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What it would take to dismantle North Korea’s nuclear military power

Here’s a look at North Korea’s nuclear power and what it would take to dismantle it, Business Insider, Eleanor Albert, Council on Foreign Relations, Jun. 16, 2018  North Korea has one of the world’s largest conventional military forces — combined with its missile and nuclear tests, the nation is a worldwide concern.

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June 18, 2018 Posted by | North Korea, politics international | Leave a comment

For a nation that attacks another with nuclear weapons, the consequences will be fatal TO ITSELF

Paper Reveals Amount Of Nuclear Weapons Fatal To Own Citizens Of The Firing Nation http://www.techtimes.com/articles/230423/20180617/paper-reveals-amount-of-nuclear-weapons-fatal-to-own-citizens-of-the-firing-nation.htm By Athena Yenko Tech Times 

In a scenario where the United States launches a nuclear attack against a country, Americans won’t be spared from the fatal consequences of that same strike.

The first thing that comes to mind when discussing a nuclear war is how it could obliterate the target country. A new paper, therefore, examined the consequences of a nuclear strike on the very nation firing the weapons.

The Consequences Of A Nuclear Strike

The repercussions were imagined in “best-case scenario,” where the target nation would not engage in any counterattack. For example, if the United States fired a nuclear weapon, its very own people would suffer an effect called “nuclear autumn” or environmental blowback.

There would be a drastic drop in temperature because of the “soot” or chemical remnants from nuclear blasts that would block the sun from reaching the Earth’s surface. A decreased in precipitation would follow.

As days go by, there would be an increased ultraviolet radiation because of the damaged atmosphere. Eventually, starvation would happen as a result of non-functioning supply chains.

“If we use 1,000 nuclear warheads against an enemy and no one retaliates, we will see about 50 times more Americans die than did on 9/11 due to the after-effects of our own weapons,” reads one example given by Joshua Pearce, one of the authors of the paper.

The paper essentially warned that any nation who plans to launch a nuclear war must first assess whether it could survive the problems of its own making.

A Nuclear War Perspective

According to the paper, Americans would only be saved from the nuclear autumn if the United States would limit its strike to a use of 100 nuclear missiles. The problem, however, is that countries such as the United States and Russia possess thousands of nuclear arsenals.

In its calculation, the paper assumed that the United States would launch nuclear bombs with yields amounting to 15 kilotons. This would just be the same amount of explosive dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

However, the nuclear bombs owned by the countries at present are five to 25 times more lethal than what was used during the World War II. The explosive yields of nuclear weapons at present range from 100 to 500 kilotons.

The largest, however, has an explosive yield of 5,000 kilotons. The United States, in fact, has one with an explosive yield of roughly 1,400 kilotons.

Amount Fatal To Americans If The US Initiates Nuclear Attack

The paper published in the journal Safety on June 14 calculated the potential damage if the United States were to fire 7,000 nuclear missiles, 1,000 nuclear missiles, and 100 nuclear missiles. The nuclear attacks were imagined to be launched against China.

The 7,000 warheads would produce 30 trillion grams of soot. It could result in a nuclear autumn on a worldwide level and, later on, could starve as much as 5 million Americans. The 1,000 nuclear arsenal fired would produce 12 trillion grams of soot, which could starve 140,000 Americans.

Meanwhile, Americans would be saved from starvation if the United States were to fire 100 nuclear missiles. On the other hand, it could kill as much as 30 million people in China, which in return, could set off a counterattack.

An Appeal To Department Of Defense

The authors of the study argued that there would be no logical reason for any country to maintain nuclear arsenals greater than 100. They now call for the U.S. Department of Defense to include the potential environmental blowback to the American people when designing its nuclear policies

“The U.S. government should greatly increase focus on producing alternative food to provide for survivors in the case of nuclear war,” said David Denkenberger, one of the authors of the paper.

More importantly, the authors of the paper call for worldwide country leaders to reduce the nuclear weapon arsenals they keep in their possessions.

June 18, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Most Americans doubt that the Trump summit will result in North Korea giving up nuclear weapons

Poll: Majority skeptical North Korea will give up nuclear weapons as a result of Trump summit http://thehill.com/policy/international/392677-poll-majority-skeptical-north-korea-will-give-up-nuclear-weapons-as-a, 

June 18, 2018 Posted by | politics international, public opinion, USA | Leave a comment

South Korean nuclear reactor to be shut down early. Plans for new reactors cancelled

Korea Times 15th June 2018 , The Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) said Friday its board has decided to shut down the Wolsong-1 nuclear reactor in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province, before the end of its lifespan and scrap all plans for building
four new reactors across the country.

“According to the government’s energy policy shift, we have reviewed operational plans of Wolsong reactors several times and concluded keeping the Wolsong-1 operating under strengthened safety regulations would not be economical,” KHNP CEO Chung
Jae-hoon said in a press conference in Seoul.

“Also, the plans for building new reactors of Cheonji-1,2 and Daejin-1,2 would be terminated in order to eradicate uncertainties in the KHNP’s management and restore smooth relations with local residents.”
https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/tech/2018/06/325_250740.html

June 18, 2018 Posted by | politics, South Korea | Leave a comment

UK govt providing $billions for Wylfa nuclear power project, but Hitachi still scrambling for more money from Japan and USA

Nikkei Asian Review 16th June 2018 , Hitachi continues to search for ways to share the burdens of building a British nuclear power plant and now is sounding out the Development Bank of Japan and several Japanese power companies about taking stakes in the
project, a high hurdle as many are still struggling with the heavy financial fallout from the 2011 meltdown at Fukushima.

The cost projection for the project on the Welsh island of Anglesey has ballooned to 3 trillion yen ($27.1 billion). To keep it commercially viable, the British government pledged on June 4 to arrange the entire 2 trillion yen in necessary loans, twice its original offer. In addition, 900 billion yen is to be invested in the Hitachi subsidiary responsible for developing and building the plant, with 300 billion yen coming from a consortium of Japanese companies and the Japanese government.

The DBJ is considering an investment as a government-affiliated financial institution. Chubu Electric Power, Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings, Kansai Electric Power, Chugoku Electric Power and Hokuriku Electric Power are some of the utilities being approached
about taking small stakes in the project, as well as Japan Atomic Power. Hitachi is also asking the utilities for technical support.

Japan Atomic Power already plans to support such aspects as operation and maintenance of the U.K. plant with U.S. energy provider Exelon. Tepco and Chubu Electric both operate in Japan boiling water reactors, the same type that will bebbuilt on Anglesey. But winning participation from these companies will not be an easy task. Tepco must raise 16 trillion yen of the 22 trillion yen needed to decommission the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant and compensate victims of the meltdown. The company has said it will improve profitability to do so, but such efforts are still in the preliminary stages.
https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Business-Deals/Hitachi-seeks-Japanese-partners-in-building-27bn-UK-nuclear-plant

June 18, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, Japan, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Powerful earthquake north of Tokyo

Powerful quake jolts Gunma north of Tokyo; no injuries http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201806170031.html, THE ASAHI SHIMBUN, June 17, 2018 

A strong earthquake shook the northern part of the Kanto region on the afternoon of June 17, the Meteorological Agency said.

The quake registered a lower 5 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale of 7 in Shibukawa, Gunma Prefecture, when it hit at 3:27 p.m. with a focus 14 kilometers from the ground surface. It originated in southern Gunma Prefecture. No injuries have been reported.

The agency said this is the first time a quake originating in the prefecture and measuring a lower 5 or stronger has been recorded since 1923.

The magnitude of the temblor is estimated at 4.6. No tsunami is expected, according to the agency.

June 18, 2018 Posted by | Japan, safety | Leave a comment

Japan commits to reducing its excess of plutonium

Japan to cap plutonium stockpile to allay U.S. concerns, THE ASAHI SHIMBUN, June 17, 2018 

Japan plans to boost measures to curb surplus plutonium extracted from the reprocessing of spent fuel at nuclear power plants, including capping the country’s stockpile of the highly toxic material.

The move followed the U.S. and other countries’ calls for Japan to reduce excess plutonium in light of nuclear nonproliferation and the threat of terrorist attacks involving nuclear materials.

The Cabinet Office’s Japan Atomic Energy Commission will incorporate the measures in the five-point basic nuclear policy expected at the end of this month, the first revision in 15 years.

A reduction in the volume of plutonium held by Japan will also be specified in the government’s basic energy plan, which will be revised next month.

Japan possesses about 10 tons of plutonium inside the country and about 37 tons in Britain and France, the two countries contracted to reprocess spent nuclear fuel. The total amount is equivalent to 6,000 of the atomic bomb that devastated Nagasaki in 1945.

In the policy, announced in 2003, the government vowed not to possess plutonium that has no useful purpose. The government has pledged not to have surplus plutonium to the International Atomic Energy Agency………

Japan can reprocess spent nuclear fuel under the Japan-U.S. Nuclear Cooperation Agreement.

The 30-year pact is expected to be automatically extended beyond its expiration on July 16.

After the expiration, however, the pact will be scrapped six months after either Japan or the United States notifies the other side of its intention to do so.

Foreign Minister Taro Kono has expressed concern about the “unstable” future of the agreement after July, and Japan has worked to meet a request from Washington to clearly spell out steps to reduce Japan’s plutonium stocks.

The government’s draft policy calls for allowing retrieval of plutonium strictly based on the projected amount to be used at conventional nuclear reactors as mixed plutonium-uranium oxide fuel, commonly known as MOX fuel.

It will also step up oversight on utilities with the aim of reducing the amount of plutonium to a level allowing the nuclear reprocessing plant under construction in Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture, and other facilities to operate properly.

In addition, electric power companies will cooperate with each other in the use of MOX fuel, so that the amount of Japan’s surplus plutonium that is now overseas will be reduced.

For example, Kyushu Electric Power Co. and Kansai Electric Power Co., two utilities that began using MOX fuel ahead of other utilities, will consider using more MOX fuel at their nuclear plants for the benefit of Tokyo Electric Power Co., whose prospect of bringing its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Niigata Prefecture back on line remains uncertain.

When the 2.9 trillion yen ($26.37 billion) reprocessing plant in Rokkasho goes into full operation, about eight tons of new plutonium will be added annually as Japan’s surplus plutonium…..

of nine reactors that have resumed operations following the introduction of more stringent safety standards after the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear disaster in 2011, only four can use MOX fuel.

The operation of the Rokkasho plant will likely be significantly curtailed even if it is completed amid that environment.

(This article was written by Yusuke Ogawa, Rintaro Sakurai and Shinichi Sekine.) http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201806170027.html

June 18, 2018 Posted by | - plutonium, Japan | Leave a comment

Why does Japan persist with dangerous, unnecessary nuclear Rokkasho reprocessing? Is it to enable nuclear weapons?

June 18, 2018 Posted by | Japan, reprocessing | Leave a comment

How the use of nucklear weapons would drastically reshape the Earth

Why having over 100 nuclear weapons could do more harm than good to a country, The Journal, Órla Ryan@orlaryan   orla@thejournal.ie

Experts have looked into the impact using such weapons would have on a nation’s population and resources.

HAVING MORE THAN 100 nuclear weapons in a nation’s arsenal could cause more harm than good for the country itself, according to a new study.

Researchers have said that while countries tend to believe that having access to more weapons is intimidating and makes other countries think twice before attacking them, using such weapons can destabilise the country itself.

The US and Russia, for example, each have thousands of nuclear weapons.

Joshua Pearce, professor at Michigan Technological University, and David Denkenberger, assistant professor at Tennessee State University and director of Alliance to Feed the Earth in Disasters (Allfed), co-authored an article published this week in the journal Safety.

Pearce and Denkenberger examined direct negative physical consequences of the use of nuclear weapons to the nation firing them, including impacts such as starvation and global supply chain disruption as well as the cost to maintain an extensive arsenal.

They found that a country willing to use nuclear weapons against another nation must determine whether it has the ability to survive the problems this will create.

There are nine nuclear-weaponised nations: the US, Russia, the UK, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea. There are approximately 15,000 nuclear weapons globally. Under the disarmament proposed in this research, this number would drop to 900 or fewer.

“With 100 nuclear weapons, you still get nuclear deterrence, but avoid the probable blowback from nuclear autumn that kills your own people,” Pearce said.

He added that defence expenditure post-9/11 shows that the US cares about “protecting Americans”.

If we use 1,000 nuclear warheads against an enemy and no one retaliates, we will see about 50 times more Americans die than did on 9/11 due to the after-effects of our own weapons.

Pearce said that this is the first study to quantitatively demonstrate just how dangerous the use of nuclear weapons is even for the aggressor nation.

……….. Starvation and violence

The consequences of environmental blow-back include a significant drop in global temperature because of soot from nuclear blasts blocking the sunlight from reaching Earth’s surface, decreased precipitation, a drop in food production because of blocked sunlight and less moisture, increased ultraviolet radiation resulting from a badly damaged atmosphere, and non-functioning supply chains.

“We should be clear this analysis represents a severe underestimate on the number of dead Americans,” Pearce said.

We assume severe rationing, which is the best way to keep the most people alive when there is this level of food shortage. It means anyone who would die of starvation is immediately cut off from food.

“I don’t think rationing would go overly smoothly — a lot more people would die in violence internally than what we estimated based on lack of calories.”

100, 1,000 or 7,000 weapons

Pearce and Denkenberger examined the threat-potential of a 7,000-weapon arsenal, a 1,000-weapon arsenal and a 100-weapon arsenal.

Playing out a hypothetical scenario, the researchers explained that if the US used 100 nuclear weapons against China’s most populous cities, for example, initial blasts would likely kill more than 30 million people.

This would kill a higher fraction of the population than even severe pandemics. Sunlight would decrease by 10 to 20% and precipitation by 19% or more.

Pearce and Denkenberger, based on previous work, built a model of the burnable material in cities, how much would burn in a nuclear attack, how much of that would turn into smoke, and how much of that smoke would make it into the upper atmosphere.

Food supply

Then they used the result of climate and crop simulations to predict the impact on food supply. They coupled this with food storage to predict how many people would starve.

The agricultural loss from this so-called ‘nuclear autumn’ would range from 10-20%, enough to cause widespread food shortages in wealthier nations and mass starvation in poorer nations, researchers said.

Starvation could result because nuclear weapons would cause cities to burn, putting smoke into the upper atmosphere and blocking sunlight for years.

This could cause lower rainfall and lower temperatures, potentially causing winter-like weather in the summer, so-called ‘nuclear winter’. Less severe reduction in sunlight, which is called ‘nuclear autumn’, could still cause millions of people to starve.

It is clear that even 100 nuclear weapons is more than enough to dramatically reshape the globe, and Pearce and Denkenberger argue it’s also more than enough to deter other countries.

Maintaining more than that number, the authors state, is not only against the best interest of a nation to protect its people, but also costs a significant amount to maintain.

Denkenberger said the US government “should greatly increase focus on producing alternative food to provide for survivors in the case of nuclear war; with supply chains cut-off, all food Americans eat will have to come from within the nation’s borders”.

Pearse added that it’s “not rational to spend billions of dollars maintaining a nuclear arsenal that would destabilise your country if they were ever used”.

“Other countries are far worse off. Even if they fired off relatively few nuclear weapons and were not hit by any of them and did not suffer retaliation, North Korea or Israel would be committing national suicide,” he said.

June 18, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Resounding “No” to nuclear waste dump, from Czech rural community

JAROMĚŘICE NAD ROKYTNOU VOTES AGAINST NUCLEAR WASTER STORAGE SITE  http://www.radio.cz/en/section/news/jaromerice-nad-rokytnou-votes-against-nuclear-waster-storage-site   Ruth Fraňková17-06-2018

The inhabitants of Jaroměřice nad Rokytnou, a village in the Vysočina region between Bohemia and Moravia, voted overwhelmingly against the construction of a nuclear waste storage site on their land in a referendum on Saturday.

Jaroměřice nad Rokytnou is one of nine Czech locations being considered by experts for the purposes of a nuclear waste store. About 45 percent of the village’s inhabitants took part in the vote, which makes the referendum valid.

June 18, 2018 Posted by | EUROPE, politics, wastes | Leave a comment

Best option for Indian Point nuclear power station decommission and clean up the whole site within a reasonable period, such as 20 years

Indian Point site should be cleaned up as quickly as possible: Column https://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/opinion/valley-views/2018/06/17/indian-point-site-should-cleaned-up-quickly-possible-column/699682002/, By Maggie Coulter, Valley Views  June 17, 2018  

June 18, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

Genkai nuclear power station restart sparks protest

Japan Today 16th June 2018 , A nuclear reactor at a trouble-hit complex in southwestern Japan restarted
operations Saturday for the first time in more than six and a half years
amid lingering safety concerns. The No. 4 unit at the Genkai plant in Saga
Prefecture is the fourth reactor of operator Kyushu Electric Power Co’s to
go back online and the ninth nationwide under stricter safety rules
implemented after the Fukushima crisis in 2011. The utility aims to
generate and supply electricity from Wednesday and start commercial
operations in mid-July. The restart sparked local protests, with around 100
people gathering in front of the plant.
https://japantoday.com/category/national/trouble-hit-nuclear-reactor-in-southwestern-japan-resumes-operations

June 18, 2018 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Govt plan to reuse radioactive soil for agriculture meets opposition

BNA 14th June 2018 Japan’s plan to reuse soil contaminated with radiation from the
Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant accident for agriculture is sparking
something of its own nuclear reaction. Residents and other critics don’t
want any part of it.
https://www.bna.com/blowback-japanese-plan-n73014476527/

June 18, 2018 Posted by | environment, Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Donald Trump alienates America’s allies – thus increasing the likelihood of nuclear weapons proliferation

Trump triggers talk of Australia going nuclear , SMH, By Peter Hartcher, 

Three former deputy secretaries of Australia’s Defence Department – strategists Hugh White, Paul Dibb and Richard Brabin-Smith – have mooted the idea in the past year. Till these most recent months, it’s been something of a taboo topic in respectable circles.

One big reason? Australia already has the protection of the United States nuclear umbrella. Under this system, the US pledges that if anyone should launch a nuclear strike on one of its allies, Washington would retaliate against the aggressor.

So to suggest that Australia now needs its own atomic arsenal is to suggest that there has been a fundamental breakdown in trust. In short, that the US alliance is dead.

But hold on. Why now? Isn’t this exactly the wrong time to be laying such plans? Doesn’t this week demonstrate that the US can act to deal with a hostile nuclear state? Didn’t Donald Trump’s summit with Kim Jong-un just reduce a threat for the US allies in the region, including Australia, which falls within reach of Kim’s long-range missiles?

There are two key points here. First, the text of the brief document that the leaders signed does say that North Korea “commits to work toward complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula”. But this is neither new nor convincing.

A former US nuclear negotiator with the North Koreans, Republican David Asher, who led the North Korean activities group in the White House of George W. Bush, says: “For the President to say that the nuclear threat has been eliminated is, I think, unwise. If he’s wrong, it’ll be on him.”

Asher, a scholar at the Centre for New American Security, says: “I have hope, but after dealing with the North Koreans for 25 years, it’s not a promise I personally can have great faith in.” Asher has a litany of first-person examples of Kim Dynasty duplicity……….

the first point is that no one can yet know whether Trump has actually de-fanged a dangerous enemy. But the second point is what everyone does know now – that Trump is prepared to trade away the interests of an ally if he thinks it will help him get a deal with an enemy.

Trump announced that he had promised Kim he would stop the big military exercises that the US conducts with South Korea twice a year.

………The problem? The cancellation was news to South Korea’s President, Moon Jae-In. It was news to another keenly interested US ally, Japan’s Shinzo Abe. And it was news to Trump’s own military commanders, who were in the middle of preparations for the next exercises, two months away.

And in announcing the end to the manoeuvres, Trump adopted the language of the North Korean propagandists. Pyongyang has long railed against the exercises as “provocative war games”. The US has never called them war games nor described them as provocative; Trump did both.

It seems that Kim put the demand to Trump in the negotiating room and Trump agreed on the spot. He agreed to a demand by an enemy without consulting his ally. “It is urgent to make bold decision,” Kim told the US leader, in the words of the North Korean official news agency, and Trump bought it.

This was greeted with delighted incredulity in Beijing. Because this is precisely what the Chinese Communist Party has sought for many years. Professor Shi Yinhong, of the People’s University in Beijing, said that Trump’s pledge to halt military manoeuvres was almost “too good to be true” from China’s point of view.

Why does China care? Because one of its greatest strategic aims is to separate the US from its allies. One of America’s greatest assets is that it sits at the centre of a global alliance system embracing more than 40 nations, including most of the world’s major economies. China, by contrast, has a only couple of rather unimpressive allies, Pakistan and North Korea.

Shi drew the connection: If US troops in South Korea were to stop the military exercises, it could cause allies to lose confidence in Washington and undermine the entire US military presence in Asia, he told America’s National Public Radio. For China, this is victory on every level.

“We see a clear pattern of Donald Trump turning against his allies,” says a close student of Trump foreign policy, Tom Wright, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington. “He’s generally hung his allies out to dry.”

Just in the last two weeks he has harmed US alliances with Britain, France, Germany and Canada, putting punitive tariffs on their exports and insulting Canada’s Justin Trudeau on top, calling him weak and dishonest.

He upset his allies at the annual G7 summit by proposing that Russia be restored to the group’s meetings, when the G7 is supposed to be ostracising Putin for invading Ukraine.

Trump has inflicted so much political damage to America’s European and Canadian alliances that “the community of North American and European nations forming the nucleus of the alliance that won the Cold War for the West is closer to breaking up now than at any time since the 1940s” in the assessment of Walter Russell Mead, an American scholar.

“And,” says Wright, “he completely sidelined Japan” with this week’s Kim summit. It seems that there was only one US ally who had been able to persuade Trump decisively to change US policy, and even that has turned sour, says Wright.

South Korea’s Moon was the one who persuaded Trump to try directly negotiating with Kim, yet in those very negotiations Trump ended up trading away a South Korean interest. “Moon thought he could ride the tiger, control where he went, but didn’t realise the tiger goes where the tiger wants to go,” as Wright puts it. “He brought Trump into this but then lost control.”

Why does Trump consistently act against the interests of his allies? Wright, who predicted just this  pattern of behaviour before Trump was elected, explains: “In his 30-year history of talking and writing about this stuff, Trump has always been more aggravated by America’s friends than its enemies.

“He has been consistent about this for 30 years. It’s not sophisticated or complex, but he is much more ideological than people think: interdependence is a bad deal for America.” Trading partners will cheat America; allies will free ride on America’s military budget.

Australia has been unscathed so far; Wright says that this will likely change only if some disagreement emerges. Trump isn’t so systematic to work down a list of allies he must alienate, but he will “react to what’s in front of him. It’s possible to sneak on by.”

The only time he will turn against a US rival is if he thinks that rival is directly threatening the US with attack, according to Wright. Otherwise, he’s happy to deal with America’s enemies: “He’s open to deals, he worries about commitments.”

Which is how he manages to make concessions to North Korea while sidelining the interests of South Korea. Trump went further, saying that he wanted one day to withdraw the 28,000 US troops that provide an American “trip wire” across the Demilitarised Zone separating North from South.

If the North should invade, the US forces will be engaged automatically, the wire tripped, guaranteeing America will come to Seoul’s defence. Trump said this was a matter for the future; South Korea’s Moon wishes he hadn’t raised it at all.

If Trump’s North Korean gambit works, he will have a serious achievement. If it fails? Says Asher: “The irony of the North Korean denuclearisation deal could be that everybody else decides to go nuclear. If it fails and Kim remains in power and countries doubt our commitment, then what’s to stop Japan or South Korea or Australia going nuclear?”

It could lead to “mass nuclearisation – it’s a very bad position, 20 countries in the region with nukes, like 20 people in a room all pointing guns at each other”.

These are, of course, imponderables, possible futures that no one hopes for but governments need to plan for. Hendy and White and Dibb and Brabim-Smith may be tending towards alarmism, but they want Australians to think about the world after the American-led alliance system has passed into history.

An American journalist, Jeffrey Goldberg, writes in The Atlantic this week that he asked a number of unnamed White House officials whether there is a Trump doctrine in foreign policy. One, described as a senior official with direct access to the President and his thinking, replied that there is. And it is: “We’re America, bitch.” History is in the making. https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/trump-triggers-talk-of-australia-going-nuclear-20180615-p4zlsa.html

 

June 15, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international | Leave a comment

Hopes for peace following the Trump-Kim summit are likely to be short-lived

The scary truths about Trump’s nuclear summit https://www.engadget.com/2018/06/15/the-scary-truths-about-trump-s-nuclear-summit/ In which Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un compared the size of their nuclear buttons. Violet Blue@violetblue   

In the first summit meeting between the leaders of the United States and North Korea, Donald Trump met with Kim Jong-un, on June 12, 2018, in Singapore. The two leaders smiled warmly, posed for cameras as friends, shook hands, and Trump spoke in glowing terms of admiration about Kim at the news conference.

The summit came after a year and a half of both men terrorizing the world with open threats of thermonuclear annihilation and childish public insults. Trump derisively nicknamed the North Korean dictator “Rocket Man” and called him “fat and short,” while Kim Jong-un called Trump “a mentally deranged U.S. dotard.” This week’s historic meeting was nearly scrapped by Trump in a threatening, yet passive-aggressive letter to Jong-un that tried to make the cancellation look like it was North Korea’s idea.

On behalf of the United States, Trump conceded to Kim the discontinuation of joint military exercises with South Korea and to withdraw troops stationed there; he also gave Jong-un international standing and lavished him with compliments. He echoed North Korean rhetoric, which characterizes the military exercises as “very provocative.”

In response to accusations about giving away the farm for a handful of rocks and rusty Nuka Cola bottle caps, USA Today reported that other than agreeing to a meeting, Trump said “I gave up nothing.”

In return, we got a crazy-vague joint statement wrapped in a PR stunt. All North Korea gave us was a meeting. The signed agreement had no specificsabout denuclearization. The 1 1/2 page document ignored North Korea’s existing stockpile of nuclear weapons, had no verification provisions whatsoever, and failed to address ongoing issues of its attacks, kidnappings, and physical threats on Japan and South Korea.

North Korea has historically avoided true nuclear disarmament, preferring to qualify any agreements instead as denuclearization of the peninsula. “That has always been interpreted as a call for the United States to remove its “nuclear umbrella” protecting South Korea and Japan,” wrote Reuters. The country has promised denuclearization since the 1990s and has repeatedly ignored that promise as a rule.

Emerging from the summit as a victorious bringer of peace on Earth, Trump tweeted that “everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office. There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.”

It was a stunning concession when Trump announced, “We will stop the war games which will save us a tremendous amount of money.” It shocked and baffled South Korea and other allies, the Pentagon, US military officials, and members of the Republican Party. This came hot on the heels of Trump saying it would be better if South Korea and Japan protect themselves.

South Korea and Japan are not feeling the same love in the air as Trump and Jong-un. “His announcement was a surprise even to President Moon Jae-in’s government in Seoul,” wrote Reuters. “One South Korean official said he initially thought Trump had misspoken.” South Korea’s largest newspaper Chosun Ilbo openly worried that the North will keep its nuclear weapons program permanently as a result of Trump’s concessions, describing the summit as “dumbfounding and nonsensical.”

You see, we’ve allied ourselves to help protect South Korea for some pretty big reasons. If, like Trump, you’re encountering a North Korea-US summit with no prep whatsoever, here’s a quick bit of background.

North and South Korea have been divided since 1945; for a short period Russia occupied the North while the US occupied the south; during the war, China aided the north and the US aided the south (we lost 54,246 lives and 7,704 American soldiers are still unaccounted for). The Korean War ended with an armistice agreement but no peace settlement, so technically the war has never ended. American military remains in the South as part of a mutual defense treaty.

Fast forward to 1963 and the world finds out that the North has begun building a nuclear reactor. Then a nuclear weapons program in the 1980s. The first time North Korea committed to denuclearization was 1992’s Joint Declaration of the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula — though historically, nuclear inspectors have been barred from surveying North Korean facilities.

Earlier this year, a team of Stanford University experts — one who visited North Korean nuclear facilities multiple times — formulated a detailed planfor the dismantlement of the North Korean program with a 10- to 15-year estimate. In statements surrounding the summit, Trump — who has no science advisor — said “I think whoever wrote that [estimate] is wrong.”

Before going into the summit Trump bragged about his lack of preparation and said that he “will know, just [by] my touch, my feel” how to assess Kim Jong-un’s nuclear plan.
Trump, who coasted into the White House on his sole qualification as a dealmaker, came straight to the North Korean denuclearization summit after failing to make a deal about milk with Canada. That was at the G-7 summit in Quebec, to which he arrived late and left early and wholly tanked by withdrawing the US from the signed trade declaration, all while somehow managing to piss off the one country known as the world’s friendliest. He spent the weekend petulantly talking smack about the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, whom he called “very dishonest and weak.”

He ran from G-7 straight into the arms of Kim Jong-un, with whom he seemed genuinely pleased. As a token, Trump commissioned a gift for North Korea’s leader in the form of a fake Hollywood movie trailer about the two of them, starring together, bringing peace and happiness to the world. It included lines like “featuring President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un … in a meeting to remake history.” He played it on an iPad for the dictator in their private meeting. Washington Post reported that when it aired in the press room, journalists assumed the video was North Korean propaganda.

Reuters explained that prior to Trump’s elevation of Kim, he “was an international pariah accused of ordering the killing of his uncle, a half-brother and hundreds of officials suspected of disloyalty.” They added, “The North Korean leader had been isolated, his country accused by rights groups of widespread human rights abuses and under U.N. sanctions for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.”

The Washington Post noted the UN’s report “described the country as a ruthless police state where as many as 120,000 people are kept in political gulags under horrific conditions; other prisons, effectively labor camps, hold people for ordinary crimes. Telephone calls are monitored and citizens are punished for watching or listening to foreign broadcasts.”

Now put that in the context of nuclearization. According to U.S. military intelligence, defense experts and North “watchers” (cited in Newsweek), in 2017 it was estimated that North Korea has “enough plutonium stored up to create a minimum of six nuclear weapons, but other estimates were as high as 10 to 16 nuclear weapons.”

So if Kim is a dictator with nukes and very aggressive hackers, there’s no reason to doubt that both Kim and Trump are fine with holding the world hostage under threat of nuclear annihilation for whatever their real endgames really are. Last August Trump warned that any North Korean attack “will be met with fire, fury and frankly power, the likes of which the world has never seen before.”

For North Korea’s grand finale to its founder’s 105th birthday party in April 2017, it celebrated with a propaganda video showing missiles being launched.

“Eventually the nukes found their target, San Francisco, and exploded in massive fiery eruptions, engulfing the city in flames. The audience appeared to applaud San Francisco’s destruction,” wrote nervous Bay Area press. “The image of flickering flames overlaid shots of an American flag and a military cemetery.”

Let’s just hope they stick to comparing the size of their buttons.

June 15, 2018 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA | Leave a comment