Monday, May 30, 2016

Make North Korea ‘stare into the abyss’

I received the following comment from a friend and below is my response that I thought I would share.

I wonder if this "putting at risk" might be a problem, wherein what looks like deterrence ends up just being an aggressive move toward regime collapse, and thus not deterrence at all?

​My response:

This is what leads to our strategic decision making paralysis.

First thing is we should remember that the Kim Family Regime views every action by the US as a threat to its survival to include the very presence of US troops on the peninsula as well as nuclear umbrella of extended deterrence.

Second, the north expects us to support destabilization efforts even if we never in fact have.

Third, in conjunction with a strategic strangulation campaign (and remember that nK is not the most sanctioned regime in the world) that cuts of the flow of hard currency and luxury goods as well as proliferation activities, a campaign that supports internal resistance (and of course one of the best ways to support internal resistance is through a sophisticated and aggressive information and influence activities campaign and it does not require putting US or ROK personnel on the ground at all in nK), this could provide a real coercive threat that might just cause Kim Jong-un to rethink his position.  Since we have tried the Sunshine policy, conventional engagement, (e.g., 1992 ARNE, 1994 Agreed Framework, 1999 Perry Policy, SEP 2005 Joint Statement, and the Leap Day Agreement, among others,  none of which have been successful) and the current unofficial administration policy of strategic patience (the administration does not use that name for its policy but the pundits do) perhaps a policy of coercion may be effective in influence the regime.  We will not know unless we try and to date we have been unwilling to try.

And of course the drawbacks are two threats:  War and regime collapse.  We should consider that both of these could happen without our attempt at a policy of coercion due to conditions and decision making inside north Korea and therefore we need to plan and prepare for both.  Deterring war has been one of the alliance's great strengths and successes but the decision to go to war will be Kim Jong-un's alone and we cannot predict how he will act or react in any situation (though if he is a rational actor and gets sound advice from his military experts he has to know that the ROK/US alliance has far superior military capabilities, less quantity).  Therefore, the foundation for any policy must rest on our deterrence and defense capabilities.   In terms of regime collapse, we can track the indicators of the seven phases of regime collapse as postulated by Robert Collins and we should know that the conditions leading to collapse will be as much if not more so dependent on internal conditions than external actions.  In any case we have to prepare and not simply plan for the potential of regime collapse.

The bottom line is we have never really executed a policy and strategy based on coercive diplomacy that is backed up by putting real pressure on what really motivates the regime: internal stability and regime survival (of course our declaratory policy is a threat to regime survival but only if we use our nuclear weapons or have a conventional war).  Evans Revere, a lifelong engager now sees the need for trying something different which i think is quite significant.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: David Maxwell <David.Maxwell@georgetown.edu>
Date: Mon, May 30, 2016 at 8:49 AM
Subject: Make North Korea ‘stare into the abyss’
To: 


Quote a turnaround.  Holding something at risk is a key element of a coercive policy.  Evans Revere wants to put something near and dear to the regime at risk; namely internal stability and regime survival.  It is quite a change for the engagers to become regime changers.  One of the ways to put internal stability and regime survival at risk is through support to internal resistance as I wrote here "Korean Unification Options and Scenarios: Assisting A Resistance."    I think he is also advocating a policy of "strategic strangulation" and I have written about ways to support such a campaign here "Can South Korean-made TV dramas prepare the North for reunification?" and here"The North Korean Threat: Where Do We Go From Here?"  But Evans is right that we have not tried sometime different and perhaps it is time to consider something different.

Key excerpt below.  

Revere: The policy the United States has begun to implement in recent weeks, especially since the nuclear test, is essentially the policy I have been advocating for the last several years.
I have long since come to the conclusion – after seeing everything else we have tried fail to achieve the objective of freezing and then eliminating North Korea’s nuclear weapons program – that we need to try something different.
And that “something different” is to begin to put at risk the one thing that the North Koreans treasure more dearly than their nuclear weapons, which is the stability and the future prospects for survivability of the regime.
Now I know that sounds very ominous, but we have tried engagement, we have tried removal of sanctions, we have tried commitments to normalize relations, we have tried the establishment of liaison offices. On the dark side we’ve tried threats and sanctions and pressure, etc., and none of this has worked, except on a temporary basis.
So I have come to believe over the years that the only thing that is likely to get the North Koreans to focus on the importance and the necessity of denuclearization is to convince them that if they do not return to serious denuclearization discussions, they are putting at risk the survivability of their regime.

Make North Korea ‘stare into the abyss’
Evans Revere says he is more pessimistic than ever about the future of U.S. - DPRK relations


Make North Korea ‘stare into the abyss’
Chad O'Carroll 
May 30th, 2016

When a former negotiator once known for advocating dialogue with North Korea says it’s time to force the Pyongyang regime to ponder its own demise, it’s hard not to pay attention.
But that’s exactly what Evans Revere, one of the State Department’s former top Asia hands and a long-time Korea watcher, is saying today with increasing urgency.
Having watched “everything else we have tried fail” over recent decades, Revere said that following May’s Seventh Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea in Pyongyang he is now more pessimistic than ever about the future of U.S.-North Korea relations.
As a result, Revere says only an “unprecedented” level of sanctions designed to threaten the very system Kim Jong Un defends through nuclear weapons can have any chance of bringing about denuclearization.
And without credible efforts toward denuclearization, Revere thinks “serious dialogue” is all but impossible with North Korea, meaning there is little way to see any path to an improvement in relations between the U.S. and North Korea.
evans-revere
Evans Revere in Seoul. | Picture: NK News

NK News: North Korea has recently indicated an increased willingness for discussions with both the U.S. and South Korea. What is your reading of this?
Revere: Behind all of this “openness” and willingness to “engage” is a presumption on the part of the North Koreans that any future dialogues that take place with either the United States or other parties will be based on an acceptance of North Korea’s status as a de facto nuclear weapons state.
That is obviously not acceptable to the United State and is unlikely to be acceptable to the ROK. Accepting the goal of denuclearization is a prerequisite to improvement in relations between North Korea, South Korea and the United States.
So the idea that somehow we can have a serious dialogue with North Korea that doesn’t touch on the nuclear issue – that doesn’t address the specific issue of denuclearization – is just not on.
… the idea that somehow we can have a serious dialogue with North Korea that doesn’t touch on the nuclear issue … is just not on
And so I think our friends in Pyongyang are seeking to gain tacit acceptance of this new status. Indeed, one of the central outcomes of the Party Congress was their self identification as a de facto nuclear weapons or nuclear-armed state, and that’s just not acceptable for the United States and others.
NK News: It appears we have a situation in which North Korean long-term objectives and U.S. long-term objectives really couldn’t be further apart. What will be the impact of this contradiction?
(Continued at the link below)

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Collapse of the North Korean regime appears inevitable, and the world needs to prepare for it (From Chinese Scholars)

In the South China Morning Post from two Chinese scholars.  I am somewhat optimistic that we are finally seeing so many people acknowledging the need to PREPARE for north Korean regime collapse.
 
Pretty strong words from China.
 
Excerpts:
 
Thus, while it is still hard to judge North Korea in full, there remains a high probability of regime collapse.
 
Unless Pyongyang gives up its nuclear programme, the byungjin strategy is bound to fail.
 
Even an economic recovery and improvement in people's livelihoods is unlikely to change this trend. Harsh sanctions have left many from the upper classes at odds with the leadership and led to a growing number of defectors. In the most recent case, 13 employees of a North Korean-run restaurant in Ningbo (寧波) defected to the South – the largest single group in the past decade.
 
Meet the North Korean defector and restaurateur who believes 'reunification of our country starts at the table'
Trouble usually arises within one's own boundaries. Once those who have benefited from the regime in the past start to become dissatisfied with the government and seek an escape route, the collapse of the Kim dynasty, built on the basis of lies and repression, is just around the corner. There may only be 10 to 15 years left for the Kim family to govern, and a collapse could begin at any time. So, how would such a scenario play out?
 
​I have pasted my thoughts on collapse below.  I would love to host a working group of military planners from the US. ROK. China, Russia, and Japan​ and put together a plan for each of the military contingents to present to their political leaders.

 
 

Collapse of the North Korean regime appears inevitable, and the world needs to prepare for it

Deng Yuwen and Huang Ting say the flimsy economic plan unveiled at the Workers' Party congress will do little to alleviate the country's crippling problems, which include severe food shortages and growing discontent


PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 May, 2016, 5:25pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 May, 2016, 5:25pm 
3 min read 

The seventh ruling Worker's Party congress in North Korea, the first in 36 years, turned out to be a coronation for Kim Jong-un, formalising the system centred on the young leader and promoting the party's status vis-à-vis the army's.

North Korea's 'rare' party congress only shows a country at a standstill

The national byungjin strategy, which calls for securing a nuclear arsenal while seeking to develop the economy, was re-emphasised.
A five-year plan was put forward to show the government's commitment to economic problems, especially the supply of electricity, as Kim admitted that a lack of power has affected economic development and improvement of people's living standards.
The general idea from the congress was thus that Pyongyang would devote greater efforts to economic reform, pay more attention to developing its economy and improve people's lives.
However, in reality, the plan merely opens the door to reform just a crack instead of pushing hard. Without such opening up, reforms will not make significant progress. So there is still much uncertainty over North Korea's future.

Improved access to education, health care and food in North Korea but right to freedom of movement and the right to life worsen, says new report

With the significant drop in grain output and reduction of food aid as a result of increased international sanctions, North Korea is this year facing the most serious food problem in recent years. According to the UN World Food Programme, there is already a shortfall of 1.1 million tonnes of food, and a quarter of children are severely malnourished.
There have been signs that Pyongyang is preparing to test a fifth nuclear weapon and more missiles. If Kim goes his own way, regardless of opposition from the international community, he will surely bring harsher sanctions upon his nation, which will affect his plan to build North Korea into economic power.
Thus, while it is still hard to judge North Korea in full, there remains a high probability of regime collapse.Unless Pyongyang gives up its nuclear programme, the byungjinstrategy is bound to fail.
Even an economic recovery and improvement in people's livelihoods is unlikely to change this trend. Harsh sanctions have left many from the upper classes at odds with the leadership and led to a growing number of defectors. In the most recent case, 13 employees of a North Korean-run restaurant in Ningbo (寧波) defected to the South – the largest single group in the past decade.

Meet the North Korean defector and restaurateur who believes 'reunification of our country starts at the table'

Trouble usually arises within one's own boundaries. Once those who have benefited from the regime in the past start to become dissatisfied with the government and seek an escape route, the collapse of the Kim dynasty, built on the basis of lies and repression, is just around the corner. There may only be 10 to 15 years left for the Kim family to govern, and a collapse could begin at any time. So, how would such a scenario play out?
There are several possibilities. First, if the economy fails to pick up in the long term, more people will be pushed into extreme poverty, causing general dissatisfaction with the government, leading to more and more people from all classes seeking to flee the country. Under such circumstances, the collapse only needs a catalyst.
With UN sanctions biting, it is impossible for Pyongyang to quickly solve the problems of food and electricity shortages.

Kim gets the party started, but will economic reforms follow?

Sanctions will increasingly isolate North Korea, preventing it from gaining the necessary funds, technology and assistance to spur growth. Thus, in the long term, with no economic recovery, dissatisfaction will grow among the people. With widespread poverty and general social discontent, it would be increasingly hard for the government to deal with any emergency caused by policy mistakes, something which is common in a totalitarian regime.
Second, in order to solve the problem of a lack of food to support a large army, Pyongyang would have to promote self-reliance among its citizens, relax control over the economy in a limited way and, to some extent, even allow some form of capitalism.
In its fragile state, North Korea would also be increasingly vulnerable to natural disasters. Without external aid, which has shored up the government in the past during such calamities, Pyongyang would find it difficult, if not impossible, to handle any natural or man-made disaster on its own.

Ordinary North Koreans are the true audience for Pyongyang's nuclear weapons tests

The possibility of an internal coup also exists; the moody and unstable nature of the totalitarian regime leads to fear and insecurity that could bubble over into a bloody internal power struggle.
It is believed that it was fear of a coup that prompted Kim to execute his uncle, Jang Song-taek, and other veterans. The congress seemed to further consolidate Kim's power, but its stability is very superficial and new dissenters could be created by the regime's actions at any moment.
Lastly, outside intervention, including a targeted assassination and military strikes, is possible. In terms of its capabilities, there would be little North Korea could do if the US decided to press ahead with such an option.
In such circumstances, it would be difficult for Kim and his family to survive challenges at home and abroad.
In any of the above scenarios, great calamity would befall a Pyongyang that is already suffering much stress and danger.
The collapse of North Korea is just a matter of time; it is important for the international community to realise this, explore the issue and be prepared for the inevitable chain reactions.
Deng Yuwen is a researcher at the Charhar Institute think tank. Huang Ting is a researcher at the Innovation and Development Institute, Shenzhen


​My thoughts as an outline/start point to begin planning discussions:
 
Korea and the future:  Some Thoughts

The "Big 5"
1. War
2. Regime Collapse
3. Human Rights Atrocities/Crimes Against Humanity
4. Nuclear and Missile Delivery Programs
5. Unification

Big 8 Contingencies
1. Provocations to gain political and economic concessions
2. nk Attack – execution of the nK campaign plan to reunify the peninsula by force
3. Civil War/Chaos/Anarchy
4. Refugee crisis
5. Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster relief
6. WMD, loss of control – seize and secure operations
7. Resistance to foreign intervention (e.g., insurgency)
8. How to handle the nKPA during regime collapse short of war

7 Steps of Preparation
1. Shared vision – a new durable political arrangement** (see below)
2. Roles & Missions  - national responsibilities for action
3. Organizational Framework for operations  (UNC/ROK/US CFC, independent operations, other)
4. Command, Control, Coordination, and liaison processes & methods (including information sharing)
5. Concept of operations for deploying required forces (air, land, and sea)
6. Resource commitment – which countries provide what
7. And most important  - information/psychological preparation of the environment – a sophisticated and aggressive information and influence activities campaign focused on the population to prepare then for the future (e.g., unification) and the "2d tier leadership" by using a combination of coercion and co-option.  – An "exit strategy" for 2d tier military leaders and party members outside the core elite.

Guiding Principles:
1.  Defense of ROK is paramount – all decisions must support defense of ROK against the full range of threats from the north.
2.  Must provide options to national policy makers – early decisions required to overcome the law of physics: time, distance, and space.  Must have the right capabilities in the right place for employment at the right time.
3.  Transparency is critical when dealing with the 5 Parties and international community.  Must have decisive and consistent themes and messages.  This is not the situation in which we should employ deception.  Only through clear articulation of alliance priorities and intent can we have a chancing at reducing the chance of conflict due to misunderstanding of intentions.  Examples for consideration (and these would be consistently expressed by the ROK/US Alliance.
            A.  Defense and Security of ROK is the number one priority.
            B. UNC and ROK/US CFC have the following priorities:
                        (1) Security of nuclear weapons, followed by chemical weapons and then the biological program
                        (2) Security, health, and welfare of the Korean people living in the north.
                        (3) UNC and ROK/US CFC desire to work with all interested nations to bring security, stability and long term peace to the Korean peninsula and Northeast Asia.
                        (4) UNC and ROK/US CFC will support the establishment of a unified peninsula – a United Republic of Korea.


**Proposed new durable political arrangement: A stable, secure, peaceful, economically vibrant, non-nuclear peninsula, reunified under a liberal constitutional form of government determined by the Korean people:  A United Republic of Korea (UROK) orUnited Republic of Corea (UROC)





Thursday, May 12, 2016

Video of The Future Of Terrorism: Georgetown & St. Andrews University Conference

I strongly recommend viewing these videos in particular the remarks and discussions in Panel by Sir David Veness about the future of terrorist threats, Christine Fair about terrorism and Pakistan, and Bruce Hoffman on the future strategies of AQ and ISIS.  

Second, I strongly recommend the intelligence discussion and exchange about torture between Elizabeth Arsenault and John Mclaughlin in Panel 3.  The exchange between these two is probably one of the most informed discussions of terrorism since 9-11. While all the panels are excellent the two I have mentioned are very much worth your time to watch.






This two-day conference, jointly sponsored by the HCSTPV at St Andrews University, Scotland and the Center for Security Studies at Georgetown University, examined current and future trends in international and domestic terrorism with particular reference to the international and domestic security environment in the aftermath of the November attacks in Paris and San Bernadino shootings in December. The conference analyzed the potential second and third order effects of both the rise of ISIS and a resilient al Qaeda and their respective affiliates and franchise as well the continuing challenges involved in international cooperation and intelligence sharing; the intelligence of counterterrorism at a time of dynamic, diffuse and highly fluid threats; and, the future of terrorism of studies both in light of these developments and as a field of academic inquiry and relevance.
PANEL I: CURRENT AND FUTURE THREATS
Sir David Veness, Handa Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence,
     St Andrews University, Scotland
Christine Fair, Center for Security Studies, Georgetown University
Bruce Hoffman, Center for Security Studies, Georgetown University

Moderator: Richard English, Handa Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence,
     St Andrews University, Scotland
Click here to watch Panel I
PANEL II: INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION & INTELLIGENCE SHARING 
Bernhard Blumenau, Handa Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence,
     St Andrews University, Scotland
Laura Donohue, Georgetown University Law Center
Bruce Riedel, Brookings Institution

Moderator: Col. David Maxwell
Click here to watch Panel II 
PANEL III: INTELLIGENCE AND COUNTERTERRORISM 
Elizabeth Arsenault, Center for Security Studies, Georgetown University
John McLaughlin, Johns Hopkins, SAIS; former Acting DCIA/former DDCIA)
Truls Tonnessen, FFI, Norway; and, Center for Security Studies, Georgetown University

Moderator: Sir David Veness, Handa Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence,
     St Andrews University, Scotland
Click here to watch Panel III
PANEL IV: THE FUTURE OF TERRORISM STUDIES  
Richard English, Handa Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence,
     St Andrews University, Scotland
Gary LaFree, Director, START, University of Maryland
Arie Perliger, Director of Terrorism Studies, Combating Terrorism Center,
     US Military Academy

Moderator: Bruce Hoffman, Center for Security Studies, Georgetown University
Click here to watch Panel IV

Countering 'little green men': Pentagon special ops studies Russia ‘gray zone’ conflict

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