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 Qaddafi’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.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

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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

I still miss the great Cox and Forkum.

by baldilocks

Sometimes it’s necessary to remind people of how long I’ve been paying attention to politics/world events and that said events do not just occur out of the blue.

The following is from thirteen years ago, edited and altered because my commentary was originally directed at then-presidential candidate John Kerry, because some links are dead, and because some information needed links..

This weekend, it was reported that North Korea detonated *something* near the its border with China last week that allegedly produced a smoke plume in the shape of your basic mushroom. (

(…)

Two Democrat presidents [Carter and Clinton] tried to appease the North Koreans in 1994 by bribing them into halting their nuclear aspirations. Well, the money got transferred and spent, the oil got used, the food got eaten—presumably by very few average North Koreans–but the cessation didn’t happen. The North Korean government may not be too up on feeding its “constituents” or developing its economy, but they certainly know a couple of marks when they see them.

These are the results of negotiating with a basket-case states with nuclear capability; terrorists, by another other name. As is so with Islamist terror, President Bush must also clean up after the botched policies offered in this area by leaders of the Democrat Party.

We see that Former President Obama’s gift to the mullahs of Iran had precedent. Just a coincidence, I’m sure.

This past week, North Korea launched yet another ‘intercontinental ballistic’ missile that landed in the Sea of Japan. Again.

I’m wondering how many missiles have been launched by Kim Jong Un, his father and his grandfather before him, since the Carter-Clinton Agreement in 1994.

It’s a safe bet that there will be more.

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.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism!

I’m in Kansas City this week on a vacation that’s a side effect of my wife’s serious operation back in Feb. As she couldn’t go on the trip with her sister as planned and had to use up our voucher miles before Sept or lose them she suggested finding somewhere that the RedSox were playing and go see them there. This is the first time since I started writing that I’ve been somewhere without the express purpose to cover some political event or conference. The only work I’ll be doing are this week’s posts and perhaps the odd interview if one drops into my lap. It is so weird to wake up somewhere else without having to be somewhere or to have 30 or 50 interviews to upload. Of course given that the Room AC is not working properly and I spent two hours on twitter and on the phone between priceline and the sheraton four points people and their parent company trying to resolve it due to my wife’s breathing issues it’s even weirder. It seems the final plan was to keep her awake all night trying to get things fixed till she was too tired to not fall asleep even with no AC in the summer heat and the noise of the rather loud fan they provided. I presume that plan worked because while I stopped tweeting on it at 1:30 AM and fell asleep soon after, as of this writing (9:30 am central) she and my son are still out like lights so I don’t know when they finally gave up and crashed. Even odder the room isn’t oppressively hot as it was when I dropped off so I guess at least for a brief time during the night the AC kicked in and combined with the rather loud fan managed to drop the temp to an OK level, but then again I grew up without AC and never had breathing issues and can sleep on a wooden pallet with a piece of cardboard on it so the real test will be how DaWife feels when she wakes up. The last gave of the series is a 1:05 start so I’d like to get her up early so we can get a spot of breakfast but as I don’t know when she got to sleep I think I’ll let her sleep as late as we safely can.

Now I know why my parents never went on vacations.

Kaufman Stadium is a lovely place to watch a baseball game but as in Denver it’s still very odd to go to a ball park and: Not see it full, See promotion after promotion during the game, see the necessity for the scoreboard to be used to get the crowd to make noise. But that’s the difference between practically selling out an entire season and having to draw people. Our three tickets for the first game at Kaufman stadium in the upper deck of left field cost what it would have set us back for Standing room in Fenway park…for one of us.

This is my first trip to the midwest and there is a real sense of Deja vu in coming to a place like this. I’m reminded of the days of my youth when Massachusetts was populated by normal people with normal values and not run by frenzied leftists. If I was younger I’d leave for a place like this in a second as the liberal New England in general and Massachusetts in particular is no place to raise a family if you don’t want to have to fight every day to raise your children as Faithful Catholics or Christians of any stripe. You can’t imagine how much I miss those days, it’s also the reason why there are so many Red Sox Fans everywhere else. People might leave the craziness of New England but one’s love of the Red Sox comes with you.

The Death of Otto Warmbier is to some degree a surprise. One might think that to North Korea an American foolish enough to put themselves willingly in their hands is an asset to exploit so normally one might think that any torture would be designed to be painful but not fatal however it’s a vivid reminder that with the Norks you are dealing with one of the worst regimes in the history of history and unless your a Christian Missionary ready to become a Christian Martyr giving your life in the hopes of saving souls, it’s not a place to willingly put yourself.

The left’s pious insults concerning Mr. Warmbier’s death and their previous statements concerning “white privilege” come as no surprise as sadly I’ve come to expect no better from them, the real question is what kind of retaliation will we see from this president. What price will the Norks be made to pay and how will he pull it off without setting and can he afford to be patient in making them pay that price.

Yet another special election (actually two as there was one in SC as well that the Democrats decided to concede rather than sink a fortune in) is now over and Karen Handel despite being an unexciting candidate managed a five point win despite millions of dollars from the bluest states there pouring into the state to defeat her. I think this from Hotair is telling:

 

11:10 pm: Finally, here is Karen Handel’s victory speech. At 2:30 Handel thanks President Trump and the crowd responds “Trump! Trump! Trump!” At 3:15 she thanks Steve Scalise and spends a moment talking about the need to find “a more civil way” to disagree. “In these United States of America, no one should ever feel their life threatened over political beliefs and positions,”

 

I think that while the DC shooter managed to only wound Steve scalise, he managed to kill Democrat chances to win in GA06 as voters in that district who might have stayed home decided they didn’t want to reward attempted murder. Of course this doesn’t change the fact that the GOP needs to get moving on their agenda as Chris Muir seems to have pegged.

The attack by Mr. Osborne in London was, in my opinion one of the most predictable crimes in the history of history in terms of simple mathematical statistics. Given that we’ve had over 31,000 Islamic Terror attacks worldwide since 9/11 (40 attacks in 15 countries from June 10th though the 16th alone) sooner or later probability stated that you would actually get a westiner targeting Muslims. I have no problem calling what he did terror, but I insist that leftists who do so do the same concerning every other attack done by Muslims in the name of Islam. The real question is will the same people willing to throw collective guilt on Englishmen over this attack respond in a similar way to what happened in Brussels yesterday?

It also plays into one of the things I’ve predicted, the longer both the authorities in power and moderate muslims decide to deny and ignore the danger of radical islam, the more likely you’ll see people like Osborne decide to, in his mind, strike back. I expect to see many more like him if the state of denial continues. This of course does not justify his acts of murder which not only need to be vigorously prosecuted but punished to the fullest extent of the law.

A little Doctor Who, I see that Big Finish has decided to give a series to Derick Jacobi playing the “War Master”. Jacobi’s time as the Master on screen lasted less that 15 minutes before he regenerated into John Simm but during that time he ruled the screen. I’ve often wondered what he would have done with the role if he had been given more time. Now we’ll find out.

Finally we are going to be seeing the first Multi-master story in Doctor who outside of Big Finish My bet is that Michelle Gomez Master is killed by John Simm’s master with her at the moment of death remembering doing so. Even if I’m wrong the word is she will not be returning to the role. While I wasn’t a fan of the whole gender bender business Gomez made the part her own and has simply owned every scene she has been in in a way we haven’t seen since Alex Kingston. Doctor Who fans will miss her.

Update:  Dropped a “r” from Otto Warmbier’s name, corrected

All I could do is shake my head when I saw this:

A US citizen working as a university lecturer has been detained by authorities in North Korea – becoming the third American to be held in the country.

Korean-American Kim Sang-duk, also known as Tony Kim, taught at Pyongyang University of Science Technology (PUST) for a month before being arrested on Saturday (22 April) while trying to leave the country.

The reason for his detention is not known but comes as tensions ratchet up over North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile testing.

Seriously, this guy is an educated college professor, and a person of Korean ancestry no less and he seriously thought it was a good idea to head over to North Korea to teach?

That’s pretty dumb but this is even dumber:

Last year, Otto Warmbier, then a 21-year-old University of Virginia student from Cincinnati, was sentenced to 15 years of hard labour after confessing to trying to steal a propaganda banner.

He had been on a guided tour with a travel company but was detained on 2 January 2016 at Pyongyang airport while trying to leave the country. In announcing his arrest, the state news media said Warmbier had visited North Korea with the intent of “bringing down the foundation of its single-minded unity”.

A guided tour of North Korea? What’s the name of the company: Gulags are us?

Now as a human being I of course have pity in the sense that no person should be subject to the horrors of the North Korean state, but unlike the unfortunates born there these idiots willingly decided it was a good idea to visit one of the most repressive countries on the planet.

I’m sorry but if you are stupid enough to go there you deserve a Darwin Award straight up.

And don’t even THINK for one moment that the US should make a deal to get you out. It’s iffy enough to make a deal that compromises us as a nation to get out an innocent victim out of trouble, to do so to get an idiot like these guys, not a chance.

I think both our media and the North Koreans are making themselves out as a bigger danger than they actually are

But beyond that I think that the over the top threats that the norks make are simply that, made for public consumption at home and to intimidate the fearful abroad.

You see in the end North Korea’s personality cult is not the same as Islam.

While radical Islamists are willing to die to advance their cause the leadership of North Korea is under no delusion as to the state of their state nor the cause of their ability to live high off the hog in  land that doesn’t have all that many hogs in the first place.

So like any bully they will take advantage of weaknesses or lapses of judgement (the Pueblo Incident being a great example of this btw) to push the weak around.  But they are not going to take any step that could end their gravy train.

And a nuclear strike would do so.  It would invite retaliation that would devastate the county and decapitate their leadership.

It’s one thing to oppress the folks of a slave state to get ahead, it’s quite another to risk retaliation that can get you killed particularly when dealing with a president that they consider more unpredictable then they are

And this isn’t 1968 when the North Koreans could count on the military support of an isolated China, but now China is ecnomically tied to the west in general and the United States in particular.

As long as the west’s leadership was easily intimidated then China was all on board because their erratic behavior caused the west to worry about what they might do and brought concessions.

But now that their erratic behavior causes China to worry about what we might do, well that’s a different game entirely.

So when you hear people all worried about World War 3 breaking out on the Korean Peninsula, don’t.


EC-121, similar to the one shot down by North Korea. Image courtesy of stationhypo.com

So how about that North Korean aggression?  No, I’m not talking about nuclear tests or sinking South Korean vessels.  Let’s talk about the long history North Korea has of aggression.

On this day in 1969, North Korea sent two fighters into international waters and shot down an unarmed reconnaissance aircraft. You can make all the arguments you want about whether we should have been there or not, but the reality is that we subscribe to international law and allow unrestricted operations in international waters.  This means that when occasionally other people do things we don’t like, such as Russia sending spy ships off our coast, our first reaction isn’t to lob a missile at them.

Later, in 1976, North Korea would murder two Army officers with axes who were trying to chop down a tree in the Joint Security Area.  Before either of these two incidents, North Korea took (and still has) the USNS Pueblo and its crew hostage.

On top of this, North Korea engaged in brutal persecution of Catholics in the area.  This is not the lame American version of persecution that we hear echoed in university halls.  It’s straight up martyrdom for being Catholic, at the end of the barrel of a gun.

As we celebrate Easter tomorrow, let’s pause to remember that the war didn’t stop in 1953.  Remember that 31 Americans gave their lives while monitoring a country so that we could avoid war.  Pray for the people of North Korea, that perhaps one day they’ll know true freedom and be saved from a savagely oppressive government.


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

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by baldilocks

Was Bush right? It depends, of course, on what the topic is.

Zero Hedge points to Statista and YouGov polls containing the following information:

Americans have consistently identified ISIS as the biggest threat to their nation across multiple polls. Traditional foes, such as the countries making up George W. Bush’s infamous “Axis Of Evil”, have been pushed into the background by the rise of non-state actors like Al-Qaeda and ISIS. In recent years however, Statista’s Niall McCarthy notes that the threat presented by some of America’s traditional enemies has started to manifest itself once again. Russia’s annexation of Crimea came as a reality check to the Obama administration while as recently as last Saturday, North Korea conducted a ballistic missile test.

YouGov conducted a poll to find out which countries Americans perceive as their nation’s biggest enemies. North Korea has continued to make headlines even after that missile launch with news emerging earlier this week that Kim-Jong-un’s half brother was allegedly poisoned in an airport in Malaysia. Both incidents have illustrated the unpredictability of the nuclear-armed regime in Pyongyang and it comes as little surprise that 57 percent of Americans consider North Korea their enemy.

Recall that George W. Bush named Iraq, North Korea and Iran as the Axis of Evil. In spite of the big headlines that feature Russia as the biggest Bad Guy, the Russians come in sixth on chart–which, of course, does not mean that they aren’t a bigger threat than is perceived by the polled. (Aside: while reading all the reportage about Russia today, I briefly felt 25 years-old again, but my hair color is telling a different story.)

Iran came in second. Syria and Iraq came in third and fourth, respectively–ISIS; and Afghanistan is fifth.

Does the American public have a better handle on who America’s enemies are than their leaders do, both of the recent past and the present? Time will tell. But I think that these polls may show one thing: that Mainstream Media propaganda isn’t as effective as it may seem to those of us who lament its existence. That’s cause for hope.

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 on February 2017! Follow her on Twitter.

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