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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 28-Mar-2021
28-Mar-21 World View -- North Korea's ballistic missiles stoke the Denuclearization Delusion

Web Log - March, 2021

28-Mar-21 World View -- North Korea's ballistic missiles stoke the Denuclearization Delusion

Myanmar / Burma becomes toxic and explosive

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from

North Korea's ballistic missiles stoke the Denuclearization Delusion

Kim Jong-un and Joe Biden
Kim Jong-un and Joe Biden

North Korea launched two ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan on Thursday, in violation of UN resolutions. The missiles landed outside Japan's territorial waters and exclusive economic zone and there have been no reports of harm caused to aircraft or ships. Both Japan and South Korea have lodged formal protests.

The timing was interesting, because Thursday was the day of President Joe Biden's long awaited press conference, where it was promised that he would take questions from reporters. As expected, Biden's handlers carefully selected the questions in advance, from carefully chosen reporters, and the order in which they would be asked, so that all Biden had to do was follow along in a notebook on his podium and read the answers out loud. The reporters and questions were all fawning, such as referring to Biden "as a moral, decent man," and the Fox News reporter was carefully sidelined.

There was one question where Biden seemed totally unprepared, and that was the question about North Korea's ballistic missile launch, which had just occurred several hours before the press conference. Biden looked down at the podium and read a prepared statement supplied by his handlers. Here's what he said:

"Let me say that, number one, U.N. Resolution 1718 was violated by those particular missiles that were tested number one. Were consulting with our allies and partners. And there will be responses if they choose to escalate, we will respond accordingly.

But Im also prepared for some form of diplomacy, but it has to be conditioned upon the end result of denuclearization. So thats what were doing right now: consulting with our allies."

Denuclearization is a delusional fantasy, as I'll describe below.

This is a reasonable statement, but if you watched the press conference, as I did, Biden didn't appear to understand what he was reading, and had a difficult time reading it. That portion of the press conference appears right at the beginning of the al-Jazeera video referenced below, so you can watch it and judge for yourself. You can blame me as a wild-eyed ideologue for saying that Biden appeared to be, at the least, cognitively challenged or worse, but my perception is not important. What's important is that leaders around the world were watching carefully and analyzing, and they know that Biden is mouthing words, but doesn't know what he's saying. To me, it was painful to watch, and almost cruel for his handlers to stand him up and put him and the country through that.

Before proceeding with the analysis, I want to make it clear that it makes no difference what Biden said. From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, there is a powerful "March of History" going on here. As I've been saying for years, North Korea is on a path to develop nuclear weapons and missiles, and nothing that Clinton, Bush, Obama, Trump or Biden could say or do will stop it (short of a pre-emptive missile attack on all of North Korea's facilities, which Trump threatened, but which was never going to happen). Diplomacy is a worthless delusion in the March of History.

Analysis of North Korea's nuclear weapons program

I now want to quote excerpts from the best analysis of the North Korea nuclear program that I've seen in years (not counting some of my own). It appeared in the al-Jazeera show Inside Story, and you can watch the whole thing by following the link in the sources below.

The analysis was done by Tariq Rauf, former head of Verification & Securiity Policy, at the IAEA, which is the United Nations nuclear inspection agency.

He began by giving a summary of North Korea's current capabilities (my transcription):

"North Korea has one of the oldest nuclear programs in the world. It started in 1953 [right at the end of the Korean War].

They now have a complete nuclear fuel cycle -- uranium mining, uranium enrichment, enriching to reactor grade uranium, also to weapons grade uranium, which is over 90%. They also have a plutonium separation capability.

And they've obviously demonstrated that they can make nuclear warheads. They carried out six nuclear tests, and if one looks at the yields of the six nuclear tests, each one of them has been bigger than the previous one. The last test in 2017 was nearly 140 kilotons.

And so North Korea, in its six tests, has demonstrated much more advanced nuclear weapons capability than India or Pakistan did so in 1998. Therefore it is a full program."

He said that their missile program is equally advanced: "They also have a full suite of ballistic and cruise missiles. They have short range or battlefield missiles, they have medium range missiles, and they also have long range missiles."

He added that their nuclear program is pretty much completed, and the only question left is the number of weapons they have in their arsenal. "We believe they have 30, 40 or 50 nuclear weapons, and can apparently make 7 to 12 more per year."

Sanctions and the Denuclearization Delusion

For years, America and the United Nations have been using sanctions to try to convince the North Koreans to denuclearize. This was true under the Clinton, Bush, Obama and Trump administrations, and it's still true in the Biden administration, since Biden has not made any statement about removing the sanctions.

During the al-Jazeera show, Tariq Rauf gave a lengthy discussion of why sanctions have absolutely no chance of succeeding:

"As for sanctions, nobody can point to a single case in history where sanctions have reversed their nuclear, chemical or biological weapons program in a country.

Sanctions did not affect South Africa, Iraq, Iran, didn't stop India or Pakistan, and it's clear that they didn't stop North Korea.

The leadership has shown in Pakistan, Iran, Iraq and also North Korea that if the population has to tighten its belt, that's what they will do.

And North Korea has also seen how Iraq, Libya and Iran have been squeezed because they didn't have nuclear weapons.

Nobody threatens North Korea with an attack, nobody says all options are on the table, so North Korea knows. They also know that India and Pakistan have been accepted as de facto nuclear weapons states."

So Rauf makes it clear that North Korea's nuclear program is here to stay, and sanctions will do nothing.

As I said, there is a March of History, and sanctions will not affect it. By the time the world war ends, every one of North Korea's nuclear weapons will be used somewhere -- on America, on Japan, on South Korea, on China, on Russia, or elsewhere.

Contrasting negotiating styles: Joe Biden vs Donald Trump

Tariq Rauf also gives a comparison between Joe Biden and Donald Trump in handling the North Korea situation:

"Biden has already insulted the Russian president, the Chinese president, has insulted Kim Jong-Un as a Hitler and as a thug. How does he expect them to have a meaningful dialog?

President Biden who is also known for rash decisions, and for insulting foreign leaders, needs also to be restrained. We criticize president Trump quite justifiably, but president Biden is no angel either. He's not going to wave a magic wand and things are going to fall into place."

This gives rise to a comparison of the two negotiating styles, always keeping in mind that the March of History will be same, irrespective of the American president's negotiating style.

As I described many times, I was initially quite contemptuous of Trump's lack of knowledge of the world, until the unexpected happened: He selected as his principal advisor Steve Bannon, who is an expert on both military history and Generational Dynamics, as I had worked with him off and on for several years. Bannon educated Trump on what was happening in China, North Korea and elsewhere, and Trump used that knowledge, combined with this own "Art of the Deal" skills, in his relations with foreign leaders. Thus, he developed a friendly father-son relationship with Kim Jong-un, and repeatedly complimented Xi Jinping as a great leader, although that changed dramatically in March 2020, when the CCP infuriated Trump by announcing that the coronavirus had been planted into Wuhan province by the American army.

At his press conference on Thursday, Joe Biden emphasized that he had a long relationship with China's president Xi Jinping:

"Ive known Xi Jinping for a long time. Allegedly, by the time I left office as Vice President, I had spent more time with Xi Jinping than any world leader had, because President Obama and the Chinese President Hu decided we should get to know one another since it was inappropriate for the President of the United States to spend time with the vice president of another country. But it was obvious he was going to become the new leader of China.

So, I spent hours upon hours with him alone with an interpreter my interpreter and his going into great detail. He is very, very straightforward. Doesnt have a democratic with a small D bone in his body. But hes a smart, smart guy. Hes one of the guys, like Putin, who thinks that autocracy is the wave of the future and democracy cant function in an ever an ever-complex world.

So, when I was elected and he called to congratulate me, I think to the surprise of the China experts who were his people were on call as well as mine, listening we had a two-hour conversation. For two hours. .... And earlier this month and apparently it got the Chineses attention; thats not why I did it I met with our allies and how were going to hold China accountable in the region: Australia, India, Japan, and the United States the so-called Quad. Because we have to have democracies working together.

Before too long, Im going to have Im going to invite an alliance of democracies to come here to discuss the future. And so were going to make it clear that in order to deal with these things, we are going to hold China accountable to follow the rules to follow the rules whether it relates to the South China Sea or the North China Sea, or their agreement made on Taiwan, or a whole range of other things. ....

And the third thing, and the thing that I admire about dealing with Xi is he understands he makes no pretense about not understanding what Im saying any more than I do him I pointed out to him: No leader can be sustained in his position or her position unless they represent the values of the country. And I said as And, Mr. President, as Ive told you before, Americans value the notion of freedom. America values human rights. We dont always live up to our expectations, but its a values system. We are founded on that principle. And as long as you and your country continues to so blatantly violate human rights, were going to continue, in an unrelenting way, to call to the attention of the world and make it clear make it clear whats happening.

And he understood that. I made it clear that no American President at least one did but no American President ever back down from speaking out of whats happening to the Uighurs, whats happening in Hong Kong, whats happening in-country.

Thats who we are. The moment a President walks away from that, as the last one did, is the moment we begin to lose our legitimacy around the world. Its who we are."

Biden was making the point that he has a relationship with Xi Jinping, though apparently a fairly hostile one -- but that's better than no relationship. However, he has no similar relationship with Russia's Vladimir Putin, whom he recently called a "killer," nor with Kim Jong-un, whom he has called a thug, a dictator and a tyrant.

We have to mention that the Trump administration spoke out forcefully about human rights in China, and about the Uighurs. Biden's claim otherwise may be a lie, or more likely he doesn't know, since his handlers didn't bother to tell him. However, world leaders who watched Biden stumble through his press conference are well aware that he lied. (See "20-Jan-21 World View -- Pompeo bashes China over genocide, virus, Taiwan on last days of Trump administration")

So it's not surprising that North Korea's media made a particularly harsh response to Biden's statement:

"We cannot but build invincible physical power for reliably defending the security of our state under the present situation in which south Korea and the U.S. constantly pose military threats to the Korean peninsula while persistently conducting dangerous war exercises and introducing advanced weapons.

We express our deep apprehension over the U.S. chief executive faulting the regular testfire, exercise of our state's right to self-defence, as the violation of UN "resolutions" and openly revealing his deep-seated hostility toward the DPRK.

Such remarks from the U.S. president are an undisguised encroachment on our state's right to self-defence and provocation to it.

It is a gangster-like logic that it is allowable for the U.S. to ship the strategic nuclear assets into the Korean peninsula and launch ICBMs any time it wants but not allowable for the DPRK, its belligerent party, to conduct even a test of a tactical weapon.

We clearly remember that after the appearance of the new administration in Washington there have been exploitation of every opportunity to make words and acts provoking the sovereignty and dignity of our state in which we were branded as the most serious "security threat".

The bellicose stance of the new U.S. administration awakens us to the way to be followed by us and convinces us of the justice of the work to be done by us once again."

It's worth remembering that North Korea is a vassal of Communist China. Kim Jong-un occasionally throws a temper tantrum and does something the CCP doesn't like, but basically Kim does as he's told. I consider it likely that the CCP gave Kim the OK for Thursday's ballistic missile launches.

In my opinion, North Korea will not launch any military attacks without China's permission, and that means it will be done in coordination with China's invasion of Taiwan or Japan or an attack on the United States, at some point in the future.

So that's the state of the relations between America and North Korea today.

Myanmar / Burma becomes toxic and explosive

I want to add a brief word about a different subject.

The situation in Myanmar (Burma) is becoming toxic to the point of being close to explosive. Some 50-80 peaceful protesters were killed on Saturday alone, with no provocation. These included children and even babies in their homes. The violence by the army is becoming horrific and unrestrained. Furthermore, other ethnic groups, including the Kachin and the Shan, are threatening to intervene unless the violence stops.

Burma's last generational crisis war was an extremely bloody multi-ethnic civil war following independence (1948-1958). It's been 63 years since the end of that civil war, and so Burma is due for a new one, and that appears to be happening.

This is going to trigger large refugee flows into Thailand, India and China, so those countries may be brought into the war. Russia, incidentally, is supporting Burma's army, and so probably expects to gain from a Burma civil war.


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