Must We Accept a Nuclear North Korea?

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Must We Accept a Nuclear North Korea?

Postby David Boxen on Fri Aug 11, 2017 11:15 am

Seemed like a good time to link to this podcast episode:

https://www.samharris.org/podcast/item/must-we-accept-a-nuclear-north-korea

Must We Accept a Nuclear North Korea?
A Conversation with Mark Bowden

In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Mark Bowden about the problem of a nuclear-armed North Korea.

Mark Bowden is the author of thirteen books, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Black Hawk Down. He reported at the Philadelphia Inquirer for twenty years and now writes for the Atlantic, Vanity Fair, and other magazines. He is also the writer in residence at the University of Delaware. His most recent book is Hue 1968: A Turning Point of the American War in Vietnam.
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Re: Must We Accept a Nuclear North Korea?

Postby Steve James on Fri Aug 11, 2017 12:05 pm

Well, can't argue with Harris. I can only ask "who can" we accept with nuclear weapons? Isn't the same argument applicable to firearms?

Personally, I don't like the idea. Otoh, I'd like to ban nuclear weapons. Barring that, I'd like to hear the plan for stopping them.
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Re: Must We Accept a Nuclear North Korea?

Postby Peacedog on Fri Aug 11, 2017 3:26 pm

The short answer is we can't keep other countries from developing nuclear weapons, but in many ways if you are living in a first world country it won't matter long term.

Anti-ballistic missile technology works at this point and since most predicted nuclear exchanges will be limited in the number of missiles used it renders their utility moot.

If you can afford the technology.

If you are a third world country who cannot afford, or implement, the technology, yeah this is going to suck.

I've long maintained that the first use of nuclear, vice atomic, weapons will involve the third world. Probably in Asia or longer term in Africa.
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Re: Must We Accept a Nuclear North Korea?

Postby Steve James on Fri Aug 11, 2017 4:00 pm

Unlikely. Pakistan and India are "third world" and both have nuclear weapons. Not to mention that they've been essentially on war footing for decades.

South Africa could also produce nuclear weapons. Nigeria has the resources (as do many OPEC countries), but nuclear war is bad for business.

NK might try invading the South. But, that's not been the threat it's been making recently. Imo, that's just bluster. However, forget about nuclear weapons as in ballistic missiles reaching the States. The claim that it is gaining the "potential" to launch a nuclear strike is what generates the question of whether it should ever have the ability.

Imo, it would be much simpler for Kim to offer fissionable material or even spent heavy reactor material to rogue individuals to produce small dirty bombs to attack US interests. By the same token, any perceived attack on US interests or personnel in the region could be presented as been orchestrated by NK.

There'll have to be a reason for the US to attack first. I don't think it'd be a nuclear strike because it'd take scientists to calculate the environmental and human consequences. I do think it'd be possible to wipe out KJL. It's been done many times before in third world countries. But, then what? Where exactly has that strategy worked? We're just left to clean up the unintended messes --like MS13, the Taliban, etc.

Anyway, the only reason we're having this discussion is because of our fears of someone unstable with his hands on a button that could kill many and be very costly to all involved -at a minimum. No one can blame anyone for worrying. This generation could use some duck and cover drills.
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Re: Must We Accept a Nuclear North Korea?

Postby Steve James on Fri Aug 11, 2017 4:08 pm

Speaking of us and the third world.

BEDMINSTER, N.J. - U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday threatened a military intervention in Venezuela, a surprise escalation in Washington's response to Venezuela's political crisis.

"The people are suffering and they are dying. We have many options for Venezuela including a possible military option if necessary," Trump told reporters.


Yep. Time to re-up dude.
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Re: Must We Accept a Nuclear North Korea?

Postby Peacedog on Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:29 pm

Here is how it will go.

Assuming the Pakistanis don't light one off in the next 30 years.

Long term the Middle East will get nukes in the 10-15 year range.

Following that, the North African countries will get them in response to Egypt getting them to deal with other Arab states.

When the North Africans get them the Sub-Saharan countries will get them.

Due to the cost and difficulty of getting these weapons rapidly decreasing over the next few decades combined with increasing Islamic terrorism in Sub-Saharan Africa something will give.

A lot of this is coming from the fact that the Central and Southern African states are hitting a crucial nexus point in population and development where they are essentially skipping from tribal to industrialized societies.

Good from the standpoint of not taking hundreds of years to do it. Bad from the standpoint of their completely lacking institutional coherence.

My guess is someone in that region will light off a nuke off between 25-40 years from now.

The violence and scale of violence in that region dwarfs anything currently going on in the rest of the world. Combine that with unresolved tribal/ethnic issues, northern states sponsorIng large scale Islamic terrorism and inept central governments and you have a formula for disaster.

If the NKs don't do it, the Arabs, Pakistanis or these idiots will.

Again, if you have missile defense and can operate it, then no big deal. If not you are screwed.
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Re: Must We Accept a Nuclear North Korea?

Postby Ian C. Kuzushi on Fri Aug 11, 2017 9:25 pm

Hey Peacedog, aren't you overstating missile defense capabilities? I know that some tests are successful, but some recent ones have not been.
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Re: Must We Accept a Nuclear North Korea?

Postby Peacedog on Fri Aug 11, 2017 9:49 pm

Ian,

Good question.

The issue is layered defense. Between THAAD, Patriot-3 systems, all the equipment the Navy has in the water one of the systems will work against an isolated threat. And those are just the known systems. Throw in all the super secret stuff and it isn't an issue for the US and near peers.

Third world countries won't be able to afford, and probably couldn't reliably operate, the needed equipment in depth.

They'll buy the real thing for deterrence and status, but won't have the counter measures.

Once that happens, all it will take is one a-hole thinking he can annihilate his opponent across the border by attacking pre-emptively and it is just a matter of time.
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Re: Must We Accept a Nuclear North Korea?

Postby Steve James on Fri Aug 11, 2017 9:54 pm

:) Assuming the situation stays as it is, I see no logical reason to look 10 - 15 years in the future when talking about nuclear weapon exchanges. Secondly, I see no possible nuclear solution for preventing nuclear proliferation. Both are contradictions.

I don't think that anything 45 or Kim does is predictable. Though, I'd say that Kim is moreso because he has been consistent: i.e., make threats and wait for appeasement. We are talking about decisions made by individuals, not about Koreans or Americans or Africans.

As I said, the argument to stop NK from improving its nuclear capacity is analogous to preventing people from having firearms. Both are claimed to be deterrents. Perhaps, but they also initiate an inevitable arms race. The argument NK uses to justify a nuclear arsenal is that it's necessary for defense from the U.S.. Yeah, everybody knows, er believes, that it's not so. Anyway, whoops, the vicious cycle begins, er, began as soon as nuclear weapons were invented. Oppenheimer wanted to make sure that the Brits and the Soviets had their own bombs, then China, India, Pakistan, South Africa, probably Israel, and Cuba. All developed weapons for the same reason: protection from someone. Now, every country seeking nuclear capability use defense from the US as their rationale.

Alas, In the 50s and 60s, the idea of deterrence centered on mutually assured destruction. I'm not even sure that worries some people. Well, Israel has pre-emptively attacked Iranian nuclear installations. The US could almost definitely launch a strike on any NK facility. As long as it wasn't a nuclear strike, the PRC might just sign off on it --for some concession. If there were a humanitarian crisis on the Korean peninsula, China would take responsibility, at least in the North.

Yes, though, one or two of our subs (iirc, at least 7 are on station at any one time) can take out NK, the entire ME and NAfrica by morning.
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Re: Must We Accept a Nuclear North Korea?

Postby Michael on Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:16 pm

I'm hoping Trump's fire and fury is bluster to see what he can get China to do. Both Bush's made similar comments before wars. Even if that's the case, he is playing with fire with NK and China, but that's the way the US operates, so Trump is just speeding things up.

Possible bright spot is he made a limp-wristed attack on Syria that did not escalate. However, I think there's a chance China would see any attack on NK as a declaration of war upon them. I'm pretty sure that's how they'd see it if it actually happened. For me, PRC is just a bigger and better equipped version of NK; they're the same at the core.
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Re: Must We Accept a Nuclear North Korea?

Postby Trick on Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:58 pm

There been a lot in the media about Guam being a potential target for NK supposed nuclear missiles. Would not be surprised if some 'Fire and Fury' will actually happen to the conveniently remote small island, and the only "believably"ones that can verify that missiles where fired from NK will be SK and Japan being held in a tight leash by the USofA......
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Re: Must We Accept a Nuclear North Korea?

Postby Ian C. Kuzushi on Fri Aug 11, 2017 11:19 pm

Peacedog wrote:Ian,

Good question.

The issue is layered defense. Between THAAD, Patriot-3 systems, all the equipment the Navy has in the water one of the systems will work against an isolated threat. And those are just the known systems. Throw in all the super secret stuff and it isn't an issue for the US and near peers.



Thanks for the response. Sounds believable and I certainly hope you are right.
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Re: Must We Accept a Nuclear North Korea?

Postby yeniseri on Sat Aug 12, 2017 7:41 am

1. Yes! We must
2. Anyone who possess nuclear weapons knows that the outside world will think twice about attacking said nations
3. The problem is that those nuclear nations who claim they will destroy their "enemies" (N Korea against the world, or Iran against Israel, etc) is that they sow discord and threaten mayhem and that is not a positive when one is in possession of nukes.

Layered defense in theory sounds great but when EMP devices are deployed, they destroy capabilities of weapons designed to counter missile threats of all kinds despite the low damage capabilities of device (EMP) since c3 (command control,, etc) will become a problem
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Re: Must We Accept a Nuclear North Korea?

Postby windwalker on Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:19 am

I believe the missiles themselves are not totally unguided they might have communications with the launch base some type of EMP device would also disrupt their systems although most military systems are spec ed to be able to withstand a certain amount of EMP interference.

Don't quite know whether "we" should accept them or not. The issue is that the US has said it would not if they ever achieved certain milestones in their program. This day was going to happen at some point in time. Looks like the time is now.

options that should have, could have been taken long ago are now in hindsight much better then dealing with the end result presented now.

China, helped them maybe not understanding that they don't have as much control over them as thought. They've already backed away from unconditional support of some actions the DPRK might take. It remains to be seen if they also back away from the others. US first strike ect.

As to taking the missiles out enroute, not so easy, what happens if they miss. the best option is to prevent the launch or take out the means to launch it. Notice they have mobile self contained launchers.

Wonder what would China do if the missiles were directed at them instead? would they threaten or just act?

Looks like the option being used is to call DPRK's bluff, see if they shoot 4 missiles out into the ocean around Guam, or even have a launch.
They might have a launch that stays with in their borders or blow the missile up just after launch. Showing that they did it but the missile didn't work.

Which buys them and the US/China some time to do rethink,,,,hopefully

At any rate, they've reached a point where they are a clear and present danger.
If their leader directly says he will and intends to send some missiles down range to the US, a credible threat
This might be considered a first strike....and acted on as such.

class of missiles

Design[edit]

Estimated maximum operational range of the Hwasong-12 (KN-17) missile: 3700 km (inner circle), 6000 km (outer circle)
Based on photos of the launch on 14 May 2017, the Hwasong-12 appears to be a single stage design, using a single main engine along with four vernier engines. The arrangement appears similar to the "high-thrust" engine test conducted in March 2017.[8] Alternatively, it could be based on the engine used in the older Hwasong-10 with the addition of two more verniers.[5]

Initial estimates suggest the Hwasong-12 would have a maximum range of between 3,700 kilometres (2,300 mi)[5] and 6000 km (ICBM means a range of at least 5500 km).[6] In the April 2017 military parade the Hwasong-12 was displayed on the Hwasong-10 mobile launcher, and it may be intended to replace the similarly performing Hwasong-10 which has been shown unreliable during its test program.[9][10]
List of Hwasong-12 tests[edit]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hwasong-12
Last edited by windwalker on Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:50 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Must We Accept a Nuclear North Korea?

Postby KEND on Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:39 am

Hope it can be resolved without a war, I am more concerned that a false flag[bay of Tonkin] event will lead to the military to try out its mew 'stuff' on n korea. I am no fan of trump but in this case a little bragadocio might be in order. I have seen posts on facebook saying he should be more statesmanlike like kennedy, I clearly remember the Cuban crisis when JFK issued an ultimatum and we wondered if we were going to live out the day]
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