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Commentary on The Capital Markets- Category [Foreign Policy]
2017-09-17 14:53 by Karl Denninger
in Foreign Policy , 257 references
[Comments enabled]  

Maybe -- just maybe -- our government is waking up.

The latest dubbing of Kim-Jung-Nutjob as "Rocket Man" may be the start.


The declaration that we have "run out of UN options" is a better indication, and long overdue.  Obviously new sanctions did nothing to convince the North Koreans not to launch another missile -- this one apparently successful as well.  With each additional launch they learn more about re-entry and how to harden the "terminal package" portion of said missile.

Re-entry is mostly about angles and material science.  It's a function of ablative material, how heat is conducted into the inside of your warhead, and making sure the projectile remains stabilized through the air so it doesn't break up.  It took us a few tries to get it right, and it's taken Rocket Man a few tries too.  He will achieve it, if he hasn't already.  Note that nobody is talking about "lots of piece" returns this time around -- which means he might have gotten it figured out.

So we're back to the question I've asked repeatedly: Do we simply accept that North Korea has and will continue to perfect nuclear-armed missiles, or do we not?

If we do, and I remind you that other nations that have "given them up" have seen their leaders removed and killed at our behest or even via our direct action, including in some pretty nasty ways, then it's definitely time to cut the ****.

If we do not then it's also time to cut the **** because the longer we wait the worst the (very bad) consequences of doing something about this are going to be.

There are no "good" choices here.  Only a selection of not-so-good to very bad ones.

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2017-09-03 12:21 by Karl Denninger
in Foreign Policy , 296 references
[Comments enabled]  

The problem with drawing red lines is that when someone steps over one you are compelled to act on pain of being labeled a "pussy."

That's not a good thing when the topic is international relations; it inevitably leads to not only more provocation but much worse, it leads others to believe you won't act when you say you will, and thus you become an unreliable party.

It is never in the best interest of a nation to be unreliable.  Unpredictable can be an asset in certain circumstances, but never unreliable.

So now, with the Norks setting off what was probably a multi-stage (fusion/fission) weapon, that is "hydrogen bomb", we have a big problem.

The claim has been made through the years that North Korea will not be "permitted" to become a nuclear weapon state.

It just did -- so what are we going to do about it?

Let me remind you that all the choices are bad.  We could choose to attack North Korea, but the consequence of doing so is very likely to be at least a counter-strike by the Norks on Seoul and everything else in South Korea within range of their weapons, which may, at this point, include a handful of nuclear devices.  Yes, we will win any such confrontation but at what cost and, at least equally to the point, we might provoke other nations to get directly and militarily involved (in particular China.)  Anyone who thinks this will be neat, clean and won't involve lots of dead non-combatants (including women and children) being splayed all over every television and outlet in the world is flat-out nuts.

We can try strangling North Korea trade-wise, but I remind you that we already have tried that repeatedly via UN resolutions and not only have the Chinese helped them cheat it didn't deter anything -- if anything it strengthened the resolve of the Norks to press forward with their weapons programs even to the point of starving their own population.  There is a point at which one must conclude that insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result.  The simple fact is that in order to make sanctions "stick" we have to be willing to blackball major Chinese banks from the US banking and settlement systems, which thus far we have been unwilling to do.  In addition China does not want the North Korean government to collapse (which is the only way a sanctions system will stop their development of arms) because they greatly fear both a united Korean peninsula under a republican form of government and the refugee crisis that such a collapse would generate.  Finally there is a non-zero risk that China might intervene militarily if we attempt to provoke a collapse of the North Korean government -- they have come out and directly said so, and as such we must at least consider that they're not bluffing in that regard.

We can try negotiating but what carrot can we offer that will actually result in a non-nuclear Korean peninsula?  I argue the answer is "none"; they have already said they will not give them up enough times that to go back on that would be to lose major face and perhaps provoke the very collapse of the government that China fears.  As such I don't believe we can, at this point, negotiate disarmament via any sort of discussion no matter what we put on the table, and I remind you that once again China has to be on board with whatever is proposed.  Any path that potentially leads to a unified Korean peninsula that is not communist is unacceptable to China irrespective of any other set of terms.

We can decide that we'll accept a nuclear-armed North Korea, but in doing so we are then accepting every other dictatorial state that wishes to acquire same, including, I might remind you, Iran.  The premise of "MAD" only works when all the people with the key to unlock the button are not insane.  If just one such person is insane then "MAD" makes it extremely likely we will all experience a need for SPF 5,000 sunscreen.

This is a **** sandwich folks, brewed up through decades of outrageously stupid decisions by administrations in the United States (and elsewhere) on all sides.  You cannot lay this solely or even largely at either party's feet -- it lies equally at both.

But we are here today, with the situation we've generated, and our only remaining question is what are we going to do about it now?

I only hope we don't have to take a really big bite.

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