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Thread: North Korea's biggest nuclear test sparks global outrage

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    Veteran Member bajisima's Avatar
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    North Korea's biggest nuclear test sparks global outrage

    World leaders have reacted with anger after North Korea carried out its fifth and reportedly biggest nuclear test.

    The South accused the North's leader Kim Jong-un of "maniacal recklessness". China "firmly opposed" the test, Japan "protested adamantly" and the US warned of "serious consequences". The UN Security Council will meet later behind closed doors to discuss the issue. Such nuclear tests are banned by the UN but this is North Korea's second this year.

    Kim Jong-un's rhetoric has also become increasingly aggressive, analysts say.

    "State media said the warhead could be mounted on ballistic rockets and would enable North Korea to produce "a variety of smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear warheads of higher strike power." "It's hard for us to verify their claim. My deep fear is that they will launch a live nuclear weapon on one of their missiles, but that would be extremely dangerous as that could trigger a war," said Melissa Hanham, a senior research associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies."

    North Korea says it's tested a nuclear warhead - CNN.com
    North Korea's 'biggest' nuclear test sparks global outrage - BBC News
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    Civis americanus borealis Singularity's Avatar
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    I realized this morning that among my biggest frustrations with the Clintons, the biggest ones are not often talked about by anybody, Republican or Democrat. This is one of Bill Clinton's big fuckups. Many precedents were in place for dealing with the Kim regime with military action, if not precisely force. When the first proof positive of the North's operation of an illegal nuclear reactor was presented to him, the Pentagon also handed him a plan for a surgical strike, and a mobilization plan if Kim had decided to escalate afterward. Back then, other than China's nukes that they would not have dared use, we were the top dog in the region BY FAR. Our military could have fought and readily won at least a defensive war on the Korean peninsula. But Clinton decided that if a surgical strike caused Kim to go for broke, especially if it caused China to overreact again, the civilian casualties would be too high, and he would be remembered for starting an unnecessary war. In a sense, he committed precisely the opposite error W. Bush did.
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    Veteran Member bajisima's Avatar
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    Fears are growing now that the next one could have a nuke on board.

    Will North Korea's next missile test have a nuclear warhead? - CNN.com

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    Veteran Member bajisima's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Singularity View Post
    I realized this morning that among my biggest frustrations with the Clintons, the biggest ones are not often talked about by anybody, Republican or Democrat. This is one of Bill Clinton's big fuckups. Many precedents were in place for dealing with the Kim regime with military action, if not precisely force. When the first proof positive of the North's operation of an illegal nuclear reactor was presented to him, the Pentagon also handed him a plan for a surgical strike, and a mobilization plan if Kim had decided to escalate afterward. Back then, other than China's nukes that they would not have dared use, we were the top dog in the region BY FAR. Our military could have fought and readily won at least a defensive war on the Korean peninsula. But Clinton decided that if a surgical strike caused Kim to go for broke, especially if it caused China to overreact again, the civilian casualties would be too high, and he would be remembered for starting an unnecessary war. In a sense, he committed precisely the opposite error W. Bush did.

    Sounds a bit similar to Iran currently. Hopefully we wont come to regret the agreement in a couple of decades.

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    El Psy Kongroo Lunchboxxy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bajisima View Post
    Sounds a bit similar to Iran currently. Hopefully we wont come to regret the agreement in a couple of decades.
    No.
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    Civis americanus borealis Singularity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bajisima View Post
    Sounds a bit similar to Iran currently. Hopefully we wont come to regret the agreement in a couple of decades.
    Actually, I've read a couple of comparisons, and it seems pretty apparent that North Korea taught a lot of hard lessons to the IAEA, on the public accountability side, and to the U.S. Intel Community, on the covert accountability side. Clinton, and the international community at large, allowed North Korea to string the world along without actually disclosing information about their nuclear program. Nobody really paid attention to the important infrastructure, which really can't be hidden, and when suspicion arose, the assumption was that Kim would do the rational thing and uphold his word to retain access to international markets and to foreign aid.

    Furthermore, we didn't fully realize that when Kim did the irrational thing and broke all of those agreements despite the consequences, that the NK propaganda and repression states would be so successful in keeping him in power. Even W. Bush assumed this pre 9/11, and felt the situation was not dire enough that he could fight wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Korea at the same time (probably correctly). Suddenly, 2006 rolled around and we all realized how taking our eye so thoroughly off the ball in East Asia was a literally explosive mistake.

    In Iran, forces in public and behind the scenes are much more alerted to the possibility of cheating. Iran contains a strong, if not exactly dominant, force that advocates better relations with the West, and they know what the consequences of cheating will be — this doesn't exist in North Korea. The likelihood of the wrong person finding out about a covert weapons program and leaking it is quite high, even setting aside what are likely to be concerted infiltration efforts by Western intelligence agencies. And after Iran destroyed or sold off all of the assets they had in storage (unless they've somehow hidden vast reserves no one has ever detected), a top-down secret program would have to be re-initiated. Really hard to hide under scrutiny.
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    Civis americanus borealis Singularity's Avatar
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    So, where does the NK ability to launch an offensive nuke leave us? Practically speaking, most of the consequences are diplomatic. Kim is not going to launch an offensive nuclear strike, for precisely the same reason that he has not gassed Seoul over the decades despite NK having the ability to do so, kill millions of people with one button, for at least the last 40 years. He knows that any usage of WMD will result in his utter destruction his purpose of having nukes is to create grist for the propaganda mill, force the West to pay attention to him and to provide an absolute deterrent against regime change. The best move is to not play his game at this point. Cut him off completely, close down the borders, ignore the situation entirely except in the realm of military preparedness. If China wants to keep him alive for their purposes, fine, but we remain at war with him and we are not required to have any relationship at all with enemy states. But we should also make it apparent that if China wants to tolerate this, we consider them fundamentally disinterested in nonproliferation in practical fact, and olive branches on that issue won't be coming from our direction.
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    Veteran Member bajisima's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Singularity View Post
    Actually, I've read a couple of comparisons, and it seems pretty apparent that North Korea taught a lot of hard lessons to the IAEA, on the public accountability side, and to the U.S. Intel Community, on the covert accountability side. Clinton, and the international community at large, allowed North Korea to string the world along without actually disclosing information about their nuclear program. Nobody really paid attention to the important infrastructure, which really can't be hidden, and when suspicion arose, the assumption was that Kim would do the rational thing and uphold his word to retain access to international markets and to foreign aid.

    Furthermore, we didn't fully realize that when Kim did the irrational thing and broke all of those agreements despite the consequences, that the NK propaganda and repression states would be so successful in keeping him in power. Even W. Bush assumed this pre 9/11, and felt the situation was not dire enough that he could fight wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Korea at the same time (probably correctly). Suddenly, 2006 rolled around and we all realized how taking our eye so thoroughly off the ball in East Asia was a literally explosive mistake.

    In Iran, forces in public and behind the scenes are much more alerted to the possibility of cheating. Iran contains a strong, if not exactly dominant, force that advocates better relations with the West, and they know what the consequences of cheating will be — this doesn't exist in North Korea. The likelihood of the wrong person finding out about a covert weapons program and leaking it is quite high, even setting aside what are likely to be concerted infiltration efforts by Western intelligence agencies. And after Iran destroyed or sold off all of the assets they had in storage (unless they've somehow hidden vast reserves no one has ever detected), a top-down secret program would have to be re-initiated. Really hard to hide under scrutiny.

    I have read the comparisons as well and like you, most agree the difference is that Iran is a much more open society than North Korea. That could be key in keeping the difference.

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    Veteran Member bajisima's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Singularity View Post
    So, where does the NK ability to launch an offensive nuke leave us? Practically speaking, most of the consequences are diplomatic. Kim is not going to launch an offensive nuclear strike, for precisely the same reason that he has not gassed Seoul over the decades despite NK having the ability to do so, kill millions of people with one button, for at least the last 40 years. He knows that any usage of WMD will result in his utter destruction — his purpose of having nukes is to create grist for the propaganda mill, force the West to pay attention to him and to provide an absolute deterrent against regime change. The best move is to not play his game at this point. Cut him off completely, close down the borders, ignore the situation entirely except in the realm of military preparedness. If China wants to keep him alive for their purposes, fine, but we remain at war with him and we are not required to have any relationship at all with enemy states. But we should also make it apparent that if China wants to tolerate this, we consider them fundamentally disinterested in nonproliferation in practical fact, and olive branches on that issue won't be coming from our direction.
    Do you think there is any chance he is doing this to interfere in our election? I mean maybe not originally but now with our election front page news, could he seize on it? Take advantage? I would think he might since any actions he might do could be somewhat overlooked as to not rock the boat politically.

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    Civis americanus borealis Singularity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bajisima View Post
    I have read the comparisons as well and like you, most agree the difference is that Iran is a much more open society than North Korea. That could be key in keeping the difference.
    Yeah. I continue to marvel at how few people know that before the revolution, Tehran was pretty much the San Francisco of Asia, and remains quite cosmopolitan to this day. People who live in urban areas in Iran tend to be highly educated, informed (despite the state's propaganda efforts), and fundamentally interested in good business opportunities and ways to better their lives. It's the crazies who live out in the sticks and the various "sacred cities" where the mullahs rule outright (as opposed to the oversight role they have nationwide) that have kept Iran down, and they've clearly lost influence.
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