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Nuclear Stupidity: Tillerson Says Diplomacy Continues Till First Bomb Drops

October 15, 2017 Knave Dave 0

 The following artice by David Haggith was published on The Great Recession Blog:

North Korean Missile Tests

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says President Donald Trump wants him to push forward on diplomacy with North Korea “until the first bomb drops.” (Bloomberg)


Brilliant! That means until the first entire city is destroyed. At least, that is what it could easily prove to mean … unless he means until the US drops its first bomb. 

I’m sure this policy is predicated on the belief that North Korea will test-drop a bomb before it actually uses a bomb and that it will do this somewhere “harmless.” The DPRK may, for example, launch a nuclear-tipped missile somewhere into the Pacific far over the heads of Japanese fisherman. Then, if the DPRK successfully tests an actual bomb or warhead, we’ll go straight to war. Until then, we’re letting them know we’ll stay with diplomacy.

However, the belief that the DPRK will test a bomb before it uses a bomb may be entirely misguided. Maybe the first dropped bomb or missile gets “tested” on Honolulu — a metropolitan US city that is already easily within reach of North Korean missiles.

I also have to wonder at the emphasis that everyone places on whether or not a missile can reach the mainland. What difference does that make? Would the loss of Los Angeles or San Francisco somehow be more important than the loss of Honolulu? Are the people of the US so parochial in their thinking that they regard Hawaii as a mere territory outside of the country … or as somehow a less significant part of the US than the other 49 states? What difference does it make if a missile can reach the West Coast — the seemingly all-important red line — unless we think Honolulu is somehow more easily sacrificial?

With almost a million people, Honolulu would be as massive of a human catastrophe as the loss of Seattle. And with the greatest number of military forts/bases per square mile of any piece of real estate in the US, it would be a military loss even greater than Seattle or Los Angeles. It is still central command for everything in the Pacific Basin. Strategically, it would be a greater loss than any West Coast city. Do we think North Korea is unaware that Honolulu is the United States’ Pearl of the Pacific?


Does anyone remember Pearl Harbor?


Are we really historically ignorant enough to forget the pre-emptive Japanese attack on Honolulu’s Pearl Harbor in 1941? Have we forgotten that this one act awoke the sleeping giant to join a world war that lasted years? Or are we just stupid enough to think no Asian country would ever try that again?

Why did we leave so many ships at ease in Pearl Harbor in the first place, except that we believed Japan would never dare attack such a heavily armed place? Nor, we thought, would a tiny nation like Japan stupidly do something assured to bring the mighty US into direct war with them.

If we think that would not likely happen again, we have developed to become far stupider now than people were in 1941, given that 1) we have the advantage of history to teach us that it can quite easily happen on any given Sunday; 2) unlike the Japanese, who attacked by total surprise, North Korea has already told us it’ll throw test missiles either Guam’s way or Hawaii’s just for fun and provocation and just to show it can; 3) the Island of O’ahu, which would all be effectively destroyed by a Hydrogen bomb, is more built up militarily now than it was back then.

Are we seriously stupid enough to believe North Korea would never use the element of surprise by actually putting their first test “bomb” aboard one of those missiles they launch over the top of Japan? Some pacifistic fool might retort, “Oh, but they wouldn’t do that because they know they would be annihilated in assured mutual destruction.” Well, if we really can count on assured destruction (mutual or not) being enough to stop them, why are we worried at all?

Pearl Harbor once, shame on you. Pearl Harbor twice, shame on us!



Kim Jong-un watching submarine's test missile launch.

Kim Jong-un watching submarine’s test missile launch.


Nuclear-powered stupidity


Even the fairly liberal Bloomberg asks “until?” Keep up diplomacy until the first bomb drops? Even Bloomberg appears to recognize that diplomacy might be a little long in the tooth by that point.

With both North Korea and Iran, the US has for decades been dedicated to a policy of waiting until the very last possible minute on nuclear development before using military means of stopping their nuclear progress. While the risks of using a conventional attack on the nuclear facilities of either nation are huge to other nations around them, I have to wonder how waiting until they actually have and test a nuclear bomb is somehow safer.

Do we just assume that they will have only one bomb when they make their first actual “test” drop? Is that even a reasonable assumption? Might they not have several other bombs or warheads that are instantly ready to launch if they actually do try a test first? That way, if the US dares to retaliate against a test bomb — as it has told the North it will — the DPRK can just annihilate the west coast.

How are we safer to wait to go after North Korea or Iran conventionally until after a test drop … even if they actually do follow the US protocol of testing before using? (And why would they?) Moreover, how do we know with certainty when the first test will be? Could it not be tomorrow? Maybe even today? If the test is a success and they have a half a dozen other ready “bombs” (or translate the generic “bombs” as “armed missiles”), does that make a conventional military attack against these nations safer?

Each day that we get closer and closer to the test, we are also making certain that military combat, if it is ever to be used, is far riskier. We are increasing risk exponentially based on positive thinking, not diminishing it. A conventional attack on either nation’s nuclear facilities will most certainly not be safer because of our having waited.

Even if North Korea does only have one bomb on the day it first does a test drop, it will almost certainly have many ready before conventional combat finishes the job of disabling the North. Look at how fast they’ve moved along already. If the plan is to wait to use conventional military force to take out their nuclear facilities until after they successfully test a bomb drop somewhere (versus the bombs we cannot see that have already gone off underground), how does that make Seoul safer … or Honolulu happier?

I will actually be surprised if North Korea’s next test missile that flies innocently over Japan does not blow up beneath the waves of the Pacific (“Peaceful”) Ocean. I will be surprised if the the next test missile doesn’t heave that peaceful oceanic bosom upward in the mounded form of a bodacious nuclear mushroom cloud. On that day, we will instantly know that North Korea can send its next missiles — already locked and loaded — to any US city west of Chicago.

Will we, after such a test, feel safer about moving from diplomacy to attacking NK’s nuclear facilities by conventional means? Does waiting until that point not actually increase the likelihood of a mutual nuclear war?

It seems to me the only safe place for diplomacy to end was about ten years ago as soon as the first nuclear test took place and long before the development of better bombs and longer range missiles. Waiting and grunting about it the extra decade accomplished NOTHING, except making certain that they now have a hydrogen bomb, instead of an old-fashion A-bomb. We’ve had a quarter century of diplomacy over this issue and a decade of diplomacy since their first nuclear test. Are we in a better place because of it?

I think we are simply hugely afraid of doing the ugly business we have long known needs to be done. As the saying goes, we need to either ___ or get off the toilet.

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Colin Kaepernick Reportedly Files Grievance Against NFL Owners For “Collusion”

October 15, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

Despite playing poorly in his last season, having undergone multiple surgeries, and being a public relations time-bomb, Colin Kaepernick is upset that he is still unsigned through six weeks of the 2017 NFL season.

It cannot be his fault, he seems to surmise, and as such, Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman reports that the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback has filed a grievance against the owners for collusion under the latest collective bargaining agreement…

I am told that @Kaepernick7 has filed a grievance under the CBA for collusion against the owners. If accurate, this is huge.

— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) October 15, 2017

Of course, just like last weekend, we wonder how long this headline will last before it is vehemently denied by Kaepernick’s girlfriend.

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Iran’s Top General Meets With Kurdish President Barzani As U.S. Neocons Push For War

October 15, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

In an unexpected diplomatic turn of events which underscores the seriousness of escalating tensions between the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), the head of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard (which last week were designated by the US as a terrorist organization), General Qassem Soleimani, arrived in Erbil on Sunday and met with Kurdistan regional president Masoud Barzani to discuss the growing crisis at a moment when Kurdish Peshmerga forces are blocking Iraqi Army access to Kirkuk oil fields and military installations. 

Major General Qassem Soleimani reports directly to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, and his elite force provides training and weapons to Iraqi paramilitary groups (PMU or Popular Mobilization Units) backing the Baghdad government. The meeting comes just after President Trump announced his new policy against Iran on Friday that includes designating the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a foreign terrorist organization.

Though the Unites States officially backs the Iran-aligned Baghdad government in the Kurdistan crisis, Trump’s speech could signal a monumental shift in policy for Iraq. This as Kurdistan officials and media are highlighting Iran’s role in attempting to stamp out the Kurdish move for independence.

Iranian Revolutionary Guard Commander Major General Qassem Soleimani

As we previously explained, last month’s Kurdistan referendum pushed Iraq into the arms of Iran when the relationship between Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar Abadi and Iranian officials was at its lowest level. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi (and perhaps most Iraqis) now sees in Iran the only legitimate and sincere partner Iraq can count on, and can rely on the Iranian Army and the IRGC in the case of any broader military escalation against Kurdistan, particularly in the disputed Iraqi cities, with Kirkuk now topping the list.

In spite of both Baghdad and the KRG publicly vowing to do everything possible to avoid direct military confrontation, sporadic fighting broke out Friday and early Saturday near the disputed and oil-rich Kirkuk province between Peshmerga fighters and Shia milita forces (PMU, Popular Mobilization Units) backing the central Iraqi government.

The distance between #Peshmerga forces and #PMU is only 100 meter in #TuzKhurmatu frontline. #Kurdistan

— Lawk Ghafuri (@LawkGhafuri) October 15, 2017

On Friday night, fighting erupted in Khurmatu – a city which lies in a disputed area claimed by Kurdistan just south of Kirkuk. Footage emerged showing the direct clashes which seemed to be short lived; it is unclear if there were any casualties, and it appears that front lines have gone quiet since late Saturday.

And now both sides are trading blame for partnering with “terrorists” with Erbil claiming Revolutionary Guard units to be among PMU forces near Kirkuk and Baghdad accusing Erbil of using PKK fighters, which it says is “a declaration of war.”

Meanwhile, neocon think tanks such as the Hudson Institute have analysts in Erbil calling for US military intervention against “Iranian-backed militias”. According to Hudson Institute spokesman Michael Pregent, “Part of what we’re doing out here is we’re presenting the administration… the administration relies on experts out here to fuel what’s going on in the intelligence community.” Over the weekend Pregent lamented what he called US “inaction” against Iraq’s Shia militias.

Of course, Kurdistan media is only too happy to to amplify such voices:

.@MPPregent? on threat of Iranian-backed militias to #Peshmerga; US’ response after @realDonaldTrump designated #IRGC terrorist entity.

— Kurdistan 24 English (@K24English) October 15, 2017

Meanwhile, events continue to unfold at a lightning pace. Here is the latest:

  • Peshmerga forces claim elite Iranian Revolutionary Guard soldiers are embedded with the Iraqi army and PMU units west of Kirkuk, while Iraq accuses Kurdish authorities of bringing PKK terrorists to Kirkuk, and  says PKK involvement in Kirkuk is ‘declaration of war’.
  • Kurdistan’s Rudaw news reports: “The Iraqi army and the Hashd al-Shaabi are not the only state that are attacking us. We have intelligence with 100 percent accuracy that there are also the Iranian army and the Revolutionary Guards among them,” Shwan Shamerani, commander of the Peshmerga second brigade in Kirkuk, told Rudaw on Saturday.
  • The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) met Sunday and agreed to “reject any demands to nullify the referendum results” as well as any preconditions to talks with Baghdad.
  • Kurdish officials say Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi dropped the request to cancel the results of the independence referendum as a pre-condition to launch a dialogue with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
  • Baghdad officials are rejecting Kurdish media reports that the Iraqi Army gave Peshmerga a Saturday midnight or 2am deadline to withdraw or face attack, calling the reports false.
  • Kurdish civilians are taking up arms: overnight, photos and videos on social media and through Kurdistan news showed Kurdish civilians in the city of Kirkuk arming themselves while chanting pro-Kurdish and martyrdom slogans; Kirkuk Governor Najmaldin Karim appeared on city streets and gave interviews while appearing to encourage residents taking up arms.
  • Some observers accuse KRG leader Barzani and his government officials of crying wolf to precipitate a crisis, saying it’s in the KRG’s interest to force a crisis in the hopes that the US will condemn the pro-Iranian PMU militias.
  • Iraqi national media is accusing Kurdistan supporters of using sectarian language akin to ISIS Takfiri ideology; some Iraqi outlets are further accusing of the Kurdish Peshmerga of cooperation with ISIS.
  • Kurdistan media is confirming Iran has completely ceased all trade into Iraqi Kurdistan Sunday with the total shutdown of three main border crossings, including the Parwezkhan, Haji Omaran, and Bashmakh crossings, though Iran’s foreign ministry says nothing has changed since the end of September. Iraq’s foreign ministry website is now confirming that, “It was our request to close boarder crossings.”
  • Ankara confirms postponement of a scheduled Turkish PM visit to Iraqi counterpart in Baghdad due to heightened tensions in Kirkuk region.
  • The Governor of Kirkuk, Najmaldin Karim, told Kurdistan 24 channel on Sunday that the situation in Kirkuk remains stable and export of crude oil continues to flow abroad.
  • The Iraqi government is now signaling that it plans to revive a major pipeline – previously destroyed by ISIS – which would bypass Kurdistan altogether. The pipeline, which Baghdad says it will immediately take steps to repair and restore, runs from Kirkuk to the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan in southern Turkey. Already there are rumors that Turkey has rejected the plans.
  • US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said the US is working to avoid escalation near Kirkuk on same day President Trump  announced his new policy against Iran that includes designating its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a foreign terrorist organization.
  • US coalition aircraft were observed flying over Kirkuk with noticeably increased frequency late last week and into the weekend, likely as reconnaissance to observe the developing situation.

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