"There's gonna be a major, major conflict! And I'm sorry about Seoul! Tough luck there! But their sacrifice'll make me look more presidential!"
As The Financial Times reported yesterday, the bellicose Trump bunch wants Jimmy Carter to stay out of any peace -making deals with North Korea. This despite the war rhetoric reaching new heights. In a Reuters interview yesterday, the egomaniacal baboon- in- chief grunted, then growled: "We're heading for a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely!'
And as I posted earlier, this hotheaded maggot doesn't possess the skill, background historical knowledge or intelligence to steer clear of a conflagration with a nuclear state that would unleash a pitiless assault not on the U.S. (which is too far away to strike) but on its South Korean ally. Specifically, the 25 million citizens of Seoul, the "most densely populated city on Earth" according to one general reporting to the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Does Trump care one whit about any of those innocent civilians when Kim Jung-Un unleashes a barrage of tens of thousands of shells from 4,000 artillery pieces? Of course not! For him, they are in part or all at once expendable pawns on the grand "chessboard" on which he's playing the mighty "sheriff" of the world. Having been stoked to the brim with his Syria cruise missile strike, he now believes he can unleash a more devastating one on North Korea. But he's a damned fool and idiot because it is the millions of Seoul who will pay.
Yes, the U.S. would ultimately come out ahead but it would be a Pyrrhic victory. Meaning the costs would exceed the brief moment of victory, mainly for the South Koreans who'd have to body bag the dead (what body parts they could find) and rebuild their devastated city. And I'm assuming here no nuclear weapons would be used which might be pie in the freaking sky.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (the same group that operates the ‘doomsday clock’ and has now moved it two and a half minutes to midnight) estimates the North possesses twenty weapons in the 10 – 20 kiloton range or roughly the same magnitude of yield as the atomic bomb that reduced Hiroshima to ashes in 1945.
Would they actually use it? 12 days ago in an interview with CBS’ Ben Stacy, the North Korean Defense minister when asked about any response if the U.S. made a pre-emptive strike didn’t bandy words: he said there would be a total nuclear retaliatory strike. How serious should he be taken?
First, they are estimated to be at the most primitive, early stages of A-bomb development. According to the most recent Physics Today (April issue) their existing weapons would deliver a yield of roughly 0.08 kt/ kilogram. That is yield per actual bomb mass. This means they’d need to be able to launch or carry (via plane) at least 100 kg of bomb mass to get an 8 kiloton A -blast, or 200 kg to get a 16 kt yield. This is feasible with their existing bombers and might also be with their most advanced (solid fuel) missile. However, none of these weapons could reach the U.S. presently – though they could wreak havoc on Seoul, South Korea – with the potential to obliterate over 20 million people as well as all U.S. troops stationed in S. Korea.
Clearly, this is a cost and risk no sane leader would visit on a vulnerable ally. And yet Trump, who fancies himself Dictator of the world, has no qualms about doing so - from his rhetoric- nor any sympathy for the South Koreans who will be caught in the line of fire as a possible mini nuclear holocaust plays out.
Second, that they would make such a retaliatory strike is beyond question. As numerous commentators have pointed out – e.g. Sue Mi Terry - former CIA North Korean analyst, they’d regard it as a matter of survival. Much like Castro during the Cuban Missile Crisis in October, 1962 who told former Kennedy Defense Secretary Robert McNamara in 1992 (during a 30 yr. reunion) he’d have launched 93 nuclear-armed IRBMs had the U.S. invaded. (JFK was being pushed at the time to bomb and invade Cuba by his Joint Chiefs of Staff).
When asked in an MSNBC interview 2 weeks ago if Trump would actually attack North Korea, Sue Terry responded:
“I can’t see him following through on this and that is the problem with the brinksmanship policy. Because you’re putting yourself in a bind. You will either have to back down and lose credibility or you are stuck on a ledge with a military option which is very, very risky.
North Korea is not Syria. It’s not Afghanistan. It’s going to have very devastating consequences. North Korea will retaliate to any kind of military option. They will retaliate against South Korea given seventy percent of its ground forces are deployed within 100 kilometers (60 miles) of the DMZ. And there’s twenty thousand U.S. military in South Korea and twenty million people in Seoul”
But if his words yesterday are taken seriously, and there's no reason to believe this insane maggot is bluffing - given his ego-- then the South can expectferocious blowback and devastation. Trump then is not a rational actor like JFK was during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He’s an imperious, impetuous braggart and clueless numbskull narcissist not even aware of recent history. He operates according to an unstable “high conflict” personality which one psychologist (Bill Eddy) has said makes him a “more dangerous politician than Adolf Hitler”. In other words, unlike with JFK, we can only assume Trump will make exactly the opposite decision in a nuclear game of high stakes poker.
Expect him to play "double or nothing" with the Korean standoff, but we know already who the real losers of this charlatan's game will be.
To understand the full background, read this handy collection of some of the world's leading experts published by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Feel free to forward links to others:
North Korea in the news again: a time to reflect, edited by Dan Drollette
Will South Korea go nuclear? Robert Einhorn, Duyeon Kim
North Korea's nuclear weapons: What now? Roundtable with Shen Dingli, Chung-in Moon, Andrei Lankov
Hecker assesses North Korean hydrogen bomb claims, Siegfried Hecker
The North Korea that can say no, Bruce Cumings
Getting North Korea wrong, Bruce Cumings
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