There is one aspect of the North Korea talks that needs to be brought up.

While the US congress is asking for consultation on any deal President Trump makes the real question is going to be on the North Korean side.

One of the problems with running a death camp the size of a small state is the even as a dictator or a family of dictators you can’t do it alone.  There is a large infrastructure involved of people from the guards who actually beat, murder and rape those you wish to oppress, to their commanding officers to order and supervise this being done to THEIR commanding officers who make sure these orders are carried out all the way up to Kim.

Even more important is the need for an infrastructure to eliminate anyone who doesn’t carry out said order, or who would rebel.  You might think for example that Kim had a bunch of bodyguards because of external threats but I suspect it was the job of a lot of those guards to keep an eye on each other.

And that the real danger here.

All the way down the line from the very top general to the guard at the gulags are people who make their living or get their kicks and power from the Kim regime.  The moment that North Korea beings to open up and do things differently a potential threat arises to that power.

If they can be convinced that the gravy train will continue unabated then there will be very little to worry about

But If enough of those people decide that any nuclear concessions are a threat to that continued power they might decide they would be better off with a different member of the Kim clan in charge and if they find a member of said clan who agrees and is willing to go along with a purge to make sure that their stranglehold on the country continues then all bets are off.

Of course this scenario also depends on them avoiding raising the suspicion of all those people watching them whose job it is to purge any person thinking of launching a purge but don’t think for one minute that this dynamic isn’t going on and don’t think for one second that the Chinese would not use this method to exercise their veto if they find they don’t like where Kim and Trump are going long term.

Donald Trump is about to enter into completely unknown and unexpected waters this week.

Unknown because we really haven’t seen this kind of an initiative by a US president on the Korean Peninsula since, well ever.

Unexpected because even if you were one of the few people who three years ago concluded that the figure going down that escalator in NY would be President at this time, I very much doubt that you, in your wildest dreams saw him meeting the leader of North Korea at a summit.

The fact that the president has arranged this is an amazing thing but the really amazing thing is he is in a completely no lose situation.

If worst comes to worse then we are faced with confronting a dictatorial mass murdering madman with nuclear capability that hate us….which is exactly what we’ve been doing for the last 20 years anyways.

If 2nd worst comes to worse, then any deal made is reneged by the Norks which is to be expected anyways as mass murdering communist dictators don’t have a real good record in the honesty department.

I am a supporter of Donald Trump but I’m not so much of a supporter that I’m blind to the fact that both the worst and 2nd worst are real legit possible results but even if they come Trump will be able to say:  “We gave it a shot and it didn’t work out so now we know where we stand”

However it is also possible that progress is made on peace, on trade, on disarmament etc.  Even a small amount of progress would be an astounding thing and an epic change from the status quo.

It’s even possible that a major breakthrough could take place, but again we are in completely uncharted waters here so such a result shouldn’t be expected.

I admit I have no idea what is going to happen and no matter what anyone tell you it’s likely nobody else does either, but there is one prediction that I can make that I’m felling pretty secure of.

No matter what the result the Never Trump Di Niro left will dub it a failure and fault the President for trusting the communist dictator, if so it will be the only time anyone on the left has decided that trusting communists is a bad thing in my lifetime.

The big news story of yesterday was President Trump surprising everyone by reacting to Kim’s threats to cancel the Singapore summit between the North Koreans and the US by beating him to the punch.

“Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting,” Trump wrote in a letter to Kim, which was released Thursday morning.

While there has been a lot of shock in the press and online this underlines two basic facts that apparently both the press and the North Koreans have.

  1. Trump already has what he wants from North Korea.

If there are two things that the US would want from North Korea it would be to dismantle or delay their nuclear program and the release of any Americans being held by them.

Both of these things have been done although the 2nd is likely out of either necessity or out of sabotage, not out of kindness or a desire for peace.

If you told anybody in January 2017 that by the end of May 2018 North Korea would have given up their hostages AND dismantled their nuke site they would have told you that is a pipe dream, but Trump has these things in his pocket.

2.  It is Kim NOT Trump that needs the summit

The one thing that the North Koreans want more than anything else is international recognition and the openings that come from it.

It is these openings that can give them the chance to feed their people and gain prestige and the evidence of this was their amazingly quick response to Trump’s cancellation.

“If and when Kim Jong-un chooses to engage in constructive dialogue and actions, I am waiting.” It turns out Trump didn’t have to wait long. From Bloomberg:

In a statement Friday by state-run KCNA that cited Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan, North Korea vowed to continue to pursue peace and signaled it would give Washington more time to reconsider talks.

“Our goal and will to do everything for peace and stability of the Korean peninsula and mankind remains unchanged, and we are always willing to give time and opportunity to the US side with a big and open mind,” according to the statement. “We express our intent that there is a willingness to sit at any time, in any way to resolve issues.”

One of the reasons why the Media can’t destroy Trump is because they didn’t make him, and his power and reputation aren’t dependent on him.  Nor does he care if he wins a Nobel Prize or not because he understands that will not make his more or less of what he is.

So now we have the spectacle of the Norks wanting to get the summit back on track or at least rescheduled, the ball is now in Trump’s court and he can either agree without conditions, or agree for a price.

My price would be the USS Pueblo.

On January 23, 1968 the North Koreans seized the USS Pueblo and it crew.  While the crew was released in December of that year the ship is still held by the Norks while it remains a commissioned warship in the US Navy.  Only the USS Constitution has been commissioned longer that the Pueblo.

If I was Donald Trump I’d make the return of the USS Pueblo a condition of the rescheduling of the summit and if he needs, at some time in the future to give the Norks a bloody nose in the future without provoking war, I’d sink the Pueblo with a cruise missile.  It’s our ship and ours to sink if we please.

B-52, by Airman 1st Class Victor J. Caputo – US Air Force, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=68131933

I am completely confused by the headlines. First, any North Korea article is being buried by small news, like a woman smiling in her mug shot after a DUI-induced murder. I mean, yes, it’s a sad story, but hardly historic. So when I do search for North Korea, I get this:

North Korea receives a huge concession.

So I’m thinking, wow, what did we do?

We stopped an exercise.

Seriously? That’s huge? It’s no where near Yuuuuge, and certainly not huge. Let’s rack and stack for a second.

What has North Korea done:
1. Shook hands with South Korean President
2. Said he would negotiate with President Trump.
3. Said he would stop nuclear testing, and took measures to do so.
4. Released some prisoners.

What the US did:
1. Stopped flying some bombers.
2. Suspended some exercises.
3. Uhm…

Seriously. Vox makes a big deal that the bombers are nuclear capable. So? We have loads of nuclear weapons that can hit North Korea now. Like, without flying bombers. And we have plenty of non-nuclear options, from Tomahawks to artillery. That doesn’t count what Japan and South Korea could use.

We just gave the equivalent of a “free glass of water with a full meal purchase” “concession” to North Korea. If anything, we saved money in fuel costs and pilot OPTEMPO. It literally cost us nothing. North Korea can’t get back the prisoners or reverse some of the dismantling of its nuclear site. Our bombers could be flying tomorrow if we wanted. We have done nothing that can’t be undone in a matter of minutes.

Trump gave North Korea this “concession” because it’s dumb and doesn’t matter. Would you throw away a monumental deal over an inconsequential detail? I sure wouldn’t.


This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

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Michael Corleone: C’mon Frankie… my father did business with Hyman Roth, he respected Hyman Roth.
Frank Pentangeli: Your father did business with Hyman Roth, he respected Hyman Roth… but he never *trusted* Hyman Roth!

The Godfather part 2 1974

Trust but verity

Ronald Reagan

We are now seeing what happens when the US refuses to play the useful idiot for North Korea and China. War between North & South Korea may end before War between the MSM & Donald Trump

As long as the US could be counted on to pay every time China asked the North to rattle a saber the status quo was inevitable, but once the Trump administration made it clear that not only were they no longer paying but we were no longer going to be the chumps of China everything changed.

It’s now looking very possible that we will see an actual peace treaty between North and South Korea. If such a peace can be achieved then it should be done and if it IS done then Donald Trump will go down in history and the media and left will go absolutely insane.

All that being said I would be very careful about trusting the North Koreans about anything, particularly if I was the south. Yes it would be nice if the north recognized that they and the south were the same people of the same race and the same culture, but it’s also true that they were the same people, of the same race with the same culture when they first invaded the south in an attempt to impose communist rule.

Update: That’s gonna leave a mark

by baldilocks

When potential World War Three (or Four) antagonists collide:

The Center for Strategic and International Studies Friday released a report calling on officials to urgently pay attention to threats against US space systems and ground stations.

The report, Space Assessment 2018, reviews open-source information on the counterspace activities of other countries, especially China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea, as well as examining the counterspace activities of some other countries and of some non-state actors.

China, the report notes is a “rising space power that is progressing steadily in the development and testing” of anti-satellite systems using weapons launched to intercept a satellite or attacking the target from orbit, as well as having advanced jamming, cyberattack, and other capabilities “that can threaten a variety of US space systems.”

Although Russian space systems have deteriorated since the fall of the Soviet Union, that country is now modernizing its space capabilities, according to the report, “and has revived or developed new counterspace weapons of nearly all types.”

North Korea and Iran are behind Russian and Chinese capabilities, the report says, but “each is making quick progress thanks to technology transfers from other countries and their own ballistic missile programs. “

Battle space. In case you weren’t worried enough.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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The State Sponsor of Terror List needs more teeth. In its current form, the list only leverages three elements of national power (diplomatic, informational, and economic). It is time to discuss changing this reality by adding the fourth and final element of national power.

On November 2nd  the State Department failed to meet a congressional deadline. Their task is to determine whether the United States should relist North Korea on the State Sponsor of Terror List. President Trump will announce a decision at the end of his current Pacific diplomatic visits.

It may come as a surprise to most Americans that North Korea is not currently on this list. They were removed by the Bush administration in 2008 in a forlorn hope that the North Korean dictatorship then under Kim Jong-il would honor new denuclearization options in exchange for their removal from the list. As anyone with common sense and a rudimentary understanding of that region’s history should know, that did not work. Also unchanged is the Kim dynasty’s sponsorship of international terrorist movements who actively target the west, especially the United States and its interests.

This discussion, however, provides an opportunity to reconsider the usefulness of the State Sponsor of Terror List in its current form. There are three countries identified on the current list: Iran, Sudan and Syria. They have all been on this list for many years, and they have not changed their behavior in any tangible fashion. In fact, one could argue that all of them, and most certainly Iran, have accelerated their support for terrorist organizations.

Why? Listing a nation as a state sponsor of terror results in automatic diplomatic and economic sanctions, and such actions have next to no impact on leaders of nations who simply don’t care. Certainly, adding North Korea to this list will do almost nothing to them we are not already doing. Can we impose further diplomatic or economic sanctions than those already imposed due to their withdrawal from the United Nations Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and their pursuit of ballistic missile delivery systems for their nuclear warheads? The obvious answer is, “No.”

The United States must alter its current policy to include the military element of national power. We must include the stated right to immediately, and without warning, retaliate against any state sponsor of terror in any fashion the US deems appropriate, up to and including the use of our own nuclear arsenal. Such an attack will be triggered as a response to a terrorist attack against our nation, its people, or our allies so long as the terrorist organization is shown to receive any support (arms, money, training, safe harbor, etc.) from a state sponsor on the list. This will provide a level of deterrence that currently does not exist.

Some may argue such a change would be extreme. I, however, would argue it is in our survival interest to do this quickly. Technology has progressed to where even third world dictators like Kim Jon-un are able to acquire weapons that can kill tens of millions, destroy hundreds of billions of dollars of infrastructure, contaminate our food sources, attack our economic infrastructure, shut down national electric grids, etc. Our enemies are all pursuing some or all of these technologies. It is very possible, and arguably probable, that at some point one of these nations will consider providing such a weapon to a terrorist organization they believe they can control. We need to insure they think long and hard before doing so.

This is a narrowly defined policy change. It would only apply to those nations who we place on the list. The State Sponsor of Terror List will then have a level of importance it currently does not, both for nations added and for those who are removed.

We need to stop giving the state sponsors of terror a pass while they conduct war by proxy against the US and its allies. Change our policy, and place North Korea on this list.

by baldilocks

Gaddafi and Hussein are dead.

It’s said that North Korea’s Kim Jong Un doesn’t want to give up his nukes because of what happened to Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi.

After the US invaded Iraq, which resulted in the deposition and execution of Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi gave up his country’s nukes, only to be abandoned by the succeeding US administration – which resulted in Gaddafi’s deposition and execution. If the reports about Kim’s reasoning are true, it’s cogent piece of reasoning.

I’m Old Enough To Remember WhenTM Gaddafi publicly gave up his clandestine nuclear program and Syria’s Bashar Assad promised to pull his troops out of Lebanon, both saying, in effect: “I am not Saddam Hussein.”

As we know, the premise for the invasion of Iraq was that Hussein had Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), refused to give them up, and refused to allow UN inspection of those weapons. Following the invasion, however, no WMD materials were found in Iraq and the “Bush Lied” meme was born.

(Aside: for years that was the cudgel that Democrats – some of whom had access to the same domestic and foreign intelligence reports that George W. Bush’s intel advisers did and many of whom voted for intervention in Iraq — used to criticize Bush. These Democrat critics included former Senators Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, along with current Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, all of whom voted “yea” for the Iraq Resolution.)

Bashar Assad

In the intervening years, various sources in-the-know have reported that Hussein sent his WMD materials to Syria. If this is true, then it was little skin off Assad’s nose to promise to pull back his troops; he had other many other plans brewing, thanks to Hussein, and at least one other source.

Then, in 2007, the Israelis bombed Syria, targeting what they said was a nuclear reactor under construction.

A video taken inside a secret Syrian facility last summer convinced the Israeli government and the Bush administration that North Korea was helping to construct a reactor similar to one that produces plutonium for North Korea’s nuclear arsenal, according to senior U.S. officials who said it would be shared with lawmakers today.

The officials said the video of the remote site, code-named Al Kibar by the Syrians, shows North Koreans inside. It played a pivotal role in Israel’s decision to bomb the facility late at night last Sept. 6, a move that was publicly denounced by Damascus but not by Washington.

Sources familiar with the video say it also shows that the Syrian reactor core’s design is the same as that of the North Korean reactor at Yongbyon, including a virtually identical configuration and number of holes for fuel rods. It shows “remarkable resemblances inside and out to Yongbyon,” a U.S. intelligence official said. A nuclear weapons specialist called the video “very, very damning.”

Emphasis mine.

The Syrian government expressed outrage about getting bombed by the “Zionist Entity,” of course, and even used the “Bush Lied” rhetoric, but did little else about it. In 2011, the IAEA concurred with Israel’s claim about the facility.

It turns out that the nuclear connections between Syria and North Korea go back to about 1997. If you’re going read at least one of the links, read this one.

So maybe it’s true that Kim doesn’t want to end up like Gaddafi or Hussein — or even Assad — and is using the only leverage he has to stay in power.

This business will get out of control and we will be lucky to live through it.

There is also an Iran connection – naturally – and the Syrian Civil war, and the Russian involvement … but this post is long enough. I just wanted to point to the items, incidents, and connections that nearly every public commentator seems to have forgotten and/or discounted.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

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For the last two weeks the media’s meme on the North Korean issue was a story of spectacle.

We had the spectacle of North Korea making belligerent threats against the United States and specifically targeting the US territory of Guam and the spectacle of the media going after the Trump administration on North Korea and convincing their followers that war was just around the corner.

Now none of this is new, As I’ve written over and over again North Korea makes it’s living off of threatening the west and the payoff it produces when the west gets spooked.  It’s all smoke from a very old game.

And then came President Donald Trump who changed the rules.

He directly answered the North Korean threats promising to release “Fire and Fury and Frankly Power the likes the world has never seen before” and as you might guess the media and the “experts” they employ who have been going after him 24/7 since election day went absolutely nuts:

CNN:

That stance was pilloried by many experts in the foreign policy world as deeply naive. Since then, however, he had significantly ramped up his rhetoric against Kim. He also has hardened his stance against China and that country’s need to exert its influence over North Korea 

Politico:

The seemingly off-the-cuff broadside also reignited concerns raised during the presidential campaign that Trump’s tough rhetoric, including his previous calls to build up the American nuclear arsenal, could be dangerously destabilizing.

 “The greatest North Korean threat we face is not from a nuclear-tipped missile hitting the U.S. mainland but from Washington stumbling into an inadvertent nuclear war on the Korean peninsula,” Siegfried Hecker, a former director of Los Alamos National Laboratory and a nuclear expert who has visited North Korea seven times since 2004, said in an email.

“The president’s statements exacerbate” such concerns, Hecker said.

The Huffington Post

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, criticized Trump’s rhetoric in an interview with KTAR radio on Tuesday.

“I take exception to the president’s comments because you’ve got to be able to do what you say you’re going to do,” McCain said. “In other words, the old walk softly but carry a big stick, Teddy Roosevelt’s saying, which I think is something that should’ve applied because all it’s going to do is bring us closer to a serious confrontation.”

NBC:

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., criticized Trump’s comments as further isolating North Korea — a strategy she says has not worked to advance American goals in the region.

“The United States must quickly engage North Korea in a high-level dialogue without any preconditions,” Feinstein said in a statement, stating “in my view, diplomacy is the only sound path forward.”

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement: “We need to be firm and deliberate with North Korea, but reckless rhetoric is not a strategy to keep America safe.”

Bloomberg:

Representative Eliot Engel, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs committee, said Trump’s latest comments “undermined American credibility by drawing an absurd red line.”

The Washington Post:

With ‘fire and fury,’ Trump revives fears about his possession of nuclear codes

and of course the NY Times:

President Trump’s threat to unleash “fire and fury” against North Korea sent a shudder through Asia on Wednesday, raising alarm among allies and adversaries and, to some observers, making the possibility of military conflict over the North’s nuclear program seem more real.

No less that the deputy head of the Democrat National Committee declared the dictator of North Korea more stable than the President of the United States at the Netroots gathering before backtracking after the panel was done.

In other words the media, the left, the anti-trump pols in short the “experts” were all united.  Donald Trump’s rhetoric was going to get us all killed.

But a funny thing happened, while the media was busy distracted by their latest anti-trump meme the Chinese who have been using North Korea as a way to keep the US off balance and in check for years said this:

In an unprecedented move against North Korea, China on Monday issued an order to carry out the United Nations sanctions imposed on the rogue regime earlier this month.

China made the announcement amid not only Pyongyang’s escalating war of words with the United States regarding the North Korea nuclear missile program, but also as President Trump was reportedly set to order an investigation into China’s trade practice — a probe which could lead the U.S. to levy its own sanctions on Beijing.

and this:

China agreed to ban imports of North Korean iron, lead, and coal as part of new U.N. sanctions on Pyongyang. That’s hitting Kim Jon Un’s regime where it hurts.

But there was also the statement in the Chinese-run state newspaper Global Times on Friday that said that if North Korea attacks the U.S., China should remain neutral. In other words, they’d be on their own.

Less than 24 hours later the same North Koreans, who had been launching missile after missile into the ocean scaring and who we were told would only be inflamed by the rhetoric of Donald Trump suddenly  said this:

SEOUL—North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has decided not to launch a threatened missile attack on Guam, Pyongyang’s state media reported on Tuesday, but warned that he could change his mind “if the Yankees persist in their extremely dangerous reckless actions.”

(For a deeper analysis of the issues in this story, please see “North Korea Backs Off Threat to Hit Guam”)

The report, published early Tuesday, could help dial back tensions that had spiraled last week following an exchange of threats between North Korea and U.S. President Donald Trump.

There is a lot of surprise in the media (at least there would be if their latest “Trump/Nazi” meme wasn’t sucking up all the air) but we at DaTechGuy blog saw this coming the day President Trump hit Syria with the Russians right there:

if Trump wants to make a deal to stop the war on Syria, to stop North Korea or to take the pressure off the Baltic states afraid of a future Russian invasion he needed to demonstrate a willingness to actually strike, not only did he do so, but he did so While the head of China was his guest, meaning he was willing to demonstrate that diplomatic niceties and timing mean nothing to him when he wants to act.

As did Scott Adams who has seen called almost the entire Trump Saga from day 1:

President Trump just set the table for his conversations with China about North Korea. Does China doubt Trump will take care of the problem in China’s own backyard if they don’t take care of it themselves? That negotiation just got easier.

Donald Trump demonstrated that the US is no longer the weak horse of the Obama Years and that his foreign policy is not going to be driven by a panicked media, scolding from professional experts, or lawmakers anxious for a sound bite, it’s going to be driven with one goal in mind, getting results.

Don Surber put it best

Chairman Xi saw The Donald during their dinner at Mar-a-Lago deliver fire and fury to Syria.

And then two days later, Afghanistan

On Monday, China backed down.

Nine politically experienced presidents — Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush 41, Clinton, Bush 43, and Obama — acted presidential and got nothing done, while the Kim Jong clan nuked up and developed intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The amateur – the mad man — the unpresidential one — got China to rein in North Korea.

The US is the strong horse again and our enemies are acting accordingly, the media, American left and #nevertrump are hardest hit.

#unexpectedly

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I spent the last two weeks in the process of moving, and, while that was stressful and tiring, I was blissfully away from the news cycle.

Nothing like spending the entire day chipping away at the myriad tasks that come from A Big Move to bring you down to earth – along with a lot of boxes containing every thing you own.

By evening, you are so exhausted the last thing you want to do is listen to the news, IF you have cable. The only cable I watched was at the motel (since the furniture was coming the next day) on Sunday, when I was flipping channels and came across a segment of Game of Thrones were the blonde had the dragon incinerate a bunch of guys while the big guy from Black Sails watched on.

Which brings me to the subject of North Korea.

Since I’m now at home but the cable has not been connected, I read on my Facebook feed that North Korea is threatening attack. Facebook has, of course, sprouted ersatz expertise on Korea (North and South) overnight.

Certainly whatever the North Korean dictator wants to unchain will make the fictional dragon look like a Game, but there was another item in the news that I find more alarming: the Google censorship story.

Google fired James Damore, an engineer who wrote a memo dissenting on the company’s affirmative action policy, all in the name of diversity and inclusion.

The memo used to be online. Not anymore.

Considering the large reach Google has on how and what news is conveyed, the company’s actions may, in the long term, have as deleterious effect as North Korean dragons because we may never know whether Google’s newsfeed is conveying facts or PC pabulum.

The information age may be no more.

Attention: See Da Tech Guy’s pinned post!


Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog