Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Out to Launch

There are thousands of artillery field pieces in North Korea (the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – DPRK) aimed at targets in the northern part of South Korea. The capital city of Seoul (population 10 million) is a scant 25-30 miles from the border. Two days of shelling could take out 40-100,000 civilians and reignite a war that technically never ended (it was just a cease-fire, an armistice if you will). South Korea would pay an immediate and steep price. But what would start that war? A preemptive strike from a U.S. off-shore fleet? And exactly what would that U.S. force face?
Out of a population of approximately 25 million, the DPRK can field an army of over 5 million soldiers (700,000 regulars and about 4.5 million reservists), more than China, Russia or the United States. It has about 1,000 fixed wing military aircraft, about 100 transports and the balance split between fighters and attack aircraft. Add to that about 200 helicopters, an impressive array of tanks, field artillery, rocket launchers and personnel carriers. It’s 1000 vessel naval capacity is almost half patrol boats and somewhere north of 75 submarines of varying modernity. Globalfirepower.com. But that’s the light stuff, it seems.
Then there are big boyz: mid-to-long-range missiles with an arsenal that contains estimates of over 100 nuclear weapons. Military experts have been telling us for years that Pyongyang’s missiles are still a few years away from achieving true status as true intercontinental ballistic missiles (missiles capable of delivering an explosive warhead over 3,400 miles away), an ICBM. They would be wrong, it seems.
As world leaders gathered in Hamburg, Germany in early July, the DPRK’s Dear Leader Kim Jong-Un gave the rest of the world, particularly the United States his declared worst enemy, a really bad week. A missile test. Expert calculations suggest that the Hwasong-14 had the capacity to travel 4100 miles as tested, even though it dropped into the Sea of Japan a mere 600 miles away. Too deep to be salvaged by American submarines, claims the North. The missile used most of its capacity achieving an altitude of 1,740 miles.
“‘This is a big deal: It’s an ICBM, not a ‘kind of’ ICBM,’ said Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia program at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies. ‘And there’s no reason to think that this is going to be the maximum range.’…
“‘That range would not be enough to reach the Lower 48 states or the large islands of Hawaii, but would allow it to reach all of Alaska,’ [David Wright, senior scientist for the Union of Concerned Scientists]said.
“North Korea’s apparent accomplishment puts it well ahead of schedule in its years-long quest to develop a true ICBM. The Hwasong-14 tested Monday [7/3] could not have reached the U.S. mainland, analysts say, and there’s no evidence to date that North Korea is capable of building a miniaturized nuclear warhead to fit on one of its longer-range missiles. But there’s now little reason to doubt that both are within North Korea’s grasp, weapons experts say.” Washington Post, July 4th. Hmmmm…. Wrong again. Dear Leader tells us he can reach anywhere on earth. Is he right? He keeps threatening the United States by name.
And as Americans, we must depend on a man who, during his presidential run in an NBC interview last September, said that he knew “’more about ISIS than the generals do’ and later that ‘I think under the leadership of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, the generals have been reduced to rubble,’ Trump said. ‘They have been reduced to a point where it's embarrassing to our country... And I can just see the great, as an example, Gen. George Patton spinning in his grave as ISIS, we can't beat.’” BusinessInsider.com, 9/7/16.
But since being elected president, Donald Trump seems to have outsourced his military strategy on ISIS to those same generals, relegating his approach to Dear Leader to a series of tweets and supplications of neighboring countries to contain that Northern threat. Will his generals order more? The threat from the North is very real, the gravest that Trump will face according to then-outgoing President Barrack Obama.
“‘In the past five years, we have seen significant, and much more rapid-than-expected development of their ballistic missiles capability,’ said Victor Cha, a former director of Asian affairs for the George W. Bush administration’s National Security Council. ‘Their capabilities have exceeded our expectations on a consistent basis.’
“While U.S. intelligence officials have sought, with some success, to disrupt North Korea’s progress, Pyongyang has achieved breakthroughs in multiple areas, including the development of solid-fuel rocket engines and mobile-launch capabilities, including rockets that can be fired from submarines. Early analysis suggests that the Hwasong-14 uses a new kind of indigenously built ballistic-missile engine, one that North Korea unveiled with fanfare on March 18. Nearly all the country’s ballistic missiles up until now used engines based on modifications of older, Soviet-era technology.
“‘It’s not a copy of a crappy Soviet engine, and it’s not a pair of Soviet engines kludged together — it’s the real thing,’ Lewis said. “When they first unveiled the engine on March 18, they said that the ‘world would soon see what this means.’ I think we’re now seeing them take that basic engine design and execute it for an ICBM.’” The Post. So far: In response, the United States and South Korea fired missiles into South Korea's territorial waters off the east coast, the Seoul-based Eighth U.S. Army said — moves that could be seen as a warning message to the regime. AOL.com, July 4th. Not seeing anyone shaking in their boots. But don’t you just feel so secure knowing that Donald Trump is at the helm?
I’m Peter Dekom, and we have put a man in charge of our entire military who admittedly does not read and relies heavily on right wing media and idiots like Steve Bannon for most of his policy information.

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