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EMP-Korea Concerns & Discussions #5 (Aug 2017)

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Re: EMP-Korea Concerns & Discussions #5 (Aug 2017)

Postby ReadyMom » Wed Aug 09, 2017 9:56 pm

US airbase in Guam threatened by North Korea as Trump promises 'fire and fury'
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/ ... -fire-fury

Pyongyang claims missile strike could hit US Pacific territory, warning any American military action would provoke ‘all-out war’

North Korea has said it is considering a missile strike on the US Pacific territory of Guam, just hours after Donald Trump warned the regime that any threat to the United States would be met with “fire and fury”.

The threat, carried by the state-run KCNA news agency, marked a dramatic rise in tensions and prompted warnings to Washington not to become embroiled in a bellicose slanging match with North Korea.

Pyongyang said it was “carefully examining” a plan to strike Guam, located 3,400km (2,100 miles) away, and threatened to create an “enveloping fire” around the territory.

Guam is home to a US military base that includes a submarine squadron, an airbase and a coastguard group.

Guam’s governor, Eddie Calvo, on Wednesday attempted to reassure residents that there was “no threat” of a North Korean strike, but added that the island was prepared for “any eventuality”.

Calvo added: “Guam is American soil … We are not just a military installation.”

In an online video message he said he had been told by the US defence and homeland security departments that there was no change in the threat level.

A Korean people’s army (KPA) spokesman said in a statement Wednesday that a plan would be put into practice as soon as the order to attack Guam was issued by the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un.

“The KPA strategic force is now carefully examining the operational plan for making an enveloping fire at the areas around Guam with medium- to long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 in order to contain the US major military bases on Guam, including the Anderson airforce base,” the spokesman said.
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KCNA quoted a second army spokesman accusing Washington of devising a “preventive war”, adding that any attempt to attack the North would provoke “all-out war, wiping out all the strongholds of enemies, including the US mainland”.

The US should cease its “reckless military provocation” against North Korea to avoid such a reaction, the spokesman added.

In response, South Korea’s president, Moon Jae-in, called for an overhaul of the country’s armed services, citing an “urgent” need to improve its ability to defend against North Korean missile attacks.

“I believe we might need a complete defence reform at the level of a rebirth, instead of making some improvements or modifications,” Moon told senior military officials, according to Yonhap news agency.

“Another urgent task now facing us is securing defence capabilities to counter North Korea’s nuclear and missile provocations.”

The unification ministry, which handles cross-border relations, said the threat against Guam would damage attempts to improve inter-Korean ties. A ministry spokesman said the South was committed to dialogue and sanctions, and urged Pyongyang to end its provocations.

Beijing issued a brief foreign ministry statement on Wednesday calling on “all parties to avoid any words or actions that might escalate the situation”

France and Germany also called on all sides to use restraint. “We are watching the increasing rhetorical escalation regarding the Korean Peninsula with the greatest concern,” German foreign ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer told reporters.

Tensions in the region have risen since North Korea carried out two nuclear bomb tests last year and test-launched two intercontinental ballistic missiles last month. The UN security council responded last weekend by unanimously agreeing sanctions designed to deprive the regime of around a billion US dollars in hard currency.

North Korea’s bellicose language is causing anxiety in Japan. Its defence ministry warned on Tuesday that it was possible that Pyongyang had miniaturised its nuclear weaponry. A leaked US intelligence assessment also claimed the regime had successfully produced a miniaturised nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles.

Japanese fighters conducted joint air drills with US supersonic bombers near the Korean peninsula on Tuesday, Japan’s air self-defence forces said. A day earlier, two US B-1 bombers flew from Guam over the Korean peninsula as part of its “continuous bomber presence”, a US official said.

US security and defence officials in Guam, which is within range of North Korean medium- and long-range missiles, said there was no imminent threat to people there or elsewhere in the Northern Mariana Islands.

Screen Shot 2017-08-09 at 10.58.34 PM.png


Guam’s department of homeland security and office of civil defence said they were monitoring North Korea with US military and government officials.

Guam’s homeland security adviser, George Charfauros, said officials were confident that the US defence department was “monitoring this situation very closely and is maintaining a condition of readiness”.

But the speaker of the Guam legislature, Benjamin J Cruz, said people on the island were “just praying that the United States and the … defence system we have here is sufficient enough to protect us”. Cruz told the Associated Press that the threat was “very disconcerting”.

He added: “It forces us to pause and to say a prayer for the safety of our people.”

In his strongest warning yet to North Korea, Trump told reporters in New Jersey on Tuesday: “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

The New Zealand prime minister condemnded Trump’s comments, in an unusually strong statement.

“I think the comments are not helpful in an environment that is very tense,” Bill English told local media. He said his government had yet to express concerns to the US administration directly, but “certainly if that type of commentary continued we would”.

English added: “I think we are seeing reaction from North Korea that indicates that kind of comment is more likely to escalate rather than settle things.”

But North Korea experts played down the potential for a military strike on Guam. “There’s rhetoric on both sides – it’s like two bullies in the playground yelling at each other,” said Robert Kelly, associate professor at Pusan National University.

“I think the North Koreans just pulled the Guam threat out of the air. Sure, there’s some sort of rough plan on a shelf somewhere, because Guam is an important American reinforcement point, but I don’t think there is anything immediately in the offing.

“They just needed to say something in response – you poke the North Koreans in the eye and they poke you back.”
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Re: EMP-Korea Concerns & Discussions #5 (Aug 2017)

Postby ReadyMom » Wed Aug 09, 2017 10:11 pm

North Korea, Trump ratchet up tension with threats of 'fire' hours apart
http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/08/08 ... apart.html

Published August 08, 2017

North Korea and President Trump lashed out at each other within hours on Tuesday, in both cases threatening to hit the other side with a barrage of "fire."

The threats, between the North Korean Army and Trump, came shortly after a report -- confirmed by Fox News -- that the regime has produced a compact nuclear warhead that could fit on a missile capable of reaching the United States.


Published August 08, 2017
Fox News

Now Playing

North Korea's nuclear capability enters a new stage

North Korea and President Trump lashed out at each other within hours on Tuesday, in both cases threatening to hit the other side with a barrage of "fire."

The threats, between the North Korean Army and Trump, came shortly after a report -- confirmed by Fox News -- that the regime has produced a compact nuclear warhead that could fit on a missile capable of reaching the United States.

NORTH KOREA CONSIDERING FIRING MISSILES AT GUAM, PER STATE MEDIA

Speaking at his Bedminster golf resort in New Jersey, Trump vowed to unleash “fire” and “fury.” He said that North Korea’s threats of nuclear war “will be met with fire, fury and frankly power, the likes of which the world has never seen before.”

He continued, saying that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un “has been threatening beyond a normal state,” and added that the communist country “best not make any more threats to the United States.”

North Korea soon fired back with a threat of its own. The Korean People’s Army claimed in a statement that it was looking into a plan to hit Guam, a U.S. territory, with missiles that would create an “enveloping fire” around the island.

The threat was released by state-run media, and said the purpose of striking Guam would be to subdue the U.S. military bases there, particularly the Anderson Air Force base where nuclear-bombers are stationed.

TRUMP: NORTH KOREA 'WILL BE MET WITH FIRE AND FURY LIKE THE WORLD HAS NEVER SEEN' IF MORE THREATS EMERGE

A different statement released said that the regime “could carry out a pre-emptive operation if the United States showed signs of provocation,” according to a Reuters report.

The threats from North Korea came days after the United Nations Security Council voted unanimously to sanction the country. The resolution approved on Saturday bans North Korean exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood -- resources that are worth more than $1 billion to the regime.
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Re: EMP-Korea Concerns & Discussions #5 (Aug 2017)

Postby ReadyMom » Wed Aug 09, 2017 10:16 pm

Tillerson urges calm on North Korea, says no imminent threat
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStor ... a-49110301

North Korea on Thursday announced a detailed plan to launch a volley of ballistic missiles toward the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, a major military hub and home to U.S. bombers, and dismissed President Donald Trump's threats of "fire and fury" if it doesn't back down.

The announcement, made in the name of a general who heads North Korea's rocket command, warned the North is preparing a plan to fire four of its Hwasong-12 missiles over Japan and into waters around the tiny island, which hosts 7,000 U.S. military personnel on two main bases and has a population of 160,000.

It said the plan could be finalized within a week or so and would then go to leader Kim Jong Un for approval. It would be up to Kim whether the move is actually carried out. It said the missiles would hit waters 30 to 40 kilometers (19 to 25 miles) away from the island.

It is unclear whether North Korea would risk firing missiles so close to U.S. territory, which could provoke countermeasures and further escalation.

North Korea frequently uses extremely bellicose rhetoric with warnings of military action to keep its adversaries on their heels. It generally couches its threats with language stating it will not attack the United States unless it has been attacked first or has determined an attack is imminent.

But the statement raised worries amid a barrage of threats from both sides.

Following reports that U.S. intelligence suggests the North might be able to pair a nuclear warhead with a missile capable of reaching targets on the United States mainland, Trump warned North Korea that "it faces retaliation with fire and fury unlike any the world has seen before."

Pyongyang, meanwhile, has been louder in its complaints against a new and tough round of sanctions imposed on it by the United Nations, with strong U.S. backing, and Washington's use of Guam as a staging ground for its stealth bombers, which could be used to attack North Korea and are a particularly sore point with the rulers in Pyongyang.

Even so, its reported plan to launch missiles toward Guam is extremely unusual.

The report said the Hwasong-12 rockets would fly over Shimane, Hiroshima and Koichi prefectures in Japan and travel "1,065 seconds before hitting the waters 30 to 40 kilometers away from Guam."

It said the Korean People's Army Strategic Force will finalize the plan by mid-August, present it to Kim Jong Un and "wait for his order."

"We keep closely watching the speech and behavior of the U.S.," it said.

Such a move would not merely be a test launch, but a demonstration of military capabilities in a manner than could easily lead to severe consequences.

If North Korea were to actually carry out such a launch — even if it aimed at hitting the waters off the island and not the island itself — that would clearly pose a potential threat to U.S. territory and put the United States in a much more complicated situation than it has been during previous missile launches.

Guam lies about 2,100 miles (3,400 kilometers) from the Korean Peninsula, and it's extremely unlikely Kim's government would risk annihilation with a pre-emptive attack on U.S. citizens. It's also unclear how reliable North Korea's missiles would be against such a distant target, but no one was writing off the danger completely.

Washington has been testing its missile defenses in response to the North's stepped-up development and the current escalation of tensions could lead to pressure for the U.S. military to try to shoot down the North's missiles in midflight if they are heading toward Guam.

That would likely open up a set of very major problems, including the possibility of both a very high-profile failure or a miscalculation of Washington's intentions and a more deadly pre-emptive strike by the North — which has missiles able to hit Tokyo and conventional weapons that could devastate South Korea's capital of Seoul.

The Hweasong-12, which was revealed for the first time at a military parade in April, is an intermediate-range ballistic missile that is believed to have a range of more than 3,700 kilometers (2,300 miles). It can be fired from mobile launchers, making it hard to detect and destroy on the ground.

By launching a volley of four, the North would be attempting to make it harder for the U.S. to intercept all of the incoming missiles.

Washington, meanwhile, has been giving out mixed signals of what its intensions might be.

While Trump was threatening annihilation and boasting from the New Jersey golf resort where he's vacationing that he has made the U.S. nuclear arsenal "far stronger and more powerful than ever before," Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sought to calm the sense of crisis.

Speaking earlier Wednesday on his way home from Asia, he insisted the U.S. isn't signaling a move toward military action.

"Americans should sleep well at night," Tillerson told reporters. "Nothing that I have seen and nothing that I know of would indicate that the situation has dramatically changed in the last 24 hours."

But then Defense Secretary Jim Mattis ratcheted the rhetoric back up, calling on Pyongyang to "cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people." As seldom as it is for a president to speak of using nuclear missiles, the reference to the "destruction" of a foreign people is equally rare.

North Korea immediately called Trump's rhetoric a "load of nonsense" that was aggravating a grave situation.
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Re: EMP-Korea Concerns & Discussions #5 (Aug 2017)

Postby ReadyMom » Wed Aug 09, 2017 10:19 pm

Trump aide Sebastian Gorka warns North Korea not to 'test' America: 'We were a superpower — we are now a hyperpower'
http://www.businessinsider.com/sebastia ... ica-2017-8

Sebastian Gorka, a senior White House national security official, has reiterated President Donald Trump's threats against North Korea, saying on Wednesday that the US would respond to escalating threats from the nuclear-armed rogue state.

"Don't test America and don't test Donald J. Trump," Gorka said on "Fox & Friends" on Wednesday morning. "We are not just a superpower. We were a superpower — we are now a hyperpower."

On Tuesday, Trump issued a chilling warning to the North Korean government, saying the country "best not make any more threats to the United States" or it would "be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen."

The president's language, which experts say is largely unprecedented in the US's treatment of the country, was condemned by Democrats on Capitol Hill as well as by some Republicans.

Of the president's comments, Republican Sen. John McCain said, "That kind of rhetoric, I'm not sure how it helps."

In response to the criticism, Gorka said lawmakers should stand behind the president, harking back to the Cold War and the Cuban Missile Crisis — at a time when, Gorka said, the country was united behind President John F. Kennedy.

"During the Cuban missile crisis, we stood behind JFK," Gorka said. "This is analogous to the Cuban missile crisis. We need to come together."

While Gorka echoed the president and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in characterizing North Korea as a "grave threat" to the US, he added that the country posed a "very, very insignificant threat in terms of scale," arguing that the country's military power paled in comparison to that of the US.

Gorka is a controversial figure within the national security community. In conversations with Business Insider in February, several national security experts questioned his credibility in their field, saying he was often dismissed as an outspoken conservative pundit lacking the experience and knowledge to advise the president.
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Re: EMP-Korea Concerns & Discussions #5 (Aug 2017)

Postby ReadyMom » Wed Aug 09, 2017 10:21 pm

MATTIS: North Korea should stop before it gets destroyed
http://www.businessinsider.com/secretar ... rea-2017-8

After a heated exchange between President Donald Trump and North Korea that culminated in threats by Pyongyang to envelope the US territory of Guam in missile fire, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis laid bare the US's resolve against intimidation.

North Korea "should cease any consideration of actions that will lead to the end of the regime and destruction of its people," Mattis said in a statement.

Mattis' statement appears to allude to Tuesday night's statement from the North Korean army, which said the country was considering striking Guam with nuclear-capable Hwasong-12 intermediate-range missiles.

Mattis stressed that his first talks with Trump centered on the US's ability to defend against and deter nuclear-missile attacks.

Mattis also lauded the State Department's efforts to bring a diplomatic solution to the Korean Peninsula's conflict. He made clear that the US had "the most precise, rehearsed, and robust defensive and offensive capabilities on earth."

The US, which protects its air and naval bases on Guam with advanced missile defenses, appeared prepared to meet the challenge of North Korea's unreliable missiles.

"We always maintain a high state of readiness and have the capabilities to counter any threat, to include those from North Korea," Lt. Col. Christopher Logan, a Pentagon spokesman, told Business Insider.

But Mattis previously testified before the House Appropriations Committee that a fight with North Korea would be "more serious in terms of human suffering" than anything since the original Korean War ended in 1953.

"It would be a war that fundamentally we don't want," Mattis said at the time, but "would win at great cost."

Read Mattis' full statement below:

"The United States and our allies have the demonstrated capabilities and unquestionable commitment to defend ourselves from attack. Kim Jong Un should take heed of the United Nations Security Council's unified voice, and statements from governments the world over, who agree the DPRK poses a threat to global security and stability. The DPRK must choose to stop isolating itself and stand down its pursuit of nuclear weapons. The DPRK should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people.

"President Trump was informed of the growing threat last December and on taking office his first orders to me emphasized the readiness of our ballistic missile defense and nuclear deterrent forces. While our State Department is making every effort to resolve this global threat through diplomatic means, it must be noted that the combined allied militaries now posses the most precise, rehearsed, and robust defensive and offensive capabilities on earth. The DPRK regime's actions will continue to be grossly overmatched by ours and would lose any arms race or conflict it initiates."
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Re: EMP-Korea Concerns & Discussions #5 (Aug 2017)

Postby ReadyMom » Wed Aug 09, 2017 10:25 pm

North Korea 'examining' missile launch toward Guam
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/201 ... 554334001/

Aug. 9, 2017

Guam’s Homeland Security Office said on Wednesday that the region was not in danger, following North Korea’s threats of a ballistic missile strike on the island. Aidan Kelley has the story.

North Korea claimed Thursday that it is writing an attack plan to fire missiles toward Guam "to signal a crucial warning to the U.S.," although the rogue nation said the plan won't be ready until mid-August.

The latest threat comes amid rising tensions on the Korean peninsula and blustery rhetoric from President Trump, who has promised "fire and fury" on North Korea if it doesn't abandon its nuclear program.

The North Korean military is "seriously examining the plan for an enveloping strike at Guam through simultaneous fire of four Hwasong-12 intermediate-range strategic ballistic rockets," North Korea's media reported.

It said the missiles will fly over Japan and land near Guam, a U.S. territory in the Pacific Ocean about 2,100 miles southeast of North Korea. The U.S. maintains large naval and air bases on the island.

The show of force would not happen immediately, according to Yonhap News Agency in South Korea. The North Korean military is in the midst of drafting a detailed plan that it will submit to leader Kim Jong Un by mid-August, Yonhap reported.

North Korean media said the purpose of the missile launch will be "to interdict the enemy forces on major military bases on Guam and to signal a crucial warning to the U.S."

Military leaders in North Korea took the opportunity of the world spotlight to make a few digs at Trump. In a statement, North Korean general Kim Rak Gyom, commander of the nation's army, called Trump's "fire and fury" speech "a load of nonsense."

Gyom also called Trump "a guy bereft of reason . . . Only absolute force can work on him."

Among the U.S. military installations on Guam is the sprawling Andersen Air Force Base, as well as Naval Base Guam. The island's positioning in the Pacific is considered a key strategic point for U.S. military planning and presence. At least 6,000 U.S. troops are stationed there.

The island is the USA's most western territory. It is part of the Mariana Islands group, home to U.S. military installations, and it has been the launching point for historic attacks on Asia.

One of Guam's neighbor islands in the Marianas, Tinian Island, was the launching point for the atomic bomb attacks against Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan at the end of World War II.
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Re: EMP-Korea Concerns & Discussions #5 (Aug 2017)

Postby ReadyMom » Wed Aug 09, 2017 10:30 pm

B-1 Bombers Key to a U.S. Plan to Strike North Korean Missile Sites
http://www.nbcnews.com/news/north-korea ... an-n791221

Aug 9 2017, 6:20 pm ET

The Pentagon has prepared a specific plan for a preemptive strike on North Korea's missile sites should President Trump order such an attack.

Two senior military officials — and two senior retired officers — told NBC News that key to the plan would be a B-1B heavy bomber attack originating from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam.

Pairs of B-1s have conducted 11 practice runs of a similar mission since the end of May, the last taking place on Monday. The training has accelerated since May, according to officials. In an actual mission, the non-nuclear bombers would be supported by satellites and drones and surrounded by fighter jets as well as aerial refueling and electronic warfare planes.

"Of all the military options … [President Trump] could consider, this would be one of the two or three that would at least have the possibility of not escalating the situation," said retired Adm. James Stavridis, former Supreme Allied Commander Europe and an NBC News analyst.

Six B-1B "Lancer" bombers are currently positioned in Guam, 2,100 miles by air to North Korea. Military sources point out that the battle tested B-1, a workhorse for the past 16 years in both Afghanistan and Iraq, has been modernized and updated — "doubled in capability," according to the Air Force.

The target set, multiple sources say, would be approximately two dozen North Korean missile-launch sites, testing grounds and support facilities. The sources told NBC News they feel confident they have accurately identified a set of relevant targets. They say that the months-long standoff between North Korea and the Trump administration, together with North Korean activity and testing of a wide variety of missiles since January, has helped them to refine their understanding of North Korea's web of missile facilities.

On Wednesday, the Pentagon released a written statement from Secretary of Defense James Mattis reiterating American military readiness for both offense and defense.

"While our State Department is making every effort to resolve this global threat through diplomatic means," the statement said, "it must be noted that the combined allied militaries now possess the most precise, rehearsed and robust defensive and offensive capabilities on Earth."

"Diplomacy remains the lead," said Gen. Terrence J. O'Shaughnessy, the U.S. Pacific Air Forces commander, after the B-1 bombers' late May training run. "However, we have a responsibility to our allies and our nation to showcase our unwavering commitment while planning for the worst-case scenario. If called upon, we are ready to respond with rapid, lethal, and overwhelming force at a time and place of our choosing."

Asked about the B-1 bomber plan, two U.S. officials told NBC News that the bombers were among the options under consideration but not the only option. These officials insist that action would come from air, land and sea — and cyber.

"There is no good option," a senior intelligence official involved in North Korean planning told NBC News, but a unilateral American bomber strike not supported by any assets in the South constitutes "the best of a lot of bad options."
Risk of Escalation

Striking North Korea, however, risks a response that could involve targets as near as Seoul, just 40 miles from the border, or as far away as Andersen AFB, according to Adm. Stavridis.

"The use of the B-1 bombers to actually drop bombs and destroy Korean infrastructure and kill North Koreans would cause an escalation," said Stavridis. "Kim Jong Un would be compelled to respond. He would lash out militarily, at a minimum against South Korea, and potentially at long-range targets, perhaps including Guam. … That's a bad set of outcomes from where we sit now."

Military sources told NBC News that the internal justification for centering a strike on the B-1 is both practical and intricate. The B-1 has the largest internal payload of any current bomber in the U.S. arsenal. A pair of bombers can carry a mix of weapons in three separate bomb bays — as many as 168 500-pound bombs — or more likely, according to military sources, the new Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile — Extended Range (JASSM-ER), a highly accurate missile with a range of 500 nautical miles, allowing the missile to be fired from well outside North Korean territory.

One senior military officer, who has been involved in discussion of the strike and the possible North Korean response, says the B-1 has also been selected because it has the added benefit of not being able to carry nuclear weapons. Military planners think that will signal China, Russia, and Pyongyang that the U.S. is not trying to escalate an already bad situation any further.

Military planners also argue that because the bombers and their supporting aircraft will originate from outside the Korean Peninsula, such an attack might draw any North Korean retaliation away from South Korea.

Adm. Stavridis is skeptical of such geopolitical reasoning. "I'm not sure that our primary interest is signaling the Chinese or the Russians," he said. "When you start flying live bombers, which are going to drop bombs, or launch cruise missiles into North Korea, the subtlety of a nuclear platform and a non-nuclear platform is likely to be lost on Kim Jong Un."

Stavridis' point was driven home at the end of May, when the Korean Central News Agency loudly condemned the B-1 operations, saying the United States was mounting "a nuclear bomb-dropping drill."

Of the 11 B-1 practice runs since the end of May, four have also involved practice bombing at military ranges in South Korea and Australia.

In August 2016, B-1B bombers, B-2s, and B-52s deployed to the same base together for the first time in history, at Andersen AFB. It was also the first deployment of the B-1B bomber to Guam in over a decade. Since then, there have been three rotations of B-1Bs from the United States, the latest coming on July 26 when six bombers and 350 airmen and women with the 37th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron arrived in Guam. The squadron relieved the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, which deployed from Dyess AFB in Texas in February.

The first practice run of the current series took place on May 29-30, when two B-1Bs flew from Guam into Japanese airspace and then over the Korean Peninsula. South Korea and Japanese fighter jets escorted the bombers over international waters and then four South Korean F-15 fighters flew with the B-1Bs as they crossed the Korean Peninsula before returning to Guam. Air Force KC-135 aerial refueling planes kept the B-1s aloft for the 10-hour round trip.

There were two more practice runs on June 8 and June 20. Then, on July 6-7, a pair of B-1Bs undertook their first night training run, dropping inert weapons at the Pilsung Range in South Korea. Another practice bombing took place at Pilsung on July 8-9.

North Korea's state-run Rodong newspaper said Washington was ratcheting up tensions with the drill. "The U.S., with its dangerous military provocation, is pushing the risk of a nuclear war on the peninsula to a tipping point," it said, describing the peninsula as the "world's biggest tinderbox."

"A small misjudgment or error can immediately lead to the beginning of a nuclear war, which will inevitably lead to another world war," the North Korean newspaper said.

Two more practice runs then took place on July 17 and 19, this time with pairs of B-1B flying 12.5 hours to northern Australia as part of the joint U.S.-Australian exercise called Talisman Saber.

Again on July 28-29, two B-1Bs were back above the Korean Peninsula, conducting a "low flyover."

On Monday, the B-1Bs flew practice run number 11. "How we train is how we fight and the more we interface with our allies, the better prepared we are to fight tonight," said a B-1 pilot who took part in the mission.

President Trump publicly threatened North Korea the next day, saying that any threat from the North Korean regime would be met with "fire and fury." A spokesman for the Korean People's Army, in a statement carried by KCNA responded by saying that the North was going over "military options to form attack positions" around the U.S. territory in order to "send a stern warning" to the United States.

On Wednesday, North Korea responded by saying it was considering striking Andersen AFB on Guam with missiles.

Adm. Stavridis said that the North's threat to hit Guam is "a bit of an admission that he doesn't really have the capability to strike the mainland of the United States."

Still, Stavridis warns that the North Korea threats ought to "worry us deeply."
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Re: EMP-Korea Concerns & Discussions #5 (Aug 2017)

Postby ReadyMom » Wed Aug 09, 2017 10:33 pm

What nuclear war between the US and North Korea might look like
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world ... 83581.html

With the window closing fast for the US to stop Kim Jong-un from obtaining a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile, North Korea watchers are starting to analyse President Donald Trump’s military options. He warned on Tuesday that North Korea would be met with “fire and fury” if it continues to make threats. After the United Nations agreed to its most stringent sanctions yet on Kim’s regime, North Korea repeated its stance that its nuclear weapons programme is necessary to deter a US invasion. For Trump and the US, there are no easy choices.

1. Can’t the US try a surgical strike?

It probably wouldn’t work well enough. North Korea’s missiles and nuclear facilities are dispersed and hidden throughout the country’s mountainous terrain. Failing to hit them all would leave some 10 million people in Seoul, 38 million people in the Tokyo vicinity and tens of thousands of US military personnel in northeast Asia vulnerable to missile attacks — with either conventional or nuclear warheads. Even if the US managed to wipe out everything, Seoul would still be vulnerable to attacks from North Korea’s artillery.

2. Why might Kim go nuclear?

“Even a limited strike“ by the US “would run the risk of being understood by the North Koreans to be the beginning of a much larger strike, and they might choose to use their nuclear weapons,” said Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia nonproliferation programme at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. Somehow, the US would need to signal to both North Korea and China — Pyongyang’s main ally and trading partner — that a surgical military strike is limited, and that they should avoid nuclear retaliation.

3. Is regime change an option?

New leadership wouldn’t necessarily lead to a new way of thinking among North Korea’s leadership. Kim’s prolonged exposure to Western values while at school in Switzerland led some to speculate that he might opt to open his country to the world — until he took power and proved them wrong. Moreover, if Kim somehow were targeted for removal, the ruling clique surrounding him would have to go as well — making for a very long kill list. China, fearing both a refugee crisis and US troops on its border, would likely seek to prop up the existing regime.

4. Does that mean all-out war is the best US option?

A full-scale invasion would be necessary to quickly take out North Korea’s artillery as well as its missile and nuclear programmes. Yet any sign of an imminent strike — such as a buildup of US firepower, mobilisation of South Korean and Japanese militaries and the evacuation of American citizens in the region — could prompt North Korea to strike preemptively. China and Russia may also be sucked in. “Realistically, war has to be avoided,” said John Delury, an assistant professor of international studies at Yonsei University in South Korea. “When you run any cost-benefit analysis, it’s insanity.”
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Re: EMP-Korea Concerns & Discussions #5 (Aug 2017)

Postby ReadyMom » Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:05 pm

US spy satellites detect North Korea moving anti-ship cruise missiles to patrol boat
http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/08/07 ... -boat.html

August 07, 2017

Despite the United States' insistence that North Korea halt its missile tests, U.S. spy agencies detected the rogue communist regime loading two anti-ship cruise missiles on a patrol boat on the country’s east coast just days ago.

It's the first time these missiles have been deployed on this type of platform since 2014, U.S. officials with knowledge of the latest intelligence in the region told Fox News on Monday.

It also points to more evidence that North Korea isn't listening to the diplomatic threats from the West.

“The best signal that North Korea could give us that they're prepared to talk would be to stop these missile launches,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in the Philippines Monday.

North Korea loaded two Stormpetrel anti-ship cruise missiles on a Wonsan guided-missile patrol boat at Toejo Dong on North Korea’s east coast.

“North Korea is not showing any evidence it plans to halt its missile tests,” said one official who requested anonymity to discuss sensitive information. “It's a trend that does not bode well for hopes of de-escalating tensions on the [Korean] peninsula.”

The latest moves by Pyongyang point to a likely missile test in the days ahead or it could be a defense measure should the U.S. Navy dispatch more warships to the Korean peninsula, officials said.

President Trump on Monday afternoon voiced his displeasure about the coverage of the unanimous U.N. Security Council vote over the weekend to sanction Pyongyang. "The Fake News Media will not talk about the importance of the United Nations Security Council's 15-0 vote in favor of sanctions on N. Korea!" Trump tweeted.

Meantime, there currently are limits to the size of the warheads South Korea is allowed to deploy on top of its missiles. But following a talk between leaders of South Korea and the United States, the Pentagon is working on allowing changes to the policy.

"Yes, we are working on it," said Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman. "It's a topic under active consideration here, and I would tell you that we would be favorably inclined to do anything which furthers the defensive capabilities of South Korea."

The United States removed its tactical nuclear missiles from South Korea in 1991.
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Re: EMP-Korea Concerns & Discussions #5 (Aug 2017)

Postby PatrioticStabilist » Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:50 pm

Son is due to be at his new duty station at Ft Drum by Jan 21st, wonder if it will hang together
that long?

We asked what he thought about all this, he said well if they try something like that it will be
the last thing they ever try.

But its scarey, because a lot of people will die if this happens.

I sure hope it doesn't. Trump sounds as nutty as Kim, but maybe it takes one nut to go after
another nut, who knows.
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Re: EMP-Korea Concerns & Discussions #5 (Aug 2017)

Postby TRex2 » Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:18 am

PatrioticStabilist wrote:...
I sure hope it doesn't. Trump sounds as nutty as Kim, but maybe it takes one nut to go after
another nut, who knows.

This has been said now, so many times it is getting repetitive:
Trump was simply speaking in language that CFK would understand.
We should be thankful we elected someone willing and able to pronounce it.

The most dangerous thing you can do is project spinelessness by setting a red line and doing nothing when it is crossed. The second most dangerous thing you can do is project weakness by letting others repeatedly break the rules and doing nothing about it. The first is how we got ISIS, the second caused WW2, and many smaller conflagrations.
Calling Islam a religion isn't much different than calling Nazism or Communism a religion.
Both were also political movements with a religious component, just like Islam.
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Re: EMP-Korea Concerns & Discussions #5 (Aug 2017)

Postby rickdun » Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:48 am

TRex2 wrote:
This has been said now, so many times it is getting repetitive:
Trump was simply speaking in language that CFK would understand.
We should be thankful we elected someone willing and able to pronounce it.

The most dangerous thing you can do is project spinelessness by setting a red line and doing nothing when it is crossed. The second most dangerous thing you can do is project weakness by letting others repeatedly break the rules and doing nothing about it. The first is how we got ISIS, the second caused WW2, and many smaller conflagrations.


TRex2, I believe that is exactly what O'Bozo did, on all aspects of foreign affairs.
"EVERY DAY'S A HOLIDAY AND EVERY MEAL'S A FEAST, SEMPRI FI DO OR DIE"
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Re: EMP-Korea Concerns & Discussions #5 (Aug 2017)

Postby Illini Warrior » Thu Aug 10, 2017 7:58 pm

PatrioticStabilist wrote:Son is due to be at his new duty station at Ft Drum by Jan 21st, wonder if it will hang together
that long?

We asked what he thought about all this, he said well if they try something like that it will be
the last thing they ever try.

But its scarey, because a lot of people will die if this happens.

I sure hope it doesn't. Trump sounds as nutty as Kim, but maybe it takes one nut to go after
another nut, who knows.



yeh, we need more presidents like Clinton and Obammy - just keep passing the buck and let the enemy enlarge their capacity to attack the US ...

they struck the World Trade Center and Clinton took the opportunity for a well deserved BJ - Sadamm Hussain targeted US & British fighter jets all most every single day while Clinton tried to find time to zipper up ....

Obammy - what was bad worsened and just about everything international went to hell - you just pick out the reason why - there's everything from Muslim collusion & sabotage to just plain black field hand ignorant laziness ...

yeh, the first guy to really care in how many decades what really happens to the US - is nutz ....

we need to checking more nutz houses for those DC jobs ....
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Re: EMP-Korea Concerns & Discussions #5 (Aug 2017)

Postby PatrioticStabilist » Fri Aug 11, 2017 6:47 am

Yeah, we are only dealing with nuclear war and possible involvement of many nations
with ultimate annihilation of the human race.

Seems to me a lot of caution needs to be taken.
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Re: EMP-Korea Concerns & Discussions #5 (Aug 2017)

Postby ReadyMom » Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:03 am

North Korea is more rational than you think
https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/10/north-k ... shows.html

10 Aug 2017

Would North Korea really fire a nuclear weapon at the US?

As belligerent rhetoric between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un escalates to new heights, it's a question that many Americans are asking themselves with increasing levels of fear and anxiety.

Attacking the US with a nuke would seem completely reckless, since it would almost certainly ensure North Korea's eradication in retaliatory strikes. Which means the question of whether North Korea would really fire a nuke at the US comes down to an even more basic question: Is Kim Jong Un rational?

For casual observers of North Korea, Kim certainly seems like a lunatic. After all, he's suspected of having assassinated his half-brother with VX nerve agent, he starves and tortures his people, and he regularly threatens to attack the United States with nuclear missiles. Those threats often sound unhinged, like when he threatened this spring to employ a "super-mighty preemptive strike" to reduce the US and South Korea "to ashes."

Many US policymakers also seem to think Kim is a madman. "We are not dealing with a rational person," US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley warned in March. "This is not a rational person, who has not had rational acts, who is not thinking clearly."

Sen. John McCain, chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, bashed Kim as "a crazy fat kid" in March. And Republican Rep. Bradley Byrne summed up the quandary after returning from a trip to Asia in April: "I don't believe the leadership in North Korea is rational. How do you deal with someone that is irrational?"

This line of commentary has very real consequences for how the US deals with North Korea: If Washington believes that Kim is truly irrational, then it will be more inclined to use force to stop him. If the foreign policy establishment is convinced that Kim is not mentally stable, then the idea of him firing nuclear-tipped missiles at the US with no concern that he might be wiped off the map himself in a retaliatory strike becomes a plausible scenario.

That could in turn make the Trump administration more likely to consider launching an extraordinarily risky preventive or preemptive strike against Kim's nuclear facilities in order to prevent that from happening. McCain has said he thinks such a strike must be an option, and the Trump administration has repeatedly made it clear that it's on the table.

But when I spoke to scholars and historians of North Korea, they uniformly rejected the idea that Kim is a lunatic. His ruthlessness and fierce rhetoric should not be confused with irrationality, they explained. Instead, he should be understood as extremely calculating and disciplined when it comes to maintaining his grip on power — just as his predecessors (his father, Kim Jong Il, and his grandfather and the country's founder, Kim Il Sung) were.

To most North Korea experts, Kim Jong Un is far from erratic. In fact, they say that if anyone is unpredictable in this scenario, it's President Trump.

Rational doesn't mean easy to get along with

When we talk about a country or a leader being "rational" in the context of international relations, we're not using it in the casual sense of "sensible."

The term "rational" here means that a country's government is capable of making logical calculations about its goals and interests and determining how to achieve them based on the resources — economic, military, diplomatic, etc. — at its disposal.

Countries have lots of different interests, but the most crucial one is self-preservation. A rational leader can take risky actions, but they wouldn't purposely do something that would foreseeably lead to the total annihilation of their country.

And that's really what we're asking when we ask whether Kim Jong Un (or his father and grandfather before him) is rational: Is he bound by that fundamental survival instinct? Because if not, that essentially means he can't be deterred.

Deterrence works by convincing your opponent that you can hurt them — and perhaps even destroy them — if they hurt you. But if your opponent doesn't care about being destroyed, there's nothing stopping them from hurting you.

So the fear is that North Korea's leader, blinded by ideological zeal or illusions of his own power, won't be kept in check by the principle of deterrence and would attempt a nuclear strike without regard for the retaliatory strikes that would effectively eradicate it.

North Korea is a careful student of history

But here's the thing: North Korea has been deterred by the US for decades.

In the 64 years since the end of the Korean War in 1953, North Korea hasn't launched a war to retake South Korea. And that's largely because the US has tens of thousands of troops and serious firepower parked in South Korea and Japan to ensure that any attempt by North Korea to actually start a war would be catastrophically costly for it.

Even when South Korea has shown extreme vulnerability — such as when it underwent military coups in 1961 and 1980 and some of its military units were moved away from the border with North Korea — North Korea has not launched a war. Clearly, deterrence has worked.

The North has, however, taken other hostile actions against the US and its allies over the decades, including shooting down American spy planes and killing people in the demilitarized zone that marks the boundary between North and South Korea. And it's continued to develop a nuclear arsenal and the ballistic missiles needed to deliver them, all while openly threatening the United States with nuclear war.

So how is that rational? Why pick a fight with a vastly more powerful country whose nuclear arsenal makes yours look like child's play?

According to James Person, a North Korea expert at the Wilson Center in Washington, while this might seem at first glance to be completely irrational, it's not: It's actually an effective way of getting America's attention — and often, a way of gaining an upper hand over it.

In an interview in May, Person said that Pyongyang "carefully studies" US responses to all its actions and has learned that it can often get the US to yield when it carries out some of its edgier provocations.

Here's a good example: In 1968, North Korea seized the US naval intelligence ship USS Pueblo with 83 crew members aboard. It was one of the most audacious actions the North had ever taken against the US, and the crisis had the potential to erupt into a full-on war.

But that's not what ultimately happened. Not only did the Pueblo's seizure not spark a huge military clash, but the North was actually able to turn the move into a political win.

The US sat down and negotiated with North Korea for nearly a year over the imprisoned sailors. At the end of the negotiations, North Korea returned the 83 sailors (who were tortured during their time in captivity) — but it also got the US to admit to having hostile intentions toward North Korea. And it kept the ship. In other words, not only did North Korea come out of the encounter unscathed, it got a trophy out of it.

Another incident just a year later highlights a similar dynamic. When in 1969 North Korean fighter jets shot down an American spy plane, killing the 31 people aboard the aircraft, the Nixon administration considered a variety of military options — including a nuclear strike — but ultimately chose to refrain from using force altogether.

So North Korea got away with the attack without facing repercussions. The reason? "The US was being prudent because of potential risks of retaliation against South Korea," Person said during the May interview.

The US's decision to not retaliate after both of these high-profile provocations underscores something crucial to understanding why war hasn't broken out on the Korean Peninsula since the end of the first war in 1953: Both North Korea and its opponents are deeply afraid of setting off a broader war that would wreak havoc across the region. The smallness of the peninsula has a way of clarifying the high stakes of any war: Millions of people are vulnerable to being massacred by either side.

North Korea's leaders — including Kim Jong Un — aren't blind to this. In fact, they're exceptionally sensitive to it. They're very mindful of the fact that their ability to inflict huge damage on South Korea with great speed is a big deterrent to any major US strike against the North. And because of that, they know they have a bit of leeway in taking provocative action against South Korea and the US.

Nobody actually wants to go to war, so North Korea gets away with a lot of bad behavior.

North Korea's acts of belligerence aren't insane outbursts, but deliberate gestures grounded in careful observations about how the outside world responds to it. And when it carries them out, it looks strong and powerful to its own population, intimidates South Korea, and broadcasts to the global community a highly aggressive posture that makes military intervention against it seem all the more daunting.

Would North Korea really fire a nuclear weapon at the US?

As belligerent rhetoric between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un escalates to new heights, it's a question that many Americans are asking themselves with increasing levels of fear and anxiety.

Attacking the US with a nuke would seem completely reckless, since it would almost certainly ensure North Korea's eradication in retaliatory strikes. Which means the question of whether North Korea would really fire a nuke at the US comes down to an even more basic question: Is Kim Jong Un rational?

For casual observers of North Korea, Kim certainly seems like a lunatic. After all, he's suspected of having assassinated his half-brother with VX nerve agent, he starves and tortures his people, and he regularly threatens to attack the United States with nuclear missiles. Those threats often sound unhinged, like when he threatened this spring to employ a "super-mighty preemptive strike" to reduce the US and South Korea "to ashes."

Many US policymakers also seem to think Kim is a madman. "We are not dealing with a rational person," US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley warned in March. "This is not a rational person, who has not had rational acts, who is not thinking clearly."

Sen. John McCain, chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, bashed Kim as "a crazy fat kid" in March. And Republican Rep. Bradley Byrne summed up the quandary after returning from a trip to Asia in April: "I don't believe the leadership in North Korea is rational. How do you deal with someone that is irrational?"

This line of commentary has very real consequences for how the US deals with North Korea: If Washington believes that Kim is truly irrational, then it will be more inclined to use force to stop him. If the foreign policy establishment is convinced that Kim is not mentally stable, then the idea of him firing nuclear-tipped missiles at the US with no concern that he might be wiped off the map himself in a retaliatory strike becomes a plausible scenario.

That could in turn make the Trump administration more likely to consider launching an extraordinarily risky preventive or preemptive strike against Kim's nuclear facilities in order to prevent that from happening. McCain has said he thinks such a strike must be an option, and the Trump administration has repeatedly made it clear that it's on the table.

But when I spoke to scholars and historians of North Korea, they uniformly rejected the idea that Kim is a lunatic. His ruthlessness and fierce rhetoric should not be confused with irrationality, they explained. Instead, he should be understood as extremely calculating and disciplined when it comes to maintaining his grip on power — just as his predecessors (his father, Kim Jong Il, and his grandfather and the country's founder, Kim Il Sung) were.

To most North Korea experts, Kim Jong Un is far from erratic. In fact, they say that if anyone is unpredictable in this scenario, it's President Trump.
Rational doesn't mean easy to get along with

When we talk about a country or a leader being "rational" in the context of international relations, we're not using it in the casual sense of "sensible."

The term "rational" here means that a country's government is capable of making logical calculations about its goals and interests and determining how to achieve them based on the resources — economic, military, diplomatic, etc. — at its disposal.

Countries have lots of different interests, but the most crucial one is self-preservation. A rational leader can take risky actions, but they wouldn't purposely do something that would foreseeably lead to the total annihilation of their country.

And that's really what we're asking when we ask whether Kim Jong Un (or his father and grandfather before him) is rational: Is he bound by that fundamental survival instinct? Because if not, that essentially means he can't be deterred.

Deterrence works by convincing your opponent that you can hurt them — and perhaps even destroy them — if they hurt you. But if your opponent doesn't care about being destroyed, there's nothing stopping them from hurting you.

So the fear is that North Korea's leader, blinded by ideological zeal or illusions of his own power, won't be kept in check by the principle of deterrence and would attempt a nuclear strike without regard for the retaliatory strikes that would effectively eradicate it.
North Korea is a careful student of history

But here's the thing: North Korea has been deterred by the US for decades.

In the 64 years since the end of the Korean War in 1953, North Korea hasn't launched a war to retake South Korea. And that's largely because the US has tens of thousands of troops and serious firepower parked in South Korea and Japan to ensure that any attempt by North Korea to actually start a war would be catastrophically costly for it.

Even when South Korea has shown extreme vulnerability — such as when it underwent military coups in 1961 and 1980 and some of its military units were moved away from the border with North Korea — North Korea has not launched a war. Clearly, deterrence has worked.

The North has, however, taken other hostile actions against the US and its allies over the decades, including shooting down American spy planes and killing people in the demilitarized zone that marks the boundary between North and South Korea. And it's continued to develop a nuclear arsenal and the ballistic missiles needed to deliver them, all while openly threatening the United States with nuclear war.

So how is that rational? Why pick a fight with a vastly more powerful country whose nuclear arsenal makes yours look like child's play?

According to James Person, a North Korea expert at the Wilson Center in Washington, while this might seem at first glance to be completely irrational, it's not: It's actually an effective way of getting America's attention — and often, a way of gaining an upper hand over it.

In an interview in May, Person said that Pyongyang "carefully studies" US responses to all its actions and has learned that it can often get the US to yield when it carries out some of its edgier provocations.

Here's a good example: In 1968, North Korea seized the US naval intelligence ship USS Pueblo with 83 crew members aboard. It was one of the most audacious actions the North had ever taken against the US, and the crisis had the potential to erupt into a full-on war.

"North Korea's acts of belligerence aren't insane outbursts, but deliberate gestures grounded in careful observations about how the outside world responds to it. "

But that's not what ultimately happened. Not only did the Pueblo's seizure not spark a huge military clash, but the North was actually able to turn the move into a political win.

The US sat down and negotiated with North Korea for nearly a year over the imprisoned sailors. At the end of the negotiations, North Korea returned the 83 sailors (who were tortured during their time in captivity) — but it also got the US to admit to having hostile intentions toward North Korea. And it kept the ship. In other words, not only did North Korea come out of the encounter unscathed, it got a trophy out of it.

Another incident just a year later highlights a similar dynamic. When in 1969 North Korean fighter jets shot down an American spy plane, killing the 31 people aboard the aircraft, the Nixon administration considered a variety of military options — including a nuclear strike — but ultimately chose to refrain from using force altogether.

So North Korea got away with the attack without facing repercussions. The reason? "The US was being prudent because of potential risks of retaliation against South Korea," Person said during the May interview.

The US's decision to not retaliate after both of these high-profile provocations underscores something crucial to understanding why war hasn't broken out on the Korean Peninsula since the end of the first war in 1953: Both North Korea and its opponents are deeply afraid of setting off a broader war that would wreak havoc across the region. The smallness of the peninsula has a way of clarifying the high stakes of any war: Millions of people are vulnerable to being massacred by either side.

North Korea's leaders — including Kim Jong Un — aren't blind to this. In fact, they're exceptionally sensitive to it. They're very mindful of the fact that their ability to inflict huge damage on South Korea with great speed is a big deterrent to any major US strike against the North. And because of that, they know they have a bit of leeway in taking provocative action against South Korea and the US.

Nobody actually wants to go to war, so North Korea gets away with a lot of bad behavior.

North Korea's acts of belligerence aren't insane outbursts, but deliberate gestures grounded in careful observations about how the outside world responds to it. And when it carries them out, it looks strong and powerful to its own population, intimidates South Korea, and broadcasts to the global community a highly aggressive posture that makes military intervention against it seem all the more daunting.

Nuclear weapons are key to maintaining power

So how do North Korea's nuclear ambitions fit into all this? With nuclear weapons, North Korea believes it will have license to act even more provocatively in the region without fear of repercussions. If the US already lets North Korea get away with adversarial behavior now because it fears provoking an all-out war, just imagine how much more it will put up with to avoid an all-out nuclear war.

When North Korea looks at other authoritarian dictators that failed to secure nuclear weapons, it sees a legacy of failure.

"They saw Iraq, which had an unrealized nuclear program, get taken out," Person explained. "They saw [Libyan dictator] Muammar Qaddafi voluntarily give up his nuclear program in exchange for integration and improved relations with the world — only for the NATO-backed rebels to take him out in the street in 2011."

Pyongyang's thoughts about the power of nuclear weapons are shaped by those regime collapses. The North sees nuclear weapons as the one bulwark that can prevent similar things from happening to them. "Kim thinks that the 'treasured sword of justice' protects them and guarantees the survival of their system," Jonathan Pollack, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who specializes in US strategy in Asia and the Pacific, told me during an interview in May.

Person says the fact that the Trump administration has threatened to tear up the Iran nuclear deal — in which Iran agreed to restrict many of its sensitive nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of sanctions — only makes North Korea more resolute about clinging to its weapons. "It sends the signal to them, you may get an agreement today — but then the next president may not agree with it," Person said.

Kim is not just a "crazy fat kid"

Outside of nuclear program, Kim Jong Un has shocked many with some of his more brutal actions in recent years. He had his uncle executed in 2013; he appears to have assassinated his exiled half-brother in a Malaysian airport this year. From a distance, this proclivity for violence against family members can come across as unhinged to Western observers.

But analysts say that while Kim's behavior is brutal, it's not irrational. His executions have been attempts at consolidating power and eliminating threats decisively — a necessary kind of practice when you're running a totalitarian state.

"If Kim was totally out of touch, there's no way he could've lasted this long," David Kang, a scholar at the University of Southern California who specializes in security in East Asia, said during an interview in May. "You have to be good at figuring out what you want, how to reward friends, get rid of enemies."

None of this is to say that Kim's actions are not morally abhorrent. But there's a logic to them that can be discerned quite clearly by experts.

"North Korea is remarkably predictable," Pollack said. "Tactically they can surprise us ... but strategically, they rarely surprise me."

Trump's positioning on North Korea is unnerving

These days, it's the Trump administration that is less predictable than Kim's regime, with conflicting signals emerging from the White House.

Earlier in August, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made a point to tell the North Koreans after their latest ballistic missile test that "We are not your enemy, we are not your threat."

"We do not seek a regime change, we do not seek a collapse of the regime, we do not seek an accelerated reunification of the peninsula, we do not seek an excuse to send our military north of the 38th Parallel," Tillerson said in a press briefing at the State Department on August 1.

But more recent rhetoric from the president has been deeply provocative. Last week, Sen. Lindsey Graham recounted a conversation with the president about using a military option against North Korea in rather vivid terms. "If thousands die, they're going to die over there. They're not going to die over here — and he's told me that to my face," Graham told theToday show's Matt Lauer. The White House did not dispute Graham's account.

And then on Tuesday, Trump broke new ground by making a statement that sounded like an actual North Korean press release.

North Korea had "best not make any threats against the United States," Trump told reporters. "They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen."

Trump broke with the US tradition of responding to North Korea's threats in a measured tone, instead choosing to mirror their language and taking the US-North Korean game of chicken to a whole new level.

It's hard to know how exactly how this game of one-upmanship will play out. In the meantime, we do know North Korea's going to keep gunning for the things they see as crucial to the survival of their regime in as calculated a manner as possible.
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