Join In On The Action "Register Here" To View The Forums

Already a Member Login Here

Board index Forum Index
User avatar
Statesman
 
Posts: 10796
Joined: 15 Aug 2000, 8:59 am

Post 27 Sep 2017, 6:37 am

dag
It seems pretty clear that you are willing to simply live with a nuked up NK. Is that a fair assessment of what you've argued so far? That it would be better to live on the edge than to guarantee suffering and destruction?


The issue is, what is the alternative on offer? If NK does not respond to increased sanctions or diplomacy ... then the only option you seem to offer is military intervention.
Which will inevitably lead to the destruction of the Korean peninsula. Perhaps much of Japan and even more...
If the alternative to living with a nuclear NK is that level of death and destruction....
Is it really the preferred alternative?

Put it this way, I believe, and from what I've read most military leaders in the US believe, that you cannot eliminate the threat of the destruction of the Korean peninsula militarily. No matter what level of strike is attempted, NK will still be able to retaliate and probably with nukes...

So what would a first strike by the US accomplish? To destroy the Korean peninsula in order to save it .... is illogical. (VietNam anyone?)
On the other hand I think that NK is as likely to use their nukes as a first strike option as any other nuclear nation. That is, NOT. I do think that having nuclear might embolden NK to attempt another type of military strike on SK .... but then it is important he understand that the response will be the same as if he uses nukes . The deterrence of total destruction seems to have worked with everyone else so far...
Why abandon the tried and true for virtually guaranteed results that mirror the outcome you are trying to avoid in the first place>?
User avatar
Ambassador
 
Posts: 20737
Joined: 15 Jun 2002, 6:53 am

Post 27 Sep 2017, 7:09 am

rickyp wrote:dag
It seems pretty clear that you are willing to simply live with a nuked up NK. Is that a fair assessment of what you've argued so far? That it would be better to live on the edge than to guarantee suffering and destruction?


The issue is, what is the alternative on offer? If NK does not respond to increased sanctions or diplomacy ... then the only option you seem to offer is military intervention.
Which will inevitably lead to the destruction of the Korean peninsula. Perhaps much of Japan and even more...
If the alternative to living with a nuclear NK is that level of death and destruction....
Is it really the preferred alternative?

Put it this way, I believe, and from what I've read most military leaders in the US believe, that you cannot eliminate the threat of the destruction of the Korean peninsula militarily. No matter what level of strike is attempted, NK will still be able to retaliate and probably with nukes...

So what would a first strike by the US accomplish? To destroy the Korean peninsula in order to save it .... is illogical. (VietNam anyone?)
On the other hand I think that NK is as likely to use their nukes as a first strike option as any other nuclear nation. That is, NOT. I do think that having nuclear might embolden NK to attempt another type of military strike on SK .... but then it is important he understand that the response will be the same as if he uses nukes . The deterrence of total destruction seems to have worked with everyone else so far...
Why abandon the tried and true for virtually guaranteed results that mirror the outcome you are trying to avoid in the first place>?


Round and round you go. It's simple:

If NK does not respond to sanctions, then there are two options:

1. Engage militarily. That *may* result in the massive consequences you cite, but it may not. We may be so successful that the damage is contained to mostly NK.

2. Live with it. That *may* result in portions of the US being wiped off the map. I'd suggest that an American President has to be primarily concerned with this and work to minimize the risk of it, even if the risk to our allies increases. That's his/her job.
User avatar
Emissary
 
Posts: 1501
Joined: 15 Oct 2002, 9:34 pm

Post 27 Sep 2017, 12:07 pm

Rickyp wrote:

So what would a first strike by the US accomplish?


My initial post was attempting to examine the morality of taking out Kim, not striking the nation necessarily. I'm curious as to what happens if he is removed. It's impossible for you to tell me what will happen based on your own arguments.

Rickyp wrote:

Why abandon the tried and true for virtually guaranteed results that mirror the outcome you are trying to avoid in the first place>?


You missed the point of my last post. Here's the answer to your question..

CRAZY QUOTIENT

That's the one ingredient you haven't dealt with in your arguments, though I've tried to underscore its importance to the calculus.
User avatar
Statesman
 
Posts: 10796
Joined: 15 Aug 2000, 8:59 am

Post 27 Sep 2017, 5:10 pm

dag
My initial post was attempting to examine the morality of taking out Kim, not striking the nation necessarily


I don't know that, if Kim were some how assassinated ... that the reaction would be any different then if the nation were struck.
I think that assassinating him is largely a pipe dream. And that, in the incredibly unlikely event that it did occur, the consequences of doing so are more than likely the same as an invasion.Retaliation with the entire arsenal available to whomever takes over...
Morality? Killing him would be a good thing.... He is, if there is anything that can be described as such, evil.
However, The consequences? Probably terrible. (Unless he's done in by his own people ......)

Fate
1. Engage militarily. That *may* result in the massive consequences you cite, but it may not. We may be so successful that the damage is contained to mostly NK.

well, I've previously pointed to military analysts who say the pennisula would be destroyed. You engage in wishful thinking.

Fate
2. Live with it. That *may* result in portions of the US being wiped off the map. I'd suggest that an American President has to be primarily concerned with this and work to minimize the risk of it, even if the risk to our allies increases. That's his/her job.

First, the threat to the US is tiny. Second the threat to SK and Japan is enormous.
Second: The US has lived for decades under the threat of total destruction (from Russia or China).... You should be used to it. And every President since Kennedy has, I'm certain been primarily concerned with minimizing that risk. (Although I suspect Trump doesn't really comprehend...)
Since Kennedy, they have been successful without starting a war with either country.
That seems to me to be the one demonstrably positive outcome anyone can point to... and it should inform the current and future administrations about the most likely strategy to avoid nuclear conflagration or even a horribly destructive non-nuclear war.
User avatar
Ambassador
 
Posts: 20737
Joined: 15 Jun 2002, 6:53 am

Post 27 Sep 2017, 5:22 pm

rickyp wrote:Fate
2. Live with it. That *may* result in portions of the US being wiped off the map. I'd suggest that an American President has to be primarily concerned with this and work to minimize the risk of it, even if the risk to our allies increases. That's his/her job.

First, the threat to the US is tiny.

What is the threat to Canada? Oh, none?

I see.

Second the threat to SK and Japan is enormous.


Yes, that's why it needs to be removed.

Second: The US has lived for decades under the threat of total destruction (from Russia or China).... You should be used to it. And every President since Kennedy has, I'm certain been primarily concerned with minimizing that risk. (Although I suspect Trump doesn't really comprehend...)


He's been the only jackass with enough common sense to realize leaving a madman with a nuclear weapon is a bad idea.

You are welcome to your ideas, but they all leave American lives in the hands of a nut--that bothers . . . Americans.

Since Kennedy, they have been successful without starting a war with either country.
That seems to me to be the one demonstrably positive outcome anyone can point to... and it should inform the current and future administrations about the most likely strategy to avoid nuclear conflagration or even a horribly destructive non-nuclear war.


Stop trying to compare normal people with insane ones. Please.
User avatar
Ambassador
 
Posts: 20737
Joined: 15 Jun 2002, 6:53 am

Post 27 Sep 2017, 5:24 pm

rickyp wrote:Fate
2. Live with it. That *may* result in portions of the US being wiped off the map. I'd suggest that an American President has to be primarily concerned with this and work to minimize the risk of it, even if the risk to our allies increases. That's his/her job.

First, the threat to the US is tiny.


What is the threat to Canada? Oh, none?

I see.

Second the threat to SK and Japan is enormous.


Yes, that's why it needs to be removed.

Second: The US has lived for decades under the threat of total destruction (from Russia or China).... You should be used to it. And every President since Kennedy has, I'm certain been primarily concerned with minimizing that risk. (Although I suspect Trump doesn't really comprehend...)


He's been the only jackass with enough common sense to realize leaving a madman with a nuclear weapon is a bad idea.

You are welcome to your ideas, but they all leave American lives in the hands of a nut--that bothers . . . Americans.

Since Kennedy, they have been successful without starting a war with either country.
That seems to me to be the one demonstrably positive outcome anyone can point to... and it should inform the current and future administrations about the most likely strategy to avoid nuclear conflagration or even a horribly destructive non-nuclear war.


Stop trying to compare normal people with insane ones. Please.
User avatar
Statesman
 
Posts: 10796
Joined: 15 Aug 2000, 8:59 am

Post 28 Sep 2017, 2:28 pm

Fate
You are welcome to your ideas, but they all leave American lives in the hands of a nut--that bothers . . . Americans.


Just to be clear,the nut, your talking about is Trump right?
User avatar
Ambassador
 
Posts: 20737
Joined: 15 Jun 2002, 6:53 am

Post 28 Sep 2017, 3:17 pm

rickyp wrote:Fate
You are welcome to your ideas, but they all leave American lives in the hands of a nut--that bothers . . . Americans.


Just to be clear,the nut, your talking about is Trump right?


Oh, my sides ache from the laughter.

You really don't get it. If those nukes were pointing at Toronto, you'd take it a little more seriously.

Then again, maybe mental illness is something that you're comfortable with.
User avatar
Emissary
 
Posts: 1501
Joined: 15 Oct 2002, 9:34 pm

Post 29 Sep 2017, 5:25 pm

It looks our intelligence community has enough evidence to believe that Bad Hair Cut #1 is planning to test another H Bomb in the Pacific. Probably not enough evidence for Rickyp.

When he does this, I am for taking him out. Not laying the country to waste mind you but taking him out personally. If NK responds after his removal with missiles fired at anyone, then we take those missiles out. If their army attacks SK, we take out their military. We hit them so hard and with such fury they see it's simply not worth it.

Rickyp, your position is flat out wrong.

This man is beyond crazy.
User avatar
Emissary
 
Posts: 1501
Joined: 15 Oct 2002, 9:34 pm

Post 29 Nov 2017, 8:58 am

Take him out!
User avatar
Ambassador
 
Posts: 20737
Joined: 15 Jun 2002, 6:53 am

Post 29 Nov 2017, 9:22 am

dag hammarsjkold wrote:Take him out!


What, before he nukes us? How presumptive!

He is, imnsho, a clear and present danger.
User avatar
Adjutant
 
Posts: 22
Joined: 19 Jun 2014, 7:17 am

Post 01 Dec 2017, 11:25 am

I think it's dangerous to simply write-off Kim Jong Un as a "lunatic" or "crazy". There's a reason why experts on North Korea do not categorize him as such.

All three of the Kims have been ruthless, brutal, belligerent, and seemingly unpredictable to the American mind. However, there is a very cold logic that underlies the actions they take for each audience they deal with: the North Korean population, the inner circle of cadres around them, and the international community. That logic is always about self-preservation and, to a degree, maintaining the status quo.

I strongly recommend reading The Cleanest Race by Bryan Reynolds Myers to get a better understanding of how the actions of the Kims has supported those goals of self-preservation and keeping the status quo. If not, at least skim the Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cleanest_Race

North Koreans are not an apocalyptic people. There is no concept similar to Christianity's Judgement Day in which the wicked are removed and the righteous survive. As such, there is not a desire to engage in any kind of existential war with their enemies. The reason for developing nuclear weapons and ICBMs isn't to actually strike the United States, but to make any kind of military conflict with North Korea so unimaginably awful that no western power would dare try it. Yes, this is classic deterrence theory. Even on the more conventional front, North Korea knows that in any conflict which it initiated, China would not provide man-power assistance in the way it did in 1950, either for offensive or defensive purposes. China may be willing to risk confrontation over Taiwan, but not over what it essentially views as a tributary state.

And this gets to maintaining the status quo. From time to time, North Korea engages in some belligerent behavior - sinking a South Korean ship, lobbing mortars across the DMZ, threatening brimstone and fire (by the way, North Korea's insults are just absolutely top-notch on creativity) - and it does so to maintain the current state of affairs. North Korea, by which I mean the regime, cannot survive on its own internal resources, no matter how much it is willing to brutalize its people. If it could, it would retreat into its shell, completely seal all borders, and basically never speak to anyone. Since it can't, it has to periodically reach out. However, its ethno-nationalist ideology does not allow for handouts. It has to feel like it's taking what it needs, not being gifted things out of mercy because others pity it. The cycle of belligerence - crisis - pullback is fundamentally about ensuring a steady supply of resources that it doesn't have to pay for (since it can't).

North Korea lives perpetually on the brink of catastrophe and that's by design. The west will not allow tens of millions of innocent people to starve to death. It's fundamentally antithetical to our culture and so when that gets too close to happening, we send food and medicine, like after the famine in the 1990s. From 1995 to 2008, the United States provided $1.3 billion in humanitarian aid. 2017 saw the first shipment in 9 years, $900,000 worth, because North Korea is once again teetering on the edge of a famine. On the other side, China does not want tens of millions of impoverished North Korean refugees streaming across the border, so it sends industrial aid like coal and steel (typically paid for with North Korean slave labor, for what it's worth).

This is the fundamental balance. Pyongyang must feel that it does not face a threat to its very existence, so it builds up defenses - including the ultimate defense. It must also strike a balance between being belligerent enough that it can't be ignored so that attention is constantly focused on its delicate balancing act. It's extortion, yes. It also works.

As for taking out the Kim regime, I am conflicted. I'm appalled that a country like North Korea exists in the 21st century. I have read many books of first-person accounts from defectors (Nothing to Envy, The Aquariums of Pyongyang, Escape from Camp 14, etc.) and it's just horrifying. In that sense, I want something, anything to happen to end the suffering. But I know that there is no action that can be taken that will not result in the deaths of millions at a minimum. And so with North Korea only superficially threatening the United States, the cost of taking action is just too high. In this lose-lose situation, I opt for patience in the hopes that the suffering of 25 million North Koreans is not eclipsed by the death and suffering of tens upon tens of millions of North Koreans, South Koreans, and possibly Japanese and Chinese. Patience is the hardest game to play in realpolitik, but it's often the right play.

As to where that brings the United States, the cycle is currently unstable... not because of Pyongyang, but because of Washington and the current president. While I am increasingly concerned about his mental health (there are numerous signs of dementia setting in, including his ability to gaslight himself over the veracity of the Access Hollywood tape and other topics), Trump does fundamentally operate on a logic, as disturbed as that logic may be. In his case, everything comes down to making sure "you" lose. If it's a lose-lose, as long as you lose more than him, he still wins (see: casinos going bankrupt). That's the true threat that we face in destabilizing North Korea; not Kim Jong Un, because on this topic, the United States can always make sure it kills more North Koreans than Americans will die.

Strategic patience is the right tactic, as unsatisfying as it is. South Korea plays it perfectly. It's annoying as anything when North Korea gets all pissy with everyone, but you grin and bear it, provide enough food to keep North Korea from falling over the edge, and move on. The situation will only be resolved without millions of casualties if the change comes from within the North.
User avatar
Emissary
 
Posts: 1501
Joined: 15 Oct 2002, 9:34 pm

Post 04 Dec 2017, 8:02 am

Good post. And I certainly hope you are correct. However, I couldn't disagree more.

In fact, this post will be the first one I return to after Seoul, Tokyo or San Francisco go up in flames.

Chamberlain had the kind of patience you are lionizing here. Thank God for Churchill.
User avatar
Ambassador
 
Posts: 20737
Joined: 15 Jun 2002, 6:53 am

Post 04 Dec 2017, 11:34 am

dag hammarsjkold wrote:Good post. And I certainly hope you are correct. However, I couldn't disagree more.

In fact, this post will be the first one I return to after Seoul, Tokyo or San Francisco go up in flames.

Chamberlain had the kind of patience you are lionizing here. Thank God for Churchill.


Strategic patience works . . . When one is dealing with a rational actor, a person who believes himself/herself mortal.

If anyone believes Kim is rational, I’d like to see the evidence.
User avatar
Ambassador
 
Posts: 4670
Joined: 08 Jun 2000, 10:26 am

Post 04 Dec 2017, 12:10 pm

Interesting op ed in today's NYT on a financial strategy.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/03/opin ... .html?_r=0

The North’s criminal empire is vast and global. According to the Strategic Studies Institute, it includes narcotics trafficking and the counterfeiting of United States currency. North Korea has also been accused of the online hacking of bank accounts; the sale of nuclear know-how; black-market arms sales, including scud and other missiles to Hezbollah, Iran, Syria, Eritrea and other nations; and a whole military enterprise set up to steal crypto currencies.
Continue reading the main story

This criminal syndicate is run out of North Korea’s mysterious Office 39, a bureau that, according to the Treasury Department, “provides critical support to North Korean leadership in part through engaging in illicit economic activities.” Every cog of the nation’s machinery is mobilized to facilitate the regime’s racketeering: Defectors have described schoolchildren working in poppy fields; they say cash and smuggled goods are brought in on state-owned merchant vessels; and diplomats peddle heroin. Crime is North Korea’s national industry.

...
With the assistance of branches of the United States government, including the Department of Justice and the Treasury Department, Harpoon went after Hezbollah’s cocaine business in Venezuela and in Lebanon, as well as its money-laundering activities in West Africa and America. Brilliant operations and cons were carried out against Hezbollah’s captains — operations that ultimately stripped them of the vast fortunes they had assembled over the years. And when the Hezbollah hierarchy was cash strapped, Harpoon targeted the financial institutions that allowed the terrorists to move their cash across continents, ultimately shutting down the Lebanese Canadian Bank, one of the largest banks in the Middle East.