Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Will Trump Push North Korea to War?

Personally, I view the leadership of North Korea to be basically insane and frighteningly inclined to provoke a war.  Sadly, my view of the current regime in the White House falls pretty much into the same category as that in North Korea.  Watching the British news coverage, my assessment would seem to coincide with that of the man/women on the street in London.  North Korean leader Kim Jong Un belongs in a mental war.  So does Der Trumpenführer.  And, I hate to say it, but after the debacle over the false claims of the U.S. military over WMD's in Iraq before George W. Bush launched an unnecessary war, I cannot feel all that comfortable with the new claims that North Korea has successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles.  The Washington Post looks at these troubling claims:
North Korea has successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles, crossing a key threshold on the path to becoming a full-fledged nuclear power, U.S. intelligence officials have concluded in a confidential assessment.
The analysis, completed last month by the Defense Intelligence Agency, comes on the heels of another intelligence assessment that sharply raises the official estimate for the total number of bombs in the communist country’s atomic arsenal. The United States calculated last month that up to 60 nuclear weapons are now controlled by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Some independent experts think the number of bombs is much smaller.
The findings are likely to deepen concerns about an evolving North Korean military threat that appears to be advancing far more rapidly than many experts had predicted. U.S. officials concluded last month that Pyongyang is also outpacing expectations in its effort to build an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking the American mainland.
President Trump, speaking Tuesday at an event at his golf course in Bedminster, N.J., said North Korea will face a devastating response if its threats continue.
“They will be met with the fire and fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before,” he said.
The DIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment.
An assessment this week by the Japanese Ministry of Defense also concludes that there is evidence to suggest that North Korea has achieved miniaturization.
Kim is becoming increasingly confident in the reliability of his nuclear arsenal, analysts have concluded, explaining perhaps the dictator’s willingness to engage in defiant behavior, including missile tests that have drawn criticism even from North Korea’s closest ally, China. On Saturday, China and Russia joined other members of the U.N. Security Council in approving punishing new economic sanctions, including a ban on exports that supply up to a third of North Korea’s annual $3 billion in earnings. 
“What initially looked like a slow-motion Cuban missile crisis is now looking more like the Manhattan Project, just barreling along,” said Robert Litwak, a nonproliferation expert at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the author of “Preventing North Korea’s Nuclear Breakout,” published by the center this year. “There’s a sense of urgency behind the program that is new to the Kim Jong Un era.”
Although few discount North Korea’s progress, some prominent U.S. experts warned against the danger of overestimating the threat.
“Overselling is particularly dangerous,” said Hecker, who visited North Korea seven times between 2004 and 2010, and met with key leaders of the country’s weapons programs. “Some like to depict Kim as being crazy — a madman — and that makes the public believe that the guy is undeterrable. He’s not crazy and he’s not suicidal. And he’s not even unpredictable.” “The real threat,” Hecker said, “is we’re going to stumble into a nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula.”

During the Cuban Missile Crisis, America had a sane occupant in the White House.  That is not true today.  Be very afraid. 

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