A huge achievement 20

Splendid pageantry

What did President Trump say to Xi Jinping of China that persuaded Xi to say what to Kim Jong-un of North Korea who said what to Moon Jae-in of South Korea to bring about the reunification of Korea, the denuclearization of North Korea, talks between the US and North Korea … ?

It is a massive change, a huge development – an astonishing achievement. But whose?

We venture to say it is primarily President Donald Trump’s achievement.

From Breitbart:

The leaders of North and South Korea agreed Friday to pursue a permanent peace and the complete denuclearization of the divided peninsula, as they embraced after a historic summit laden with symbolism.

In a day of bonhomie including a highly symbolic handshake over the Military Demarcation Line that divides the two countries, the pair issued a declaration on “the common goal of realizing, through complete denuclearization, a nuclear-free Korean peninsula”.

Upon signing the document, the two leaders shared a warm embrace, the culmination of a summit filled with smiles and displays of friendship in front of the world’s media.

They also agreed that they would this year seek a permanent end to the Korean War, 65 years after the hostilities ended in an armistice rather than a peace treaty.

Moon would visit Pyongyang in “the fall”, the two leaders said, also agreeing to hold “regular meetings and direct telephone conversations”.

The so-called Panmunjom Declaration capped an extraordinary day unthinkable only months ago, as the nuclear-armed North carried out a series of missile launches and its sixth atomic blast.

Kim said he was “filled with emotion” after stepping over the concrete blocks into the South, making him the first North Korean leader to set foot there since the shooting stopped in the Korean War.

At Kim’s impromptu invitation the two men briefly crossed hand-in-hand into the North before walking to the Peace House building on the southern side of the truce village of Panmunjom for the summit — only the third of its kind since hostilities ceased in 1953.

“I came here determined to send a starting signal at the threshold of a new history,” said Kim.

After the summit, he pledged that the two Koreas will ensure they did not “repeat the unfortunate history in which past inter-Korea agreements … fizzled out after beginning”.

The two previous Korean summits in 2000 and 2007, both of them in Pyongyang, also ended with displays of affection and similar pledges, but the agreements ultimately came to naught.

With the North’s atomic arsenal high on the agenda, South Korean President Moon Jae-in responded that the North’s announced moratorium on nuclear testing and long-range missile launches was “very significant”.

It was the highest-level encounter yet in a whirlwind of nuclear diplomacy, and intended to pave the way for a much-anticipated encounter between Kim and US President Donald Trump. …

The White House said it hoped the summit would “achieve progress toward a future of peace and prosperity for the entire Korean Peninsula”.

Trump has demanded the North give up its weapons, and Washington is pressing for it to do so in a complete, verifiable and irreversible way.

When Kim visited the North’s key backer Beijing last month in only his first foreign trip as leader, China’s state media cited him as saying that the issue could be resolved, as long as Seoul and Washington take “progressive and synchronous measures for the realization of peace”.

Our guess is that Xi summoned Kim to give him stern orders, but allowed the visit to seem simply a ceremonial state occasion, with smiling faces and displays of mutual respect. But Kim was given no choice.

Okay, it wasn’t just something President Trump said to Xi Jinping that prompted him to persuade Kim Jong-un to seek glory in promoting peace and reconciliation rather than threatening nuclear war.

President Trump was ably assisted by the laws of physics:

Also from Breitbart:

When North Korea performed its most recent nuclear weapon test on September 3 of last year at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site, seismologists outside North Korea detected an “earthquake” that followed the test itself. Concerns were expressed that the earthquake was actually a partial collapse of Mount Mantap, where the Punggye-ri site is located, and that nuclear radiation had been released. Unconfirmed reports later said that tunnel collapses had killed hundreds of North Korean workers. …

Chinese geologists [warned] North Korean nuclear scientists that further nuclear tests at Mount Mantap risked a nuclear catastrophe, if the mountain collapsed in an explosion, releasing large amounts of radiation that could contaminate large regions of North Korea and northeast China for decades to come.

Now, two groups of Chinese researchers – one from the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) in Hefei, and the second from the Jilin Earthquake Agency with the China Earthquake Administration in Changchun – have both reached similar conclusions: That Mount Mantap did in fact collapse after North Korea’s last nuclear weapons test on September 3 of last year.

Here’s the summary from China’s Earthquake Administration:

Seismology illuminates physical processes occurring during underground explosions, not all yet fully understood. The thus far strongest North Korean test of 3 September 2017 was followed by a moderate seismic event (mL 4.1) after 8.5 min. … North Korea detonated its strongest underground nuclear test in September 2017. It attracted the public interest worldwide not only due to its significant magnitude (6.3 mb) but also because it was followed 8.5 min later by a weaker event. Was the delayed shock a secondary explosion, an earthquake provoked by the shot, or something else? We answer these questions. … According to our model, the explosion created a cavity and a damaged “chimney” of rocks above it. The aftershock was neither a secondary explosion nor a triggered tectonic earthquake. It occurred due to a process comparable to a “mirror image” of the explosion, that is, a rock collapse, or compaction, for the first time documented in North Korea’s test site.

The USTC study is awaiting publication, but a summary says, “The occurrence of the collapse should deem the underground infrastructure beneath mountain Mantap not be used for any future nuclear tests.”

A Beijing-based analyst points out that another nuclear test at the site would destabilize not only Mount Mantap but also Changbai Mountain, the site of an active volcano at the China-Korea border. …

[So] North Korea promised [China in the first instance, presumably – ed] to end all nuclear and missile tests and shut down Punggye-ri, North Korea’s nuclear test site.

Shutting down the nuclear test site was particularly hailed by the international media that North Korea’s child dictator Kim Jong-un was turning into a nice guy, willing to compromise and all that. Now the laughable news emerges that the nuclear test site is being shut down because another test would risk a nuclear catastrophe, according to Chinese scientists. …

The collapse of Mantap Mountain represents a collapse of a major part of North Korea’s negotiating position.

With the approach of the forthcoming meeting between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump, Trump has said repeatedly that he was demanding denuclearization – that the North destroy all its nuclear weapons. Kim had the threat of reopening the nuclear test site and performing more tests. But now that threat is gone, and even though the North can do further nuclear development, they can never be sure that their developments will work unless they test them.

And again from Breitbart:

President Donald Trump indicated he believed North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un was sincere about pushing for peace and announcing his interest in denuclearizing the Korean peninsula.

“No. I don’t think he’s playing,” Trump said, praising the progress made in the North and South Korea peace process so far. …

Trump said he understood skepticism about Jong-un’s intentions, pointing to the history of American presidents failing to deliver lasting peace in the region.

“Yeah I agree, the United States has been played beautifully like a fiddle, because you’ve had a different kind of a leader,” he said. “We’re not going to be played O.K.? We’re going to hopefully make a deal, if we don’t that’s fine.”

Trump also praised China’s President Xi Jinping, calling him “extremely helpful to me” on the ongoing negations.

“This isn’t like past administrations – we don’t play games,” Trump said.

And that is why, if the reunification of Korea and the denuclearization of North Korea does come about, it is President Trump who will deserve the world’s gratitude.

 

Update:

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha credits President Trump for the progress being made. “Clearly credit goes to President Trump. He’s been determined to come to grips with this from day one,” Kyung-wha said.

Missile strikes on Syria: punishment, prevention, and warning 4

“What did the missile strikes on Syria’s chemical weapons sites do for America?”

“Why should Americans expend blood and treasure for Syrians victimized by their own government?”

“America is not the world’s policeman.”

Such are the questions and protests that are coming from angry commentators, including many conservatives.

So was President Trump’s decision to act as he did right or wrong?

Claudia Rosett, for long a trusty reporter on the horror show called the United Nations, writes at PJ Media:

With air strikes on Syria’s chemical weapons facilities, carried out jointly with Britain and France, America has done the right thing.

Leading from in front, President Trump is finally redrawing the red line that President Obama erased in 2013. Whatever the threats and criticisms that will surely follow, the world will be safer for it. The vital message is that America is no longer the hamstrung giant of the Obama era. Tyrants such as Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, and his patrons in Moscow and Tehran, have been served notice that it would be unwise to continue to assume that America will waffle, appease or simply retreat while they take upon themselves the shaping – to monstrous effect – of the 21st-century world order. This message is also likely to resonate in Beijing (which has reportedly been planning live-fire naval exercises next week in the Taiwan Strait) and Pyongyang (with its nuclear missile projects).

The immediate aim of the US-led air strikes was to end the chemical weapons attacks that Syria’s Assad regime has continued to inflict on its own people – despite Assad’s promises in 2013 to surrender his chemical weapons, and Russia’s promise to ensure Assad did so. On Friday, speaking at a meeting of the United Nations Security Council, Ambassador Nikki Haley charged that by U.S. estimates, “Assad has used chemical weapons in the Syrian war at least 50 times” – some of these attacks within the past year, including the gas attack that killed dozens … in the Syrian city of Douma.

There’s room for debate about whether it is America’s responsibility, on humanitarian grounds, to stop such atrocities. But whatever your views on protecting children in a far-off land from the hideous effects of chemical weapons, there is a larger, strategic reason for trying to stop Assad. Syria, with its liberal use of chemical weapons, has been setting a horrific precedent – repeatedly violating the Chemical Weapons Convention to which Damascus acceded in 2013, and eroding the longstanding international taboo against chemical warfare. This is dangerous way beyond Syria. As Haley told the UN Security Council: “All nations and all people will be harmed if we allow Assad to normalize the use of chemical weapons.”

In theory, the United Nations was supposed to prevent this, ensuring in tandem with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons that Assad would give up all his chemical weapons – with the specific oversight and guarantees of Russia, under a deal cut in 2013 by Obama and Putin. As I explained in an article earlier this week for The Hill, the UN has failed utterly, thanks to Putin’s cynical exploitation of the entire setup. Russia used the chemical weapons disarmament deal as a portal for its own military entry into Syria in support of Assad, and has since been using its veto on the UN Security Council, along with a torrent of Kremlin propaganda, to run diplomatic cover for Assad.

As many conservative commentators pointed out at the time, it was stupid (if not collusional) of Obama and his secretary of state John Kerry to hand over the responsibility for overseeing Syria’s WMD abandonment to Russia.

The upshot has been that if the US does not stop Assad’s use of chemical weapons, then nobody will.

Neither Britain nor France would have done it without the US.

The US could have done it on its own. British and French participation in the missile attack was useful for President Trump, though not necessary for the success of the operation. The huge majority of the missiles were American – 88 of the 105. Nine were French and 8 were British.

Prime Minister May allowed British forces to strike Syria along with US forces because she “owed” President Trump for his supporting her, when she hit back at Russia for the poisoning of two Russian expats in Britain by expelling Putin’s diplomats and closing a consulate. She asked President Trump to do the same, and he did. She was able to give the order for the strike on Syria by the RAF without consulting parliament because the MPs were still absent on their Easter break. She seized the moment, and now there’s an outcry in the Commons – as well as the country – about it.

As for President Macron, he seems to be fascinated by President Trump, wanting to follow him and yet also to direct him. Macron claimed that he had “convinced” Trump that he should keep the US military engaged in Syria – and then he retracted the claim.

Last April, after Assad used sarin gas in an attack that killed almost 100 people, Trump ordered a strike of 59 Tomahawk missiles on a Syrian airbase. Evidently, that was not enough to stop Assad’s chemical weapons spree.

At a Pentagon press briefing Friday evening held shortly after Trump’s public announcement of the strikes on Syria, Gen. Joseph Dunford listed three targets “struck and destroyed,” which he said were “specifically associated with the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons program.” The last two on his list were chemical weapons storage facilities, one of which included “an important command post”. On these, I don’t know anything beyond the generic descriptions Dunford gave at the briefing.

But the first target on Dunford’s list had a very familiar ring. He described it as “a scientific research center located in the greater Damascus area”. He added: “This military facility was a Syrian center for the research, development, production and testing of chemical and biological warfare technology.”

That sure sounds like the notorious Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center, also known as the SSRC. In which case there can be no doubt that these air strikes were aimed at an incredibly high-value target, an outfit central to some of the worst depravities of Assad’s weapons programs, and – as it happens – a longtime client of North Korea and Iran. On the 99 percent probability that this was the research center to which Dunford referred, here’s some background:

For starters, I’d credit Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis with telling it exactly as it is, when he said at the same Pentagon press briefing Friday night, “We were very precise and proportionate. But at the same time, it was a heavy strike.”

The SSRC has been on the U.S. sanctions list for 13 years, first designated under the Bush administration in 2005, with periodic, horrifying updates under the Obama and Trump administrations, targeting its various fronts, procurement arms, officials and connections.

This is not just any old research center. According to the U.S. Treasury, it is “the Syrian government agency responsible for developing and producing non-conventional weapons and the missiles to deliver them”. …

On April 24, 2017, following Assad’s sarin gas attack on the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun, the Trump administration blacklisted 271 employees of the SSRC, stating that these individuals “have expertise in chemistry and related disciplines and/or have worked in support of SSRC’s chemical weapons since at least 2012”.  In other words, during the same time frame in which Russia (and former secretary of State John Kerry) were assuring us that 100 percent of the chemical weapons were gone from Syria, the Syrian regime’s SSRC was prolifically busy plowing ahead with Assad’s chemical weapons program.

We also have it on good authority that during roughly that same interval, the SSRC was ordering up shipments from North Korea. According to the UN Panel of Experts on North Korea sanctions, in a report dated March 5, 2018, their investigations into weapons and dual-use shipments to Syria from North Korea turned up more than 40 shipments between 2012 and 2017 “by entities designated by Member States as front companies for the Scientific Studies Research Centre of the Syrian Arab Republic.” Among these shipments were items “with utility in ballistic missile and chemical weapons programs”.

If the SSRC was indeed struck and destroyed, the likely benefits are enormous. That would deprive Assad of one of the most diabolical laboratories of his evil regime, quite likely providing a big setback to his chemical weapons program, with the two-fer that it might also have zapped his bioweapons program.

It would also send a useful message to everyone from the SSRC’s suppliers, such as Iran and North Korea, to such predatory dictators as Russia’s Putin and China’s Xi Jinping. Destroying the SSRC with air strikes ought to drive home, in a way that no amount of UN debate and no quantity of sanctions designations ever could, that these days the U.S. and its allies are serious about their red lines. 

The SSRC was struck. According to the caption to this picture in The Independent, this rubble is what’s left of “part” of it.

That frozen hell, those flying pigs … and all hail, great chief! 4

Hell has frozen over, and a flight of pigs unprecedented in number is crossing and recrossing the skies over America. CNN – that polluted source of fake news, plain lies (so shameless they could be called “hillaries”), and simmering insurrection against President Trump’s government – has actually declared the truth that President Donald Trump could justly be called a “great president”.  

Thursday on CNN’s Outfront, host Erin Burnett acknowledged in the wake of the announcement President Donald Trump would meet with North Korea dictator Kim Jong Un that if Trump were to defuse the North Korea nuclear situation, he would go down as a “great president”.

Her actual words:

Just an extraordinary evening and, of course, opening the door to the big question — if President Trump could truly solve this problem, that would be going down as a great president. There is no way around that. That is the reality here.

We have esteemed him as a great president for some time now. In the post we link to, we quote an article at American Thinker by Karin McQuillan, in which she writes:

Thanks to his fearless and clear-sighted character, we finally have a president who will not allow North Korea or Iran to have nuclear weapons.  Those of us who see that this is vital for national security are deeply grateful … 

It remains to be seen if North Korea can be “denuclearized”. North Korea has made many promises and broken them all.

If anyone can make it happen, President Trump can.

Posted under media, North Korea, United States by Jillian Becker on Friday, March 9, 2018

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A gold for tyranny 20

Who is Kim Yo Jong ? “Kim Jong Un’s sister is stealing the show at the Winter Olympics”, declared a CNN.com headline. This princess of Pyongyang received a royal welcome from South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in. He seated her in his VIP box, near Vice President Mike Pence, for the opening ceremony. He hosted her for lunch at the presidential Blue House, where she delivered him an invitation for a summit with Mr. Kim. The resulting Reuters headline: “North Korea heading for diplomacy gold medal at the Olympics.”

Yes, the traitorous Left-biased press reporters of the free world were (all too predictably) delighted with Kim Yo Jong, who smiled for them at the Winter Olympics in South Korea.

Claudia Rosett (a perceptive writer and the most reliable authority on the iniquitous United Nations), writing at the Wall Street Journal (February 13, 2018), makes “this princess of Pyongyang” better known for what she really is:

[Kim Yo Jong]  holds a key post in Pyongyang’s fearsome and brutal Propaganda and Agitation Department. …

Missing from most of the media coverage was any detail about Ms. Kim’s day job in Pyongyang. In North Korea this kid sister has served under Big Brother as a deputy director of the powerful and omnipresent Propaganda and Agitation Department. She has apparently racked up a record so stellar that last year the U.S. Treasury blacklisted her as a top North Korean official tied to “notorious abuses of human right”. Mr. Kim gave her an alternate seat on his politburo.

In blacklisting Ms. Kim, the Treasury specified that her department “controls all media in the country, which the government uses to control the public”. That’s an understatement. The Propaganda and Agitation Department’s mission is to control not only media but minds — to indoctrinate all North Koreans, at all levels, in the absolute supremacy of Kim Jong Un and his Workers’ Party. … That entails a pervasive normalization of evil. Any deviation is suppressed via imprisonment, torture and execution. … 

In a detailed report published last year by the Washington-based Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, Robert Collins and Amanda Mortwedt Oh described the Propaganda and Agitation Department as playing “a key role in justifying Kim family rule through domestic and external propaganda.” They added that entire families may be punished if one member is suspected of dissent. The aim is to ensure the survival, glorification and total power of the Kim regime and its hereditary tyrant.

That’s the training and family tradition behind Ms. Kim’s visit to South Korea. Her delegation included plenty of backup, such as Choe Hwi, a vice director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department who has been blacklisted by the US [and even the UN] for human-rights abuses. The Treasury noted that Mr. Choe “has reportedly been responsible for maintaining ideological purity“.  Currently he is chairman of North Korea’s National Sports Guidance Committee.

Ms. Kim, with her freckles and enigmatic smile, is a trained and trusted royal brainwasher for a family regime whose court is built on totalitarian lies. Her admirers in the media ought to be impressed by the professionalism with which she snookered them.

Nothing to Envy,* a book by Barbara Demick about North Korea in the time of Kim Jong Un’s Father, Kim Jong Il, reveals that much of the population went hungry much of the time.

Here is a quotation, describing, as a common event, the death of a prisoner who has been worked and slowly starved to death. Prisoners are needed to work as slaves in the mines and other industries, so people are arrested on flimsy excuses:

[The prisoners were] mostly “economic criminals” who’d gotten in trouble at the border or the market. The actual thieves among them had stolen nothing more than food. One of them was a forty-year old rancher who had worked on a collective farm raising cattle. His crime was that he had failed to report the birth of a dead calf, instead taking the stillborn home to feed his wife and two young children. By the time Hyuck [who relates this story to the author] met him, he had served five years of a ten-year term. … The rancher was gentle and soft-spoken, but one of the senior guards took a strong dislike to him. His wife and children came twice to visit, but were not allowed in to see him or to send gifts of food, privileges allowed some of the more favored prisoners.

The rancher died of starvation. It happened quietly; he went to sleep and didn’t wake up. It was a common occurrence that somebody would die in the night. Often it was obvious in the close sleeping-quarters, because the dying man would evacuate his bladder and tiny bubbles would appear on his lips as fluid seeped out of the body.  

As in all collectivist systems, the community of North Korea is organized for slavery, want, and death.

A few more extracts from Nothing to Envy:

In North Korea …. all staples are grown on collective farms. The state confiscates the entire harvest and then gives a portion back to the farmer… [As famine intensified] the North Korean government offered a variety of explanations, from the patently absurd to the barely plausible. People were told … that the United States had instituted a blockade against North Korea that was keeping out food …

Enduring hunger became part of one’s patriotic duty. …

Chongjin was always prone to epidemics because its sewage system … spilled untreated feces into the streams where women often did the laundry. With the electricity blinking on and off, running water became unreliable. Usually electricity and water worked for one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening, People stored water in big vats at home, which turned into breeding grounds for bacteria. Nobody had soap. Typhoid is easily treated by antibiotics, which by 1994 were almost entirely unavailable. …

How do you tell a mother her child needs more food when there is nothing more to give? [A doctor] would write out a slip admitting the child to the hospital, knowing she had no cure for this condition. The hospital didn’t have any food either …

Over the years the hospital provided less and less. The furnace in the basement went out after it ran out of coal, so the hospital had no heat. When the running water went off, nobody could properly mop the floors. Even in the day it was so dark in the interior of the building that that doctors had to stand by windows to write up their reports. Patients brought their own food, their own blankets. Since bandages were scarce, they would cut up bedding to make them. The hospital was still able to manufacture intravenous fluid, but they didn’t have bottles for it. The patients had to bring their own …

[Many] victims of the North Korean famine … did not go passively to their deaths. When the public distribution system was cut off, they were forced to tap their deepest wells of creativity to feed themselves. They devised traps out of buckets and string to catch small animal in the field, draped nets over their balconies to snare sparrows. They educated themselves in the nutritive properties of plants. … They stripped the sweet inner bark of pine trees to grind into a fine powder that could be used in place of flour. They pounded acorns into a gelatinous paste that could be molded into cubes that practically melted in your mouth. …

If you got out to the mountains, you could maybe find dandelion or other weeds so tasty that people ate them even in good times. Occasionally, Mrs Song [one of the author’s informants] would find rotten cabbage leaves that had been discarded by a farmer. She would take the day’s pickings home and mix it with whatever food she had enough money to buy. Usually it was ground cornmeal – the cheap kind made from the husks and cobs. If she couldn’t afford that, she would buy a still cheaper powder made out of the ground inner bark of the pine, sometimes extended with a little sawdust.

No talent in the kitchen could disguise the god-awful taste. She had to pound away and chop endlessly to get the grasses and the barks into a soft-enough pulp to be digestible. … All she could make was a porridge that was flavorless and textureless. … a porridge mad out of bean and corn stalks … was bitter and dry, and stuck in the throat like the twigs of a bird’s nest…

In the year after Kim Il Sung’s death the only animal product she consumed was frog … North Korea’s frog population would soon be wiped out by overhunting. …

The killer [starvation] has a natural progression. It goes first for the most vulnerable – children under five. They come down with a cold and it turns into pneumonia; diarrhea turns into dysentery. Before the parents even think about getting help, the child is dead. Next the killer turns to the aged … then makes its way through people in the prime of their lives. Men, because they have less body fat, usually perish before women. …

By 1998, an estimated 600,000 people had died as a result of the famine, as much as 10 percent of the population. … Exact figures would be nearly impossible to tally since North Korean hospitals could not report starvation as a cause of death. …

Between 1996 and 2005, North Korea would receive $2.4 billion worth of food aid, much of it from the United States … The relief was off-loaded into trucks by the military and driven away. Some food reached orphanages and kindergartens, but much of it ended up in military stockpiles or sold on the black market. …

By the end of 1998, the worst of the famine was over, not necessarily because anything had improved but … because there were fewer mouths to feed.

Kim Jong-Il had taken an even harder line against individual enterprise than his father. “In a socialist society, even the food problem should be solved in a socialist way. Telling people to solve the food problems on their own creates egotism among people,” he said in a December 1996 speech, one of the few in which he acknowledged the food crisis. … Food was not to be sold on the market. To sell rice or any other grain was strictly forbidden. [It was] considered illegal and immoral, a stab in the heart of Communist ideology. Any private endeavor fell under the rubric of “economic crime” …  In 1997, notices went up … warning that people who stole, hoarded, or sold grains were “stifling our style of socialism” and could be subject to execution. …

Then again, death was a virtual certainty for people who didn’t show some private initiative. A human being needs at least 500 calories per day on average to survive; a person subsisting on a diet of what could be foraged in the woods would not survive more than three months. …

Among the homeless population, a disproportionate number were children or teenagers. In some cases, their parents had gone off in search of jobs or food. But there was another, even stranger, explanation. Facing a food shortage, many North Koreans families conducted a brutal triage of their own households – they denied themselves and often elderly grandparents food in order to keep the younger generation alive. That strategy produced an unusual number of orphans, as the children were often the last ones left of entire families that had perished…

In the first years of the food shortage, the children at the train station survived by begging food, but before long there were simply too many of them and too few people with food to spare…

When begging failed, the children … formed themselves into gangs to steal together …

It was a dangerous life… There were strange stories going around about adults who … would drug children, kill them, and butcher them for meat. Behind the station near the railroad tracks were vendors who cooked soup and noodles over small burners, and it was said that the grey chunks of meat floating in the broth were human flesh. …

People … spoke of the large number of bodies scattered around the station and on the trains. At the station, employees from the cleaning staff regularly made rounds through the public areas, loading bodies onto a wooden handcart. Some days they removed as many as thirty bodies from the station.

Fox News reports that there have been changes for the better in North Korea since the time of Kim Jong Il. (He died in 2011 and was succeeded by his son, the present dictator, Kim Jong Un, who is threatening to nuke the US.) Conditions could hardly have changed for the worse!  According to the Fox report (derived from AP), one of the changes has been an improvement in living standards for at least some of the people.

Probably more out of pragmatic necessity than anything else, Kim Jong Un has allowed capitalist-style markets and entrepreneurialism to expand, invigorating the domestic economy and creating new revenue streams for the government, which profits by either taking a cut or by directly supporting such enterprises. Changes in farming policy that let individuals personally benefit from bigger harvests have boosted agricultural output. The relatively affluent capital of Pyongyang — home to the North’s most fortunate — has seen a significant increase in everything from taxis to coffee shops and streets stalls. But the rise of the “cash masters”, an empowered middle class more open to capitalist ideals, or just more determined to acquire material wealth, could prove to be a problem for Kim down the road.

He is unlikely to let them be a problem for him. More likely he will be a problem for them. One is reminded how Stalin allowed the Russian kulaks to “boost output” – and then he destroyed them.

 

*Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick, Spiegel & Grau, New York, 2009

Posted under North Korea by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, February 14, 2018

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Trump, Trumpism, and THEM 2

It’s altogether too much for THEM to bear! The man is a billionaire who loves life, lives well, and enjoys himself tremendously both at work and at play; has a wife who is one of the most beautiful women in the world, and is also graceful, gentle, intelligent and competent; has handsome successful children and bright charming grandchildren; and, on top of all that, has become the most powerful man in the world. To add a final insult to THEM, he is perfectly healthy at the age 0f 71; immensely energetic and strong; and fully capable of continuing to do what he wants to do.

And then, try as THEY might to find something he has done terribly wrong to blot his intolerably immaculate escutcheon, THEY cannot find anything!

Actually, it is even worse for THEM. Far worse. Because not only is he victorious, THEY are defeated. Probably (with luck) irrecoverably. He has risen to power at a moment when THEY had  almost conquered the world; almost made it poor; almost brought the nations – possibly even including the USA – into universal homogeneity at the lowest level of subsistence in subjection to THEM running a world communist government (in order to “save the planet” from people using cars and making things in factories); almost destroyed Western civilization.

We are enthusiasts for Trumpism because we are warriors against THEM.

As such, do we exaggerate his achievements? If so, by how much? Overlook his flaws? If so, what are they?

As a corrective to our possibly overindulgent judgment of the president, we reproduce an article by Victor Davis Hanson; surely a reasonable and fair assessment of the Trump presidency thus far and prospectively. It is also necessary to know that it appeared at the mostly, persistently, and emphatically anti-Trump National Review:

As President Trump finished his first full year in office, he could look back at an impressive record of achievement of a kind rarely attained by an incoming president — much less by one who arrived in office as a private-sector billionaire without either prior political office or military service.

As unintended proof of his accomplishments, Trump’s many liberal opponents have gone from initially declaring him an incompetent to warning that he has become effective — insanely so — in overturning the Obama progressive agenda. Never Trump Republicans acknowledge that Trump has realized much of what they once only dreamed of — from tax reform and deregulation to a government about-face on climate change, the ending of the Obamacare individual mandate, and expansion of energy production.

Trump so far has not enacted the Never Trump nightmare agenda. The U.S. is not leaving NATO. It is not colluding with Vladimir Putin, but maintaining sanctions against Russia and arming Ukrainians. It is not starting a tariff war with China. The administration is not appointing either liberals or incompetents to the federal courts. A politicized FBI, DOJ, and IRS was Obama’s legacy, not Trump’s doing, as some of the Never Trump circle predicted. Indeed, the Never Trump movement is now mostly calcified, as even some of its formerly staunch adherents concede. It was done in by the Trump record and the monotony of having to redefine a once-welcomed conservative agenda as suddenly unpalatable due to Trump’s crude fingerprints on it.

On the short side, Trump has still not started to build his much-promised border wall, to insist on free but far fairer trade with Asia and Europe, or to enact an infrastructure-rebuilding program. Nonetheless, Trump’s multitude of critics is unable to argue that his record is shoddy and must instead insist that his list of achievements is due mostly to the Republican Congress. Or they claim he is beholden to the legacy of the Obama administration. Or they insist that credit belongs with his own impressive economic and national-security cabinet-level appointments. Or that whatever good came of Trump’s first year is nullified by Trump’s persistent personal odiousness.

At the conclusion of Trump’s first year, the stock market and small-business confidence are at record highs, and consumer confidence has not been higher in 17 years. Trump’s loud campaign promises to lure back capital and industry to the heartland no longer look quixotic, given new tax and deregulatory incentives and far cheaper energy costs than in most of Europe and Japan. Trump has now ended 66 regulations for every one he has added. Few believed a Republican president could cut the corporate-tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent while capping state- and local-tax deductions for mostly high earners to $10,000. Those are the highlights of a comprehensive tax-reform and -reduction agenda that will likely accelerate the economy to an even more rapid growth rate than Trump’s first two full quarters of annualized increases in GDP of more than 3 percent. Dozens of large companies are already passing along some of their anticipated tax cuts to employees through increased wages or bonuses — dismissed as “crumbs” by House minority leader Nancy Pelosi. Rising workers’ wages and anticipated tax credits and savings for the lower and middle classes for now are rendering almost mute the age-old fights about state-mandated minimum-wage laws.

The mostly unheralded nixing of the Obamacare individual mandate — once the great ideological battlefield of the Affordable Care Act — will insidiously recalibrate the ACA into a mostly private-market enterprise.

Domestic oil production is slated to exceed 2017 record levels and soon may hit an astonishing 11 million barrels a day. “Peak oil” for now is an ossified idea, as are massive wind and solar Solyndra-like government subsidies and the mostly unworkable Paris Climate Accord. Gas, oil, and coal production are expected to rise even higher with new Trump initiatives to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge field in Alaska, encourage more fracking on federal lands and offshore, and complete needed pipeline links while encouraging coal exportation.

For all the political horse-trading over extending or ending the Obama executive orders on DACA, illegal immigration has declined according to some metrics by over 60 percent. It is now at the lowest levels in the 21st century — even before the ending of chain migration and enacting of new border-security initiatives. Abroad, the ISIS caliphate is for all purposes now extinct. Its demise is in part due to Trump’s outsourcing of the conflict to Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who liberated ground commanders from Obama-administration-era legalistic rules of engagement. Trump’s appointees, such as Mattis, National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, have worked in concert to restore U.S. deterrence.

Variously called “principled realism” or a new “Jacksonianism”,  the Trump doctrine has now replaced the “strategic patience” and “lead from behind” recessionals of the prior administration and not emulated the neoconservative nation-building of the George W. Bush administration. New pressures on nuclear North Korea have prompted the toughest U.N. trade sanctions in history on the rogue state. After Trump’s fiery and erratic rhetoric and muscular displays of U.S. naval and air power in the Pacific, Pyongyang has agreed to landmark talks with Seoul. China is slowly beginning to pressure North Korea to stop launching missiles. Beijing’s Asian neighbors are beefing up missile defense and growing closer to the U.S. For now, the bad cop Trump and the good cops Mattis and McMaster have encouraged friends and frightened enemies, although the shelf life of such diplomatic gymnastics is limited.

Trump almost immediately voiced support for mass demonstrations in Iran, in a manner Obama failed to do in 2009. An ironic fallout of the disastrous 2015 Iran deal may be that the theocracy so hyped its cash windfalls from American relaxation of embargoes and sanctions that it inadvertently raised Iranians’ expectations of a rise in the standard of living. Then it dashed just those hopes by squandering hundreds of millions of newfound dollars in subsidizing Hezbollah, conducting a costly expeditionary war to save the genocidal Bashar al-Assad regime, and likely continuing an exorbitantly costly nuclear-weapons program. What is different about Iran’s internal unrest this time around is twofold. The Trump administration is not invested in any “landmark” deal with Tehran that requires ignoring protesters in the street. Trump also does not envision revolutionary and terror-sponsoring Iran as a “very successful regional power” with “legitimate defense concerns”. Rather, he sees Tehran, along with ISIS and al-Qaeda, as the chief source of Middle East unrest and anti-Americanism.

Moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, in line with past congressional mandates, along with threatening to curtail Palestinian aid, only reifies what is now widely accepted. The new Middle East is not the old. There are no longer any ongoing and viable “peace plans”, “road maps”, or “summits”.  America is becoming energy-independent and immune to oil boycotts. There are new and greater threats than Israel to Arab regimes, from nuclear Iran to the scourge of Islamic terrorism in Iraq and Syria. Patience is wearing thin as after 30 years the Palestinians still cannot create transparent and consensual government. Seventy years after the birth of Israel, the Palestinians still insist on being called “refugees” — when most of the world’s millions of displaced persons decades ago moved on.

Yet as Trump heads into the 2018 midterms, his favorability ratings are unimpressive. Because of loud Democratic threats of using impeachment proceedings to undermine the Trump project, the 2018 fight for the House is taking on historic importance. It is not just a referendum on the Trump agenda, but likely a means to seek to discredit or remove Trump himself — even if the prosecution in the Senate would likely never find the necessary 67 votes. In sum, an embattled Trump now finds himself in a war on all fronts. The first and most important conflict is one of favorability. Trump’s actual approval ratings, as in 2016, are probably somewhat higher than the low 40s reported in many polls. But Trump’s image is still astonishingly dismal in relation to his unappreciated achievements. For congressional Republicans to survive the midterms and retain majorities, Trump perhaps has to hope that the economy will grow not just at 3 percent but even more robustly — with marked rises in workers’ take-home wages due to tax cuts and labor shortages. Is it really true that politics can be reduced to “It’s the economy, stupid”? Obama failed to achieve 3 percent growth per annum over his eight years. As a result he may have lost both houses of Congress, but he also was reelected. More likely, no one quite knows the exact political consequences of economic growth. Between November 1983 and November 1984, the economy grew at 7 percent and ipso facto ushered the once “amiable dunce” Ronald Reagan into a landslide reelection victory over a previously thought-to-be-far-more-impressive Walter Mondale. Yet this time it may be that 3 percent GDP growth will not mitigate Trump’s personal negatives but 4–5 percent would.

It is said that Trump is also at war with himself, in the sense that his tweeting alienates the key constituencies of women voters and independents. Conventional wisdom assures that Trump’s off-the-cuff invectives only fuel his critics and overshadow his achievements. In the heart of immigration negotiations, Trump was quoted secondhand as having called Haiti and other formerly Third World countries “sh**hole” countries and thus undesirable sources of mass immigration to the U.S. Whatever the reliability of reports of the slur, Trump is certainly not the sort of politician to have said instead, “It would seem wiser to encourage diverse immigration, including immigration from the most developed countries as well as the least developed” — even as many people privately agree with Trump’s earthy assessment that immigration should be far more selective and include a far greater variety of countries of origin.

Both Trump’s spoken and electronic stream-of-consciousness venting can be unorthodox, crude and cruel, and often extraneous. But can anyone measure whether and to what degree his Twitter account energizes and widens his base more than it loses him supporters otherwise sympathetic to his agenda? The orthodox wisdom is that Trump should let his achievements speak for themselves, curb his raucous campaign rallies, and restrict his daily tweets to expansions on his agenda and achievement and leave the feuding to subordinates. When Trump has avoided ad hominem spats, and been filmed conducting policy sessions with his cabinet and congressional enemies and friends, he has looked and acted “presidential”.  How good then must Trump’s record become to overshadow both the prejudices against him and his own inner demons to achieve favorability ratings that will provide coattails for his congressional supporters and fuel an even more ambitious second-year agenda? Again, time is running out, and in the next ten months the economy must boom as never before or Trump must learn to sound more like a Ronald Reagan than a Howard Stern.

Trump is simultaneously at war with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Once again, the critical element is time in the sense of the looming midterm elections. So far, after months of media speculation and press leaks, there is no evidence of Russian–Trump collusion. Robert Mueller’s investigative team has been riddled by charges of conflicts of interest, workplace unprofessionalism, and political bias. The basis of the entire writ against Trump, the Fusion GPS–Steele dossier, is now mostly discredited. The file’s lurid sexual accusations alone likely won it notoriety in 2016 among journalists and Obama-administration enablers. The more that is learned about the Steele opposition-research file — paid for by the Clinton campaign, polluted by Russian rumor-mongering, peddled to the FBI, manipulated by the Obama administration to justify FISA surveillance, likely leaked to pet reporters by Obama-administration and Clinton-campaign officials — the more apparent it may become that Mueller is investigating Russian collusion in entirely the wrong place. Another irony is that pushback against the Mueller fishing expedition may prompt reinvestigations into the earlier election-cycle-aborted inquiries about Clinton email improprieties. The Obama administration also likely acted improperly in ignoring the Clinton–Uranium One connections and Hillary Clinton’s violations of agreements with the Obama administration to report the sources of all private donations to the Clinton Foundation during her tenure. So far resistance at both the Department of Justice and the FBI to releasing documents pertaining to all these avenues of interest has stymied House and Senate inquiries. If the Republicans lose the Congress, these investigations will shut down entirely. Democratic majorities will give Mueller a free hand to do as he pleases without worries about past complaints over the ethical shortcomings of his investigation. Select Intelligence and Judiciary Committee hearings will likely give way in the House to impeachment proceedings. But if within the next nine months there are new explosive revelations about the improper or even illegal uses of the Steele dossier and the Clinton scandals, while the Mueller team settles for face-saving indictments of former Trump subordinates for transgressions that have little to do with the original Mueller mandate to investigate Russian–Trump collusion, then Trump will win the legal war. In that case, Trump finally will not only weather the collusion crisis but find himself a political beneficiary of one of the most scandalous efforts to subvert a political campaign and improperly surveil American citizens in recent American history.

Trump wages a fourth war against the proverbial mainstream media, whose coverage, according to disinterested analyses, runs over 90 percent anti-Trump. Negative Trump news fuels Trump-assassination chic in popular culture, the rants of late-night-television comedians, the political effort to grandstand with impeachment writs, calls to invoke the 25th Amendment, and lawsuits alleging violations of the emoluments clause. The threats of a Madonna, the raving of Representative Maxine Waters, the boasts of the “Resistance,” the efforts of blue states to nullify federal immigration law or to dodge compliance with unwelcome new federal tax statutes, and the conspiracy fables of Representative Adam Schiff are all fueled by media attention and preconceived narratives hostile to Trump. The anti-Trump news is still determined to accomplish what so far the Clinton campaign, Obama holdovers, and deep-state bureaucrats have not: so discredit Trump the messenger that his message becomes irrelevant. Trump apparently fights his war against the media in the fashion in which toxic chemotherapy battles cancer. His personal and electronic rants against “fake news” and “crooked” journalists are intended to exhibit media biases and thus discredit negative coverage just before the public tires of Trump’s own off-putting venom. On the one hand, Trump’s anemic approval ratings might suggest the media are winning in their 24/7 efforts to portray Trump as a Russian colluder, rank profiteer, distracted golfer, tax cheat, sexual predator, trigger-happy warmonger, or senile septuagenarian. On the other hand, the media are polling worse than Trump. And his battle has nearly destroyed the credibility of CNN, which has fired marquee journalists for false anti-Trump narratives, been embarrassed by hosts mouthing scatological venom, suffered employees’ hot-mic wishes for Trump’s death, and seen its anchors and special correspondents reduced to on-air rants. For now, no one knows whether Trump’s war against the media is pyrrhic, in that he may defeat his journalist enemies and even render their entire networks discredited, but at such costs that he is no longer politically viable.

Trump is waging a fifth and final war against Democrats. So far Trump has sucked all the oxygen out of the Democratic atmosphere. Politicians and operatives are so obsessed with proving Trump a liar, a cheat, a pervert, a con artist, or an incompetent that they have offered so far no viable opposition leader or alternative agenda. But will just being not-Trump make Democrats preferable? The centrist Democratic party of the 1990s no longer exists. It has become instead a coalition of patched-together progressive causes. The redistributionism and neo-socialism of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are now Democratic economic mainstays. Barack Obama’s lead-from-behind legacy remains Democratic foreign policy. Identity politics still constitutes the culture of the party establishment.

In more practical terms, for all the animus against Trump the person, his agenda — tax cuts, deterrence, reindustrialization, middle-class job growth, closing the borders, the melting pot — is increasingly polling well. In many cases, Trumpism is more popular than Democratic signature issues such as tax hikes, larger government, more entitlements, open borders, more identity politics, and European Union–like internationalism.

The idea of Oprah Winfrey as the 2020 Democratic nominee and the unwillingness of Democrats to secure the border reveal what can happen when a party is reduced to defining itself as not being the incumbent president. The Republicans learned that lesson in their four-time failure to defeat the hated Roosevelt. Democrats in the 1980s had little to offer the country other than not being the supposed buffoon Ronald Reagan. Shutting down the government is also rarely a winning strategy for an out party — as the Republicans learned in their politically disastrous 1995–96 showdown with Bill Clinton. In 2018, it may be enough for congressional candidates to run on anti-Trump invective without expressing strong views on the issues or identifying with any particular national leader. But it won’t be so in 2020, especially if the Trump agenda grows more popular and Trump allows it rather than himself to become his signature message.

For now, all that is certain about Trump’s first year is the 2016 truism that past prognostications and current polls are irrelevant. The jester candidate, Donald Trump, destroyed, not just beat, his 16 primary rivals. The doomed candidate Trump defeated the most well-financed, experienced, and media-favored Democratic candidate in memory. The inept President Trump’s first year was not liberal or directionless, but marked the most successful and conservative governance since Ronald Reagan’s. Trump’s critics insist that his comeuppance is on the horizon. They assure us that character is destiny. Trump’s supposed hubris will finally earn an appropriately occasioned nemesis. But in the meantime, nearly half the country may be happy that the establishment was not just wrong but nearly discredited in its non-ending, prejudicial dismissal of the Trump agenda and, so far, the successful Trump presidency.

So: HOWL globalists, socialists, warmists, feminists, Muslims, and Democrats.

He is impervious to your insults.

He is charitable and generous. Yes, he is.

He is not a “racist” or “anti-woman”. Certainly not.

He does not take drugs, drink alcohol – or even coffee.

He has not colluded with the Russians, or any other foreign power. (Obama did with the Russians and the Iranians. Hillary Clinton did with anyone who would pay her.)

He flourishes, he laughs, he acts, he wins.

Big issues 9

What are the Big Issues of the day?

  1. Donald Trump has been elected president of the USA, which is (a) impossible and (b) intolerable. 
  2. President Trump has or has not called shithole countries “shithole countries”; and can it really be true that he weighs only 239 lbs. and is in good health?
  3. It has come to light that over the last thirty years or so, for the first time in history, women have been pursued by men for sexual gratification, which is wrong except when Bill Clinton does it.
  4. Studies show that white men run everything and must be replaced in all leadership positions by non-whites and women.
  5. The academic discipline of mathematics is racist and sexist, and must be made more comprehensible to feminists and other non-intellectuals by infusions of emotion.
  6. In a hundred years or so the planet could be a degree or two warmer than it is now.

There are other issues, good and bad, but they are comparatively trivial. Fox TV, conservative papers, some users of social media, and right-wing radio bring them up, but the mainstream media have the good sense not to excite or trouble the public over them.

  1. The United States is in the grip of economic recovery.
  2. The Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton corrupted the Intelligence agencies and the Department of Justice, by bringing them into a conspiracy to falsely accuse Donald Trump of collusion with the Russians in order to scuttle his candidacy, and later to try to nullify his election as president.
  3. Nation states are coming to an end as borders are opened and vast numbers of refugees from shithole countries are moving into the West, which will soon experience radical transformations of their laws, culture and values to turn them into shithole countries.
  4. Chief among the transformers are Muslims, whose law, culture and values will bring women – even feminist women – into subjection.
  5. Muslims are further advancing their conquest of the West by means of terrorist attacks which can and do kill anybody anywhere at any time.
  6. The aggressive states of North Korea and Iran are threatening nuclear war.

Admittedly the nuclear war threats are noticed sometimes by the mainstream media – but only because they are entirely the fault of President Trump.

… Or if war is not coming 9

Victor Davis Hanson, writing at Townhall, discusses what might happen in response to the North Korean threat of nuclear war. He includes this, the last of four possible scenarios:

Preemption. Barring the “peaceful” options of defanging nuclear North Korea, the U.S. and its Japanese and South Korean allies would have to disable the missiles through military force.

Such a nightmarish action would not be limited to “surgical strikes”. Instead, it would have to include massive attacks on North Korean missile sites, command and control centers, artillery and missile platforms, military bases and WMD repositories.

Such preemption would quickly escalate to a general-theater war – or worse.

But would it necessarily? And what would be worse?

Last-gasp North Korean nukes might escape preemptive bombing and be launched at Japan, South Korea, America’s Pacific bases and the U.S. West Coast.

A tottering North Korea could order a full-fledged artillery pounding of Seoul, chemical and cyber attacks, and a conventional ground invasion of South Korea.

The U.S. and its allies would win such a war. But the cost could be catastrophic and prompt global recession.

Why would it precipitate a global recession?

No one knows what China would do in such an exigency. Would it merely cry crocodile tears while its troublesome patron disappeared? Or to save its last communist client, would China send troops into the peninsula as it did in the fall of 1950?

One thing is always certain. The naive architects of appeasement who watch as monsters grow always win short-term praise for avoiding immediate war. Their realist successors, who are forced to cage or destroy such full-grown beasts, are usually labeled as war mongers. 

Yes, and in these days of civilizational despair, labels terrify people more than death. 

It may well be the case that the Western mind is now so set against war, against the killing it involves, that it will not defend itself. Not, anyway, by a preemptive strike.

What then? No one offers scenarios or prophecies of what will happen if Kim Jong-un is not disarmed.

Posted under China, North Korea, United States, War by Jillian Becker on Thursday, January 4, 2018

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War is coming 5

Soon there will be war with North Korea. Unless its dictator has a sudden change of mind and voluntarily gives up his nuclear warheads and the ballistic missiles that can deliver them, they will need to be taken from him by force. The likelihood of the change of mind is very small. So the chance of war is very high.

In the war, a lot of people will die. They will probably be mostly North Koreans. There could be many deaths among South Koreans. There may be deaths of civilians in the United States.

Why is China rushing troops to its border with North Korea? It’s a reasonable speculation that they will shoot down radioactive North Koreans attempting to flee nuclear attack. China is not likely to risk war with the United States over North Korea. Nor is Russia.

The Daily Star reports:

People’s Liberation Army (PLA) forces are said to have been moving by night towards China’s river border with the North.

And Chinese commanders are reported to have recently conducted the so-called “war ceremony” – urging their troops to be ready to fight.

Columns of PLA trucks have been pictured on the move near Yanji City which is close to the triple border between China, Russia and North Korea.

Wars fears have spilled over into the New Year as Kim Jong-un warned the “nuclear button” is on his desk .

China is North Korea’s only traditional ally and has been coming under pressure to tackle Kim Jong-un from the US.

Sources cited in Chinese media claimed the PLA are “preparing for war on the Korean Peninsula” .

China would be expected to use its military forces to help quell a flood of refugees should the US attack North Korea.

There will be deaths among the US military. But that is what soldiers always face. An army exists to kill, and every soldier in it risks being killed. There is no point in pretending otherwise.

Obama tried to turn the army into a social service. That was a huge waste of tax-payers’ money.

If members of the Libertarian Party, or the Green Party, or the Bernie Sanders musty movement, or some pacifist church, or the Leftist media, or the deep state, or the Democratic Party don’t want war to happen – what is their alternative?

The army will fight, as it did in World War II. It will fight to win under the command of President Trump and General Mattis.

And the war will be fought by men. Not by women, or transgenders, or pacifists, or  Communists, or snowflakes, or social justice warriors, or professors, or lawyers, or play-play “resisters” like the Antifa thugs.

Men will fight it, men will kill in it, men will win it, and men will die in it.

And a rogue nation will be deprived of the power to do far greater damage and kill far more people.

Posted under China, North Korea, Russia, United States, War by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, January 3, 2018

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Kim Jong-un’s weapons of mass sickness 1

North Korea’s hydrogen bomb – which is powerful enough to destroy a city – sparked a powerful 6.3 magnitude earthquake amid an “escalating” nuclear crisis when it was detonated on Sunday [two days ago, November 5, 2017].

The terrifying tremor was detected in the northeast of the country where the Punggye-ri test site is located – but was so strong that it shook buildings in China and Russia.

But the raw power of the bomb – which has a 100 kiloton yield, around five times bigger than that dropped on Nagasaki – isn’t the only threat it presents to the US. For the first time, North Korea specifically mentioned the possibility of an EMP, or electro-magnetic pulse, attack on the US following Sunday’s test.

North Korea’s state news agency warned that the weapon “is a multifunctional thermonuclear nuke with great destructive power which can be detonated even at high altitudes for super-powerful EMP attack”.

So the Daily Mail reports.

It goes on:

North Korea has specifically threatened an EMP attack on the US for the first time.

Nuclear blasts generate high-intensity radio waves that can disrupt electronics.

These EMP blasts travel along line-of-sight, which means the effects extend only to the visual horizon.

A powerful enough blast at an altitude of 249 miles could impact most of the continental US.

North Korea has already demonstrated its ability to reach this altitude with two satellite launches, in 2012 and 2016, which some experts believe were secret tests of an EMP launch trajectory. …

A nuclear bomb detonated high in the atmosphere could knock out the power grid across a swathe of the continental US – or even all of it.

That would leave hospitals without power, civilian and government agencies unable to coordinate, and the fabric of society unraveling fast.

Would China or Russia object to such an attack on the US? Possibly.

China … “resolutely opposes” and “strongly condemns” the test while urging the rogue state to “stop taking wrong actions”.

Russia urged calm and warned Pyongyang to “refrain from any actions that lead to a further escalation of tension” .

According to Business Insider, which describes in horrific detail what would happen in a US war with North Korea, there would need to be US troops on the ground:

US special operations forces, after North Korea’s air defenses have been destroyed, would parachute in with the goal of destroying or deactivating mobile launchers and other offensive equipment.

[They] would face a big challenge in trying to hunt down some 200 missile launchers throughout North Korea, some of which have treads to enter very difficult terrain where US recon planes would struggle to spot them.

US special forces would establish themselves at key logistical junctures, observe the North Koreans’ movements, and then relay that to US air assets.

But if this report in The Sun is true, US soldiers could face another sort of weapon which would be harder to protect against. Yet it is a sort of weapon which makes an immediate strike on North Korea to eliminate the Kim Jong-un regime not only justified but urgently necessary.

Kim Jong-un is feared to be secretly mass producing biological weapons to unleash nightmarish plagues …

Under the cover of a farm lab, it is claimed North Korean chemists could be weaponizing some the world’s deadliest diseases such as smallpox, Black Death and cholera which could lay waste to millions of people if an epidemic was sparked.

Radio Free Asia cited a report released by Belfer Centre of Harvard University’s Kennedy School, which says the rogue state already has biological weapons. …

The chilling report states that the highly infectious diseases could be spread via a missile, drones, planes and sprayers.

North Korea’s 200,000 special forces could also unleash the bio-weapons.

The report states: “While nuclear programs can be monitored by the number of nuclear tests and the success of missile tests … cultivated pathogens can stay invisible behind closed doors.”

Of course if Kim Jong-un releases smallpox, Black Death and cholera over his own country, a vast number of North Koreans would die. That wouldn’t trouble the little dictator in the least. He is happy  to let them die of starvation anyway.

He could release them over South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Guam, Hawaii, and even the US mainland.

If Kim Jong-un has such weapons he will use them in war without compunction.

And it seems fairly certain that he does have them.

Can the US move against him fast enough, soon enough, and decisively enough?

Posted under North Korea, United States, War by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, November 7, 2017

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A major diplomatic victory 2

President Trump may have actually persuaded China to stop all financial transactions with North Korea.

According to the Washington Times –

Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin called the head of China’s central bank very early Thursday to alert him that Mr. Trump was preparing an executive order to sanction any financial institutions doing business with North Korea.  He asked for the cooperation of China, the main source of North Korea’s cash. Hours later, the People’s Bank of China announced it was directing all other banks in China to halt financial transactions with North Korea.

China is complying with US demands?

Will it really happen? Will the freeze last as long as it needs to?

Mnuchin said the sanctions will be more effective than previous efforts because Treasury now has the authority to “freeze or block any transactions, with any financial institution, anywhere in the world”. 

If the US Treasury now has that power and uses it fully, then this is, as the Washington Times report says, “a major diplomatic victory” for President Trump.

It will surely be impossible for Kim Jong-un’s totalitarian Communist regime to survive such sanctions. The regime has been almost wholly dependent on China, and only able to fund its missile and nuke arsenals because China supported it.

So this is an enormously important – as well as extremely dramatic – development in world affairs. Not only because it can defeat Kim Jong-un, but perhaps even more importantly, because it has brought China into compliance with America’s wishes.

If it really happens, it is a towering achievement of President Trump. 

Posted under China, North Korea, United States by Jillian Becker on Friday, September 22, 2017

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