- but got distracted by some current topic or event. Having said that, let us get back to the topic at hand which is somewhat relevant to an upcoming series about the ongoing crappification of technology in pretty much all sectors of the eCONomy. The main focus of this post is how the much touted idea, by silli valley corporations, of using biometrics or anything similar to that as a replacement for passwords is an extremely bad idea- on multiple levels. Here are two recent examples of such articles and don’t click on them unless you want to read shitty journalism (Shill Piece #1, Shill Piece #2).

Now let me explain you why using Biometrics IDs on the internet, or on internet connected devices, is such a bad idea.

Issue #1: Using Biometric IDs instead of passwords promotes a false sense of security.

One of main lies repeated by corporations involved in promoting biometrics based ID is that it is somehow much harder to crack than text-based passwords. They often bring up misleading arguments about the length of biometric data signature vs passwords, implying that a longer length somehow magically translates into higher security. This argument is however a complete misdirection since the vast majority of password leaks are due to hacking of improperly secured corporate databases and exploits in operating systems and transmission protocols. In other words, the most common point of failure for password security is unrelated to the carefulness or carelessness of the person who uses it. Which brings us the second issue.

Issue #2: Passwords, unlike Biometric IDs, can be easily changed and individualized.

How many of you use the same password for your online banking, email, social media and other accounts? Why not? Well.. the vast majority of those who have used computers for over a decade tend to use different passwords for different accounts since doing so prevents the leak of one password from compromising all other accounts. Moreover, it is fairly trivial to change a password if you suspect that it was compromised. Now imagine doing that with your biometric ID. Are you going to get plastic surgery and eye replacement every time some corporate database containing your biometric ID is hacked? Because if you won’t do that, even a single compromised database could destroy your personal life- and the recourse for restoring your identity would be downright Kafkaesque.

Issue #3: Compromised Biometric IDs will inevitably cause cascading security failures.

Imagine a world where Biometric ID is central to using services from banking, healthcare, education etc. Now think through the aftermath of a successful hacking of one of the many databases containing your Biometric ID. For starters, you can bet that it would be sold on the market to the highest bidder. It goes without saying that every aspect of your life would be forever altered by even a single leak. The centrality of Biometric ID in such a world would mean that you would never again be safe from identity theft and there is nothing anyone could do about that- unless there was a password option available. But if such a system is intrinsically problematic enough to necessitate a password based backup- why use it in the first place?

To summarize, the point I am trying to make is that widespread adoption and use of biometric ID by various online (or largely online) corporations and institutions is an extremely bad idea due to the intrinsically unsolvable risks and collateral problems it would create, without offering any real advantages over using passwords or similar authentication systems.

What do you think? Comments?

Dystopic Implications of Sam Kriss’s Trial by Social Media: Oct 18, 2017

October 18, 2017 7 comments

The event discussed in this post is a bit obscure, and not well publicized, but it carries highly dystopian implications. While I have mentioned its central character in an older post, it is worthwhile to quickly go over some relevant details. Sam Kriss, is a young but somewhat well-known freelance journalist whose articles have been published by a number of alternative and not-so-alternative online media outlets such as VICE, Jacobin, Slate, Politico, Baffler etc. He is known for his verbose and often personalized style of writing, which includes insulting some of the subjects of his pieces. It is also worthwhile to know that he has strong leftist and marxist leanings (at least in his articles) in spite of being born to wealthy parents. His outspoken support for the “feminist cause” during the Gamergate controversy is relevant to the current controversy.

So did the current kerfuffle, which is the topic of this post, start? Well.. like many controversies nowadays it started with a celebrity driven social media phenomena and a social media post. More specifically, the “#metoo” campaign on twitter in the wake of revelations of prolonged sexual improprieties by Harvey Weinstein has seemingly opened the floodgates of accusations against men of some fame in the entertainment and media industry. While some of the new accusations are likely true and rather disturbing, more than a few of the newly publicized accusations seem to be less about rape than about aggressive and unwelcome sexual comments and advances. In other words, many of the newly surfacing accusations are about stuff that is not illegal under current laws, but could be perceived as unwelcome or insulting by one party to the interaction.

If that was not the case, many of those being accused would have been tried and convicted by the existent legal system a long time ago. Either that, or those making the accusations would have been far richer than they are now.

Why is any of this relevant to the main focus of this post? Well.. it comes to the circumstances of the recent accusations made against Sam Kriss. A day or two ago, a woman journalist published a lengthy denunciation of Sam Kriss on FaceBook. In it, she claimed to have been sexually assaulted by him on at least one occasion. As you might expect, tons of twitter feminists and their “male allies” went on denunciation spree of his alleged actions based solely on her version of the story. Anybody who dared to suggest that the accuser’s version of the events might be incomplete or not completely true was brushed away as ‘mansplaining’ and evidence of patriarchic oppression or complicity with “rapists”. As it turns out there was more than side to this story and one detail which was very relevant to what occurred.

Sam Kriss published his response yesterday. To quickly summarize, he does not deny that the alleged incident took place. He does, however, provide the very relevant detail that he had a pre-existing casual sexual relationship with his accuser when the event in question occurred. Let me rephrase that, he already had sex with her on more than one occasion prior to the events in question. He claims that he was just aggressively flirting with her with the expectation of another sexual encounter. He also claims that she did not at any stage of that encounter, ask him to stop. Moreover, she continued to message him for many months after that encounter suggesting that a future hookup was possible. As it stands today, it is still his word against her- though I am sure that both parties have some electronic evidence of their past conversations.

And as most of you would expect, these accusations have unleashed a storm of “indignation” (for public display) against Sam Kriss based solely on accusations made against him on a social media platform. To be clear, it is hard to know which of two parties is being untruthful since there has been no formal process of (legal) discovery, let alone a formal criminal or civil trial. Personally, I think it is unlikely that the accusations made against him would stand in any half-decent court of law- largely because it is one of those ‘he said-she said’ type situations without physical evidence to decisively support either of their accounts. This has however not stopped some of the media outlets which had previously published his articles from dropping him from their roster. A backbench Labor MP in UK has even called for him to be locked up even before he is formally accused (if that will ever happen) and proven guilty in a court of law.

It is hard to ignore the similarities between witch hunts in previous eras and such cases. In both, the accuser (or accusers) version of the story was usually believed in an uncritical manner while all evidence contrary to the accuser’s version of events was suppressed or deliberately ignored. In both cases, prosecution of the accused was justified as a moral good and backed up by an ideology, irrespective of any evidence that it was neither. In both cases, those who dissented were labelled as enablers of “un-goodness” and agents of the “great deceivers”. In both cases, kangaroo “courts” and mob “justice” were seen as far more desirable than due process and a fair trial. My point is that making significant decisions about the innocence or guilt of any person without due process or a fair trial is a reversion to the pre-enlightenment era rather than an improvement over the current setup.

As an amusing side-note to this story, it is worth recounting that Sam Kriss was an outspoken supporter of “social media feminists” who ranted and raved about all those “sexist” male gamers during the Gamergate controversy. While it is hard to say what drove him to make fun of all those “loser” male gamers and their concerns during that period, whatever he did was unable to protect him from the witchunt caused by an accusation of sexual aggression (and maybe assault) on social media. Notably, almost none of the “feminists” he so vocally supported during the Gamergate controversy appears willing to give a fair hearing to his (very plausible) version of the story. Maybe, uncritical support of a bunch of ideologues with no real interest in fairness or due process was not a good idea in the first place. In any case, it will be interesting to see how this story develops in the near future.

What do you think? Comments?

USA Lacks Realistic Strategy Towards DPRKs Nuclear ICBM Program: 3

September 28, 2017 7 comments

In the previous post of this series, I talked about the ludicrous levels of racially motivated underestimation of DPRK’s nuclear and missile building capabilities among “credentialed” elite in USA. My point was that the course of events has exposed that these sinecured non-proliferation and arms-control “experts” hailing from “ivy-league” universities and working at “world renowned” think-tanks are.. for the lack of a better expression.. fucking clueless. Then again, such jobs have always been about providing clever soundbites and writing scholarly-sounding articles to satisfy the psychological needs of jingoistic white retards in USA and the west.

But a bigger problem is that the american establishment wants to believe different, but equally delusional, stuff about DPRK. For example, many west-point idiots seem to be operating under the belief that DPRK will not use nukes even if attacked with them.They also seem to believe that it is possible to overcome what is likely a fairly decentralized system for DPRK using nukes when push comes to shove. I see these and other popular delusions of the military planner class as examples of wishful thinking because of a lack of feasible options.

But let us now talk about the other american allies involved in this shitshow.. specifically South Korea and Japan. Are they equally delusional? Do they have strategies for dealing with this situation which do not involve believing in the magical efficacy of american boondoggles such as anti-ballistic missiles? Do the “leaders” and major political parties in both countries lack the proverbial balls to stand up to USA? Do they fully grasp that their major cities and tens of millions of their citizens will be dead or dying within a few minutes of an all out nuclear exchange between DPRK and USA?

Since South Korea is the geographically closest american “ally” to DPRK, let us start with that country. As many of you know, South Korea started out as an american puppet state meant to halt the global spread of communism in the aftermath of WW2. This is not meant to demean the its many impressive achievements since that time, but it sadly relevant to the subject of this post. The point I am trying to make is the foreign and defense policy of South Korea has been largely dictated by USA. In other words, South Korea is a dependent vassal of USA.

Now, we can certainly argue if being a defendant vassal of USA has been a good or bad for South Korea. Clearly, this arrangement has been very economically favorable for South Korea- specifically since the 1970s. However, a consequence of this arrangement has been that South Korean foreign and defense policy (specifically towards DPRK) is largely rooted in supporting whatever the establishment in USA demands of them. While this was not a liability during the cold war era or even the first decade following it, that is no longer the case.

I would go so far as to say that it became actively counterproductive after the second nuclear test by DPRK in 2009. The thing is.. the entire defense posture of South Korea (and USA) towards DPRK was always based in any potential conflict being fought with conventional (and maybe, some chemical) weapons. They thought that a rapid destruction of DPRK’s old-fashioned air-force plus intense bombardment of artillery positions could keep South Korean casualties under a couple of hundred thousand.

Nuclear weapons, especially H-bombs, change that picture completely. As few as 5 or 6 H-bombs would kill millions in the Seoul metropolitan area in less than a couple of minutes and render it uninhabitable for a few years. Given the concentration of population and infrastructure in South Korea, that would translate in an unrecoverable blow to the South Korean state. Furthermore, even the best missile defense would be useless against a barrage of missile in only a few actually carry nuclear warheads.

Almost every single South Korean government has, historically, taken a hard-line stance against DPRK. It is however telling that those stances have not changed much in response to DPRK successfully developing nuclear weapons within the previous decade. It is as if their political leaders and military planners are deliberately operating under the assumption that nothing as changed since 2009. More worryingly, many public predictions made by South Korean “experts” about an imminent collapse of DPRK after Kim Jong-un took over in 2011 have turned out to be wishful thinking.

In other words, a significant percentage of the establishment in South Korea seems to be as willing oblivious to reality as their counterparts in USA. To make matters worse, even the recently elected moderate South Korean leader (or his advisers) appear to believe that they have to keep playing the discredited old game and align themselves even more closely with delusions of american establishment. It is especially troubling to watch the South Korean establishment believe that more american anti-ballistic missiles (perhaps imbued with ‘white’ magic in their minds) will somehow magically protect them from DPRK nukes if the proverbial shit hits the fan.

It is clear that South Korea requires an alternative and realistic policy to deal with DPRK. While such a policy does not preclude continued military co-operation between South Korea and USA, they may have to do something about those biannual military exercises aimed at DPRK. Perhaps they might want to develop and deploy their own nuclear weapons as a deterrent against DPRK. The ‘Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty’ has proven to be a worthless piece of paper which has done nothing except try to perpetuate nuclear apartheid and disadvantage who have signed it in good faith. Did I mention that at least four countries have developed and deployed nuclear weapon arsenals since 1968?

In an upcoming post of this series, I will talk about how the current policies of Japan towards DPRK are based in equally bizarre (but different) combination of delusion and make-believe.

What do you think? Comments?

USA Lacks Realistic Strategy Towards DPRKs Nuclear ICBM Program: 2

September 26, 2017 2 comments

In the previous post of this series, I had made the point that DPRK’s desire to obtain a nuclear deterrent capability against civilian targets on mainland USA is highly rational and an inevitable consequence of the behavior of american establishment towards that country. I also pointed out the massive speedup of both nuclear weapon and ICBM program under Kim Jong-un is largely a consequence of how someone from his generation sees the world. While he may be ruthless, it hard to deny (except if you a “ivy-league educated” think-tankist) that he is highly pragmatic.

With that in mind, let us talk about the “strategy” or what passes for strategy of USA towards these more recent developments. We can begin by dissecting Barack Obama’s hilariously delusional strategy of “strategic patience” towards DPRK. OK.. to be fair, it was a bit less dangerous than whatever cockamamie “options” Trump and his generals are busy deluding themselves with. But nonetheless, there were enough idiots.. I mean “ivy-league educated” think tank critters who believed that DPRK would come apart because Kim would not be able to establish his leadership.

But it gets better.. many of the comfortably sinecured DPRK “experts” in USA believed that a plot as ludicrous as that depicted in a CIA-funded movie known as “The Interview” would bring down Kim Jong-un. Yes, you read that right.. there are people who have made many millions by posing as DPRK “experts” in USA promoting the idea that Kim Jong-un’s regime would magically collapse and North Korean people would welcome USA with open arms as liberators. Wonder what they were smoking.. but more importantly- who pays them to push that crap? and why?

Let me also point you to a think-tank funded site called ‘38North‘ which pretends to be informed, competent and objective. Peopled by a mixture of american and south-korean academics, arms control-types, proliferation “experts” and assorted think-tank critters, its articles on DPRK borrow the linguistic tricks of NYT and the Economist to make educated-sounding assertions which have a habit of being almost totally untrue or severe underestimates. As late as the beginning of 2017 “experts” at that site maintained that the KN-14 ICBM would fail. About two years ago, “experts” at the same site were confident that developing a H-bomb was out of DPRKs technological abilities.

The point I am trying to make is that american analysis of DPRK’s abilities, capabilities and strategy is driven by a peculiar mixture of racism, orientalism, wishful thinking, ivy-league credentialism and other factors which have little (if any) connection with objective reality. To further complicate matters, the way Kim Jong-un sees the world is sufficiently different from his predecessors that what “worked” in the past is largely irrelevant.

And this brings me to part where I have to restate the obvious, which is that any significant attack by USA on DPRK will almost certainly result in the later use nukes (including H-bombs) against large population centers in South Korea and Japan- and that is the ‘best case’ scenario. The simple fact is that there is no viable defense against an intense barrage of short to medium range ballistic missiles, especially if only a few of them contain nuclear warheads. And 10-20 nukes is all that it will take to kill many tens of millions in the Seoul and Tokyo metropolitan areas. Never mind subsequent massive socio-economic costs and an intense backlash in both countries against USA for creating that outcome.

But why would that occur? Why would DPRK use nuclear weapons if attacked first? Well.. firstly, because that is what deterrence is about. Secondly, the regime in DPRK would assume that its main members have no real future and therefore decide to take out as many of those it holds responsible for that outcome aka ‘scorched earth’. And this brings me another popular delusion of the american establishment concerning DPRK.

Almost every single strategy of establishment in USA is centered around the childish assumption that DPRK would not use nuclear weapons even if they were attacked using nuclear weapons. Alternatively they believe that the totally hyped anti-ballistic missile defense systems could work with 100% success rates against intense barrage of missiles with many dummy warheads and other simple but effective countermeasures. In other words, the american establishment actually believe that DPRK does not have the balls or brains to use nuclear weapons under any set of conditions. Alternatively, they don’t care if large cities in South Korea and Japan are ruined for decades.

The other implicit, if rarely stated, assumption of “intellectuals” in american establishment is that the chain of command for use of DPRK’s nuclear weapons will crumble if the orders to use them are actually given. I think otherwise, and here is why. You can bet a lot of money that Kim and his associates have gamed that scenario to the point where every single person in command of those weapons is a loyalist with no future in an alternative government of any kind. To put it another way, the chain of command to use DPRK’s nuclear weapons is very likely full of hard-core loyalists with sufficient autonomy to use them without approval from above if they are credibly attacked by nukes.

To make a long story short, there are really no circumstances under which an american attack on DPRK does not turn into a nukefest in South Korea and Japan. Similarly, there are no real circumstances where DPRK is going to give up its nukes or ICBMS- as they are now absolutely essential for regime survival. Furthermore, any serious economic blockade against DPRK will escalate into them threatening South Korean and Japanese cities. Those who wish to compare this situation to the oil embargo by USA against Japan in 1941 should remember that WW2-era Japan did not have nuclear-tipped ICBMs capable of incinerating tens of millions in mainland USA and surrounding hostile countries.

In an upcoming post of this series, I will talk about how the policies of Japan and South Korea towards DPRK are also based in a strange combination of delusion and make-believe.

What do you think? Comments?

A Few Quick Thoughts on UDMH and the North Korean Missile Program

September 21, 2017 34 comments

A few days ago, I came across a series of articles in the MSM about the use of UnSymmetrical DimethylHydrazine (UDMH) in newer long-ranged North Korean IRBMs and ICBMs. As expected, they were full of sensational and hilariously ludicrous disinformation. But why take my word for it? Have a look at all the bullshit published by supposedly reputable news outlets: The Rare, Potent Fuel Powering North Korea’s Weapons; North Korea’s secret weapon REVEALED – how China supplies Kim Jong-un with ‘Devil’s Venom’; North Korean missiles powered by Russian ‘devil’s venom’. Readers can find reprints of these and similar articles in many other news outlets.

All these articles, which seem to be have been derived from one original post, make a number of incorrect and misleading claims such as: 1] Synthesis of industrial quantities of UDMH is very hard or complex. 2] North Korea is not totally self sufficient in UDMH production. 3] Russia does not use much UDMH for its ICBM or space launch programs nowadays. 4] China is the main source of UDMH used in North Korean IRBM and ICBM programs.

So now let us go through each of the major claims by these posts, one by one.

Firstly, the chemical structure of UDMH is very simple (see below) and routes for its synthesis are remarkably easy and straightforward. One of older process to make it and other simple organic hydrazines on an industrial scale is over 100 years old.. so yes, it was possible to make UDMH on an industrial scale even before WW1. However, this specific compound had little to no industrial use before the development of hypergolic rocket engines in the 1950s. And yes, while it is reasonably toxic and volatile enough to pose hazards if handled carelessly, it is no more problematic to handle on a large scale than highly concentrated inorganic acids or compounds capable of releasing releasing chlorine.

Which brings us to the second claim made by those sensationalist propaganda piece in NYT, namely that North Korea might not be totally self sufficient in UDMH production. As you might have realized by now, large scale synthesis of UDMH is not much involved than any other moderately dangerous industrial chemicals which are nonetheless synthesized by the thousands to millions of tons. North Korea has enough educated and competent people (including process chemists), is extremely willing to provide them enough resources to do their job properly and has more than enough appetite for small accidents. Furthermore, they are highly unlikely to remain dependent on external sources for such an important requirement of their missile program.

The third claim made the sensationalist post in NYT was that UDMH and hypergolic fuels are rarely used by countries other than China. Well.. that is news to me. The fact is that one of two major space launch rockets uses by Russia (aka Proton), all the space launch rockets used by India (PSLV, GSLV-2, GSLV-3) in addition to almost all major space launch rockets used by China use hypergolic fuels in one or more of their large primary stages. In other words, the idea that China is the only major user of hypergolic fueled rockets is utter nonsense. The only reason some countries import UDMH from China has more to do with saving money for small scale usage.

By now, you have probably figured out that the fourth claim made by original article in NYT, namely the China is the major supplier of UDMH to North Korea, is laughably ridiculous. While its is certainly possible that the North Korean chemists who operate facilities for making UDMH might have learned their trade in China, it is laughable to believe that the North Korean government would not do everything in its power to fully indigenize production of UDMH and Dinitrogen tetroxide used to fuel the hypergolic engines in their IRBMs and ICBMs.

The simple fact is that almost all “scholarly” analysis of North Korea missile and nuclear program by western “experts”, so far, has occurred though the lens of racism and orientalism. These sophistic and out-of-touch idiots do not want to believe that non-white countries are capable of technological and scientific achievements. That is, also, why Trump can call for the genocide of North Korean in front of the UN without severe criticism by the corporate MSM in USA. The problem with such attitudes is that they are too divorced from reality to work. Of course, I don’t think that Trump or establishment in USA will learn other than though public failure and humiliation.

What do you think? Comments?