SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT THE CURRENT NORTH KOREA SITUATION

SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT THE CURRENT NORTH KOREA SITUATION

 

WHILE OBAMA WAS IN OFFICE:  In 5 years Kim Jung Un CONDUCTED A TOTAL OF 10 TESTS (3 of which were after Trump had his Republican Nomination Convention).

WHILE TRUMP HAS BEEN IN OFFICE: In the 6 months that Trump has been in office he has conducted 12 missile tests.  Is this just a coincidence?  I THINK NOT!

 

Trump’s irresponsible actions have led to escalating actions on the part of Kim Jung Un.  Trump wanted to frighten Kim Jung Un and he succeeded in doing so.  And in doing things the way Trump has done them, he has increased the likelihood that a psychologically unstable North Korean leader will take reckless action that he might not have otherwise taken.

 

I have heard all sorts of uninformed opinions by talking heads about Trump’s actions and North Korea’s response Trump declared in public “NORTH KOREA BEST NOT MAKE ANY MORE THREATS TO THE UNITED STATES.  THEY WILL BE MET WITH WITH FIRE AND FURY LIKE THE WORLD HAS NEVER SEEN.”   Some talking heads have pointed out that when Trump said this it was aimed more at China than at North Korea.  Their reasoning is that Trump wants China to make sure to enforce the sanctions on North Korea and by saying this he was exerting pressure on China to do so.  Strategically, this may be correct.  But what needs to be pointed out is the difference between statements made in public and those made privately.  When a leader makes a threatening statement IN PUBLIC, the variable of AUDIENCE EFFECTS is set in motion.  If you threaten someone and make sure that others hear this threat, the threatened party has to take actions to save face.  So with his statement Trump set off face-saving pressures on both North Korea and China as well.  And as you saw, North Korea responded as one would expect a party needing to save face to do – they threatened an attack on Guam.   Trump could have conveyed the same information privately to China by having American diplomats communicate with Chinese diplomats and having Chinese diplomats communicate the message to North Korean leadership.  (Of course this is made more difficult by the paucity of State Department officials that Trump has put in place.)

 

But Trump himself felt pressure to make a public statement because when information became public that North Korea had developed a miniaturized nuclear weapon that could be used with an intercontinental missile Trump felt that he had to maintain face by issuing a threat.  In fact, nobody insulted him but he FELT insulted and challenged.  His fragile ego provokes him to make impulsive reckless moves that cause trouble for others that could have been avoided.

 

Another talking head pronouncement that set me off was a statement that Trump had to act because North Korea had made progress more quickly than expected with their missile technology and their advances in developing nuclear weapons.  What the talking head did not point out is that much of this progress was made by the numerous public pronouncements (including tweets) that Trump has issued to threaten North Korea. If this is true, we can check by looking at the timeline of North Korean missile technology progress since Kim Jung Un took over in 2011 after his father’s death.  Below are the list of missile tests he conducted from 2011 until the end of 2016 while Obama was in office.  Following that is the list of missile tests conducted since Trump took office.

 

WHILE OBAMA WAS IN OFFICE:  In 5 years he CONDUCTED A TOTAL OF 10 TESTS (3 of which were after Trump had his Republican Nomination Convention).

WHILE TRUMP HAS BEEN IN OFFICE: In the 6 months that Trump has been in office he has conducted 12 missile tests.  Is this just a coincidence?  I THINK NOT!

  1. 2012 – Failed launch of the Kwangmyŏngsŏng-3 satellite aboard an Unha-3 carrier rocket (April 13, 2012)
  2. 2012 – Successful launch of the Kwangmyŏngsŏng-3 Unit 2 satellite aboard a three stage rocket (December 12, 2012)[6]
  3. 2013 North Korean missile tests (May 18–20, 2013 – part of 2013 Korean crisis)
  4. 2014 North Korean missile tests (March 2014) including Nodong, success[10]
  5. 2015- North Korea claims to launch a missile from a submarine (May 2015)[11][6]
  6. 2016 – Successful launch of the Kwangmyŏngsŏng-4 satellite (Feb. 7, 2016)
  7. 2016 – Test of engine designed for an intercontinental ballistic missile (April, 2016)[12]
  8. 2016 – North Korea claims to launch a Pukkuksong-1[13] missile capable of striking the United States (August 2016).[14] The missile is a Submarine-launched ballistic missile.[14]
  9. 2016 – Failed North Korean ballistic missile launch (Oct 15, 2016)- [15]
  10. 2016 – Failed launch of an intermediate-range missile (October 19, 2016)[16]

 

MISSILE TESTS CONDUCTED AFTER TRUMP TOOK OFFICE: (12 tests from February through the end of July)

  1. 2017 – North Korea test-fired a Pukguksong-2 missile over the Sea of Japan. This was the first launch of the new medium-range ballistic missile (February 11, 2017).[17][18][6]
  2. 2017 – North Korea launches four ballistic missiles from the Tongchang-ri launch site in the northwest.[19] Some flew 620 mi (1,000 km) before falling into the Sea of Japan. (March 6, 2017)[20][6]
  3. 2017 – North Korea test-fired a medium-range ballistic missile from its eastern port of Sinpo into the Sea of Japan (April 4, 2017)[21][22][6]
  4. 2017 – North Korea test-fired an unidentified land-based missile from the naval base in Sinpo but it exploded almost immediately after the takeoff (April 15, 2017).[23][24][25][26]
  5. 2017 – North Korea test-fired an unidentified missile from Pukchang airfield (April 28, 2017).[27][28] Missile, believed to be a medium-range[29] KN-17 ballistic missile,[27] falters and breaks apart minutes after liftoff.[29][30]
  6. 2017 – North Korea test-fired a Hwasong-12[31] missile from a test site in the area of Kusong (May 13, 2017).[32] The missile, later revealed to be an intermediate range ballistic missile,[33] traveled 30 minutes,[34] reached an altitude of more than 2,111.5 km, and flew a horizontal distance of 789 km (489 miles), before falling into the Sea of Japan.[33] Such a missile would have a range of at least 4,000, reaching Guam, to 6,000 km.[32][31]
  7. 2017- North Korea test-fired another Pukguksong-2 medium-range ballistic missile from Pukchang airfield (May 21, 2017),[35][36] which traveled approximately 300 miles before falling into the Sea of Japan.[37] The missile landed about 217 miles from North Korea’s east coast.[37]
  8. 2017 – North Korea Fired a Short Range Ballistic Missile into the Sea of Japan (May 29, 2017). It traveled 450 km.[38]
  9. 2017 – North Korea fired several missiles into the Sea of Japan (June 8, 2017). They are believed to be anti-ship missiles.[39] The South Korean military said the launches show the reclusive regime’s “precise targeting capability.”
  10. 2017 – North Korea tested a new rocket engine that could possibly be fitted to an intercontinental ballistic missile (June 23, 2017).[40]
  11. 2017 – North Korea tested its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) named Hwasong-14 on July 4.[41][42] It launched from the Panghyon Aircraft Factory 8 km southeast of Panghyon Airport.[43] It was aimed straight up at a lofted trajectory and reached more than 2,500 km into space.[44] It landed 37 minutes later,[45] more than 930 km from its launch site,[46] into Japan’s exclusive economic zone.[47] Aiming long, the missile would have traveled 7,000-8,000 km or more, reaching Alaska, Hawaii, and maybe Seattle.[45][48][49][50][51] Its operational range would be farther, bringing a 500 kg payload to targets in most of the contiguous United States 9,700 km away.[52][53][54]
  12. 2017- The 14th missile test carried out by North Korea in 2017 was launched at 23:41 North Korea time (15:41 GMT) from Chagang Province in the north of the country on July 28, 2017. Los Angeles, Denver, Chicago, Boston, and New York appear to be within range.[55] The missile’s reentry vehicle was seen by people in Japan as it entered the atmosphere.[56] The missile was another ICBM and landed near the northernmost Japanese island, Hokkaido.[57]

 

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