Risks to US from War on North Korea

Exclusive: The murders of Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi – after they surrendered their WMD – taught North Korea’s Kim Jong-un not to give up his, setting the stage for a dangerous crisis, explains Jonathan Marshall.

By Jonathan Marshall

When a hostile government, armed with atomic and chemical weapons and the world’s fourth largest army, declares “the situation is already on the brink of nuclear war,” Americans should sit up and take notice. Compared to North Korea, ISIS and Al Qaeda terrorists are insignificant threats to U.S. security.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Experts agree that within a few years, at most, North Korea will have mastered the ballistic missile technology needed to destroy U.S. cities with nuclear warheads. It recently demonstrated the use of solid-fuel technology in intermediate-range missiles, and earlier this month the regime tested a sophisticated new rocket engine that even South Korea called a technical breakthrough.

The Trump administration did take notice. Although North Korea has never threatened to use nuclear weapons except in self-defense, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned this month that the regime must “abandon its development of nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, and other weapons of mass destruction,” or face the threat of the United States and its allies using military force to stop it.

More than a few elite pundits have endorsed preemptive war as an option. A recent Washington Post editorial conceded that striking North Korea’s nuclear and missile facilities could trigger “a potentially catastrophic war,” but declared nonetheless that “further steps by North Korea toward deploying nuclear-armed ICBMs might compel such action.”

Last fall, the influential Council on Foreign Relations issued a major white paper calling North Korea’s weapons program “a grave and expanding threat” and asserting that Washington may have no choice but to “consider more assertive military and political actions, including those that directly threaten the existence of the [North Korean] regime and its nuclear and missile capabilities.”

Such threats are foolhardy and counterproductive. As many analysts point out, a pre-emptive attack by the United States cannot guarantee to destroy all of North Korea’s hidden nuclear weapons or mobile missile launchers. Missing even a handful would guarantee the incineration of Seoul, Tokyo, and other nearby cities in radioactive fireballs. Even in the best case, North Korea could respond by flattening Seoul with artillery barrages, and killing tens of thousands of Koreans and Japanese with chemical weapons.

How North Korea Could Hit U.S.

An America-First madman in the White House might view such casualties as an acceptable price to pay for eliminating a latent threat against the U.S. homeland. But hardly anyone has pointed out that North Korea can and almost certainly would retaliate against U.S. cities as well.

President Donald Trump announces the selection of Gen. H.R. McMaster as his new National Security Adviser on Feb. 20, 2017. (Screen shot from Whitehouse.gov)

Even without long-range missiles, they can simply float atomic bombs into U.S. harbors aboard innocuous-looking commercial freighters. No anti-missile shield can stop them from wiping out big parts of New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, or Houston in response to a U.S. attack.

Back in 2000, reporter Sydney Freedberg, Jr., called attention to the near impossibility of detecting a shielded bomb packed into one of the 45,000 shipping containers that enter the United States every day. “Hiding a bomb there would be a lethal needle in a huge haystack,” he remarked.

Although major U.S. ports have since installed radiation detectors to prevent bombs from being smuggled into their waters, “if there is highly enriched uranium metal that’s shielded and below the water line, it’s going to be really tough to detect at long range,” said Matthew Bunn, an expert on nuclear terrorism at Harvard University.

Even a small bomb detonation would do immense damage. A 2003 study by Abt Associates for the U.S. Department of Transportation concluded that “The economic impact of even a single nuclear terrorist attack on a major U.S. seaport would be very great . . . A successful attack would create disruption of U.S. trade valued at $100-$200 billion, property damage of $50-$500 billion, and 50,000 to 1,000,000 lives could be lost. Global and long-term effects, including the economic impacts of the pervasive national and international responses to the nuclear attack . . . are believed to be substantially greater.”

Three years later, experts at the RAND Corporation conducted an even deeper analysis of a simulated terrorist attack on the Port of Long Beach with a 10-kiloton nuclear bomb, which is well within the yield of North Korea’s current weapons. Among the plausible outcomes it described:

–“Sixty thousand people might die instantly from the blast itself or quickly thereafter from radiation poisoning.

–“One-hundred-fifty thousand more might be exposed to hazardous levels of radioactive water and sediment from the port, requiring emergency medical treatment.

— “The blast and subsequent fires might completely destroy the entire infrastructure and all ships in the Port of Long Beach and the adjoining Port of Los Angeles.

— “Six million people might try to evacuate the Los Angeles region.

— “Two to three million people might need relocation because fallout will have contaminated a 500-km2 area.

— “Gasoline supplies might run critically short across the entire region because of the loss of Long Beach’s refineries — responsible for one-third of the gas west of the Rockies.

— “The early costs of the Long Beach scenario could exceed $1 trillion, driven by outlay(s) for medical care, insurance claims, workers’ compensation, evacuation, and construction.”

Cascading Dangers

And that’s only the beginning. Insurers might stop writing commercial policies. Workers at other ports might flee to avoid a similar attack.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at his swearing-in ceremony on Feb. 1, 2017. (Screen shot from Whitehouse.gov)

“Given these conditions, all U.S. ports would likely close indefinitely or operate at a substantially reduced level following the attack,” the report noted. “This would severely disrupt the availability of basic goods and petroleum throughout the country.”

Bottom line: a preemptive attack on North Korea’s real WMD would make the Bush administration’s disastrous attack on Iraq’s non-existent WMD look like a cake walk. Millions of people would almost certainly die in South Korea and Japan. Millions more Americans might die from nuclear retaliation against U.S. port cities and infrastructure. Every American would suffer the staggering economic and moral consequences.

That’s why we should all be concerned with Secretary Tillerson’s recent — and entirely unwarrantedrejection of efforts to find a peaceful political and diplomatic solution with North Korea.

The Trump administration appears to hope that stepping up economic sanctions, and bullying China, will miraculously convince North Korea to disarm. But strong-arm measures, which reinforce Pyongyang’s conviction that Washington wants nothing less than regime change, will ensure that war becomes not just one of many options on the table, but the only option.

Someday soon, the only question left may be whether it is North Korea or the United States that initiates all-out war in an insanely reckless attempt at self-preservation.

Jonathan Marshall previously authored “North Korea Fears ‘Regime Change’ Strike,” “Behind the North Korean Nuke Crisis” and “The Negotiation Option With North Korea.”


68 comments for “Risks to US from War on North Korea

  1. wheeler
    April 8, 2017 at 01:27

    Mr Marshall…What then do you suggest?f

  2. Mike China
    April 5, 2017 at 04:34

    There is absolute no doubt the US can destroy most but not 100% of artillery pieces.
    Any attack on NKwill trigger retaliation on SK with the likely hood of Seoul being razed as the
    price for NK;s destruction.
    Th e US will pay with a few thousand GIs sacrificed. This is the price.
    In Vietnam 58000 Gis died for nothing

  3. April 5, 2017 at 03:02

    It has become a no win situation. The Chinese are screwed, they will not back the North Koreans if it means war with the USA. They lose face and political power. 50 nukes vz 5,000. Putin will take all of China he can. And every party member will run or get a bullet in the head. The Chinese know they can not have a nuke war with the US.
    The North Koreans are screwed too, they can not lose face, they must raise the bet every round. It has worked before, now they got Trump. Who is unpredictable. At some point the risk of war is off set by the fact of kissing the North Koreans butt [admitting they are a power to be sucked up to and paying them big bucks] or they are going to be forced to nuke an ally of ours or a us city.
    The Chinese are seeing the game of cats paw turning really risky. If this goes wrong China is screwed and becomes a Russian property. And if we get 50 nukes, kiss off the us stopping Putin making China Russian turf.
    It is one thing when the little nut is waving a nuke around. Now the little nut is stepping closer to us and waving nukes around like an ax about to cut. He does not get it. At some point our fear [ or they will attack us] will take over and we will attack. This attack due to North Korea’s military will be as overwhelming as possible, we will nuke them.
    Fact is the more we appear to be ready for war the more likely the Chinese are to solve the problem. If they do they win. Granted not as much as they would like to, but still a win.
    We offer the one thing they will want, they chose the next government of North Korea after our war removes the present government.
    Say what you please, but the US does not take real threats from anyone well. As for this idea the US can be stopped by a nuke or two; well Pearl Harbor was planned to bloody our national nose so Japan could do as it pleased.
    Is this great game of nations played for high stakes, yep.
    So hello Chinese intelligence, round eye not as stupid as one hopes. But most of the commentators are. War is often delayed, rarely for real advantage. Commonly for fear of action and its lack of certain outcome.
    North Korea.

  4. Manda
    March 29, 2017 at 03:47

    Peace!! Make peace!! Noone wants war!!!

  5. Don joe
    March 28, 2017 at 23:39

    I would kill myself before I let that fat prick in North Korea blow me up he needs to be crushed to death or blown up I hate that ass and country

  6. Don joe
    March 28, 2017 at 23:35

    We need to go in there and put Kim jon in in prison the blow his ass up!! He is a fucking prick who needs to be stopped now idiot trump!

  7. Bill G.
    March 27, 2017 at 07:30

    Two essential readings if one wants to understand this subject. First, “War is a Racket” by Smedley Darlington Butler. Butler was a retired 40 year Marine Corps General when he wrote this 100 page analysis of his career. He was the most decorated Marine in history with 2 Congressional medals of honor and and 2 Provost battlefield medals. His combat tours included 4 continents during America’s imperialist incursions from 1880 to 1920. He characterized his service as being “a hit man for the corporations”. Second, is I. F. Stone’s “Hidden History of the Korean War” where he exposes the true nature of that conflict, to wit, that the US was catapulted into provoking North Korea by John Foster Dulles and his intimate team of Chiang Kai Chek, Sygman Rhee, and General Douglas MacArthur. The Korean War was secretly intended by those sinister characters to be expanded into reversing Chiang’s defeat by Mao in the Chinese Civil War. Stone explains how the cabal manipulated the White House and the UN through imaginative psych-ops of lies and propaganda into the conflict and its expansion. The looming danger of nuclear war after the Soviet Union matched the US bomb building capacity finally persuaded Eisenhower and the UN to reverse course and sign a truce deal.

  8. Douglas Baker
    March 26, 2017 at 20:38

    With United States nuclear weapons in Japan and South Korea, as well as United States troops stationed in these countries and the U.S. Navy near by, and looking at the historical record of broken treaties and officials mouthing off mendacity, it is understandable that North Korea would take out an insurance bet of nuclear weapons and the means to put them in play as Israel has in the Middle East.

  9. Kevin
    March 26, 2017 at 17:03

    we keep on fucking around with n korea .let’s go blow them off the map

  10. March 26, 2017 at 08:21

    The article is titled “Risks to US from War on North Korea” and that’s what this conversation is about, the policy taken by Tillerson and Trump is confrontational, not diplomatic. Everyone talking here realizes the foolhardy positions the US government warhawks stridently continue to take; they can’t give up their dominance games. Who is suicidal?

    • ey b0ss
      March 26, 2017 at 09:17

      I think I gonna kill myself (Just kidding.).

  11. ey b0ss
    March 26, 2017 at 05:24

    What the heck is wrong with these people on these comments? Are they conspiracist? (Not talking to the U.S. nor N. Korea. Just talking to these dudes on this site.)

    • Anon
      March 26, 2017 at 06:08

      What is wrong with you is that you cannot be rational, but instead make propaganda ploys. Grow up.

      • ey b0ss
        March 26, 2017 at 07:42

        Duh! I’m not making dumb propaganda ploys. I’m just asking question.

        By the way, are you guys suicidal, cause you want nuclear war to happen, right?

    • Monte George Jr.
      March 26, 2017 at 15:32

      Why is it that some people think they can prevail in a argument by labeling their opponents as “conspiracy theorists”? The words ‘conspiracy’ and ‘politics’ are synonyms. Everything that a single person cannot do working must be done by working with others. The beneficiaries of these actions call this ‘cooperation’, ‘bipartisanship’, ‘logrolling’ etc. Those who are harmed by them call them ‘conspiracies’. Without conspiracies nothing would ever happen. No bill would ever pass the US Congress. State, regional and local government would grind to a halt.

      You cannot debunk an argument by calling it a conspiracy theory, because every significant event that occurs in human society is the vector sum of one or more conspiracies. Conspiracy is the rule, not the exception.

      • Monte George Jr.
        March 26, 2017 at 15:34

        sorry, make that “…cannot do working alone…”

  12. bible. knows
    March 26, 2017 at 03:24

    747 flying to us.. 600 to 1000 feet under.

    North k flying in with nucks u can not pick
    It Up on Rader.. thay can get them in..
    U butter no that….

    Mexico digs there way in…

  13. Kalen
    March 26, 2017 at 01:47

    Let’s be serious. Who would in his right mind attack N. Korea risking nuclear incineration?

    Just look around, more and more billionaires Wall Street banksters, megalomaniacs living in the their delusional world of opulence where nobody tells them no, dreaming sickly and darkly about controlling the world population like puppets.

    All while consorting with intelligent robots like themselves and trying to shed last vestige of their humanity by dreaming of flying cars running of pure air, breaking out from Matrix or moving on to Mars to exploit aliens for profit or so they shrinks report.

    All of them buying the absurd notion that they themselves as a geniuses, cream of the crop will be able to survives the nuclear cataclysm of billions dead as a matter of fact treating it as a sort of cleansing act of natural progression to the inevitable and beautiful world run by robots not people what they already consider as superfluous and a nuisance.

    Thanks to those billionaires, mental patients and their neoconservative maniacs nuclear shelters are selling like hot cakes. Little do they know, or want to know, that, as all they touch and believe in, all of the nuke shelter businesses are frauds and they will surely incinerate in them to a crisp like any homeless protected only by a newspaper copy with a headline still lying that nuclear war will be won as CIA assured us.

    However, since they live in Wall Street/D.C. delusions they have lost capacity to tell reality from well done 3D hallucination of a mental patient as most of them qualify for immediately.

    The nuclear war is closer that we think because they think is winnable.
    People must know that we are talking about self-defense. The establishment must be removed from power.

  14. Eddie
    March 25, 2017 at 22:45

    Let’s get serious — who really believes for a moment N. Korea would even THINK about pre-emptively launching a first-strike missile at the US or any of it’s allies in the Pacific?? It’d be military suicide, with the US’ predictable disproportionate response there’d be no military bases (or cities) left in N Korea within 2 or 3 hours, and the N Korean leaders know that as well as anyone else. As the author advocates, we should notch-down the provocative rhetoric and military exercises and make a serious effort at negotiations. Of course that doesn’t ‘sell’ domestically — it’s not as ‘sexy’ as war, I fear.

    • Rhys Stanley
      March 26, 2017 at 01:12

      Thank you Eddie. it is time that someone made a comment based on logic.

      This is all a great big play act. With the current climate in the US, the current mental state of military commanders, the current boredom with the fact that there is no war to get involved in, anyone who cast a sideways glance at an American, even as a joke, is likely to have a missile land on their roof with 30 seconds. Such is the military climate and mental state of the administration. Save us all!.

      The same with poor little Iran.
      Never started a war in their history unlike the USA, hundreds of them since day one.

      Yet because of those arrogant Israelis, the real rulers of the USA, Iran is #1 target for the 400 nuclear devices at Dimona. They have half the US Congress on their staff, 60% of the Senate doing their bidding. It is amazing that the US even bothers to have elections, such is the total subservience to Israel through AIPAC.

      That’s where the danger is, folks. Jumping to the dictates of the latter day Third Reich. And jump they do. “Yes sir, Netanyahu. At your service”.
      29 standing ovations in the Joint Houses for Adolph Netanyahu? . That should have told you all something was wrong with your country, and just who it was who had sold out the once respected America. They were there on subservient display for all to see.

      Still the same today.

      “Make America great again”, says Trump. How about, “make America American again”. Better put. Not an offshoot of Tel Aviv.

      • Anon
        March 26, 2017 at 06:05

        Well put and very true. The US has descended to being controlled by Jewish naziism in league with MIC and the inevitable tyrant demagogues of the right wing.

        • Greg
          March 27, 2017 at 15:46

          Substitute “Jewish” with “Zionist” and you have it right. The leaders of Israel are Zionists, and it is the right-wing Zionists that are doing all of the damage you speak of – not Jews. Please do not conflate Zionists with Jews in general. You can hate Zionists and Israel without hating Jews.

  15. Rex Williams
    March 25, 2017 at 18:45

    Tillerson, just another Clinton. How soon before we hear him say as with Gaddafi in Libya and Clinton, “we came. we saw, he died”. This time with Kim Jong Un. History has a way of repeating itself particularly with a country like the USA where public opinion is run by Israel, where government is controlled by Israel and where the apathy of the people is evident, day in and day out.

    The single item that always make one aware of the arrogance of the United States is based on comments like the one above from Tillerson, the newly minted Secretary of State in the Trump circus, that is do this “or face the threat of the United States and its allies using military force to stop it.” Now why is North Korea different to Israel with 400 nuclear warheads and more each day, a program that was enabled by the assassination of a US President, Kennedy; who knows about Saudi Arabia’s arsenal as money can buy anything; the UK, France, India, Pakistan and of course the good old USA wth thousands on nuclear warheads scattered all over the country and more to come, so it seems.Trump seems to like nuclear weapons. Beats TV reality shows for fun.

    As for “its allies”, a favourite old phrase dredged up at times like these, how many of those will be left after a term with Trump and his merry troubadours running rampant over established and accepted arrangements for reasonable (tongue-in -cheek) world government. Also, how can anyone forget big bad China and the Russian empire, both unlikely to ever bow down to the arrogance of the USA, any time soon.

    So is this the USA, a self appointed world policemen or just an arrogant bully anxious to control the world. through its ever-expanding hegemonic ambitions. Do what we say or be damed..Yes, they, along with Israel, do seem to control the UN as well, the withdrawal of the apartheid report by the obvious newly corrupted Secretary General Guterres proves that without a doubt, all falling into line with the New World Order, controlled by Jews. Not so much of a joke these days is it.? So easy when you run the media as well. Did I mention the banks? Well, them as well.

    So where to from here one asks? Downhill, fast.

    It really is time that the cock-eyed world leaders took stock of this new USA, not much different from the old USA, just more corrupt and dangerous under a misfit like Trump. If anyone ever needed an indication of the imminent fall of the US empire, as with Rome, Ottoman, British and other empires before them, then look at the USA today. Well under way, already.

    Hang on to your hats. The end of US empire is on its way, erosion from within, .as with all empires.

    No one learns anything from history really.

  16. Lee Francis
    March 25, 2017 at 17:53

    ”The murders of Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi – after they surrendered their WMD – taught North Korea’s Kim Jong-un not to give up his, setting the stage for a dangerous crisis, explains Jonathan Marshal”

    ”Surrendered their WMD” I wasn’t aware that they were in possession of any WMD.!

    • Rex Williams
      March 25, 2017 at 19:13

      Lee Francis

      You are absolutely right. They had none. Can’t believe he said this. Surely, must be a misprint.

    • Sam F
      March 25, 2017 at 20:54

      I recall that before Iraq War II, Iraq may have surrendered some medium-range missiles.

    • Monte George Jr.
      March 26, 2017 at 15:04

      The way I remember it, Gaddafi voluntarily surrendered his nuclear weapon components (obtained from Pakistan?) to show his non-aggressive intent. The materials had never even been removed from their shipping boxes. Our response to this show of goodwill is a lesson that the world will never forget. No one will ever trust us again, and who could blame them?

    • March 26, 2017 at 19:19

      when they were attacked they had none but previously , for the sake of peace they had abandoned some legal programs, thus inspectors,

  17. RGaylor
    March 25, 2017 at 17:12

    Duly noted above:
    an armistice is NOT a peace treaty.
    the US doesn’t abide by treaties, promises, agreements.
    IF I were a North Korean, I’d want my government to have nukes as a deterent.

  18. Realist
    March 25, 2017 at 17:07

    Shipping container nukes. That’s one more reason for Washington to cool its jets in its fantasies of vanquishing Russia with a first strike nuclear attack. If North Korea can use such a tactic, any nuclear power can. How do we know that Moscow doesn’t already have dozens of such weapons lying dormant on or near American soil to ensure a retaliatory second strike? In fact, they’d be stupid not to do so, or at least make the threat, which I’m sure the recent mention of “burrowing nukes” off the American coast by a Russian diplomat was meant to pose. The use of nukes is suicidal, and should be underscored in all ways possible, including the threats of retaliatory suitcase nukes, fishing trawler nukes or shipping container nukes all on a dead man switch as a last resort. You can also threaten America’s vast empire of vassal states as a deterrent. I doubt that London or Berlin wish to be sacrificed as pawns in the Neocon Deep State’s game of Risk with the Russians and Chinese.

  19. E Wright
    March 25, 2017 at 15:43

    Little mention is made of the ROK’s propaganda effort in all this. The Korean Peninsula is in a state of suspended civil war. If there are any hot heads ready to push things over the edge, they are just as likely to be found in Seoul as in Pyongyang.

  20. mike k
    March 25, 2017 at 15:42

    There is one way to turn this lovely world into hell, it is called WAR.

  21. mike k
    March 25, 2017 at 15:37

    When we engage in hate speech and call for violence against someone, we say that they are crazy, but we never wonder about our own behavior.

  22. Sam F
    March 25, 2017 at 15:35

    I and no doubt others secretly pointed out the simplicity of nuclear terrorism to US authorities back during the useless Reagan “SDI” ABM wind-up: one could easily get a thousand weapons a day into the US then, and probably plenty even today.

    There has been no need of an armed standoff there for one or two generations, despite the US fire-bombing of up to two million innocents there after losing the war. An international agreement must be enforceable by superpowers, so that there is no excuse for “practice” provocations.

    It is of course the US warmongers and commercial media that ruin the prospects for peace. All warmaking efforts should be directed at them.

  23. m. culotta
    March 25, 2017 at 15:12

    they need to take out kim jong dung before that fat little bastard takes us out. this guy is crazy.

  24. mike k
    March 25, 2017 at 14:55

    Calling another human being “pumkin face” is getting pretty close to racism. I have some good Korean friends, and I can say that his appearance is nothing unusual for a Korean man.

  25. mike k
    March 25, 2017 at 14:51

    The only picture of Kim Jong-un most Americans have is the one painted by US propaganda.

  26. mike k
    March 25, 2017 at 14:45

    At this time the demonization campaign against the North Korean leadership has gone on for so long, it is foolish to say that their leader is insane, evil, etc. Haven’t we heard this song before – too many times? We know very little about that country due to the one-sided coverage, or lack of real honest coverage we have. Whoever we decide to attack and dominate, first we paint them as insane and evil. Psychological projection perhaps? Blaming the victim of one’s abuse maybe? Justifying war?

  27. Zachary Smith
    March 25, 2017 at 14:15

    Missing even a handful would guarantee the incineration of Seoul, Tokyo, and other nearby cities in radioactive fireballs.

    Except in the case of Seoul, I doubt it.

    When a hostile government, armed with atomic and chemical weapons….

    The currently important part of that statement is the word “chemical”. And for some reason the author left out another critical word – “biological”. With smuggled-in chemical weapons the North Koreans could institute a reign of terror in the US. Every imaginable spray can and bottle would be suspect. And with biological weapons they could do horrible damage with an equally awful body count.

    A prudent planner would have to assume the North Koreans have made plans of this sort – even if they haven’t.

  28. Paul G.
    March 25, 2017 at 13:53

    There can’t be anything more dumb than not talking to someone or some nation. This goes for personal as well as international relations. The entity that feels threatened just gets more fearful and paranoid; and may respond inappropriately This is oh so elementary, a real duh! moment.

    One of the US’ biggest problems is it has little in the way of a professional diplomatic core. This is something the British and the Russians have, trained and dedicated career diplomats. Look at our SOSUS’: HIllary, a loser political hack; Kerrry another loser politician, and now Tillerson. The only thing he knows about diplomacy is how to do an international oil deal.

    Granted, Pumpkin Face is quite insane- which is why he is the biggest threat to the US in the world- there must be something he wants. First of all he is obviously pissed at the yearly US/ S Korean naval practices near the peninsula, which are very provocative. If the boys want to practice they should do it out to sea away from Korea as a whole. The same goes of course for the stupid NATO maneuvers on Russia’s border. These tactics comes from a gangsta mentality of arrogance and aggression, which shows the breathtaking lack of maturity of our alleged leaders.

  29. Bob
    March 25, 2017 at 13:02

    The MIC and the MSM need a good boogey man, and they’ve found one in North Korea. Also they’ve got Putin and Russia, interfering with the US election, and China who they say is doing something horrible in the South China Sea. In addition there’s the war on terra, which is the gift that keeps on giving.

  30. Bill Bodden
    March 25, 2017 at 12:42

    More than a few elite pundits have endorsed preemptive war as an option. A recent Washington Post editorial conceded that striking North Korea’s nuclear and missile facilities could trigger “a potentially catastrophic war,” but declared nonetheless that “further steps by North Korea toward deploying nuclear-armed ICBMs might compel such action.”

    If I recall correctly, these same false prophets endorsed the war on Iraq despite sane people warning it was “a potentially catastrophic war,” And, lo and behold, that is what it proved to be.

    • March 25, 2017 at 13:03

      The US is like the drunk buffoon that keeps going to bars and starting fights and getting punched out. They are so sure that they will get it just right the next time that they just can´t resist taking another kick at the can.

      • Bill Bodden
        March 25, 2017 at 14:20

        They are so sure that they will get it just right the next time that they just can´t resist taking another kick at the can.

        Sounds like Einstein’s definition of insanity.

  31. Bill Bodden
    March 25, 2017 at 12:35

    Compared to North Korea, ISIS and Al Qaeda terrorists are insignificant threats to U.S. security.

    Make that ” Compared to North Korea and U.S. warmongers, ISIS and Al Qaeda terrorists are insignificant threats to U.S. security.”

  32. D5-5
    March 25, 2017 at 12:18

    It’s very tiresome to see this same old confrontational approach to the problem of North Korea. If we look clearly at the last 25 years or so alone we see again and again the position North Korea wishes to take. Its posture is defensive, not offensive. However, because the North Koreans typically express themselves with defiance and self-defense this is catapulted to the “threat” that the first comment in this thread would use to justify the hideous outcome of destruction this article indicates. If ever I saw paranoid insanity, it’s expressed there.

    I was saddened the other day to read the article in CN on Jimmy Carter and the contempt directed at him because he wished to do the right thing, aside from his ability to do it. But he did do the right thing in 1994 by dealing with a similar heat-up and threat as now, involving Kim Il Sung, with an ignorant Bill Clinton ready to attack, and it became very clear the North Koreans are NOT interested in attacking the West. This was further emphasized by the policies of South Korean president Kim Dae Jung, in the next few years, and his efforts to bring reconciliation. For a brief time a calm descended on the peninsula. It is a good thing that a candidate with similar views is now running for president in South Korea.

    We mistake North Korean national pride and bluntness–bluntness is a Korean trait, by the way, whether North or South–as some kind of threat. We persist in running war games and militarism up and down their borders every year as more demonstration of how they should bow down to The Mighty.

    What we need here is people with intelligence as well as diplomatic skills, not America the Mighty bully boys.

  33. March 25, 2017 at 12:03

    Absolutely makes sense to negotiate, Greg, that’s why I said negotiation has gone down the rabbit hole, we need diplomats not these crony capitalists we get for politicians. The latest insane screeching about Russia is so unhelpful as to be setting us back into a new Dark Age. I do believe we have to organize to counteract these petty minds that are attempting to control us.

  34. FobosDeimos
    March 25, 2017 at 11:56

    A very somber outlook indeed. I disagree however with the premise in the summary of the article, that Kim acts like this because he learned a lesson from the killings of Saddam and Gaddafi. Actually Kim’s grandfather, Kim-Il-Sung started a nuclear program as early as in 1962. The hypermilitarization and personality cult developed and imposed on millions of people cannot be exclusively attributed to US imperialism, even though this played a key role in justificating the fortress mentality of the ruling dynasty. The nuclear weapons program began in earnest in the 1980’s, and by the 90’s the DPRK was already playing games with the NPT and the IAEA. The first test took place in 2006, barely three years after the US war of agression against Irak, which proves that full scale preparation had begun much earlier.

    • mike k
      March 25, 2017 at 12:22

      FD – Are you aware of the war of annihilation that the US conducted against North Korea? Can you really blame them for digging in their heels and defending themselves by every means possible? I agree that it didn’t take our shameful treatment of Iraq and Libya to give it’s leaders good reason to go nuclear to stave off the number one nuclear bully in the world.

      • FobosDeimos
        March 25, 2017 at 12:40

        Yes, I am aware of that. That is why I said that US imperialism “played a key role in justificating the fortress mentality of the ruling dynasty”. However, I still believe that starving your own population to “go nuclear” is a criminal and insane policy. Why do you think that Vietnam under Ho did not even dream of developing a nuclear arsenal? Vietnam was much more severely destroyed and ruined by the USA than North Korea. The Vietnamese leadership was truely patriotic AND sensible. The North Korean leadership is pathetic. I am not calling for regime change or military action against that poor country, but let us tell it like it is.

        • mike k
          March 25, 2017 at 14:24

          Vietnam had the advantage of winning that war, and removing the invaders from their country. The US essentially occupied South Korea, and actively threatened North Korea from the get go. We still use South Korea as a beachhead and staging area for possible conflict with China. Which explains why China will not abet the US plan to control Korea up to the Chinese border. China kicked our butt out of North Korea, and they are not going to lay down and watch us take it back.

    • March 25, 2017 at 12:58

      Yes am pretty sure that once the North Koreans saw what the US did to Japan when it developed nuclear weapons , the writing became clear on the wall. Get nukes or go under. The North Koreans decided to get nukes.

  35. Gregory Nahas
    March 25, 2017 at 11:51

    In reference to avoiding a future nuclear war with North Korea, and understanding the mistrust that North Korea has for the US, Japan, and South Korea, has the idea been explored for all parties to negotiate and enter into a binding, international treaty, that will work to diminish the threat of a future war? Please note, the end of the Korean War resulted in an armistice agreement, that created the Korean demilitarized zone, which never resulted in a peaceful settlement. The Korean Armistice Agreement was signed on July 27, 1953 and has maintained a relatively concrete cease-fire for a duration of 64 years. It is understood that the US has maintained a troop force in the DMZ to help maintain this cease-fire and to prevent and ensure any future invasion by North Korea into South Korea that would negate the 1953 Armistice Agreement.

    Given the cost of a US-N.Korea nuclear exchange to the US, N. Korea, Japan, South Korea, China, Russia and the entire global community, wouldn’t it be prudent to consider the possibility of such an international treaty now, that might thwart off a future war, before N. Korea develops effective ICBM technology? Such a treaty might also help to allay the fears and paranoia of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un and make N. Korea less likely to pre-emptively attack first. Since, the 1953 Armistice Agreement has served to maintain a relatively peaceful cease-fire on the Korean peninsula for 64 years, shouldn’t all parties consider that an international peace treaty might also have the same consequences and effectiveness to prevent a future nuclear war for at least another 64 years?

    Greg Nahas

    Thank you,
    Greg Nahas

    • mike k
      March 25, 2017 at 12:15

      Excellent proposal Greg N. North Korea has requested talks leading towards such a peaceful resolution for years, but the US in it’s hubris has refused to talk about it, preferring threats of force.

    • Bill Bodden
      March 25, 2017 at 12:57

      In reference to avoiding a future nuclear war with North Korea, and understanding the mistrust that North Korea has for the US, Japan, and South Korea, has the idea been explored for all parties to negotiate and enter into a binding, international treaty, that will work to diminish the threat of a future war?

      The history of treaties signed by the United States government won’t inspire confidence anywhere people know of this aspect of our history. Just ask any Native American how many of their treaties with the treaties with the U.S. government were not broken.

    • March 25, 2017 at 13:14

      usa while having a mutual defense treaty with the kingdom of korea encouraged japan to conquer korea. concurrently usa supplied japan with a battle plan and irish american governor to conquer taiwan

  36. March 25, 2017 at 11:38

    Agree with everyone commenting here. Whatever did happen with diplomacy? Disappeared down the rabbit hole with the Bush II administration! US would be better off sending Vladimir Putin to negotiate with Kim Jong-un — oh wait, he’s a bad guy, right? You’re right on, mike k, US government is corrupt mafia. Doesn’t look good, then there’s also Fukushima out there in the Pacific polluting everything with radiation, a man-made disaster caused by corrupt crony capitalism. Doesn’t look good… We’re going to have to resurrect the anti-nuke antiwar movement.

    • mike k
      March 25, 2017 at 11:44

      I agree with you Jessica. It will take a movement to restore our sanity. Individuals who are awakening to our fatal predicament will help, but it will take many more to make a difference. I see the articles and comments here and elsewhere as steppingstones to something bigger….

  37. mike k
    March 25, 2017 at 11:17

    Hubris leads to blindness and insanity and disaster. What nation has the highest hubris in the world today? The one with the greatest power to destroy. That would be US. USA, USA, USA….. Crazy Donald’s fan club chant. Make US great, rule the world……

    • March 25, 2017 at 11:21

      did not H have her supporters shouting USAUSAUSA also. Identity politics is blockage to improvement

      • mike k
        March 25, 2017 at 11:50

        You are right BB. A large number of Americans are affected by the national hubris, and have become willing (if unconscious) pawns in the elite’s games. This madness did not begin with Trump, it has infected this country from it’s bloody inception.

  38. mike k
    March 25, 2017 at 11:02

    The insane do not negotiate. Does anyone here still hold on to the hope that our “leaders” might somehow demonstrate the ability to show a shred of sanity in a truly critical situation? Getting rid of these crazy leaders is the first thing we need to accomplish if we want to survive in this nuclear armed world.

    The United States government has devolved into a global Mafia. Inevitably a Mafia comes to rely on force to achieve it’s goals of unlimited wealth and power. For our US government Mafia, there is no distinction between economic competition and violent coercion, that is to say war. To these fanatics peace is weakness and defeat. Negotiation and conciliation are seen as treason.

    • Bill Bodden
      March 25, 2017 at 12:51

      Does anyone here still hold on to the hope that our “leaders” might somehow demonstrate the ability to show a shred of sanity in a truly critical situation?

      Hell, the panjandrums running the U.S. from Washington can’t even come up with a decent health care plan for the American people even though several other and smaller nations have demonstrated how to provide better care at half the cost. Pyongyang is not so much the problem as it is Washington, DC.

  39. Mark Thomason
    March 25, 2017 at 10:50

    Those specific reasons not to attack are also reasons to do it sooner rather than later if it is done at all. Do it before there are missiles, before there are more bombs, before they send out bombs on ships.

    We are in a faster downward spiral than is generally realized.

    • March 25, 2017 at 11:02

      war is failure

    • mike k
      March 25, 2017 at 11:09

      Mark T. According to this reasoning, we should have got busy nuking everybody as soon as we had the weapons ourselves years ago. I would not be comfortable with your finger on the nuclear button; you might make an independent irreversible decision that would end it for all of us. Did you really absorb from the article what consequences such a rash move might entail?

    • Joe Wallace
      March 25, 2017 at 19:45

      Mark Thomason:

      I see. Attack now, when retaliation by North Korea will result in colossal damage and loss of life, because if we wait, there will be gargantuan damage and loss of life.

      Why not ratchet down tensions and try to get along?

      • Dennis
        April 6, 2017 at 06:54

        I have one word to describe your proposal: Naive. If diplomacy were that easy, it would have happened already. To be realistic, I can’t expect a peaceful resolution of one hasn’t been established during the past 60 years.

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