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Bloviating Zeppelin: Escalation

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Escalation

In politics, the rubric goes something like this: "Match talk with talk, and actions with actions."

Japan, a rather short distance from Korean peninsula and therefore clearly in the gunsights of the NKM, has made a rather startling pronouncement:

TOKYO (AP) - Japan said Monday it was considering whether a pre-emptive strike on the North's missile bases would violate its constitution, signaling a hardening stance ahead of a possible U.N. Security Council vote on Tokyo's proposal for sanctions against the regime.

Japan was badly rattled by North Korea's missile tests last week and several government officials openly discussed whether the country ought to take steps to better defend itself, including setting up the legal framework to allow Tokyo to launch a pre-emptive strike against Northern missile sites.

"If we accept that there is no other option to prevent an attack -- there is the view that attacking the launch base of the guided missiles is within the constitutional right of self-defense. We need to deepen discussion," Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe said.

Japan's constitution currently bars the use of military force in settling international disputes and prohibits Japan from maintaining a military for warfare. Tokyo has interpreted that to mean it can have armed troops to protect itself, allowing the existence of its 240,000-strong Self-Defense Forces.

Japan, following WWII, has been historically reticent to even write of their defense forces, much less consider their usage in world affairs. Though they contributed troops in Iraq, Japan would much rather that bit of information remain background as much as possible.

The NKM is a larger threat now on the world stage, despite his missile techno-losses, if for no other reason that Japan has made this public announcement. Literally, in a country where the standard individual is a minimum of 2 to 3 inches shorter than the area average because of nutritional deficiencies and where the nation appears to be unable to manufacture flat glass panes without bubbles or distortions, the NKM will feel forced to ramp up his rhetoric. Why? At 5'2" the NKM is actually shorter than Napoleon -- the leader credited with having the first megabout of Short Man's Complex. The NKM does wear lifts in his shoes and he will respond to Japan.

This is clearly not a tension-lessening act but serves only to escalate frayed nerves. With North Korea it is this simple: do not speak or write of an action against the country; simply do it. Words without backup will only serve to heighten tensions and force the NKM to further ill-considered actions.

Also, from the UK Timeonline:

A PROGRAMME of covert action against nuclear and missile traffic to North Korea and Iran is to be intensified after last week’s missile tests by the North Korean regime. Intelligence agencies, navies and air forces from at least 13 nations are quietly co-operating in a “secret war” against Pyongyang and Tehran.

It has so far involved interceptions of North Korean ships at sea, US agents prowling the waterfronts in Taiwan, multinational naval and air surveillance missions out of Singapore, investigators poring over the books of dubious banks in the former Portuguese colony of Macau and a fleet of planes and ships eavesdropping on the “hermit kingdom” in the waters north of Japan.

It is interesting (and most disturbing) to realize that one of the primary missiles that ended up failing 47 seconds into its test had its trajectory analyzed and, as a result, it was determined this missile would have ended up near our Hawaiian Islands chain.

BZ

10 Comments:

Blogger A Jacksonian said...

The reach of NoKo exceeds its grasp, but in that reaching threatens all of its neighbors. China losing rolling stock and shutting off of supplies until those trains are returned. Japan finding out that individuals kidnapped during the 1950's are *still* in NoKo land, even after decades of vehement denial by the regimes there. Ditto with South Korea and the frequent incursions by 2-5 man minisubs abducting individiduals and performing espionage upon South Korea. All the while inside NoKo there is no agricultural system that is in any way modern, beaches have electrified fences around them lest someone try to *swim* or *raft* away, and anyone caught trying to escape to China is put in a prison camp. Actually, lots of people are put in prison camps... and the large percentage never return, having to do slave labor for the government. As you noted the caloric intake is far below that of even the poorest parts of SE Asia and Pacifica, to the point where the military uniforms had to be redesigned to take this into account. Reports are sketchy from Mr. Kim's Paradise, but the reports that in some rural towns there are no *pets* and some individuals are not abducted by the government and just *disappear*. Bones and all.

The Administration has never publicly stated its Goals on the Global War on Transnational Terrorism, nor the objective of de-linking Totalitarian regimes seeking WMDs of *any* type from working with those Terrorists. While states as being a *potent threat*, actually saying that it must be *ended* is something the Administration has had no stomach for.

And so we let Japan, South Korea and Taiwan twist in the wind and do *nothing* to hold China accountable for the Nation it rescued and has given basic oversight upon since the mid-1950's. The lifespan of North Korea without Chinese aid is measured in *days*, not weeks. The starvation is that bad and the economy that wretched that it can only collapse from an early 20th century industrial base to nothing in that period of time.

Relief goods are stolen and used by the Army. Ditto for actual *vehicles* to move same. They have large Stalinesque monuments which cannot remain lit during the night, and a huge hotel that cannot be completed as it is near collapsing upon itself and so remains a concrete shell that is coming apart even as it is built.

China *must* be held accountable, and yet I have yet to hear one Leftist or even Liberal state that and hold such a large Nation accountable for its actions. They could end this with a simple embargo for a month and then send in troops to keep what is left of the starving Nation together... or perhaps work with South Korea to re-unify the Nation which would be a massive job for those two. Then China would have a *stable* neighbor that is not nuclear armed and threatening everyone. Even them.

From the very few military escapees from Mr. Kim's personal wonderland, we have heard that their troops have only one objective if ordered to attack: find food. Not secure cities. Not advance harshly forward, although a starving army would do that so long as it could eat, and not even to put in a puppet regime. Their only threat is to kill so they can eat. They can fight a *defensive* war as the higher the sacrifice of individuals the more food that is left to share amongst the survivors... but the era of JDAM's and the MOAB along with directed penetrators has made their concrete encased artillery into a thing known as *tombs*. And they have NOTHING facing the North worth talking about.

China is the key to North Korea. They have bluffed for decades, demurred, set aside, claimed it not to be their fault, and, generally, made like North Korea was beyond their mightiness... all the while looking with gleam at distant Taiwan. North Korea has raised the stakes in this game and it is not ping pong or chess, but poker. Multilateral talks are just to discuss to get rid of the player and who will do it, as any *reward* is exactly what North Korea seeks and it will continue its threatening to get more... and more... and more...

That is called 'appeasement' and led to a dictator deciding the world had no stomach to stop him. That is exactly what we are doing with North Korea. Call their bluff, raise the stakes high and let China know they can end the game or let it get very hot.

Tell China that the US will help Japan, South Korea and Taiwan go nuclear if they continue to be intransigent. And will not do so if they actually *take care of the problem* of North Korea. We will stand by our stalwart friends and allies and give them high technology in the areas of nuclear, missile interception and sophisticated RADAR.

Japan has its first Aegis Destroyer of the Kongo class and more are being built. They have a verticle launch missile system that would be adaptable to something *other* than mere interceptors. Taiwan has a US base for its military and would easily absorb *every* bit of avionics and weapon design we could give them. And the industrial might of South Korea could easily retool for same in a few years.

China can no longer raise the stakes in their neighborhood. If they call the stakes, then the neighborhood goes high tech and nuclear, and if they fold to take out North Korea, they will actually *win* by being seen as doing the necessary thing and extending a hand out to the region to get *help* in making the Korean Peninsula secure as one Nation. They have *nothing* to fear from a democratic Korea... except in the long run as it would undermine their hold on power. And they already have that problem, in spades... and they could still hold out long-term aspirations for Taiwan, but shoved back a decade or more...

But THAT requires an Administration that knows what it is doing. And willing to *do* it. This one has neither the wit nor courage to do this... and so puts us ALL at peril.

Mon Jul 10, 07:55:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

AJ: I can only say: correct on all. But the link to China is both good and bad for the NKM -- historically it began much before him but I sense it may actually be starting to wear a tick thin, as I read that China sent "diplomats" to NK for "discussions." The thrust of that is, I think, that China holds NK due to political proximics but the NKM "loose cannon" may be trekking a path not entirely in keeping with China's.

I am beginning to sense China's actual intolerance. Very interesting to see where this may go -- on the other hand, China may still feel that it must stand up to Japan's (and others') rhetoric because, externally, after all, they are all Such Good Neighbors.

BZ

Mon Jul 10, 11:18:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Gayle said...

BZ, between you and a jacsonian, I have learned much here. I have been almost totally focused on Iraq, Iran and politics here at home and am truly uninformed on this issue (or was), and still have a lot to learn. I know nothing about N. Korea other than Kim Jong Il is a madman - well, I knew he was short! :) - and I also knew that he has starved thousands of his people. But I know way less than I should and seriously need to find the time to do some research if I were to intelligently post about it. Being short on time, I suppose that won't happen anytime soon, so thank you for the info... and a jacksonian too!

Mon Jul 10, 12:29:00 PM PDT  
Blogger A Jacksonian said...

Gayle - Glad to help! I pick up all sorts of interesting tidbits from all over and try to make sense of them. Austin Bay has the python strategy for NoKo land and his lede from the Times-Online is showing us some of the behind the scenes work going on with China.

From previous reading I remember that the ONLY way gasoline gets into NoKo is through a Chinese pipeline as their port facilities are not set up for fuel containment. Also it gets a lot of electrical energy from China, along with its food and other supplies. It does get some supplies via shipping, but most is trans-shipped through China due to lack of decent port facilities in NoKo.

Their underground artillery and missile bunkers have always been a problem to spot, and could easily reach Seoul... but following that up with a starving army is not a great way to threaten someone. And once used, they will be ID'd and taken out within an hour or less via JDAM and Cruise Missiles. So any military tryout that is sub-WMD is suicide for NoKo.

Mr. Z - China does still have the 'Center of the World' concept going on and does not take pressure over well. In fact they take it poorly, notice their own reaction to uprisings. But the ability to offer viable military technology to which they have no easy counter to Japan, South Korea and Taiwan is a cold shocker and would crack that facade. They have this grand idea of using boats and subs and planes and missiles to cross the Straights and recapture Taiwan. Meanwhile Taiwan has purchased older diesel/electric subs and made them *more* stealthy, purchased a bevy of F-16's, field their own helicopter borne ASW capability, and have the necessary materiel for tank traps and creating kill zones on the only viable land sites on the island. China has a million man army, and Taiwan is offering 1,000:1 kill ratios. Move that decimal point over so as to have effective nuclear devices on short range missiles or carried by F-16's and Taiwan is independent. A good diplomat would point that out to China. And that they would be the cause of a strengthened Japan with first strike protective capability for spoiling attacks. And with good point defense systems on the firing lines between the mountains and Seoul, NoKo would then be down to artillery.

China can understand that there are consequences to its actions, and we do *not* like their votes that tried to stop us in Iraq and their long-term support for the tyrrany of Saddam against the US.

And the last thing Russia wants to see is a Japan with a Navy equipped like the US, but on a smaller scale. That gives Japan an autonomous capability to do anything they want to protect themselves and maybe even look to make peace with Japan over the Kuril Islands and finally end WWII. Yes, Japan could, in all actuality, remind Russia of *that* with a decent fleet.

Anyone trying to pin this on the US is blowing smoke. Our part in this should be mediator and 'the guy with the big stick'. North Korea can kill some number of people, but then it crumbles quickly. That is *before* they get lots of nuclear tipped missiles. We should also point out to China the likely fallout patterns from North Korea if things get serious.

These things are not fun, but the necessity for survival. In this case that of Our Friends and Allies. Embargo can only work with China doing the bulwark. And my guess is that their diplomats will try and give an earful to Mr. Kim, and then get threats in return. That one is not stable at all.

Mon Jul 10, 03:02:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Gayle: thank you for the kind words indeed! Much appreciated!

AJ: I realized that North Korea was in a dire strait when I came upon a photograph taken through a single pane of glass in NK. This pane was warped, distorted, and contained bubbles. This pane was located in an "average" apartment displayed to a foreigner in an attempt to impress.

This, more than almost anything else, impressed me with the true straits of NK -- that and the fact that Kim Jong Il spends roughly $750,000 per year on cognac alone while his citizens suffer.

This just struck me: as you already know, one good and well-armed and-commanded diesel sub can wreak damned near as much havoc as can a nuke -- and can actually be equally or more stealthy. And Taiwan's military possessions have gone unchecked to the point where, if China wanted to enfold it back to loving arms it would have to make an incredibly massive and surprising strike and/or nuke it into the stone age -- not a favorable ploy considering its proximity to mainland China -- and prevailing winds.

You and I both know China has messed up horribly by not stomping on Taiwan's neck years and years ago.

And you are ABSOLUTELY correct in terms of this being more of a localized issue. China, Japan, Russia, other immediately surrounding nations are in more immediate PERIL than we are.

However, whatever success the NKM enjoys on the international stage serves to embolden others like him and prompt more loons to go nuke.

Chavez with nukes, anyone?

BZ

Mon Jul 10, 03:33:00 PM PDT  
Blogger ABFreedom said...

China, and Russia won't do anything. They enjoy dumping their old equipment on him, and playing with him to go after the west. Those two are manipulators and still have the old mentality of feeding the other side to escalate the situation, to sell more arms .. etc. etc. Someday someone will put China in it's place, unfortunately, it won't be any time soon.

Mon Jul 10, 07:55:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

ABF:

EXCEPT:

What IF we actually had the temerity to create a UNAF (United North American Front) that consisted of the US and Canada?

Imagine the power our nations might have?

BZ

Mon Jul 10, 08:13:00 PM PDT  
Blogger A Jacksonian said...

Mr. Z & ABF - Needless to say what I am putting forth is Foreign Policy that one can understand and honor and adhere to which is simple in its outlook but *not* simplistic in its enaction or results.

I would prefer a strong trade and assistance framework with ALL of the Friends of the United States, so we could work *together* to solve problems that plague all of us. We have no honor in doing otherwise, and catering to Totalitarian or Tyrranical regimes only gives them breathing room to spite us and give rise to conflict against our friends. The Cold War of eggshell diplomacy on a global scale is over. And the early post-Cold War diplomacy of *being nice to everyone* has only gotten the US and its allies scorn and disdain and Terrorism pouring into to destroy us. With eggshells gone and being impugned with weakness by being nice, then the only good option is to state where you stand and stick to it. And by those who are your friends so as to mutually support each other in that doing. By going it *alone* to build up ad hoc groups to address international problems, the mutual security of our friends and alllies is not put forth or even *considered*

The US, Canada, UK, Australia, Israel, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Italy, Iraq, India, Japan, Taiwan and Afghanistan all *deserve* to work together to solve common problems and to sit at joint problem tables TOGETHER, along with other regional actors. A threat to One is a threat to All. These are all Nations that the US has commonality with and that should be recognized, honored and strengthened via formality so that we come together to help secure ourselves and those that would join all of us in finding a way to end these global problems that no one Nation can deal with.

That is what I have used to give my reasoning for this current situation, an unspoken: We stand with our Friends, China, and YOU are not One of Those.

Free Trade for Friends and Allies, and all Others pay a price, unless an Ally can trans-ship and gain a middle-man's cut as that is fair and worthy. And to those that wish us harm: nothing. No trade. No assistance. And only emergency support to save people from huge disasters of Nature's doing. By standing together in a simple and honorable viewpoint and adhering to it, the World may be changed.

But only if we truly support those who care for us and *show it*.

This Administration does not do that. And neither Party espouses this as it would be too difficult to *sell*, because there is *no* weasel room allowed.

That is how a Republic of Free People should act, and give recognition to those that share in such Freedom and support it. A Revolutionary concept in 1776 as it is to this day, much to Our sorrow as a People.

Tue Jul 11, 04:33:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

AJ: and as we create a US friendly coalition let us also take the other track and cut off ALL funding to those unfriendly nations who use our cash and disparage our policies.

Imagine all the money we would save!

BZ

Tue Jul 11, 08:10:00 AM PDT  
Blogger A Jacksonian said...

Mr. Z - That is *exactly* the point. And if you speak neither good nor ill, then you may rightly pay to help support that Nation you seek to trade with.

If you do not like us, then declare so and we will know you as an enemy and treat you as that.

Friend, respectful silence or enemy... forced on no one, but those decisions should have consequences. Yet no Administration has done so since at least Teddy Roosevelt... something about walking softly and carrying a big stick...

Wed Jul 12, 02:45:00 PM PDT  

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