Archive for the ‘Military’ Category

ALL QUIET?

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Note (06MAY2013): Prior to perusing this posting, you may wish to peruse the previous two postings about Korea.

Of late, news about the Syrian civil war has been occupying the media. Meanwhile, all has been relatively quiet on the Korean front. Could that quiet represent the calm before the storm?

One piece of news about The Republic of Korea (South Korea) briefly did make a headline. Reuters (02MAY2013), for example, reported the following: “South Korean spies target Australian farm trade.” Some allies . . . those South Koreans for whom The USA is willing to risk nuclear war.

Oh yes, Financial Times (06MAY2013) reported the following: “Goldman exit exposes South Korea woes.” Apparently, foreign financial firms, with one or two exceptions, cannot compete in South Korea against entrenched, giant, domestic firms. As for exports of American-made automobiles to South Korea? Don’t bother asking. Some allies . . . those South Koreans for whom The USA is willing to risk nuclear war.

In Chapter 12 of the semi-fictional novel, Inescapable Consequences, full-scale war again ignites between North and South Korea. Thus far since 1953, in actuality, such a war has not re-ignited; however, during the interval, the roguish, rump-nation of the egregiously-named Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) has acquired nuclear weapons, developed long-range missiles, and rebuilt its military. The latest missile in the arsenal is the KN-08, which, if operational, might reach the western coast of North America.

In response, dithering as usual, The USA seems to have no coherent foreign policy with regard to the Korean Peninsula. In fact, Mr. Obama seems more concerned with the Syrian civil war than threats of potential nuclear annihilation by Pyongyang.

“Nothing we do seems to work,” says Richard Weitz of the Hudson Institute about Korea. Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute agrees. For that matter, the same likely will be said of pending American military involvement in Syria, should agitators such as Senator McCain have their way.

Returning, however, to the Korean situation, given the context, one might consider the following, three scenarios:

1) A North Korean KN-80 strikes Andersen Air Force Base on the island of Guam, a U.S. territory. The non-nuclear explosion inflicts considerable damage as well as a number of killed and wounded. Immediately thereafter, the government in Pyongyang issues a statement claiming that the strike merely was the consequence of a test gone wrong, weakly apologizes, but defends its position that such tests are necessary in the context of an alleged, continuing threat of American aggression against it.

2) A torpedo from an unknown source sinks a warship of the South Korean Navy. The government in Pyongyang denies any involvement. A few days later, analysis of fragments of the non-nuclear weapon indicates that its manufacturer was located in Russia. The North is known to possess such torpedoes.

3) A well-dressed woman attending a news-conference detonates a suicide-bomb, killing, among others, the South Korean President. Subsequent investigation reveals that the assassin was a Mohammedan from western China, suspected of being in the employ of Pyongyang via Iran. In the meantime, Pyongyang has denied any involvement and sent weak, official condolences to the government in Seoul.

In each of these three scenarios, how should The USA respond? If the South advocates an all-out, non-nuclear attack against the North, how should The USA respond?

Consider the following alternative, more provocative scenario: Without warning and while talking peace, having returned to the so-called six-party-talks, North Korea launches an all-out, non-nuclear invasion of the South but does not attack U.S. military installations there nor American military personnel. Concurrently, China launches an all-out, non-nuclear invasion of Taiwan while Hezbollah, denying involvement, detonates a powerful, non-nuclear device in The Loop in Chicago, inadvertently killing the mayor, Rahm “Never Let A Crisis Go To Waste” Emmanuel.

Militarily, with newly-deployed, more deadly, Chinese DF-21D missiles covering the Strait of Taiwan, American aircraft-carriers dare not enter as they did during a preceding Chinese provocation, rendering American air-cover logistically less effective. Although Chinese anti-submarine capabilities remain weak, in the shallow Yellow Sea between China and Korea, U.S. boats would be vulnerable. In other waters offshore China, the boats would be less vulnerable but still open to attack.

As described in Inescapable Consequences, economically, Beijing covertly warns Washington that, should The USA involve itself militarily, China will dump all its U.S. Treasuries onto the open-market, forcing them to be bought by the U.S. Treasury and no longer would accept payment in U.S. currency. The consequential flood of hastily printed U.S. dollars likely would destroy the dollar as the reserve-currency, a process already in progress.

The preceding scenario would be the direct consequence of what passes for American foreign policy and of the military adventurism that has rendered the country increasingly impoverished with a central government increasingly tyrannical against its own citizenry. In this context, what would an acknowledged military genius such as the Swiss Baron Jomini (1779-1869) recommend? What would his German counterpart, Carl von Clausewitz (1780-1831), recommend?

For more contemporary points of view, ones that the American electorate actually has chosen, what would Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel recommend? What would Secretary of State John Kerry recommend? In the final analysis, what would Mr. Obama II, as Commander-in-Chief, order, if anything? Were you he, what would you order?

WHAT, ME WORRY?

Monday, April 15th, 2013

“I am all peace; But when I speak, they are for war.” -Psalms 120:7

A spark lights a match. The match lights a fuse. The fuse detonates a bomb. The bomb kills.

1914: A city largely unrecognized except on maps. An archduke largely unfamiliar except within royalty. An assassin previously unknown except to his mother. Brought together in what should have been an unfortunate but relatively trivial act, the consequence was millions of men dying, and Western civilization beginning its continuing decay.

2013: Despite the bellicose rhetoric, despite the nuclear weapons, the South Koreans and the international community seem to be regarding North Korean threats as mere bluster intended to extract increased “humanitarian aid” and international respect while firming the political position of its new leader . . . witness the lackadaisical response of financial markets, including in South Korea. In the famous words of Alfred E. Newman featured in Mad Magazine, “What, me worry?”

Indeed, why should the South Koreans worry? Don’t they have American military might protecting them, to some large degree, at American financial expense? Even better, few of us Americans seem to be questioning whether we should be placing our own country at nuclear risk to protect a commercially predatory, South Korean “ally” that, even after the so-called free-trade agreement known as KORUS, feasts on us as its prey.

Depend upon American intelligence-services to evaluate North Korea militarily and politically as a basis upon which to make our decision? Did they accurately predict the Indian bomb? No. The Pakistani bomb? No. Iranian nuclear development? No.

At the moment, the North Koreans are engaging in a war of only words. Yet, words are a form of behavior, including Kim Jong-un’s, and behavior has its consequences. Would that you could ask the millions who died in the trenches following that day in Sarajevo in 1914 in the midst of a war of words.

Invasion?

Given the context of dithering by Mr. Obama’s administration, if you were Kim Jong-un, what might you do? Launch a non-nuclear invasion of The South?

How formidable a military foe does Mr. Obama . . .  a man of uncertain origin who never was in the military, who never owned a business, and who never held a job in the private sector . . . appear to the tyrannical Supreme Leader? How formidable a military foe does Mr. Obama’s Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, appear? How formidable a diplomatic foe does Mr. Obama’s Secretary of State, John Kerry, appear?

Would The USA commit ground-troops as it did in 1950, the consequence of which was the first war The USA failed to win since 1812? Now, after a pyrrhic victory in Iraq benefitting mainly Iran politically and Turkey economically as well as a pending defeat in Afghanistan with the religiously fanatical and anti-American Taliban regaining control, to what extent would the American public support sending hundreds of thousands of troops back to the Korean Peninsula, certain to suffer tens of thousands killed in action and many times that number wounded?

Without ground-troops, could the military of The South win with only air-support by The USAF and USN? The air-superiority of The USAF and USN failed against the North Vietnamese even with American ground-troops defending the South Vietnamese.

Would The USA be the first to use tactical nuclear weapons? A school of military analysts believes that the inescapable consequence of any tactical nuclear war is strategic nuclear war. Would the nuclear response from The North be only tactical? A worldwide strategic nuclear war will be catastrophic for most living creatures on this extraordinary planet, not only from radiation but from depletion of oxygen by firestorms raging worldwide . . . think Dresden in 1945 with non-nuclear bombs.

In the event of American military intervention, what might be the response from China? Even if it remained outside the fray, might it dump its U.S. Treasuries onto the open market as an economic weapon against us? If so, what would be the consequence on an already fragile American economy engaged in, yet, another massive military adventure?

A Further Consideration

Even today, South Korea remains a commercial predator with us Americans as its prey. How would it be in the national interests of The USA to defend South Korea? To what extent would a Korean Peninsula unified under Pyongyang represent a threat to The USA? Is the threat sufficient for us to launch an attack by air against North Korean military installations? After the momentary flag-waving of the Stars-and-Stripes, what would be the consequence?

Clearly, the North Korean military long has prepared for just such an attack. Would they, nevertheless, merely apologize, admit defeat, and promise to be good boys . . . or would they launch a strategic nuclear attack against The South and, to the extent practicable, against American military installations in the Pacific including Japan?

Ours To Make

At the moment, the decision is ours to make. Trying more talk leading to a militarily stronger North Korea while hoping against an invasion of The South by The North? Attacking the nuclear installations of The North? Continuing to obligate ourselves to defending The South then doing so should The North invade?

Given the context and contingent consequences, which option would you choose?  Before answering, consider less the provocative antecedents of Kim Jong-un but more the political context of Mr. Obama and his cohorts directing a war, potentially nuclear, and the horrific consequences of their making a miscalculation.

Is there better alternative to any of the above? Perhaps (www.inescapableconsequences.com).

DEFEND SOUTH KOREA?

Monday, April 8th, 2013

The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connexion as possible.” -President George Washington (1796)

The United States of America has been travelling a historic road to ruin by squandering its wealth in order to maintain its military hegemony. The most recent victim of this time-honored journey to disaster was the Soviet Union, which imploded not politically, not militarily, not socially, but economically. Neo-liberal detractors notwithstanding, the foreign policy of President Ronald Wilson Reagan represented an outstanding example of military success as described centuries ago in The Art of War by Sun Tsu; the President won without firing a shot.

How? By bankrupting the enemy through American strength not American weakness.

The consequence? The end of the so-called Cold War, otherwise known by some as the Long Peace, to be replaced by a host of smaller but even more dangerous threats to America, the most recent being the bellicose behavior by the egregiously misnamed Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (aka/North Korea).

From a scientific perspective, behavior occurs in a context and ultimately is a function of its consequences. Unfortunately, behavior often is a function initially of its antecedents, in which case the subsequent consequence commonly is disaster. In formulating our response, we Americans best had bring our behavior under the control of its consequences not allow it to fall prey to the antecedents that occasion it.

ANALYSIS

Context

Beginning in 1950, American forces have been defending the Republic of Korea (aka/ South Korea). Since the truce in 1953, the real economic cost to The USA has remained clouded but minimally is in the tens of billions (adjusted for inflation). Today, whereas the South Korean government contributes substantially to the maintenance of American military installations in Korea, the American taxpayer contributes the remainder, ironically borrowing the money from The People’s Republic of China, which, in turn, has a military treaty with North Korea. This peculiar arrangement represents the American idea of foreign policy.

In return for American protection, despite the recently enacted Korea-US Free Trade Agreement, the South Koreans promote predatory exporting of goods to The USA while blocking imports from The USA. In fact, the lopsided trading only has worsened since implementation of “KORUS”.

Until KORUS, South Korea effectively used an overt battery of obstacles to American imports; including bans, tariffs, taxes, and regulatory barriers, especially with regard to automobiles. Even after KORUS, during 2012, South Korea exported to The USA 704,700 cars; whereas, America shipped to South Korea only 22,600.

Meanwhile, the trading deficit with South Korea continues increasing. During August 2012, for example, the deficit more than doubled from the year before . . . from $740 million to $1.6 billion. What would President Washington say?

To add insult to injury, since 1953, anti-American sentiment has increased among the population in South Korea, its proponents often using isolated events involving American troops to promote the antipathy. Predictable is the hiding of such sentiment when North Korea rattles its nuclear sabers, as Kim Jong-un currently is doing.

Conversely, unpredictable is Kim Jong-un’s behavior. Who is he . . . as a person? What is he . . . in his role as supreme leader of North Korea? Where is he . . . mentally?

Reared controlling virtual weapons on video-games, he now controls real weapons in the North Korean nuclear arsenal. Remaining an enigma, his persona is a matter of mere speculation with the most authoritative, Western expert being the mentally erratic and behaviorally unpredictable, former basketball-player, Dennis Rodman. To what extent does Kim Jong-un’s behavior reflect cool, calm, mature, reasoned cognition? His choice of an American ambassador of good-will might make one wonder.

The foregoing description of South Korea is not intended as an indictment of that rump-nation or its people. On the contrary, they deserve praise for their achievements.

Any indictment is directed at those Democratic and Republican politicians, bureaucrats, and their supporters who have planned and executed what passes for American foreign policy. It is those Americans who created the context in which the South Koreans merely operated to their advantage and to our detriment.

Antecedent

North Korea threatens to invade South Korea and, should America indicate its intent to intervene, to attack American installations in the nearby Pacific.

Behavior

The American government, typically at a loss for a coherent foreign policy, initially responds in a bellicose fashion with words and “war-games” then begins to retreat . . . then reverses . . . or does it?

Consequence

As yet, unknown. Thus far, the financial markets have shown little response, if any.

RESOLUTION

Problem

An excess of bellicose behavior by North Korea against South Korea in which The USA, by treaty, has obligated itself to become involved militarily.

Goal

Constitutionally, to have protected American interests. Politically, with Mr. Obama II in office, unknown.

Plan

Unclear. At the moment, it appears to be to honor the treaty.

The question arises, however, To what extent should The USA continue to expend its dwindling economic resources by extending military protection to other nations; in this case, South Korea?

In 1914, an isolated assassination became the antecedent for World War One. Could a similar isolated, relatively trivial event become the antecedent for a nuclear conflict with North Korea, possibly involving China? If so, is it in the national interests of The USA to intervene in behalf of South Korea? What political, economic, or social benefits does South Korea confer upon The USA? Some might answer, “With friends like them, who needs enemies?”

So, can a case be made not to intervene . . . to let the South Koreans defend themselves? The future of humanity may rest with the answer.

The Cold War with its threat of international Communism long has passed. Accordingly, whatever our decision, should we not be asking ourselves, Given the multitude of violent conflicts erupting internationally, are we to involve ourselves in each and every one? If not, which? Is there even an answer? Fortunately, yes . . . one scientifically-based and scientifically-driven (www.inescapableconsequences.com).

Ah, but in this particular case, if we Americans decline to defend South Korea, economic predator that it may be, are we not placing ourselves into further jeopardy, given North Korean nuclear weapons and missiles? No, not necessarily.

Sadly, the two moments of truth already have passed. The first began in 1950 when we Americans allowed a politically-weakened President Harry S. Truman to bow to the emerging trans-nationalists by entering into an undeclared war in Korea via the newly-created United Nations. The stage for the second was set in 1992 when we Americans elected a deceitful draft-dodger as President . . . Bill Clinton {Let us not forget Jennifer Flowers, ClintonCare [See Healthcare Reform D.O.A. (1994).], and Monica Lewinsky.}. Given President Reagan’s defeat of the Soviet Union, Mr. Clinton promised us an economic “peace dividend”. His means included gutting our military.

In 1953, we Americans failed to win in Korea . . . the first time that America had not won a military conflict since 1812. Had we followed General MacArthur’s advice to pursue victory, advice for which he was fired by President Truman, we should not have faced the second moment of truth forty years later. Would the Soviet Union have intervened? History has confirmed the answer . . . No!

That second moment of truth occurred in 1994 when we Americans discovered that the North Koreans also had been deceiving the American people . . . their deceit involving developing their nuclear capability. What did Mr. Clinton do? Yak and feed. Had we destroyed their nuclear installations, would China have retaliated? Unlikely. Firstly, the Chinese could not launch a nuclear attack against The USA. Secondly, the Chinese could not win a non-nuclear war. Instead, of punishing the enemy for their threatening deceit, he rewarded them with “humanitarian aid”; thereby, promoting their further development of weapons by which to destroy us. Today, we face the frightening consequence of Mr. Clinton’s behavior.

So, now what to do? Rely on the Chinese to resolve the situation-in-question on our behalf?

The Chinese are our self-admitted adversaries, if not enemies, who view, possibly justifiably, America as in “terminal decline”. To what extent will they support us against their geographical buffer . . . their military and political ally, North Korea? Even were they disposed to do so, to what extent can they control that ally? Apparently, even they do not know.

An alternative option to that of defending South Korea is to cancel our military treaty, withdraw our troops from the Korean Peninsula, and warn the North Koreans publicly that, should we even have reason to believe that they are continuing to develop the means of delivering their missiles to American shores, including Hawaii, we will attack without warning and destroy them to whatever extent that we deem necessary. It is a warning that we also might deliver to Iran and others, as need be.

Would the rest of the world regard this move as a sign of weakness? No, not necessarily . . . not if we divert the monies that we have been squandering via losing foreign adventurism into domestic defense of the homeland and not if we stop treating internal enemies, barbarians within our gates, as it were, as though they are patriotic friends.

Unfortunately, this alternative contains a potential obstacle in the person of Mr. Obama II, an individual of dubious background who never owned a business, never held a job in the private sector, never served in the military, and whose primary advisor has a history of Marxist affiliations; yet, who has become President twice-elected. How much more predictable in this situation is Mr. Obama’s behavior than Kim Jong-un’s? If so, what might that behavior be?

In 1986, Mikhail Gorbachev, General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, recognized the steely resolve of President Reagan during their meeting at Reykjavik, Iceland. Does Barack Hussein Obama II possess such resolve in defending American national interests? If so, would Kim Jong-un recognize it? If not, the aforementioned plan is fatally flawed; in which case, either we Americans shall meet the demands of the little tyrant in Pyongyang and continue our “yakking” while he continues enhancing his nuclear arsenal, or we shall risk strategic nuclear war.

Measurement

Should Mr. Obama II possess such resolve, and should he put the aforementioned option into play as a plan, we must measure continuously North Korean military capability and act accordingly. Scientifically, we have the means. Societally, do we have the will? If not, shall we not prove the Chinese assessment of us correct?

ISRAEL: LOSE . . . LOSE? (PART SIX/SIX)

Monday, October 31st, 2011

. . . continued

Note: Given the enthusiastic response, the current series will remain in place for another week. To begin, please see Part One below, currently archived under “Military”.

Of further note, recent reports claim that, following the attempted assassination of its Ambassador in Washington, the government of Saudi Arabia has requested the government of the USA to destroy militarily Iranian nuclear facilities. Will the current occupant of the Oval Office oblige? Unlikely, unless his advisors, sensing an overwhelming probability of losing the upcoming presidential election, counsel him to display “strength and resolve” by doing so; “wagging the dog”. More likely, they will counsel him to rely on the Republicans’ incredible aptitude for ineptitude . . . think candidates Robert Dole and John McCain . . . to carry him to electoral victory.

Even should Mr. Obama oblige the Saudis, would defanging Iran bolster the Israeli cause? Would it transform Saudi enemies into newfound friends? Would it cause other Mohammedan Arabs to follow a path to peace?

Ironically, Americans’ removing the nuclear threat from Iran without wringing from the Saudis prior concessions in favor of Israel probably would embolden the Arabic enemies of Israel to press forward their strategy of isolating and strangling the Jewish State. Would Mr. Obama demand such concessions? Before answering, recall him bowing to the King of Saudi Arabia.

Employing Measurement
Whatever a plan, one should monitor whether its consequences are progressing towards fulfilling its targeted goal. In resolving problematic situations, measurement of progress is critical but, unfortunately, often neglected. Given the Middle Eastern situation-in-question, how could the Israelis measure progress?

Measurement comes in two forms; namely, qualitative and quantitative. The latter is preferable but not always practicable. Especially should Israel adopt Plan #5, there would be several axes for measurement, including military, political, economic, and social; some more amenable to quantitative measurement than others.

Militarily, measurement easily is quantifiable. To what extent, for example, would Israel have captured the territories targeted? To what extent would Israel have pacified those territories measures by numbers of hostile incidents, deaths, and injuries? To what extent would Israel have blunted the efforts of its other military enemies in terms of amounts of military expenditures as well as numbers of threatening actions and threatening rhetoric?

Politically and nationally, measurement tends towards the qualitative. Primarily, would the Jewish proclivity for internecine arguing seem to be damaging the military effort? Most nations recognize that, during a declared war, the government has the right, if not the obligation, to limit speech that might undermine its military effort. Accordingly, the Israeli government could declare a state of emergency and limit civil rights during active fighting and immediately thereafter. A question arises, however . . . Would Israelis accept surrender of internecine arguing in the short term in favor of victory over a mortal enemy in the long term?

Politically and internationally, measurement can be quantitative. How many other countries would have severed diplomatic ties with Israel or even have mounted an active campaign to isolate Israel further? As an aside, should Israel capture the Saudi oilfields, one wonders how long-lived such overt hostility would be? Money is a powerful contingent consequence; money moves the world.

Economically, measurement is mainly quantitative. In shekels, how much would the option chosen be affecting the Gross Domestic Product, balance of payments, and trading balance? What would be the trend?

Socially and nationally, measurement is largely qualitative. To what extent would the Israeli population seem to be bonding? To what extent, would Israelis seem to be supporting their own troops during a prolonged occupation? In that regard, the Israelis might consider borrowing a page from British history with an emphasis on positive control of the enemy (www.inescapableconsequences.com).

Socially and internationally, measurement, on the other hand, can be quantitative. How many other countries would be barring entry by Israeli citizens? How many foreigners would be boycotting Israel as a traveling destination? How many exchanges between foreigners and Israelis would be curtailed? In the context of Israeli control of the oilfields, On the other hand, again one wonders how long-lived such overt hostility likely would be?  As previously stated, money is a powerful contingent consequence; money moves the world.

DISCUSSION

Science and Resolution
This series addressing the plight of Israel presented a scientifically-compatible approach to solving societal problems . . . an approach equally applicable to personal ones. Firstly, analyze the situation-in-question in terms of Context then Antecedents-Behaviors-Consequences . . . the ABC’s. Secondly, resolve the situation-in-question by Defining the Problem, Targeting a Goal, Designing a Plan, and Measuring Progress.

Final Comments About Israel
Jewish Israel is losing. Mohammedan Arabia is winning.

Must Israel adopt a new strategy? Need Arabia only maintain the old one?

To win the peace, must Israel give war a chance? Must Israel strike soon while the proverbial iron remains hot?

Conversely, what can Israel gain by waiting? Further isolation? Withdrawal of American support? A nuclear-armed Iran? Do such developments sound enticing?

There’s an American flag dating from 1775 that reads, “Don’t Tread On Me.” Might it be a warning that the Israelis should consider borrowing? Might it be one that Americans themselves should consider resurrecting?