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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 4-Sep-2017
4-Sep-17 World View -- Will we have to accept a world in which North Korea is a nuclear power?

Web Log - September, 2017

4-Sep-17 World View -- Will we have to accept a world in which North Korea is a nuclear power?

Will the United States take some military action against North Korea?

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from

Will we have to accept a world in which North Korea is a nuclear power?

The giggling North Korean news reader Ri Chun-Hee announces the nuclear test
The giggling North Korean news reader Ri Chun-Hee announces the nuclear test

North Korea claimed on Sunday to have successfully tested a hydrogen bomb, the country's sixth nuclear test. The detonation produced 10 times more power than the fifth nuclear test a year ago, based on earthquake monitoring measurements.

According to Kune Y. Suh, a nuclear engineering professor at Seoul National University in South Korea:

"That scale is to the level where anyone can say (it is) a hydrogen bomb test. North Korea has effectively established itself as a nuclear state. This is not just a game changer, itís a game over."

North Korea claimed in state media that they have the capability to produce as many hydrogen bombs as they want, and that they have the ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) technology to reach almost any part of mainland United States.

However, many experts point out that North Korea has not yet proven that it can weigh down a ballistic missile with a nuclear weapon, and still have the power to reach mainland United States. But even if they don't yet have that capability, the extremely rapid development of their nuclear and ballistic missile technology indicates that they will have that capability soon. Tribune Media (India) and 38 North (S. Korea) and KCNA (N. Korea)

World leaders express outrage and call nuclear test 'unacceptable'

Many world leaders gave laughable expressions of outrage that we've heard dozens of times before, repeatedly over many years.

South Korea's president Moon Jae-in said:

"North Korea has made an absurd tactical mistake, by committing a series of provocations such as launching ICBM missiles, and conducting a nuclear test. This has heightened tensions on the peninsula and is threatening world peace. It will isolate them further."

Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe said that the test was totally unacceptable:

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe initially said, "The North's nuclear test, if it turns out to be true, could never be tolerated." Later, his office issued a statement saying:

"In addition, given the fact that North Korea has belligerently conducted ballistic missile launches repeatedly this year, the UN Security Council has strongly condemned these actions. Under such circumstances, this nuclear test, which North Korea conducted today despite these calls, is totally unacceptable.

Taking into consideration that North Korea has enhanced its capabilities through its six nuclear tests, including the one today, as well as more than ten launches of ballistic missiles conducted this year, which could serve as a means to deliver weapons of mass destruction, including the two ICBM-class ballistic missile launches in July and the ballistic missile launch in August that flew over the Japanese territories, North Koreaís nuclear and missile development has entered a new level of threat - more grave and imminent - against Japanís national security and seriously undermines the peace and security of the region as well as the international community."

The nuclear test was conducted near China's border, and the Chinese have announced that they are test some border towns for nuclear fallout.

Even worse, the test appears to have timed specifically to embarrass China's president Xi Jinping. Xi is hosting the opening of a major BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) conference, and North Korea's test came hours before Xi was scheduled to give his welcoming address.

China's Foreign Ministry said:

[North Korea] disregarded universal opposition of the international community by conducting the test. We strongly urge North Korea side to face up to the firm will of the international community on the denuclearization of the peninsula, abide by relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council, stop taking wrong actions that exacerbate the situation and are not in its own interest, and return to the track of resolving the issue through dialogue."

All of the above statements are just hot air, and totally meaningless.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin tried to augment his equally meaningless statements with a threat of sanctions:

"I am going to draft a sanctions package to send to the president for his strong consideration that anybody that wants to do trade or business with them would be prevented from doing trade or business with us. People need to cut off North Korea economically. This is unacceptable behavior."

Once again, this is completely laughable. North Korea has ignored sanctions for decades, and will continue to do so. Sanctions, negotiations, bilateral talks, six-party talks, have all been tried and have all failed, and they will again.

President Donald Trump tweeted:

"The United States is considering, in addition to other options, stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea."

This is presumably targeted at China, but it's a completely empty threat. At most there might be some tiny symbolic sanctions directed at some of China's banks. If any real sanction is attempted, China will announce counter-sanctions. Either way, North Korea won't be affected. CNN and Japan's government and CNN Money

Will the United States take some military action against North Korea?

Pyongyang residents cheer the televised announcement (Reuters)
Pyongyang residents cheer the televised announcement (Reuters)

Some people are suggesting that if North Korea becomes a nuclear power, it's OK. After all, China and Russia are nuclear powers, so why not North Korea? Let them have their nuclear ICBMs that can reach any part of the US mainland, and then everything will settle down, according to these experts.

The problem with that reasoning is that the testing would never stop. North Korea would continue developing bigger and more powerful missiles and nuclear weapons, launching one nuclear ballistic missile after another, presumably resulting in a nuclear explosion in the Pacific Ocean. North Korea's child dictator is obviously having too much fun to want to "settle down" after one nuclear weapon is successful.

President Trump has said, "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." This is being viewed by many observers as having defined a "red line," similar to Obama's "red line" threat over Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons. Trump followed through on Obama's threat after Obama didn't, and now everyone is watching to see whether Trump will back down the way Obama did.

A month ago, Senator Lindsey Graham said that he had spoken with Donald Trump, and said that it is inevitable that war is coming with North Korea:

"Iím saying itís inevitable unless North Korea changes because youíre making our president pick between regional stability and homeland security.

If thereís going to be a war to stop him [Kim], it will be over there. If thousands die, theyíre going to die over there. Theyíre not going to die here. And he [Trump] has told me that to my face."

On Saturday, hours before the nuclear test took place, Graham said the following in a BBC interview:

"I am 100% certain that if Kim Jong-un continues to develop missile technology that can hit America, if diplomacy fails to stop him, there will be an attack by the United States against his weapons systems. I'm assuming the worst. I'm assuming that if we drop one bomb, he fires at South Korea, and maybe Japan. Let me tell you have the war ends. It ends with his utter destruction. Thousands of people could be killed or maimed. There's a lot at stake here. And let me ask you - why would the world, given his track record, the North Korean leader, allow him to get a hydrogen bomb with a missile to deliver it anywhere in the world? Why would we do that?"

On Sunday, Defense Secretary James Mattis met with Donald Trump, Mike Pence and top national security advisers, and promised "a massive military response" to any threat from North Korea against the United States or its allies, including Japan or Guam.

As regular readers know, Generational Dynamics predicts that we're headed for a Clash of Civilizations world war, pitting China, Pakistan and the Sunni Muslim countries versus India, Russia, Iran and the West. It's impossible to predict the scenario that will lead to this world war, but right now it looks like the most likely scenarios involved North Korea. BBC and CNN and RFE/RL

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 4-Sep-17 World View -- Will we have to accept a world in which North Korea is a nuclear power? thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (4-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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