The Market Ticker
Commentary on The Capital Markets- Category [Foreign Policy]
2017-08-11 12:55 by Karl Denninger
in Foreign Policy , 279 references
[Comments enabled]  

How about a bit of analysis, eh?

First, Russia's Lavrov has apparently said that a nuclear armed North Korea is unacceptable.  Well, fancy that.  It would have been nice if you gave a **** ten years ago, or five, eh?

Then there's China.  Let us not forget that in order to execute any foreign transaction someone has to intermediate the money coming back into the country.  That someone has been one of a handful of Chinese banks, and may I remind you that all banks are licensed by the nation in which they operate.  Therefore China has been able to enforce all previous sanctions against North Korea and has willfully refused to.

Now China says that it "will not" interfere if North Korea attacks US interests first.  But China made no such promise if we attack to "change the regime."  In fact it claims it will "prevent" us from doing so (sure it will..... how?)

What's the significance of this bluster from China?  It reinforces China's refusal to adhere to the previous and present UN resolutions and punish those organizations that intentionally violate same, including those very same banks.

This belies the ultimate problem on the Korean peninsula: China most-definitely does not want a unified Korea under a representative republican form of government.  In fact it actively fears that happening since said nation would not be able to be controlled and could become hostile on a trade basis to China.  In fact, it probably would become hostile to same at least in some degree and worse, if it demonstrated success it would add to the risk of political instability in China itself.

So here we are.  China and Russia have sat on their hands or worse, actively aided and funded North Korea for 20+ years while it (1) built a reactor, (2) produced bomb material from said reactor, (3) assembled said bomb and (4) tested said bombs.  They also sat back while the nation developed missiles of increasing ranges, up to and now including, it appears, ICBMs.

Finally they also sat back while North Korea shrunk the size of said bombs so that they will now fit on a missile.

There are four, roughly, steps to producing a nuclear-tipped missile.

1. Make a nuclear bomb.
2. Make a missile that will go as far as you wish to shoot it.
3. Miniaturize said bomb so it will fit on the top of said missile, and the missile can lift it.
4. Figure out the ablative and stability technology so said missile's warhead survives reentry.

The only piece still in question now for North Korea is #4; the last test of their missile appeared to show the nose section breaking up on reentry.  But the Norks know why it broke up and I presume they will figure out what they did wrong stability and ablative-wise, and fix it -- quickly.

Cut the crap, folks.  China in particular is why the North Koreans are within spitting distance of an ICBM-deliverable nuclear bomb, an ability we must presume they now either have or are one test-fired missile away from confirming they have.  They need only splash one successful re-entry to demonstrate that they have accomplished all four of the above steps and China is directly and politically responsible for this state of affairs.

I don't care if you like it or not, whether it's politically uncomfortable or not, these are facts.

Barry Obama sat on the throne for eight years and did exactly nothing to China or anyone else for that matter in putting a stop to the progression of steps #1-4.  Neither did Boosh before him.  In fact all the way back to Bill Clinton there has been zero policing and plenty of evidence that North Korea was openly cheating on every "deal" they made that allegedly prevented them from getting a bomb -- and the technology to deliver it.

In each and every one of these instances of cheating China was directly and explicitly involved in enabling said cheating and the fund flows necessary to accomplish it.  Rather than go after and punish China for their part in these actions we instead bestowed ever-more-favored access to our markets and allowed China to steal US firms' intellectual property for the same 25+ year period.

I remind you that it was back in 1993 that North Korea got caught by the IAEA during routine inspections -- it was fairly clear to them that plutonium was being diverted, which is pretty easy to catch as the numbers of various isotopes produced by a reactor are pretty-well determined by physics, and when they don't all add up, well, you're hiding something.  In other words we've sat on this problem, and the Chinese have actively obstructed attempts to strangle the Norks nuclear program, for roughly 25 years!

Let's leave aside whether all the other folks who have acquired nuclear weapons should have been allowed to do so, or whether anyone should have them at all.  We can debate that all day long but it won't change a thing on the ground.  It is a fact that there are plenty of nations that do have nukes and it's also a fact that the genie is out of the bottle in that regard.  The process isn't all that hard to master given today's technology and more-importantly the world has never successfully stuffed the genie back in said bottle in any nation that has acquired said weapons, declared and tested or otherwise.  There is exactly zero reason to believe, as a result, that we can "de-nuclearize" North Korea successfully and this means that they have nuclear bombs, they either have or will have nuclear ICBMs, and we now argue only over the government that has or will have control over same.

That is the entire scope of the debate at this point in time folks -- we can hold people accountable, including Clinton, Bush and Obama along with both Russia and China now or later, but doing so (or not) will not change this fact.

Further, if you stick your head up your ass and refuse to accept this as fact then you are begging to glow in the dark and eventually someone is going to do exactly that.

So here we are.  We know that if there is an attack on North Korea then Seoul will come under immediate artillary bombardment by the North Koreans; they have dug into the mountains just north of the DMZ thousands of field pieces.  We cannot take them out before they lay waste a large part of South Korea -- basically anything within 30-40 miles of the DMZ is within range of their conventional artillery.  North Korea could also attempt to infiltrate the South and fight a guerrilla war; we know of a number of tunnels under the DMZ and we must assume there are dozens or even hundreds of others we don't know about.  Finally, they might have solved the reentry problem or worse, could take one of their diesel-electric subs, which are extremely quiet and difficult for us to detect even with our superior technology and sail it, with a big old-fashioned nuclear bomb and a suicide-willing crew, right up into someone's harbor and set it off.  While we might catch such an incursion before it happens the odds of success are actually quite good for such an attempt.  I put our ability to actively police and catch such an attempt at less than 1 in 2; active sonar is easily detected well beyond its useful range and said sub captain can then go somewhere else.  Absent active sonar a D/E sub is quiet enough to sneak in with a good probability of success and the Norks have several such subs.

Yes, we would utterly paste North Korea if any of that happened, but do not mistake winning for winning "cheaply."  It would not be cheap at all, either in lives or economic cost and there is a very real chance they get at least one nuclear bomb off on someone before we can kill enough of their command and control to stop it.

But at the same time do not make the error of thinking that China or Russia have done a ******n thing to stop the progression of this threat.  They have not, and what's worse is that said obstruction continues to this day, meaning that as things stand right now if you do not accept a nuclear-armed North Korea you have no choice but to hit them before they perfect that last step, and with China openly declaring that such a strike would cause them to "stop it" one must assume that we now have the situation of an immovable object .vs. an irresistible force.

This is not good at all since either someone has to change their mind as to what is acceptable or we wind up with open warfare, and quite-possibly war involving China on a direct basis.

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