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This is a Fine Kettle of Fish
Posted by: Dale Franks on Monday, October 09, 2006

As of now, it looks like the North Koreans did it.
"U.S. and South Korean intelligence detected a seismic event Sunday at a suspected nuclear test site. North Korea has claimed it conducted an underground nuclear test," Snow said.

"A North Korean nuclear test would constitute a provocative act in defiance of the will of the international community and of our call to refrain from actions that would aggravate tensions in northeast Asia," Snow added.

A senior U.S. official said China was given a 20-minute warning ahead of the test and in turn passed the information along to the United States, Japan and South Korea.

A U.S. military official told CNN that "something clearly has happened," but the Pentagon was working to fully confirm the report.

Other senior U.S. officials said they also believed the test took place, citing seismic data that appears to show one.

Senior U.S. officials said the United States is consulting with allies around the world and would push for sanctions Monday at a 9:30 a.m. (1:30 p.m. GMT) meeting of the U.N. Security Council in New York.
This means that the NoKos do, in fact, have both nuclear weapons, and a delivery capability that covers nearly all of East Asia, and the North Pacific, probably all the way to the northwestern United States.

No one is very happy about this. The South Koreans are having emergency cabinet meetings. The Chinese urged the NoKos not to test, and got the cold shoulder. The Japanese are considering a response. The UN will most likely vote for sanctions.

And the NoKos will still have nukes, and the ballistic missiles to deliver them.

The proliferation implications are troubling, of course. At this point, the chances that the Japanese will create their own nuclear program—something the Japanese could do with relative ease—are probably about 50/50. It's the one real deterrent they could have, considering their lack of conventional forces. And, really, the same goes for the South Koreans.

No doubt the Iranians are watching with keen interest to see the outcome of this mess, too, since it has direct implications for how the world will respond to their acquisition of nuclear weapons.

The fundamental problem with non proliferation efforts is that, while it may be technically demanding, building a nuclear weapon is really just replicating a 60 year-old technology. It's simply not something you can keep a lid on forever. And, as North Korea shows, even a dirt-poor state can muster the resources to build nuclear weapons.

What can we do stop that from happening? I'm really not sure. Absent a generalized willingness to soundly thump regimes that seek to obtain nuclear weapons, I think you'd have to say that, in the not too distant future, any state that really wants them, is going to end up getting them.
 
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I guess the GOP was prescient in wanting missile defense and scrapping the ABM treaty. Meanwhile, the Dems solution will be "negotiations" but smarter and tougher, of course.

I guess that Chinese report was correct: the NoKos value nukes more than they value Chinese aid...makes sense to me, too. I never understood the argument that these guys were going to really want to reform their market and slowly become the next China.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
By the same token, I would also watch out for people saying the same thing about Iran: they really want to become a mildly Islamic democracy and don’t really want nukes.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Three things, (1)Good missile defense. (2)Really good security especially at ports. (3) a stated policy of instant and deveastating retaliation at all nations which use WMD or rouge nations which are suspected of having used them.

Thats about the best we can do. The genie is out of the bottle.
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
I would also watch out for people saying the same thing about Iran: they really want to become a mildly Islamic democracy and don’t really want nukes.
Yes, because all of their threats, apocalyptic rantings, and funding of terror groups tells us how really peaceful they are.
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
I would also watch out for people saying the same thing about Iran: they really want to become a mildly Islamic democracy and don’t really want nukes.
Oh, sorry, that was sarcasm. Its too early in the morning for me to get sarcasm.
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
DO the North Koreans have nuclear weapons? South Korea reports an explosion on the order of 550 TONS....The Russians report a yield of 5 to 15 KILOtons...which is it? 550 Tons does not preclude it being a nuclear device, but it wuld be a very low yield weapon or a lot of TNT in a cave.

So the North Koreans MAY have a nuclear weapon and they have some missiles. That does NOT mean that they threaten anyone today, more than they threatened them YESTERDAY or Friday...It took the US several years to mate Atomic Weapons to missiles.

Just being contrarian, I guess but before we all get worried about the "Ronery Guy" in Korea, I thought I might point out a few facts.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Seconding Joe - there’s no real difference in NK’s capabilities between yesterday and today, so getting worked up about the test per se is pointless. Hey, congrats to the Bush Admin for not doing anything risky simply just to build a domestically useful confontational climate. Stopped clock, twice a day, etc.

The fundamental problem with non proliferation efforts is that, while it may be technically demanding, building a nuclear weapon is really just replicating a 60 year-old technology. It’s simply not something you can keep a lid on forever. And, as North Korea shows, even a dirt-poor state can muster the resources to build nuclear weapons.

What can we do stop that from happening? I’m really not sure. Absent a generalized willingness to soundly thump regimes that seek to obtain nuclear weapons, I think you’d have to say that, in the not too distant future, any state that really wants them, is going to end up getting them.


Yes. The only way to stave it off is to lead states to feel they don’t really want them. Trying to threaten them with or bring about their death to deter them is only feasible sporadically. The carrots work better then the sticks only because the carrots are more consistently available. Of course, neither of these approaches work really awesomely. Just okay.

Theoretically, -
if you believe that the NK test really was a significant event - playing the NK happy dance with negotiations, threats, fuel oil shipments, whatever, might have staved off the official nuclear declaration for another decade.. or two.. ideally, until the regime collapses into a democracy. Democracies often give up unfinished weapons programs begun when they were tyrannies.

The other only possible way to prevent proliferation among your enemies is not to give nukes to your friends. Because there are five ’official’ nuke powers and if we help our friends get them, everyone can be one of those five guys’ friends. See Pakistan, eighties, and India, right now.





 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
The carrots work better then the sticks only because the carrots are more consistently available.
You mean like the treaty Clinton signed with NoKo in the 90’s?
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
You mean like the treaty Clinton signed with NoKo in the 90’s?
What took so long?
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
This means that the NoKos do, in fact, have both nuclear weapons, and a delivery capability that covers nearly all of East Asia, and the North Pacific, probably all the way to the northwestern United States.
This is almost certainly untrue. They currently have nuclear devices and ballistic missiles. It is unlikely they can combine the two technologies. Our first nuclear weapons were far to heavy to put on anything other than our heavy bombers. Early data indicates theirs are of a similar type. So currently they do not have nuclear armed ballistic missiles.

We need to exploit this current window where they have nukes but can’t do much with them for all it’s worth.
 
Written By: Jeff the Baptist
URL: http://jeffthebaptist.blogspot.com
Right now it is doubtful if the North Koreans have nuclear or thermo-nuclear armed missiles. Taepodongo-2 has a less than 500 KILO cpacity. Early nuclear and thermo-nuclear weapons all weighed in excess of that. Generally they weighed in at 900 to 2,700 kilograms.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
You mean like the treaty Clinton signed with NoKo in the 90’s?
What took so long?
Well, the Norks were still finishing the carrots they got for signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in the 80’s.

Isn’t it about time for the stick?
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
Not surprisingly, you avoid the point MK. The Carter negotiated treaty was a huge bundle of carrots that N.Korea took for the promise of ceasing their weaponization program. As we now know, they had no intention of keeping up their end of the bargin - and thus, fairly clear evidence that your much touted carrot better than stick isnt as successful as you would have us believe.

I’d suggest Venezuela as another possible example. With which stick were we pounding upon that country to cause H.Chavez to so vocally oppose US.

And of course, I’m not suggesting that the stick is always the best method - admittedly, in some circumstances it may be the worst method.
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
For those urging an attack on North korea, do realize this...this MIGHT be one of the hoped for results, FROM THE NORTH KOREAN SIDE!

We attack North Korea, really it’s WMD facilities and the like, THEY respond by striking Seoul with their conventional artillery...claiming it a RESPONSE to US actions. The result MIGHT be that South Korea(ns) blame the US...end result is a rift between the US and the RoK.

I think an attack on North Korea is fraught with problems. Iraq shows that the US has difficulty in penetrating the maskirovka of many nations. The question is, are we striking targets of value, when and if we strike? And it will be a fairly serious strike, if it is to be done properly. It’s going to involve the B-2’s and possibly F-117’s plus cruise missiles and a host of supporting aircraft. The US will have to suppress North Korean air defenses, AAA, SAM, and Interceptors, disrupt the C&C network, and THEN strike a series of hardened targets to destroy or at least degrade North Korea’s WMD program(s).
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Isn’t it about time for the stick?

To which, one has to ask - well, what stick, exactly, and how? (One should also mention that reports indicate that the test itself was in response to some covert sticks involving regime cashflow).


For what it’s worth to bains and Pablo, I’d take a military action on North Korea over military action on Iran.

Serious analysis suggests:

#1: Unlike Iran, North Korea is genuinely unpredictable, and, with decisions being made in a signifcantly less collective structure, harbors a greater change of true irrationality.

#2: N. Korea is much further down the totalitarian J-curve then Iran.

#3: North Korea has fewer friends and conventional attacks would have minimal counter-productive resonance in the GWOT.

#4: Unlike Iran, North Korea has *definitely* violated international law regarding weapons production, whereas Iran is, as far as we know, only preparing to do so, and may just withdraw from relevant treaties rather than violate them:

#5: I have a feeling that NK’s retaliation options are less diverse and can be more easily countered than Iran’s. Think about it. Could North Korea really launch a massive conventional artillery barrage on Seoul in the face of overwhelming air attack? How long would it take to push them out of range - a totalitarian, conventional army? Plus, there’s no anti-American ideology in East Asia. Handled correctly (rather than idiotically) - and handled mostly by South Korea, isn’t there a chance that serious conventional defeat would lead to a negotitated shedding of Kim-Jung Il and a commitment to political change? (not regime dissolvement a la Iraq).
Further plus, we would indeed be fighting a conventional army in North Korea. I don’t see an insurgency scenario in North Korea as likely. Less likely than Iraq or Iran.

#6. Can North Korea’s six or eight nukes be pre-emptively rendered unusable?

I’m not saying that I recommend it, but it I worked for the president and he demanded I come up with the bright side, that’s what it would be.

Now, what I don’t suggest on North Korea are limited punitive strikes. There’s no point and no particular likelihood that they will result in moderated behavior by the regime, which I doubt is aware of their own weakening reprisal options.



 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Not surprisingly, you avoid the point MK. The Carter negotiated treaty was a huge bundle of carrots that N.Korea took for the promise of ceasing their weaponization program. As we now know, they had no intention of keeping up their end of the bargin - and thus, fairly clear evidence that your much touted carrot better than stick isnt as successful as you would have us believe.

Depends on your definition of work. If your definition of work is no nuclear tests, the carrots worked fine and the stick led to the tests.

Of course you could also argue that the Bush didn’t offer a stick either, just refused to offer carrots and made a lot of noise failing to qualify as genuine stick status.

We’ll never know what the outcome of the Clinton policies would have been. With 30 uninterrupted years of Clinton foreign policy, it’s indeed possible that North-Korea might have been gradually pressured into self-demilitarization, using economic collapse as the implicit stick, but not one seen to be wielded by the USA directly. Carrots definitely don’t work if they’re dreamed up as a long-term policy and then tossed in the gutter after six years.

Not that I think that negotiating with north korea is likely to result in an honored contract. I don’t. It’s more a question of negoitations and a trickle of bad behavior vs. rhetorical confrontation and a flood of it.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Further plus, we would indeed be fighting a conventional army in North Korea. I don’t see an insurgency scenario in North Korea as likely. Less likely than Iraq or Iran.
The NK’s had a fine army in the 50’s, and combined with the terrain taking them on now might not be such a picnic.

And I’m not inclined to put much stock in your insurgency predictions.
Think about it. Could North Korea really launch a massive conventional artillery barrage on Seoul in the face of overwhelming air attack? How long would it take to push them out of range - a totalitarian, conventional army?
Uh, I recall a recent thing in Lebanon. And prior to that, our results in Kosovo.

The NKs have a history of first rate fighting forces. Their conventional forces do unconventional very well to boot, if history is a guide.
North Korea has fewer friends and conventional attacks would have minimal counter-productive resonance in the GWOT.
China is a friend and rather close by. Russia is another friend. It isn’t just how many friends you have, it’s who they are.
We’ll never know what the outcome of the Clinton policies would have been. With 30 uninterrupted years of Clinton foreign policy, it’s indeed possible that North-Korea might have been gradually pressured into self-demilitarization,
By that standard, 30 years of any policy that doesn’t result in war might work. But it’s an assumption that Clinton’s policy wouldn’t lead to war.

The Clinton policy of paying the bully for promises is a bad policy, there’s no getting around that. But, as in all else, you can always do something stupid and get lucky.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Oh, and last go around in NK lead to direct Chinese involvement.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Not surprisingly, you avoid the point MK. The Carter negotiated treaty was a huge bundle of carrots that N.Korea took for the promise of ceasing their weaponization program. As we now know, they had no intention of keeping up their end of the bargin - and thus, fairly clear evidence that your much touted carrot better than stick isnt as successful as you would have us believe.
No - my point was: What took so long to blame Clinton?
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
What took so long to blame Clinton?
That was implied in the first reply.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
We attack North Korea, really it’s WMD facilities and the like, THEY respond by striking Seoul with their conventional artillery...claiming it a RESPONSE to US actions. The result MIGHT be that South Korea(ns) blame the US...end result is a rift between the US and the RoK
We can deal with that if NK is a smoking crater unable to render harm...
 
Written By: Shark
URL: http://
The answer is obvious. Allow Japan and South Korea to secretly withdraw from the Non-Proliferation Treaty and then six months later (the length of time specified by the treaty if I remember correctly) have them both announce a sea-launched nuclear cruise missile capability. These countries have a nuclear-armed lunatic on their borders. It’s only moral that they be permitted to defend themselves from him.

And after they announce their new capabilities the United States should pull all of it’s troops from Korea and most of our military installations in Japan. The South Koreans and the Japanese are all grown up now and can take care of themselves.

yours/
peter.
 
Written By: Peter Jackson
URL: http://www.liberalcapitalist.com
No - my point was: What took so long to blame Clinton?
Like far too many of the left, your much more concerned with Clinton’s legacy that any real issues that may be raised. I doubt you’ll note that I was countering the contention that carrots are always better than sticks; that I used a recent treaty signed by the state of issue - North Korea - was the much more salient point than which US President actually signed that treaty. All those carrots did not stop Kim Jung Il from enriching uranium, did they.

(snark) besides, I specifically said it was a Carter negotiated treaty...
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
We attack North Korea, really it’s WMD facilities and the like, THEY respond by striking Seoul with their conventional artillery...claiming it a RESPONSE to US actions. The result MIGHT be that South Korea(ns) blame the US...end result is a rift between the US and the RoK.
The likelihood that we will do anything without South Korean support is exactly zero. Fortunately nuclear testing has had a way of waking the SoKos up from their "we can all just be friends" daze.
China is a friend and rather close by. Russia is another friend.
The likelihood we will do anything if China and Russia are vehemently opposed to it, also zero. Both of these nations aren’t happy about NK nuclear testing. China is their friend but has been quietly unhappy with NK for quite a while since they receive huge amounts of starving NK refugies every year who are fleeing across the border.
Uh, I recall a recent thing in Lebanon. And prior to that, our results in Kosovo.

The NKs have a history of first rate fighting forces. Their conventional forces do unconventional very well to boot, if history is a guide.
North Korea is not Lebanon. There is no heavily populated urban area along the NK demilitarized zone that their army can use to conceal themselves. NKs army is also a centralized conventional army, not a decentralized insurgent force. Which means that instead of going to war against a group of people within a country, we’d be going to war with a country. Big difference. Yes, they do have excellent special operations capabilities, but that isn’t the point.

North Korea is also not Kosovo, but for completely different reasons.
 
Written By: Jeff the Baptist
URL: http://jeffthebaptist.blogspot.com

 
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