Donald Trump's fascination with North Korea is understandable, but it is also emotional. My new piece for NK News: https://t.co/pNg4b5kePq
— Andrei Lankov (@andreilankov) May 24, 2017
Well respected geopolitical analyst George Friedman believes that the US military is currently posturing itself for war with North Korea:
The US is preparing to attack North Korea, according to Geopolitical Futures founder George Friedman — setting the stage for a difficult, messy war with potentially catastrophic consequences.
Speaking Monday to a rapt audience at the 2017 Strategic Investment Conference in Orlando, Friedman said that while it was unlikely the US would take action before President Donald Trump returns home at the weekend, North Korea’s actions appeared to have “offered the US no alternative” to a clash.
According to Geopolitical Futures analysis, evidence is mounting that the enmity between the two is escalating to a point where war is inevitable.
Friedman said that on May 20, the USS Carl Vinson supercarrier and USS Ronald Reagan were both within striking distance of North Korea.
Additionally, more than 100 F-16 aircraft are conducting daily exercises in the area, a tactic that foreshadowed the beginning of Desert Storm in 1991.
F-35 aircraft have also been deployed to the area, and US government representatives are expected to brief Guam on civil defense, terrorism, and Korea on May 31.
All of these strategic moves telegraph one outcome — conflict. [Business Insider]
You can read more at the link, but I think posturing for war does not necessarily mean war is imminent. The Trump administration may have the US military posturing for war to show the Kim regime they are serious about beginning negotiations to end their nuclear program. If they don’t negotiate military force may be an option. The problem is that the Kim regime likely does not believe that military force will be used because of the artillery threat to Seoul in response.
An imminent war with North Korea actually conflicts with Friedman’s prediction in his book “The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century”. In the book he predicted no major war against North Korea and that the Kim regime would collapse leading to a unified Korean peninsula in the 2020’s.
It looks like the North Koreans may have pulled off another successful missile test pending further analysis:
North Korea fired a ballistic missile that flew about 500 kilometers, Sunday, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).
This marked the North’s second missile provocation since President Moon Jae-in was sworn in May 10. The first was launched May 14.
President Moon immediately ordered the new chief of the National Security Office, Chung Eui-yong, to preside over a meeting of the Standing Committee of the National Security Council (NSC) at Cheong Wa Dae. Chung was appointed to the post earlier in the day.
“North Korea fired an unidentified ballistic missile in the eastern direction at around 4:59 p.m. from the vicinity of Pukchang in South Pyongan Province,” the JCS said in a release. “Flight distance is about 500 kilometers.”
The JCS noted the characteristics of the missile were presumed to be similar to the “Pukguksong-2” intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) fired in February. At the time, the North’s state media said its IRBM used a high-thrust solid fuel-powered engine, marking the first time it tested a solid-fueled, surface-to-surface missile that has more than a medium range. [Korea Times]
You can read more at the link.
If you live in Seoul and you are wondering how long it would take for North Korea to nuke you, here you go:
The Associated Press(AP) reports that it takes zero to six minutes for a North Korean missile to hit Seoul, around ten minutes to hit Japan and 30 to 39 minutes to reach the capital of the United States.
The AP revealed the data on Wednesday, citing David Wright, scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, and missile analyst Markus Schiller at ST Analytics, a space technology and rocketry consulting company in Germany.
The two experts said if North Korea launches a strike against South Korea using its conventional artillery north of the Demilitarized Zone, the first wave of shells could land with essentially no warning. [KBS World Radio]
You can read more at the link.
Via a reader link comes speculation that the recent massive global cyberattack may have been a North Korean operation:
The WannaCry ransomware that attacked computers in 150 countries has lines of code that are identical to work by hackers known as the Lazarus Group, according to security experts. The Lazarus hackers have been linked to North Korea, raising suspicions that the nation could be responsible for the attack.
The connection was made by Google security researcher Neel Mehta, who pointed out similarities between WannaCry and malware used by Lazarus, the group that’s been blamed for the Sony Pictures hack of 2014 and for stealing millions of dollars from a Bangladeshi bank in 2016.
After Mehta highlighted the elements in the code, other researchers confirmed similarities that early versions of WannaCry (also called WannaCrypt, Wana Decryptor or WCry) shared with malware tools used by Lazarus. [NPR]
You can read more at the link, but I can easily see this cyberattack as something the Kim regime would do. With that said when I read about the cyberattack the first thing I thought was I was glad I use an Apple computer. 😉
Here is an interesting experiment put together by the New York Times:
An experiment led by Kyle Dropp of Morning Consult from April 27-29, conducted at the request of The New York Times, shows that respondents who could correctly identify North Korea tended to view diplomatic and nonmilitary strategies more favorably than those who could not. These strategies included imposing further economic sanctions, increasing pressure on China to influence North Korea and conducting cyberattacks against military targets in North Korea.
They also viewed direct military engagement – in particular, sending ground troops – much less favorably than those who failed to locate North Korea.
The largest difference between the groups was the simplest: Those who could find North Korea were much more likely to disagree with the proposition that the United States should do nothing about North Korea. [New York Times]
What I am wondering is who were the people who thought North Korea was in Australia?
Here is something that many people may find surprising, the stupidest of the stupid people who could not find North Korea on a map were Democrats:
What drives these differences? Simple partisanship is one possibility. On average, Republicans – and Republican men in particular – were more likely to correctly locate North Korea than Democratic men. And Republicans were more likely to be in favor of almost all the diplomatic solutions posed by the researchers. (Women tended to find North Korea at similar rates, regardless of party.)
Who would have thought the warmongers were uneducated Democrats?