North Korea says the unprecedented deployment of three U.S. aircraft carrier groups "taking up a strike posture" around the Korean peninsula is making it impossible to predict when nuclear war will break out.
By September, U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un were trading insults. Trump called Kim “Little Rocket Man” and was labelled a “mentally deranged dotard” in return.
NORTH Korea has called Donald Trump a “lunatic” after he moved to prepare US bombers, the first time since the end of the Cold War.
NORTH Korea has called Donald Trump a “hooligan” and a “lunatic” after the US reportedly put its nuclear bombers back on 24-hour alert for the first time since the end of the Cold War.
B-52 aircraft could soon find themselves permanently laden with nuclear weapons and parked next to the runways on air bases waiting for the order to attack, The Sun reports.
An editorial by North Korean government news agency KCNA said: “Dignitaries of White House, and State and Defence Departments of the US are having a hard time cooling Trump overheated with a war fever, but only the South Korean puppet forces are fanning up the lunatic fingering a nuclear button.”
North Korea's U.N. Ambassador Ja Song Nam said in a letter to Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres Monday that the joint military exercises are creating "the worst ever situation" around the peninsula.
He also said the U.S. has reactivated round-the-clock sorties with nuclear-capable B-52 strategic bombers "which existed during the Cold War times."
Ja said "the large-scale nuclear war exercises and blackmails, which the U.S. staged for a whole year without a break … make one conclude that the option we have taken was the right one and we should go along the way to the last."
Of course, the United States did not pull the trigger. At the end of the day, Nixon found what every president has encountered: Solutions in North Korea are all or nothing. The rouge nation is too threatening to target with small military measures, while actually effective strategies would rely on massive military attacks using weapons of mass destruction. Kissinger called this dilemma "the extreme end of possibilities."
Today we can learn some grim lessons about what has changed in Asia (and what hasn't) by comparing what we know about Nixon's plans with the current situation. Every president has come to this moment with North Korea, and now that it's his turn, Trump has moved nuclear assets around the global chessboard. Maybe it's a display of brinksmanship. Maybe he really is preparing for action. In any case, many people are understandably fretting over his actually using them. Fewer are asking why and how the Pentagon would employ them. That's where the Nixon memo comes in, as a springboard of this unsettling conversation.
Nixon's plan to nuke North Korea was called Operation Freedom Drop. The memo that conceived it—"Nuclear Contingency Plan for North Korea"—had the stated purpose "to provide pre-coordinated options for the selective use of tactical nuclear weapons North Korea."
Now, the jargon gets obtuse and controversial here, but for the purpose on this discussion, any nuclear attack that doesn't involved reducing entire cities to ash is "tactical." In 1969, and in 2017, the Pentagon's goal is and was not to exterminate North Korean cities and resettle the land a couple hundred years from later. Rather, the plan was to use small-yield nukes to de-fang the dangerous North Korean military.
The Nixon memos show that the Pentagon didn't see an easy way to destroy the North Korean air force without resorting to a wider war over the entire peninsula. There were too many airbases to strike and not enough U.S. planes to fly over them without risking an extended campaign and high casualties.
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The Defense Department declined to discuss contingency plans or the status of Tomahawks or other weapons systems in Northeast Asia. “The U.S. military must always maintain a high state of readiness to counter any threat, to include those from North Korea,” a U.S. official told FP.
The be-prepared order for U.S. forces came on the heels of a series of provocative missile launches and a nuclear test by the rogue power. On July 3, North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting U.S. territory. Two months later, North Korea tested what it described a thermonuclear weapon, a claim that if true would vastly increase the destructive power of Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal.
Defense Secretary James Mattis has warned that any threat to the United States, including the territory of Guam, or to U.S. allies would be met with “a massive military response.” And Mattis said last month that that response needn’t jeopardize U.S. and Korean civilians in Seoul, but he declined to say what those military options could be.
Washington has conducted military drills with South Korean and Japanese allies, sent attack submarines to South Korean ports, and flown strategic bombers over South Korea and off the North Korean coast.
Yet Kim and his predecessors have avoided the ultimate showdown despite plenty of low-intensity skirmishes over the years. That’s a sign that the regime has an overarching focus on survival, said Yong Suk Lee, deputy assistant director at the CIA’s new Korea Mission Center.
“The last person who wants conflict is actually Kim Jong Un. He wants to rule peacefully for a long time and die,” Lee said. Taking on the United States is “not conducive to his longevity.”
Earlier Monday, in brief remarks to reporters, Song was asked about the risk of war against North Korea. He said defence ministers bring a special perspective to the problem.
“We understand the very weight of engaging in a war,” he said through a translator. “As such, we will make all the efforts necessary to resolve the issue in as economic and diplomatic way as possible.”
Whether the world's first attempt at "limited nuclear war" remains limited depends on the effectiveness of the cruise missiles and, even more so, intelligence gathering. It wouldn't take many hidden mobile ballistic launchers to survive the first strike for wreak havoc major Asian cities.
So the North Korea nuke game is all or nothing. The conventional wisdom has been that the U.S. and its allies in the area need to launch a massive attack, with all of its risks, or no attack at all. The words of presidents Trump and Japanese president Abe have been strident, but the words are backed by movements of military hardware. So the question remains: Will Trump make the ultimate gamble and make the use of small nuclear weapons part of a response, or even a first strike? And how many lives are at stake, depending on the answer?
“If you are an ordinary person, then you can prepare yourself for war by moving to the countryside and building a farm, but you must take guns with you, as the hordes of starving will be roaming. Also, even though the elite will have their safe havens and specialist shelters, they must be just as careful during the war as the ordinary civilians, because their shelters can still be compromised.”