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U.S. moves to protect Guam amid 'clear danger' from North Korea!

This is a screaming headline, people.

"Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said North Korea posed a "real and clear danger" to the U.S. military base on the western Pacific island."
And Guam is only the beginning of a vast Pacific zone now really and clearly threatened by North Korea.

'North Korea has "ratcheted up their bellicose, dangerous rhetoric, and some of the actions they've taken over the last few weeks present a real and clear danger and threat," Hagel said Wednesday in a speech at the National Defense University in Washington.

Areas at risk include South Korea and Japan, as well as Guam, Hawaii and the West Coast of the United States, he said. "We have to take those threats seriously."

That's "a real and clear danger and threat" to the whole Pacific Ocean!

And if that doesn't scare you...

North Korea 'ratifies' nuclear strike against US!

"South Korean and US intelligence authorities have obtained indications the North has moved an object that appears to be a mid-range missile to the east coast," the agency said citing a South Korean government source. The missile is believed to be a mid-range Musudan missile, with a reach of some 3,000 km or more.

This comes as the North Korean army says it has final approval for nuclear attack on the US. "Merciless operation of its revolutionary armed forces in this regard has been finally examined and ratified," said a spokesman for the General Staff of the Korean People's Army, according to the statement released by the state KCNA news agency.

Exactly what it means for North Korea to "ratify" a nuclear strike on the USA I don't know, and it isn't exactly a given that anybody in Washington understands that language or anything else about this rapidly evolving situation well enough to predict North Korea's next move.

There's some additional context in my diary on the same subject from yesterday -

And in the comments under this diary ProPublica also brought in an excellent link from Foreign Policy:

North Korea is a lot more dangerous than you think, but that doesn't mean that Kim Jong Un is insane.

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Comment Preferences

  •  This is the kind of hard-core analysis we need. nt (10+ / 0-)
  •  OK, don't worry. We'll get through this, keep cool (8+ / 0-)

    The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

    by Azazello on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 10:03:08 PM PDT

  •  it likely means very little (3+ / 0-)

    the NK have no weapons that can reach the 50 states.

    this is likely internal bluster being used to justify attacking Iran

  •  Is this the pro war or anti-war diary? (0+ / 0-)
    •  This is a "fear" diary. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      melfunction, Quicklund

      IMHO if hostilities go beyond a certain point that's actually very close to the starting line, hundreds of thousands of people could be killed with just a few days by a massive NK artillery barrage on Seoul, not to mention probably even more massive carnage from US and SK counter-strikes.

      I don't want it to happen, to say the least.

      •  i'm not worried about them being able to attack (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Frank Whitaker

        the u.s. - but if they attack south dakota, there are many american soldiers stationed there - many are language translators who work to try to decifer what is going on in that nation.  with as many hungry people as there are in north korea, they have nothing to lose by being the agressor (at least, from the government's point of view).

        desperate people do desperate things - and north korean leaders and the people are desperate.

        EdriesShop Is it kind? is it true? is it necessary?

        by edrie on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 01:56:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  At the very least it will rescue (5+ / 0-)

    further funding for a missile "defense" system that doesn't actually work very well.

    The law, in its majestic equality, gives the rich as well as the poor the right to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to eat dumpster donuts. - With apologies to Anatole France

    by chuckvw on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 10:48:15 PM PDT

    •  already has (3+ / 0-)

      as i linked above...

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 11:27:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Actually, US missile defense system vs NK is good (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      exterris, LanceBoyle, terabytes

      S feew years ago the US navy shot down a defunct satellite from the deck of a US AEGIS cruiser. This was not done with one of those super-expensive anti-ICBM missiles you've heard about in Alaska. This was done by a different Navy program using a modified SAM missile carried by all major US Navy surface warships.

      Today all 20-some AEGIS cruisers have been modified (or will be) to fire this modified anti-missile missile. Japan is a partner in this anti-missile program and the Japanese navy also uses the AEGIS radar  system. This means you can be sure that several anti-missile warship are always close to the NK shore in the Sea of Japan.

      Should NK fire this Musudan missile during a shooting war it is almost certain the Musudan missile would be destroyed. Think about it. This Navy system has shot down a cold dead satellite at ~110 mile altitude.

      The Musudan missile would be in what is called "boost phase". That is when the missile is firing its engines for all they are worth as it rises off the launch pad. The missile would be moving slowly (compared to an orbiting body) and it would be giving off tremendous heat. Not to mention the missile itself is very big before it starts to lose lower stages boosters.

      The Navy anti-missile system is perfect against a limited foe like NK. Because it is ship-based, it can get close enough to shoot down missiles during the boost phase. This is by far the easiest way to destroy an enemy missile. It can't be used against a huge country like Russia, but against small N Korea every potential launch site is near enough a coastline.

      I am a long time critic of the missile defense projects. I've felt the money should be spent elsewhere, among other reasons. But when I read about the satellite downing I looked into this program. It has been very successful during tests, and as I hope I demonstrated, it is perfectly suited to work against NK in particular.

  •  They aren't going to attack Seoul (15+ / 0-)

    The North realizes that any general attack on South Korea would mean the end of their regime, and they put regime survival ahead of everything else.

    They do everything they think they can get away with, including shelling a South Korean island and torpedoing a South Korean naval vessel. But a preemptive strike against Seoul would mean full scale war and not even China would be able to save them at that point.

    When we stop putting leaders from the past up on pedestals and ignoring their flaws, we can start seeing our present leaders for what they really are.

    by PhillyJeff on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 10:51:57 PM PDT

  •  we're spending a billion more (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Frank Whitaker, chuckvw

    on missile defense. granted, it still doesn't work against actual missiles, which north korea doesn't have of the icbm variety anyway, but it might make us feel good in the face of bellicose, dangerous rhetoric. if not, maybe we can make it two billion.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 11:24:17 PM PDT

  •  i've been very uneasy about north korea ever (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Frank Whitaker

    since the bush cabal "needed" a non-muslim country to include in his "axis of evil".  the real tragedy is that when one pokes a sleeping giant, it is usually the one poking that loses.

    prior to the bush stupidity, we had a working agreement to power down their nuclear program in exchange for food aid.

    then - the fanatical leader of a large nation needed to prove his "belicosity" - and, no, i don't mean the n.k. ruler...

    we will pay for the sins of bush and company for many generations to come.

    global warming denied
    multiple wars
    slaughter of 100,000+ in the middle east
    the hatred of the muslim world
    crushing debt
    economic collapse
    n.korea's development of nuclear weapons
    iran's nuclear program
    loss of the middle class in america
    mistrust of government
    abuse of geneva convention
    loss of respect in the world's eyes

    this is the short list.

    i wonder how many of these "successes" will be highlighted in that new library - or will it just be filled with children's books filled with fantasy.


    yes, north korea scared the HELL out of me - and it never had to happen.  north and south korea were moving toward newer and better relationships (think: the joint industrial complex) and the suffering of the people in that nation was being abated with food aid...then along came george...

    i'm going to bed.  i'm now totally depressed - again.

    EdriesShop Is it kind? is it true? is it necessary?

    by edrie on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 01:53:38 AM PDT

  •  For the record, I was for (0+ / 0-)

    US and So. Korea air attacks on NORK missile launch sites during Bush and Obama admin.  I still favor that approach--sooner or later we have to do it.

  •  Yawn. Same ol', same ol' from Pyongyang (3+ / 0-)

    I posted comments in your diary yesterday.  I know you and others are worried, but I'm not.  I still haven't seen anything, not a single thing, that isn't a well-worn part of North Korea's playbook.  

    As for the U.S. protecting Guam... of course they're going to say that (and they're always doing that, too).  They have citizens to reassure and North Korea to inform.  It's all part of the game.  

    "Ratifying a nuclear strike".  Yeah, like the last dozen times they've done the same thing, under different names.  Here's the $64,000 question... what are they going to deliver their strike with?  

    I remember several years back when they said they were ready to move the nukes into special tunnels drilled under the DMZ, and were locking their artillery on Seoul, ready to fire at a moment's notice.

    As before, here's the $1,000,000 question:  What does NK have to gain by actually starting a war?  Answer:  Zip, zilch, nada.  What do they have to lose?  Everything.  Why are they doing this?  Bread and circuses for the folks at home, a cry for relevance at the international level.  

    This will all fade away in a few weeks, until the next time the current Kim decides to throw a hissy and stir the pot.  

    •  Manufacture threat to N. Korea (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hatrax, Frank Whitaker, Quicklund

      I am still thinking it is Kim Jong-un trying to get America to look threatening so he can show North Korea how he stood up to the evil super power's aggression, and forced them to back down.

      It is possible to read the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the liberties established in our Constitution to everyone in America. - Molly Ivins

      by se portland on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 06:01:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Cigar for you! (3+ / 0-)

        That's exactly right.  The rhetoric goes in cycles... every time there's a government shake-up, or the yearly war games, or things aren't going well and they need a distraction, they'll trot out the crazy.  Since this is Dear Leader 3.0's first round of international tire-kicking, it's going to be a bit noisier than usual.  

        As I wrote in a comment yesterday, to reassure all of you a bit, Kim Jong Un did not grow up in a bubble.  He attended boarding school in Switzerland under an assumed name for years.  Like his predecessors, and like almost all of the high-ranking North Koreans, he was educated abroad and understands the West quite well.  

        The NK elite eat and drink delicacies from around the world, enjoy western movies, sports, and music, and basically indulge in everything they deny their people.  Remember, they are evil, not crazy.  They want to keep the wool pulled over the people's eyes, keep them scared and ill-informed and powerless, otherwise the party ends.  They've been doing it for sixty years, better than almost any evil regime in history, so they're no dummies.  They're not going to throw it all away on a war that is completely pointless to their aims, which are simply business as usual.  A bit of posture and bluster is a tool of statecraft, and they wield it masterfully.  

      •  I just wanted to expand on your point (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        se portland, Frank Whitaker
        I am still thinking it is Kim Jong-un trying to get America to look threatening so he can show North Korea how he stood up to the evil super power's aggression, and forced them to back down.
        This is the classic practice of statecraft.  NK rattles sabre.  USA rattles back.  China, SK, and Japan pitch in with strongly-worded statements.  Russia may toss in a vague threat.  Then things return to normal.  Kim Jong Un can claim he made the big bad USA back down.  The U.S. can claim it kept the axis of evil contained.  Both sides win.  If a shooting war erupts, both sides lose... the U.S. has another costly war (with no oil as a reward) that will suck money and resources and quite likely piss China off (since they share a border with NK), and NK (specifically its leader class which is used to cushy living on the backs of their people) loses everything when SK, the U.S., and Japan gang up to flatten their crappy collection of 40 year-old military equipment.  

        In conclusion, there's no good reason to start a war, but very good reasons to rattle sabers.  So rattling is all we'll hear, now and for as long as the Kim cult continues to hold sway.

  •  The thing is (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Quicklund, terabytes

    If they really were planning an attack I wouldn't expect them to "telegraph their punches" like this.

    We have to take this sort of thing seriously, but the only tactical advantage a country like North Korea has would be the element of surprise and they're giving that up.

    When they're not making threats is when I start to wonder what they're up to.

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 08:33:06 AM PDT

  •  Bluster (0+ / 0-)

    and an overblown threat to keep the war drums beating.

    Orwell - "Political language ... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable"

    by truong son traveler on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 09:16:28 AM PDT

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