What Is North Korea’s Real Strategy?

NK has been in the news a lot lately…..from its rhetoric to the launching of multiple missiles to its continuing nuke research….and there have been many opinions and analyses on why this small Asian country is doing what it is doing.

I am not an expert on East Asian relations so I have to depend on others for their opinions and analyses…..I read a paper written by a person that is just such an expert…..do not know if I agree with him completely but I bow to his expertise….

North Korea’s quest for nuclear weapons is often depicted as a “rational” response to its strategic imperatives of national security and regime survival. In fact, North Korea seeks to decouple the US and its South Korean partner – a split that would enable the reunification of the Korean Peninsula on Kim’s terms.

In fact, North Korea’s appetite for nuclear weapons is rooted more in aggression than pragmatism. North Korea seeks nothing less than to decouple the United States from its South Korean partner – a split that would enable the reunification of the Korean Peninsula on Kim’s terms. In other words, North Korea does not want only to defend itself; it wants to set the stage for an invasion of its own.

Source: North Korea’s Real Strategy by Christopher R. Hill – Project Syndicate

A situation that could boil over at any time…..it all depends on the whim of a leader that is not wrapped real tight (in my opinion)…..

Thirty minutes. That’s about how long it would take a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launched from North Korea to reach Los Angeles. With the powers in Pyongyang working doggedly toward making this possible—building an ICBM and shrinking a nuke to fit on it—analysts now predict that Kim Jong Un will have the capability before Donald Trump completes one four-year term.

About which the president has tweeted, simply, “It won’t happen!”

Source: How to Deal With North Korea – The Atlantic

After writing this post news broke that I feel needs to be included here…..

NEW DELHI, June 21 (Yonhap) — North Korea’s top envoy to India on Wednesday offered a conditional moratorium on his country’s nuclear and missile tests in an apparent bid to hold talks with the United States.

North Korea Ambassador to India Kye Chun-yong said Pyongyang is willing to talk in terms of freezing its nuclear and missile tests under certain circumstances.

Source: North Korea is Open to Moratorium on Nuclear, Missile Tests | World Affairs Journal

This is an interesting turn…too bad that the US has so little diplomats on payroll to take advantage of this situation.

Side note:  I have been asked why I do this….this blogging thing.

I am an analyst of international conflict and this is my way to keep doing what I love and to inform anyone that wants to know about the future.

Closing Thought–22Jun17

The Killing Of A Princess!

Remember the years after the death of Princess Di?  There was conspiracy after conspiracy about the cause of her death…everything from she was pregnant with another man’s baby to revenge for the divorce to a simple hit by Brit intel…..

Well if you thought those days were gone…..think again…..

An 80-year-old retired MI5 agent, John Hopkins, has made a series of astonishing confessions since he was released from hospital in London on Wednesday and told he has weeks to live. Hopkins claims to have been involved in 23 assassinations for the British intelligence agency between 1973 and 1999, including Princess Diana. 

Source: Retired MI5 Agent Confesses On Deathbed: ‘I Killed Princess Diana’

Is this just another of those looking for a few  moments of fame?

Will we ever know the truth?

Not in this lifetime…..but then all this speculation only one thing is constant….SHE IS STILL DEAD!

Whatchaya think?

Time to say adieu until the morrow…..have a day and get some smiles in….chuq

Just Who Is Dead?

Recently the Russians claimed to have killed the ISIS leader al-Baghdadi….I wrote about the news piece ……

Source: Death Of A Bad Man – In Saner Thought

I bring this up because the US has issued a report that says they have killed the “Grand Mufti” religious leader of ISIS…..

US Central Command (CENTCOM) confirmed today that the Islamic State’s Turki al-Bin’ali was killed in a May 31 airstrike in Mayadin, Syria.

Mayadin, which is in the eastern Syrian province of Deir Ezzor, has become a hub for the so-called caliphate’s senior personnel. The US has targeted several high-profile figures in or near the city this year.

Source: CENTCOM Confirms Islamic State’s “Grand Mufti” Killed in Airstrike | RealClearDefense

Now this could be good news….but the US has killed “leaders” before…one guy in Afghanistan he was killed at least 3 separate times….

If true this could be good news…take out the radicalizing force of the group….but this does not eliminate the group….just one of the “soldiers”.

Since both were supposedly in Syria, around Raqqa, could one be mistaken for the other…..

Just who is dead at this point?

More news from the ISIS front…..

It seems that ISIS is admitting that they are doomed….one of their last acts of violence in the Iraqi city of Mosul was barbaric and unnecessary….

In what American commanders called a crime against the people of Iraq and the country’s prime minister called an admission of defeat, officials say ISIS fighters blew up Mosul’s most iconic mosque Wednesday night as government troops closed in. The Grand al-Nuri Mosque, more than 800 years old, was where ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a caliphate in 2014 during his only public appearance, the BBC reports. ISIS—whose fighters had been seen bringing explosives to the site, according to CNN—claimed the mosque in Mosul’s Old City had been destroyed by American aircraft, but US commanders swiftly denied the claim, saying there had been no strikes in the area.

Aerial photos showed little but rubble remaining at the mosque complex, where the black flag of ISIS had flown since 2014. The destruction of the mosque and its famous minaret “amounts to an official acknowledgement of defeat,” Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi said in a statement. The Old City is the only part of Mosul still held by ISIS and commanders say the “final chapter” of the offensive to retake the city has begun. The Iraqi military says elite counterterrorism units had fought their way to within 170 feet of the mosque when it was destroyed, Reuters reports.

Why?  What purpose did this serve?

More thoughts on the destruction of this magnificent mosque…..

Source: In Apocalyptic Vandalism, ISIL blows up 800-year-old Nuri Mosque in Mosul | Informed Comment

Qatar Could Be The Trigger

Not many people here in the US care much what is happening in Qatar….right now they are worried about the special election in the 6th District of Georgia or some other major deal that the media is fixated on at this time…..

But if you are a military family you might want to keep an eye on the situation on the Persian Gulf region….what happens there could effect your family in a numerous of ways.

The Persian Gulf is a vital importance to the US and the West…..keeping the Persian Gulf a calm and safe waterway is essential.  But the situation between the Saudis and their allies and Qatar and their allies could change that dynamic at any time.

It began as a squabble between Arab allies, but the standoff between Qatar and its neighbours is threatening to engulf the Horn of Africa. When Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen and the Maldives declared at the beginning of June that they were severing diplomatic relations with Qatar it appeared to be of interest mainly to the Arabian Peninsula – and the Gulf in particular.

The Saudis and their allies accused Qatar of backing international terrorism. The US, which has the Al Udeid air base in Qatar, looked askance, but did little more than use its good offices to try to ensure that the war of words did not flare into an open conflict.

Source: Africa: Qatar’s Conflict With Its Neighbours Can Easily Set the Horn of Africa Alight – allAfrica.com

The Middle East is not a stable region no matter what the press wants you to believe….okay it has seldom been very stable but that is neither here nor there….the crisis with the Saudis and Qatar could prove to be a destabilizing force for the region…..

The Qatar-Gulf rift isn’t about fabricated statements or a hacked website, but a battle to control regional order after the Arab uprisings. But will the Gulf destroy itself in the process?

A heavy tension has prevailed over the Gulf since 23 May.

It all appeared to start with the publication of statements attributed to Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, which were quickly proven to be fabricated. The Qatari News Agency website, it turned out, had been hacked.

Although hacking any country’s official news agency is clearly problematic, the bigger issue is the way in which two Arab Gulf states handled the fabricated statements.

Source: The Qatari crisis may destroy what little order remains in the Middle East | Middle East Eye

Like I said…..the admin in power needs to keep this in their sights and work for a calm and equitable termination of the “hostilities”……

Military families should be the first and the loudest to demand such.

After this draft was written more news came to light……seems the State Department is NOT on board with this Qatar bashing anymore…..

The US stance on Saudi Arabia and its allies’ hostility toward Qatar, including an outright blockade, has not been particularly consistent in the last couple of weeks. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert took a more direct position against the blockade today, but that is just raising more questions.

Nauert very directly faulted the Saudis for their move against Qatar, noting neither they nor other nations involved have offered any details to back up their allegations, and suggesting that the blockade was not about Qatar’s alleged support for terrorism, but long-standing grievances among GCC countries.

This is largely in keeping with what you’d figure would be the US position on Qatar, a long-time ally, but runs contrary to President Trump, who personally took credit for the Saudi-led move and has repeatedly parroted Saudi allegations against the Qatari government since then.

(antiwar.com)

Why has this region gotten more unstable since the Trump visit?

Just asking.

No one seems to have a handle on why the Saudis pulled this end run…..in other words…what is the real cause of the situation….

Officially, the narrative on the split among Gulf Arab nations, between Saudi Arabia and the tiny nation of Qatar, has centered around support for terrorism. The reality of the situation is far more nuanced, but that hasn’t stopped President Trump from immediately embracing the Saudi position, attacking the Qatari government for supporting “extremism” in the region.

Yet when we dig deeper into the details underpinning the split between the Saudis and Qatar, we find that the actual rift stems heavily from the Arab Spring, and the Qatari government’s support, both official and unofficial, for groups advocating democratic reform in the Middle East. While the Saudis and the other nations involved in directly in this split are more than comfortable to be overtly hostile to democracy in the Middle East, it is wildly dangerous for the United States to position itself in such a manner.

Source: The Real Reason behind Qatar’s Gulf State Freeze Out | The American Conservative

This situation is fascinating……all the intrigue of a “Game of Thrones”…..how will it end?

Russia Assaults Democracy

For months now, ever since the 2016 election, we have been told daily about the historic Russian attack on American democracy….they allegedly hacked into the election process, the DNC and other entities.

The MSM makes it seem as if this is all new for Russia to try and influence our democratic process……wrong!

Moscow’s interference began 80 years ago……

Over the last nine months, headlines have reverberated with questions regarding the Russian role in “hacking” the American electoral process. On January 5, 2017, James Clapper, then Director of National Intelligence, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that, “The Russians have a long history of interfering in elections. Theirs and other peoples…This goes back to the 60s, from the heyday of the Cold War.” He went on to call Russian interference in the 2016 election “unprecedented.” In some respects — the scale and impact of the accusations — they are. In other ways, however, they are a throwback to an 80-year-old saga.

The role of Russia’s intelligence services in the 2016 election represents the revival of Soviet efforts that predate even the Cold War. “Fake news” and financial assistance to opposition candidates, two measures that define Russian influence operations targeting the West, both date to the Stalinist period and the rise of the Soviet foreign intelligence apparatus. In the 1930s, when these methods were first unleashed, the United States had almost no counterintelligence capabilities. Until the early Cold War, the Soviets proved reasonably adept at influencing American politics towards Russia and acquiring information. Only with the expansion of the FBI and the reorganization of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) did Soviet efforts at directly influencing American elections dwindle.

Source: Moscow’s Assaults on American Democracy Began 80 Years Ago

It is a “New” occurrence only if you do not know history…and now you do.

Congrats!

Hate Speech vs. Free Speech

After the last shooting, the one that claimed a Congressman (since there are so many I wanted to clarify which shooting) there has been much written about the aftermath…all the hate filled post and Tweets.

Rabid conservs attack libs as the cause of the horrible attack and then it is the Libs turn to attack conservs and along the same lines…..all in all it is hate speech disguised as “news”.

That leads us to the debate on “free speech”.

Whenever someone mentions how destructive hate speech can be there will inevitably bring about some person harping on the first amendment…..and how trying to control hate speech will inevitably lead to the end of our republic.

I have tried to take on this topic in the past…..

Source: That Thing Called “Free Speech” – In Saner Thought

I recently read a piece of this subject written by a law professor……..

Since its inception as America’s founding political document, there have been 27 amendments to the United States Constitution. Even the most adept scholars can rarely name and define each one. Many amendments are obscure and deal with legal nuances like changes in representation and how to handle US citizens who come into a foreign title of nobility. While these constitutional adjustments rarely get public attention, the First Amendment continues to spark controversy across a wide swath of the US population. What is free speech? What does the Constitution protect? What is the difference between hate speech and free speech? With the recent attention on the safe space movement on college campuses, it’s increasingly important to understand the legal parameters of the First Amendment.

………

The wording of the First Amendment is relatively straightforward. At the core, Americans receive protections to exercise their religious beliefs freely, with specific prohibitions against the government passing laws to restrict religious practice. In addition, free speech is protected as well as a free press, with no restriction on citizens assembling peaceably. The confusion comes when people don’t understand what each of those things means, or when broader interpretations are applied to legal definitions that are, in reality, more narrow.

Source: Hate Speech vs. Free Speech: A Critical Analysis by Constitutional Law Expert Sujit Choudhry

We could solve this problem with a little civility toward each other and refuse to repeat words from the haters (people that live to hate)……there is no dishonor in being civil with each other.

Closing Thought–21Jun17

I, Robot!

Before I begin I would like to report that TS Cindy is dumping lots of rain and a bit of wind but nothing too bad…..the local rivers will flood in the next day or so but they leave their banks if some one flushes a toilet upstream….the garden is taking a beating it may not return……oh well…..such is the life in the tropics.

Onto more important things…….

Remember the 3 Laws of Robotics?

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

There has been many leaps forward in AI research……some thought it was about time for some “laws”…….so at a recent meeting of the minds some goals and values and principles were set forth……

1) Research Goal: The goal of AI research should be to create not undirected intelligence, but beneficial intelligence.

2) Research Funding: Investments in AI should be accompanied by funding for research on ensuring its beneficial use, including thorny questions in computer science, economics, law, ethics, and social studies, such as:

  • How can we make future AI systems highly robust, so that they do what we want without malfunctioning or getting hacked?
  • How can we grow our prosperity through automation while maintaining people’s resources and purpose?
  • How can we update our legal systems to be more fair and efficient, to keep pace with AI, and to manage the risks associated with AI?
  • What set of values should AI be aligned with, and what legal and ethical status should it have?

3) Science-Policy Link: There should be constructive and healthy exchange between AI researchers and policy-makers.

4) Research Culture: A culture of cooperation, trust, and transparency should be fostered among researchers and developers of AI.

5) Race Avoidance: Teams developing AI systems should actively cooperate to avoid corner-cutting on safety standards

Source: AI Principles – Future of Life Institute

Will this make the science better or just a way to shut critics up?

Maybe a special session should be called to discuss the ethics of AI….I am sure somewhere the subject of morality will rear its head.

BTW….any tech types that have a plan or an idea about this subject please share……

That is it from me for the day…..time for a snack and a beer….and watch it rain…..be well, be safe….chuq