Wednesday, February 27, 2013

How Satellite Pics Are Used to Learn About N.Korea

I think some in our intelligence community rightly might take exception to this statement.
38 North, a website operated by the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University, had warned of an impending rocket launch based on analysis of commercial satellite images before even the U.S. and South Korean intelligence agencies found out about it.
I think the more accurate statement might be that 38 North "found out about it" before the US and South Korean intelligence agencies publicly disclosed knowledge of it.  But important open source analysis is being done by 38 North and NGOs such as HRNK.

How Satellite Pics Are Used to Learn About N.Korea
Think tanks and NGOs in the U.S. have increasingly been monitoring North Korea through satellite pictures. Since access to the isolated communist country is tightly restricted, commercial satellite pictures are virtually the only way to obtain hard data.

This satellite photo shows a North Korean military parade in Pyongyang marking the 100th birthday of regime founder Kim Il-sung on April 15, 2012. /AP

The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, an NGO based in the U.S., analyzed pictures taken by a commercial satellite image provider which it said confirms that a notorious labor camp in Chongjin, North Hamgyong Province has been expanded.

The size of the camp increased 72 percent from 580 sq. m to 1,000 sq. m over recent years, according to the group, suggesting that the camp, which earlier had an estimated 5,000 inmates, now houses a lot more people. The number of guard posts also doubled compared to 2003.
(Continued at the link below)

N.Korean General Behind Cheonan Sinking Rehabilitated

If accurate this should be read as a significant indicator of the future provocations we will see from the Kim Family Regime.
Kim Yong-chol, the first head of the bureau, is believed to have orchestrated cyber attacks on South Korean firms and institutions in July 2009; a naval confrontation with South Korea in November that year; an assassination attempt on Hwang Jang-yop, the highest-ranking North Korean defector, in February 2010; the sinking of the Cheonan in March 2010; the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island in November of 2010; a hacking attempt on Nonghyup Bank; and the jamming of South Korean GPS signals between 2010 and 2012. 
N.Korean General Behind Cheonan Sinking Rehabilitated
Kim Yong-chol, the man who was responsible for the sinking of the Navy corvette Cheonan, has been rehabilitated after a surprise demotion.

The official Rodong Sinmun daily on Tuesday ran a photo of Kim Yomg-chol applauding at a musical performance that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un also attended. It shows him with his former insignia of a four-star general after he was demoted to lieutenant general three months ago.

An intelligence source here said 10 top North Korean military officials had either been demoted or sacked in October and November of last year, but only two were rehabilitated. They are new army chief Choe Ryong-hae and Kim Yong-chol.

"This clearly shows who Kim Jong-un trusts in the North Korean military," the source said.
Kim Young-chol (center), the head of North Korea's General Reconnaissance Bureau, attends a musical performance in a uniform with the insignia of a four-star general, in a photo run by the Rodong Sinmun on Tuesday.

South Korean intelligence officials believe Kim Yong-chol was demoted by two ranks because of his poor performance last year. "He had been unable to rack up any notable achievements in 2012 and was held responsible for the arrests of a large number of North Korean spies in South Korea," a government source said. 
(Continued at the link below)

A broader reading of seismic waves from North Korea

For all of you "techies" who look at the data.

A broader reading of seismic waves from North Korea
Article Highlights
  • Based on seismic data, the explosion North Korea detonated on February 12 was consistent with a successful test of a crude, Nagasaki-type bomb.
  • No regional nuclear power has conducted an explosive test that demonstrates its ability to deploy nuclear-tipped missiles.
  • With only one nation still conducting nuclear tests, the time is ripe to place the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty into force.
A few minutes short of noon, local time, on February 12, an underground blast in a remote corner of North Korea sent seismic waves worldwide, leaving clear recordings on thousands of seismometers. Some of these seismological recorders belong to clandestine intelligence-gathering networks in the service of individual nations. You and I will probably never see the data gathered by these networks, but we don't need to. Primarily to monitor earthquakes within active fault zones, thousands of seismometers around the globe record ground motion and distribute that information to the public. And in the scramble to determine North Korea's nuclear capabilities and intentions, one important implication of these seismological networks has been largely overlooked: This event demonstrated once again how effectively the international community can monitor a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty, as soon as it is ratified by the United States and placed into force.

Station MDJ of the IC subnetwork of the Global Seismographic Network (GSN) lies in Mudanjiang, China, just across the border with North Korea and less than 400 kilometers from that country's nuclear test site. Seismic waves from the North Korean nuclear blast exceed the background noise at station MDJ by a factor of 200 in the raw unprocessed data, revealing the wave motion in all its detail. Seismic waves from a man-made explosion contain much high-frequency energy, because most of such an explosion's force is transmitted to the surrounding rock in hundredths of a second or less. An earthquake as large as the most recent North Korean test would rupture a fault a few kilometers from end to end, a process requiring a half-second or more. Explosions exert more compressional force on the surrounding rock, while earthquakes exert more shear force. As a result, the seismic P wave – that is, a wave that compresses in and out, in line with the direction the wave is moving -- typically predominates in an explosion signal; the seismic S wave, which shakes back and forth perpendicularly to the wave's travel, is typically larger in an earthquake signal. The P wave dominates the seismic signals from the North Korean nuclear test; no experienced observer could mistake it for an earthquake.

How large was the test? Estimates for the Richter magnitude of the event, determined mainly from its P wave amplitudes, cluster around 5.1. This exceeds the Richter magnitude of North Korea's May 2009 test by roughly 0.4, and its October 2006 test by roughly 0.9. The relationship between Richter magnitude and explosive yield is described well by a logarithmic equation. With it we can conclude that the yield of the 2013 nuclear test was more than three times larger than the yield of the 2009 test, and more than 15 times larger than the yield of the 2006 test. We can estimate the relative sizes of the North Korean tests with better confidence than we can estimate their absolute sizes, because the relation between Richter magnitude and explosive yield depends on the local geologic setting. Past research has shown that, at a test site similar to the US site in Nevada, a seismic event of magnitude 5.1 would imply a yield of 25 kilotons. At the Semipalatinsk test site of the former Soviet Union, now located in eastern Kazakhstan, the same magnitude would imply a yield of 7.4 kilotons. This wide range arises from extremes of local geology. Earth's crust and mantle beneath Nevada are actively deforming and warmer than average, a situation in which seismic waves lose amplitude more rapidly as they travel through it. Earth's crust and mantle are stable and cool beneath Semipalatinsk, so seismic waves lose less amplitude. The North Korean test site has few earthquakes locally, like Semipalatinsk, but is surrounded by actively-deforming crust in China and Japan. It seems reasonable to say that the yield of the 2013 nuclear test lies between the calibration extremes of 7.4 and 25 kilotons.

There is no question that the February North Korean "seismic event" was a nuclear explosion. Attempting to determine the precise type of nuclear explosion is a more ambiguous undertaking. A first-generation fission device, similar to the plutonium bomb detonated in 1945 over Nagasaki, would have a yield in the estimated range. A first-generation fission device based on enriched uranium, similar to the 1945 Hiroshima bomb, would yield in this range as well. A second-generation device designed to boost fission efficiency via the use of tritium, the radioactive isotope of hydrogen, could generate explosions over a larger range of yields, depending on the technical goals of the test. A second-generation nuclear device is necessary for missile-launched nuclear weapons. The nuclear-weapon designs utilized in World War II are too heavy and bulky to deliver without a large airplane, truck, or boat.
(Continued at the link below)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Is the "War on Terror" Lawful?

An interesting and important discussion.

February 25, 2013
Is the "War on Terror" Lawful?
by Robert ChesneyJack Goldsmith (member of the Task Force on National Security and Law); Matthew Waxman (member of the Task Force on National Security and Law); and Benjamin Wittes (member of the Task Force on National Security and Law)

The "Authorization to Use Military Force" serves as the primary legal foundation for the ongoing conflict, but it is now obsolete. What should replace it?

Since September 18, 2001, a joint resolution of Congress known as the Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) has served as the primary legal foundation for the “war on terror.” In this essay we explain why the AUMF is increasingly obsolete, why the nation will probably need a new legal foundation for next-generation terrorist threats, what the options are for this new legal foundation, and which option we think is best.   

The AUMF authorizes the president to “use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, . . . .” The authorization of “force” in the AUMF is the main legal basis for the president’s power to detain and target members of al Qaeda and The Taliban. In addition, since September 11, Congress, two presidential administrations, and the lower federal courts have interpreted the “force” authorized by the AUMF to extend to members or substantial supporters of the Taliban and al Qaeda, and associated forces.

The main reason the AUMF is becoming obsolete is that the conflict it describes – which on its face is one against the perpetrators of the September 11 attacks and those who harbor them – is growing less salient as U.S. and allied actions degrade the core of Al Qaeda and the U.S. military draws down its forces fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan. At the same time that the original objects of the AUMF are dying off, newer terrorist groups that threaten the United States and its interests are emerging around the globe. Some of the terrorist groups have substantial ties to al Qaeda and thus can be brought within the AUMF by interpretation.

For example, the President has been able to use force against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (“AQAP”), a terrorist organization in Yemen, because it is a supporter or associated force of al Qaeda. But this interpretive move is increasingly difficult as newer threatening groups emerge with dimmer ties, if any, to al Qaeda. As a result, we are reaching the end point of statutory authority for the President to meet terrorist threats.

We should emphasize at the outset that we do not claim that the increasingly obsolete AUMF demands immediate amendment or alteration. We do not make this claim because we lack access to classified information that would indicate the full nature of the terrorist threats the nation faces, or their connection to al Qaeda, or the nation’s ability to meet the threat given current legal authorities.

We also recognize that any new force authorizations carry significant strategic and political consequences beyond their immediate operational consequences. We nonetheless believe strongly – based on public materials and conversations with government officials – that the AUMF’s usefulness is running out, and that this trend will continue and will demand attention, in the medium term if not in the short term. Our aim is to contribute to the conversation the nation will one day have about a renewed AUMF by explaining why we think one will be necessary and the possible shape it might take.

Part I of this paper explains in more detail why the AUMF is becoming obsolete and argues that the nation needs a new legal foundation for next-generation terrorist threats. Part II then describes the basic options for this new legal foundation, ranging from the President’s Article II powers alone to a variety of statutory approaches, and discusses the pros and cons of each option, and the one we prefer. Part III analyzes additional factors Congress should consider in any such framework.

I. The Growing Problem of Extra-AUMF Threats and the Need for a New Statutory Framework
(Continued at the link below)

North Korea expanding gulags, satellite images show

No surprise but the international community does need to keep the pressure on.  And this is another indicator of the statement that Mr. McCreary made in NightWatch today:

 Those analysts who hoped that a younger, western educated Kim would be more modern and progressive have proven to be far too optimistic. Kim Jung Un's regime is more severe than that of Kim Chong-il.

North Korea expanding gulags, satellite images show
North Korea is expanding its network of camps for political prisoners, apparently to meet demand for a growing gulag population, according to new satellite images.

By Julian Ryall, Tokyo
9:06AM GMT 26 Feb 2013

Analysis of images by the Committee for Human Rights in North Koreaindicates that the size of Camp No. 25 alone has increased 72 per cent and perimeter guard posts, which numbered 20 in 2003, had increased to 43 in 2010.

The camp is believed to house some 5,000 prisoners, in conditions that human rights groups have described as "deplorable."

The detailed pictures, provided by DigitalGlobe, a US-based commercial satellite image company, also show the perimeter fence has been extended by around 4,600 feet, agricultural plots have been rearranged and a new gateway has been constructed.
Related Articles
Based on the images and information from defectors, the human rights group believes North Korea is being forced to expand its prison network for a number of reasons, one being the purges conducted by Kim Jong-un of senior members of his father's administration out of concern that they pose a threat to his power base.

As well as these individuals, their families and bureaucrats that supported their roles in the previous administration are being sent to prison camps.

In addition, patrols have been stepped up along North Korea's border with China to capture defectors, while Chinese authorities are also cooperating in returning North Koreans who make it over the border but are caught in China.

A third explanation that is being put forward is a consolidation of the regime's gulag system.
(Continued at the link below)

Monday, February 25, 2013

The full text of Park’s inaugural speech

Theme: Second Miracle on the Han (of course her father was the architect of the first Miracle on the Han).

Here the key excerpt that concerns most of us outside Korea.  I think the emphasis on trust (e.g., "trustpolitik" as outlined in her Foreign Affairs article in 2011), building trust on the basis of credible deterrence and Korean Unification is going to be interesting.  As I have mentioned it will be interesting to see what comes of her upcoming meeting with president Obama and whether the Alliance will reaffirm the commitment to Unification.

My Fellow Koreans,
Happiness can only flourish when people feel comfortable and secure. I pledge to you today that I will not tolerate any action that threatens the lives of our people and the security of our nation.  
North Korea’s recent nuclear test is a challenge to the survival and future of the Korean people, and there should be no mistake that the biggest victim will be none other than North Korea itself.  
I urge North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambitions without delay and embark on the path to peace and shared development.  
It is my sincere hope that North Korea can progress together as a responsible member of the international community instead of wasting its resources on nuclear and missile development and continuing to turn its back to the world in self-imposed isolation. 
There is no doubt that we are faced today with an extremely serious security environment but neither can we afford to remain where we are.  
Through a trust-building process on the Korean Peninsula I intend to lay the groundwork for an era of harmonious unification where all Koreans can lead more prosperous and freer lives and where their dreams can come true. 
I will move forward step-by-step on the basis of credible deterrence to build trust between the South and the North.  
Trust can be built through dialogue and by honoring promises that have already been made. It is my hope that North Korea will abide by international norms and make the right choice so that the trust-building process on the Korean Peninsula can move forward.  
The era of happiness that I envision is one that simultaneously unlocks an era of happiness on the Korean Peninsula while also contributing to ushering in an era of happiness throughout the global community.  
To ease tensions and conflicts and further spread peace and cooperation in Asia, I will work to strengthen trust with countries in the region including the United States, China, Japan, Russia and other Asian and Oceanic countries. 
Moreover, I envision a Korea that shares more deeply the travails of others while also contributing to the resolution of key global issues.

The full text of Park’s inaugural speech

Published : 2013-02-25 11:35
Updated : 2013-02-25 18:24
Following is the full text of President Park Geun-hye's inauguration address - Ed.

“Opening a New Era of Hope”

My fellow Koreans and seven million fellow compatriots overseas,

As I take office as the 18th-term President of the Republic of Korea, I stand before you today determined to open a new era of hope.

I am profoundly grateful to the Korean people for entrusting this historic mission to me. I also thank President Lee Myung-bak, former Presidents, dignitaries who have come from abroad to celebrate this occasion, and other distinguished guests for their presence.

As President of the Republic of Korea, I will live up to the will of the people by achieving economic rejuvenation, the happiness of the people, and the flourishing of our culture.

I will do my utmost to building a Republic of Korea that is prosperous and where happiness is felt by all Koreans.

Fellow citizens,

The Republic of Korea as we know it today has been built on the blood, toil, and sweat of the people.

We have written a new history of extraordinary achievement combining industrialization and democratization based on the unwavering “can do” spirit of our people and matching resolve.

The Korean saga that is often referred to as the “Miracle on the Han River” was written on the heels of our citizens who worked tirelessly in the mines of Germany, in the torrid deserts of the Middle East, in factories and laboratories where the lights were never turned off, and in the freezing frontlines safeguarding our national defense.

This miracle was only possible due to the outstanding caliber of our people and their unstinting devotion to both family and country.

I pay my heartfelt tribute to all fellow Koreans who have made the Republic of Korea what it is today.
(Continued at the link below)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Park Geun-hye Takes the Reigns

This is pretty good overview of the challenges that President Park faces as she takes office this week.  There is also some wishful thinking on the author's part (though I too wish for many of the same things, I am probably not as optimistic as the author).

February 23, 2013
By Gregg Brazinsky

Park enters office in South Korea facing a daunting array of domestic and foreign policy challenges. She may very well prove up to the task.

The challenges that will face newly elected South Korean president Park Geun-hye when she takes office are daunting. She is the first woman to lead what has been one of the world’s mostmale-dominated governments. She must contend with the controversial legacy of her father, Park Chung Hee, a long-ruling dictator revered as the driving force behind South Korea’s economic miracle but reviled for brutally suppressing the opposition. And she must keep the nation safe and prosperous in an era of escalating regional tensions and financial turmoil. Should she fail at any of these tasks, she will have to contend with a notoriously unforgiving political culture. None of her four democratically elected predecessors left office with a high approval rating.

While the new president’s mettle will unquestionably be tested, there are reasons to believe that she can rise to the challenge. Great leaders confront difficulties with equanimity and make the bold moves necessary to break through obstacles to change.  Park has already demonstrated these abilities in the arena of domestic politics. After first being elected to the National Assembly in 1998, she repeatedly trounced her opponents at the ballot box and eventually rose to a position of leadership in the ruling Saenuri Party (formerly known as the Grand National Party). During election years when her party was mired in scandal and the opposition seemed poised to make significant gains, Park engineered surprising victories at the polls that enabled the conservatives to retain power. These impressive performances led the South Korean media to call her “The Queen of Elections.”
Throughout Park’s rise to the top she has gracefully weathered personal attacks, maintaining an almost unflappable demeanor. The success of Park’s presidency will hinge on whether she can transfer her consummate skills as a politician to the realm of policymaking.

In the international arena, Park’s most pressing challenge will be the ever-intractable regime in Pyongyang. The country’s enigmatic leader Kim Jong-un has made clear his determination to remain a thorn in the side of both Seoul and Washington. If the ROK does not act quickly, Pyongyang’s saber rattling will threaten not only the stability of the Korean peninsula, but also all of Northeast Asia.
As president, Park plans to tackle the North Korea problem by pursuing what she has called “trustpolitik,” meaning the establishment of “mutually binding expectations based on global norms.” Since the end of the Cold War the pendulum of South Korean policy toward its northern rival has swung back and forth between engagement and containment with neither approach producing meaningful change. Park has sensibly called for a more strategic mixing of sticks and carrots that will encourage good behavior and deter aggression.     

Is there any reason to believe that Park can succeed where her predecessors have failed so ignominiously? Perhaps. Conservative political leaders who seek rapprochement with rival governments while maintaining a credible deterrent are sometimes more successful at achieving meaningful reconciliation than their progressive opponents. After all, it took Richard Nixon, who rose to national prominence as an anti-Communist Congressman, to go to China in 1972.

The best chance for bringing Pyongyang to the negotiating table and keeping it there probably lies in a similar combination of deterrence and engagement. Changing the mindset of North Korea’s leaders is far beyond the capabilities of any South Korean president. But there is always the possibility that Pyongyang — like Beijing and Hanoi — will one day acknowledge that greater engagement with the rest of the world serves its interests more than isolationism and militarism. If and when it does so, a consistent and pragmatic approach like the one that Park advocates will have the best chance of encouraging the DPRK’s peaceful evolution while minimizing backtracking.    

Rising tensions between China and Japan represent another potential danger for Park Geun-hye’s government. Koreans have long used an old adage to describe the impact of conflicts among their larger neighbors on the peninsula: When whales fight the shrimp gets crushed. Seoul has good reason to fear that this proverb will again prove relevant should Beijing and Tokyo come to blows over the disputed Diaoyu-Senkaku islands. The last time China and Japan forces clashed in the East China Sea was during the Sino-Japanese War of 1895 — a conflict in which Korea suffered even though it was not a combatant. During the war, Japan formally wrested Korea from China’s control but not before military engagements left Pyongyang and other Korean cities significantly damaged.       

For President Park, relations with China and Japan present a nettlesome quandary that will require her to strike a careful balance in her foreign policy. Popular sentiment will undoubtedly complicate the issue. On the one hand, Koreans have their own territorial dispute with Japan over Dokdo-Takeshima and, like the Chinese, have bitter memories of Japanese expansionism during World War II. On the other, Japan and South Korea are both important allies of the United States that share a common set of democratic values.  They are also both wary of China’s ambitions to assert itself as a regional power.
And yet President Park is not without leverage when it comes to handling this delicate situation. South Korea may not be the most powerful or wealthiest nation in the Pacific but it is among the most trusted. It has no history of territorial aggrandizement or hegemonic ambitions and is admired for its vibrant economy and dynamic popular culture. As a result, Seoul punches above its weight in international organizations. The key will be converting these assets into tangible achievements in trilateral relations.
(Continued at the link below)

I Corps troops to turn focus on Pacific

Very interesting priorities articulated below  by the reporter from ADM Locklear during his visit to Ft Lewis (I will give the benefit of the doubt and assume that the reporter put them in that priority order because he has ADM Locklear saying "for instance, the climate change could make some coastal areas uninhabitable).  

But I take some exception to only thinking about the nuclear armed aspect of north Korea.  While from the "One Percent Doctrine" perspective north Korea's nuclear programs is a threat, I think the threats from north Korea are more, varied, and far worse than just the fact that it is currently a noncompliant, unsafe, nuclear experimenter trying to develop an nuclear capable ICBM for its own use and for export to Iran.  I fear war and regime collapse and those will only be made worse by the fact that it is trying to develop a nuclear capability but we should not myopically focus on its nuclear and missile program but instead try to understand the larger context and issues of north Korea and the range of threats the ROK-US Alliance faces.

But first I guess PACOM priorities are global warming, violent extremist organizations, international drug smuggling and human trafficking, pandemics and after we have those down then we can think about north Korea.


Published February 23, 2013

I Corps troops to turn focus on Pacific

The Defense Department’s highest ranking officer in the Pacific visited Joint Base Lewis-McChord on Friday to get battle-hardened Iraq and Afghanistan veterans thinking about new challenges as diverse as climate change and rising Asian powers.

Navy Adm. Samuel Locklear’s trip sent another signal in the Pentagon’s shift in focus from wars in the Middle East to emerging threats and neglected alliances in other parts of the world.

“We can’t stay Middle East-focused forever,” Locklear, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, told Lewis-McChord’s I Corps.

The base supplied about 10,000 soldiers a year to Iraq and Afghanistan for much of the past decade. About 5,000 Lewis-McChord soldiers are in Afghanistan today, but most should be home by August.
With the wars ending, the Pentagon assigned new responsibilities to the I Corps under Locklear’s command. That means local soldiers will be expected to respond to humanitarian crises in South Asia, nurture relationships with allied armies and work to prevent large-scale conflicts from unfolding.
Locklear told I Corps soldiers that a complex Pacific environment calls on them to prepare for:

 • A warming planet causing the rise of sea levels and destabilizing Pacific countries.

 • Violent extremist groups, such as ones that have carried out terrorist attacks in India and the Philippines.

 • International narcotics smugglers and human traffickers.

 • Pandemics.

 • A nuclear-armed North Korea.

His forward-looking speech urged soldiers to study up on their new territory and to look at how the region might change in the near future. For instance, climate change could make some coastal areas uninhabitable and exacerbate natural disasters.

“The world is getting warmer,” he said. “When you potentially have millions of people impacted by weather and climate change, that’s going to have a potentially significant impact on security.”
So far, the Pentagon is protecting Lewis-McChord’s new task in the Pacific from budget cuts. Lewis-McChord soldiers over the next 12 months are on course to carry out exercises in Australia, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, South Korea and Japan.
(Continued at the link below)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Joint Statement of The Korea-U.S. Integrated Defense Dialogue

It is too bad we missed the opportunity to perhaps reverse the dissolution of the ROK/US Combined Forces Command.  On the other hand such a decision will most likely have to be made at the Presidential level so the words below are likely simply boilerplate.  But we the north Koreans have presented an opportunity for the Alliance to get things right on this so-called transformation.  

The U.S. and the ROK reaffirmed their comprehensive strategy to strengthen the alliance for years to come, including achieving the transition of wartime operational control and USFK base relocation by their planned timeline.  In addition, the two sides will maintain close cooperation in developing the future command structure and combined operational plans, and ensuring ROK critical military capabilities and U.S. bridging and enduring capabilities.

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No. 105-13
February 22, 2013

Joint Statement of The Korea-U.S. Integrated Defense Dialogue

            The Department of Defense and Republic of Korea (ROK) Ministry of Defense held the Korea-U.S. Integrated Defense Dialogue Feb. 21-22 in Washington, D.C.  The biannual KIDD, which was formally established during the October 2011 Security Consultative Meeting in Seoul, is the umbrella framework for various U.S.-ROK bilateral initiatives, including the Extended Deterrence Policy Committee, the Strategic Alliance 2015 Working Group, and the Security Policy Initiative. 

            Over the course of the two-day KIDD, ROK Deputy Minister Lim Kwan-bin met with Under Secretary of Defense for Policy James Miller, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Affairs Mark Lippert, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia David Helvey.  The results of the meetings are as follows: 

            The two sides agreed that the North Korean nuclear test was a highly provocative act that, following its December 2012 missile launch, undermines regional stability, violates North Korea's obligations under numerous United Nations Security Council resolutions, contravenes its commitments under the Sept. 19, 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks, and increases the risk of proliferation.  In addition, the two sides affirmed the view, expressed at the January 2013 United States-Republic of Korea-Japan Defense Trilateral Talks in Tokyo, that if North Korea carries out any further provocations, it will bear responsibility for the consequences it will face for disregarding the overwhelming views of the international community.  Finally, the two sides addressed immediate, coordinated actions and agreed to continue the close collaboration within the alliance in response to the recent North Korean provocations and the North's unacceptable pursuit of nuclear and missile capabilities. 

            The two sides discussed ways to strengthen the combined defense posture to defend the Republic of Korea and to deter North Korean aggression and provocations, including planning for the transition to a ROK-led combined defense, continuing combined exercises, and enhancing combined alliance capabilities.  The two sides also reaffirmed U.S. defense commitments to provide and strengthen extended deterrence for the ROK, including the full range of military capabilities:  the U.S. nuclear umbrella, conventional strike, and missile defense.  Through the Extended Deterrence Policy Committee, the two countries will continue to develop a bilateral tailored deterrence strategy that refines alliance response measures for North Korean nuclear and WMD threat scenarios.  

            The two sides also addressed various areas of alliance cooperation, including cyber and space cooperation, regional and global cooperation, missile defense, and C4I interoperability.  As the two nations celebrate the 60thanniversary of the U.S.-ROK alliance this year, they committed to developing a future-oriented strategic alliance that meets the challenges of the 21stcentury. 

            The U.S. and the ROK reaffirmed their comprehensive strategy to strengthen the alliance for years to come, including achieving the transition of wartime operational control and USFK base relocation by their planned timeline.  In addition, the two sides will maintain close cooperation in developing the future command structure and combined operational plans, and ensuring ROK critical military capabilities and U.S. bridging and enduring capabilities.

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Poll: 99% of Americans View Iran Developing a Nuclear Weapon as a Threat

The Kim Family Regime is going to be upset that 99%  of Americans think Iran is a threat and only 97% view north Korea as a threat.  I am sure the regime is going to go for that last 3% so they can surpass Iran and boost its ego and ensure 100% of Americans think of the north as THE threat!!

By Zachary Keck

February 21, 2013
new poll released by Gallup has found that Americans view Iran and North Korea’s nuclear programs as the greatest security threat their country faces.

99% of respondents characterized the development of nuclear weapons by Iran as a threat to the United States, with 83% saying it was a “critical threat” and 16% saying it was “important but not critical.” Only one percent of respondents said it was not an important threat.

The U.S. and its allies accuse Iran of pursuing nuclear weapons under the guise of a civilian program, a charge Tehran vehemently denies.

83% of respondents also said that the development of nuclear weapons by North Korea’s nuclear program was a critical threat to the United States, with 14% saying it was important but not critical and three percent saying it was unimportant.
(Continued at the link below)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

North Korea Goes Nuclear—Now What?

:-)  This makes me chuckle.  Where has Mr. Evans been for the past two decades?  Not like anything he is proposing is really new.  But maybe he will be successful in getting people to pay attention to the problem.

North Korea Goes Nuclear—Now What?
February 20, 2013 RSS Feed Print

Evan Moore is a senior policy Analyst at the Foreign Policy Initiative.
North Korea's nuclear test last week and its warnings of more tests dramatically illustrate that the past two decades of U.S. policy towards Pyongyang have failed. The Obama, Bush, and Clinton administrations all have used international diplomacy—and at times promises of food, fuel, and technological assistance—to persuade the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to abandon its nuclear program. However, with the brief exception of the 2007 freezing of Pyongyang's financial assets in Banco Delta Asia, Washington has not advanced truly serious forms of coercive pressure against the Hermit Kingdom. If the United States has any hope of reversing North Korea's expanding nuclear ambitions, this must change.

It's time for the Obama administration to craft a new North Korea strategy around a new objective. At the heart of this approach would be the recognition that the dynastic Kim dictatorship is not only the underlying cause of the ongoing nuclear crisis, but also unlikely to voluntarily denuclearize. Armed with this recognition, the United States would work with allies and partners to exert truly crippling diplomatic, financial, and moral pressure against Pyongyang, with the aim of fundamentally undermining the Kim regime.
This new strategy would feature six main components:
  • Aggressively target North Korea's financial assets and proliferation activities. The Democratic People's Republic's sale of conventional arms, ballistic missiles, and nuclear technology to rogue nations is a critical financial life-line. The United States should lead a coordinated multilateral campaign to stop these transfers, freeze the assets of North Korean elites in international banks, and strangle the the government's other illicit income generators so as to place a vise on the Kim regime's ability to support itself.
  • Work to get refugees out and radios in.  North Korea's regime continues to exist, in part, because it has prevented its own people from learning about the outside world. Indeed, the free flow of information and people across the border is a direct threat to the Hermit Kingdom. It is therefore not surprising that the Kim regime recently instituted a crackdown on foreign-origin radios and cell phones within the country, and also reduced the flow of refugees escaping across the Chinese border by nearly half in 2012. The United States should make common cause with the suffering people of North Korea, and find ways to provide them with the means to receive foreign radio broadcasts, just as America did with the captive nations of the Soviet Union during the Cold War. In addition, it should bring greater world attention to dissidents who have escaped North Korea, like Shin Dong-hyuk.
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How to Answer the North Korean Threat by John Bolton

Mr. Bolton discusses north Korean regime change.  I do agree that the only way out of the crises that continue on the Peninsula is through solving the "Korea question" - the unnatural division of the Peninsula.  Excerpt:
Beijing condemns Pyongyang's nuclear program but doesn't exercise its extraordinary leverage, notably supplying 90%-plus of the North's energy and substantial amounts of food and humanitarian aid. China's real fear is that pressuring the North could cause the regime to collapse, creating two threats: a flood of impoverished Korean refugees into northeastern China and American troops on its Yalu River border. 
Both fears are exaggerated. First, Washington, Seoul and Tokyo should make it clear that they would do everything possible to prevent or mitigate a refugee crisis following the collapse of the North Korean state. That is desirable on humanitarian grounds alone, but also because North-South integration would proceed more beneficially from thorough planning to stabilize the North's population in place and to provide adequate assistance after the Kim regime collapses.
To do what Mr. Bolton suggests requires thorough preparation now.  Even if a policy to cause regime change is not adopted, the two paragraphs above are very important considerations when the regime collapse on its own.

February 19, 2013, 6:55 p.m. ET
How to Answer the North Korean Threat
China dreads seeing its neighbor with nuclear arms. Time for Beijing to support reunification.

North Korea's third nuclear test, on Feb. 12, coming two months after firing a missile into orbit, brings the country perilously close to becoming a nuclear-weapons state in fact, not just in the regime's extravagant rhetoric. On Tuesday at the U.N. Conference on Disarmament, Pyongyang's representative threatened South Korea with "final destruction." Such bellicosity is nothing new, but North Korea has never been so close to being able to make good on its threats.

Predictably, those who urged for years that Pyongyang could be negotiated out of its nuclear objective now argue that the world must accept reality and rely on deterrence and containment. Just as they claimed sanctions would prevent the North from crossing the nuclear threshold, they now say that sanctions will prevent it from selling these arms and technologies world-wide.

These remain counsels of defeat, resulting ineluctably in the North's continued progress. A new Northeast Asian nuclear reality is emerging, but the U.S. and its allies shouldn't placidly acquiesce in it or its dangerous implications, particularly regarding Iran and other proliferation threats.

Military force isn't an option as long as Seoul remains resolutely opposed, understandably fearing that South Koreans would be targets for Pyongyang's retaliation through nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. The South might change its view because of ever-more-belligerent conduct by the North. But for now South Korean politicians are again demanding that the South develop nuclear weapons. Similar arguments are being made sotto voce in Japan.

It is simply not in America's interest to see nuclear weapons proliferate, even into seemingly safe hands. But if President Obama pursues his dream of a "nuclear zero" world, Japan, South Korea and other countries long sheltered under America's atomic umbrella will have urgent second thoughts. Mr. Obama has never seemed to comprehend that unilateral U.S. strategic-weapons reductions are as likely to encourage nuclear proliferation as reduce it.
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Pyongyang’s nuclear big bang has exposed the flaws in Beijing’s approach, writes Kurt Campbell

As always I disagree with the characterization of north Korea as unpredictable.  I think it continues to act in a strategically predictable manner though tactics and actions and appearances do adjust to the conditions and new leadership.  But I do agree with Dr. Campbell's conclusion on China.
China’s approach to its deeply unpredictable neighbour has gone through several phases in the modern era.
As China takes stock of the situation in northeast Asia, it must confront several trends. The lack of North Korean reform, Mr Kim’s increasingly risky gambits, the ineffectiveness of its “soft” approach, its own deepening ties with South Korea, and the risks of a wider Asian conflict underscore a growing unease. This has caused influential insiders around the new leadership in Beijing to ask: what good is this so-called buffer?
February 19, 2013 6:00 pm
North Korea is testing China’s patience
By Kurt Campbell
Pyongyang’s nuclear big bang has exposed the flaws in Beijing’s approach, writes Kurt Campbell

North Korea’s third nuclear test represents a challenge to all countries interested in the future of the pariah state.

For South Korea, it is a final rebuke against the hardline policies of outgoing president Lee Myung-bak and a reminder to incoming president Park Geun-hyeahead of her inauguration next week that engagement with Pyongyang poses severe risks. For Japan, it dashes latent hopes for a breakthrough in the unresolved kidnapping cases of its citizens who were snatched off its beaches by North Korean agents. And for the US, the test is a vivid testament that the young, unpredictable and secretive leader Kim Jong-eun is pursuing a long-range nuclear capability – a growing risk to American security.

Yet North Korea’s big bang is primarily directed at and most keenly felt in Beijing, where a new generation of leaders is choosing its foreign policy underlings and policies for the years ahead. China’s relationship with North Korea is a complex mix of supposed ideological solidarity and deep mutual distrust. Despite the shared sacrifices of the Korean war and decades of (self-interested) Chinese support for the dynastic Kim regime, there is no love lost between these two.

China’s approach to its deeply unpredictable neighbour has gone through several phases in the modern era. The first period was defined by conflict leading to the division of the Korean peninsula in the early 1950s. China dramatically entered the Korean war on the side of the North – not so much to save it but to drive the approaching “imperialistic” forces from its borders. Since the armistice of 1952, North Korea has served as a sort of buffer state separating China from the US forces below the demilitarised zone. For decades thereafter, North Korea has lived in self-chosen internal exile, nurtured and sustained by the fraternal forces of the communist camp, until one by one they either fell or changed. China was largely internally preoccupied with its own historic reforms during this period, somewhat indulgent of Pyongyang’s occasional provocations, and content to let others such as the Soviet Union pick up the tab for North Korea’s bizarre approach to national development.
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The Real Sources of American Militarism by Adam Elkus

Adam Elkus (Georgetown SSP Alum)  takes on GEN McCrystal (and Congressman Charles Rangel and other elites) – and wins.  Conclusion:

Don’t get worked up about UAVs„ the police, or COIN if you’re looking for militarism in American life. Look no further than your local op-ed page the next time a public figure calls for national service or says that your fat kid is a threat to the national interest.

The Real Sources of American Militarism

In my blogs and Tweets, I have generally pooh-poohed the idea that  mil-style gear equates to police militarization or that domestic use of unarmed unmanned aerial vehicles is a harbinger of Predator strikes on Main Street.  In general, we can criticize the human cost and mistakes of poor national security decisions without raising the specter of 1984. Poor counterterrorism decisions abroad does not imply a dramatic transformation of American domestic life.

However, there is one national security-related political trend that should deeply disturb anyone that cares about American liberal democracy: the increasing frequency of calls for a revived draft and/or compulsory national service as a means of fixing social and political dysfunctions in American life. These calls, coupled with an obsession with social hygiene as a national security risk, suggest a troubling ambiguity about liberalism and democracy among elites. 

Across the political spectrum, critics are united in their view of the All Volunteer Force as the cause of deeper moral and political ills within American society. The World War II era of conscription is seen as the norm from which such comparisons are made. Andrew Bacevich argues that American society has become more selfish and individualistic as a result of the AVF. What was once a “duty” is now a “right,” Bacevich laments.

Jason Fritz and Dan Trombly have already written about why specific proposals for compulsory draft and service do not pass a cost-benefit analysis. Anyone interested in the specific programmic details of draft and service proposals and political specific rhetoric and justifications should consult their extensive writings on the subject. Here, I want to focus on some of the negative (and mostly implicit) ideological foregrounding of calls for compulsory service.

First, we must emphasize the relative novelty of these proposals. They are not advanced out of a sense of danger to American life that motivated call-ups during the Civil War, World War I, II, or the Cold War. It should noted that hawks are arguing that sequestration is dangerous, not the AVF. Drafts and compulsory service are not intended to make the military more effective or able to prevail in a long general war of attrition. As Dan has noted, most American wars have historically been fought by volunteers, in line with the desire of the founders to preserve a liberal political economy. Peacetime drafts were rare and correspond to national dangers. 

So a draft and/or service commitment of the kind critics propose would be a titanic shift in American political life. It would be truly without precedent. Why? The motivations for such a measure all lie within perceptions of injustice, distance between the military and civilian society, and a sense of societal anomie and lack of cohesion.

There are several reasons common to most calls for compulsory service. First, the idea that “skin in the game” will act as a break on military adventurism abroad. Second, the perception American society lacks meaningful connection with the military that protects it. An addendum to the latter worry is a sense of a problematic lack of societal cohesion that might be plausibly cured through devotion to something greater than the individual.

The idea of “skin in the game” is much less problematic than the idea of using the military as a means of promoting greater societal cohesion. Both, however, by design without precedent in American life. Conscription has been used to order to enable—to feed—war rather than restrain it and has always historically been understood as such. And the idea that harmony between the soldier and citizen should be imposed by the state smacks the authoritarian philosophies of Communism.
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Tuesday, February 19, 2013


I received the following very perceptive speculation about the north's next move in response to the article below.  My response to him follows:
     I wonder if this is a high-stakes scam?  N.K. reportedly told China yesterday that they intended to conduct two more nuclear tests in 2013 if direct talks with the U.S arent't held.  Suppose Iran did pay NK for witnessing this previous test.  NK threatens to conduct two more in 2013 without direct talks.  The U.S. or China, etc. pay them not to and NK/Iran split the proceeds.
I think the mafia-like crime family of the Kim regime is all about high stakes scams.  I think your assessment is entirely plausible.  The missile and nuclear tests have advanced their programs and demonstrated their will to act in the face of sanctions and international condemnation.  Now just the threat of another test could lead to some kind of concessions (and remember one of the fundamental reasons for provocations is to gain political and economic concessions) in order to prevent another test.  Ironically there are some that will be patting themselves on the back if some kind of agreement is reached that will prevent a 4th test because they will believe that diplomacy has prevailed when instead we could be feeding right into the regime's hands.  I think the north knows how to give us what we think we want and is surely masterful at trading away nothing of their own in return for concessions.  They probably have no need to conduct further tests at the moment but the threat of such tests could cause us to act in exactly the way they want.  And we would not do so had they not conducted the missile and nuclear tests.  I think the Iran connection is also extremely useful in increasing our sense of urgency and the desire to do something to prevent further nuclear tests (and also advancing the Iranian regime's nuclear program).  I think that what this could indicate is that the north knows us better than we know the north.



 February 18, 2013

Iran paid North Korea tens of millions of dollars to witness the most recent nuclear test, Japanese news agency Kyodo reported this weekend.

According to Kyodo’s source, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad approved the payment in November after a meeting of his national security team. The pay-to-view request was reported to have come from the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization,  Fereydoon Abbasi-Dabani, an individual who was also present at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on cooperation in science, technology and education between North Korea and Iran last September.

Despite the allegation, Kyodo said it is unclear whether the Iranian scientists actually witnessed the test. However, the unnamed diplomatic source was quoted as saying the proposal casts further doubt on Iran’s claims that its nuclear program is peaceful. He added it would be “very worrying” if Iran got nuclear test knowhow from North Korea.

Separate reports in The Sunday Times said the test was allegedly witnessed by the “father of Iran’s nuclear program” Mohsen Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi. That the Iranian payment was supposedly made through the Bank of Kunlun in Beijing may bolster American calls for increased sanctions related to North Korea’s financial transactions, along the lines of measures taken against Banco Delta Asia in 2005.
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Ahmadinejad puts up N. Korean-educated man for key post

Hmmm…  Not sure I would want to learn how to run a state like north Korea is run….unless I only want to focus on how to keep a regime in power and a people enslaved.

Ahmadinejad puts up N. Korean-educated man for key post
Mohammad Hasan Nami has doctorate in state management from Kim Il-Sung University, was once Iran’s Joint Chiefs of Staff
By AP and TIMES OF ISRAEL STAFF February 19, 2013, 1:44 am 0

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad flashes the victory sign as he attends the 12th summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Feb. 6 (Photo credit: AP/Amr Nabil)

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has nominated a North Korean-educated former Iranian military official for a key post in his government.

The official IRNA news agency reported that Mohammad Hasan Nami has been named as the proposed Minister of Communications and Information Technology to parliament, and will now face a vote of confidence he is likely to pass.

Nami holds a doctorate degree in state management from Kim Il-Sung University in Pyongyang, North Korea. He is also a former deputy defense minister and Iran’s ex-deputy Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Army.

IRNA’s Monday report says Nami is fluent in English and is the man behind an Iranian national intranet project.

The West suspects Iran and North Korea of collaborating on nuclear projects.

It was reported Sunday night that the man whom Western intelligence agencies believe may very well be the head of Iran’s clandestine nuclear weapons program was present as an observer last week when North Korea carried out a critical nuclear test

According to a British Sunday Times report Mohsen Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi very rarely leaves Iranian soil due to fear that the Mossad will make an attempt on his life, following an alleged pattern of previous assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists.
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Monday, February 18, 2013

In U.S., 83% Say North Korean Nukes Are a Critical Threat

February 18, 2013
In U.S., 83% Say North Korean Nukes Are a Critical Threat
Tied with Iranian nuclear weapons and international terrorism as greatest threats
by Jeffrey M. Jones
PRINCETON, NJ -- Eighty-three percent of Americans say the development of nuclear weapons by North Korea is a critical threat to the vital interests of the United States, placing it at the top of a list of nine potential threats, along with Iranian nuclear weapons and international terrorism.

The Feb. 7-10 poll was conducted just before North Korea conducted its third nuclear test, so Americans already saw it as a serious threat before the latest news. North Korea's continued nuclear ambitions and defiance of international efforts to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons are likely a reason Americans' basic opinions of the country are among the most negative of any that Gallup measures. Americans also frequently mention North Korea as the United States' greatest enemy, though Iran has topped the list in recent years.

After North Korean and Iranian nuclear weapons and international terrorism, Americans are most likely to view Islamic fundamentalism and China's economic and military power as critical threats to U.S. vital interests. Less than half believe the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Indian-Pakistani conflict, and the military power of Russia pose similar threats to the United States.

This year's poll marked the first time Gallup asked about North Korean and Iranian nuclear weapons specifically. In 2010 Gallup asked about the two countries' "military power," and found 61% rating each as a critical threat to the United States, second only to international terrorism. In 2004, the "spread of weapons of mass destruction to unfriendly powers" ranked second only to terrorism. Thus, Americans have previously seen North Korea and Iran, and nuclear weapons in general, as serious threats to the U.S.
Americans Increasingly See China as a Threat

Americans' perceptions of the threat some of these international matters pose to the United States have shifted in recent years. Specifically, since 2004, Americans have increasingly viewed the military power of China and the military power of Russia as threats. Over the same period, Americans have come to view the Israeli-Palestinian and Indian-Pakistani conflicts as less threatening to the United States.

Eight in 10 Americans have consistently viewed international terrorism as a critical threat. It has ranked at the top of the list in the three times Gallup has asked a version of this question.

Democrats, Republicans Equally View North Korea as a Threat
Americans' assessments of North Korean nuclear ambitions as a critical threat to the United States vary little by subgroup, including by party identification. However, that is not the case for most of the other international matters, including Iran's development of nuclear weapons. Republicans are more likely than Democrats to say most of the matters are critical threats. The greatest party differences are in regard to Islamic fundamentalism, viewed as a threat by 70% of Republicans and 46% of Democrats.
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Making Sense of North Korea

The North Koreans are staunchly resolved to build a nuclear arsenal. We may entertain fantasies that we can stop them. But they know better.
The north Korea with the Kim Family Regime is like an illness – the international community is trying to treat only symptoms rather than curing the disease.  Policy and strategy to deal only with the nuclear program are bound to fail (as they have failed for the past 19 years since the 1994 Agreed Framework).

Steve Chapman|Feb. 18, 2013 7:00 am
The old definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result. The new definition, which applies only in the case of North Korea, is: doing something different and expecting a different result.

The North Koreans have been pursuing a nuclear arsenal for a couple of decades. We have tried negotiating; we've tried cutting off negotiations; we've tried threatening them; we've tried ignoring them, and we've tried whistling "Camptown Races" while standing on our heads. Nothing has made any visible difference. Come rain or come shine, they keep pursuing a nuclear arsenal.

So it should have come as no surprise when the Pyongyang government conducted a nuclear test, the third it has done. Given the regime's record, it was not a matter of if it would light the fuse but only a matter of when.

Maybe it was significant that the explosion took place the same day as President Barack Obama's State of the Union address. Maybe it was significant that it occurred before rather than after the inauguration of a new South Korean president. Maybe it was an auspicious day in the eyes of the regime's astrologers and Tarot card readers. Or maybe none of this stuff played any role whatsoever.
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