Ed.: 080917 – Words: 1427 – Audio: 10:16
(I love when I can make a title rhyme!)
During the Cold War and the verbal back-and-forth between us and the Soviets there was a constant trying to ascertain the next person’s move or interpret the recent bravado threats as meaning one thing or another. But between our two countries we also had a strong espionage activity going on where we could generally verify clandestine information, and movements of our respective militaries was basically difficult to hide from the other.
The crisis with North Korea has none of that. Other than satellite surveillance , which is good, that is not always able to determine what occurs out of view. We have no espionage program, no human intel being gathered and evaluated to determine real intent, and as far as I know, we have no informal contacts with any high ranking military of inner staff. So when the Dear Leader blasts away with another threat there’s no way to confirm or deny if something is just rhetoric or actual policy.
Now, all that being said, it does make more feasible “armchair” analysis and evaluation with a measure of practicality because pretty much what we hear on the news is pretty much all our intelligence services can get. For example, trying to armchair analyze certain Soviet intentions back in the day was pure guesswork because the government had other avenues of intelligence gathering not shared with the public from which to make policy.
My point with all this… any one of us who like to provide “armchair” politics might find the North Korean crisis open to some credible analysis. As this post is being written the President has returned bombastic rhetoric back to North Korea, threatening “…they will be met with fire and fury.”, if the North continues with their threats (use of that phrase seems to hearken back to what Truman said regarding the threatened bombing of Hiroshima, or else). Since then, the North has let be known that their military is considering plans to strike Guam. By time I post this there could easily be more events unfolding.
But the press is now alive (as to be expected) with all kinds of apocalyptic scenarios of death and destruction, Hawaii and Guam are trying to prepare their populations on surviving a nuke attack, and even the mainland U.S. people are getting skittish. This is moving way out of control emotionally, and I see absolutely nothing to presume anyone anywhere is going to lob nukes on top of anyone. In fact… my interpretation of things would suggest that we fear more from the total unpredictability and demonstrated untrustworthiness of our own President than I do with Kim-Jon un… and as an American I am appalled I feel that way.
Ok.. let’s review two areas of concern. The first is, is Kim technically able to launch a nuke-laden ICBM anywhere, whether it’s down the hill from the launch pad or across the world? This is the speculation and the North continues to send out signals that they have a missile ready and waiting, standing by for the targeting sequence to be programmed. Well, we know better than that. Why?
- Remember the early space program? Lots of rockets were launched in tests for years, both for space travel and ICBM development. In this day and age where rocketry, avionics, and guidance systems are well developed and the knowledge openly available might allow for less testing to get the technology right. Nonetheless, testing is still needed if for nothing else than to make sure all the electronics and mechanics constructed are working together… and work together under the stresses and pressures of g-forces, the space environment, and re-entry temperatures.
- Once that is down pat, then they have to get trajectory and guidance in order to hit what they want to target. Just to smack into an island in the Pacific the size of Guam, as I recall is about 35 miles long and 5 miles wide, is like hitting the head of a pin on a beach ball from a mile away. You can’t just run to the local Radio Shack and buy a few resistors and IC chips to create a guidance system. This also requires testing… and you don’t want to test with a live nuke onboard because the nuke core is too expensive and/or takes time to create, and could land anywhere.
- Even IF the North Koreans were getting missile help from China, Russia, or wherever, to hasten up the process, it would still require testing because the North is going to want control to do it themselves and that requires training in design and manufacturing.
- I am not a scientist by any stretch, but I am a bit of a science geek.. so I can only call on those things in which I have some basic understanding. From what I’ve seen with this testing has been basically testing size, weight, and fuel systems to get the maximum height and speed and payload possibilities. They have done solid fuel tests, and liquid fuel tests. Are they done? Have they reached a point where they are ready for guidance tests? I don’t know. But I do know, they need more tests to get to a point of any sort of accuracy.
- If they have developed a mini-nuke to fit inside the nose of an ICBM you have to keep in mind, if you make a nuke of any kind would you not need to test your design to know you are on the right track? I don’t recall any nuke detonation testing going on over there.
Bottom line… I see a lot of future testing before any ICBM from North Korea nukes anything.
The second area of concern as I see it….
- Everything Kim has blustered… is language. He’s communicating. The “trick” on our end is trying to decipher what he’s trying to say. Example… apparently he’s been pretty concerned by the flyovers from our B1 bombers. Where are they based? Guam. Are you seeing a picture here? A smart negotiator might interpret that as a weakness… a negotiating point to get talks moving. Maybe we offer to stop the bomber flyovers… if he sits down to chat… or at least halts testing. Now, I’m not suggesting that’s a true strategy angle at this point.. but I am saying this bombastic bravado of non-existent military might is a language. In fact, his entire nuclear program was developed as a form of communication to us.
- If Kim is using language… who in the White House is capable of listening and interpreting what he is trying to say? Where is our domestic experience from people in the diplomatic know, and are they getting the President informed so he can respond accordingly? This president has mouthed off some ridiculous and provocative crap about delivering “fire and brimstone” or similar nonsense under the presumption that he’s tossing Kim’s bravado right back at him. This is the extent of our North Korean foreign policy; hyperbolic rhetoric. That is NO way a President of the United States should react. Unfortunately Trump has never understood that words indeed matter, especially from the leader of the free world. America matches words with deeds and we are expected to do that. Actually, he just lied to Kim like he’s been lying to us. (How about we put these two clowns in a room, away from nuke-firing buttons, and they can -verbally- compare penis size all they want?)
CNN is reporting some poll showing something like 50% of the country favors a military strike against North Korea. Where the hell does that comes from? To those of you who wonder how we get into these long wars and conflicts… now you know. Well, you want to get Americans to act just make them afraid. You want to get Americans to act impulsively, make a big bang to set the hook of fear.
To my fellow Americans I suggest.. cool your jets or something stupid WILL happen. Our own President knows not what he does. Although, some might argue that in itself is why survival emotions are running high.
Carry On America