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Posts Tagged ‘nuclear weapons’

Quick Thoughts on the Current Situation Between Indian and Pakistan

February 27, 2019 15 comments

While “mainstream news” outlets in USA are focusing on the political theater surrounding Michael Cohen’s testimony and Trump’s latest brain-farts.. I mean tweets.. half a world away something of considerably more potential consequence is occurring right now. It all started about a couple of weeks ago when an Islamic suicide bomber driving a vehicle IED crashed into a bus full of Indian internal security forces in Kashmir, killing 40-42. At that time, the Indian government responded by condemning the attack and promising a suitable reprisal. Many establishment commentators in the west and their gungadin helpers, who pretend to be “India experts”, loudly proclaimed that India would not retaliate against Pakistan or do something small and localized.

As it turned out, they were wrong and after Indian warplanes crossed the international boundary in the early morning hours of 26th February and bombed a few training camps in Pakistan- as opposed to limiting themselves to targets in PoK. The Indian government claimed that about 300 people were killed, while its Pakistani equivalent denied it- as usual. We will find out what went down once pre- an post- strike satellite imagery of those sites is released. However, it is almost certain that they hit the designated targets with the precision guided munitions used during that attack. Anyway.. this penetration of Pakistani airspace made the PAF look kinda incompetent. So they decided to make a half-hearted attempt to drop some bombs on Indian territory.

As it turns out, they were challenged by many Indian aircraft and the PAF beat a hasty retreat after releasing their accordance on apparently uninhabited land. It also appears that there was a dogfight involving a Mig-21 and F-16 in which the Mig-21 shot down the former before being hit my either ground fire or SAM from the Pakistani side. Long story short, the F-16 as well as Mig-21 crashed on the Pakistani side of the border. While we do not know whether the pilot of that PAF F-16 is alive or dead, the Indian pilot was captured. Oh ya.. and there a helicopter crash (on takeoff) about 50 km from the border inside India. Of course, the Pakistani establishment, true to its form, started making up stories which were uncritically published by western “news” media.

So how will this potential conflict turn out? Well.. for starters I am not going to bore you with irrelevant bullshit about how both countries have nuclear weapons. Some might think that this is an odd thing to say, but as you will soon find out- nuclear weapons are, at best, peripheral to how things will turn out. In my opinion, the real factors driving this conflict and its potential outcomes have much more to do with political and other assessments by both sides rather than the dread of nuclear weapons. Moreover, as you will also see, the ground realities are not what people in the west, especially “credentialed” white people claiming to be experts, believe. Then again, why should it be surprising that people who were certain HRC was going to win in 2016 might also be wrong about a conflict between two countries on other side of the world.

So let me begin by stating the obvious..

1] The sheer size of India, its armed forces and resources available to it make any attempt by Pakistan to invade its territory highly suicidal- and this is a lesson which Pakistan has learned the hard way in past conflicts. In a full-scale war, India simply has vastly more people and stuff to throw at the problem than Pakistan. Similarly, India has no real desire to invade and occupy Pakistan, let one integrate it into itself, because almost nobody in India wants 200 million more Muslims within the Indian nation-state. So what do Indian military strategists dream about wrt Pakistan. Well.. they would like to dismember it into smaller pieces and maybe destroy their nuclear weapons- which leads us to the issue of how nuclear weapons might affect this conflict.

2] As some of you might know, India has a No-First-Use policy for nuclear weapons, or at least has said so in 2003. But over the years, things appear to have changed a lot and many senior bureaucrats have creatively interpreted that policy to not covering an imminent attack by another nuclear weapons state- which is a fancy way of saying that NFU policy is NFU in name only. In other words, India has made it clear that it will use nukes first (specifically to target the Pakistani nuclear arsenal) if it feels that Pakistan will use its own weapons. More importantly, India posses both the accurate nuclear missiles and space reconnaissance capability necessary to pull of a preemptive nuclear counterstrike. Will they get them all? No, but they don’t have to.

3] Here is the thing about having a couple of hundred nuclear weapons. Concentrating them at a handful of storage locations on land makes them kinda vulnerable- especially if your opponent has accurate nuclear missiles which can fly in unusual trajectories. Getting even 70-80% of them or the missiles used to launch them is enough to remove most of the threat. And given the escalation ladder inherent in an overtly nuclear conflict, it is likely that India might decide that a preemptive nuclear counterstrike is worth the risk once the conflict goes past a certain point. But how could this scenario occur? Aren’t Indians supposed to be cowardly lotus eaters who will meekly turn the other cheek and try to sue for peace?

4] A lot of white “credentialed experts” and their faithful brown flunkies in the west seem to think that nothing much has changed in India over the past five years. They are certain that India will respond in exactly the same self-defeating restrained manner it did in 1999 and 2009. But things have changed in more ways than the obvious one. See.. Modi is the first full-term PM of India who was born after 1947. Unlike previous occupants of that office, who grew up before partition, he has no affinity for the idea of dealing with Pakistan in a self-defeating “civilized” manner. Also, there is a general election within next 3 months and the popularity of his political party is not especially high, right now. In other words, he has a strong incentive to escalate this conflict.

5] Some of you might wonder why previous conflicts of this nature (for example 1999 and 2009) did not go as far as this one. Well.. the answer lies in the white-worshiping nature of past Indian political leadership. To make a long story short, previous Indian leaders were so craven for praise and pretend-acceptance from white men wearing expensive suits that they were eager and willing to sacrifice the interest of their people to ‘look good for the whites’. You might remember another series of posts where I described them as brown people who think they are honorary whites. Modi is somewhat different. While he certainly would enjoy being praised and accepted by whites, he also understands from his stuff is illusory. And then there is the issue of how his administration is structured or differently structured from previous ones.

6] For many reasons beyond the scope of this post, almost every politician in that administration other than Modi, Shah and a couple of others has no power over administrative decisions. This is a big departure from previous administration where every half-literate elected political weasel tried to influence every decision they could- usually to make money but often simply to assert themselves- which is another way to saying that decisions in this administration are usually made by tenured bureaucrats and administrators (who while corrupt, are nowhere as blindingly stupid and dysfunctional as the political class). That is why the decisions made by this administration, even the bad ones, are far more coherent than their predecessors.

So what does all of this mean as far as future developments in this conflict are concerned? Well.. for starters, Modi will take this much farther than any previous Indian prime minister. He kinda has to do that and also has the capability. Far more importantly, all major decisions are going to be made by administrators and bureaucrats with almost no interference from the incompetent political types. Now this could be good or bad, depending on how you look at it. What it does however mean is that western pressure will have little effect (especially compared to past occasions) on how India escalates this conflict. And ya.. if nukes start flying, they will start flying very quickly- rather than follow some “ladder of escalation”.

What do you think? Comments?

Three Erroneous Assumptions Made by Most Americans about DPRK

October 25, 2017 7 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?

USA Lacks Realistic Strategy Towards DPRKs Nuclear ICBM Program: 2

September 26, 2017 3 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?

USA Lacks Realistic Strategy Towards DPRKs Nuclear ICBM Program: 1

September 24, 2017 57 comments

Let me begin this post by posing a fairly straightforward question: Is the current strategy of USA, Japan and South Korea towards the nuclear and missile programs of DPRK (let alone the government of that country) based in reality? You might have already figured out that my short version of the answer is a big “NO”.

One of my previous post on this general topic did explore how racism and magical thinking have historically shaped american policy towards DPRK. It largely focuses on how we reached this point and why miscalculations due to lazy thinking could have very serious effects on destinies of multiple countries involved in the current standoff.

But coming back to the topic at hand, let us talk about the bunch of delusions that pass for american “strategy” towards the nuclear and missile program of DPRK. I will also talk about how the delusional policies of USA reinforce the equally nutty policies of Japan and South Korea on those issues.

The official stance of USA is that it will not negotiate with DPRK unless the later agrees to give up its nuclear weapons and missiles. Now, even a half-sensible person will immediately recognize that DPRK is simply not going to give up its most cost-effective insurance policies against armed invasion or “color revolution” by USA and its allies.

Moreover, the history of interactions between DPRK and USA- specifically the unsuccessful american attempt to kill all north Koreans during the Korean war in the early 1950s and the unwillingness of USA to fulfill its end of the 1994 nuclear agreement, make it almost impossible for them to trust the USA.

It is also important to understand that DPRKs relations with China and Russia have, over the years, had their own ups and downs. This is why regime in Pyongyang has always been so obsessed with self-reliance and self-sufficiency. The concept of Juche is much more than a simple feel good slogan for them.

So now let us talk about how the USA and its east-asian allies have responded to DPRKs nuclear and missile program since 2006, when it conducted its first nuclear test. But first a little relevant history..

In late-1994, DPRK agreed to freeze its nuclear weapon program in exchange for urgently needed fuel oil, two somewhat ‘proliferation-resistant’ nuclear reactors and future normalization of political and economic relations and a future guarantee that USA would not attack DPRK or attempt regime change in Pyongyang.

However, USA was never serious about sticking to its end of the so-called “Agreed Framework” and after 3-4 years, it became obvious that they were trying take DPRK for a ride. In response, DPRK slowly but surely went about restarting its nuclear weapon program. Long story short.. by early 2002, that agreement was dead when Bush43 officially labelled DPRK as part of the “axis of evil”.

The most important lesson DPRK learned from this episode can be stated as follows: Any agreement with USA is not worth the piece of paper it is written on unless you have the ability to credibly threaten them with nuclear weapons for breaking the agreement. I would go so far as to say that after January 2002, it became virtually impossible for DPRK to ever give up nuclear weapons or the means to deliver them.

Sure.. there were a few attempts after 2002 to restart talks on that or similar agreements, but it was obvious to external observers they were not destined (or even meant) to succeed. However the biggest change in DPRKs policy in both areas came after Kim Jong-un replaced his father, Kim Jong-il. But why would that be so? Why would the son take a far more aggressive stand on these issues than his father?

I believe that it comes down to the era in which they grew up. Both Kim Jong-un’s father and grandfather grew up in an era where white people from predominantly white countries lorded over the world and appeared invincible. He however grew up in an era and environment where he was able to see that white people from predominantly white countries were no smarter, competent or better than somebody like him.

Unlike his father and grandfather, he came of age in an era where the ‘west’ is in terminal decline. He also saw that non-white countries around the world, including neighboring China, were taking the ‘west’ to the cleaners. It is therefore not surprising that after taking over from his father, he decided to pour a lot of personal and resources into the nuclear and missile program.

Interestingly, he did the same for the civilian sectors of DPRK- which suggests that he has a pretty clear plan of action. However western “experts” spend all their time hyping up questionable accounts of his treatment of people who fell out of his favor and masturbate themselves to thoughts of him being a stupid and ego-driven person, when all objective evidence shows him to be a competent, if ruthless, leader.

That is not to say that he is a great human being, but then again Eisenhower was responsible for the death of over 3 million civilians in Korea, Nixon for 3-5 million in Cambodia and Vietnam and Bush43 for about 1 million in Iraq and Afghanistan. My point is that he is no better, or worse, than any generic american president.

In the upcoming post of this series, I will explore how the unwillingness of establishment in USA to confront the fact that they are living in 2017 rather than 1994 is making them do really stupid and useless things which are diminishing their credibility in other countries. I will also 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?

The Next Likely Escalation in USA vs North Korea Conflict: Sep 12, 2017

September 12, 2017 13 comments

As regular readers of this blog know, I have written a few posts about the ongoing ‘situation’ between USA and North Korea over the previous year. For those who are relatively new to this blog, here are a few examples: On the Inability of USA to Stop North Korean Nuclear Weapon Program; Reports of Cyberwar against N. Korean Ballistic Missiles are Likely False; A Quick Analysis of the First North Korean ICBM Test: July 5, 2017 and most recently Continued Inability of USA to Stop N.Korean Nuclear Missile Program.

I have also written a few posts about the factors behind the genesis and continuation of this particular confrontation: The West Has Always Lost Against Determined Adversaries Since WW2; Why was USA Unable to Win Korean War in the 1950s: Apr 22, 2017 and How Racism and Magical Thinking Could Lead to War with North Korea.

To make a long story short, it is my opinion that a mixture of american ego, hubris, racism and magical thinking have been the main factor which created and then sustained this conflict. Now this does not imply that the North Korean regime (especially the Kim Dynasty) are great human beings, to put it mildly. But it is quite clear that their behavior and actions over the previous seven decades have been consistently and highly rational.

I should also point out that USA never had any qualms being super friendly with despots, assholes and mass murderers such as the Saudi dynasty and other Gulf Emirs, Saddam Hussein (before 1989) and Bin Laden (before 1993). In other words, the idea that USA cannot get along with the Kim Dynasty and North Korean regime because of personality cultism and totalitarianism is utterly ridiculous since there is tons of evidence that USA has no problems with despotic regimes, as long as those relationships are profitable to american corporations.

But back to the topic at hand. As you might have heard, yesterday the USA has gotten the security council to approve one more in a seemingly endless series of economic sanctions against the North Korean regime. Of course, these sanctions which were not vetoed by China and Russia were significantly diluted from the first drafts. They do however pose an open challenge to Kim Jong-un and the NK regime, in the wake of their successful hydrogen bomb test.

Based on how things have unfolded till now, I think that North Korean regime will respond in a somewhat unique way. To be more specific, they will test an ICBM at almost-full range such that its warhead will land in the Pacific Ocean off the west coast of USA (or Mexico) just outside the Exclusive economic zone of either country. In other words, they will test an ICBM which will overfly Japan (something they have already done) to land about 250-300 miles of the west coast of USA- likely near its southern border with Mexico.

But it gets better.. I think there is a real chance that they will use a live nuclear warhead (likely a H-bomb instead of a A-bomb) and make it go off over the target area. Yes.. you heard that right. I think that there is a pretty good chance that North Korea will test a nuclear warhead tipped ICBM off the west coast of USA in a way such that it does not violate any of the maritime boundaries and zones of either USA or Mexico.

Here is why I think they will do it..

1] The North Korean regime understands that its survival is linked to the possession of a credible nuclear deterrent- specifically one that can wipe out at least a few large cities in USA. Perhaps more importantly, they know from their previous interactions during the Bill Clinton presidency that the USA cannot be trusted to honor any agreement, treaty or promise it makes with the North Korean regime. So far the USA has been able to bullshit and lie to its citizens that North Korean nukes cannot reach the mainland of USA.

A live nuke-ICBM test will show that all anti-ballistic missile systems deployed by USA are expensive boondoggles. Also, the american government and its “credentialed experts” will no longer be able to claim that North Korean ICBMs and Nukes are not technologically advanced enough to work reliably. After that, USA will not be able to hide behind “expert” techno-babble and other linguistic sophisms designed to minimize the nuclear capability of NK in the eyes of its citizens.

2] As long as the warhead explodes 50-100 km outside the exclusive economic zone of USA or Mexico, neither country can credibly claim that it was an act of war. A nuke going off over the ocean 50 km outside the economic zone of USA is legally no different from a failed satellite or spacecraft crashing into the same point on ocean. Also, the regime in NK has withdrawn from any international treaty which would limit its ability to conduct an atmospheric nuclear test. While the fallout from such a test might reveal some details about the nuclear device being used, it will only bolster previous claims made by North Korea about their nuclear capabilities.

At this stage, the government in USA will be in a pretty odd situation where they cannot really go to war over a test which did not violate the legal boundaries of their country while having to simultaneously face the majority of their angry and scared citizenry. Perhaps more importantly, its vassal governments in South Korea and Japan will realize that any military action by USA will result in the destruction of at least a couple of their major metropolitan areas (example – Seoul Capital Area and Greater Tokyo Area) and the death of tens of millions of their own citizens.

3] While China and Russia have tried to play both sides of the conflict, their recent willingness to vote for economic sanctions against North Korea (even if they are watered down) has pissed off the regime in Pyongyang. Conducting a live Nuke-ICBM test puts both countries in a situation where they have to choose sides. As far as China is concerned, unwillingness to respond to any unprovoked military action or attempt to occupy North Korea would be perceived as extreme humiliation by a western imperialistic country- something that would seriously screw up the public image of the ruling party in that country. Also China has no interest in a refugee influx from North Korea in the event of a war or, even worse, having an american puppet regime on their borders.

Russia, too, has appeared a bit too willing to please the USA even after all the attempts by the later to humiliate it and besmirch its name. The risk of a nuclear conflict and a potential american puppet state on their eastern borders would force them to choose sides. Basically, they are put in a situation where they, like China, would have to side with North Korea to protect their own interests. All that talk about international solidarity, arms control treaties and reestablishing normal relations with USA will mean squat once the moment of truth arrives. In other words, North Korea can force China and Russia to side with it by conducting such a provocative but legally acceptable test.

The clincher, in my opinion, is that it closes off every time delaying option used by USA to prolong this conflict and hope to win by economic attrition. The only option available to USA after such a test are as follows: declare war against North Korea and expose tens of millions of people in South Korea, Japan and USA to almost certain death, in addition to drawing China and Russia into the resulting conflict OR accept that North Korea is a nuclear power and start negotiating with it. The stark and binary nature of choice in the aftermath of such a test is precisely why I think Kim Jong-un and the regime will go for it.

What do you think? Comments?

Continued Inability of USA to Stop N.Korean Nuclear Missile Program

September 3, 2017 9 comments

Almost a year ago, I wrote a post about the main reasons behind inability of USA to stop North Korea’s nuclear weapon and missile program. The main points made were as follows: a] The technology for nuclear weapons is pretty old and not especially complicated, regardless of what old white men with degrees from ivy league schools say; b] China had no interest in stopping North Korea’s nuclear program since the pros of that country possessing its own nukes outweighed the cons of that outcome; c] The North Korean regime was very pragmatic and their desire to posses nuclear weapons and missiles was about self-preservation than any future imperial ambitions.

Since then, I have written posts on developments in that area- from the self-delusions of USA being able to “hack” NK missile launches to the role played by racism and magical thinking in response of USA to North Korea nuclear and missile program. As all of you know by now- NK conducted their sixth, and to date most powerful, underground nuclear test yesterday. While we are still in the zone of incomplete, and often contradictory, information- its is reasonable to assume that yesterdays test, which registered as an earthquake of Richter 6.3 is at least 10 times more powerful than their previous test at Richter 5.2-5.3. In other words, the output of yesterday’s device was at least 150-200 kt.

You might also have seen a series of photos, released a few hours before that test, of Kim Jong-un inspecting a peanut shaped device which looks like the exterior of a thermonuclear device suitable for delivery by a missile. While many “credentialed western experts” are still trying to push the idea that device on display was not similar to the one detonated later that day, I think otherwise. Why should you believe “western experts” who have not been able to make correct, let alone accurate, predictions about the North Korean nuclear and missile program? In my opinion, it is reasonable to assume that NK possess multiple 100-300 kt ‘two-stage’ thermonuclear warheads as well as road-mobile ICBMs with a range sufficient to target large metropolitan areas on the west coast of USA, at the very least.

To put it another way, any attempt by USA to launch an attack (however limited) on North Korea is now as likely to end badly for people living in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco metro areas as it will for people living in Seoul and Tokyo metro areas. Of course, Trump and other american keyboard warriors can still attack North Korea and Kim Jong-un on Twitter by posting ‘spicy’ memes. The reality, however, is that North Korea has now exposed the hollowness of american bluffing about being able to attack it and ‘win’ any subsequent war. As it stands today, any serious war between the two sides will include many tens of millions of dead South Koreans, Japanese and Americans. Regardless of the outcome for North Korea, it is no longer possible for USA to ‘win’ a war against that country.

So will this new reality change the approach of USA in regards to North Korea? Well.. I am not sure that will happen any time soon. Here is why..

1] The vast majority of people occupying executive and administrative positions in the american government are racists who live in a make-believe world. They actually believe that they are an omnipotent and indispensable superpower, regardless of mountains of accumulating evidence to the contrary. It is very likely that they will find it hard to accept that North Korean nuclear warheads and ICBMs are real. Consequently, I expect the american administration to keep on acting as if all those nuclear and missile tests never occurred. We have seen other manifestations of this behavior in response to a number of severe setbacks such as the inevitability of defeat in Iraq, Afghanistan and in the past- Vietnam. Maybe, they will never accept the new reality until a North Korean nuke goes off above one, or more, of their large cities.

2] As many, including myself, have repeatedly pointed out- ‘elites’ in USA retain their positions despite repeated and very public failures. Consequently, a host of amazingly stupid ideas and policies keep on getting implemented and promoted as gospel. In the case of North Korea, we have seen this manifested in the form of repeated and endless talk about “more sanctions”, repeated appeals to China and other assorted ritual behavior. I mean.. if something has not worked for many decades, what makes you think it will work now? But why do all the “serious people” and “credentialed experts” keep on repeating the same talking points? Well.. it comes down to lack of imagination and ideological conformity- with a big dash of racism. The elite in USA, you see, are incapable of imagining a situation where they have to accept the reality of North Korea being a full-fledged nuclear power and negotiating with as an equal nation state.

3] You might have noticed that North Korea has stomped on every single ‘red line’ drawn by successive american administrations. It does not take a genius to figure out that this has not escaped notice by rest of the world. The inability of USA to contain North Korea as well as its defeats in Iraq and Afghanistan merely confirm what many people outside USA have noticed for over a decade now- which is that the USA is somewhere in between an old champion boxer and paper tiger. The inability of USA to slow, let alone stop, the North Korean nuclear weapon and ICBM program makes it look sclerotic and impotent (which it kinda is) to the rest of the world. While this might not be a big problem for other large countries, it is a big one for the USA since a lot of american global influence is based on others believing all the hype, bullshit and lies about american ‘power’ and ‘capabilities’.

4] On another note, it is highly unlikely that China or Russia are going to help USA in containing the NKorean nuclear and ICBM programs. As far as China is concerned, the Nkorean program are a safe and inexpensive way to keep the USA off-balance in that region. It also allows them to constantly humiliate South Korea and Japan by showing their vulnerability to such weapons in spite of american assurances of protection. Furthermore, the Chinese government fully understands that USA will not keep its end of any bargain or deal made to stop the NKorean programs. As far as Russia is concerned, the NKorean programs provide yet another way to publicly humiliate the american establishment. As many of you know, the american ‘deep state’ is itching for a conflict with Russia and had provoked it on numerous occasions in recent past. As far as Russia is concerned, a nuclear ICBM armed NKorea is another tool to make american government look stupid and impotent. While both countries might make some polite noises about containing NKorea, you can be assured that they have no interest in helping the USA.

Will probably write more about this topic in the future..

What do you think? Comments?

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

August 14, 2017 13 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?