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  1. Edward Charles Kokkelenberg · October 17, 2017

    The level of discourse among the US and its enemies is more than frightening, it is insane; and the threats that DT and Kim Jong-Un make suggest a possible nuclear war.
    Here are some thoughts on this.
    1 What is the process that any President needs to take to initiate a nuclear strike, retaliatory or preemptive? Bruce G. Blair, a former launch control officer who has spent his entire adult life investigating this problem has described the process as follows:

    The protocol calls for the president to be connected to about a dozen top military and civilian advisers, either in person (as in the Situation Room beneath the White House) or by secure phone. The main talker is the 4-star head of U.S. Strategic Forces (currently, General John E. Hyten), who explains the available options (e.g. a nuclear strike plan against North Korea hitting one or more of 80 targets, mostly nuclear forces and associated facilities) and their consequences.


    The president may or may not ask others for their advice before picking an option or target. If the conference was prompted by indications of an incoming nuclear attack, then the briefing of the president may not last longer than half a minute, and he may have no more than six minutes to “deliberate.” If the question at hand is whether to order a first strike, then the discussions could be drawn out for hours or days.

    2 Trump acts as if he can solve the North Korean situation by threatening Kim Jong-Un, but this is so much balderdash. Trump and Kim Jong-Un are blustering, posing, and name calling like the petulant toddlers they are. What Trump or Kim might do however is blunder their way into a nuclear war, and drag the entire world along behind well. In that sense, Trumps promise that he knows what to do and “won’t fail” is a threat, not to Kim Jong-Un, but to everyone else; and Kim’s rants are no less of a threat to the world.

    3 Is such a series of blunders possible? Consider World War I. A militaristic Kaiser who saw ‘shows of force’ as a policy, an ambitious Austrian military leader, an old ruler of Austria-Hungary who was out of touch, a complacent world after the assignation of the Archduke, a series of alliances of uncertain reliability and which too often provided false assurances of help, a resentful and prickly Balkan state, military plans in place with detailed directions for complicated execution, many statesmen who wanted to send ‘messages’, poor face to face meetings, populations wanting to teach a lesson to strangers, and a jingoistic set of governments. Many of these factors are present again.

    4 What can North Korea do? They have approximately 1000 aircraft including helicopters, and a large barrage of artillery trained on S. Korea and Seoul. Specifically, they have over 6,500 artillery pieces, 2,400 rocket launchers, 5,000 combat tanks and over 2,000 other armored vehicles, eleven frigates, and 76 submarines. Their army strength of 945,000 is backstopped by 5,000,000 reservists.

    6 North Korea has a missile capability as well and this is where the nuclear weapons are placed. The Arms control Association estimates that “North Korea currently has the fissile material for an estimated 10-16 nuclear weapons, as well as advanced chemical and biological weapons programs.” It is thought that North Korea could fire a rocket more than 10,000 km and reach the U.S. west coast. And the people of Tokyo would have between 10-11 minutes before a missile reached them. A missile could also reach Moscow (6,400 km), Guam (3,400 km), Alaska (5,717 km), and Hawaii (7,000 km). If North Korea launched a nuclear missile that could reach the U.S. mainland, Trump would have approximately ten minutes to react and decide to counterattack

    7 Is North Korea a nuclear power? The US and others have taken all sorts of action to keep North Korea from becoming one, but this has failed. Kim is said to want this acceptance of his fait accompli and we probably are kidding ourselves when we say we want to forestall North Korean nukes: they are now a fact.
    8 So, what might happen in such a war?

    The Economist last August wrote a “what-if piece” where the US and North Korea blunder into a nuclear exchange.

    It starts out as small games of chicken where North Korea keeps testing missiles and threatens to detonate an air burst nuclear weapon. This prompts America to try to destroy any suspected North Korean missiles on the ground, if there are signs of an imminent launch. The President relies somewhat on his staff, but only some can give sound military advice, and their voices may be lost in the heat of the moment as Robert Kennedy experienced during the Cuban Missile crisis.
    North Korea responds with a brief artillery exchange bombarding Seoul wounding and killing some thousands. The US might then respond with a conventional weapon attack to eliminate Kim’s artillery, tanks, and chemical weapons. The counter attack may well frighten or anger Kim or his generals into a chemical and nuclear response as they realize North Korea can not withstand the ferocity of the US conventional attack. Should Kim Jong-Un decide to target its neighbors in the South Korean capital of Seoul (312 km), they would have zero to six minutes, from the moment the missile is launched until the time it reaches its target.
    Attempts to shoot down Kim’s missiles probably will not be wholly successful and some nukes may get through to South Korea or elsewhere. Trump might then retaliate by nuking Pyongyang. The immediate death toll of this would be over 300,000, China might be faced with millions of North Korean Refugees,” with order breaking down and food and water supplies getting scarce, China faces a humanitarian catastrophe on its border and possibly radioactive fallout.”

    9 Act now! Call your Senators and Congressional representative and voice your concerns. Plea for sanity and demand that they take whatever steps are necessary to restrain Trump or any President as a Nuclear dictator. Argue for a diplomatic approach recognizing that North Korea is now a nuclear power. Promote the Markey Lee bill now stalled in Congress. And pray!


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