Gauge The North Korean Threat

Well…I looked around the Dope and didn’t really find anything about the escalating tensions between the US and the DPRK. I just read a pretty alarming article from CNN that quotes the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs saying “We are closer to nuclear war with North Korea than ever” and that he “doesn’t think the situation can be solved diplomatically”.

Here’s the article:

It’s more than a little scary to me. Bigger sanctions, seizing their illegal oil ships, increased military exercises, a huge naval presence with the Pacific fleet, the article stating that we would strike if the DPRK conducts another nuclear test…on and on.

Is anyone else worried about this? Are there any solutions that you can think of?

Yep, I would say I am concerned. I don’t think it’s gonna go well, if things don’t change.
I do believe we can have a diplomatic dialogue if the right people were involved. Seriously, I think Bill Clinton could get somewhere with Kim and the DPRK.

North Koreans leaders don’t want a war, they want their kleptocratic slave society to survive. I personally don’t see them starting an all out war unless they feel their regime is about to collapse either from internal or external pressure.

My worry is that in 10 years, North Korean will be advanced enough that they become a major proliferator of nuclear weapons and nuclear technology. They already sell nuclear (as well as chemical, biological and missile) technology but its going to get a lot worse in the future. They’ll sell the weapons and the technology to anyone willing to write a big enough check. Right now only 9 nations have nuclear weapons (US, UK, France, Russia, China, Israel, Pakistan, India, North Korea). We could be entering a world where 20+ nations and private individuals can buy nukes on the black market.

I could see the world starting a war to prevent this, because this is going to lead to a nuclear war anyway if any country can just buy a nuke for a billion dollars.

Best case scenario is China organizes a quiet coup, overthrows the kim family regime and turns North Korea into a 23rd province.

Yeah. The problem is that Kim Jong Un and Trump are more alike in many ways. Like two bullying children that happen to have nuclear weapons. I agree about someone like Clinton trying to soothe the North Korean regime and trying to de-escalate the situation rather than inflame it like Trump is doing.

Or at a bare minimum, just ignore Kim Jong Un. Every time he makes an empty threat, just don’t respond to it. My impression is that he craves international attention to legitimize his brutal, murderous regime.

Valid concerns as well. Or even the possibility of a terrorist group with enough money gaining access to some type of smaller nuclear weapon that the regime would sell to them.

I do think that the Trump admin’s hardline stance is problematic. It’s just hard to see real solutions. If they want to be that protective of the crazy assed, brainwashing society of god-worship of the dear leader, how do you counteract that?

If Trump, as the article claims, said he’d attack North Korea if they set off another nuclear test, then what? Is that just Trump blustering and we blink? Or we attack? What’s the third possibility?

His threats of war tomorrow are empty, but the real threat from North Korea is proliferation. They already sell chemical weapons to Syria, and that is where the chemical weapons they used in their civil war came from.

North Korea has also tried to help Libya, Syria, Iran and Myanmar establish their own nuclear programs (in exchange for money obviously).

If they’ll sell missiles and chemical weapons on the black market, and they’ll sell nuclear technology, I’m sure they’d sell nuclear weapons too. Plus I could see them arming the US’s enemies just as a geopolitical strategy.

That in and of itself is frightening enough, let alone the prospect of war. The noose has really tightened about their ability to make money lately. I wonder how they get those weapons out of the country and into the hands of nations that are unfriendly to the US? Through China I am guessing. China has got to serve as some kind of a middleman (secretly) for NK, while maintaining a posture of being a scolding parent to the rest of the world.

America could drop their hostile stance, end sanctions, and normalize relations. This is a non-starter for American leadership, but sometimes it’s fun to wish upon a star.

Since the OP mentioned CNN, you should know American corporate media is particularly poor on NK. Besides the usual scaremongering, historical amnesia, and lack of context they so often display when covering America’s official enemies, they also deal in dehumanizing Orientalist stereotypes and casually float the idea of a nuclear genocide of North Korea. They also typically portray North Koreans as insane, irrational, or infantile, and NK leadership is often drawn in political cartoons as literal babies throwing a temper tantrum (already such claims in this very thread, with various posters calling them crazy children).

Another media trope to watch out for is the idea of America stumbling, bumbling, or getting sucked into war, as if the world’s most powerful state lacks agency and drifts along like a leaf in the wind, as opposed to setting out deliberate policy. If America does destroy NK, make sure to tune into MSNBC and watch smiling ghouls like Chris Hayes or Rachel Maddow nod sagely as some Pentagon official or retired general explains why it was the only option.

I think the issue right now is twofold and undeniable: Trump is a fear mongering asshole, and so is Kim Jong Un. This escalation can’t all be media created. It’s been going on for years under several administrations, especially since Bush declared the DPRK asone of the “axis of evil” nations. It seems to be nastier and more dangerous now. It’s frightening.

I mean, c’mon man. Kim Jong starves his people to build his military up, disappears or kills and tortures political enemies at home and abroad, kills and tortures members of his own family, the state itself is utterly closed to outside media and their leadership has positioned themselves going back three generations as demi-gods in an attempt to create an illusion of perfection. And if you don’t pay lip service to it, you go to a prison camp or worse. It IS an insane country by any standard.

Okay…how about the VICE TV video? It’s not (or wasn’t) mainstream media when this was filmed. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. Shane Smith sneaks into NK and records his findings of the craziness there.

You wish we would reward the country that shoots its own people in the back for trying to escape the hell they’ve created???

Seriously, if you haven’t seen the video (it’s three parts, about 20 minutes each) in my last post I cannot recommend it enough. It is really well done and entertaining in a frightening, very bizarre sort of way. Even if you just watch the first part, it’s well worth it. A very rare and unique peek into the insular culture, the people, the militarization and paranoia that is North Korea.

I think Trump knows goddamn well that he is way out of his depth when it comes to war, and I think that he defers to Mattis, McMaster, and Kelly on any applications of military force. No matter what he might publicly say, or what we as onlookers might be led to believe. And I have heard many friends who are military service members or veterans, who might be very critical of Trump in other ways, say that for all his other faults, we currently have an excellent national defense leadership team. And I believe them.

I have no doubt whatsoever that if Trump tried to order a military action that was truly idiotic and reckless, Mattis would countermand it and upbraid Trump in a very sincere manner that the latter would not soon forget.

Does Kim have subordinates who would do the same?

Not if they want themselves and quite possibly their next of kin to live.

Xi Jinping isn’t going to let the enfant terrible do other than is useful for China.

As an aside…who is Kim Jong Un’s hairstylist? Does Kim not look in a mirror?

If you’re concerned about the well being of North Koreans it seems to me you should support rapprochement instead of sanctions, provocative war games, and flybys. Criticizing misleading and dehumanizing media caricatures that prime people to want to bomb them also seems like a good idea.

No, of course not, just like the media didn’t create the escalation in Vietnam, Iraq, or Iran. Their role is to justify it.

After WWII, America dissolved the Korean provisional government, installed a right-wing puppet in the South, assisted in the massacre of hundreds of thousands of suspected communists, and bombed North Korea to rubble, killing 15% of their population. Then they called it the forgotten war, made a TV comedy about it, and elected a billionaire TV game show host to lead them. That’s sane, of course.

As for the VICE documentary, I saw it when it came out – it was very popular at the time, and is inevitably linked in internet discussions about NK, which is indeed an authoritarian state with strict media controls and a love for spectacle.

My feelings on this echo Wesley Clark’s so no need for a me too post.

It seems clear that the Trump administration, with advice from senior military personnel, wish to take a more aggressive approach. I have no problem with that as we already know from the Obama administration, and others before him, that trying to placate them doesn’t work.

I disagree with Adm. Mullen, It’s not too late for a diplomatic solution. TBH, I think that’s what we’ll eventually get. When KJU finds himself backed into a corner with nowhere to turn, he’ll be willing to talk.

Cuban Missile Crisis ring a bell?

There is no doubt in my mind that we’d be seeing the same number of launches whoever was in power in the US right now. They’ve been working towards this for a long time. Trump’s a fucking idiot but I don’t blame him for where we are on NK.

That said, at some point, someone needs to give Kim a Plan B from the gradual ratcheting up. And I can’t see Trump doing that.

I suggest the purpose is not to look good, but it’s like the Hitler 'stache – it’s to stand out. Like many famous people, he has a brand, and he needs to be immediately identifiable.
Yeah there are simpler ways to stand out, peroxide blonde would do it in NK. But the problem is you don’t just need a distinct look; you also need one that looks like you’re not preoccupied with your appearance. That’s how you arrive at that haircut.

I know Lindsey Graham is a douche of a Senator, but when he, in the article, states that it’s about 70% likely that we retaliate if Korea conducts another nuclear test…that’s worrisome to me, because the Republicans are in power right now and there’s probably a pretty broad scope within the War Powers Act for Trump to justify an attack under it for threatening our allies, the US, world peace, or something.

My biggest issue isn’t even so much punishing North Korea, it’s adjacent or nearby countries, primarily China and Russia, and what their reaction would be. We’re already playing hokey pokey with the Russians with warplanes and “who’s supposed to stay in what zone” in Syria.

ETA: in other words, I can see something like this rapidly devolving into WWIII, with every involved nation having it’s own reasons to justify their own actions against the US.