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Unread 2017-12-06, 02:40 PM   #601
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China Hints That It May Back North Korea in the Event of a War



The increasingly tense stand-off between the U.S. and North Korea may have hit a new high this week.
As U.S. and South Korean military units conducted an annual air power exercise over the Korean Peninsula, China’s air force reportedly staged exercises in “routes and areas it has never flown before” over the Yellow and East Seas. The exercise involved reconnaissance planes, fighter jets, an early warning and control aircraft, and a joint operation with surface-to-air missile units.


The South China Morning Post quotes Li Jie, a Beijing-based military expert, as saying the drills were done specifically to send a message to Donald Trump.
“The timing of this high-profile announcement by the [People’s Liberation Army] is also a warning to Washington and Seoul not to provoke Pyongyang any further,” Jie told the Post.

The U.S. and South Korea used over 200 aircraft in their recent drills. North Korea has protested the exercise as an “all out provocation.”
Whether Jie is correct about the intentions of the Chinese air force is tricky to determine at this point. China has previously condemned North Korea for launching test missiles and, three months ago, backed U.N. sanctions against the country after a significant nuclear test.
Trump’s view of how China has reacted to North Korea’s actions, as judged by his tweets, has run the gamut. In early November, he wrote “My meetings with President Xi Jinping were very productive on both trade and the subject of North Korea. He is a highly respected and powerful representative of his people.” He praised the country for sending an envoy to speak with the North Korean government, but seemed frustrated earlier this month by the lack of results from that meeting.
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Unread 2017-12-07, 02:08 PM   #602
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North Korea's latest launch tried to simulate a sneak attack, but the US reportedly saw it coming



KCNA
  • North Korea's latest launch was at night — which many consider to have been a demonstration that it could launch a surprise attack.
  • But US intelligence sources reportedly said they knew three days in advance and watched the missile preparation.
  • Knowing in advance gives the US time to evaluate the proper response.

North Korea launched its latest ICBM in the dead of night, which many analysts have interpreted as an attempt to show the US that they could launch a surprise nuclear attack on the US.
But the US had been aware of the preparations for launch three days in advance, and observed the missile being erected and prepared for hours, US intelligence sources told The Diplomat's Ankit Panda.
Each time North Korea launches a missile, it releases pictures that usually feature Kim Jong Un in an observation stand. Spotting this stand reliably helps the US determine where and when North Korea may be plotting a launch, according to Panda.
In the case of the latest launch of the Hwasong-15, which experts say can strike anywhere in the US with a nuclear payload, North Korea used a mobile stand possibly to avoid detection, according to Panda.
But the US, with a network of satellites, drones, and spy planes frequently patrolling the skies above North Korea, spotted the test anyway.

While North Korea prepared the surprise, off-season, launch, the US reportedly knew days in advance and had time to make the critical decision of whether or not to strike at the launch site.
So despite North Korea showing the impressive ability to launch a missile in the dead of night, it seems it still hasn't quite mastered pulling a fast one on the US military.
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Unread 2017-12-08, 09:38 AM   #603
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Russia Says North Korea Wants to Talk to U.S., But Are Trump and Kim Ready?




North Korea is ready to talk directly to the U.S. about “guarantees for its security” after trading threats of war with President Donald Trump, Russia’s top diplomat has said.
“We are ready to take part in facilitating such negotiations,” said Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, offering the latest indication that Moscow seeks to bill itself as peace broker in the spiraling crisis around North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.
The rogue state has conducted a series of tests this year to declare itself now capable of striking U.S. territory with nuclear missiles.

Speaking after meeting U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Vienna on Thursday, Lavrov said that he had made his American colleagues aware of Russia’s position, Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reports.
Trump has regularly expressed skepticism over engaging in dialogue with North Korea and the diplomatic relationship between Washington and Pyongyang has long been limited. One of the most significant talks between the two sides occurred in 1994 against the wishes of then-President Bill Clinton, as his predecessor Jimmy Carter voluntarily visited Pyongyang to strike a deal with the regime of Kim Il Sung, grandfather of current North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Despite Trump's rhetoric, Tillerson has vowed to continue the diplomatic effort "until the first bomb drops" and some reports suggest it may not be U.S. reluctance that is holding up the process behind the scenes.
The main U.S. negotiator with North Korea Joseph Yun now has a “broader mandate” in his calls to Pyongyang than before. A senior State Department official told Reuters last month that calls have “not been limited at all, both (in) frequency and substance.”
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attend a bilateral meeting during a ministerial council of OSCE Foreign Ministers in Vienna, Austria, December 7, 2017. Ronald Zak/Pool/Reuters
This report came less than a month after a North Korean official told CNN that Pyongyang is not willing to meet Washington at a negotiating table. The official did not quash the idea of diplomacy for good but said: “Before we can engage in diplomacy with the Trump administration, we want to send a clear message that the DPRK has a reliable defensive and offensive capability to counter any aggression from the United States."
Pyongyang has repeatedly made clear that it seeks public recognition by the U.S. of its nuclear status. A summit with top U.S. officials, chaired by another nuclear power such as Russia, could create this impression better than behind-the-scenes talks.
The U.S. administration's line on North Korea, and what the solution to the crisis around it should be, remains unclear. Late last month, following another missile test, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley called for "all countries should sever diplomatic relations with North Korea" and "cut off trade with the regime."
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Unread 2017-12-21, 02:50 PM   #604
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The US reportedly wants a limited strike on North Korea to give Kim Jong Un a 'bloody nose'




North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Reuters/KCNA
  • The US is considering a limited strike on North Korea to give Kim Jong Un a metaphorical "bloody nose," The Telegraph reported.
  • The US has plenty of options for delivering a short, sharp strike against North Korea that could deny it the ability to test and perfect intercontinental ballistic missiles.
  • But a US attack on North Korea would be a gamble that a limited strike won't turn into all-out nuclear war.

After months of resolutely declaring that it cannot and will not tolerate a nuclear-armed North Korea, the US is reportedly planning a "bloody nose" attack to send Pyongyang a message.
The Daily Telegraph cited "well-placed" sources as saying the Trump administration had "dramatically" stepped up preparations for a military response to North Korea's nuclear provocations.
Those possible responses include destroying a launch site before North Korea could test a missile and targeting a stockpile of weapons, according to The Telegraph.
"The Pentagon is trying to find options that would allow them to punch the North Koreans in the nose, get their attention and show that we're serious," a former US security official briefed on policy told The Telegraph.
The report said the Trump administration had the April 7 strike on a Syrian airfield in mind as a blueprint for the move against North Korea.
Attacking North Korea would make the Syria strike look easy

The guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 7 launches a land-attack missile in the Mediterranean Sea on April 7. Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ford Williams/U.S. Navy via AP
When US Navy ships fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian airfield, President Donald Trump had the world's support in attacking a nation accused of using chemical weapons on its own people.
Syria's military was already stretched thin fighting a civil war and multiple Islamist terrorist groups. The strike went virtually unpunished.
But that most likely wouldn't be the case with a US strike on North Korea, which has a massive standing army and a military posture geared toward offense.
And there are practical reasons the US can't just blow up a North Korean missile launch site. As Jeffrey Lewis, the director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, said on Twitter, "Mobile missiles don't need launch sites, Donald."
Instead of using designated launch sites, North Korea puts its missiles on mobile launchers, some of which have treads to launch from off-road locations.
Lately, North Korea has varied its launch sites, most likely to make it harder for the US to track and possibly intercept missiles.
If the US wants to give you a bloody nose, nothing can stop it

The 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team completed Warrior Strike IX, a four-day training exercise, on December 15. Spc. Jordan Buck va DVIDSHUB
The US does have tools to give North Korea a "bloody nose."
Short of blowing up a launch site, which could kill launch officers — and possibly Kim Jong Un, as he usually watches launches from close by — the US could attempt to intercept North Korea's next missile launch.
The US and allies have not only increased missile-defense deployments to the region — they've also deployed F-35 stealth fighters that have some capability to shoot down missile launches.
Submarines like the USS Michigan, which has frequently visited South Korea in recent months, could send a volley of cruise missiles at any military site in North Korea without ever surfacing.
Forward-deployed Aegis guided-missile destroyers in the US Navy could intercept the missiles as they launched, Sid Trevethan, a former US Navy specialist in ballistic missile defense and electronic countermeasures, told Business Insider.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis recently said that though North Korea's last ballistic missile test demonstrated a very long range, he's not convinced the entire missile system works. US policy on North Korea explicitly calls for denying it the means to perfect its missile program.
Destroying North Korean missiles during launch would rob Pyongyang of valuable testing and could ensure it never tests an ICBM at full range, meaning it could never be fully confident in its ability to hit the US.
Calling Kim's bluff risks nuclear war

North Korean soldiers at military training in March 2013. Reuters/KCNA
The US knows what capabilities it has to counter North Korea, but not how North Korea would respond.
If the US were to send Tomahawk missiles toward a launch site, North Korea might interpret the incoming salvo as targeting its supreme leader and being an outright act of war.
Immediately, Kim could order North Korea's massive artillery installations to open fire on Seoul, potentially killing tens of thousands within hours.
The bloody-nose scenario comes down to a gamble on whether North Korea is ready to enter all-out war over a limited strike.
North Korea has sunk US and South Korean ships without proportionate punishment in the past. It has shelled South Korean islands, captured Americans and South Koreans, and killed civilians without US retaliation.
North Korea, despite having the weaker hand militarily, has often gambled that the US and South Korea value prosperity and peace — albeit an uneasy peace — too much to respond tit-for-tat to its military provocations.
A US attack on North Korea might just call a long-standing bluff and show that Pyongyang's bark is worse than its bite — or it might unleash nuclear war.
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Unread 2017-12-21, 03:20 PM   #605
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great, going from world leader to world bully, this should turn out just fine.
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Unread 2017-12-21, 03:43 PM   #606
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That has to be just a "what if", if they strike NK they better strike to kill not "give a bloody nose" otherwise SK/Japan will be hammered. Can we stop with the world police bullshit.
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Unread 2017-12-21, 03:58 PM   #607
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Good lord, I hope we don't strike actually strike them. They're annoying now, but Jesus, don't give them any reason to actually start killing people outside of their boarders...
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Unread 2017-12-24, 09:59 AM   #608
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“The Daily Telegraph cited "well-placed" sources as saying”......
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Unread 2017-12-26, 02:39 PM   #609
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Russia willing to mediate US-North Korea talks: report






© Getty

Russia said Tuesday it is willing to mediate talks between the United States and North Korea, should the two countries accept its offer, Reuters reported.
“Russia’s readiness to clear the way for de-escalation is obvious,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov reportedly told reporters during a phone call.
The offer comes amid escalating tensions between Washington and Pyongyang with both countries intensifying their rhetoric this year.

Russia has long urged for the two states to come to the negotiating table and diplomatically work to reduce tensions over North Korea's nuclear and missile weapons development program, which Pyongyang continues to pursue despite harsh sanctions from the United Nations.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday called for the two states to begin negotiations, underscoring Russia's readiness to serve as a facilitator of the meeting, according to the report.
South Korea also offered an optimistic prediction on Tuesday, saying in the new year, North Korea may be willing to engage in talks with the U.S., Reuters reported.
“North Korea will seek negotiation with United States, while continuing to pursue its effort to be recognized as a de facto nuclear-possessing country,” according to a report released by South Korea’s Unification Ministry, which reportedly did not provide any reasons to support its conclusion.
Seoul's 2018 prediction, however, comes after it has established a specialized military team that will be ready to deal with the north's nuclear threats.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the White House have sent mixed messages regarding the administration's stance toward North Korea after Pyongyang launched an intercontinental ballistic missile late last month.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Democrat slams Donald Trump Jr. for ‘serious case of amnesia’ after testimonySkier Lindsey Vonn: I don’t want to represent Trump at OlympicsPoll: 4 in 10 Republicans think senior Trump advisers had improper dealings with RussiaMORE said he would not be willing to start diplomatic talks unless North Korea agrees to give up its pursuit of nuclear weapons.
On Friday, the United Nations Security Council unanimously voted to impose new, harsher sanctions on North Korea in response to its latest intercontinental ballistic missile test.
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Unread 2017-12-26, 03:42 PM   #610
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North Korea’s War Supplies Shut Off by China As Oil and Fuel Sanctions Take Toll

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China shut off all oil and fuel products to North Korea last month, further strangling Kim Jong Un’s regime amid increasing international sanctions and cries for China to toughen its economic and diplomatic policies with its oppressive neighbor.

China also blocked off North Korean imports of iron, coal and lead in November, Reuters reported Tuesday, citing data from China’s General Administration of Customs. The block appeared to be even harsher than sanctions placed on the North by the United Nations this year. New U.N. sanctions enacted last week capped oil shipments to the North for any trade partner at 500,000 barrels in a single year.
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The new sanctions, along with others put in place earlier this year, place Kim’s regime in a perilous position. The limited North Korean economy may struggle to fund its nuclear and missile defense, and also maintain order within the totalitarian regime, without sufficient imports.
China, long the North’s top trade partner, also hindered the trade of gasoline, diesel or fuel oil and jet fuel. Jet fuel had not been completely blocked for the North by China since February 2015.
November marked the second consecutive month China did not send gasoline or diesel to the North.
North Korea has threatened war on the United States and blasted the United Nations for economic sanctions. The limited North Korean economy may struggle to fund its nuclear and missile defense, and also maintain order within the totalitarian regime, without sufficient imports. KCNA via Getty Images
Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said she was unaware of the oil export figures, but stated China had always enforced the sanctions against Kim’s government.
“As a principle, China has consistently fully, correctly, conscientiously and strictly enforced relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions on North Korea,” the spokeswoman said at a press briefing. “We have already established a set of effective operating mechanisms and methods.”
China is North Korea’s top fuel provider, and the cutoff coincides with new sanctions unanimously passed by the U.N. Security Council last week to punish Kim for missile tests and threats of an attack against the U.S.
By a 15-0 vote, the U.N. council tightened fuel shipments and ordered North Korean workers overseas to return to their homeland. China and Russia both voted to impose the sanctions, with a large number of North Korean workers already in the latter country.
The regime responded to the new sanctions Sunday, calling them an “act of war” and accusing the U.S. of asking for trouble.
“We define this ‘sanctions resolution’ rigged up by the U.S. and its followers as a grave infringement upon the sovereignty of our republic, as an act of war violating peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula and the region, and categorically reject the ‘resolution,’” the state-run Korean Central News Agency said in a statement.
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Unread 2018-01-19, 04:19 PM   #611
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The US appears to be quietly preparing for nuclear war with North Korea


An EA-18G Growler launching from the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson in the Arabian Gulf. Thomson Reuters
  • Despite the appearance of thawing tensions with North Korea, both Washington and Pyongyang have made several steps that suggest things could escalate soon.
  • The US has quietly moved heavy firepower, like nuclear bombers and aircraft carriers, to the region.
  • On the sidelines of important diplomatic meetings, talk of military action has been ever present, if not front and center.

While much of the world has celebrated the progress in talks between North Korea and South Korea ahead of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang next month, as well as an apparent thaw in tensions with North Korea, the US has taken steps to move heavy firepower to the region.
And though the US says it will delay its yearly military exercises with South Korea until the end of the Paralympics in March, it has elsewhere trained for scenarios that seem tailor-made for fighting North Korea.
The New York Times reports that 48 Apache gunships and Chinook helicopters last month trained in Fort Bragg in North Carolina to move troops under artillery fire, and that soldiers will train next month to set up mobilization centers designed to quickly send forces overseas.
Surviving artillery fire and mastering the tricky logistics of an overseas deployment would be needed skills if conflict were to break out with North Korea, as Pyongyang maintains a massive range of artillery guns pointing at Seoul, South Korea's capital with 25 million people.
Besides the exercises, the US has for the second time ever positioned both its nuclear-capable bombers in its territory of Guam, just a short flight from North Korea.
In addition to the usual forward-deployed USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier in Japan, the USS Carl Vinson has also headed to the Pacific, while the smaller carriers USS Wasp and USS Bonhomme Richard also patrol the waters.
While the US military maintains that these exercises are routine and unrelated to North Korea, the increased tensions with Pyongyang bring scrutiny to every move.
Quiet — too quiet

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center. KCNA via Reuters
At a meeting of foreign ministers from 20 countries this week in Vancouver, British Columbia, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson discussed sanctions implementation for North Korea, while Secretary of Defense James Mattis briefed them on the US's plan for military strikes.
While the recent inter-Korea talks — which South Korea has said will continue regularly and indefinitely — have dominated usually bleak headlines about North Korea, President Donald Trump's national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, reportedly dismissed them as "diversions" in a meeting with his Japanese and South Korean counterparts over the weekend.
Most experts agree that Pyongyang will soon launch a satellite. And North Korea may hold a military parade in the days before the Olympics.
And though few expect the US to initiate conflict with North Korea while civilians from around the world gather in Pyeongchang to watch one of the world's most important sporting events, a satellite launch would provide a suitable target for a "bloody nose" strike, which the US is reportedly considering.
Trump's foreign policy in his first year in office has often upset norms — and a successful strike on a Syrian airfield in April and a handful of unilateral foreign policy decisions going unpunished by supposedly riled actors might embolden Trump's White House to make a statement soon.
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Unread 2018-01-22, 01:11 PM   #612
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Limited Strikes on North Korea Would Be an Unlimited Disaster

There’s no clear upside — and plenty of potential downsides — to punching Pyongyang in the nose.



A military parade in Pyongyang marking the 105th anniversary of the birth of late North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung on April 15, 2017. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)
Many commentators across the national security community, such as Edward Luttwak, Michael J. Green, Matthew Kroenig, Oriana Skylar Mastro, and others, have the same bright idea for how to get North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to swear off further ballistic missile and nuclear warhead testing: Punch him right in the metaphorical nose.
The idea is that by hitting the right — and largely symbolic — target inside North Korea, we can find a sweet spot of escalation that’s light enough not to goad the North into a major war but painful enough to make them think twice about further testing of weapons of mass destruction. To quote one proponent, “Limited strikes should be targeted carefully and focused on North Korea’s specific provocation. A good start would be to take out the next North Korean intercontinental test missile on its launch pad.” As for the risk of a response, “If Kim can be deterred, as [critics of a strike] suggest, he will react in a way that risks few lives and leaves him options to preserve his precious regime.”
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The allure of a punitive strike on North Korea is its seeming simplicity. North Korea continues its missile testing, or opts to detonate another nuclear device in a test shaft, and the United States fires a few missiles and fixes the problem. But this conclusion comes from a series of bad assumptions. We assume that the North Korean regime can detect with any realistic degree of confidence that a limited strike is in fact limited. We assume that North Korea will only analyze the costs and benefits of retaliating based on the merits of a fleeting crisis. And we assume that Kim Jong Un’s power is limitless and that he has none of his own constituencies to placate in the hours and days after a strike.
These assumptions are shaky at best. North Korea’s early warning network, fragile enough that a clean strike seems somehow viable, is more likely apt to encourage Pyongyang to take more aggressive action. Kim doesn’t have to consider just the ensuing hours and days after a strike, but also many years (and presumably other crises) in the future. And Kim is riding a tiger, and opting to blink will likely lead to his being thrown and eaten.
Limited wars have sometimes, if rarely, worked in the past, even between other nuclear-armed powers, such as the Kargil conflict between India and Pakistan in 1999. Yet everything we know of the messy politics of Pyongyang suggests that the chances of keeping any conflict limited are small at best — and the alternative is far too horrific to take such a risk.
There’s a popular maxim in the military: The enemy always gets a vote. And when that enemy must weigh future risks and rewards, the greater military might and influence enjoyed by a superpower still might not be enough to coerce the outcome it desires. This, for a great power like the United States, is obviously frustrating. But just because it’s frustrating doesn’t make it any less true.
Chief among the problems with the limited strike option is that it assumes that the North is capable of discerning between a punch in the nose and a full-on pummeling — and that Kim could take the public humiliation of sitting on his hands throughout a limited U.S. strike and still cling to power. They can’t, and he wouldn’t. And North Korea isn’t the only case. In fact, studies of threats by larger powers against smaller ones show that most countries in North Korea’s position would retaliate with whatever means they have at their disposal.
In short, when you punch somebody in the face, the recipient understandably can’t know whether more is about to follow.
What to expect when you’re expecting … Tomahawks
The selling point of a limited strike is that American cruise missiles and stealth bombers stand a good chance of slipping past North Korea’s aging early warning system to hit their targets well before the Korean People’s Army could give its leadership a heads-up that an attack is underway. To quote Luttwak writing in Foreign Policy earlier this month, “North Korea’s radars, missiles, and aircraft are badly outdated, with their antique electronics long since countermeasured.” North Korea is actually modernizing its air defense networks, but it’s true that they still remain far behind those of the United States or its allies. As such, this is considered to be a selling point: not only could the United States punish North Korea, but it could also do so in a way that requires few resources and risks no casualties.
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Unfortunately, the tactical advantages of American stealth and surprise don’t produce a crystal-clear situational awareness and understanding of American intent for our adversaries. Wartime surprise does what it’s supposed to do: confuses and overwhelms the adversary. That surprise is intended to so discombobulate an opponent that they can’t formulate an effective response until it’s all over. But if you’re trying to prevent further escalation, confusion is exactly what you’re trying to avoid on the other side.
Warning is a key part of strategic stability, and the more confident Kim and his generals are that they can see an American attack coming, the more comfortable they are with accepting risk. This goes to the heart of what a warning system does for decision-makers: They exist as much to convince national leaders that the country isn’t under attack as to warn them that the missiles are on their way.
Shocking Pyongyang with an unforeseen strike, and thereby taking away North Korea’s confidence in its ability to know when a war has started, will leave a frightened and disoriented North Korean leadership fearful that they can’t really know when it’s ended. Once the North’s early warning system is discredited, its chain of command has only the knowledge of a recent American strike and their prewar beliefs about U.S. intentions to guide their next response, neither of which lend themselves to the perception that such a strike would be limited. U.S. President Donald Trump declared at the United Nations that the United States would have to “totally destroy” North Korea in the event of a crisis. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), during a television interview, said that “North Korea itself” should be destroyed.
It could be argued that such language is part of a messaging strategy to induce North Korea to take the prospect of negotiations seriously, but it’s very easy for strong rhetoric to be mistaken for a clear statement of intent, as the 1983 Able Archer exercise demonstrated. During Able Archer, NATO performed a command post exercise designed to rehearse a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union. Though it took place during a period of heightened tensions and fierce rhetoric between the United States and the Soviet Union, decision-makers in Washington felt that Soviet leaders would be able to appreciate the difference between exercises and action, and rhetoric and reality. Unfortunately, they didn’t, and the Soviet Union prepared their nuclear forces accordingly, almost bringing the world to war.
Further, as Adam Cathcart has written for FP, given the lack of direct ties between the United States and North Korea, and given the fact that access to foreign media is limited to North Korean government officials, it would be worryingly easy for Pyongyang to take this kind of language at face value.
At a minimum, prudence would dictate that Pyongyang predelegate to lower-level commanders the authority to fire if they feel threatened. The worst-case scenario is that a sense of urgency would kick the chain of command into use-it-or-lose-it mode — unleashing their weapons now for fear that an imminent strike would destroy the choicest parts of the North Korean arsenal. And given the potentially underdeveloped and brittle command-and-control system in North Korea, this opens the door to potential unintended use of those weapons.
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Unread 2018-01-22, 01:11 PM   #613
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Imagine a force that relies on early warning to rush away from their garrisons (as North Korean training has focused on); time is required to get those units moving. As a commander, you need to have an operator detect the attack. If the amount of warning you have is only a few minutes (or none at all), you’ll be tempted to move your surviving forces out into the field and place them in a position where they’re ready to fire.
Depending on how dire you believe the threat to be, you might even opt to give more junior commanders lower down on the chain the permission to launch under certain conditions. All commanders make mistakes, but every link in the chain gives leaders a chance to cancel a false alarm. The lower down the chain you give launch authority, the fewer links there are to slow things down. Those commanders might also lack the situational awareness to understand the bigger picture and may mistake more limited events in their area (a building exploding, communications shutting down) as a far bigger crisis and launch their missiles accordingly. If the United States wants to limit the potential for retaliation, it has to avoid a scenario in which a confused and overwhelmed North Korean military puts the potential for disaster in the hands of every commander.
No backing down
Why doesn’t North Korea just walk away from the table? After all, if they’re so concerned that they could lose more of their retaliatory forces in a follow-on strike, does this not therefore incentivize them to instead strike a more conciliatory tone and acquiesce to U.S. demands, especially given the vast gulf in military might?
There is a body of research that indicates that this is less likely to be the case than people might think. Todd Sechser researched the results when larger states make coercive threats against smaller ones. His research indicates that the smaller state is actually more likely to resist those threats than it is to acquiesce to them.
The reason is simple: When confronted with the choice to resist against or acquiesce to a threat issued by a larger power, the smaller power isn’t merely considering that single interaction. It’s also considering what will happen further down the road based on the decision it makes. If it accedes to a coercive demand now, what happens when its adversary decides it wants to make more demands later?
Some point to the 1999 Kargil War between India and Pakistan as evidence that a military confrontation between two nuclear powers can remain both limited and conventional. But there are critical differences. Kargil took place between two powers that had a history of fighting limited skirmishes in that area for decades. Pakistani operations were, at least in part, a response to a successful Indian operation a number of years before. The United States, in contrast, has not fought the Korean People’s Army since the late 1960s, when at the height of the Vietnam War the Korean People’s Army and the U.S. Army fought a series of violent cross-border skirmishes. In the Kargil conflict, both armies shared not only a common history as opponents but also a past heritage in the Indian Army of imperial days, making them well aware of each other’s motivations and limits.
Further, Kargil was a remote and isolated battlefield that limited the scale of combat. This was a war, essentially, that was fought on the edge of the world between platoons and companies. A strike on North Korea would take place in an area that’s anything but isolated. Remember, at least one intercontinental ballistic missile test took place in Pyongyang’s suburbs, likely near that city’s international airport. South Korea’s capital sits well within range of North Korea’s long-range artillery, and the bulk of the South Korean public lives within that massive urban space. The stakes and the necessary scale, in other words, are far different.
Kim’s nest of vipers
Even if Kim Jong Un could have faith that a U.S. strike would be limited, he might be forced to respond anyway. There’s a common misperception in the West that Kim has unlimited power and freedom of action, and so he’s the only actor we have to worry about. Yet like all leaders, Kim has constituencies that make up his power base. His actions, therefore, are not purely based on his perception of the threat from the United States, but also on what is required to keep the support of those elites and remain in power.
Since taking power, Kim has taken a different path than his father did, adopting what is known as the byungjin line, an ideology that places a double emphasis on improving both the domestic economy and North Korea’s nuclear forces (his father’s policy was seongun jeongchi , or “military first.”) The development of nuclear weapons does not just have a military application. Like WMD programs in other autocratic states, the development of these weapons is also a way to reward different elite factions with tangible benefits.
As the political scientist Etel Solingen has written, “domestic models of political survival and their orientations to the global political economy have implications for nuclear trajectories.” In states like North Korea, which aren’t reliant on integration into global trade networks, the patronage networks needed for Kim to remain in power are actually helped by sanctions, and thus rely on the nuclear and missile programs to retain (and enhance) their positions. When sanctions are leveled on a state’s economy, it strangles the competitiveness of most industries and thus makes it easier for the state to award lucrative monopoly contracts to chosen elites. These same elites can also take advantage of numerous state-supported instruments to run smuggling operations and use those same operations to pad their bottom line and broker access and influence within the government
Take both Ryomyong Street and Mirae Scientists Street, a pair of newly constructed Pyongyang apartment complexes intended in varying degrees to reward both elites and scientific figures responsible for developing North Korea’s WMD programs. Beyond the obvious benefits of such a program (providing WMD-associated elites with better housing), the construction of these facilities has a number of additional benefits. North Korea, contrary to what many may think, actually has a thriving real estate market. Constructing these kinds of facilities for WMD-associated figures is also a way to pad their bottom line by allowing them to sell or rent their assigned real estate for a profit.
All of this demonstrates that Kim may face considerable resistance to backing down by the very constituencies he relies upon to maintain his power. Freezing his nuclear and missile programs, besides making him look weak to internal elites, also would make it harder to reward them. Without these programs, they would likely be cut off from many of the revenue streams that fund their comparatively affluent lives in the capital, a city reserved for North Korea’s chosen elite that has become so relatively affluent compared to the rest of the country that’s it’s been nicknamed “Pyonghattan.” Of course, a wider war is hardly a better way to maintain one’s holdings, but the prospects of an indefinite and undefined future payoff lacks the same saliency that one’s current holdings offer — after all, sunk costs, no matter how fallacious, always matter.
Corruption and proliferation walk hand in hand. As the infamous Pakistani nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan demonstrated, the same corrupt practices and techniques required to acquire the resources for a WMD program can equally (and frequently simultaneously) be used to line one’s own pockets. And if this occurs at a reasonable level, it isn’t a bug. It’s a feature, one that allows Kim to buy the loyalty of those he needs to remain in power.
Kim certainly isn’t unfamiliar with the risks he runs with these power bases. Indeed, his purge of regime strongman Jang Song Thaek, his uncle, demonstrates that Kim is well aware of the potential for these trusted elites to turn on him. And as the proliferation networks that elites oversee have become more independent and capable, so has their ability to turn on the regime. For Kim, a decision to avoid battle and acquiesce in the wake of a strike isn’t merely based on what he thinks the United States will do. It’s also based on what the people guarding his villa, running his security services, and overseeing the military will do. And as awesome as the power of the United States is, that power isn’t the one guarding his door when he sleeps.
If the United States keeps operating under flawed assumptions about the North, it could lead to a strike that, at best, will not end North Korea’s WMD program and, at worst, might provoke an escalation that results in the first battlefield use of nuclear weapons since 1945. The in-between possibilities are equally unattractive: limited retaliations that threaten the United States and its allies, and target civilians and military alike? A wider war on the Korean peninsula? No war, but allies that are forced to re-evaluate their own security relationships in the wake of a massive U.S. miscalculation? None of these can be said to be in the United States’ best interest.
Most of all, we don’t have to take these risks at all. If the perception of Kim Jong Un is one of a rogue and irrational actor, then striking now is far more prudent because deterrence likely will not hold. Of course, everything we see indicates that Kim is rational. North Korea is absolutely deterrable. And since it is, striking based on a misplaced trust in our own power is a dangerous — and unnecessary — risk.
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Unread 2018-01-30, 10:40 AM   #614
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North Korea is scaling back its annual winter military exercises

  • North Korea's reported downsizing of its annual winter military exercises is seen as largely a public relations stunt.
  • A Wall Street Journal report Monday said the exercises "are less extensive than usual," possibly due to the impact of sanctions.
  • Pyongyang is "trying to act on its best behavior for the Olympics," said a U.S. defense analyst.
  • Regardless, some U.S. military experts deemed the North Korean move a positive development.





KCNA | Reuters
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un waves at a photo session with attendants in the fourth Active Secretaries of Primary Organization of KPA Youth in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang September 1, 2017.
North Korea's apparent decision to downsize its annual winter military exercises is seen partly as a public relations "ploy" by the nuclear-armed dictatorship given the approaching Olympic Games in South Korea.
The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that North Korea's military forces "scaled back their annual winter military exercises this year," citing U.S. officials crediting pressure from ongoing sanctions. In previous years, the North Koreans have conducted artillery and submarine drills as part of the exercises.
"They've basically slowed down the speed and tenor of the exercises," Center for the National Interest defense analyst Harry Kazianis told CNBC. "I think that makes sense but I wouldn't give weight to the reports that it could be because of sanctions and limits to oil supplies and things like that."

If anything, Kazianis said, it's likely that Pyongyang is "trying to act on its best behavior for the Olympics" since the world is watching.
"You have to remember they haven't tested any missiles in a few months now," said Kazianis, the director of defense studies at the Washington-based think-tank founded by former President Richard Nixon. "All this is is a PR ploy by the North Koreans to make themselves look as good as possible."
The North Korean exercises typically start in December and go through March, but the Journal said Monday the drills this year "are less extensive than usual."
"One possibility is North Korea just doesn't have the resources at this time for that activity and have decided to save resources and put them toward another area," said Lisa Collins, a fellow with the Korea Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank.
Indeed, the volatile regime is seen as struggling despite its advances in nuclear and missile development over the past several years.
"North Korea has a lot of fundamental weaknesses and it's difficult for them to maintain military readiness in general," said Denny Roy, an Asia Pacific security expert and senior fellow at the East-West Center, a Honolulu-based think tank. "They've managed to do it over a lot of years but it's increasingly difficult now with sanctions than before."
Regardless, Roy called the North Korean move to scale back military drills "a positive development" because it raises hope that there could be a non-military resolution that would satisfy Washington on the country's nuclear issue.
South Korean officials have become worried in recent weeks about even a limited strike, or a so-called "preventive attack," which is reportedly being considered by the Trump administration against North Korea.
Even so, Kazianis said tensions will return on the Korean Peninsula after the Olympic Games given the upcoming annual joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises.
"The North Koreans are going to go crazy once again when that happens," Kazianis said.
Defense experts say the North Koreans view the annual joint military exercises, which were delayed until after the Olympics, as provocative because they contain simulated elements sometimes described as "decapitation strikes" by special operations forces that target the regime's leadership.
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Unread 2018-02-02, 11:22 AM   #615
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'Victory in all fronts' - North Korea releases new propaganda posters and stamps for 70th anniversary













Pyongyang has released a new series of propaganda posters to encourage its citizens, workers and the military to carry out the demands set out by Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the nation.
The seven posters “reflect the joy and excitement of the Korean army and people, who will mark the 70th birthday of the DPRK with splendour”, the state-run Korea Central News Agency reported.
The anniversary of the foundation of the nation falls on September 9, but events are scheduled to be held throughout the year to mark the occasion. Mr Kim used his New Year address to emphasise the importance of the citizens rallying to the flag and reiterated that the North has no intentions of giving up its nuclear weapons or long-range missiles.
In typical North Korean style, the posters feature images of peasants waving banners, workers in heroic poses and members of the armed forces on the attack, with missiles as their backdrop.
Slogans on the posters call for the nation to strengthen its independence, build up the national economy without outside assistance and improve the people’s standard of living.
Others highlight major construction projects and demand that the people strive to reach new heights as “an advanced scientific and technological power”.
“Some posters call for turning out in the struggle to frustrate the last-ditch challenges of the hostile forces and put the overall national power of the DPRK on a new stage of development by launching an all-people general offensive under the leadership of the Workers’ Party of Korea”, KCNA added.
























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Unread 2018-02-06, 05:12 PM   #616
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North Korea accuses US of considering preemptive strike


© Getty
North Korea accused the United States on Tuesday of laying the foundation for a potential pre-emptive strike.
North Korean diplomat Ju Yong Chol said at the United Nations Conference on Disarmament that the U.S. is "deploying large nuclear assets" near North Korea in preparation for a possible pre-emptive attack, Reuters reported.
"In view of the nature and scale of U.S. military reinforcements, they are designed to make a pre-emptive strike against the DPRK," Ju said, using an acronym for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, North Korea's official name.



"U.S. officials including the defense secretary and the CIA director repeatedly talked about DPRK nuclear and missile threat to justify their argument for a military option and a new concept of a so-called ‘bloody nose’, a limited pre-emptive strike on the DPRK is under consideration within the U.S. administration."
The North Korean remarks come after the United States dropped Victor Cha, President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff: Nunes gave Trump 'secretly altered' version of memoDavis: ‘Deep state’ existed in ’16 – but it elected TrumpFormer Trump legal spokesman to testify to Mueller about undisclosed call: reportMORE's pick for ambassador to South Korea. While the White House say issues came up in Cha's background checks, Cha reportedly lost the ambassador nomination after raising concerns about a potential "bloody-nose attack" on North Korea over its nuclear program.

Trump and senior administration officials have said that a military option remains on the table for dealing with a possible threat by North Korea.
But White House officials have dismissed the notion that the U.S. is seriously considering a pre-emptive strike on the North, and have instead highlighted an international pressure campaign focusing on sanctions and diplomacy.
Still, Trump has engaged in a bitter war of words with North Korean officials, and has threatened to "totally destroy" the country if it threatens the U.S. or its allies.
The accusation by Ju comes as U.S. officials, including Vice President Pence, prepare to travel to South Korea for the 2018 Winter Olympics, which is set to open on Friday. Speaking to reporters during a refueling stop in Alaska on Tuesday, Pence declined to rule out a possible meeting with North Korean officials in South Korea.
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Unread 2018-03-06, 09:45 AM   #617
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Kim Jong Un willing to give up nuclear weapons pending US talks







A photo released by KCNA news agency on March 12, 2013, shows North Korea leader Kim Jong Un visiting the Wolnae-do Defence Detachment on the western front line. (KCNA/Xinhua/Zuma Press/MCT)




North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is willing to talk about the denuclearization if his country’s security is guaranteed and if North Korea talks with the United States, South Korea said Tuesday.



The Associated Press
@AP



BREAKING: Seoul: North Korea agrees to impose moratorium on nuclear and missile tests if it holds talks with U.S.
5:13 AM - Mar 6, 2018

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“North Korea has clearly expressed its intention for denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, and if there is no military threat, and North Korea’s regime security is promised, they have clarified that there is no reason to hold nuclear weapons,” South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s office said.
North Korea especially wants to ensure the safety of its regime, according to reports.
But, as history shows, North Korea doesn’t have a good track record when it comes to following through with agreements such as this, and the genuineness of its current intentions remains to be seen or proven.


North Korea also promised not to use any of its weapons against South Korea.



The Associated Press
@AP



BREAKING: Seoul: North Korea promises not to use nuclear and conventional weapons against South Korea.
5:14 AM - Mar 6, 2018

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Kim Jong Un and Moon are now expected to meet at a summit at their countries’ borders in April. South Korean delegates are also expected to visit the United States.
South Korean delegates just returned from a two-day trip to North Korea to visit Kim Jong Un and officials there, and discuss denuclearization.
This announcement is a milestone in the ongoing dialogue between North Korea and the world, as Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump spent the better part of 2017 going back and forth about each other and nuclear weapons.
A South Korean delegation arrived in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Monday, and members were said to have had dinner and met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
The visit is historic and comes at a time when discourse with North Korea is critical, as the U.S. seeks to have North Korea quell its nuclear ambitions.
The South Korean delegation included 10 people and was headed by the South Korean presidential national security director, Chung Eui-yong.
President Trump has said he would talk with Kim Jong Un, and the United States has expressed willingness and openness to have discussions, as well.
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Unread 2018-03-06, 10:23 AM   #618
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Wow... I'm legit confused how there is progress being made here... gotta be the cool temper of the current SK president, right?
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Unread 2018-03-06, 10:26 AM   #619
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WTF is going on right now?!
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Unread 2018-03-06, 11:01 AM   #620
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WTF is going on right now?!
A couple things:

1: Kim wants to stay in power and feels at this time there is a lot of pressure not to just disarm him, but to remove him from power.

2: He has a well developed nuclear program with all the tooling and research. he can stop it and restart it at any time.

3: He figures he can wait for the next more compliant US administration, then he will start it up again.

4: He wants to get the sanctions lifted, feed his people and proclaim he has for the US into lifting the sanctions.
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Unread 2018-03-12, 09:37 AM   #621
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'No response' yet from North Korea on talks with the US



Image copyright KCNA Image caption No word yet from Mr Kim on details of the summit
South Korea says it has not received a response from Pyongyang on a summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump.
In a surprise development, Mr Trump on Friday accepted North Korea's invitation to direct talks.
South Korean officials said Mr Kim was prepared to give up his nuclear weapons.
Details on the planned talks remain vague, with no agreement yet on the location or agenda.
Analysts are sceptical about what can be achieved through talks given the complexity of the issues involved.


"We have not seen nor received an official response from the North Korean regime regarding the North Korea-US summit," a spokesman for the South Korean Ministry of Unification said on Monday.
"I feel they're approaching this matter with caution and they need time to organise their stance."
Involving China and Japan

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has described the chance to hold talks with North Korea as a "precious chance" to achieve "permanent peace".
His country's officials who spoke to President Trump are now on the way to China and Japan to brief the leaders of each country on the upcoming talks.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Pyongyang is better known for nuclear threats than peace offers South Korean President Moon Jae-in's top security adviser, Chung Eui-yong, is scheduled to meet China's President Xi Jinping.
Meanwhile, Suh Hoon, chief of the intelligence agency, is headed to Tokyo to speak with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
While China is seen as North Korea's last remaining financial backer, Japan is the ally of Washington that along with the South has received the most military threats from Pyongyang.
Unprecedented step

The surprise proposal for the summit comes after more than a year of heated rhetoric between North Korea and the US, and global concern that the hostilities might escalate into military confrontation.
North Korea has conducted several nuclear tests over the past year and developed long-distance missiles it says can carry nuclear bombs as far as the US mainland.
Talks between the countries would mark an unprecedented step in the conflict as no sitting US president has ever met with a North Korean leader.
Still, details of the meeting remain unclear.
"Pyongyang probably wants to wait to see how the offer was received in Washington," Andray Abrahamian, Research Fellow at Pacific Forum CSIS, told the BBC.
"There's already been a bit of confusion in the messaging from the White House so it probably makes sense to get some of the ground rules established before go public with it," Mr Abrahamian said.
What does Pyongyang want?

If the summit goes ahead, Mr Trump is expected to meet the North Korean leader by the end of May, while South Korean President Moon and Mr Kim will hold separate talks ahead of that.
Observers are divided on whether talks could pave the way to Pyongyang giving up its nuclear ambitions or whether North Korea is merely seeking a propaganda win and a break from years of crippling international sanctions.
"Their short term objectives will be to get some relief from the sanctions," Mr Abrahamin said.


Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump: From enemies to frenemies?








Media captionKim Jong-un and Donald Trump: From enemies to frenemies?

"Many pundits seem vexed that Kim Jong-un will use a summit for propaganda. This should not be a big concern....[it] doesn't mean that the United States is giving approval to its political system, human rights record or weapons programmes," he added.
CIA director Mike Pompeo on Sunday defended Donald Trump's decision to meet with Mr Kim, saying the president understands the risks of the talks and the administration had its eyes "wide open" to the challenge of dealing with North Korea.
The US president told supporters at a rally on Saturday that he believed North Korea wanted to "make peace" but said he might leave talks if no progress for nuclear disarmament could be made.
According to US media reports, Mr Trump made the decision to meet Mr Kim without consulting key figures in his administration, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson confirmed to reporters the decision was one "the president took himself".
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Unread 2018-03-12, 11:05 AM   #622
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Originally Posted by DIYAutoRepair View Post
A couple things:

1: Kim wants to stay in power and feels at this time there is a lot of pressure not to just disarm him, but to remove him from power.

2: He has a well developed nuclear program with all the tooling and research. he can stop it and restart it at any time.

3: He figures he can wait for the next more compliant US administration, then he will start it up again.

4: He wants to get the sanctions lifted, feed his people and proclaim he has for the US into lifting the sanctions.
This is what we need to stop.
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Unread 2018-03-12, 06:42 PM   #623
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It’s not gonna be cheap adding Trump to Mt. Rushmore after he negotiates the nukes away from NK, but I’m sure the dems will still try to fight the obvious.
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Unread 2018-03-12, 07:50 PM   #624
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This is great.

The Donald is going to win the goddam Nobel prize.
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Unread 2018-03-13, 07:36 AM   #625
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The 2009 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to United States President Barack Obama for his "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples". The Norwegian Nobel Committee announced the award on October 9, 2009, citing Obama's promotion of nuclear nonproliferation and a "new climate" in international relations fostered by Obama, especially in reaching out to the Muslim world.
Remember this ^^^^ what a joke. Things like this just discredit the organization.

Trump could bring about world peace and still not win the Nobel prize.
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