Archive for the ‘North Korean nukes’ category

U.S. moves ships, bombers toward Korea ahead of Winter Olympics

January 15, 2018

U.S. moves ships, bombers toward Korea ahead of Winter Olympics, CBS News, January 15, 2018

Aircraft carriers, virtually impervious to any attack the North could mount, are floating platforms for sustained air assaults, while the F-35 fighters could be a key part of any potential strike on Kim Jong Un himself.

*************************************

TOKYO — The U.S. is beefing up its presence around the Korean Peninsula ahead of next month’s Winter Olympics by deploying stealth bombers, at least one extra aircraft carrier and a new amphibious assault ship to the region. Coming after Washington agreed to postpone massive annual military maneuvers with South Korea until after the Games, North Korea says the U.S. is trying to put a chill on its renewed talks with Seoul.

“Such moves are an unpardonable military provocation chilling the atmosphere for improved inter-Korean relations,” the North’s ruling party said in a commentary published over the weekend.

Representatives of both Koreas held a second round of talks Monday near the Demilitarized Zone to try to pave the way for a North Korean delegation to join the Pyeongchang Games.

The U.S. has officially welcomed the talks and the moves represent routine training and scheduled upgrades, according to U.S. military officials. Tensions remain high and the military deployments are significant.

(Video at the link. –DM)

CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy reported that the meetings were a fairly stunning turn of events; the South has been trying to engage North Korea for months, but Kim Jong Un’s regime wasn’t interested in talking.

Last week, the Pacific Air Forces announced three B-2 “Spirit” stealth bombers with approximately 200 personnel have been deployed from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri to the Pacific island of Guam.

The statement said the deployment is intended to provide leaders with “deterrent options to maintain regional stability.”

But the Guam deployment hits an especially sore nerve and plays on a key vulnerability for Pyongyang, which is probably the message Washington had in mind as it seeks to make sure nothing happens during the Olympics and also let Pyongyang know its decision to postpone the exercises is not a sign of weakness.

Last year, flights by B-1B bombers from Guam to the airspace around Korea were a major flashpoint, prompting a warning from North Korea that it had drawn up a plan to target the waters around the island with a missile strike that it could carry out anytime Kim gave the order. The B-2 is more threatening.

It’s the most advanced bomber in the Air Force and, unlike the B-1B, can carry nuclear weapons. It’s also the only known aircraft that can drop the Air Force’s biggest bomb, the 14,000-kilogram, about 30,000-pound, FGBU-57 Massive Ordnance Penetrator.

The “MOP,” capable of penetrating deep into the ground to destroy reinforced tunnels and bunkers, was explicitly designed with North Korea in mind.

(Video at the link — DM)

The B-2 deployment came just days after the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier departed for the western Pacific in what the Navy called a regularly scheduled deployment. South Korean media reports say the carrier and its strike group will reach waters near the Korean Peninsula ahead of the start of the Games on Feb. 9.

The USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier, whose home port is just south of Tokyo in Yokosuka, is also in the region, and North Korea has accused the U.S. of planning to send another carrier, the USS John Stennis from Bremerton, Washington.

The Marines announced on Sunday the arrival in southern Japan of the USS Wasp, an upgraded amphibious assault ship that can carry troops and launch the corps’ new F-35B stealth fighters. It can carry 30-plus aircraft, including the F-35s, which are designed for vertical takeoffs and landings.

The ships and bombers could figure largely in a U.S. response to any military emergencies during the Games. North Korea may view them as a greater and more imminent threat.

Aircraft carriers, virtually impervious to any attack the North could mount, are floating platforms for sustained air assaults, while the F-35 fighters could be a key part of any potential strike on Kim Jong Un himself.

How Russia is Helping North Korea Build the Bombs that Could Start World War III

December 29, 2017

How Russia is Helping North Korea Build the Bombs that Could Start World War III, Newsweek, December 28, 2017

But the greatest evidence of this Russian-North Korean collaboration is reportedly the similarities observed between features in missiles recently tested by Pyongyang and Soviet-era designs. In June 2016, for example, North Korea tested the Hwasong-10, or Musudan, an intermediate-range ballistic missile, which apparently had distinct similarities to the R-27 Zyb, or Ripple, manufactured by the Makeyev Rocket Design Bureau––including using the same engine. Subsequently, in August 2016, North Korea tested a submarine-launched missile that also had similar features to the Ripple––the Pukguksong-1. Joshua Pollack, an analyst at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, told The Washington Post both of these North Korean missiles are “generally regarded as derived from the designs of the Makeyev Bureau’s R-27.”

*********************************

Some of the more advanced missile technology recently put on display for the wider world by North Korea was acquired by the rogue state with the help of Russia, according to new documents acquired by The Washington Post from one of the top Soviet-era missile manufacturers.

In the early 1990s, after the fall of the Soviet Union, U.S. investors reportedly attempted to work with Russian scientists, who were largely unemployed and desperate for money, to acquire advanced Soviet military technology. But the investors ran into a number of legal hurdles, which reportedly provided an opportunity for North Korea to swoop in. Pyongyang was apparently willing to pay some of the scientists, who previously worked for Makeyev Rocket Design Bureau, more than 200 times what they made at home to provide it with Soviet missile designs.

In some cases, some of these Russian scientists were prevented from going to North Korea to provide it with Soviet military technology. But U.S. and South Korean intelligence officials have confirmed that Makeyev scientists ultimately did indeed obtain employment as consultants to North Korea, The Washington Post reported.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a Hwasong-10 missile test at an undisclosed location in North Korea on June 13, 2016. GETTY IMAGES

But the greatest evidence of this Russian-North Korean collaboration is reportedly the similarities observed between features in missiles recently tested by Pyongyang and Soviet-era designs. In June 2016, for example, North Korea tested the Hwasong-10, or Musudan, an intermediate-range ballistic missile, which apparently had distinct similarities to the R-27 Zyb, or Ripple, manufactured by the Makeyev Rocket Design Bureau––including using the same engine. Subsequently, in August 2016, North Korea tested a submarine-launched missile that also had similar features to the Ripple––the Pukguksong-1. Joshua Pollack, an analyst at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, told The Washington Post both of these North Korean missiles are “generally regarded as derived from the designs of the Makeyev Bureau’s R-27.”

In 2017, North Korea has made major leaps in its missile technology. The reclusive nation tested its most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile yet in late November, which reached an altitude of 2,800 miles (over 10 times higher than the International Space Station) and traveled for 50 minutes before crashing into the Sea of Japan. The more advanced missile technology Pyongyang has put on display over the course of the year could be a sign it has more access to Soviet-era designs and blueprints than previously thought, according to The Washington Post report.

This photo taken on November 28, 2017 and released on November 29, 2017 by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un signing an order document of a test-fire of an intercontinental ballistic missile, the Hwasong-15. GETTY IMAGES

North Korea’s missile tests and pursuit of a nuclear weapon capable of reaching the United States have led to major tensions across the world over the course of the year. As the United Nations has sought to pressure North Korea to give up on its nuclear ambitions via harsh economic sanctions, President Donald Trump has issued boisterous threats toward Kim Jong Un’s regime––leading some to fear war is on the horizon. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee and often plays golf with the president, recently said there’s a 30 percent chance Trump takes military action against North Korea. A strike would have an array of consequences and would almost undoubtedly lead to a response, in some capacity, from China and Russia, who both share a border with North Korea.

North Korea is believed to have as many as 60 nuclear weapons. If war broke out, it could potentially use them on South Korea or Japan and millions could die. A November report from the Congressional Research Service concluded a conflict between the U.S. and North Korea would lead to roughly 300,000 deaths in the first few days alone, even without the use of nuclear weapons.

U.S., South Korea begin massive military drill in wake of North Korea missile launch

December 5, 2017

U.S., South Korea begin massive military drill in wake of North Korea missile launch, Washington TimesCarlo Muñoz, December 4, 2017

(China and Russia, not to mention Kim Jong-un, will not like it. Good.

— DM)

A U.S. Air Force EA-18G Growler fighter jet prepares to land at the Osan U.S. Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, Monday, Dec. 4, 2017. Hundreds of aircrafts including two dozen stealth jets began training Monday

Among the various combat scenarios both forces are expected to play out during the weeklong drill, several will focus on “enemy infiltration and precision strike drills with South Korean jets,” Air Force officials told the Military Times.

Ahead of Monday’s kickoff of the U.S.-South Korea wargames, National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster warned that Pyongyang’s continued aggression on the peninsula was inching the region closer to war.

“I think it’s increasing every day, which means that we are in a race, really, we are in a race to be able to solve this problem,” Gen. McMaster said Sunday during a speech at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California.

**********************************

Over 200 American and South Korean warplanes took to the skies above the Korean peninsula on Monday in one of the largest military drills between the two allies in recent history and a massive show of force against the North Korean regime.

The annual exercise, dubbed Vigilant Ace, comes less than a week after Pyongyang carried out a successful test launch of its newest intercontinental ballistic missile. The test launch of the new Hwasong-15 weapon traveled longer and farther than any North Korean intercontinental missile to date.

The launch, carried out from a North Korean weapons facility in Sain Ni, forced Japanese officials to put the country’s northern provinces located along the missile’s trajectory on high alert.

The Nov. 6 missile test was further proof that the North Korean regime remains committed to the “effort to build a ballistic missile threat that endangers world peace, regional peace and threatens the United States,” Defense Secretary James Mattis said shortly after the missile test.

The Pentagon says the large-scale wargames between Washington and Seoul over the weekend were part of annual military drills routinely conducted between the allied nations. That said, the exercise featured several pieces of U.S. military hardware — such as the stealth-capable F-22A Raptor and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, as well as long-range B-1 bombers — that could be used in potential strikes against North Korean targets should war break out on the peninsula.

Among the various combat scenarios both forces are expected to play out during the weeklong drill, several will focus on “enemy infiltration and precision strike drills with South Korean jets,” Air Force officials told the Military Times.

Ahead of Monday’s kickoff of the U.S.-South Korea wargames, National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster warned that Pyongyang’s continued aggression on the peninsula was inching the region closer to war.

“I think it’s increasing every day, which means that we are in a race, really, we are in a race to be able to solve this problem,” Gen. McMaster said Sunday during a speech at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California.

Will There Ever be an Accounting on North Korea?

November 29, 2017

Will There Ever be an Accounting on North Korea? Power Line,  John Hinderaker, November 28, 2017

(Someday perhaps, but first we need to deal with matters of real importance — who grabbed whose what, when, where and why? Will he, she or an entity who/which self-identifies as a cow be punished or will Antifa members and other social justice warriors prevail?

Here’s one of my favorite poems by Robert Burns. It has nothing to do with North Korea, its missiles or nukes. Instead, it focuses on matters of apparently more substantial contemporary importance.

Address to the Unco Guid,
Or the Rigidly Righteous.

My son, these maxims make a rule,
An’ lump them ay thegither:
The Rigid Righteous is a fool,
The Rigid Wise anither;
The cleanest corn that e’er was dight
May hae some pyles o’ caff in;
So ne’er a fellow-creature slight
For random fits o’ daffin.
Solomon. (Ecclesiastes vii. 16)
1.
O ye, wha are sae guid yoursel,
Sae pious and sae holy,
Ye’ve nought to do but mark and tell
Your neebours’ fauts and folly,
Whase life is like a weel-gaun mill,
Supplied wi’ store o’ water,
The heapet happer’s ebbing still,
An’ still the clap plays clatter!
2.
Hear me, ye venerable core,
As counsel for poor mortals
That frequent pass douce Wisdom’s door
For glaikit Folly’s portals:
I for their thoughtless, careless sakes
Would here propone defences —
Their donsie tricks, their black mistakes,
Their failings and mischances.
3.
Ye see your state wi’ theirs compared,
And shudder at the niffer;
But cast a moment’s fair regard,
What makes the mighty differ?
Discount what scant occasion gave;
That purity ye pride in;
And (what’s aft mair than a’ the lave)
Your better art o’ hidin.
4.
Think, when your castigated pulse
Gies now and then a wallop,
What ragings must his veins convulse,
That still eternal gallop!
Wi’ wind and tide fair i’ your tail,
Right on ye scud your sea-way;
But in the teeth o’ baith to sail,
It makes an unco lee-way.
5.
See Social-life and Glee sit down
All joyous and unthinking,
Till, quite transmugrify’d, they’re grown
Debauchery and Drinking:
O, would they stay to calculate,
Th’ eternal consequences,
Or – your more dreaded hell to state –
Damnation of expenses!
6.
Ye high, exalted, virtuous dames,
Tied up in godly laces,
Before ye gie poor Frailty names,
Suppose a change o’ cases:
A dear-lov’d lad, convenience snug,
A treach’rous inclination–
But, let me whisper i’ your lug,
Ye’re aiblins nae temptation.
7.
Then gently scan your brother man,
Still gentler sister woman;
Tho’ they may gang a kennin wrang,
To step aside is human:
One point must still be greatly dark,
The moving why they do it;
And just as lamely can ye mark
How far perhaps they rue it.
8.
Who made the heart, ’tis He alone
Decidedly can try us:
He knows each chord, its various tone,
Each spring, its various bias:
Then at the balance let’s be mute,
We never can adjust it;
What’s done we partly may compute,
But know not what’s resisted.

— DM)

Today North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile that stayed airborne for close to an hour and flew farther than any previously tested by that country. Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters that the Kim regime now has the ability to hit “everywhere in the world basically.” And, of course, the regime has nuclear weapons.

Further:

The US believes Pyongyang may be able to put a miniaturized warhead on a missile sometime in 2018 — giving it the theoretical capability to launch a missile with a warhead atop that could attack the US.

President Trump inherited the North Korea mess. He told reporters today that North Korea “is a situation that we will handle.” I sincerely hope so, but I have no idea how. Is there any practical way to threaten Kim’s nuclear capability without endangering the 10 million people who live in Seoul, just 35 miles from the border with North Korea? Again, I have no idea.

The North Korea problem has been brewing for a long time. In 1994, the Clinton administration agreed to provide two nuclear reactors and deliver heavy fuel oil to North Korea in exchange for the country giving up its nuclear weapons program. The reactors were never built, but Kim nevertheless snookered Clinton, as North Korea accelerated rather than giving up its nuclear program.

Subsequently, American administrations have kicked the Korean can down the road. Most blameworthy was Barack Obama. Just a few months into Obama’s administration, the North Koreans detonated a series of nuclear devices. President Obama responded with a policy of “strategic patience,” a euphemism for doing nothing and hoping that disaster wouldn’t strike until he was out of office. This was classic Obama: as the increasingly insane North Korean regime drew ever closer to an offensive nuclear capability, he did nothing. Now President Trump is stuck holding the bag.

Millions of lives could be lost because of this feckless history. Meanwhile, our news media have mostly ignored the North Korea issue, preferring to obsess on Roy Moore’s purported 40-year-old failings, whether Press Secretary Sarah Sanders baked a Thanksgiving pie, Al Franken’s tortured meditations on how easy it is to grasp a woman’s bottom by accident, and so on. Will our inept reporters and editors ever bestir themselves to report on how Barack Obama and, to a lesser extent, his predecessors allowed the Kim regime to become such a threat to millions of human lives?

That’s a rhetorical question, of course. They certainly won’t do so if it would reflect badly on their party. Which it would. So don’t hold your breath, and pray that President Trump and his aides will find a way out of the mess that his predecessors helped to create.

Trump strikes at the heart of the North Korean regime with speech

November 8, 2017

Trump strikes at the heart of the North Korean regime with speech, Washington PostAnna Fifield, November 8, 2017

(Here’s a North Korean propaganda video from 2010. An attractive North Korean girl explains that life is wonderful in North Korea and far better than in South Korea or America. Some high-level members of the Kim regime, until they say or do something the Dear Leader considers insulting, may even live as well as the video suggests is common throughout the country.

President Trump’s full speech is available here. — DM)

 

It is hard to exaggerate the reverence with which North Koreans are forced to treat the Kim family. Every home and all public buildings must display portraits of Kim Il Sung and his son, Kim Jong Il, that must be cleaned only with a special cloth. North Koreans must bow at monuments to the leaders and sing songs celebrating their supposedly legendary feats.

There is no escaping the Kims and the narrative that they have created a utopia that is the envy of the world.

************************************

President Trump has said on several occasions that he’s willing to talk to the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Well, on Wednesday, Trump did — after a fashion.

The American president directly addressed his 33-year-old nemesis during his speech to South Korea’s National Assembly. This time, Trump didn’t call Kim “Little Rocket Man” or use the kinds of rhetorical flourishes that play so well on Twitter.

But the words that Trump used will have cut deeper because they strike at the very heart of the Kim regime. 

If there is one thing that Kim Jong Un has shown that he cannot tolerate, it’s personal criticism.

“North Korea is not the paradise your grandfather envisioned,” Trump said to Kim, who, if he was in Pyongyang, was just 120 miles away. “It is a hell that no person deserves.”

Kim Il Sung, who is revered like a god in North Korean propaganda, established the country in 1948 as a “socialist paradise” of free housing, health care, and education where people would want for nothing. Kim Jong Un claims his legitimacy to be the leader as the direct descendant of this quasi-deity.

Trump devoted a large part of his address to detailing the human rights abuses that the Kims have committed in North Korea, filling his speech with words like “twisted,” “sinister,” “tyrant,” “fascism” and “cult.”

“I wanted to stand up from my seat and shout ‘yahoo!’” said Lee Hyeon-seo, an escapee from North Korea who was sitting in the assembly hall Wednesday during Trump’s address. “We just don’t hear people talking about North Korea in this way in South Korea, so I was very emotional during the speech. I was very impressed.”

Trump noted the slave-like conditions that North Korean workers endure, the malnutrition among children, the suppression of religion, and the forced-labor prison camps where North Koreans endure “torture, starvation, rape, and murder on a constant basis.”

Other advocates for North Koreans expressed hope that Trump’s remarks would remind the outside world that the country is not just home to a dictator with nuclear weapons, but 25 million people who suffer under him.

“President Trump spoke about human rights in North Korea more than any other previous U.S. president,” Jeong Kwang-il, who was held as a political prisoner in North Korea and now runs the “No Chain for North Korea” human rights group in Seoul. “I’m hopeful that American policy toward North Korea will focus more on improving human rights there.”

The president did not mince his words about the way the Kim regime has managed to retain its grip on the populace.

“North Korea is a country ruled as a cult. At the center of this military cult is a deranged belief in the leader’s destiny to rule as parent protector over a conquered Korean Peninsula and an enslaved Korean people,” he said.

The success of South Korea discredited “the dark fantasy at the heart of the Kim regime,” Trump said.

It is hard to exaggerate the reverence with which North Koreans are forced to treat the Kim family. Every home and all public buildings must display portraits of Kim Il Sung and his son, Kim Jong Il, that must be cleaned only with a special cloth. North Koreans must bow at monuments to the leaders and sing songs celebrating their supposedly legendary feats.

There is no escaping the Kims and the narrative that they have created a utopia that is the envy of the world.

So to suggest that the regime is founded on a “fantasy” and that the country is something other than a socialist paradise amounts to heresy in North Korea.

“This speech made the ‘axis of evil’ speech look friendly,” said John Delury, a professor of international relations at Yonsei University in Seoul, referring to President George W. Bush’s 2002 State of the Union speech, in which he included North Korea as a country seeking weapons of mass destruction.

“That sent a signal to Pyongyang that the Americans are not open to changing their relationship with North Korea and that the president was deeply hostile and ideologically hostile to them.”

But others saw an opening from Trump, with his suggestion there was a way out of the current quagmire. “Despite every crime you have committed against God and man … we will offer a path to a much better future,” Trump said, saying that this would require total denuclearization.

The president publicly offered a “diplomacy exit ramp” to the Kim regime, Victor Cha, tipped to be Trump’s nominee for ambassador to South Korea, wrote on Twitter.

At a press conference with South Korean president Moon Jae-in the previous day, Trump urged North Korea “to come to the table” and “do the right thing, not only for North Korea but for humanity all over the world.”

At recent meetings near Geneva and in Moscow, Pyongyang’s representatives have signaled an interest in talks with the United States — as long as those talks are not about denuclearization, a non-starter for Washington.

The regime in Pyongyang is likely to react angrily to Trump’s speech.

After Trump threatened at the U.N. General Assembly in September to “totally destroy” North Korea and mocked Kim as “Rocket Man,” Kim took the unprecedented step of releasing a statement in his own name, calling Trump a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard” who would “pay dearly” for his threats.

At the same time, North Korea’s foreign minister said the country might detonate a nuclear device over the Pacific.

A U.N. Commission of Inquiry once charged that the blame for North Korea’s human rights abuses went all way to the top of the leadership, leading to calls for Kim Jong Un to be referred to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.

That prompted North Korean officials to respond publicly to questions about human rights conditions in a way they had not before — a clear attempt to defend the dignity of their leader.

“North Korea tends to react sensitively to criticism in human rights,” said Cheong Seong-chang, director of the unification strategy program at the Sejong Institute, a private think tank in South Korea.

He predicted that the response would be especially sharp because of the time that Trump spent talking about North Korea and the detail he went into, plus the president’s repeated calls for the world to isolate the country.

“North Korea is highly likely to take Trump’s address as a declaration of war and call for a holy war of its own against the U.S.,” Cheong said.

Yoonjung Seo in Seoul contributed reporting.

 

 

Trump’s Biggest Challenge in Seoul

November 7, 2017

Trump’s Biggest Challenge in Seoul, American Thinker,  Daren Jonescu, November 7, 2017

There is no equivalency here. North Korea’s hostilities are their essence, not a product of outside provocation, real or imagined. Anything they do will be on their own heads, as will any destruction that gets unleashed upon them due to their actions. Theirs is a regime that has no moral legitimacy, and hence, while no one is obliged to do anything about that, neither does anyone owe their rule, their aspirations, or their tender feelings any respect.

The only moral considerations that have any weight in this issue are related to whether annihilating Kim’s national death camp — inherently justifiable — is worth the risk it may bring to the lives of other nations’ citizens.

***************************************

Donald Trump is in South Korea today.  All focus, of course, is on whether Trump and recently-elected Korean president Moon Jae-in will present a unified position against North Korean aggression. Or let me restate that in words that make sense within the current zeitgeist: “a unified position on how to avoid an escalation of tensions with North Korea.”

In our worldwide progressive paradigm, suggesting that the problem to be solved here is the threat posed by a tyrannical rogue state’s immoral behavior is considered inflammatory. Rather, we are all supposed to pretend that North Korea is “a sovereign state” with “legitimate concerns about being threatened by the U.S. military presence in Asia,” and that its outrageous provocations, unprovoked violence, and frequent promises to annihilate its democratic enemies are merely “understandable responses to its increased global isolation.”

Demonstrators reacting to Trump’s visit

(Even many conservatives of the libertarian bent are wont to ask, “How would you feel if your neighbors were all discussing how to end your regime?” — as though rationalizing a killing machine’s sensitivities were anything but a moral absurdity.)

As for President Moon, a progressive appeaser in the mold of his old ally and boss, Roh Moo-hyun (of North-South “Sunshine Policy” fame), he may be a tough sell on taking a stronger stand against North Korea. He would likely accept the inevitable if necessary, however, especially since Japan has already signed onto America’s “all options on the table” position, and since China has remained largely aloof from the situation so far.

But President Moon probably will have to be dragged to a harder stance by events — a bizarre thing to have to say about the president of a nation that is technically at war with a communist madhouse dictatorship that tore his own country in half, has starved and enslaved millions of his countrymen, and has carried out repeated acts of murderous aggression against the South in recent years, in addition to its constant threats of all-out attack. Talk about Stockholm Syndrome.

But the depth of the moral problem facing this world — in which most governments, media voices, and academics are progressive in their underlying principles and perspective — may be seen in the sheer silliness with which people speak of what might cause an “escalation of hostilities” with North Korea.  Here is a perfect example, from Professor Koo Kab-woo at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul. (Imagine the political perspective likely to prevail at a university with such a name.)

Addressing the concern that Trump might say or do something careless or bombastic during his South Korean trip, Professor Koo says, “If Trump says anything that can provoke North Korea, it could send military tensions soaring again.”

Right. North Korea is calm and trying to restore a peaceful coexistence. But what if Trump goes and blows it with a stupid remark?

You see, the tensions, whatever might have caused them (who can say?), have settled recently, but if they rise again due to Trump’s rhetoric during his visit to Seoul, then the resulting danger will be on America’s head for having “provoked” it.

This is a classic moral equivalency argument (and an excellent preview of exactly how China will respond if an armed conflict begins on the Korean peninsula): “Both sides need to calm down. If Nation A (the world’s oldest republic and traditional leader of the free world) causes things to escalate again by speaking too harshly, then Nation B (a bloody tyranny starving its own broken people and threatening the world with nuclear war) cannot be held solely responsible for the resulting rise in tensions.”

This is the same argument used for decades to frame the Cold War as a battle between “two noble experiments,” rather than between good and evil. It is the same argument used to equate the pro-Palestinian efforts by much of the Middle East (along with the UN and Europe and most of academia and the North American left) to wipe Israel off the map, to Israeli efforts to push back in defense of a nation the size of New Jersey.

Moral equivalency in international relations — “both sides are to blame,” or “both sides have understandable concerns” — is the last refuge of the morally bankrupt. In this case, expressing peevishness that somehow Donald Trump’s words might provoke North Korean hostilities is a convenient way of implying that North Korea is not inherently, essentially hostile to begin with, but rather that any hostility they display is merely a response to outside instigation. Thus, a tyranny is falsely portrayed as an equal participant in difficult diplomacy, rather than a victim of its own obsession with power and destruction. This in turn creates an aura of legitimacy around one of the most illegitimate regimes of modern times.

I myself have been critical of Trump’s often careless rhetoric on North Korea, but my concern has always been that by speaking too cavalierly, Trump risks tipping his administration’s hand unnecessarily, or painting himself into a strategic corner with Obama-like “red lines.” My concerns, in other words, are related to American interests, not North Korea’s “feelings.” Under no circumstances would I ever suggest Trump’s words or actions were to blame for North Korea’s behavior.

Similarly, appeasers like Moon Jae-in, who has used moral equivalency arguments against his own nation and yet has somehow been elected president under the guise of a “champion of the people” — reminiscent of Barack Obama in that regard, both in policy and in manner — exacerbate a national tragedy by emboldening a dictatorship. But by no means would I suggest such appeasers are to blame for the murderous aspirations of Kim Jong-un’s illegitimate regime.

North Korea is a brutal dictatorship with fantasies of eventually uniting the Korean peninsula under their communist bloodlust regime. They, and they alone, are to blame for their aggression; their aggression is not a response to anything, but rather their regime’s raison d’être.

Progressives constantly use moral equivalency arguments and moral relativism to obscure the crimes committed in the name of their death cult ideology. They have thereby obliterated an extremely proper and reasonable category of political discourse: illegitimate power.

In this age, any tyranny that survives long enough to become stable in its authority, or that exists as a protectorate of a bigger tyranny, is regarded as “sovereign,” in the sense of unassailable. The UN exists largely to reinforce and defend the “right” of unjust regimes to exist unchallenged, or to set strict limits on the conditions in which such regimes may be confronted by the so-called “international community.”

North Korea, under its current and permanent government, is not a sovereign nation. It is an illegitimate tyrannical regime, a state governed by men without even a pretense of concern for the well-being of their trampled population, which exists not at all as citizens, but rather as slaves, without any modicum or memory of self-determination or self-ownership.

To legitimize that regime by worrying about whether Donald Trump might say something to “raise tensions” is to miss the point. Tensions are permanent and unavoidable when a tyranny feels its power threatened. But tyrannies deserve to feel their power threatened, and in fact they always will. As Plato taught us long ago, the tyrannical man is the most frightened man in the world, for he lives in the knowledge that his power is not deserved, and that everyone hates him for it. He cannot sleep at night, because he cannot even trust his own guards, or his own brother.

But today, we are told not to speak too loudly, lest we disturb the tyrant’s sleep and make him angry, as if we would be to blame if our would-be killer’s anger were roused. Thus, progressives defend one of their own — an extreme and ridiculous one to be sure, but one of them nonetheless — with moral equivalency arguments.

There is no equivalency here. North Korea’s hostilities are their essence, not a product of outside provocation, real or imagined. Anything they do will be on their own heads, as will any destruction that gets unleashed upon them due to their actions. Theirs is a regime that has no moral legitimacy, and hence, while no one is obliged to do anything about that, neither does anyone owe their rule, their aspirations, or their tender feelings any respect.

The only moral considerations that have any weight in this issue are related to whether annihilating Kim’s national death camp — inherently justifiable — is worth the risk it may bring to the lives of other nations’ citizens.

Daren Jonescu lives in South Korea where he writes about politics, philosophy, education, and the decline of civilization at http://darenjonescu.com/.

Mattis Vists Korean DMZ: ‘Our Goal Is Not War’

October 27, 2017

Mattis Vists Korean DMZ: ‘Our Goal Is Not War’, Washington Free Beacon , October 27, 2017

“When generals and secretary of defenses and ministries of defense are done talking, it relies on your young shoulders to make this alliance work,” Mattis said to South Korean soldiers.

“We’re doing everything we can to solve this diplomatically,” he added. “But ultimately our diplomats have to be backed up by strong soldiers.”

*********************************

 

 

Defense Secretary James Mattis addressed North Korea’s threat to the world on Thursday during a visit to the Demilitarized Zone, calling for “verifiable and irreversible denuclearization” in the region.

Mattis addressed South Korean troops and the media, reiterating Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s message by saying “our goal is not war,” CNN reported.

“As the U.S. Secretary of State Tillerson has made clear, our goal is not war, yet rather the complete verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean peninsula,” Mattis said.

The defense secretary’ trip to the region comes ahead of President Donald Trump’s visit to Asia next month and as tension grows between North Korea and the United States and its allies. The United Nations has repeatedly condemned North Korea’s illicit nuclear program and defiance of international calls to stand down.

“North Korean provocations continue to threaten regional and world peace, and despite unanimous condemnation by the United Nations’ Security Council, they still proceed,” Mattis said.

 

“When generals and secretary of defenses and ministries of defense are done talking, it relies on your young shoulders to make this alliance work,” Mattis said to South Korean soldiers.

“We’re doing everything we can to solve this diplomatically,” he added. “But ultimately our diplomats have to be backed up by strong soldiers.”