“Be very careful” is their sage advice to PDT on North Korea

There is an article on the editorial page of The AFR titled, The West is sleepwalking to war with North Korea. The joint authors are Admiral Chris Barrie, a former Chief of Defence Force and an honorary professor at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Roger Bradbury professor at the National Security College, and Dmitry Brizhinev who is a researcher. All three are at the ANU. And if you want reason to worry, but also gain a deeper insight how we ended up in the mess we are in, read this article. It is almost as terrifying as Kim. Let me begin with this:

In June, Jim Clapper, the recently retired US Director of National Intelligence, spoke at the Australian National University. He made his view clear when he said “there are no acceptable military solutions to the problem of North Korea”. It seems that Washington is not listening to his sage advice.

Maybe “there are no acceptable military solutions” but whatever solutions there are will never include saying things like “there are no acceptable military solutions”. If these people truly believe that Clapper was providing “sage advice” then I have no further reason to think I will learn anything worth knowing about the military by reading what they write. They then naturally go on with their virtue signalling about what a mistake it is that Trump is president:

Unlike the cautiousness of President Kennedy in 1961 over the Cuban Missile Crisis [who almost blundered us into a nuclear war with the soviets], today we have an untrusted and untested leader in Washington whose entire previous career has depended on winning the bluff in the world of business in general, and New York property development in particular. But, even in terms of his business career, Donald Trump has had a record of bankruptcy from which he doesn’t seem to have learnt anything about changing his behaviour.

Kennedy had commanded a PT boat which was sunk in the Pacific in the middle of the war before becoming a senator and then president, all of which no doubt is the kind of background one needs in dealing with a psychopath with his hands on atomic weapons and an ICBM delivery system that can reach both Los Angeles and Sydney. The following outlines where we are at, which seems like a reasonable place to be, even while being as frightening as one can imagine:

We cannot easily dismiss the reasonable likelihood that a trigger event leads to a US pre-emptive strike “intended to disable all North Korean offensive capabilities”.

This is the very idea that should be implanted in the minds of every North Korean leader, and in the minds of their protectors in China and Russia. What else can you do short of war? And this is no doubt part of the American calculation:

[The possibility that] because of imperfect intelligence, the strike fails absolutely, after which the DPRK military unleashes all its remaining capabilities on South Korea and Tokyo.

So here is their inane conclusion:

Does anyone think that Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un are statesmen? Can we imagine either of them having a “Kennedy” moment and walking the world away from war? The potential for this crisis to turn bad is very real – we should all be very careful.

Really, that is their final sentence. But beyond that, how do you make a deal with someone you cannot trust not to do what he is clearly planning to do and will lie without compunction if it suits him? If this is the kind of advice they have, our greatest good luck today is that none of these characters is offering advice directly to the American president.

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68 Responses to “Be very careful” is their sage advice to PDT on North Korea

  1. stackja

    North Korea has been a problem since 1945. Why didn’t JFK do something? Red China could do something.

  2. closeapproximation

    Pre-emptive strike was “unthinkable” 25 years ago, but in retrospect now looks not so bad.

    What will we think in 5-10 years time looking back at what we had the chance to do now – albeit at great cost, but not yet at the cost of a couple of nukes on NY, LA, Sydney ?

  3. stackja

    Close – democracies don’t usually preemptive strike. NK might be a first.

  4. RobK

    You can’t half do embrinkmanship. Of course you have to be careful with any lethal force.

  5. And we’re back to that old meme, Trump is Hitler, Trump is no better then Kim etc.

    One of the significant issues with the ADF is that none of our generals has been involved in a serious war time situation. Their battle scars are paper cuts and sores on their arse, with the exception of Morrison who has ankle injuries from his high heel shoes.

    And if the shit hits the fan, what better time to test out the Australian Women’s and Transgender Defence Force.

  6. Did you ever stop to think that the DPRK had some help? From the US administrations since Clinton in plane loads of money? From the Russians in terms of technology? From the Chinese in terms of conventional weapons?
    Russia and China are presumably #2 and #3 most powerful countries militarily. Would logic not dictate that they would like to be #1? And that the downfall of the West has been plotted since 1950? Did it ever occur to you that the Korean peninsula is the ideal place to wage war with the USA? It is on Russia’s and China’s home turf. Why is it not obvious that the DPRK is a puppet of these two, who would like nothing better than a pre-emptive strike by the USA in order to play good cop, bad cop? Did anyone notice that Russia has recently practiced scurrying to underground shelters and initiating well trained civil defense?
    The strategy is to lure the USA into a strike on Pyongyang.
    The key to defeating the West lies in surprise. It must be obvious that the most effective surprise is when your opponent is dealing with dissension, sowed by the Left, and when it is to some extent crippled by a natural disaster.
    When the Americans take the bait, it will be countered from China and Russia while Kim watches. The rest of us will be pushovers.

  7. stackja

    Rob K – does Kim want brink over? We will probably know soon.

  8. duncanm

    He made his view clear when he said “there are no acceptable military solutions to the problem of North Korea”. It seems that Washington is not listening to his sage advice.

    what a dumb thing to say.

    I guess SK should just lay down and let Kim take over.

    Matthis has a more ‘nuanced’ (as you say) view:

    “It will be a war more serious in terms of human suffering than anything we’ve seen since 1953. It will involve the massive shelling of an ally’s capital, which is one of the most densely packed cities on earth,” Mattis said of Seoul, which boasts a metro area population of 25 million.

    “It would be a war that fundamentally we don’t want,” said Mattis, but “we would win at great cost.”

    Mattis explained that because the threat from North Korea looms so large, and a military confrontation would destroy so much, he, President Donald Trump, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have all made a peaceful solution a top priority.

  9. Myrddin Seren

    Unlike the cautiousness of President Kennedy in 1961 over the Cuban Missile Crisis

    1961 June 3-4: Khrushchev and Kennedy hold summit talks in Vienna regarding the Cuban Missile Crisis

    Didn’t Krushchev boast about running rings around inexperienced JFK ?

    In any event, how did that ‘cautious diplomacy’ work out ?

    1962

    October 22: U.S. military forces go to DEFCON 3

    October 27: An American U-2 is shot down over Cuba killing the pilot, Major Rudolf Anderson

    and the blockade, and so on. A very close thing.

    we have an untrusted and untested leader in Washington

    Well there’s a dispassionate strategic analysis /sarc

    Shows you why the ADF is such a shambles these days.

  10. Arky

    A pre-emptive strike would need to include Beijing, and factor in the likelihood of copping a few hydrogen bombs on the continental USA, wiping out tens of millions in return.
    A strike on Pyongyang alone would change the Chinese’s calculations and might tip it in favour of a first strike of their own.
    Mutually Assured Destruction doesn’t work as a deterrent unless you have the capacity, full preparedness and willingness to use it. You can’t fake it.
    The alternatives include:
    1. To allow North Korea to develop a hydrogen bomb that can be delivered onto the continental USA. One hydrogen bomb can wipe out an entire state. And just put up with the fact that this is the new reality, as we did when China got the bomb. Hope they don’t use it, despite threats to do so. Hope MAD holds. Hope the Chinese and NORKS don’t develop a comprehensive missile shield before our own failing industries do.
    2. Get into a full blown trade war with China in an attempt to strong arm her into deposing Kim. This will collapse the world economy and probably result in nuclear war with China, as her leaders calculate the risks to themselves of internal strife and a closing window to act.
    ..
    In short: there is no feasible solution.
    Anyone got a less bleak outlook?

  11. Mother Lode

    The worship of the Kennedys continues unabated.

    In fact, now that Ted has finally gone means they don’t have to worry about him upsetting any hagiographies or doing something that might smut these newly minted blessed memories.

    I grew up hearing about the colossus that was JFK. It wasn’t until rather later I heard about his diplomatic missteps.

  12. stackja

    JFK was his father’s son.

  13. Arky

    China’s surplus capacity in steelmaking, for example, is bigger than the entire steel production of Japan, America and Germany combined. Rhodium Group, a consulting firm, calculates that global steel production rose by 57% in the decade to 2014, with Chinese mills making up 91% of this increase. In industry after industry, from paper to ships to glass, the picture is the same: China now has far too much supply in the face of shrinking internal demand. Yet still the expansion continues: China’s aluminium-smelting capacity is set to rise by another tenth this year. According to Ying Wang of Fitch, a credit-rating agency, around two billion tonnes of gross new capacity in coal mining will open in China in the next two years.

  14. Arky

    Richard Nixon on his trip to China, from White House tapes released last year:
    Transcript:

    RN: It was not our common beliefs which brought us together. But our, frankly, our common interests and our common hopes. What are those common interests? One is the interests that both us have in maintaining our integrity and our independence. And second is the hope that each of us has to try to build a structure of peace in the Pacific, and going beyond that, in the world. And, uh, and on that point that means that despite a total gulf, a gulf that will continue to exist as long as their communist, and as long as we’re basically a free country, a total gulf in beliefs that people of different faiths, of different beliefs, have got to find a way to live together in this world. And, to, in the case of the People’s Republic of China and the United States of America, the most powerful nation in the world, and the most populous nation in the world, if we, uh, do not find a way to, uh, despite our differences to have discussions, we are on a collision course years ahead, which would be very, very serious. If we do find a way to have discussions as we have started in this instance, there is a better chance that we will not have that collision course years ahead.

  15. Leo G

    Pre-emptive strike was “unthinkable” 25 years ago, but in retrospect now looks not so bad.

    More likely is some trigger event, such as a North Korean torpedo attack on a US warship in international waters, or a missile “test” which targets mainland Japan. The US will necessarily respond with a substantial non-nuclear strike against North Korean targets. China will allow the US to respond to that extent.
    The North Koreans will then believe their regime cannot survive without a nuclear strike against the US or its allies.

  16. Charles

    I’ve never heard of Roger Bradbury, but if he is in any way similar to Chris Barrie or Jim Clapper who are generally regarded as some of the biggest numbskulls on the planetary commentary circuit, then whatever comes out of his mouth would be the sort of rubbish that we can usually afford to ignore.

    Ex-Admiral Barrie is (in)famous for his climate change catastrophist predictions, which are similar in level of panic, and statistically equivalent in their failure to be accurate, as those other more famous examples of poor prediction as Thomas Malthus and Paul Ehrlich. Whatever Barrie cares to make comment on, we can only know one certainty about it, which is that it will be wrong.

    On the other hand Jim Clapper managed as the US national security advisor to find himself on a MSM stage lying to the US public regarding the government spying on its own citizens, only to be exposed when the documents released by Edward Snowden proved quite clearly that they do, in fact quite a lot of it. Of course being a Leftist dolt he was unable to explain how he could maintain his integrity or credibility on a public stage after a statement like this, and hence was dropped from the role.

    To suggest that he could provide sage advice is to give life to the concept that pigs can fly, but there you go, such is the quality of nonsense that passes itself as commentary in the AFR. Best thing to do with this article is to reline the budgie cage with so as to gain some modicum of value from its production, while you wonder at a journalist school that could produce such flawed graduates that they should even report this rubbish to the wider public.

  17. Fat Tony

    Arky – a single hydrogen bomb will not wipe out an entire state.

    Check out the nuke map

    Chances are the Chines gave the Norks a hydrogen bomb (more likely a deuterium boosted fission device) to stir the pot a bit.

  18. RobK

    “Rob K – does Kim want brink over? We will probably know soon.”
    I doubt it but he is keen to let his attributes be known and it is possible that left unchallenged, he or China my get more assertive.

  19. JohnA

    But a reminder:

    What about “salami tactics”?

    If Mr Bad Haircut has seen that he will be careful to avoid putting Mr Trump into a position where he must “push the button”!

  20. J.H.

    Their advice to President Donald Trump….. “Be Careful”.

    My advice to President Donald Trump….. Be Aggressive.

    Making America Great Again, is more than just words on a baseball cap. It requires deeds and boldness. It is time for America’s enemies to “Be Careful”.

  21. jock

    It appears admiral barries strategy for north korea is to drop to the floor and assume the fetal position. Certainly telling your opponent you have no intention of fighting is not a great strategy. Does he prefer kissing butt? Or perhaps he can get a bit of paper signed by kim? Sorry all that has been done before with less than satisfactory tests. I understand that kim is a nut job. Get em in bed kennedy knew he was dealing with reasonably rational people in the ussr. In North Korea there is no such thing. Trump has as good a chance as any past president in sorting this out. Certainly he is better than barry. I think monash and elliot would tell barrie he was a dill.

  22. stackja

    SOUTH TO THE NAKTONG,
    NORTH TO THE YALU
    (June-November 1950)

    CHAPTER I
    Korea and the Background of Conflict

    Every now and then in the history of mankind, events of surpassing importance take place in little-known areas of the earth. And men and women in countries distant from those events whose lives turn into unexpected and unwanted channels because of them can but wonder how it all happened to come about. So it was with Korea in 1950. In this ancient land of high mountains and sparkling streams the United Nations fought its first war.

    For a few days at least after the American landing at Inch’on on 8 September 1945 the Koreans lived in a dream world. They thought this was the end of fifty years of bondage and the beginning of an era of peace, plenty, and freedom from interference by foreign peoples in their lives.

  23. Speedbox

    Did anyone notice that Russia has recently practiced scurrying to underground shelters and initiating well trained civil defense?

    They have been doing that for decades. Not playing down the seriousness of the situation, but my wife (as a young school girl in the USSR) had training sessions on throwing hand grenades. Practice grenades obviously, but the children were assured that the Yanks were coming and would murder them, and their families, if the children didn’t practice defense of the Motherland.

  24. stackja

    UNITED STATES ARMY IN THE KOREAN WAR

    POLICY AND DIRECTION:
    THE FIRST YEAR

    CHAPTER III
    National Defense and the United States Army

    That Korea was considered of little strategic worth to the United States had scarcely been a matter of public knowledge until 12 January 1950, when Secretary of State Dean Acheson said so in a speech at the National Press Club in Washington. Outlining the defensive strategy in the Far East, he excluded Korea and Formosa from the American defensive perimeter.

    In the light of Secretary Acheson’s remarks, it appeared that the United States had no intention of fighting for South Korea. In the view of many observers, his statement was an invitation to Communist China, North Korea, and Russia that they could invade the republic with impunity.

  25. Arky

    Tony.
    The Norks are already at over 100 KTs
    ..
    800 Kilotonnes:

    No survivors. Within tens of minutes, everything within approximately five to seven miles of Midtown Manhattan would be engulfed by a gigantic firestorm. The fire zone would cover a total area of 90 to 152 square miles (230 to 389 square kilometers). The firestorm would rage for three to six hours. Air temperatures in the fire zone would likely average 400 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit (200 to 260 Celsius).

    After the fire burned out, the street pavement would be so hot that even tracked vehicles could not pass over it for days. Buried, unburned material from collapsed buildings throughout the fire zone could burst into flames when exposed to air—months after the firestorm had ended.

    Those who tried to escape through the streets would have been incinerated by the hurricane-force winds filled with firebrands and flames. Even those able to find shelter in the lower-level sub-basements of massive buildings would likely suffocate from fire-generated gases or be cooked alive as their shelters heated to oven-like conditions.

    The fire would extinguish all life and destroy almost everything else. Tens of miles downwind of the area of immediate destruction, radioactive fallout would begin to arrive within a few hours of the detonation.

    ..
    Maybe not completely devastate California, but it would rip the guts out of Rhode Island.
    But even a large state like California would be rendered a disaster zone with a couple of hundred square kilometres of populated area destroyed.

  26. Allen

    Don’t hit at all if it is honourably possible to avoid hitting; but never hit soft.
    Theodore Roosevelt

  27. And if the shit hits the fan, what better time to test out the Australian Women’s and Transgender Defence Force.

    This should spur on the current recruitment drive for women on the grounds of equal numbers of gender by ADF.

  28. zyconoclast

    Close – democracies don’t usually preemptive strike. NK might be a first.

    Wasn’t the post 2001 Iraq attack/invasion a preemptive strike against weapons of mass destruction?

  29. But even a large state like California would be rendered a disaster zone with a couple of hundred square kilometres of populated area destroyed.

    California has been a disaster zone for decades. A nuke in Silicon Valley and Hollywood wouldn’t result in too many tears as far as the rest of the US is concerned.

  30. Arky

    Wasn’t the post 2001 Iraq attack/invasion a preemptive strike against weapons of mass destruction?

    ..
    Yes.
    But we were able to do that fairly comfortable in the knowledge they didn’t actually have any.

  31. C.L.

    The joint authors are Admiral Chris Barrie …

    LOL.

  32. Fat Tony

    Arky – the real damage is done by the firestorms, as Hiroshima & Nagasaki demonstrated, and is described in your scenario.

    Perhaps, if the Russians could drop an 800 kT jobby on Canberra, we could check out the effects ourselves.
    The resultant toll would not be like Manhattan because there is only bush to burn around Canberra.

    However, it would not destroy NSW, Victoria or the ACT.

    Do you have any Russian friends?? (Asking for a friend).

  33. Eyrie

    Would anyone in the rest of Australia care if that happened to Canberra? I sure as hell wouldn’t go to war over it.

  34. egg_

    Would anyone in the rest of Australia care if that happened to Canberra?

    The NorKs could drop a MOAB on GetUp! Central?
    TMITS couldn’t give a rats.

  35. Myrddin Seren

    But even a large state like California would be rendered a disaster zone with a couple of hundred square kilometres of populated area destroyed.

    Interesting discussion from some time back at E.M. Smith’s place

    EMP – A Summary Starting Point

    Bombing a city or two would be a statement – and last words – from Kim Jong Beer Pig. Probably see the POTUS lose the next election, and life would carryon for most of the country.

    If you really wanted to mete out punishment to the USA or any industrialised region, orbitally detonate a handful of nukes in a pattern:

    So that is the “worst possible scenario”, IMHO. A few nukes on orbit that we can’t finger, and then a staccato of EMPS as they pass overhead.

    With that pattern, you have near 100% destruction of the power grid and most everything plugged into it. Even small devices are mostly fried.

    Some folks, like me, taking stuff out of deep storage can have some lights on, and a radio to listen to??? Who? Radio Moscow? The BBC? Telling us we’re now a 1700s rural agrarian society again?

    Except almost everyone is in cities with no working water supply, fuel supply, food supply, heat, cooling, lighting, or communications.

    Were I running the “get America” planning group in Iran or North Korea, it is exactly what I would do. Stealth, deception, surprise attack, and utter collapse. Our nuclear subs can completely destroy them, but how do you know which ones to destroy? And then what?

    If humble bloggers are thinking about it – you can be assured far more hostile people are thinking about it.

  36. Walter Plinge

    The time: 1939.
    ” The potential for this crisis to turn bad is very real – we should all be very careful.”
    Churchill: “Bollocks.”

  37. Oh come on

    I suspect this will force China and the US into each other’s arms. We already know that the US has been able to pinpoint the location of Kim Jong-un in real time in the past. With the addition of Chinese intel (which I expect would be a lot more detailed than what the West can provide), I’d say we could expect this targeting to improve a lot, making a large-scale decapitation strike against the NK leadership feasible. This could be followed up by a joint Sino-US shock and awe campaign against certain targets to totally demoralise any remnants of the NK military and convince them that the regime is finished and any further resistance is futile. Commence massive food aid and information drops – undo as much of 70 years’ of brainwashing and isolation in a few days. Then, as life without the Kims is no longer unthinkable, send in a several hundred thousand strong Chinese peacekeeping force (perhaps under the auspices of the UN) which will restore order, remove any vestiges of the Kim dynasty and its nuclear programme, install a pro-Beijing puppet government which will carry out Chinese-style market reforms, and then the bulk of Chinese forces will leave its new client state.

    Of course, this is a terribly risky plan (if you strike at a king, you must kill him) that could lead to full-scale war. However, given that the alternative is most likely to be full scale war, it’s worth a shot.

  38. Oh come on

    The only way I see a relatively bloodless transfer of power in NK being possible is if the Chinese are fully on board with the plan and they are set to inherit the country.

  39. Arky

    The only way I see a relatively bloodless transfer of power in NK being possible is if the Chinese are fully on board with the plan and they are set to inherit the country.

    ..
    Yes.
    And Grigory will invade the sock drawer and inherit Candy and Robbie Mc.

  40. Muddy

    Myrddin Seren.
    More than humble bloggers have been considering the potential devastating effects of an Electro-Magnetic Pulse weapon for some time. The U.S. Center for Security Policy, for example.

    It was not Clapper’s role as the Director of National Intelligence to also investigate military options. Nor would he have been asked for his opinion, as this was not his area of ‘expertise.’

  41. Empire GTHO Phase III

    I suspect this will force China and the US into each other’s arms. We already know that the US has been able to pinpoint the location of Kim Jong-un in real time in the past. With the addition of Chinese intel (which I expect would be a lot more detailed than what the West can provide), I’d say we could expect this targeting to improve a lot, making a large-scale decapitation strike against the NK leadership feasible. This could be followed up by a joint Sino-US shock and awe campaign against certain targets to totally demoralise any remnants of the NK military and convince them that the regime is finished and any further resistance is futile. Commence massive food aid and information drops – undo as much of 70 years’ of brainwashing and isolation in a few days. Then, as life without the Kims is no longer unthinkable, send in a several hundred thousand strong Chinese peacekeeping force (perhaps under the auspices of the UN) which will restore order, remove any vestiges of the Kim dynasty and its nuclear programme, install a pro-Beijing puppet government which will carry out Chinese-style market reforms, and then the bulk of Chinese forces will leave its new client state.

    That would be the least worse outcome, but it doesn’t seem possible at the moment.

    Chinese style market reforms have already been implemented. There is a black economy run by women, but still we see an impoverished population of 25 odd million people with fuck all energy or infrastructure. What does DPRK really have offer PRC? Coal and iron? Phat Phuc is worth more to PRC as a stone in Uncle Sam’s shoe than as a client state.

    Until the US can inflict more pain on PRC than DPRK inflicts on the US, there is no incentive to act.

  42. In short: there is no feasible solution.
    Anyone got a less bleak outlook?

    Good Arkynalysis.

  43. Myrddin Seren.
    More than humble bloggers have been considering the potential devastating effects of an Electro-Magnetic Pulse weapon for some time. The U.S. Center for Security Policy, for example.

    This is perhaps an even bigger problem than already imagined.

    The Yanks are working on hardening electronics against EMP attack, at least for critical systems, but even that is a problem, as it represents a closing window of opportunity. The US is also closing the gaps in their naval defences.

    Many wars have begun based on fear of opportunity Windows closing. The entire Fat Boy Kim dick pulling routine can easily be a distraction for something else entirely. Drawing the US into war may well be the goal, but Trump would be best served by keeping them all in the dark.

  44. Myrddin Seren

    The Yanks are working on hardening electronics against EMP attack, at least for critical systems, but even that is a problem, as it represents a closing window of opportunity.

    Meanwhile back in Veneztralia, governments at all levels are working tirelessly to prevent a crippling DPRK EMP strike by dismantling our electrical grid as fast as possible.

    ‘Take that, Kim Jong Beer Pig !’ yell the combined leaders of the Federal and State level parties.
    ‘Take that’ as the last of the lights dim.

  45. Haidee

    Philip Ayres thinks the initiation of a process leading to a peace treaty on the peninsula is the way to go; gradually bringing in North Korea from the cold. And he’s wagering that the process has already begun in Washington, with Pyongyang in the loop.

  46. stackja

    TRUMP TRADE THREAT ‘UNACCEPTABLE’: CHINA
    Associated Press
    34 minutes ago
    China says US President Donald Trump’s threat to cut off trade with countries that deal with North Korea is unacceptable and unfair.

    Trump said on Twitter the United States is considering halting trade with “any country doing business with North Korea.”

    His remarks came after North Korea detonated a nuclear device in its sixth and most powerful test on Sunday.

    Geng Shuang, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, told reporters in Beijing on Monday that China regarded as “unacceptable a situation in which on the one hand we work to resolve this issue peacefully but on the other hand our own interests are subject to sanctions and jeopardised.

    “This is neither objective nor fair.”

    China is the North’s closest ally and commercial partner.

    Asked whether Beijing would support tougher UN sanctions such as cutting off oil supplies to North Korea, Geng said whatever happened would depend on discussions among council members.

    Geng said China, one of five permanent Security Council members with power to veto UN actions, would take part in a “responsible and constructive way.”

    He also expressed frustration at Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s comment that Beijing had a responsibility to influence North Korea due to its status as the North’s main trading partner.

    “We keep stressing that we cannot solely rely on China to resolve this issue,” Geng said. “We need all parties to work in the same direction.

  47. Menai Pete

    Douglas Macarthur, in an interview posthumously published in 1964, said:

    “Of all the campaigns of my life, 20 major ones to be exact, [Korea was] the one I felt most sure of was the one I was deprived of waging. I could have won the war in Korea in a maximum of 10 days…. I would have dropped between 30 and 50 atomic bombs on his air bases and other depots strung across the neck of Manchuria…. It was my plan as our amphibious forces moved south to spread behind us—from the Sea of Japan to the Yellow Sea—a belt of radioactive cobalt. It could have been spread from wagons, carts, trucks and planes…. For at least 60 years there could have been no land invasion of Korea from the north. The enemy could not have marched across that radiated belt.”

  48. stackja

    Menai Pete
    #2488445, posted on September 4, 2017 at 8:18 pm
    Douglas Macarthur

    On the other side of the world from the combat zone in Korea, COMINT assisted the war effort by exposing Soviet spies in key positions. In Washington and London, Donald Maclean and Guy Burgess, British diplomats, and some colleagues were able to provide the Soviets with detailed information from the highest levels about U.S. atomic bomb stockpiles, U.S. and British policy prior to the Korean War, war plans, and – perhaps most important of all – the restrictions on U.S. commanders in Asia which prevented them from carrying the war to Soviet or Chinese territory.

  49. Andrew

    Their comments were no more stupid than Julie Bitchop on the weekend.

  50. Rob MW

    Does anyone think that Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un are statesmen? Can we imagine either of them having a “Kennedy” moment and walking the world away from war? The potential for this crisis to turn bad is very real – we should all be very careful.

    Unbelievable. So I guess that all past U.S Presidents, that made the unwise decisions that led to this point, are released from any responsibility along with the diplomatically timid responses by the UN Security Council.

    The parallel universe is at full capacity with the addition of these village idiots.

  51. cynical1

    The Choom gang were unavailable for comment.

    Hilary was too hungover to comment.

  52. China says US President Donald Trump’s threat to cut off trade with countries that deal with North Korea is unacceptable and unfair.

    They’re at “unfair” already? Do they still think they’re dealing with Obozo?

  53. max

    End the Empire Now

    Everyone knows there are no military «options» the U.S. could use against North Korea that don’t result in disaster.

    Whether anyone likes it or not, North Korea is a nuclear weapons state outside the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and will remain so. Kim Jong-un learned the lessons of Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi. Because Kim has weapons of mass destruction, especially nukes, he gets to stay alive and in power.

    There is no combination of U.S. sanctions, threats, or pressures that will make Beijing take steps that are fundamentally contrary to China’s vital national security interests.

    After Moscow’s experience with the expansion of NATO following the 1990 reunification of Germany, why would Beijing take credibly any assurances from Washington (of which there is no indication anyway) not to expand into a vacuum created by a collapse of North Korea?

    It’s time that «America First!» meant something.

    By James George Jatras

    Amazingly, six decades after the end of the 1950 Korean War, South Korea’s 650,000-man active armed forces and 4.2 million-man reserves remain under the command of a US four-star general.
    This neo-colonial arrangement was supposed to have ended years ago, but successive conservative South Korean governments maintained their nation’s acceptance of Washington’s Asian Raj. So does Japan.

    North Korea, by contrast, constantly harangues South Koreans that their nation is a US ‘puppet’ and ‘colony’ run by traitors. Pyongyang insists that North Korea is the authentic Korean state while the South is a mere US/Japanese colony. Many young South Koreans absorb such claims; some are even proud of North Korea for standing up to the mighty United States even though South Korea’s economy is 45 times larger than that of threadbare North Korea.

    Kim Jong-il’s bombastic challenge to President Trump is emboldening Korean nationalists. Many point to the fact that North Korea developed nuclear weapons and delivery systems on its own while South Korea was stopped from doing so by US pressure in the 1970’s.

    At the same time, North Koreans are jumping for joy that their nation just launched a medium-range missile over Japan that panicked and humiliated the much hated Japanese. The missile launch came on the anniversary of Japan’s takeover of Korea as a colony in 1910. Imperial Japan exploited and humiliated the proud Koreans, treating them as sub-humans. Koreans have never forgotten. Many long for revenge.

    That’s what Kim Jong-un is doing.

    The second North Korean missile to fly over Japan makes painfully clear that Japan must have nuclear weapons to defend itself, something this writer has been urging for years.

    China’s Foreign Ministry has proposed the obvious, sensible solution to this trumped-up crisis: the US to cease its provocative annual air, land and naval demonstration around North Korea’s borders in return for the North outing a moratorium on its provocative missile tests. So far, Washington has refused this sensible solution.

    Meanwhile, in a little-noticed, menacing statement, China’s Ministry of Defense just warned that China ‘would not allow’ US or South Korea troops to enter North Korea. This is a very serious warning that deserves utmost attention in Washington.

    It reminds me of Imperial Russia’s warning Austro-Hungary not to invade Serbia in the fall of 1914 – or else. The ‘or else’ came: World War I. And, of course, Mao’s China warning US Gen. Douglas MacArthur not to cross the Yalu River in 1950 – or else. Soon after, 500,000 Chinese troops invaded Korea.

    By Eric Margolis

  54. Jannie

    The worship of the Kennedys continues unabated.

    It always puzzled me how it was that a 390 foot Japanese Destroyer was able up sneak up on a 80 foot torpedo boat. Where was the watch? Supposedly Kennedy was running on one motor to avoid leaving a wake, but that explains nothing. Its also a question as to why he was not court martialled for losing his ship by collision. It looks like a media story and his old man acted to cover up and protect him from standard naval protocols.

    As for the Norks dropping on New York, well its not all downside.

  55. Fisky

    Hey SRR, it would be awesome if Trump took out the Norks, right?

  56. iain russell

    I don’t understand why Obama’s magnificent handling of this situation goes unmentioned. In his eight years at the helm NK disarmed and disassembled all its nukes, the border with SK was reopened totally and the process of reunification had begun. No nuke tests on Obama’s watch. All this magnificence has been undone in the seven months of Trumpdom

  57. alan sivkoff

    this barrie chap, was he the one that inflicted the moaning shindy on the Aust taxpayer?

  58. areff

    Perhaps, if the Russians could drop an 800 kT jobby on Canberra

    A warm and cosy thought to savour as one falls asleep in a house with a $900 quarterly electricity bill.

  59. Kneel

    “Does anyone think that Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un are statesmen?”

    Trump has done what years of appeasement by Obummer and co could not – gave Kim pause.
    If he even thinks Trump is as fruit-loopy as the MSM say he is, it will give him pause.

    Obummer said “we will not use nuclear weapons no matter what” – totally the WRONG thing to say to someone like Saddam or Kim. Those guys need to hear “we will not use them first, but if you use weapons of mass destruction against us, you WILL be obliterated from the face of the earth by our response – whether that is nuclear/chemical/biological or conventional is OUR choice, but make no mistake, the response will be the complete and utter destruction of any and all who attack our lands. You have been warned – proceed at your own peril.”

  60. Oh come on

    Chinese style market reforms have already been implemented.

    No, they haven’t, really not at all.

    China does not want to be threatened by NK thermonuclear weapons. It also does not wish for the nuclear balance in the region to alter against its interests if SK and/or Japan decide to field their own nuclear deterrent. If the Chinese and US could reach some kind of grand bargain over NK, there would be tremendous benefits for both sides.

    And China simply turning off the oil won’t work. The Norks anticipated the possibility of this and have stockpiled a crap tonne of oil.

    The Kims will never give up their nuclear programme – not for the Yanks, not for China, not for the UN. North Korean warheads and delivery systems guarantee the Kim dynasty moreso than anything else. Destroying these weapons and/or overthrowing the Kims means a terrible, massively destructive war. The Kims have (probably correctly) calculated that, if given a choice between fighting such a war and accommodating NK as a Kim family business protected by nuclear weapons, the countries that’ll need to do the invading and suffer the consequences of such action will gravitate towards the latter choice.

    That’s why the third option of decapitating the leadership of this steepest of power structures is such an attractive proposition. The chaos that the North could rain down on Seoul and Japan requires someone capable of giving the order. However if all such people who could give this order are dead, it’s a calamity averted. However, the likelihood of the US successfully pulling off the kind of surgical strike that wouldn’t presage a massively disruptive war is minuscule without China’s close cooperation.

    Don’t think the Chinese won’t work with the US to overthrow the Kims. His regime is fast becoming intolerable to just about anyone with a strategic interest in the region – and the greater the interest, the greater the degree of intolerance. And it wouldn’t be the first time in history that a shared set of interests has created an unlikely partnership.

  61. Oh come on

    destructive war, but disruptive, too, I suppose

  62. Oh come on

    Obummer said “we will not use nuclear weapons no matter what”

    I believe Obama said this in 2008 during the Dem primaries. I remarked at the time that this statement alone ought to disqualify him as a Presidential candidate. You never take the nukes off the table. Ever.

    Luckily, Obama was lying. If he truly meant what he said, he would have unilaterally dismantled the US nuclear arsenal and radically reformed the US military when in office. There is no point maintaining a nuclear arsenal if you have already declared to all potential adversaries that you’ll never use it. Which means the colossally expensive cost of maintaining the nuclear triad (imagine all the platforms that could be shitcanned! All those silos in Montana, Trident, the Ohio-class, the B1 and B2…) could be diverted to worthier causes like government-subsidised gender reassignment surgery for toddlers and so on.

  63. Myrddin Seren

    All those silos in Montana, Trident, the Ohio-class, the B1 and B2…) could be diverted to worthier causes like government-subsidised gender reassignment surgery for toddlers and so on.

    Obama Lied – Trannies Died !!

    Now there’s a protest march chant.

    Followed by:

    Two, Four, Six, Eightia ! What do we want ?! Lactatia !!

  64. Woolfe

    From Michael Yon on his Facebook page

    NORK: Just after the latest detonation, I asked a well-connected friend what he and his contacts think.

    He is connected very high in the USG. One day, he took me up to Condoleeza Rice’s office but she was not around. I always liked her and would have been good to say hello. She should have ran for President.

    His response:

    Sorry for the late response. I thought it was a posting and I saved it for reading. I didn’t see it was a question just to me.

    Anyway, my contacts at DoD and DoS say different things, mostly tracking their mission, but agree, in different words, on one thing:

    The test is a red line and the bet by Russia, China, and DPRK is that the US will not cross it.

    It is becoming increasingly apparent that the DPRK is the sock puppet of an international conspiracy headed by Russia and China to destabilize the Pacific and the adjacent east and southeast Asian landmass.

    To not cross the red line and PUNISH the DPRK is to throw Seoul under the bus, which is exactly the same as throwing Japan and the wider southeast Asian nations, plus Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and in the long run, India under the bus. American credibility is being severely tested, which is precisely the goal of China and Russia. The DPRK is the low risk/high reward stooge in this massive geopolitical power play, but given their resources and dependence on the kindness of “strangers”, they have no choice in this game of brinkmanship.

    Generally, both the DoD and DoS agree that war is the only long term solution to this issue. It is an international crisis perpetrated by wanna-be global powers to bring down the US’s influence in the Pacific and diminish the US maritime reach (military, trade, influence, and defense).

    Put the foreign policy of the Obama and Clinton administrations into the equation, you will see why Russia and China are playing this game. They may actually have US nuclear codes (they’ve no doubt changed by now, but merely knowing old ones says a lot about the new ones). Obama did publicly release the exact, precise, number of nuclear weapons, from which any idiot could accurately extrapolate the various platforms, throws, and targets. In other words, our national nuclear arsenal has been compromised for eight years.

    Given Obama’s radical draw down of the defense budget and the wear and tear on our existing equipment in the Middle East (don’t doubt Iran is in on this deal with Russia and China), the US is clearly in a compromised offensive posture.

    But, to allow DPRK to get away with this provocation means we lose the Pacific and China will see this as a green light to run amok and seize whatever they want and intimidate the rest.

    Generally, my contacts see war or capitulation.

  65. Isn’t Taiwan being quiet?
    Vewwy vewwy quiet.

  66. Woolfe:
    Interesting scenario.
    Domestic Front –
    Trump repairs the damage done by O’Bama to the defence forces.
    Wedges the Left when he puts them in a position of demanding he ‘do’ something about China/DPRK if he leaves the problem to the UN.

    Foreign Front –
    Encourages an effective Asian coalition to form against China, including India.
    Trump is making the West carry their share of the defence cost.
    The UN is embroiled in the whole affair – remember that this is all the UNs problem. The Norks repudiated the Ceasefire on 27 May 09. Trump is handing the entire problem back to the UN, much in line with what he is doing elsewhere.

  67. Oh come on

    NORK: Just after the latest detonation, I asked a well-connected friend what he and his contacts think.

    He is connected very high in the USG. One day, he took me up to Condoleeza Rice’s office but she was not around. I always liked her and would have been good to say hello. She should have ran for President.

    His response:

    Sorry for the late response. I thought it was a posting and I saved it for reading. I didn’t see it was a question just to me.

    Anyway, my contacts at DoD and DoS say different things

    Sorry but I’ve learnt to be very suspicious of people claiming extremely highly placed sources that reveal extraordinary insider intel.

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