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Old 08-04-2016, 03:35 PM
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Thumbs down Damn Nation Alley

Pulled out an old flick and watched it. In the beginning when the nukes were flying made me think of North Korea and how its building up its arsenal. He's so nuts I wouldn't put it passed him to do something really stupid. This proliferation of nukes is depressing. Hasn't anybody learned any thing since WWII? The devastation is so terrible and yet everybody wants one.
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O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Old 08-04-2016, 03:57 PM
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Thumbs down Maybe North Korea’s Nuclear Goals Are More Serious Than Once Thought

Maybe North Korea’s Nuclear Goals Are More Serious Than Once Thought
re: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/14/wo...ction%2Ftimest

WASHINGTON — Under traditional understandings of North Korea, the country’s test launch of two medium-range ballistic missiles in late June should not have happened. Neither should its failed launch, on Saturday, of a submarine-based missile.

But they did. And that has brought new urgency to a growing conversation among many North Korea watchers: Is our understanding of this country fundamentally wrong?

The country’s weapons programs have long been understood as meant not for immediate military purposes, but to rally North Koreans behind the leadership and extract concessions from foreign governments. North Korea’s bluster, in this view, is not sincere, but just another set piece in an elaborate, never-ending show.

This does not, however, adequately explain North Korea’s recent flurry of weapons tests, often using unproven technology that tends to fail many times, bringing embarrassment to a government that prefers to project confidence, and that incurs heavy diplomatic and financial tolls the country cannot afford.

Such tests, according to a growing chorus of experts, suggest that North Korea is now seeking, in a more focused and determined way, a real, functioning nuclear weapons program — and could be on the way to getting it.

“The conventional wisdom treats these tests and strategic programs as political tools,” said Mark Fitzpatrick, a scholar at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. “They’re more than that.”

This realization is forcing analysts to rethink not just nuclear issues, but also the underlying goals and motivations of the North Korean state itself, with sweeping implications for how one of the world’s most secretive nations is understood.

A sudden change in 2014

North Korea has had only three leaders, each of whom has faced the same problem: governing a small country with few resources, outnumbered by powerful enemies.

Kim Il-sung, the nation’s founding leader, used diplomacy. By allying with the Soviet Union and China — and playing the two off each other — he secured protection and support.

His son Kim Jong-il came to power in the early 1990s, as the Soviet Union collapsed and China’s interest in backing a rogue nation waned. In response, he put the country on a permanent war footing. Kim Jong-il began developing missiles and nuclear weapons, periodically stirring up geopolitical crises that promoted nationalism at home and won international concessions abroad.

Photo

Portraits of the North Korean leaders Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il in Wonsan, North Korea. Credit Wong Maye-E/Associated Press
Foreign governments and analysts concluded that these programs, which North Korea tested erratically but with great fanfare, were meant primarily for political rather than military ends. The country’s leadership was seen as reactive and focused on preserving the status quo. State propaganda, warning endlessly of war with South Korea and the United States, was dismissed as merely a tool for internal control.

That view has held for 20 years, through Kim Jong-il’s death in 2011 and the ascension of his son Kim Jong-un.

But, three years into the younger Mr. Kim’s reign, as he carried out a series of high-level political purges, something seemed to shift.

“In 2014, they started testing things like crazy,” said Jeffrey Lewis, a nuclear weapons expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey in California. The country also built a new underground nuclear testing facility.

Because most of the tests failed — and because of popular depictions of the country as silly and backward — they were shrugged off as farce. It was “easy to kind of laugh at them,” Mr. Lewis said.

Now, in retrospect, it seems that the tests indicated a change whose ramifications are only beginning to become clear to analysts.

Targeting the United States

Andrea Berger, a proliferation expert at the Royal United Services Institute in London, said that for years she and some of her colleagues believed “that one of the motivations behind North Korea’s nuclear development was to eventually sell it for the right price,” either in part or in full. Others, of course, thought North Korea was simply engaging in a game of cat and mouse, agreeing to freeze parts of the program in exchange for cash or food, only to unfreeze them later in hopes of making another deal on the same goods in another round of negotiations.

In any case, Ms. Berger said the country’s activity since 2014 had led to “growing sentiment, and I would go so far as to say it is now the majority view, that North Korea may not be willing to give up its nuclear program or missile programs at all.”

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The medium-range missile North Korea tested in late June, known as a Musudan, had failed in all five of its prior launches. Last month’s launch, while not a categorical success, showed progress — one of many hard-won breakthroughs.

“We are coming to the realization that North Korea is filling some of the technological gaps we thought they had and erasing some of the question marks quicker than we are comfortable with,” Ms. Berger said.

Photo

A photograph released in March by the Korean Central News Agency that was said to show Kim Jong-un meeting with nuclear weapons scientists and technicians in Pyongyang, North Korea. Credit Korean Central News Agency, via Reuters
North Korea appears focused on acquiring key nuclear capabilities, including, Ms. Berger said, “a demonstrated ability to strike the continental United States.”

John Schilling, who tracks North Korea’s weapons programs at the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University, has concluded that within the next decade, North Korea will probably produce a nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile that can reach parts of the West Coast of the United States.

The country is also developing multiple ways to deliver these missiles, as indicated by Saturday’s submarine test-launch.

“They’ve just solved one of the key technical challenges to making a mobile I.C.B.M.,” Mr. Schilling said, referring to a kind of launcher that is harder for adversaries to find or target because it can be moved on large trucks.

Multiple launch systems are considered an expensive but crucial component of any serious, field-ready nuclear weapons program, underscoring the magnitude of Mr. Kim’s ambitions.

An extreme solution

As analysts adjust their view of North Korea’s intentions, they are grappling with a much bigger question: Why is North Korea so bent on a program that brings economic sanctions, the risk of conflict and isolation even from China, its sole remaining ally and benefactor?

Put another way: What does North Korea believe it will gain from nuclear weapons that is worth these costs?

Experts have not settled on a consensus answer, but offer a range of possible explanations. What these theories share is a sense that North Korea’s leadership believes it is facing a potentially existential crisis and is willing to take extreme steps to survive.

Some analysts say the North Korean warnings of a looming conflict with the United States and South Korea might not just be for show, but rather indicate that the country’s leaders earnestly believe war could be coming.

In this view, the country would need more than just a single bomb to deter its enemies. It would require a nuclear program large enough to make such a war winnable.

Photo

A North Korean defector left a token of her wish for the reunification of the two Koreas on a wire fence in Imjingak, South Korea, in the demilitarized zone that separates the two nations. Credit Ahn Young-joon/Associated Press
Details about North Korea’s advances suggest the outlines of a war plan, Mr. Lewis said. The country seems to be building the capability to launch rapid nuclear strikes against nearby military targets, such as the United States military bases on Guam and the Japanese island of Okinawa, as well as South Korean ports where any American invasion force would land.

“I think their hope is that the shock of that will cause us to stop,” Mr. Lewis said. “Then the whole point of the I.C.B.M.s is that there is something in reserve” to threaten West Coast American cities, in theory forcing the United States to stand down.

Mr. Fitzpatrick argued that even if North Korea does not intend to carry out such a plan, it hopes that raising concerns of a nuclear conflict will “drive a wedge between the United States and its allies,” particularly South Korea.

Should North Korea acquire a nuclear-capable missile that could hit Washington State, some Americans might well question the value of continuing to guarantee South Korea’s security.

“The North Koreans would like people to doubt that the United States would trade Seattle for Seoul,” Mr. Fitzpatrick said, referring to a Cold War adage that the United States accepted risks to its own cities so as to defend those of its allies.

B. R. Myers, a North Korea scholar at Dongseo University in South Korea, takes this theory one step further. The nuclear program, he believes, is meant not only to scare off the United States, but to one day coerce the South into accepting the North’s long-stated demand: reunification on its own terms.

“It is the only goal big enough to make sense of a nuclear program that has made the D.P.R.K. less secure than it was 10 years ago,” Mr. Myers said, using the abbreviation of North Korea’s formal name.

North Korea’s greatest source of insecurity, he argued, is not its enemies abroad — whose efforts at rapprochement it has long spurned — but its own looming crisis of legitimacy.

Because the country positions itself as the true protector of the Korean people but is so much poorer than the South, it has “no reason to exist as a separate state,” Mr. Myers wrote in a recent research paper. Unification “is therefore the only long-term solution to the regime’s chronic security problems.”

While such scenarios may sound outlandish, Mr. Lewis pointed to the 2003 United States-led invasion of Iraq and NATO’s 2011 intervention in Libya, which led to the grisly deaths of those countries’ leaders. North Korea is far weaker than its enemies, whom the country sees as bent on its destruction. And it faces a possible legitimacy crisis of the sort that seems to topple another government every year.

These fears, analysts say, could be spurring Kim Jong-un to drastically change his country’s behavior — upending long-held assumptions in the process.
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O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

"IN GOD WE TRUST"
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  #3  
Old 08-05-2016, 12:14 PM
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Unhappy

With this movie in mind I also worry about Trump carrying the Nuclear Suitcase and his mental state? He can't run his business without cheating everyone he works with - how can he run an entire country and not loose it in the process. Plus he's got a short a temper and who knows he may just someday push the button just to see what it does?
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O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

"IN GOD WE TRUST"
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