Friday, August 18, 2017

Korea, next week critical

click to enlarge....source
This, below, was reasonable concern at the time, but the worst did not come about.
The US and the DPRK remain competitive in huffing and puffing and as usual the testing of three minor missiles by the DPRK is more news than this Ulchi Freedom Guardian, see box.
Some more coverage here, here and here

Geoff Miller, former ambassador to South Korea, Director-General Office of National Assessment, etc, etc, wrote a piece for John Menadue's blog this morning pointing out that critical moments, determining war or peace on the Korean peninsula, are from Monday 21 August 2017.

I added comment on other sides of the situation, tidying up this version a little from my scrappy writing earlier:

One Response to GEOFF MILLER. Korea: Missiles or exercises or both?

  1. Yes indeed. And while calculated order at the top in Pyongyang, not so in Washington.
    The problem arising is that the asserted objectives of the UN Security Council, others involved with non-proliferation, the US, Australia, the EU, etc… are not going to be achieved. The DPRK is on the threshold of nuclear weapon state status, as much as India, Pakistan and Israel and their certain conviction is that their (regime, family) survival can only be assured by nuclear weapon state status. The NPT has failed in this case, the apparati of non-proliferation now well over 40 years old have failed. The exponents of non-proliferation need now to focus on motivation to nuclear weapon state status, which is an expensive buy for most states. Getting big heads around that will not be easy, harder than getting Australian leaders to read Article 1 of the ANZUS Treaty. Viz: “The Parties undertake, as set forth in the Charter of the United Nations, to settle any international disputes in which they may be involved by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security and justice are not endangered and to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.”
    Ulchi [the very large US-ROK exercise to which Australia is adding something] begins on Monday 21 August. Trump (and many more) will be focused on his going to a divisive rally in Phoenix Tuesday evening (11am Wednesday, Seoul time). Kim knows that, one hopes.
    General Kelly, White House Chief of Staff was reported to have difficulty finding perspective over the weekend of developments at Charlottesville and was then a distraught bystander during the Wednesday rant at Trump Tower.
    There are three generals in conclave on Korea at this moment, Kelly, Defence Secretary Mattis and National Security Advisor McMaster. McMaster author of a book scathingly critical of civilian ‘interference’ with command decisions at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam. Mattis is a marine general and despite his ‘Mad Dog’ labelling reportedly has a history of some ethical concern, presence among soldiers in hard places and relieving of dishonest or less than upright officers. Kelly seems to have been brought into the administration for his unblinking toughness, characteristic of the US Southern Command and perspective towards Latin America. Present at the beginning of the Iraq War in 2003, Wikipedia records that: “During the initial assault on Baghdad, Kelly was asked by a reporter for The Los Angeles Times if, considering the size of the Iraqi Army and the vast supplies of tanks, artillery and chemical weapons available to Saddam’s forces, he would ever consider defeat. Kelly’s archetypal response was “Hell these are Marines. Men like them held Guadalcanal and took Iwo Jima. Baghdad ain’t shit.”
    Timeline and cast.

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