Posts Tagged ‘ICBM’

How Racism and Magical Thinking Could Lead to War with North Korea

August 14, 2017 11 comments

In my previous post on this topic, I pointed out how a combination of factors ranging from the nature of the North Korean regime and institutional attitudes in USA towards that country to human behavior under conditions of less-than-perfect information could start a war between North Korea and USA. Exploring this topic does, however, require us to confront some obvious, but rarely talked about, issues surrounding how the USA (as a country) views itself and interacts with the rest of the world.

Have you ever considered the possibility that most interactions of the USA (as a nation) with other countries are driven by some combination of racism and magical thinking? Well.. if you haven’t, you should consider that possibility.

Now that we have let the proverbial cat out of the bag, let us talk about why things ended up that way. The major reasons behind why the USA (as a nation) sees itself in a certain way come down to accidents of geography and history. Firstly, the outlook of the nation and its institutions was powerfully influenced by a historically long period of relative geographical isolation- both from overt influence by other countries and from the consequences of their own actions.

Simply put, the combination of relative geographical isolation until after WW2 and weak neighbors made it possible for successive governments in USA to do pretty much what they wanted in their country and immediate geographical neighborhood without having to worry about consequences of their actions. The effect of having weak geographical neighbors for most of american history gave american institutions (and the people within them) a belief that they were somehow the ‘chosen’ supermen destined to rule the world.

Perhaps most importantly, other countries in the last two hundred years which could have kicked american ass in military conflicts lay across the atlantic ocean- in an era where it took weeks to days to reach american shores. This state of affairs persisted until ICBMs and nuclear weapons were developed. In other words, the american psyche (institutional and individual) are largely the product of an era where they lacked serious or existential threats.

And this brings us to the second, and somewhat related reason for the mindset of american institutions and its ruling class. The lack of militarily strong neighbors, relative geographical isolation and the effects of various industrial revolutions resulted in a fairly prosperous country with only one significant military conflict (aka the Civil war) prior the modern era. It is also worth noting that the USA was largely an isolationist country until after it got involved in WW2.

To put it in other words, the lack of large-scale deaths due to wars on american soil is seen by many in that country as the normal state of affairs. Even supposedly “intelligent” people in various american governments throughout history have never been able to fully comprehend what such levels of casualties do to nations and societies. For example- you cannot really understand a lot of post-WW2 west European history without considering the effects of the many tens of millions killed in WW1 and WW2.

To make matters more complicated, the american empire as we know it today is almost exclusively a post-WW2 phenomena. During that time it has fought many wars (Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan) without winning against anyone larger than a Caribbean island. Of course, many millions in those countries (and tens of thousands of Americans) were killed due to those wars gave american military and policy elite the spurious belief that they could kill tons of non-white people in other parts of the world without any consequences.

That lasted till Sep 11, 2001 when it became obvious that a ragtag bunch of people with limited financial and military resources could cause hundreds of billions of immediate damage to the USA- not to mention the trillions spent on subsequent wars which the USA has since lost, even if it can cannot admit it publicly. Maybe that is why that particular day has attained so much symbolic importance in the american psyche.

And this brings me to the question of what will happen when North Korea performs further missile and nuclear tests.

As many of you must have heard by now- a few days ago, Kim Jong-Un has threatened to test a few IRBMs such that their dummy warheads would hit the waters off Guam. The american government reacted by threatening everything from preemptive strikes to full-scale war, including the use of nuclear weapons. They have also tried to pacify the american public by telling them fairy tales such as THAAD and other ABM systems being able to intercept all those missiles before their dummy warheads reach Guam.

But what happens if NK actually fires those missiles and THAAD and other ABM fail to prevent those dummy warheads from landing in the waters off Guam? As it stands right now, there are about 200k american citizens in South Korea- most of them in and around Seoul. A similar or larger number also reside in the greater Tokyo area- which is within the reach of even the oldest and most numerous North Korean missiles.

It would be foolish to believe that the NK regime would not use some of their 30-60 nukes against both those targets if they felt that they were going down. I mean, what do they have to lose in that scenario? Also, they are more likely to use them first if they believe that USA will use them. We cannot also discount the possibility that any interruption in communication between the regime and its missile forces might result in lower level commanders deciding to use them.

I wonder if enough people in current american administration have thought about consequences of even a limited nuclear exchange between the three east-Asian countries involved in this bizarre game of chicken. Do they fully comprehend the results of the South Korean and Japanese governments, which have been aligned with USA since end of WW2, being unable to stop millions of their citizens from dying or getting injured with nuclear weapons? Do they think that any defense arrangements they have with those and other governments will stand after such an outcome?

An even more unpleasant outcome is possible if even a couple nuke tipped ICBMs land on large metropolitan areas on the west coast. Do you realize the long-term psychological and financial effects of even 2-3 nukes with a 20-50 kiloton output going off over those metropolitan areas. Apart from a couple of hundred thousand deaths and injuries, such strikes will have large and irreversible negative effects on the american economy- not to mention politics, psyche and national cohesion. Sure.. you can nuke NK all you want after they hit you first (which they are very likely to), but the damage is already done.

The most important question, then, should be: Is escalating this stupid conflict really worth all the potential risks and downsides?

What do you think? Comments?

North Korea Launching ICBMs at USA is Far More Likely than Believed

August 5, 2017 18 comments

Continuing on from my previous, and subsequently shown to be correct, analysis of North Korea’s ICBM and Nuke programs- let me pose a question that many of you either do not want to think about or believe to be impossible.

Would North Korean launch nuclear weapon tipped ICBMs at large metropolitan areas in USA?

Notice that I used the word “Would” rather than “Could” since we already know that they can launch missiles carrying such payloads at metropolitan area sized targets in continental USA aka the ‘lower 48’. In other words, we have already established that they have the capacity to launch missiles which can drop a warhead of somewhere between 1-1.5 tons on large city sized targets in USA.

Also, as some of you might remember from a few months ago, they can build nuclear weapons with a yield of somewhere between 20-50 kt. While their device is more likely to be a boosted fission bomb rather than a “true” thermonuclear bomb– that difference is largely irrelevant when used against largely civilian targets. I mean.. do you really think a device with a 50 kt yield will be any less disruptive and shocking in its effects on a metropolitan area than one with a 200 kt yield?

And this brings me to the main question posed in this post- how likely are they to use such weapons against USA given the almost inevitable consequences of using them in that manner. But first, let us disabuse ourselves of the stupid belief that the North Korean regime is irrational or incompetent. That regime, is if anything, supremely rational and very aware of its own limitations and abilities.

Their decision to aggressively develop ICBMs and nuclear weapons within the previous decade is very rational since USA is only capable of overthrowing regimes which lack the capability to hit back with nuclear weapons. Deposing Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi and all those “color” revolutions were possible only because those leaders did not possess the means to deliver a nuclear weapon onto a major american city.

But how does any of this make North Korea successfully launching nuclear tipped ICBMS at metropolitan ares in USA more likely than most people would want to believe? Aren’t all those rational people in the North Korean regime afraid of the almost inevitable nuclear retaliation by USA? Shouldn’t that by itself make such an event almost impossible?

Well.. in a rational world, this assumption would be correct and the probability that North Korea would launch ICBMs against USA would be basically zero. However we do not live in a rational world and the other party to this conflict, namely the USA, has shown a general inability to make rational and consistent decisions in the sphere of international relations for some time now.

The general inability of USA to make rational and consistent decisions on international, and increasingly national, matters is due to a numbers of interacting factors. Firstly, various factions of the ruling classes no longer share common goals with each other and there is a deficiency of centralized authority. It is therefore very easy to find instances of two, or more factions, working at cross purposes- something that was rather uncommon even two decades ago.

Secondly, USA is a declining superpower in a world which can no longer support superpowers. There was a time in the 1950s, part of the 1960s and maybe part of the 1990s when the USA came close to dominating the world- but that time is over and the world has become too multipolar for us to go back to such a time. However a lot of the ruling class factions have either not gotten that message or seem to be ignoring it.

Thirdly, a majority of the ruling class (all factions) come from what I call an intellectually and culturally incestuous background. In other words, most people in each faction lived in the same cities, went to same schools and universities and for the lack of a better word- do not venture outside their little bubbles. They talk the same, eat the same, drink the same, fuck the same and most problematically- think the same. Unfortunately, their bubbles have little, to no, connection with reality.

And this brings me to the subject of bad strategic and military decisions- or more precisely, why “credentialed” leaders tend to make the worst decisions and strategic mistakes. While there are many individual reasons for this phenomena, the overarching “meta” explanation is as follows: Decision making by members of an incestuous elite is largely driven by the need to impress and dominate their peers while trying to maintain the status quo, rather than solve the problem at hand.

As far as the topic of this post is concerned, that translates into doing more of the same in seemingly new and fashionable ways. So, the establishment in USA is going to try newer sanctions, more bluster about preemptive military strikes, more “successful” tests of ineffective anti-ballistic missiles. In other words, they will keep on doing all the things that have never worked. They will however never attempt something as trivial as unconditional talks with that regime to address its real concerns.

But how does any of this significantly increase the chances of North Korea launching nukes at american cities?

Well.. it comes down to who developed these weapons and for what end. See, the north korean regime developed them to ensure its own survival and continuance. These weapons are useful to the regime if their possession keeps USA away. However they also know that they have far fewer weapons than USA and if push comes to shove, using them immediately to inflict retaliatory damage is far more preferable to waiting for USA to definitively hit them- perhaps with nukes.

It is pretty easy to see how the proverbial ‘fog of war’ and mutual provocations increase to a level where the side with fewer nukes might be tempted to use them first. I mean.. if you are going down anyway why not take your opponent with you? As I pointed out before, the nukes and ICBMs are meant to ensure survival of North Korean regime- so it perfectly logical to use them if they think they have no realistic way out.

While this might seem as fairly straight forward logic to even the casual external observer, the vast majority of “credentialed” elite and decision makers in USA seem to believe that something like what I just described above is impossible. They are simply unwilling to even consider the very real possibility that North Korean nukes could hit a few major american cities resulting in deaths of millions. Instead they would rather retreat to their bubbles where they are exceptional, racially superior and omnipotent and everyone around them believes in the same shit.

What do you think? Comments?

A Quick Analysis of the First North Korean ICBM Test: July 5, 2017

July 5, 2017 12 comments

One of the joys of blogging is the ability to point to one of your older posts and say- “I told you so”. As some of you might recall, a little less than three months ago I had written a post about how the narrative about USA disrupting North Korean missile tests through cyberwarfare was fake news. At that time, one credulous or delusional commentator spent lots of time trying to prove otherwise. Well.. we know who was right.

As it turns out, I am also right about the reason why some of the missile tests by that country in the first few months of this year were unsuccessful. To refresh your memory, I has put forth the idea that North Korean scientists and engineers were experiencing issues with using potent hypergolic fuels since they had very limited experience with them in the past. It now appears that they have mastered the use of rocket engines which use those more potent fuels. Don’t believe me? Well just look at the first picture below.

The combination of a clear, almost transparent, rocket plume and that yellow-orange clouds surrounding the rocket as the engine starts up is the signature calling card of hyperbolic propellants- specifically an engine that uses UDMH + N2O4, as opposed to IRFNA and Kerosene or solid propellants like HTPB-based mixtures. To put it another way, they have mastered the use of modern hypergolic rocket fuels including the ability to build engines (and associated plumbing etc) to handle them.

And this brings us to the second question, namely, what is the range of this missile? As late as yesterday evening, the delusional officialdom of USA was unwilling to definitively call it an ICBM. Perhaps they were having some trouble accepting the reality that yet another non-white country had successfully mastered the tech to build an ICBM. It seems that they have now accepted that it was an ICBM but are still trying to make the bullshit claim that the missile can only hit Alaska as opposed to the Alaska and the west coast of mainland USA. So here is another picture to help you understand the next point I am going to make.

While this photo might appear somewhat ordinary, it gives two important characteristics of the missile in question- apart from the obvious fact that it is road mobile and hence very hard to destroy in any preemptive strike. Note that the missile is about 13-16 meters long and 1.5-1.8 meters wide (first stage). As it turns out, those dimensions, having a hypergolic first stage and the fact that it is road mobile tell me that it weighs somewhere between 30 and 50 tons. My best guess is about 35-40 tons. So why are those figures important?

Well.. as it turns out, these dimensions and weight are very similar to a family of submarine-launched ICBMs developed and deployed by the former USSR in the early 1970s. SLBMs of R-29 Vysota family, specifically the first (and oldest) version of that series have a very strong resemblance to the North Korean ICBM which was tested yesterday. Interestingly, unlike hypergolic fuel using ICBMS of other countries, those developed by USSR (and now Russia) can be stored in their fueled and ready condition for years.

Here is why I think they chose to base their ICBM on the R-29 (aka SS-N-18 “Stingray”). Firstly, they probably had access to the technology, blueprints and consultants who developed that missile series. Secondly, it is a relatively light and proven design that can be stored in the ready condition for a few years at a time. Thirdly, though neither highly accurate or capable of carrying especially heavy warheads, it can easily project a single warhead with a combined mass of over 1.5 ton to about 8,000 km (you can convert that number to miles, if you want to).

It does not take a genius to figure out that building a slightly larger (10-15%) version of the R-29 with a slightly lighter warhead (700-800 kg) allows it to reach the 10,000 km mark. I strongly suspect that the North Korean ICBM is a slightly larger version of the R-29 with similar, but not identical, flight characteristics. Moreover it is pretty easy to adjust engine burn times, propellant loading etc to increase the maximal velocity by the few hundred meters per second necessary to make it go a couple thousand extra km.

To make a long story short, that North Korean ICBM can most certainly put a warhead on Seattle, Bay Area or maybe even Los Angeles-San Diego urban aggregation. Of course, we can always get many smartly dressed and hair-styled “experts” on TV to say otherwise, but then again these same idiots were also telling us that it would be many years before North Korea would successfully test an ICBM. Of course, it is unlikely that North Korea is going to use such ICBMs unless provoked to do so by the USA. Then again, it is USA you are talking about.

What do you think? Comments?