North Korea’s Latest Nuclear Test

For broad policy, there are only two things that matter about the latest North Korean nuclear test: The explosion is very big and the bomb possibly small enough to fit on a North Korean missile. If it isn’t that small yet, the next model will be.

The yield measured for the test was about 150 kilotons. That’s about ten times the force of the Hiroshima bomb. It doesn’t matter whether it was 130 kilotons or 200 kilotons. It can destroy a city. The missiles now being tested can reach the United States.

North Korea probably does not have a lot of these missiles fitted out with these bombs yet. It would be foolish to make a large number of missiles and bombs until the designs were tested. But now many of the tests have been done. Production can start.

North Korea’s fundamental motivation for acquiring these weapons is to preserve its government. It sees the United States as its great enemy, with some reason. No peace treaty has been signed to end the Korean War of the early 1950s. The United States continues war games with North Korea’s neighbors, and indulges in other provocations, like sending bombers from Guam to overfly South Korea and remind North Korea of its power. Commentators in the United States casually suggest regime change.

So we must look to deterrence. North Korea will not give up its nuclear capabilities. North Korean statements seem to imply some readiness for negotiation, which we would be wise to reply to. That reply might be as little as proposing military-to-military talks to minimize misunderstandings during military exercises. But a start must be made.

 

There is another sort of analysis, some of it on Twitter. Experts use the clues from North Korean photos, statements, and what can independently be measured of their tests to figure out what those missiles and nuclear bombs can do. The CTBT Organization is set up to analyze nuclear weapon tests, and they release results as they feel they are reliable. National intelligence organizations also analyze information on the tests, but they release their findings only in the most general ways.

This type of analysis is useful to estimate how many weapons North Korea may have and when they may have more. It will be useful in negotiations on limiting those weapons, if we can get there.

There is an offshoot of this analysis that serves to soothe fears of nuclear holocaust and fears of an upstart nation getting highly dangerous weapons. That analysis concludes that those weapons are not so good and probably North Korea was helped by others. Iran and Russia have been mentioned in the last few days, Ukraine earlier and erroneously. That kind of thinking is dangerous because it allows us to pretend that we can avoid engaging with North Korea.

 

The evidence for this more granular analysis is not much. The seismic yield, which is being refined by CTBTO, pictures of what is claimed to be the latest device and an earlier one, and, if we are lucky, isotopic results from sniffer planes and ground stations. As with the other tests, it appears that we will not have the last. North Korea is very good at containing the remnants of their tests, even when they result in considerable ground-shaking.

The device yield will be an estimate. We don’t know enough about the North Korean test site and how they emplace the devices to be able to say more. The pictures don’t tell us much. There are enough pictures of nuclear weapons on the internet that North Korea should be able to produce persuasive mockups. The picture at top looks to me like vacuum system components were bolted together. Another picture that has surfaced seems different from that casing. That picture seems to be of the device that was detonated. Analysts will be measuring the pictures to get dimensions and compare the two.

 

The bottom line is that the North Korean nuclear and missile capability is real. If nuclear-tipped missiles are not yet aimed at North America. North Korea will not give up that capability any time soon. The goal of negotiations can no longer be denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, but rather a way to live with a nuclear North Korea.

 

More reading:

Max Fisher, North Korea’s Nuclear Arms Sustain Drive for ‘Final Victory’

Michael D. Swaine, Time to Accept Reality and Manage a Nuclear-Armed North Korea

Vipin Narang, Why Kim Jong Un wouldn’t be irrational to use a nuclear bomb first

Ariane Tabatabai, What the Iran Deal Can Teach America About North Korea

Zhu Feng, China’s North Korean Liability

Joshua Pollack, Why didn’t the US shoot down North Korea’s missile? Maybe it couldn’t

Ankit Panda and Vipin Narang, Welcome to the H-bomb club, North Korea

Interview with Siegfried Hecker

 

Cross-posted to Nuclear Diner.

144 replies
  1. 1
    joel hanes says:

    Yes, it’s a direct, defiant challenge.

    I wish there was a way to never tell The Donald about it, because it’s exactly the kind of thing to which he most predictably reacts with thoughtless rage.

  2. 2
    trollhattan says:

    Thanks for this post. The last test got lost in the hurricane shuffle.

  3. 3
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    To say this is “not good” is to understate.

    However, I think more than likely the intent is deterrence. The catch is that Donald doesn’t understand this concept. This is, after all, the doofus who didn’t know what the Triad was when he was campaigning in the primaries.

  4. 4
    marknc says:

    No, no, no, no, no – this CAN’T be true.

    We have a REPUBLICAN President. Nobody would EVER challenge the magnificence of such a shining example of manhood, would they?

    Republicans, are you paying attention?

  5. 5
    father pussbucket says:

    It’s appalling that my first thought was “what will Trump Tweet this time?”

  6. 6
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    Bad timing on my part. Twitter is currently blowing up over this.

  7. 7

    […] Cross-posted at Balloon Juice. […]

  8. 8
    joel hanes says:

    @father pussbucket:

    I’m less worried about his tweets than about his apparent compulsion for one-upmanship.

  9. 9
    trollhattan says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:
    Just great.

  10. 10
    Gravenstone says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Oh for motherlovingfucksakes. I’ll tell you fucking morons the aftermath … the Korean peninsula and possibly portions of Japan uninhabitable. Potentially an American city or three in ruin. A possible civil war when the masses revolt against your abject stupidity to even start hostilities with NK. This is not going to end well …

  11. 11
    efgoldman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    not sure contingency planning signals intent. but contingency thinking.

    They will, of course, greet us by strewing flowers in our path.
    Or maybe not.

    The one optimistic thought is that Mattis and McMaster, knowing better what the result is likely to be (b’bye, Seoul) will somehow short circuit the order.

  12. 12
  13. 13
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @efgoldman: I love your typo.

    They will, of course, greet us by strewing glowers in our path.

  14. 14

    @Cheryl Rofer: I was just about to also notice it approvingly :)

  15. 15
    efgoldman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: @Major Major Major Major: I noticed it just in time to correct it, but I’m glad you enjoyed it.

    ETA: The snarkasm works much better after the correction.

  16. 16
    Larime says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Cheryl, can you answer something for me?

    Knowing that Trump is unstable, if he uses a nuke on NK – either pre-emptively or in retaliation for, say, attacking Guam – what’s the likely response from China and Russia? My greatest worry is Trump being Trump and using a nuke because he’s DYING to, and Russia in particular using it as an excuse to bomb the shit out of us. Ie., is further escalation likely, or are China and Russia smart enough to know that it would just lead to MAD?

  17. 17
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    The scary thing is that the Departments of Defense and State develop contingency plans for all sorts of wars as part of their mission. Think tanks, of course, are partisan and will slant their analyses. They may have useful contributions, but this looks a lot like opinion-shopping.

  18. 18
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @efgoldman: More like “bye Seoul, Tokyo, and Osaka.”

  19. 19
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Ayup. They’re looking to justify mass murder, is what they’re doing.

  20. 20
    Lee Hartmann says:

    Why, it’s almost as if having a narcissistic, ignorant buffoon as President in the nuclear age is a potentially catastrophic problem.

  21. 21
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Larime:
    @efgoldman said it:

    The one optimistic thought is that Mattis and McMaster, knowing better what the result is likely to be (b’bye, Seoul) will somehow short circuit the order.

    We are in unknown territory with Trump and nukes. It is hard to predict what China and Russia might do. North Korea is a problem for them, too, partly for this reason. President Xi of China recently told North Korea that if they start a nuclear exchange they’re in it all by themselves. One of the links I provided gives more information about China’s position.

  22. 22
    japa21 says:

    Luckily for us, we have the best negotiator of all time as our President. He can get the best deals. Nobody can make better deals then he can. Did I tell you he is the greatest deal maker of all time. I know, because he has told us so. So he won’t start war with NJ, because that would mean he was a failure at making deals.

  23. 23
    trollhattan says:

    Make haste, Robert Mueller, make haste.

  24. 24
    efgoldman says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    They’re looking to justify mass murder, is what they’re doing.

    As Adam has pointed out often, we don’t have enough forces, enough training, or enough equipment to sustain or escalate our current involvement in various conflicts..
    Of course, what [we think] Henna Hairball might want to do requires a minimum of forces.
    Also will Pentagon leadership countenance or participate in war crimes. I’d like to think not.

  25. 25
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @efgoldman: In Rozen’s tweets, there is an emphasis on dealing with insurgents after the war. This would be laughable if we didn’t have Donald Trump as president. The US rains down fire and fury on North Korea. North Korea devastates Seoul and possibly several Japanese cities, Guam and maybe a mainland US city or two. North Korea has explicit plans for an insurgency after a war. And yes, as Adam has said, we are in two conflicts now with limited resources.

    Just simply crazy.

  26. 26
    Cheryl Rofer says:

  27. 27
    gene108 says:

    I am not worried about North Korea and nukes actually leading to a shooting war.

    If they want to burn, what little money they have on nukes that’s their business.

    The real threat is North Korea selling their nukes to other interested parties.

  28. 28
    JMG says:

    Gosh, Ms, Rofer, you’re kind of a buzz kill after pesto on mushroom ravioli with ripe tomato chunks on top and some nice Orvieto. My amateur (and how) opinion is that any country which wants nuclear weapons badly enough will eventually get them, and there’s sweet fuck all the rest of the world can do about it. Iran decided it could swap that out for partial reintegration with the world economy. North Korea doesn’t even want that. Do we know what it wants? Have we ever asked?

  29. 29
    efgoldman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    This would be laughable if we didn’t have Donald Trump as president.

    Sooner or later, someone in comments is going to ask “does he understand….”
    The answer, of course, is always “no.”
    He doesn’t understand shit. I still think he can’t find NK on a map, and has no idea about its proximity to SK and particularly Seoul. It’s like asking a four year old for directions to Grandma’s house.

  30. 30
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @JMG: If you read North Korea’s statements accompanying their nuclear and missile tests, you can figure out what they want. I noted some of their concerns in my post:

    North Korea’s fundamental motivation for acquiring these weapons is to preserve its government. It sees the United States as its great enemy, with some reason. No peace treaty has been signed to end the Korean War of the early 1950s. The United States continues war games with North Korea’s neighbors, and indulges in other provocations, like sending bombers from Guam to overfly South Korea and remind North Korea of its power. Commentators in the United States casually suggest regime change.

    So this news is guaranteed to get their dander up and make sure they hold onto their nukes more tightly. Good job, all.

    ETA: Your dinner sounds really, really good. I’m just thinking about what to make for mine.

  31. 31
    efgoldman says:

    @JMG:

    Do we know what it wants? Have we ever asked?

    It doesn’t matter. Even asked and answered, young Kim can’t think any US administration is credible. After all, Clinton and Obama both made commitments negotiating in good faith, and W and Hair Furor reneged the first chance they got.

  32. 32
    Jeffro says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Yeah, that is some dumb thinking…not that some think tank or whatever isn’t getting paid to “plan” but, there’s not going to be any US troops trying to do counter-insurgency within North Korea before, during, or after the balloon goes up.

    The best thing we have going for us is that both China and Russia are actually rational actors and would likely only launch their arsenals if our nukes were on the way to their countries. It’s not quite a WW I – like scenario, where everyone gets dragged in to world war together. They won’t like it one bit if this gets out of hand and North Korea, South Korea, and Japan all glow in the dark and/or are flattened. But they have to be thinking that’s where it would end.

    The worst thing we have going for us is, as always, that our president* is the number one threat to the security and stability of not just our country, but the world.

  33. 33
    Cermet says:

    OH, the sky is falling; oh, dear, the sky is failing! They might or some day soon have a nuke on a single missile; oh, save us – they might even build two or three land based missiles … someday soon.

    What dumb $hits – Russia has a few thousand missiles, each with 12 to 24 warheads that can maneuver to avoid defensive systems and have jammers and numerous decoys; many of these are on nuclear subs. China, which has only a few on a sub and only 24 missiles (or so) on land also out ranks North Korea. Yet we give a $hit about this fat, ass-wipe? Who fucking cares!

  34. 34
    Sam says:

    NK is a serious problem. They sell tech and know-how, major proliferators. Seriously vicious, nasty regime with camps right out of the 30s and 40s. We have been enemies for a long time, and personally I think it is a quite justifiable position. There are are quite a number of things we can and should do to attempt to contain this behavior short of going to war. I assume we are doing many of them. They aren’t perhaps as effective as we’d like, but again in my opinion we can’t do nothing.

    Eventually, NK will be a regional problem that will demand a solution. Personally, I’d be telling the Chinese the sooner they have a nice biddable client the better. Cheryl correctly suggests that war talk is counterproductive; we aren’t going to war. That doesn’t mean accepting the worst, most dangerous behavior. It means containment and whatever else we can do short of war to encourage positive change.

    The screws will be tightened because that is the response of a civilized world to barbaric behavior. Maybe, eventually, it will do some good.

  35. 35
    Cermet says:

    @gene108: Ding-ding-ding! You get a prize! Yes, the only real threat that matters! And by cutting off their hard currency sources, its the one they might be forced to follow up on.

  36. 36
    Another Scott says:

    There’s a piece you left out in your discussion – maybe it’s in the links.

    What about being able to successfully deliver a “gadget” to the appropriate location and altitude and have it survive long enough to be detonated?

    The recent tests “seem” to “break up” into multiple fragments before the fireball vanishes, in the commentary I recall. Yeah, nose cones on ICBMs are 1960s technology, but it seem that they either would have to have information on an appropriate design (and materials) – meaning that another nuclear power has to be helping them, or they stole the information – or they are willing to chance a conflagration on an unproven design.

    Or they have no intention of using the weapons in a war (except as a last resort), but want it as a deterrent.

    I assume they want a plausible nuclear deterrent, but it’s hard to know what else is going on.

    China wants the US and surrounding countries out of the South China Sea. Putin wants the US weakened so that former Soviet states (and others) are less tempted to move away from Russia economically and politically. Both are receiving benefits from the conflict between the US and the DPRK and it’s hard for me to believe that there aren’t elements in both countries that are helping Kim with his nuclear and missile programs.

    I’ve thought for a long time that the problems we’re having could have been nipped in the bud if there were a peace treaty decades ago. But is that really the case? Don’t the Kims (and China (and Russia)) want the USA off of the Peninsula? Won’t they demand that the US leaves in return for a peace agreement?

    Comparison of reunification views in SK and NK (21 page .pdf):

    Ⅲ. North Korea’s View on the Korean Unification

    With regards to unification, North Korea has harbored two unchanging
    perceptions after the division of the Peninsula. The first is that the
    division was the outcome of external forces, or the ‘imperialist forces.’ The
    second is that the issue of unification is a problem of ‘realizing the
    independence of the nation on the whole country.” Therefore, in order to
    achieve unification, the U.S. must be denounced, South Korea must expel
    anti-unification forces, and grounded on ‘the By-Our-Nation-Itself ideal,”
    (woori minjok-kkiri) ‘independence’ must be realized.

    The ‘nation’ that North Korea speaks of implies the term used in the
    ‘Chosun Nation First Policy’ (Joseon Minjok Cheil Ju-ui), an exclusive,
    isolated ‘nation’ imbedded with class connotations. In addition,
    ‘independence’ does not refer to the concept in which an individual is
    granted human dignity. Rather, it refers to a component in group which
    receives recognition as a ‘socio-political life’ once it is subject to the
    ‘Supreme Leader’, under the Juche ideology.

    The North Korean leaders’ perception of the political situation is based on
    the paranoia of having been besieged by imperialists since the Korean War,
    which ended in 1953, and the greatest imperialist threat comes from the
    U.S. In the Cold War era, North Korea argued that “there is no place on the
    earth that is not affected by the evil influence of the U.S. and there is no
    country that does not feel the menace of aggression [from the U.S.],” and
    it has maintained that the United States, which had once threatened the
    North with military assault, is interfering with national reunification. In
    fact, North Korea has also forecast the collapse of the U.S. empire,
    representing the fall of imperialism as an objective law of historical
    development.

    North Korea’s unification policy has maintained such perspective
    throughout the Kim Il-sung regime, Kim Jong-il regime, and the present
    Kim Jong-un regime. On January 1, 2014, Kim Jong-un emphasized in his
    New Years Address that in order to resolve the problem of unification,
    “external forces must be denounced and the views of our people ourselves
    must be firmly adhered to.” From this perspective, it can be assessed that
    North Korea’s unification policy has shown consistency since the division up
    till the present day.

    North Korea has viewed South Korea from the perspective of its linkage
    with the United States. South Korea has been characterized as “a colony of
    the U.S. imperialists” and the South Korean government is defined as “a
    puppet regime” or “an inhuman, reactionary regime.” The North has
    suggested that South Korea create a revolutionary democratic base in order
    to turn the entire Korean peninsula to a communist country, suggesting
    two different unification schemes: (a) unification by sheer military force
    and (b) unification by enlisting the aid of South Korean anti-government
    activists in revolutionizing the South. The North has also begun to
    implement double-edged unification tactics; intermittent military
    provocation, and the pursuance of the “united front” strategy toward
    unification.

    It seems really hard to think of a peace treaty resulting from discussions between the US and the DPRK when they hold such views. (If they, indeed, hold such views.)

    It’s a tough problem. Especially if China and Putin are supporting Kim’s development efforts.

    I assume that nothing much is going to change. Kim will keep working on his missiles and bombs, surrounding countries will demand that he stop and tighten sanctions here and there (but China and Russia (who shares a tiny border segment) won’t allow crushing sanctions). The world will accept the “unacceptable”. No peace treaty will be forthcoming, and no war either.

    If we’re lucky…

    Thoughts?

    Thanks.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  37. 37
    Schlemazel says:

    @gene108:
    That is the thing. NK does not yet have a delivery system of any value that could hit the US or reliably hit Japan but they do need hard currency and Saudi Arabia has a lot of that and has shown a willingness to use money to buy destruction on US soil

  38. 38
    Citizen_X says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Yeah. We can’t just get the studies done by the DOD?

    I said before he took office that I expect Trump to fuck up so bad that there would be a nuclear exchange some time in his (only, I hope) term. Wouldn’t necessarily involve us; it could be Pakistan-India, etc. Now, it looks like it’s going to be US- N. Korea. God damn.

  39. 39
    efgoldman says:

    @Cermet:

    Yet we give a $hit about this fat, ass-wipe? Who fucking cares!

    Get fucked.
    “We” don’t.
    The buffoon in the White House, with the nuclear codes, does.
    I’m optimistic enough, as i said above, to think the Pentagon will find some way to short circuit the order, if it comes. But neither you nor I nor anyone else in the country has control.
    NK also has enough conventional artillery to devastate Seoul in short order.
    Asshole.

  40. 40
    Booger says:

    @japa21: Also that would elevate Chris Christie’s importance too much.

  41. 41
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Oh good, Steve Metz decided to weigh in. And he’s writing a column. We’re so much safer now…

  42. 42
    TenguPhule says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    The catch is that Donald doesn’t understand this concept.

    Which is why shit is fucked and bullshit.

  43. 43
    TenguPhule says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Analysts w/ experience dealing w/counter insurgency in Iraq are being reassigned from GWOT type work to North Korea Contingency Planning

    And we all know what a stellar job they did in Iraq.

    Is it too early to start drinking?

  44. 44
    TenguPhule says:

    @Cermet:

    OH, the sky is falling; oh, dear, the sky is failing!

    Strap your overweight ass to the DMZ, asswipe.

  45. 45
    TenguPhule says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Oh good, Steve Metz decided to weigh in. And he’s writing a column. We’re so much safer now

    Radiation threat levels scarlet or violet?

  46. 46
    TenguPhule says:

    @efgoldman:

    It’s like asking a four year old for directions to Grandma’s house.

    No, its not. There’s an off chance the four year old will be able to answer correctly.

  47. 47
    Mike in NC says:

    Waiting for Trump to announce he wants to build a big, beautiful wall along the DMZ and make North Korea pay for it.

  48. 48
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Another Scott: sometimes I get sick and tired of smart, knowledgeable people posting here. Leave some space for dimwitted ignoramuses–we are people too!

  49. 49
    TenguPhule says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    We are in unknown territory with Trump and nukes.

    The eight most dreaded words in the English language.

  50. 50
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: I’ve done some basic socio-culturally based assessments for both TRADOC and the previous I Corps Commander on how the US might have to respond after the Kim government or any government in the DPRK were to fall. The COIN enthusiasts at the neo-Con think tanks are clueless if they think we can just do a counterinsurgency based follow up. And that’s if things stay conventional as opposed to a chemical, biological, radiological, and/or nuclear (CBRN) conflict. They were and still are wrong about counterinsurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan. And not just wrong but self deluding about what was done and how it has gone or should have gone.

    And if they think we can somehow work the flip side and foment an internal insurgency to topple the Kim government and liberate the DPRK they are equally deluded. Not only do we not have enough Special Forces, let alone Green Berets who are the specialist on this, if it was successful we’d be right back to the problem of what do we do as soon as the Kim government falls. Among a hostile population that has been forcibly acculturated to be hostile to anyone and anything that is not North Korean. With the Chinese on one border and the Russians on the other you can kiss battlefield success, let alone winning the peace goodbye.

  51. 51
    TenguPhule says:

    @Another Scott:

    No peace treaty will be forthcoming, and no war either.

    If we’re lucky…

    And that’s the best option.

  52. 52
    TenguPhule says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    They were and still are wrong about counterinsurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan. And not just wrong but self deluding about what was down and how it has gone or should have gone.

    What’s that saying about being paid very well to remain ignorant about the subject matter? Because the “thinktanks” are the living incarnation of it.

  53. 53
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Adam L Silverman: what did I just say about smart, knowledgeable people posting? Geez.

  54. 54
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Concur. We already have plenty of official planning, both regular and contingency, from DOD, each Service, each Geographic Component Commands, each Service Component Commands, and each 2 and 3 star operational headquarters that are aligned or allocated to those Service Component Commands pertaining to the problem set.

  55. 55
    TenguPhule says:

    @Sam:

    There are are quite a number of things we can and should do to attempt to contain this behavior short of going to war. I assume we are doing many of them.

    That would require a functioning State Dept.

    Which we haven’t had since 1/20/17.

  56. 56
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Another Scott:

    What about being able to successfully deliver a “gadget” to the appropriate location and altitude and have it survive long enough to be detonated?

    I thought about putting that into the post and decided for simplicity instead. That is indeed one of the uncertainties, but I think they will be able to overcome it.

    The recent tests “seem” to “break up” into multiple fragments before the fireball vanishes, in the commentary I recall. Yeah, nose cones on ICBMs are 1960s technology, but it seem that they either would have to have information on an appropriate design (and materials) – meaning that another nuclear power has to be helping them, or they stole the information – or they are willing to chance a conflagration on an unproven design.

    I am dubious about the conclusions from those videos – there are a number of things those multiple fragments could be, and the photos are from significant distances. The North Koreans have had telemetry on some of the missile shots, probably to tell them what the stresses are that a warhead would undergo. Back at home, they can acquire or make shake tables and other testing devices. Plus computation is so much better than for other developing nuclear weapons programs. Your phone probably has more computational ability than all of India did when they were developing their nukes.

    The question of how sure North Korea needs to be about their weapons is an interesting one, and one that we can’t know the answer to. If deterrence is the primary goal, then not-fully-tested weapons may be acceptable. My gut feeling is that they are willing to tolerate less testing because of materials shortages as well.

    China wants the US and surrounding countries out of the South China Sea. Putin wants the US weakened so that former Soviet states (and others) are less tempted to move away from Russia economically and politically. Both are receiving benefits from the conflict between the US and the DPRK and it’s hard for me to believe that there aren’t elements in both countries that are helping Kim with his nuclear and missile programs.

    Whether or not other countries are helping Kim, the bottom line is that he has a nuclear and missile capability. I think the North Koreans are quite capable of working this out themselves. They did have help in that they started with SCUD missiles, but they have come a long way.

    I’ve thought for a long time that the problems we’re having could have been nipped in the bud if there were a peace treaty decades ago. But is that really the case? Don’t the Kims (and China (and Russia)) want the USA off of the Peninsula? Won’t they demand that the US leaves in return for a peace agreement?

    Always hard to say what might have happened. Clearly a peace treaty would have allayed some of the Kims’ paranoia, but would it have been enough, particularly with the fall of the Soviet Union and then the American interventions in Iraq and Libya? As to what they will want, the only way that can be determined is by negotiations.

  57. 57
    Another Scott says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Thanks very much.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  58. 58
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Mike in NC:

    Waiting for Trump to announce he wants to build a big, beautiful wall along the DMZ and make North Korea pay for it.

    Let’s hope someone suggests that to him.

  59. 59
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @TenguPhule: I like the tough guy I ride a motorcycle picture of himself he posted as his avatar. In reality he can’t make eye contact with people because he’s so introverted. Nice enough guy. Smart too. Unfortunately he knows what he knows and what he knows is that he is both smarter and knows more and better than anyone and everyone else about everything.

    The Strategic Studies Institute is, sadly to say as someone who was assigned and worked at USAWC for four years, one of the most expensive wastes of money in the Army. It is a self licking ice cream cone of PhDs – some purely civilians, some military retirees, all of them spending far too much time sitting and thinking and far too little time doing.

  60. 60
    TenguPhule says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    If deterrence is the primary goal, then not-fully-tested weapons may be acceptable.

    Sixty probably work missiles is a lot better then 10 will work missiles against our missile defenses,

  61. 61
    TenguPhule says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Unfortunately he knows what he knows and what he knows is that he is both smarter and knows more and better than anyone and everyone else about everything.

    So like Trump, only pinker and easier to roast.

  62. 62
    TenguPhule says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    It is a self licking ice cream cone of PhDs

    That particular idiom is unfamiliar to me.

  63. 63
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    The COIN enthusiasts at the neo-Con think tanks are clueless if they think we can just do an counterinsurgency based follow up. And that’s if things stay conventional as opposed to a chemical, biological, radiological, and/or nuclear (CBRN) conflict.

    The way I read Rozen’s tweets was that it was a bunch of COIN enthusiasts. So yeah, ignore the missiles, conventional or nuclear, lobbed at North Korea, South Korea, Japan, Guam, Hawaii, the US, and focus on a favorite problem: how to do COIN against CBRN-armed insurgents. It is to laugh, but when the only tool you have is a hammer…

    ETA: Twitter is mentioning the Institute for the Study of War as one of the think tanks, or perhaps the only one.

  64. 64
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @TenguPhule: A self licking ice cream cone is Army/military speak for a project, office, department, bureau, etc whose only real purpose is to continue its own existence. Like an ice cream cone that can like itself. Interesting idea, but not particularly useful for the consumer.

  65. 65
    TenguPhule says:

    @marknc:

    Republicans, are you paying attention?

    No.

    SATSQ.

  66. 66
    TenguPhule says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Thanks.

  67. 67
    efgoldman says:

    @TenguPhule: You enjoy taking over threads, don’t you.
    Give it a rest

  68. 68
    MD Rackham says:

    @TenguPhule:

    Radiation threat levels scarlet or violet?

    Threat level Čerenkov blue, of course.

  69. 69
    PhoenixRising says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    US COIN on the Yalu? This is like China planning to invade Mexico and being more worried about the Sinaloa cartel than the United States

    Thought I was too freaked out to laugh but that did it.

    ‘The fall’s gonna kill you!’

  70. 70
    TenguPhule says:

    @MD Rackham:

    Threat level Čerenkov blue, of course.

    Well played.

  71. 71
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: It goes beyond that. It completely ignores the entire host country population, what they believe, what they know, what they want, need, and expect. Every hard won bit of learning we did about what happens when we ignore this stuff from 2007 to 2010 in Iraq and from 2007 on in Afghanistan have purposefully been flushed down the memory hole.

  72. 72
    PhoenixRising says:

    @efgoldman:

    …he can’t find NK on a map, and has no idea about its proximity to SK and particularly Seoul. It’s like asking a four year old for directions to Grandma’s house.

    this too.

  73. 73
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Fat Freddy’s wife’s shop. Back in 2013-2014 it turned out their senior fellow for Syria had made up her academic credentials, had never been to the Middle East, let alone Syria, etc.

    Same folks that posted the US order of movement into Iraq in Fall 2007 (classified secret) and then images of classified information captured in Iraq. The first they got from some ROTC kid interning with them. The second they must have either copied or recreated from memory after a junket through the Iraqi theater in summer of 2008. I saw their post of this a couple weeks after their (Fred and Kim) VIP visit, which was about a week after I’d read the actual report with the information below the tear line.

    I reported them to the Special Security Officer on both. As far as I know nothing ever came of it.

  74. 74
    Mike in NC says:

    First time I heard the expression “self-licking ice cream cone” was at a presentation by then General Tony Zinni at the Joint Forces Staff College some years ago.

  75. 75
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mike in NC: I am happy to have enabled your nostalgia on this evening of 12 September 2017.

  76. 76
    TenguPhule says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I reported them to the Special Security Officer on both. As far as I know nothing ever came of it.

    Well that’s reassuring. I feel a whole lot better now. //

  77. 77
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    It goes beyond that. It completely ignores the entire host country population, what they believe, what they know, what they want, need, and expect. Every hard won bit of learning we did about what happens when we ignore this stuff from 2007 to 2010 in Iraq and from 2007 on in Afghanistan have purposefully been flushed down the memory hole.

    Yep

  78. 78
    raven says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Peeps coming back tomorrow and are thinking about staying on 441 instead of 75. They have a room in Gainesville so they only have to make it there. We’re strapping two gas cans on the roof for insurance.

  79. 79
    efgoldman says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    it turned out their senior fellow for Syria had made up her academic credentials, had never been to the Middle East, let alone Syria, etc.

    Can’t RWNJ superhawks get jobs without falsifying credentials? There’s an awful lot of that going around.

  80. 80
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @raven: I’ll update the dossier. Email me when it is time to move the push pin in the map.

    More seriously: glad they’re safe and kudos to you for providing them a safe place to run to.

  81. 81
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @raven: my cousins drove back to St. Pete from Kennesaw today. Took them over 12 hours, but thankfully the bridges are open.

  82. 82
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @efgoldman: seriously–how hard can it be to get a masters degree from George Mason?

  83. 83
    Brachiator says:

    Great post. Coincidentally, I was listening to a local talk radio show. The hosts are “moderate,” but insisting that the US should impose harsh sanctions, per our UN rep, Nikki Hayley. Cut off all of North Korea oil supplies and freeze all the dictator’s assets. Then threaten China with trade sanctions unless they force North Korea to sit at the bargaining table with … (swear the host said this) Master Negotiator Donald Trump.

    Conservatives live in an alternate universe in which the US holds all the cards, and other nations are just being unreasonable.

  84. 84
    efgoldman says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    how hard can it be to get a masters degree from George Mason?

    One of daughter’s best friends work in some GMU grad school admin office. She hates the ideology, but loves the job, pay, perks and bennies,

  85. 85
  86. 86
    divF says:

    @Mike in NC: It sounds similar to metaphor from “The House of God” (ca. 1975).

    SLURPERS: House Academics, striving to lick their way up the academic medical cone toward the one position at the top – the Chief.

    ETA: about to get on a plane to ABQ, to ultimately end up at a meeting in Santa Fe. I’ll see if my colleagues are going to be up for the restaurant Adam recommended.

  87. 87
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @efgoldman: Here you go:
    https://thinkprogress.org/the-inside-story-of-how-a-fake-phd-hijacked-the-syria-debate-e0cef38fcf93/

    This isn’t just a think tank problem. As we’ve seen with Gorka (son of Moonraker and Soviet made coffee maker circa 1952), the military is also susceptible to these types of frauds. The first PhD in the Army’s first cultural program wasn’t actually a PhD. Took me five minutes of talking to her, two phone calls, and a grand total of 30 minutes to verify this. Took me almost two more years to get her fired. My counterpart at Leavenworth in the second cultural program claims a PhD he can’t provide verification for, which a full investigation indicated that at best he was granted as a title for his Soviet diplomatic work (cover) as 1st Secretary at a Soviet Republic’s embassy (the first secretary at these embassies were usually for cover intel postings) and at worst he was a complete fraud. After our higher headquarters did a full investigation (I was roped in to assist), concluding he not only had fabricated this credential, but because the authorization orders for all of our hiring required not just a PhD, but official transcript verification of the degree, they informed his superiors who were at a subordinate headquarters that he was to be terminated immediately, which was allowed under our civilian mobilization orders. They told the program office at their higher headquarters to piss up a rope. The SES deputy where he’s at is the one that hired him directly outside of the recruitment and vetting process established at the program office to ensure appropriately credentialed and experienced people were hired. Terminating him would have been a tacit admission that he didn’t do his due diligence.

    This guy also once started asking people in an unclassified working group for information that he didn’t need to know and wasn’t cleared to have access to. We report that to the counterintel people. Don’t think anything came of it either.

    He was finally hired, after his civilian mobilization orders ran out, on a line to be a program manager that required no educational credentials, and therefore no verification of them (this was a tacit admission that 1) the search was wired for him and 2) he didn’t have the credentials he claimed) to be the culture, region, and language PM where he’d previously been my counterpart. The hiring line also didn’t require a program manager’s certification or experience managing programs. Because he had neither at the time he was hired. Normally a retired colonel, lieutenant colonel, or major (or Navy equivalent) would be hired to do this type of job. Given the GS code it was rated for either a major or a lieutenant colonel.

    There are more of these folks, unfortunately, burrowed in, with senior level protection and top cover, than people realize. And they are effecting what the US military is doing every single day. And not for the better.

  88. 88
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @divF: Go to the original in Espanol. About a 30 minute drive or so from Santa Fe. Not their Santa Fe one. Both are good. The original is excellent!

  89. 89
    Booger says:

    @Steve in the ATL: Your checks have to clear. But they’ll help you get as much financial aid as you need.

  90. 90
    TenguPhule says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    There are more of these folks, unfortunately, burrowed in, with senior level protection and top cover, than people realize. And they are effecting what the US military is doing every single day. And not for the better.

    I don’t know whether to thank you for sharing this and dispelling some ignorance or shake you while crying for shattering yet more illusions of competence.

  91. 91

    OT but I just saw a tweet that says congress has reached a deal on SCHIP

  92. 92
    Gravenstone says:

    @Cermet: Maybe because Trump isn’t likely to incite Russia and/or China into a nuclear exchange? Fucking imbecile you are …

  93. 93
    Jeffro says:

    @efgoldman: I have, ahem, heard that it’s only the law school that’s RWNJ – the rest of the school is as liberal as might be expected. Ahem

  94. 94
    Mike J says:

    Hey Adam, meant to ask if you read the WSJ article on how the army is getting sick of liberating Atropia.

  95. 95

    @Brachiator:

    they force North Korea to sit at the bargaining table with … (swear the host said this) Master Negotiator Donald Trump.

    That’s what the North Koreans want.

  96. 96
    efgoldman says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    There are more of these folks, unfortunately, burrowed in, with senior level protection and top cover

    They don’t know? They don’t care? They’re giving jobs to (and protecting) their buddies? They expect a quid pro quo sometime in the future?
    It seems to me that the hiring and supervising managers are willing to throw their own careers and futures (at least) into great peril… for what?

  97. 97
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @TenguPhule: Considering I’m now a consultant/contractor with limited ability to effect these things while folks with bogus credentials and made up experience and expertise are, I’m at the punching wall state myself. A lot of time and money has been invested in protecting the status quo, which means anyone that actually knows enough to challenge it are pushed out and, when possible, blackballed. I’ve been underutilized, and for the most part under employed (in terms of my expertise and experience) for the past three years because I and the people backing me lost the battle on this stuff. And because of the sequester even when a senior leader wants to go out on a limb to bring me in, he’s got no funding and no authorization to do so.

    It is what it is. I’m far more fortunate than a whole lot of folks as I still make very good money. But I’m not doing what I should be doing and I’m not doing it where I should be doing it. And that is professionally very frustrating.

  98. 98
    TenguPhule says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    It is what it is.

    But it shouldn’t be.

    This should be front page headlines and generals and admirals and a whole shitload of other people should be dishonorably discharged, fired, imprisoned and in the worst cases, shot by firing squad. The newspapers and cable news should be having a field day with it instead of fluffing Trump and the GOP.

    When shit like what you described becomes normalized, people get hurt and killed when the fuckups make one too many.

  99. 99
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @TenguPhule: It isn’t really the general officers/flag officers that are the problem. It is the senior civil service folks, including some of the SESes who run things and provide continuity while the uniformed senior leaders rotate in and out every 24 to 36 months. I’ve got plenty of current and retired generals and senior colonels and lieutenant colonels and senior enlisted who provide support and recommendations and references. They’re not the problem. They understand the importance of this stuff because it’s their Soldiers that get killed when these things aren’t considered. There are a whole bunch of senior civil servants that don’t have this concern, don’t deploy, they just oversee programs and contracts and money.

  100. 100
    Mike in NC says:

    Isn’t the entire Economics Department at George Mason University on the payroll of the Koch Brothers?

  101. 101
    frosty says:

    @TenguPhule: I didn’t have a lot of illusions of competence, and I’ve worked for and with county and state governments, so I have some concept of deadwood and resume inflation, but good God, man!!! If you can’t fire* the frauds and incompetents you’re screwed.

    * Substitute impeach and convict here at your convenience.

  102. 102
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mike in NC: And the business school. And the Scalia School of Law…

  103. 103
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @frosty: There are a lot of good competent people. There are also a lot of frauds bouncing around as consultants and contractors. Do that enough and you get laundered into legitimacy, which is how Gorka worked his way up to be able to get a White House staff appointment. It also helps if one is a brazen liar and con artist.

  104. 104
    EricNNY says:

    Thanks Cheryl for hanging with us here. You’ve been so very informative on this subject.

  105. 105
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Adam L Silverman: also helps if the hiring manager is a brazen liar and con artist….

  106. 106
    Mike Toreno says:

    @joel hanes: It could NOT be easier to manage Trump into a constructive reaction to this:

    Wait for him to tweet about it. Then whatever he says, and whatever he says he’s going to do, pelosi and shumer ask for a meeting with him. And then they say. I never saw a tweet like that before Mr. President. It’s a real fine one. I bet it will make speaker Ryan and majority leader McConnell real happy. Then when he scowls, say, but I just had an idea about how you could do what you said in the tweet, but also something they wouldn’t like very much. It would be real good, and make everyone love you, if you went to China and took the president of South Korea with you. And sat down with them and made a plan about how to make the north Korean economy more stable, and stop saying things to scare them. And when McConnell and Ryan hit the ceiling, say you’re going to work to outlaw tobacco. And invite them to come with you to China, but then revoke their passports and let them out in a cornfield. And then go to China and stay for a month and get north Korea to stop building missiles and work to build a peaceful prosperous country. Everybody will love you even more than we already do, except Ryan and McConnell. We all love you. Don’t we all love our president, everyone? It’s gonna be a real good day!

  107. 107
    But her emails!!! says:

    @frosty:

    Hence the problem of having our Supreme Court stacked with Right Wing hacks.

  108. 108
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Steve in the ATL: Email headed your way.

  109. 109
    Kay says:

    Why are Maggie Haberman and Glenn Thrush still covering the Trump Administration? They’re working with the administration on a book.

    Haberman, in particular, is enviably sourced, and has a bond with the president himself that’s frayed at times but not broken. Thrush, wearer of a signature fedora, was parodied on Saturday Night Live by Bobby Moynihan. They are two of the essential stars of the Trump administration.

    Two essential stars of the Trump Administration have been covering the Trump Administration for 8 months?

    During the process, Haberman and Thrush have quietly looped in a small circle of Times and White House insiders,

    They looped in White House insiders but the NYTimes neglected to loop in their readers that the same reporters “covering” the Trump Administration are working with Trump Administration “insiders” on a multi-million dollar book deal?

    Well. This certainly explains a lot. I guess the NYTimes didn’t share a “bond” with Hillary Clinton. Too bad for her. Too bad for all of us.

    What an absolute fucking farce.

  110. 110
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @EricNNY: You’re welcome! Writing it out helps clarify my thinking.

  111. 111
    Kay says:

    Still flogging the email story:

    Two days after the server bombshell ran in the New York Times, Clinton tweeted out, “I want the public to see my email. I asked State to release them.” This was less of a concession than met the eye: The State Department was soon under court order to release batches of them every month through January 2016.

    I wonder when they’ll get around to reporting on the Trump Administration. Sometime after the multi-million dollar book deal is signed, I would imagine. Wouldn’t want to break that bond with Trump before the advance check clears.

    So much for that “institution”. Another one bites the dust.

  112. 112
    efgoldman says:

    @Kay:

    Wouldn’t want to break that bond with Trump before the advance check clears.

    Might as well sell the FYNYT to Murdoch, at least as far as domestic political coverage goes.
    They have no shame, no ethics, no integrity. What they do have, and really want, is access and those sweet, sweet Manhattan salaries.

  113. 113

    May I suggest a thread on the elections we won today? It would be good for people, I think.

  114. 114
    joel hanes says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Every hard won bit of learning we did about what happens when we ignore this stuff from 2007 to 2010 in Iraq and from 2007 on in Afghanistan have purposefully been flushed down the memory hole.

    Exactly as one would expect if one had paid attention to the way that everything we supposedly learned from 1964 to 1973 in Viet Nam was purposefully flushed when the Rs were slavering for war in Iraq, and in R planning for Afghanistan.

    It’s almost as if the only thing we learn from history is that we don’t …

  115. 115
    efgoldman says:

    @joel hanes:

    It’s almost as if the only thing we learn from history is that we don’t …

    It’s almost as if no-one in the Pentagon can even spell asymmetrical warfare.

  116. 116
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @joel hanes: The guys who trained me and took me under their wings and mentored me were retired Green Berets who had served in Vietnam. My Area Specialty Officer (ASO), who taught me about small team leadership and operations, as well as what by, with, and through actually means in practical terms was a retired 18D/Shooting medic senior NCO. The other significant mentor was a retired Green Beret colonel. They made sure I understood how to translate all the book knowledge, so to speak, that I had into practical application for success. And they both lamented that everything that they and their peers had learned the hard way in Vietnam was run out of the Army once the war was over.

  117. 117
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: yeah well SCOTUS just fucked us on future elections.

  118. 118
    efgoldman says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    yeah well SCOTUS just fucked us on future elections.

    Explanation/link?

  119. 119
    Aleta says:

    As Another Scott said, China benefits from this nuke threat w.r.t the South China Sea. They also benefit simply from the confusion that the NK scare causes for the US while they continue with all their other actions that we don’t understand well. Strip mining the area above Tibet, and whatever they’re doing inside Tibet. Interfering in Africa, and trying to control resources there and hiding investments. They’ll benefit if they lead negotiations among the six or so primary countries, and they’ll want to be the one to put forth an agreement.

    It seems likely they control NK’s food supply. It seems likely that it’s China supplying the big energy needed for NK’s nuclear program, or China supplying the enriched uranium. Isn’t it likely that only China can do the really hard process of separating the U-235 from the U-238 (which even Iran can’t do despite highly educated scientists)?

    Seems like China has a lot of manipulative power over NK (though of course not complete). They have good reasons to fck with us, with Japan and SK. Enough influence to keep using NK for their own power gain.

  120. 120
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Steve in the ATL: Is it October yet? What did I miss?

  121. 121
    efgoldman says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Is it October yet? What did I miss?

    Whatever it was, apparently we all missed it.

  122. 122
    StringOnAStick says:

    @efgoldman: They just stayed the overturning of the Texas gerrymandering in 2 districts. I suppose this opens a bigger door in the next redistricting effort in 2020. Bigger, better gerrymandering!

  123. 123
    frosty says:

    @But her emails!!!:

    Hence the problem of having our Supreme Court stacked with Right Wing hacks.

    I don’t think the SC is involved. We may someday get 51% of the House to impeach, but I don’t think we’ll ever get 67 Senators to convict. Hope I’m wrong.

  124. 124
    SFAW says:

    @Kay:

    Why are Maggie Haberman and Glenn Thrush still covering the Trump Administration? They’re working with the administration on a book.

    Because Pinch is an evil fuck who has spent 25 years trying to destroy the Clintons? Just a thought.

  125. 125
    Aleta says:

    @Kay: That sure does explain a lot.

  126. 126
    SFAW says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Is it October yet? What did I miss?

    The Mets won the Stanley Cup NLCS.

  127. 127
    efgoldman says:

    @StringOnAStick:

    They just stayed the overturning of the Texas gerrymandering in 2 districts.

    Hey lawyers: Is a stay effectivey overturning, or does it just mean stayed pending a full hearing?

  128. 128
    divF says:

    @SFAW: Have you looked at any of Pinch’s pictures? Smug, entitled, and without the slightest trace of intelligence. A very punchable face.

  129. 129
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @StringOnAStick: That is a not unreasonable thing. It will come to the Supremes. Leaving the staus quo in place until then is not an odd thing for the Court to do. This is not indicative of the probable end result. It is designed to cause as little disruption as possible until the case is decided. If Kennedy had gone the other way, it would have telegraphed that the the lower court decision was a slam dunk. This indicates nothing.

  130. 130
    SFAW says:

    @divF:

    Have you looked at any of Pinch’s pictures? Smug, entitled, and without the slightest trace of intelligence. A very punchable face.

    I may have seen a picture of him at some point, but I don’t seek them out. But he needs more than punching. And I wish Punch were still around, and lucid enough to throw Junior out as publisher. Junior hasn’t done more than Murdoch to destroy a functioning press, but he’s close.

  131. 131
    SFAW says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    May I suggest a thread on the elections we won today? It would be good for people, I think.

    Since CNN.com apparently will not condescend to tell us, how about you give us a hint or 10?

  132. 132
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    A self licking ice cream cone is Army/military speak for a project, office, department, bureau, etc whose only real purpose is to continue its own existence.

    :-) That term was entirely new to me, and funny enough to dig a very little. Seems to date back in print to 1992 with ON SELF-LICKING ICE CREAM CONES (S Pete Worden; infighting and in retrospect in part wrong, but with a winning title) and wikipedia (but nobody else in a brief search) says that it was said by Ed Niedorf (Mitre) in 1982.

  133. 133
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Aleta:

    It seems likely that it’s China supplying the big energy needed for NK’s nuclear program, or China supplying the enriched uranium. Isn’t it likely that only China can do the really hard process of separating the U-235 from the U-238 (which even Iran can’t do despite highly educated scientists)?

    North Korea has a small reactor that they have used to produce plutonium for twenty years or so. When Siegfried Hecker, former director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, visited North Korea in 2011, his hosts showed him a uranium enrichment facility. Since then, that facility has been doubled in size. Check out the interview with him that I linked.

    Iran can enrich uranium. That is a big part of the nuclear agreement with them – to disassemble many of the centrifuges they had operating and to repurpose others to elements other than uranium.

    North Korea is fully capable of making nuclear weapons by themselves. Most industrial nations are, but most of them don’t want to.

  134. 134
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Bill Arnold: Glad I could provide you with some educational endeavors this evening.

  135. 135
    Brachiator says:

    @Kay:

    .
    They looped in White House insiders but the NYTimes neglected to loop in their readers that the same reporters “covering” the Trump Administration are working with Trump Administration “insiders” on a multi-million dollar book deal?.

    Wow. This explains a lot. The Times, like other newspapers, is dying. There’s no guarantee that the reporters can have a long career there, so Haberman and Thrush are hedging their bets with the book deal.

    An editor with guys would fire their asses in a New York minute because of all the conflicts of interest, but it sounds as though this reporting duo has convinced the bosses that they have all the best inside sources.

  136. 136
    Brachiator says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    North Korea is fully capable of making nuclear weapons by themselves. Most industrial nations are, but most of them don’t want to..

    I recently wrote to my sister that in the future, school kids would make atom bombs for homework assignments. An exaggeration, but the main idea was that understanding the science and engineering behind a bomb is relatively straightforward. Many countries could get a bomb, but they have to be willing to devote substantial resources to the task, and North Korea has been willing to throw massive resources at the problem, even if it meant starving its own people.

    Also, I’ve learned a lot from you and Adam and this thread has been particularly good. I’m marking it for future reference.

  137. 137
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Kay: May ask you a favor? Please stop asking questions in comments that could be asked as front page questions. A bunch of us have the same questions. You ask them and I wonder why you don’t use your keys to publicize the thing. I understand that you have voiced your discomfort with this format as a FP; how is it different as a commenter? You have knowledge and experience; use it. You know that I have worked in the area – I don’t have keys. I can and will back you on all the things we know need to happen.

  138. 138
    Another Scott says:

    @Brachiator and @Kay: Thrush at least has the courage to acknowledge the story. I didn’t see anything about it on Maggie’s feed, but I did see this:

    Maggie Haberman‏ Verified account @maggieNYT

    Not everyone in the WH loved the Banon intvu. But Bannon is still among the most articulate and forceful defenders of what Trump ran on

    7:22 AM – 12 Sep 2017

    :-/

    (I really dislike that type of sentence construction. Thousands of people work at the White House/EOP. Why would “everyone” there share an opinion about anything?)

    Bannon is a monster, but he’s “among the most”, so let’s fawn over him.

    Of course, she’s a Politico alumna, who reported speculation about whether Anthony Weiner was “insane”, so why should we expect any different?

    Cheers,
    Scott.
    (Who is glad he’s never been seriously tempted to subscribe to the FTFNYT, and who wishes he could include more than 3 linkies in comments here.)

  139. 139
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: @Kay: You disappointed me.

  140. 140
    Aleta says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Thanks for explaining and the corrections.

    They have a heavy water reactor, operating?

    Are they able to supply all the energy needed to power the reactor by themselves w/o resources from China?

  141. 141
    The Pale Scot says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    North Korea’s fundamental motivation for acquiring these weapons is to preserve its government. It sees the United States as its great enemy,

    That’s a more complex thing than just military security. What the regime includes in that is unfettered access to the world so it can continue its drugs and arm smuggling along with counterfeiting currencies (everybody’s) and a whole other slew of criminal activities to generate the income to pay off the the thugs that keep them in power.

    NK will never sign a peace treaty with us that wasn’t our unconditional surrender. They need that bloody flag to keep their population in line.

    The best thing we could do start doing is banning any Chinese Corp that is even just associated with providing NK with manufactured goods from our markets and financial system. If company A provided company B with the thing that B used to built say coal mining equipment for NK both co. are banned. If they (Co. A & B) use Switzerland, Cyprus, Bahama banking etc ban that bank from the US system. Fuck, ban the whole country’s banks from the 1st world’s financial markets. The big Chinese corps have overextended themselves using cheap credit to buy each other up. Tell GM that they’re excluded from credit because of the actions of one dealerships, and they will take heed.

    The target should be the supply of Beemers and Booze he doles out. He’s a river to his people, dry it up.

  142. 142
    Brachiator says:

    @Another Scott:

    Not everyone in the WH loved the Banon intvu. But Bannon is still among the most articulate and forceful defenders of what Trump ran on ..

    This reads like cheerleading, not reporting, from Haberman. Also, I don’t see that Trump ran a coherent campaign with any ideas. He was, and is, slogans and resentment. I’ve only been able to watch bits of Bannon’s interview, because I find him repulsive. But I did not see that he was articulate or much of a good defender of Trump’s vision.

  143. 143
    Origuy says:

    Oh, and there’s this.

    North Korea appears to be stepping up efforts to secure bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, which could be used to avoid trade restrictions including new sanctions approved by the United Nations Security Council.

  144. 144
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @The Pale Scot:

    NK will never sign a peace treaty with us that wasn’t our unconditional surrender. They need that bloody flag to keep their population in line.

    That’s entirely possible. But we don’t know until we negotiate with them. We managed to get a freeze on their nuclear program in the mid-nineties. Of course, they didn’t have nuclear bombs then, so it is likely to be more difficult this time around.

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