— Peter Ward, 워드 피터，皮得 (@rpcward89) December 5, 2017
Condolences to the friends and family of the USFK soldier killed in a recent traffic accident in South Korea:
A U.S. soldier was killed when a truck slammed into a military ambulance and a car that had pulled over to the side of a highway after an earlier collision south of Seoul, officials said Friday.
The Eighth Army confirmed that a 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade soldier died of injuries suffered in a vehicle accident. The soldier was not further identified pending family notification.
“Medical aid was provided on the scene until the soldier was transported via ambulance to the Good Morning Hospital,” the 8th Army said in a statement. “The incident is under investigation.” (…..)
The deadly chain of events began when a car rear-ended the U.S. military vehicle on an interchange, prompting the soldier to get out to examine the damage. An 8-ton cargo truck then slammed into them, according to the regional fire service. [Stars & Stripes]
You can read more at the link, but imagine what the response would have been if it was a US soldier that killed a Korean civilian in a traffic accident? The usual suspects would be protesting and demanding apologies from the US President.
This seems like a pretty odd thing to say unless the US has some kind of intelligence that the North Koreans are going to commit some kind of provocation during the Winter Olympics:
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said in an interview with Fox News that her country’s participation in the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics next February was an “open question” due to security concerns over North Korea, stirring worries in South Korea Friday that the Games could flop.
South Korea’s Blue House scrambled to rebut the idea, saying U.S. President Donald Trump had “promised” President Moon Jae-in during a recent phone call that his country would participate.
During an interview with Fox News’ “The Story with Martha MacCallum” on Wednesday, Haley said the U.S. government has not decided yet whether to participate in the games, adding, “What we will do is make sure we are taking every precaution possible to make sure” that American athletes are “safe and to know everything that’s going on around them.” [Joong Ang Ilbo]
You can read more at the link, but the North Koreans have not committed any provocation nearly as bad as what happened before the 1988 Olympics in Seoul when they bombed KAL Flight 858 killing 115 people. Despite that provocation the US still participated in the Seoul Olympics.
It appears that 2019 is the timeframe that the Moon administration will push to get a freeze deal agreed to with North Korea:
South Korea should push for a summit between President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in the first half of Moon’s term, a senior ruling party lawmaker said Thursday.
Rep. Lee Hae-chan of the Democratic Party made the suggestion in a speech set to be delivered at a security conference, saying 2019 will be good for a summit because the year is meaningful as the 100th anniversary of the 1919 nationwide uprising against Japanese colonial rule and the establishment of a provisional government.
“If possible, it’s important to push for a South-North summit in the first half (of Moon’s five-year term),” Lee said during the conference organized to mark late former President Kim Dae-jung’s winning of the 2000 Nobel Peace Prize following the first inter-Korean summit ever earlier that year.
“If a summit takes places in the second half, it would be difficult to guarantee its effectiveness,” he said. [Korea Times]
That last sentence leads me to believe that the Moon administration has little confidence that what they have planned will be popular enough with voters to elect another liberal President to follow through with whatever is agreed to at this summit.
Here is yet another good idea fairy in regards to defeating North Korea’s ICBMs:
Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., raised more than a few eyebrows (and drew a few rolled eyes) when he suggested in November that the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter could intercept North Korean missiles headed for the United States. Hunter cited analysis from Los Alamos National Labs and other sources, according to Inside Defense.
Turns out the F-35 may be an ICBM buster after all, or at least be helpful toward that end. On Tuesday, Northrop Grumman called a small group of journalists to its offices in Linthicum, Maryland, to show the results of a 2014 experiment conducted with the Missile Defense Agency, or MDA.
The U.S. has no foolproof way to down a North Korean ICBM. Physics says the best opportunity comes during “boost phase,” as the rocket is leaving the launch pad. But DPRK anti-aircraft defenses make it difficult for the U.S. to get a weapon close enough to do any good. That’s why the Pentagon is looking at elaborate, futuristic concepts like arming drones with missile-killing lasers.
But the F-35 is studded with sensors like no other aircraft, including the Distributed Aperture System, or DAS, a half-dozen 17-pound electro-optical and infrared sensors. These feed a helmet-mounted display that allows the pilot to effectively “see through the plane” and spot incoming aircraft and missiles.
In October 2014, Northrop and MDA launched FTX-20, an experiment to see, among other things, whether the DAS could track an enemy ICBM. They took data from the sensors, ran it through algorithms developed by Northrop and MDA’s Enterprise Sensor Lab, generated a 3D-moving picture of the missile’s trajectory, and conveyed it over the Link 16 tactical data exchange. This kind of targeting data can help cue the U.S.Navy’s anti-ballistic missile destroyers or short- and intermediate-range missile defenses like the Army’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, missile battery deployed in South Korea. [Defense One]
You can read the rest at the link, but feeding data to Patriot, Aegis, and THAAD systems will not defeat North Korea’s ICBMs. These systems are not designed to intercept ICBMs, the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system is. That is why people who understand missile defense would have rolled their eyes at Rep. Hunter’s claim.
Additionally even the feeding of data to these systems to help with cueing the sensors to North Korean launches is of little value considering the US already has two AN/TPY-2 radar sites in Japan that provide much better cueing data. This all adds up to limited value of the capability the F-35 provides in regards to North Korea launches.
Here we go again with yet more momentum building towards a freeze deal:
A South Korean ruling party lawmaker said Thursday that President Moon Jae-in and Chinese President Xi Jinping share an understanding that suspending North Korea’s nuclear and missile development and joint South Korea-U.S. military exercises at the same time is the most realistic way to start resolving the standoff.
Rep. Lee Hae-chan of the Democratic Party also said during a security conference that Moon and Xi talked a lot in their meetings about the simultaneous suspension, as well as the idea of seeking the North’s denuclearization and a Korean War peace treaty at the same time.
“I can say that (Moon and Xi) have come to a point where they share an understanding that it is perhaps the most realistic way,” Lee said during the conference organized to mark late former President Kim Dae-jung’s winning of the 2000 Nobel Peace Prize. [Yonhap]
I have been saying this for quite sometime, but signing a peace treaty would mean the end of the US-ROK alliance. That is because if there is “peace” then why does the US need troops in Korea? This would play into the North Koreans strategy of separating the US from South Korea to set the stage for coopting South Korea with their nuclear weapons. There is a false belief that North Korea is solely pursuing nuclear weapons for regime survival when the regime has survived just fine with the threat of a massive artillery strike on Seoul. The ultimate goal of the North’s nuclear weapons program is to co-opt the ROK into a confederation on North Korean terms. A freeze deal followed by a peace treaty plays right into the Kim regime’s hands.
Additionally the freeze deal for treaty plays into China’s hands who have also long wanted to separate the ROK from the US in a bid to increase their hegemony over the region.
Here is what one Australian Army officer thinks should be done to increase morale for troops overseas:
An Australian army captain currently serving in the Middle East has written an opinion piece requesting the defence forces allow sex workers to help soldiers ‘relieve stress’
Captain Sally Williamson wrote the article for the Land Power Forum, a website run by the Australian military giving past and present servicemen and women a chance to express their thoughts and offer ideas.
Capt. Williamson posted the story, titled ‘Sex And War – A Conversation Army Has To Have’, in early November but it was removed days later after fierce scrutiny.
‘Opinions on the subject will undoubtedly vary, but the conversation about sexual activism and regulation on deployment is worth having,’ the since-deleted post reads. (…..)
She begins the story by referencing past instances of the sex industry successfully integrating with armed forces and believes the ‘Army could contract Australian male and female sex workers to service troops in forward operating bases and air bases.’ (…..)
‘Another option the ADF could consider is facilitating safe and regulated sexual satisfaction through other means such as providing masturbation facilities or issuing sex toys,’ she wrote. [Daily Mail]
You can read more at the link.