Baseball and Climate Change?
That should get your attention!
Now let us put the argument together.
When President Trump announced that the United States was withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris climate change accord, he did so by reminding folks of those to whom he was responsible:
“I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.”
“It is time to put Youngstown, Ohio, Detroit, Michigan, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, along with many, many other locations within our great country before Paris, France,” Trump said.
“It is time to make America great again.”
So for a moment please if all can set politics aside and reflect on a moment in time when New York and Pittsburg went head to head in the truly epic 1960 World Series
In President George H.W. Bush’s Administration a former three term Republican Congressman served as a Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Many Congressman in our nation’s history have served in senior executive Department positions.
But a Congressman and then a DAS at DVA with the nickname “Vinegar Bend” was a most definitely a cut above.
Wilmer David “Vinegar Bend” Mizell, was nicknamed for his place of birth near Vinegar Bend, Alabama, and he was a legionary Major League Pitcher.
Immortalized in Baseball History as a member on the 1960 World Champions Pirates pitching rotation in the season that they made their epic run to the World Series Championship winning against the New York Yankees.
That series culminated with one of the most memorial moments in World History: “The Greatest Homerun Ever: Bill Mazeroski 1960 Walkoff Homerun”
Serving in the Bush Administration with “Vineger Bend” was a very humbling experience.
He was proud to be at the VA because like Ted Williams service in the Marines at the height of his career, Vinegar Bend early in his very successful professional athletic career was called to serve in the United State Army for two years during the Korean War.
Although he did not fight in Korea he often mentioned his Army service experience as a very proud defining moment in his life.
Setting aside the Mayor of Pittsburg’s comments attacking President Trump, all American’s can note that a New York born and raised President reached out to recognize his responsibilities to all Americans and he picked Pittsburg to make his point.
I think Vinegar Bend would have been be very proud for such a recognition.
Of course in Baseball there is also the rest of the story.
The Pirates traded Vinegar Bend to the NY Mets where he finished his career pitching for NY fans who actually liked the Mets over the Yankees.
Forget about it!.
The trade was not well received among Pirates fans, who appreciated Mizell’s efforts in the run to the 1960 championship, and by his teammates, among whom he was popular because of his good nature and strong religious beliefs.
Ed Timperlake was raised on Staten Island, NY never forgave the Brooklyn Dodgers cheered on the Yankees until most important he switched 1000% to the Washington Nationals.
He was also the Assistant Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs in Bush 41
Some additional information about Vinegar Bend Mizell:
The small community of Vinegar Bend, Alabama, provided an unusual nickname to major-league pitcher and US Congressman Wilmer “Vinegar Bend” Mizell.
Contrary to the belief that he was born in Vinegar Bend, Wilmer was born in neighboring Leakesville, Mississippi, and graduated from high school there in 1949, but the little town of fewer than 200 people on the other side of the state line offered a better moniker.1
The town of Vinegar Bend got its name when a train passing through the area careened off the tracks and spilled its load of vinegar there. Mizell was born on August 13, 1930, to Walter David and Addie Turner Mizell, and routinely received his mail in the Washington County, Alabama, town his nickname made famous.
Walter Mizell died when Wilmer was only 2 years old and his mother became sick shortly thereafter, so he was raised by his grandmother and uncle.
Young Wilmer’s throwing motion was so wild that his older brother couldn’t play catch with him. He improved his control by throwing at a knothole in the side of the family’s smokehouse until he knocked the door down. He further refined his skills throwing rocks while hunting squirrels.
The family earned their living as subsistence farmers raising cattle and hogs as well as growing fruits and vegetables. Wilmer also earned money tapping pine trees for turpentine, logging, and hauling hardwood from the swamps along the Escatawpa and Chickasawhay Rivers.
Thinking Like North Korea: How to Defeat US BMD?
The successful test of an interceptor by the Missile Defense Agency May 30 caused Vice Adm. James Syring to claim that CONUS is “safe” until 2020, or at least 3 years ahead of DPRK ICBMs.
Let’s begin by taking this claim at face value.
VAM Syring’s assuring statement only applies to CONUS and Alaska, which exclude Canada, Japan, South Korea, US bases like Guam, Australia, New Zealand, all of Europe and the Middle East if an ICBM is launched from DPRK’s axis partner Iran or from DPRK.
With the exception of Japan, there are minimal defenses in South Korea and Poland (limited coverage that faces South against Iran) and effectively none elsewhere.
For American allies, VAM Syring’s statement is a veiled and stark warning that America First is the de facto missile defense policy for any ally who don’t avail themselves of the means to defend themselves like Germany and Canada (i.e. NATO Article 3 obligations).
The May 30 BMD test in no way address the proven ability of DPRK to overwhelm defenses with SRBM and MRBMs of Japan and South Korea by the sheer force of numbers. DPRK’s recent multiple simultaneous missile launch exercises confirmed this doctrine.
Presently, DPRK is known to have sufficient quantities of Short and MRBM missiles to inundate the deployed missile defense in much of Japan, S. Korea and nearby US bases.
In other words, the May 30 test provide no comfort to US allies.
American priorities for extension of BMD coverage will begin with states like Hawaii, extending to Pacific major US bases like Guam and Diego Garcia, and then to allies that carry their fair share of the defense burden which exclude a majority of NATO members.
The question is, how might DPRK defeat the CONUS US BMD?
The weakest link in the US BMD is in sensors and communications.
Continuous and extensive monitoring of launch sites by airborne and space based sensors worked well against liquid fueled rockets that require large convoys of trucks to support each launch and a long setup / fueling / launch preparation time.
Solid fueled missiles, however, require just a few — though distinctive TELs — that can be moved about quickly. To pick out a relatively small S/MRBM canister TEL moving about in the area the size of North Korea, with many hills and terrain clutter, is a difficult feat before consideration of the likely deployment of decoys or active interference with sensors and platforms (e.g. by shooting down airborne radar platforms).
If DPRK to adopt a “launch on warning” or “launch under attack” doctrine that pre-emptively attack both the US and allies by striking first, and bet that a mass attack will defeat any BMD.
Alternatively, there is the option of an offensive first strike that takes advantage of their plentiful supply of liquid fueled missiles by using it first. The first warning of launch we may have may be from the SBIRs spotting the missile plume.
The May 30 test show this can be handled up to the saturation of the BMD system.
Who says NORKs will play this game?
NORKs can use their nuclear devices for combination high altitude EMP and sensor blinding purposes. The present policy of US and allies is to not shoot down DPRK missile launches that do not appear to threaten to land on their territory even if they see the launch preparations over days.
This plays right into DPRK hands if they were to loft a sensor blinder / EMP device that detonates just outside of territorial waters of nearby allies. TYP-2 radars in Japan and Alaska can conceivably be blinded by a single nuclear device while another tackled Wake Island’s TYP-2 and the SBX radar.
Once the sensors are blinded, a strike on CONUS or allies can proceed with the BMD system down or severely degraded with their next volley of liquid fueled missiles.
Solid fueled mobile missiles can then be retained as deterrent against retaliation.
Did the May 30 test consider this?
DPRK have other options besides using nuclear weapons on land targets. There is an implicit assumption that DPRK will adhere to the Outer Space Treaty and not deploy or use nuclear weapons in orbit or space.
Suppose if DPRK were to launch “peaceful” satellites that orbits over CONUS that contain a thermonuclear device optimized to generate EMP?
How would the US be able to determine in a short timeframe if the “satellite” do not contain a nuclear device?
Would the US pre-emptively destroy it?
Or take the time to examine, inspect it first?
Should we presume that DPRK will play “fair” or “by the rules”?
Can we take the chance based on what we know about DPRK now?
A nuclear detonation with a combination EMP / sensor blinding function could be used as a prelude to an ICBM launch from DPRK. Exo-atmospheric nuclear detonations will be devastating to vital communications links in orbit and terrestrially for a time.
Since the vast majority of electronic devices are civilian and not shielded, their disruption by EMP will lead to, at least in the short term, a collapse of the civilian economy in the footprint affected. If the device is thermonuclear, the EMP pulse generated can readily overwhelm any conceivable defenses and have a footprint exceeding CONUS.
Have the US military thought about how something as simple as tens of thousands of disabled cars blocking choke points like bridges, roads, ramps, etc. will impede their ability to mobilize?
Or dissipate resources for aiding civilians faced with a collapse of all essential services including food, water, medical, etc.?
Imagine if the commute to a radar site that once took 35 minutes became impossible unless crews are fetched by helicopter?
Assuming that the helos did not have their electronics knocked out and are not grounded by something as simple as lack of fuel because the pumps don’t work. Or the technicians that know how to repair it and source parts cannot be found?
Would the US order a nuclear retaliatory strike against DPRK immediately after an EMP strike that disabled most of the US civilian economy but yet caused few civilian casualties?
Such a strike against DPRK will no doubt cause massive contamination and casualties throughout northeast Asia.
What would be the consideration if DPRK retains a capacity to launch a “counter value” strike against civilian targets of US and allies?
Could the US conceivably back down and sue for peace? Japan? South Korea?
VAM Syring based his estimate of a 3 year lead on the intelligence community’s consensus forecast and projections of where DPRK’s will be with respect to DPRK reentry vehicle, countermeasures, and rocket motor technology.
No doubt that VAM is acting in good faith when he assured the Trump Administration and Congress that MDA’s interceptors will work.
And no doubt they will work against the anticipated threat based on the IC’s assessment.
But what if the threat is not a nuclear ballistic missile strike on CONUS population / military targets?
What if NORKs decided to target the electronics infrastructure of the US?
What the IC have not done, however, is to think like a North Korean rather than a Soviet or PRC military.
NORKs are not constrained by the abhorrence of war that Russians and Americans have, or squeamish about striking first even if it cause hundreds of millions of casualties, as long as they can prevail in a war termination situation.
Or to target the highly vulnerable, fragile monoculture of electronics based technology in the US.
The above analyses illustrate how one might consider defeating the rudimentary missile defense of CONUS if one thinks like North Korea, and not a traditional First Nuclear Age power.
Let’s err on the safe side.
We may not have a 3 year lead.
Intelligence Failures for North Korea: How Serious?
North Korea’s successful test of solid fueled missiles highlight how allied intelligence missed signals that DPRK made an abrupt and major leap in missile technology.
Experts like John Schilling that initially estimated DPRK requires 5 years from first launch to IOC for their solid fueled missiles revised their estimate to less than a year.
But there is more to the puzzle.
Behind this event is an intelligence failure of major proportions beginning with analysis of DPRK’s economy.
DPRK is also rapidly modernizing their conventional armaments, with their “byungjin” (simultaneous push) strategy of economic growth and across the board (conventional and nuclear) military capabilities.
DPRK is certainly not reducing conventional capabilities as they develop a credible nuclear arsenal. If anything, they are rapidly enhancing them.
But when coupled with what is known about their ramp of conventional military capabilities, it suggest an intelligence failure (or should we say “oversight”) of monumental proportions by allied intelligence agencies.
Time and time again, Kim Jong Un’s DPRK has been underestimated: Especially DPRK’s economy under Kim Jong Un.
The dominant American paradigm presume that DPRK is on the verge of collapse. A majority of analysts still presume that Beijing China have the capacity to “shut down” DPRK by enacting airtight sanctions (e.g. “take oil as the key link”), that the only reason they have not done so is the fear of waves of refugees from North Korea post collapse or the takeover of DPRK by US ally ROK.
More worrisome, many still take benign views of DPRK’s motives and intentions which require disregard and dismissal of recent, repeated, public statements by Kim Jong Un’s regime published in places like Rodong Sinmun, the official paper of the Central Committee of the Worker’s Party of Korea.
What are the failures?
The intelligence community’s gravest failure is to underestimate the vibrancy of the DPRK economy under Kim Jong Un. Their image of a DPRK Stalinist system that reeled under the pressure of the collapse of their patron USSR that in turn, lived on handouts and aid from PRC is at best dated to the Kim Jong Il era.
Under Kim Jong Un, North Korea demonstrated that by unleashing the economy to permit a degree of state enterprise based “capitalism” and market forces, a hidebound economy can be revived in very short order.
To anyone who have witnessed this phenomena of “opening” happen in China (post Deng 1978), or how fast market forces took off in Eastern Europe once the grip of Stalinism was relaxed, and least of all, in USSR, this is no surprise.
Wealth exploded, hundreds of millions lifted out of poverty in a matter of years. Did any IC analyst wonder where all the billionaires with mega yachts from former USSR or philanthropist from PRC came from?
On what basis do they exempt DPRK from these precedents?
Deskbound, or should we say hidebound IC DPRK analysts at GS-13/15 are comfortably reading UN reports of starvation in DPRK that assert (as recently as March, 2017) that 18 out of 25m of the population is in need of food aid. The logical conjecture is that the Kim regime is starving their people to feed their weapons programs.
Few ask where the statistics and data on starvation in North Korea, so beautifully turned into graphics and charts for these reports, come from. The Kim regime warned of another famine as recently as 2016. The DPRK, in fact, collect and provide the data used by aid agencies and the UN in determination of “need”.
For 2012, the UN reported that Kim Jong Un spent $646 million importing “luxury goods”, and at least $1.3 billion on ballistic missile programs alone. All indications are that spending on such items have substantially increased since 2012.
A crude estimate of the DPRK’s incremental expenditures on their nuclear arsenal and missile programs, combined with the conventional arms modernization programs would suggest that it is at least in the multiple billion dollar range annually before accounting for “luxury goods” for the regime.
This is over and above any revenues that DPRK received from axis partners like Iran.
Properly estimating the economic strength of an adversary is vital. During the cold war, the IC failed to estimate the defense burden on the Soviet economy that resulted in the failure to see how close the Soviets are to collapse – vindicating Andrew Marshall’s counter-analysis.
Analysis of DPRK’s economy, however, may have erred on the other side by failing to estimate the efficacy of economic reforms, and the vibrancy of DPRK’s economy.
By doing so, the IC have grossly overestimated the efficacy of sanctions (whether formally imposed by Beijing China or not) and underestimate the ability of the DPRK to circumvent them.
It also goes to the heart of regime legitimacy.
An improving economy strengthens the DPRK regime and expand the scope for the Kim regime to maneuver both domestically and internationally.
The vibrant DPRK economy (regardless of sanctions) under Kim Jong Un is key to understanding what DPRK is capable of doing, why they are doing it, and what they are likely to do.
Future articles will address how the IC may have failed in their analysis of DPRK’s politics, regime motives and intentions, and understanding the technological art of the possible from DPRK’s perspective.
North Korea is the IC’s “highest” priority. If that is so, let’s get it right.
The Beer Hall and Chancellor Merkel: A Memorial Day Remembrance?
What God awful timing from German elected leaders that they picked Memorial Day to make belittling remarks against the American way of selecting leaders, who whatever their faults always try to be a force for good in the world.
In making such remarks, in Bavaria no less, doesn’t the Chancellor of Germany have any grasp of American history and how important it is that we honor Memorial Day?
Remembering Memorial Day the Merkel Way
“Chancellor Angela Merkel cautioned Monday against seeking “simple answers” to complex global issues, a day after suggesting that Europe’s relationship with the U.S. had shifted significantly following NATO and G-7 meetings with President Donald Trump that produced disappointing results.”
Her Vice Chancellor could not resist adding a directed insult that U.S. citizens in voting in a President to “Make America Great Again” has somehow made the West weaker.
“And Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, also a Social Democrat, said Monday that if the Trump administration “finds pushing through national interests more important than an international order… then I say that the West has become smaller – it has at least become weaker.”
Always good to know that Germany does not follow its national interests, which Chancellor Merkel seems to be stridently pursuing in her election bid as she not only takes out her axe against the U.S. but Britain as well. Or put another way, she is leveraging the election of Trump and the British vote in favor of Brexit to assert that Germany is now leading the West.
And that is hardly self-serving is it?
President Trump essentially gave Angela Merkel the same message that Reagan gave Europe at the height of the cold war-“We Win-They Lose.”
Only President Trump in this 21st Century epic war has the same Reganesque formula for ISIS –“We win-they Lose.”
Is that direct and simple enough?
And the “simplistic” message which Reagan delivered allowed Merkel to eventually become a German rather than an East German citizen.
But I guess it is best to grasp which simplicities you favor and those that you don’t?
Make no mistake, the President and American people are united against ISIS and sadly some of our warriors have made the greatest sacrifice to stop pure evil that directly threatens Europe and the world.
And Merkel’s own contribution of letting in the greatest influx of migrants in recent European history seems to be her contribution to date.
In branding ISIS as losers President Trump makes the same type of very simple and direct branding that President Reagan did with Evil Empire and his moment in history—“Tear Down This Wall!”
As a generation of American warriors continue to pass on to have their names added to a roll call in heaven standing tall with their fellow warriors, a giant in American history was with President Trump at the Arlington Cemetory Memorial.
Madam Chancellor and your Vice Chancellor meet the Honorable Bob Dole, formerly 2nd Lieutenant Dole United States Army, who was present and accounted for when President Trump made his very poignant speech at Arlington Cemetery.
Robert Joseph Dole was born on July 22, 1923 in Russell, Kansas, a small plains town. He grew up with his mother and father, two sisters and a brother in a small frame house. His father ran a cream-and-egg stand and his mother sold sewing machines. During the Depression, the Dole family pulled together in the most difficult of financial times. The Doles moved into the basement of their home and rented out the rest of the house. As Elizabeth Dole recounts of her husband, while the Doles “were poor, perhaps, in material things, they were rich in values – values like honesty, decency, respect; values like personal responsibility, hard work, love of God, love of family, and patriotism.
When a boy, Bob worked at the local Russell drug store, Dawson’s Drugs, as a soda jerk where he learned the power of having a good joke at hand for just the right customer, as well as learning to serve a diverse public. Dole also worked as a newspaper boy. As a young man, Dole enjoyed and excelled in athletic endeavors including football, basketball and track.
In 1942, at the age of 19, Bob Dole joined the Army to fight in World War II.
He became a second lieutenant in the Army’s 10th Mountain Division, and in the spring of 1943, found himself in the hills of Italy fighting the Nazi Germans.
Under a heavy shelling attack, Dole saw the Army radioman go down.
He crawled out of his foxhole to try to rescue the wounded soldier, but was instead hit by gunfire himself. After the battle, the medics thought Dole would die, however Dole did survive with a shattered right shoulder, fractured vertebrae in his neck and spine, paralysis from the neck down, metal shrapnel throughout his body and a damaged kidney.
The doctors did not think that Dole would ever walk again. Dole was decorated twice.
He received two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star with Oakleaf Cluster. Dole then received extensive rehabilitation and nine surgeries. Four years later, Dole had achieved a significant recovery.
The story is that to this day, Dole still has the cigar box with receipts of donations of the monies collected for his hospital bills by Dawson’s Drug Store and the people of Russell, Kansas.
He keeps this as a reminder of their generosity and love.
So, how about a little respect and humility on the parts of the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor of Germany, a country united in freedom due in no small part to America.
Picking Memorial Day to score domestic political points is hardly demonstrating what the Chancellor clearly thinks she is, namely a global leader.
And it is clear that ISIS, the Peoples Liberation Army, North Korea and Russia hardly see President Trump leadership of America and any Allies in support as somehow making the global order “weaker.”
Complexity in support of inaction is hardly a leadership principle but denigration of the American electoral process is hardly one either.
As the new Casey Stengel, Dusty Baker, the manager of the Washington Nationals, put it after watching his prize hitter, Bryce Harper, being thrown at by the opposing pitcher on Memorial Day in San Francisco:
“We’re not here to brawl.
We’re here to win the game,” Nationals Manager Dusty Baker said.
“But we’re not here to take any stuff either.
Like I said, most teams I’ve had we don’t start anything, but we don’t take nothing.”
A good thing to remember Chancellor Merkel!
Tough Love for America’s NATO Allies
NATO members excluding the United States account for 21% of world GDP with a per capita income of $31,000. It is a wealthy collection of democracies that is very much a creation of the post war US grand strategy.
As such, NATO (x USA) is more than able financially to look after themselves in terms of security if they want to – at least since the 1970s when NATO members UK and France both fielded their own nuclear deterrent.
A century of dependence on the United States to come to the aid of Europe, beginning with World War I and II, and then post-war, have however created a dependent, parent-child relationship where NATO members continued to look to the United States to provide their security and solve all their problems.
NATO have become a spoiled child that is very much a product of the US nuclear umbrella mixed with the dominant social-democracy ideology of Europe.
Like NATO citizens looking to their social-democratic governments to solve their problems, NATO allies look to the United States and American taxpayers and expect Uncle Sam to provide.
Successive US Administrations have to deal with several NATO allies (e.g Canada, Germany, etc.) that behave like petulant 2 year old children, stamping their feet, shedding crocodile tears, or raising their voices when asked by the US to abide by their NATO commitments made to the Obama Administration most recently in 2014.
To be clear, not all of the NATO allies act in this manner — there are those who take their Article III commitments seriously, but the problem is that NATO as the Article V club does not.
Everyone cut back defense spending after the cold war was won, and in the aftermath of the 2008 economic crash, but a decade later, when the crisis is past and urgent new security challenges loom, there is no excuse but to raising defense spending back to at least normal historical levels.
Instead of doing so, several NATO leaders greeted President Trump with a temper tatum on his first visit to NATO headquarters.
President Trump presided over the dedication of the new NATO Headquarters and the 9/11 memorial. NATO leaders decided to make the centerpiece of the visit the fact that the United States was the sole and only member to invoke Article 5 after 9/11.
While this fact is true, the repeated nagging of the United States on this point reeks of a Leni Riefenstahl production more appropriate a century past. Or the kind of guilt trip that Israelis lay on Germans, or Beijing China heaps on Japan.
Seventy years after WWII, this is getting old.
President Trump showed extreme restraint and diplomatic tact to not, in his speech, publically placed this fact (US invocation of Article 5) in the context of all the times that the US came to the aid of Europe before and after NATO without waiting for Article 5 being invoked.
Should President Trump have mentioned the Greek Civil War, Berlin Airlift, Hungarian Revolution, Cuban Missile Crisis, Invasion of Czechoslovakia, to name a few? Or enumerate the cost of each intervention?
In each and every one of these cases, the United States mobilized troops, put Americans, and CONUS civilian populations at risk to defend NATO and Europe without the formalities of Article 5 being invoked by a fellow NATO member.
What about the present and immediate future?
Presently, the United States is fully shouldering the burden of defense against Iranian & DPRK ballistic missiles in Europe and North America with only token participation from European partners and nil from Canada.
With the explosively growing nuclear ballistic missile threat from Iran via their collaboration with North Korea, might NATO allies have woken up from their willful blind eye and slumber and realized that a new, (non-Russian) existential threat is nearly upon them?
Do they need to wait for the equivalent of 1940 to rearm?
Will NATO “allies” like Germany (Defense: 1.2% GDP) or Canada (1% GDP before it is Sajjaned) honestly expect Uncle Sam to pay for the full bill of providing a Ballistic Missile Defense for them for free?
Indeed, the nuclear threat and its growing complexity in the Second Nuclear Age is a core element of what Article V really is all about, and Britain and France already possess nuclear weapons because they wanted to include nuclear weapons within Article III and not hope for the US to do an Article V commitment.
What about reciprocity?
What capacity do NATO allies except the US have to provide for “collective defense” obligations to Canada?
What aid can NATO provide the United States in the event of a North Korean or Iranian ballistic missile attack on North American cities?
Conversely, what capacity do Canada have to aid European NATO allies in the event of an Iranian ballistic missile attack — which was amply demonstrated during the past week by the North Korean proxy missile test.
NATO’s ceremony laid bare the fatal flaw of the organization: It is too much of a one way relationship. NATO Europe is not even taking care of problems in their own backyard (e.g. Russia, Middle East, Southern Flank, or Missile Defense against Iran) let alone pretend to offer all but a token expeditionary capability to aid the US, Canada, or non-NATO allies in a crunch.
Europeans and Canadians (who couldn’t care less about defending themselves adequately) argue that Russia’s territorial annexations / incursions are the top priority.
And with Brexit and the general crisis in Europe deepening, the future of European defense does not revolve around President Trump but devolves to the key European states to enhance their own defense capabilities as could be understood within an Article III context.
If it is so important for NATO allies to beat back Russia in the Ukraine “on principle”, please explain why the identical principle do not apply to the PRC’s “sea grab” of the South China Sea — unilaterally violating a signed and ratified treaty (UNCLOS) by Beijing China and grabbing a territory about the size of Europe from the Channel to Eastern Poland.
This is all the more puzzling as NATO member Canada seem to have no objection to Beijing China’s claims, or care enough to protest, let alone participate in FONOPS, even though all NATO allies, including Canada is dependent on freedom of navigation of SCS for trade.
President Trump could have affirmed his support for Article 5 and then publically invoked Article 3 in front of his NATO peers and pointed out that their failure to provide for their own self-defense is a necessary pre-condition for seeking aid under Article 5.
That would have sent a clear message that the mythical 2% GDP defense spending target is necessary, but not sufficient.
What good is 2% GDP spending that do not result in bona fide, credible, deployable, usable capabilities held at high levels of readiness for military contingencies and as deterrent?
The assembled NATO dignitaries did not take a hint when President Trump took note of the headquarters and pointed said he did not once ask about cost.
Or the inevitable compare with costs of similar facilities in the US.
And the tradeoff between lavish HQs staffed with REMFs and useable NATO defense capabilities.
America’s NATO “allies” like Germany, rather than address this point, resorted to farcical arguments that spending on foreign aid, development, and others should be counted in NATO “defense” spending.
While such arguments might have merit if ALL NATO members are given the same opportunity to apply the same rules once the rules are changed by consensus, which was not the intent of Canada or Germany: Effectively unilaterally implementing “new math” rules that only apply to them.
Brazenly defrauding allies with lies is in turn operationalized by the Trudeau regime’s tactics against the Trump Administration: organizing multilateral coalitions, intense lobbying of American interests, exploiting legally and politically dubious relationships with Administration officials, threats, persistently and routinely reneging on government-to-government commitments, withdrawing from signed and ratified treaty, etc.
By making public Canada’s stratagem ostensibly to help NATO allies and Mexico reign in the Trump Administration, Canada opened the door for the same game being played by Russia, Beijing-China, Iran, North Korea, Jihadists, etc.: A consequence that may not have been anticipated by the Trudeau regime.
Ultimately, the US Administration and Congress will have to respond by blocking these moves that constitutes interference by foreign agents in domestic US politics.
President Trump could have addressed this issue of persistent dishonesty by unilaterally initiating the preparation of a semiannual annual report by US-DoD on every NATO member that rates their performance on meeting Article 3 obligations.
A report that would publically identify the threats facing each NATO member, and assess what they have done and actual readiness and preparedness to mitigate the threat. These facts, independently compiled by DoD, can be considered as a factor like progress toward 2% GDP spending in any consideration of Article 5 obligations beyond the requirement for “consultations”.
A semiannual Article 3 Report on every NATO member would be a much better gauge now that members have taken the lead in using Arthur-Anderson accounting. If exhortations to do the right thing have no effect, perhaps public shaming semi-annually to their electorate can do better.
At some future point, the Article 3 reports might delve into the capacity, readiness and willingness of NATO members to come to the aid of the United States, e.g., in the Pacific theater.
Wouldn’t it be a revelation and revolutionary for NATO obligations to be truly mutual?
NATO leaders began the meeting with barely disguised contempt for President Trump, whom they regarded as “someone with a short attention span and mood who has no knowledge of NATO, no interest in in-depth policy issues”.
The indisputable fact is that NATO xUSA, rather than President Trump, revealed themselves to be so described: An organization that is incapable of paying attention to the imminent threat from Iranian nuclear ballistic missiles (sent via proxy DPRK) days before. (Short attention span.) Unable to recognizing the importance of upholding UNCLOS / Freedom of Navigation in the South China Sea. (No interest in in-depth policy issues.) Willfully blind to the imminent existential threats from DPRK to NATO allies USA and Canada. (No knowledge of NATO, esp. Article 3).
Should we even mention the dangers of jihadists or Syria obtaining nuclear weapons / missiles from DPRK?
The unabashed expression of European elite arrogance at the NATO summit toward the American leader of the untermensch could have been resulted in a less restrained and diplomatic President Trump walking out.
Instead, the statesman President Trump, rather than feed this self-serving elite’s demand for continued welfare payments from the American taxpayer, diplomatically told them to get on with investing in their own defense.
Or should the United States look for more credible bilateral relationships within Europe rather than having a running argument with those European states that are self-satisfied and preoccupied with their own economic development and social welfare rather than their own defense and use NATO as a club to protect themselves from the Russians with a low cost insurance loan?
The Gander Airport of Defense Policy Update: Awaiting Canada’s Defence Policy Review
The Trudeau regime promised Canadians a defense policy update on June 7 after PM Trudeau visit with his counterparts at NATO and G7. Meanwhile, North Korea tested two ballistic missiles, (May 13&21, 2017), one that demonstrated a re-entry vehicle for nuclear warheads, and the latter a solid fuel MRBM that directly threatens much of Western Europe and the Middle East when launched from DPRK’s Axis collaborator Iran. The following analysis of what is likely to be in the forthcoming Defense Policy Update is based on analysis of submissions and pubic consultations, public statements by officials in Canada and allies, and discussions with defense industry experts and suppliers.
The “updated” Canadian defense policy will go down in history as the Gander Airport of Canadian Defense: Gander airport was the largest, busiest mid-North Atlantic refueling stop until the jet age. Ottawa invested to upgrade the airport in 1971 even as longer ranged jet aircraft began to dominate air travel in the 1960s and bypassed Gander, creating a white elephant that only was used to full capacity exactly once: 9/11.
Canada is about to repeat the Gander story in Defense Policy with the “update” that will be shown by 2018 to have failed in identifying the main, imminent existential threat to Canadians, and with it, how the Canadian Armed Forces can address the challenges and what it will cost in 2017 and 18, not by 2030. What are the failures?
North Korea under Kim Jong Un is a clear and immediate existential threat to Canada and allies. This is now generally recognized by Pacific allies like South Korea, Japan, Australia and the US but not Canada. European NATO allies are in the process of joining the consensus after the most recent DPRK missile test that was a proxy for their financier and Axis partner Iran.
Yet, the Liberal regime of Canada put forward a Defense Policy that ignored the near term threat from North Korea’s nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles beginning 2019. By then, DPRK will be a credible thermonuclear ballistic missile threat to Canadian population centers like Vancouver. Furthermore, Canada’s defense and foreign policy establishment failed to recognize the motivations that is driving the Kim Jong Un regime, preferring to be concerned with softwood timber tariffs and milk quotas.
DPRK is not arming with WMDs that can threaten Canada just for the sake of deterrence, but for the purpose of extortion. Extortion is the use of force or threat of force to obtain money, property. It is fundamentally and legally distinct from blackmail. (Bracken, 2017). Nuclear blackmail has precedence with Israel’s threat to use nuclear weapons unless they received urgent conventional arms aid during the Yom Kippur War. Nuclear extortion has no known precedence EXCEPT DPRK.
If sanctions and military action failed to prevent Kim Jong Un’s North Korea from successfully practice nuclear extortion, it will be devastating to the existing world order. It is a matter of time before states like Canada become tribute paying vassals if DPRK prevails. Or nuclear blackmail will be applied to other issues like genocide, imposing religions by force, or other purposes that Anglo-Europeans abhor.
Canada need to urgently evaluate the extent and scale of threat in the Second Nuclear Age where Canada cannot solely rely on American extended deterrence as sufficient to deter regimes like North Korea in the near term. The Defense Policy review is silent on what needs to be done in 2017 to have a deterrent and/or defensive capability in place by 2019 or sooner.
Allies like Australia, Japan, S. Korea, and the United States are giving Beijing China a last chance to curb the DPRK threat this year. Should that fail, Canadian Defense Policy must prepare for military options in concert with allies. This is not a problem for the next decade or 2030, but a problem in 2017.
Near term military action against North Korea will strain resources from every NATO and Pacific ally including Canada. A prescient defense policy update would have recognized that on this short a timeframe, urgent action and expenditures need to be undertaken today to bring existing Canadian forces to a high level of readiness. That is to say, everything from training, maintenance, to having adequate stockpiles of costly precision munitions. Plans need to be put in place to rapidly improve and update capabilities ahead of a major, high intensity and long duration conflict that Canada has not fought in since World War II. Orders need to be placed yesterday for missile defense systems, which will be in short supply. To date, Canada’s DND have not even initiated a formal request for information to manufacturers of missile defense systems when they are within a year of being swamped with priority orders from other allies.
Canadian warfighting systems are not just underfunded, poorly equipped and antiquated that successive governments pay lip service to improve – and then break the solemn government-to-government pledges. What the Policy Review does to improve Canada’s credibility (or lack thereof) in the short run (2018-2020) without concrete, irreversible action is an open question. If it is to happen, it should already be in the public record like the Canadian Federal Budget released in March, 2017.
Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan the Trudeau regime loyalist, within the span of one year, went from sounding the alarm about a fighter “capability gap” in June 2016 that must be immediately met by a no-bid purchase of 18 “interim” F/A-18 Super Hornets, to have the deal being reconsidered in May 2017 by Liberal regime loyalist colleague Foreign Affairs Minister Freeland. This abrupt change in defense policy against the Boeing made F/A-18 in retaliation for the ITC investigation against Bombardier – with Boeing calling for countervailing duties and antidumping charges of 80% – strains what little credibility the liberal regime has left.
Expeditiously acquiring 18 F/A-18s was an important enough issue to have Prime Minister Trudeau press President Trump during their February 2017 meeting for “immediate acquisition”. When the deal is questioned in May (not even 100 days later), no alternative was proposed to meet the former “capability” and credibility gap by Sajjan, Freeland, or the PMO. Would Canadian commitments to NATO presented by Prime Minister Trudeau in Brussels May 25 do any better than his track record with President Trump?
Beyond the chronic problem of underfunding of Canadian Armed Forces, decades of engaging in low level conflicts and peacekeeping primarily against poorly equipped irregulars have weakened Canadian’s ability to fight in a high intensity war. A war against North Korea will not be a replay of Gulf War I or II against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Or a fight against rag tag armies in Afghanistan or Rwanda or Mali: It will not be a slow motion “war” that Canadian Armed Forces presently excel at. Yet, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia “free rider” Freeland apparently have no inkling that traditional Canadian Forces missions like UN Peacekeeping will be the least of Canada’s concerns once allied consensus crystalize about the DPRK-Iran threat.
War on the Korean peninsula is unlikely to be a limited war of high tech stand-off strikes touted by planners. Or a short duration war with Canadian troops “home by Christmas”. Canadians and allied forces cannot automatically count superiority in quantity or quality (technology, doctrine, training, logistics, or anything else) taken for granted since World War II. Or the security of unprotected supply lines from Canada. Nor can Canada count on immunity from nuclear strikes against the Canadian mainland for which Canada presently have no defense. Will the Defense policy update talk of fielding a missile defense by 2030 when credible threats exist beginning 2019? In order to have a missile defense in place by 2019, orders should have already been placed. None is known to be placed or planned for 2017.
In a likely high intensity conflict in the Korean Peninsula where DPRK will be supported by other peer competitor belligerents, Canadian and Allied Armed Forces will quickly discover that the cumbersome doctrines, tactics and rules of engagement built up over the half century of peace are not only an impediment, but have fatal consequences against first rate enemies with no such concerns. A review of these quaint, outdated legacy codes, archaic as the Code of Chivalry, need to be urgently be undertaken and contingent doctrines and ROEs devised. Canadian Forces have apparently learned nothing from the training mission with the Ukraine: at least in the urgency of revising ROEs and doctrine for high intensity multi-dimensional warfare.
Finally, the Defense policy update failed to recognize that reform of the cumbersome, outdated, obsolete and costly procurement system that Canada (and most allies) operate is an urgent priority with or without the looming threat of a high intensity, long duration war in the Korean Peninsula. Canadian defense procurement systems in its present form will collapse within months of a high intensity conflict; but not before failing to deliver Canadian forces in the field up-to-date gear needed to survive. Just how will the Canadian public react to Canadian Forces being outmatched 10:1 by DPRK precision munitions that are superior when it happens?
There is still time to sketch out contingency plans for the issues and eventualities and append it to the Defense Policy Update before it is released on June 7. Or alternatively, to suspend release pending an update that address these contingencies in the Appendix.
Canada will have the opportunity to listen very carefully to allies at the NATO summit and consult with Pacific allies like Australia, Japan, South Korea to ensure that the draft Canadian Defense Policy is consistent with the consensus view about the DPRK threat before the document is finalized. Canada cannot field a credible missile defense against without the participation of non-NATO allies Japan, South Korea, working with the US nor participate in a high intensity war in the Korean peninsula in their present condition.
The Trudeau regime need to act now lest we end up with another Gander Airport.
Note: The Liberal regime did not see fit or necessary to issue a statement, comment, tweet, or any other expression of Canadian government views after the most recent North Korean Ballistic Missile test on May 13th and 21st. A curious omission for an aspiring member of the UN Security Council.
Trump and the Russian Connection: The Critics Grasp at Straws
I’m absolutely certain there’s no Trump-Putin connection. Nothing. Nada. Nichivo.
I worked in Trump Tower during the campaign. There, I probably had the strongest ties to Russia; I’ve made the former Soviet Union my business for almost 25 years. I know most of the players cast in the Democrats’ Collusion Delusion – some, like Roger Stone and Paul Manafort, I’ve known for more than 30 years.
But still, I’d have to be pretty naive to construct my certainty from that alone: I wasn’t in the dominant leadership group of the campaign and plenty went on which I didn’t see. What confirms my certainty is my unshakable knowledge that President Donald Trump would not betray the United States of America.
I served my country in several capacities; I believe I know love-of-country when I see it. Several years ago, I had the honor of sitting with Donald Trump the businessman for one-on-one conversations about America. We talked about the Founders, the Constitution, the Second Amendment, our military, veterans, the future. He spoke often of his deep appreciation for the gifts his parents and his nation gave as he built a successful and blessed life for his family. And he talked earnestly of his deep and abiding love for our nation.
I simply cannot believe Donald Trump would ever betray his country, nor tolerate any betrayal in his ranks. (I feel the same about Manafort and Stone.)
In the end, it’s not just my firsthand knowledge of Russia that informs my belief there is no Trump-Putin connection. It’s not just my firsthand knowledge of the campaign, either – it’s my lucky firsthand knowledge of the President. Today, I feel blessed that I asked important questions when I had the chance, long before he ran for President.
This is my unvarnished perspective. I possess unique primary knowledge of facts from several angles. To me, it’s not an opinion, it is a fact: Donald Trump simply would not do this. I have liberal friends who viscerally disagree, but I’ve never before been so certain of something so important.
This will all be cleared up in the months ahead.
People who know the drill tell me the FBI could be just a few months away from wrapping up.
I think they’ll come back with proof the wild accusations of the Collusion Delusion are groundless.
I trust the House and Senate investigations to continue to pursue regular order and achieve the same result. I’m also satisfied with the choice of Robert Mueller as special prosecutor, and I am happy to hear he intends to move robustly.
Hopefully, next year, this whole political attack – a coordinated, silent coup – will be over and the President can get things done.
But what of the people who called me and my friends traitors? What happens to them?
If you accuse someone of treason, you damn sure better be right. When the music and this merry-go-round stops, who gives us our reputations back?
Republished with permission of the author.
Editor’s Note: The conspiracy of critics of Trump using the Russian association card is ironically a throwback to a period which liberals have lionized as a dark phase in US history.
So now we have McCarthyism of the left?
We Need a New Systems Architecture to Protect Personal Data and to Deal With Foreign Espionage
A threshold now may have been tragically crossed in Electronic Surveillance.
Meta data collection is merging with machine-based analysis to filter actionable intelligence. And this information can now be merged with facial recognition software and ubiquitous camera presence. In a police state like the PRC, this provides significant tools to both control citizens and to deal with foreign influences which the regime will not tolerate.
The PRC also has access to commercial credit databases like Experian, etc. that is a gold mine of info for recruitment of spies in every OECD nation.
While serving as Director Technology Assessment, International Technology Security, (ITS) Office of the Secretary of Defense (2003-2009) I became familar with information systems that captured metadata and then harnessed powerful machine based analysis to filter actionable intelligence in order to make America and our Allies safer.
I personally saw the power of their vision being merged with the power of information age technology and was hugely impressed.
However, in our ITS office, we then had a series of discussions about employing such metadata collection and analytical efforts for our Counterintelligence (CI) mission. I saw tremendously powerful new tools.
But, during our ITS office robust discussions, a very smart co-worker flagged his deep concerns about proceeding down this path. This colleague pointed out that it was way too much power to give to the government.
The lowest common denominator is the key source of concern about a government information collection system gone wild. It is not even about the integrity of the system; it is about a system that can not ensure the integrator of the lowest common denominator.
I personally don’t want a PFC Manning using my personal data for whatever advantage he believes he has the right to gain from that data. PFC Manning is most definitely at the bottom of the Chain-of-Command but what about our leaders and their performance as well?
We need a new systems architecture that compartmentalizes our personal information not just for the sake of protecting civil liberties, but to prevent misuse by both our own government and foreign powers.
We are creating a “one stop” collection effort for PLA Ministry of State Security (MSS) “collectors.” What PFC Manning can do, certainly the PLA can do.
China to control their citizens makes no pretense about protecting privacy and routes their cellular exchanges through the Peoples Armed Police. Inside and outside of China, PLA collectors try to collect everything important t their interests and their presentation of reality. This is their constant unrelenting pattern and practice.
We are now quickly making it very easy for them. The issues of cyber penetration by collectors can be very simple; touch one classified secure system and very possibly a spy can touch them all.
Tragically, thanks to a recent and extremely important Washington Post story we now know that PLA cyber attacks to acquire highly guarded information about critical defense technologies have been very successful. Hopefully the US is rapidly addressing that problem and fixing it.
Now a great human tragedy has been identified as playing out in China.
The New York Times just broke one of the most important stories about a successful 21st Century counter intelligence operation by the PRC.
The South China Morning Post gives reporting kudos to NYT and their headline captures the current state of play:
China killed or jailed up to 20 US spies in 2010 to 2012, report says
‘One of the worst US intelligence setbacks in decades’ may have been the result of hacking, code-breaking or betrayal by moles within the CIA
Beijing systematically dismantled CIA spying efforts in China beginning in 2010, killing or jailing more than a dozen covert sources, in a deep setback to US intelligence, The New York Times reported on Sunday.
What has been missed so far is the potential merging of all things in U..S total information awareness electronic files with accurately reported successful breaches by hostile intelligence services. These services can merge data with the next step in counter intelligence technology — facial recognition technology. Merging purloined highly classified information about U.S. Intelligence Community sponsored “collectors” or agents of influence in play inside the PRC with facial recognition technology become a powerful tool.
The PRC may well have deployed automated speech recognition software to screen a large amount of verbal conversations they monitor as well. Already we have seen the use by China of surveillance and facial recognition systems at the 2008 Olympics.
Under Beijing’s seven year, $6.5 billion program called the Grand Beijing Safeguard Sphere, the Chinese government has installed roughly 300,000 video surveillance units around the city, according to a Los Angeles Times article. Included in that project and in conjunction with the video cameras, China has also deployed a face recognition technology in hopes of catching unwanted visitors at the Olympics in Beijing this summer (2008).
Chinese officials are hopeful that it soon will be able to identify individuals out of a moving crowd. While China does have legitimate concerns over watching for Chinese critics and activists as a recent attack killed 16 police officers, Western security experts fear that China is pushing the envelope.
In addition to video surveillance, there are reports of the Chinese Government monitoring and controlling internet access, monitoring hotels and taxis, and employing ordinary citizens as snoops for suspicious behavior.
During the run-up to the Beijing Olympics, a system of monitoring cameras that combined the optical TV scanners with facial recognition software and a database of known terror suspects was initiated. The system was designed and able to flag people and issue alerts in near real time.
As usual, the PLA in reaching out globally would demand that the technology transfer would include database of known terrorists.
It is unknown how far the transfer of any database would have been allowed.
And such merging of data is indispensible to the kind of activity reported by the New York Times by the Chinese counter intelligence services.
America Needs to Set the Example
Lately, America’s diplomats have had to explain the new administration’s policies to foreign governments while grappling with a reduced budget, but their work is getting more difficult by another factor as well.
They have been hobbled by unforced errors in Washington that make it harder for them to promote transparency and the rule of law.
As a result, our Foreign Service guys and gals will have to do their best rendition of that old diplomatic standard, “It’s different when we do it.”
There are a number of key errors made in Washington prior to Trump coming to power that need be corrected in shaping a more effective way ahead for a more credible US government stance in the world.
The first key error is weaponizing the tax authority.
No, it’s not just the Russians. America’s Internal Revenue Service has decided to prioritize politics over, you know, revenue.
In 2013, the IRS admitted that since 2010 it targeted applications by groups for not-for-profit status strictly on the basis of their Tea Party or conservative leanings.
The IRS delayed applications for several years and typically demanded additional information, including the names of the groups’ doors.
It might have been regarded as typical of a service-challenged bureaucracy but the bureaucrat-in-charge regularly admitted in her official email how much she despised conservatives.
Congress started digging and unearthed the fact that the head of the IRS spent a lot of time at the White House, well, just because.
And most of the relevant 30,000 emails were, sadly, missing, until they weren’t because someone forgot to erase the backup tapes.
The case has is still on the burner as another 7,000 documents were recently found – two years after the IRS was sued to produce them.
The second mistake is using the deep State against your political opponents.
Before the 2016 election, the “Deep State” was thought to be the employer of Cigarette Smoking Man of The X-Files, but real life is now imitating art, or television at least.
President Obama’s national security advisor had a pronounced interest in the identities of Trump campaign and transition officials who were “incidentally” collected by the NSA.
Inspired by Obama’s admonition to “spread the wealth” she “unmasked” the Trump associates and gave once close-hold information of the identities of Americans broad distribution among the security services in the waning days of the Obama administration.
The Attorney General met the husband of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, allegedly to talk about the Clinton grandchildren.
The FBI used an unverified dossier funded by Trump’s opponents to launch an investigation of Trump and his associates.
CIA Director John Brennan then briefed Harry Reid, the Senate Democratic leader, on alleged Russian connections to the Trump campaign.
Reid, predictably, sent a public letter to FBI Director Comey demanding to know what was going on.
The House and Senate Intelligence Committee investigations of the surveillance of Trump are being stonewalled by the FBI, CIA, and NSA who insist they are working “in good faith” and President Obama’s national security advisor has refused to testify to Congress.
For Russia’s state-directed media, the stories write themselves.
And every guy who spends too much time listening to Coast to Coast AM now knows he was right all along.
The third is threatening reporters with jail.
Turkey has been called the “world’s worst jailer of journalists”.
Good thing that can’t happen here!
If President Trump decides to aggressively pursue leakers and publishers of classified information, he can thank Presidents Bush and Obama for the tools he will use.
The Obama administration used the World War I-era Espionage Act to launch prosecutions in nine cases for publishing leaked information, up from President Bush’s three, and one solitary case by their predecessors.
According to Reporters Without Borders, the U.S. has fallen from 17th (2002) to 41st (2016) in its measure of press freedom, but up from 49th in 2015 if that’s any consolation.
It was amusing to see a New York Times reporter threatened with jail by Obama’s minions, especially after the Times worked so hard to usher Obama into office, but it was a sobering reminder of the importance of the First Amendment.
And the government must save its prosecutorial energy for its own employees who cavalierly betray their oath of office.
In today’s global media market, words are no longer “for local consumption only.”
Granularity and “context” matter less.
Details, like the fact that the FBI and the Justice Department weren’t cooperating and, in fact, distrusted each other, are (literally) lost in translation.
And any time we excuse our own fouls with “Yes, but…” we echo that same Soviet tactic.
The crises in Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, the South China Sea, and North Korea will respond to American leadership, but only if America gets its house in order and stops living by “Do as I say and not as I do.”
James Durso is the Managing Director of Corsair LLC.
He was a professional staff member at the 2005 Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission and the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Mr. Durso served as a U.S. Navy officer for 20 years and specialized in logistics and security assistance.
His overseas military postings were in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, and he served in Iraq as a civilian transport advisor with the Coalition Provisional Authority.
He served afloat as Supply Officer of the submarine USS SKATE (SSN 578).
Refocusing NATO on Imminent Existential Threats
President Trump will be at the May 25 NATO meeting.
Nuclear Ballistic Missile Threats from North Korea are an existential threat to NATO members.
DPRK is presently not on NATO’s agenda.
It must be.
NATO was founded as a collective security organization to defend against existential threats to members. Post war core Anglo-European values that war is abhorrent, and causes of war, whether economic, political such as territorial disputes, etc. should be settled peacefully are at the heart and soul of NATO.
After the cold war, when Russia violated these core values, first in Georgia, then Crimea, and finally the Ukraine, NATO members unambiguously defended these core Anglo-European values against Russia.
Today, the greatest existential threat to the Anglo-European NATO alliance is not Russia, but coming from North Korea under Kim Jong Un.
North Korea will be able to directly pose an existential threat to at least two NATO members (Canada and USA) within a matter of years, and shortly thereafter, Western Europe. Existential threats are not just the ability to terminate the existence of an opponent.
But, “the capability to permanently change another group’s values and the way it governs itself against the latter’s will”.
North Korea pose an existential threat in at least two ways: First, by acquiring a credible capability to launch a thermo-nuclear ballistic missile strike aimed at any NATO member in Europe or North America. Secondly, by attacking core Anglo-Western values.
Western analysts and the priesthood of DPRK apologists applied their rose tinted glasses to the DPRK and presumed that they share the Anglo-European abhorrence of war. North Korean motives for acquiring thermo-nuclear weapons and ICBMs to deliver it worldwide is presumed to be for the purpose of “deterrence” rather than war fighting or other motives.
North Korea is assumed to be no different than every previous nuclear power (whether P5 or not) who have acquired nuclear WMDs as an insurance policy but have never used it after WWII. In the classic view, nuclear weapons are only useful as deterrence against existential threats.
But this view does not apply to the DPRK’s historical and present behavior.
DPRK under Kim Jong Un is in fact attacking a core post-war Anglo-European value no different than Russia unilaterally changing borders by force: No war for profit.
The Anglo-European value under attack is that economic gains is not a legitimate motive for war, and winning wars should not result in economic gain. This core value was the result of centuries of European wars fought for wealth and spoils, which in the 19th century resulted in the collection of indemnities by European and later, Japanese victors.
After the Great War, the term “indemnities” was replaced with “reparations” in recognition that no amount collected by the victors could “break even,” let alone garner a profit from the war. Unfortunately, the smaller Great War “reparations” was found to be itself a cause of World War II.
Thus, post war, the very idea of victors receiving sizable economic gains of “reparations” never entered into the equation. Germany, Japan, Italy and other belligerents that lost paid modest (or none) reparations.
The notion that a major 21st Century state can go to war for economic gain in the old fashioned European Way prior to the Great War, and in the process, collect sizable indemnities that make war profitable is nearly inconceivable to Anglo-European statesman.
Until Kim Jong Un’s DPRK, this consensus was shared by every nuclear armed power: Russians/Soviets, Chinese (whether communist or not), Indians, Pakistanis, Israelis, etc.
North Korea under Kim Jong Un is now challenging this core consensus by acquiring a credible nuclear arsenal with global reach for the purpose of extortion.
DPRK behavior – the long term, sustained and widespread, formal use of military capabilities – for the purpose of extortion by a government that is not a failed state has no precedence in modern history since 1945.
Extortion is the use of force or threat of force to obtain money, property. It is fundamentally and legally distinct from blackmail. (Bracken, 2017).
DPRK is primarily motivated by profit, not deterrence.
Based on DPRK’s history and precedent, and the dynamics of the Kim Jong Un regime, there is no doubt that the ultimate goal of DPRK’s nuclear arsenal programs are to extort wealth, money, etc. from anyone they can threaten and collect from.
Or in Northeast Asian lingo: Demand Tribute from vassals.
The threat from DPRK is against NATO members “within range” like the US and Canada or successfully extorting from NATO is at present limited. Other states more immediately threatened by DPRK: Republic of Korea, Japan, China, Russia are prospective tribute paying vassals of DPRK in the medium term.
If DPRK succeeds in extortion with WMDs, a core value and necessary element of global commerce will be undermined. Once North Korea breaks this taboo, it opens the door for Kim Jong Un to sell the same capability to other powers like Iran, jihadists, and any takers that want to set up their own local racket.
Global commerce as we know it cannot survive the return of extortionist regimes who “tax” commerce or require the payment of “protection money”.
If extortion successfully begins with DPRK, it will not end with Iran.
Nor will it end with economic motives but revive others like religion and race, to name a few. As such, Kim Jong Un’s DPRK is, indisputably, an existential threat to all NATO members and the world as we know it.
NATO members, including the United States, have failed to recognize the severity and dangers of this existential threat and the power of collective Anglo-European defense.
NATO was never intended to address an existential threat originating outside of Europe from Northeast Asia.
How to reorganize NATO and seek a new, closer and robust defense pact with Asian allies like Australia, Japan, South Korea, etc. is a clear, present, immediate problem.
President Trump have the opportunity to secure a new NATO consensus about the severity and imminency of the DPRK threat during the meeting.
The Trump Administration must before it is too late.