Posts Tagged ‘North Korea’

This week has been both sad time for our community while at the same time a tense time for both our nation and the world.

It is rare when we meet a person that has so much impact on her community in so many ways.  It is even more sad when we lose this person.  Last week we lost our beloved editor and this loss is widespread and deep.  It is seldom that we find a person who embraces her profession with total dedication and love and Jessie was that person.  She garnered the respect of citizens throughout Union Parish that she worked with for years while living her Christian values.  This is a mixture that is admirable and this work ethic and moral values will be sorrowfully missed.  The Bernice Banner has lost a wonderful leader and Union Parish has lost a wonderful person.

While we were grieving our loss in Union Parish, the world tensed as rhetoric became bolder between North Korea and the United States.   We saw this coming.  Last winter I wrote about North Korea flying under the radar and the dangers it posed.  Then I wrote about the reality of what will happen if there truly is a war on the Korean peninsula and the massive loss of life that will take place.  Unfortunately, this is coming to fruition and it only hoped that cooler heads will take hold and pull us back from the brink.  I truly believe that this saber rattling is only that and the world leaders will come to the salvation of the planet and show the leadership required to prevent a major war.

  The President of the United States, POTUS, has declared that the United States is prepared to unleash fire and fury the like of which the world has never seen.  My first thought was of rolling boiling earth and debris launched skyward into a mushroom sky as thousands of North Koreans are incinerated and the world experiences a modified nuclear winter.  Then I realized that this is not what was actually said and fire and fury could truly be an unleash of conventional weapons.  Unfortunately, our press has repeated the American answer to Korea to be nuclear in nature.

North Korea has declared to test a missile and have it land close to Guam, an American territory.  The missile is targeted to land on a trajectory near Guam but would land in international waters.  If the launch takes place it is hoped that we keep our finger off the button and not launch anything based solely on supposition.  Then if there is truly a strike, unleash the fury of the United States and the free world.  We have no other option.

For decades, the various United States administrations has kicked the Korean issue down the road with the final resolution residing with a future administration.  That time has come and it is now time to find a solution for Korea.  There is one action that has caught my ear.  China, a staunch ally of North Korea and a country that entered the Korean war on the side of the North, has stated that if North Korea launches the first strike it will not enter the conflict.  This is a major statement that could possibly lead to a negotiated settlement.  Let us hope that this crisis can be resolved and settled and let’s hope that China is now working behind the scenes. China has much more to lose today than it ever has since the founding of the communist country.

One thing is certain, the next few weeks will be very interesting albeit very tense. 

 

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North Korea has finally developed and tested via a successful launch an International Continental Ballistic Missile, ICBM, that is capable of reaching the United States. At this stage in the fledgling North Korean missile program, the only state that the missile can hit is Alaska but it won’t be long before Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angles will become targets. Parallel development of a nuclear weapon that can be transported by one of these missiles is ongoing. Even if a nuclear payload is not available a conventional bomb can be transported on the ICBM and can ultimately cause damage to our beautiful nation.
Another threat leaves North Korea clean when it comes to launching a missile on the West. It will let some other country do the dirty work. North Korea will be able to dismantle and sell its’ weapons of destruction to countries that wish to do harm to Western nations. If transport is not available for the weapons, North Korea can sell the technologies and then let rogue nations build their own missiles much as a child designs and builds an erector set. The nuclear warhead will come later and we are then in a huge and complex mess as countries such as Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Spain, France and Germany become easy targets for North Korean Technology that is launched from reprobate locations in the Middle East. North Korea becomes a double winner in this scenario. Western countries are hit and harmed while North Korea’s coffers are filled with foreign money funded by the sale of the sinister weapons.
It appears that the decision is simple; let’s hit them and hit them quick. Not so quick my friend. There is no way short of a nuclear strike that we could hope to neutralize the North Korean Military. Nuclear attack is not an option. With a standing army of 700,000 and several million reservists, we can damage the beast but not destroy it. North Korea is waiting for provocation and they will not be satisfied to take a defensive posture. North Korea will move south and with speed. So where will the North horde go. It will wear out tanks speeding to Seoul, the capital of South Korea. Seoul is only 30 miles from the demilitarized zone that separates the two countries and contains ten million residents. The loss of life would be catastrophic. While the North Korean army would take large losses it would continue to function as it moves south. I worked with Koreans in Arabia and the Koreans are a tough race, very tough. The North Korean army can take a lickin and keep on ticken.
Another concern is China. While China has become a major world economy there is all ways that isolated chance that China will enter the campaign and support North Korea just as it did during the Korean War of the 50s. This is almost incomprehensible but if that happened we could see an escalation that could pull the Mid-East into the conflict as an opportunity to strike a blow against the West. Then we have to ask what will Russia do and who will they side with.
Korea is quit complex and it is not a new issue. It began when America had a warship stopped, boarded, captured and taken to North Korea in the 1960s. The USS Pueblo’s crew was eventually released, but only after the Unites States paid ransom. Since then North Korea held America at lower esteem and America thought it could negotiate itself out of any conflict. We fooled ourselves and for the last forty years North Korea has built one of the largest armies in the world while laughing at America and the West. We have really painted ourselves into a corner and we can’t wait for the paint to dry to walk out.

 

 

 

Last week I discussed Korea being a major threat to the United States and any capitalistic democratic country.  It is a conventional military threat greater than any other country in the world today and this threat has remained camouflaged as we have focused on the threats from the Middle East and non-conventional military action.  The military force of Korea as well as all political and economic activities reside in the hands of a twenty-seven-year-old dictator that many consider to be mad while others consider him to be quite sane and smart yet ruthless.

 

Korea was occupied by the invading army from Japan from 1910 to 1945.  During this time Korea launched guerrilla war against the invaders from Japan.  Kim ll-sung was one of the guerillas and he later became the first leader of North Korea.  After World war II a boundary was drawn that divided the country in half much as what happened to Germany.  Russian control was in the North and American control was in the South. 

 

In 1949 North Korea invaded South Korea with the aid of the Soviet Union.  Eventually the United Nation supported army moved north, crossed the 38th  parallel that marked the border between the two countries, destroyed the majority of industrial buildings and stopped at the border with Korea and China.  An armistice was signed and remains in effect today.  There was no formal surrender or peace treaty.

 

Over the years China continued to support the North while America supported the south.  In 1958 China officially moved out of North Korea and that is when North Korea marks the birth of its’ nation.    Kim ll-sung remained in power until 1994 when he died of a heart attack.  At the time the countries was in collapse following reduced support from China and the collapse of its’ largest financial supporter, the Soviet Union.  Korea was in a standoff with America over its’ nuclear program and the stress was too much on the elder leader.

 

Kim Jong-ll assumed power but the stress was still there.  North Korea had a great famine and this disaster proved that the country could not support itself in such a catastrophe.  Then George W. Bush declared North Korea to be a Rogue State.  In 2006 North Korea conducted its’ first Nuclear Bomb test.  In 2011 Jong-ll died and he was replaced by his son and current ruler Kim Jong-un.

 

Jong-ill had planned for his son to assume the lead as ruler of Korea.  What was not planned was his early death and it was speculated that Jong-ll’s son, Jong-un was not experienced enough to rule North Korea.  Many believed that Jong-un’s uncle would act as regent until the child-ruler had matured.  This did not happen and eventually the uncle was stripped of all power, his pictured was removed from all public locations and the uncle was executed.  It was reported that his family members were also executed to include children and grandchildren thus eliminating all trace of Jong-ll’s life.

 

Jung-un used the press to build his power and position.  He was declared as “a great person born of heaven”.  Then the working party declared that “We vow with bleeding tears to call Kim Jong-un our supreme commander, our leader.  One Korean magazine declared Jong-un to be the most handsome man in the world for that year.

 

His education was based in Switzerland where he attended school under an assumed name.  He is reported to have been quiet but not a good student and liked basketball.  This could be a reason that he enjoyed a visit from Dennis Rodman to North Korea.  His attendance at school was not good either and his mentor was the North Korean ambassador to Switzerland. When he returned to North Korea he is suspected of attending a military college for five years.  North Korea is very secretive and very little is known of its’ ruling class.

 

Recently, Jong-un is believed to have ordered his half-brothers assassination in Thailand.  The man has no conscience and his method of execution is intended to serve as a psychological message to any that oppose him.

 

The future is very perilous when it comes to North Korea and even though America would triumph in a war, it would be very bloody and brutal.  Twenty-five million civilians would be caught directly in the fire of the two military giants.  Also, as bad as the North wants to march South the South also want to go North and vanquish the devils in North Korea. 

 

The coming weeks will prove to be very interesting if not disconcerting.

 

 

Over the past several years the primary focus of the American population has centered on the Mid-East and especially ISIS and the revolution in Syria.  Issues in Iraq filled up the remainder of the space in the newspapers.  Of course we have had a presidential election to end all elections and that has filled up much of the space in the papers and on the airwaves.  With all the attention on the Mid-East and domestic politics Korea has flown under the radar.  In fact Korea poses a much larger problem from both a military perspective and a leadership perspective than what is general understood.

From a military aspect North Korea is a formable foe and while many feel that the North was defeated in the Korean war there was no surrender.  Instead there was a cease fire and the line between the North and the South was established on the 38th parallel.  This cease fire has remained in effect for almost 65 years.  Today the North Korean army numbers 700,000 with an additional 4.5 million Koreans in the reserve.  The active duty troops in North Korea outnumber the South Korean troops by 2 to 1.  Logistically the North Koreans have 70 submarines, 4,200 tanks, 458 fighter jets and 572 fixed-wing aircraft.

Until recently there was a deterrent to North Korea moving south and attacking the democratic governed country loyal to America and the West, South Korea.  That deterrent was nuclear arms controlled by the United States located within South Korea.  North Korea has now tested five nuclear bombs and the last test was a bomb small enough to be transported on a missile.  This changes the entire  power structure in the region.  With North Korea developing a missile that could reach the United States we now have a nut  in North Korea could severely damage property and kill American citizens.

The worst case scenario in world terrorism has roads through North Korea.  ISIS and other terrorist organizations would love to have a nuclear weapon that they could get into Europe or the United States and then detonate the bomb.  Soon North Korea will have the ability to provide such a weapon.  Providing a nuclear bomb to ISIS would be a win/win for North Korea.  ISIS would gladly pay dearly for the weapon and then ISIS would do North Korea’s dirty work when it detonates the nuclear bomb.

In addition to one of the largest and best prepared militaries in the world, North Korea has a mad man that controls this force.  Kim Jong-un inherited his position when his father died.  Very little is known about the leader of North Korea; however, it is understood that he did receive two college degrees.  It is also thought that he spent some time in Switzerland in school but under an assumed name.

When he first came to power I had erroneously thought that we may have an opportunity to obtain an easing of tension on the Korean Peninsula.  This Pillsbury Dough Boy looking child-like leader quickly proved me wrong.  He is ruthless with little or no conscience and no regard for human life.  Soon after taking power he had his uncle executed; fearing his uncles attempt to seize power.  He  later had the minister executed by firing squad.  The firing squad consisted of anti-aircraft guns.

America does have a card up its’ sleeve.  All earlier American administrations used diplomacy to deal with North Korea.  While it had an effect on keeping North and South Korea from an all-out war, the North Korean government continued to build a massive military while snubbing its’ nose at world-wide sanctions.  America even had a military ship illegally seized in the late 60s and America had to pay a ransom for the release of the men.  Today we have a new player in the White House and this is certain to have North Korea guessing.  Following a massive cruise missile attack on Syria and then a week later having the largest non-nuclear bomb in the American arsenal dropped in Afghanistan has certainly had Korean diplomats scratching its’ head.  North Korea does not know what to expect from the new administration and that is exactly the response that we want.  This new uncertainty is what we need to keep North Korea off base and questioning what will happen next.  In the meantime, an American aircraft carrier is steaming off the coast of North Korea and several Japanese destroyers have joined the task force in a training exercise.

North Korea is no longer the flying under the radar.

 

The news agencies have had a banner year for material to analyze, report on and sensationalize.  Over the year Donald Trump’s successful attempt to be the Republican candidate was detailed on every news show and talk radio program.  Following the official nomination, the turmoil over the nomination combined with the actual run for the White House filled all parts of the world’s media.  As this was transpiring, ISIS was at the forefront of international news as we watched terrorist attacks around the globe.  Even America was not immune.  Then against all odds Trump became our president and parts of the country revolted and again the news media was in overload to cover this part of our country’s news.  Throw in a wall along the Mexican border and America has not had a loss for items to discuss.

As we have been enthralled with all the dynamics of 2016 we have not had the time to witness what is going on in East Asia.  While America slept North Korea was working.

North Korea is a very closed society that is hammered by world sanctions.  Even its’ staunchest ally, China is concerned with the flagrant development of the nuclear bomb and now the development in its deployment vehicle.  It is well believed that North Korea has developed the “bomb” and much of this testing has been side notes to news coverage as other more reality show type political issues have filled our air ways.  We seem to be more involved in the first lady copying prior first ladies clothing than in North Korea’s nuclear development.  While our attention has been on high end department stores dropping a president’s daughters line of merchandise due to political pressure, North Korea is testing  an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile.  It is a major accomplishment for this rogue regime to develop a nuclear weapon.  It is just as important to have the ability to deploy this weapon and North Korea is close, despite world condemnation of this development.

Adversity causes sane men to do irrational things.  Adversity causes insane men to do horrendous things.  Stories coming from the closed country disclose that there is internal friction against the current leader, a leader more despicable than his father; and the father was bad.  Soon after he took control of the country he had his uncle executed; fearing a power challenge.  He had his defense minister executed by firing squad and the execution weapon was an anti-aircraft gun. These terrible acts were in the early days of the dictator’s role as the leader of North Korea and the country has become worse as time has gone by.  Internal resistance to the North Korean regime shows the concern within the country but at the same time could become a catalyst for even more extreme behavior by the country’s dictator.

What are the ultimate dangers of increased resistance within a country that is ruled by an iron fist.  Stories will leak out of the country of purges within the military and among high ranking government officials as paranoia becomes more prevalent.  Missile testing will continue until a successful nuclear deployment system has been developed.  Then the world is in peril.  South Korea is the first thought of countries in the sights of North Korea aggression.  There has never been an official peace treaty between the two countries and today there is only a cease fire in affect from a war that ended over sixty years ago.   Japan will also be an easy target once the ballistic missile carrying a nuclear weapon is developed.  Hawaii would be an easy target and eventually the missile development would lead to rockets capable of reaching America’s West coast.  Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles would be prime targets of North Korea.

So what do we do?  This is the prime question for a president that is being tested early in his first 100 days in office.  One thing is certain, the response to this increased threat will have new twists of how to deal with global concerns and it will be quick.  It will be quite interesting seeing how this evolves.

This will appear in the Farmerville Gazette, Farmerville, Louisiana, USA the week of 12/22/2014

This is Christmas and at this time of the year we should be surrounded by family and friends. We should be listening to the wonderful sounds of the holiday and feeling that inner warmth that the time of the season brings to us. There is a sense of security and safety that envelops one during the season that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately our enemies don’t sleep and we find ourselves this year in the middle of an attack with consequences as great as anything we witnessed at Pearl Harbor or New York. No, lives were not lost nor did we witness any physical damage; however, we are in a new world of virtual reality connected by a network of data known as the Internet.

Last week Sony pictures was attacked by North Korea. The attack was not physical but was accomplished through hacking of Sony’s private data accounts; e-mails. The attack took place by slipping through various security “fire walls” and then accessing thousands of e-mails, personal data stored in data bases and personnel files. The reason for the attack was in retaliation for a comedic movie that Sony was about to release that poked fun at North Korea. As bad as the hacking was and the embarrassment that the disclosed information brought to Sony, other concerns have been disclosed that questions American leadership and resolute to do what is right within our country.

Sony acquiesced to the attack and announced that it would not release the movie. Sony has cowered to the anger of a third world dictator and shows no back bone nor leadership in confronting this newest version of terrorism. The majority of America would have not gone to see a show that many have referred to as horrible. That has all changed. If Sony really wanted to make a statement against an attack on its’ corporation it would release the movie and witness a blockbuster hit as Americans poured into the theater to see what all the commotion was about while voting for freedom of speech with their pocketbooks when purchasing tickets. What a message that would send to the world that American defiance is alive and strong. But alas, the movie will not be released and a second movie that also poked fun at North Korea and was set to be re-released has also been pulled from the theaters. So, in tensile town famous for its’ liberal views and screams for freedom of speech, the scream has been muted except for a few brave individuals that dare to speak out.
Ironically one of the few that has called for a unified stand against the cyber terrorist is an actor that was ridiculed in one of the leaked Sony e-mails. George Clooney, a powerful individual in the acting craft, was distraught at what one Sony executive said about him. In a world of pampered people, an insulting e-mail from Sony pertaining to Clooney was both shattering and sobering to a man of Clooney’s stature. How refreshing it was to witness Clooney stand up and display a level of leadership that has been void in Hollywood. George Clooney wrote a petition for his co-workers and industry executives to sign to show solidarity against the North Korean Hackers and send a message of support for the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, the freedom of speech. Amazingly, an industry that prides itself on being the moral conscience of America refused to support the petition. When first circulated not one of Hollywood’s finest would sign the document.

When it was America’s time to stand up and lead in the Middle East we preferred to see what our allies would do. We waited to act in Libya and this ultimately led to a tragic ending for several brave and dedicated Americans. We waited to act in Syria and thus allowed ISIS to develop. We waited to act in Iraq and thus ISIS is becoming a worldwide threat. Once again we are taking time to evaluate the current situation without saying anything substantive. Unfortunately another message of soft foreign policy from the greatest nation in the world. What we need to do is to state in no uncertain terms that we are going to retaliate and retaliate hard. We do not need to telegraph what we are going to do. That would allow our enemies an opportunity to prepare a defense. Today we have said that we will evaluate a retaliation that is comparable to the attack on the United States That is the wrong approach. Instead we need to send the message that if America is attacked that we will respond with consequences that are much greater than the attack on our sovereign nation. Then follow up on what we say.
Speak softly but carry a big stick. When attacked don’t talk about it, do something and in a manner that others will think twice before attacking our great nation again.

For you reading this on Christmas, Merry Christmas and rest assured that many young men and women are posted around our world keeping us safe from those who have pledged to do us harm. Remember them in your prayers.

The following commentary will appear in the next issue of the Farmerville Gazette, Farmerville, Louisiana, USA.
It’s been two years since I had the good fortune to begin writing this column. One of the earliest articles dealt with Syria and how we as a nation would respond and then be viewed by the world. At that time the number of dead stood at about 240 but considering the brutal nature of the ruling family the handwriting was on the wall. Now, two years later, the death toll estimates vary from 8,000 to 15,000 and the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children have been changed forever. Unfortunately the United States did little to provide a leadership role that the world could view in public terms and would send a message that the strongest country in the world was on the side of the freedom fighters and their battle to throw off the yoke of oppression. At the beginning of the fight the mere suggestion that we would support the fighters would have sent the message of alliance with the protesters to both Syria and Iran and possibly curtailed the two year civil war. This has become a an unfortunate trait of our country and this diplomatic silence has been repeated in Iraq following Desert Storm when the Shiites were slaughtered by Sadam Hussein during an uprising when we stood by and watched. Iran recently had protests and the potential uprising was quelled as we stood by with no comment of support.
Last year we looked at North Korea as they were testing their nuclear bomb followed by a rudimentary missile deployment system. This development continues unfettered with one difference. The leader has died and his twenty-eight year old son has taken the reins of power. This new dictator must take control of his new leadership osition. He must prove his strength to the leadership of the one million strong military and how better than to throw down the gauntlet to South Korea and thus put the United States on a collision course with the North if a military incursion into South Korea occurs. What is certain is that we cannot let an invasion occur like what happened in the early 1950s. That cost the United States over 36,000 causalities.
Will the United Sates persevere if is South Korea is invaded. The answer is a resounding “yes” but it is without a cost. The Koreans are tough, real tough. I had Korean contractors building facilities in Saudi Arabia and they are very focused, hard workers and tough as nails. Korea is a harsh environment and the North Koreans live without the creature comforts of the majority of the South. In Viet Nam the Republic of Korean had a military presence. Known as the ROC Marines, these men earned the respect they deserve. The North Koreans are even more prepared for a conflict.
If invaded would we drop a couple of nuclear weapons and send a North Korea back to the Stone Age. Not likely as this would then make it a norm to use this horribly destructive but highly effective weapon. Instead we would let the bombers do their damage and then commit a large ground force. It’s takes that man on the ground with his rifle in hand to take and control the land. No bomber can do that. We were very successful in Iraq following this strategy but this is not Iraq, it is Korea and we cannot expect to have the North Korean Army fall apart and surrender by the thousands. American causalities will be high.
Several months ago we discussed the connection between North Korea and Iran and the sharing of nuclear technology. It has now been acknowledged that Pakistan’s nuclear lead scientist has been linked to transferring secrets to other Iran and North Korea. As we move closer to a war that will have devastating affects to a world economy there is one thing clear; if we do end up in an armed conflict we have to do make sure that we do this one right and when the dust settles the two Koreas must be one unified country and we have to do this without bringing China or Russia into the conflict.
One thing is certain, we must shift our foreign strategy to let the world know that we are truly a nation dedicated to freedom and civil liberties and oppression is not an option. We must go back to the time that America “Speaks softly but carries a big stick”. Then, and only then can we can take the leadership role that we enjoyed in the past and the world will once again take us seriously.