World Affairs Brief, April 28, 2017 Commentary and Insights on a Troubled World.
Copyright Joel Skousen. Partial quotations with attribution permitted. Cite source as Joel Skousen’s World Affairs Brief (http://www.worldaffairsbrief.com).
This Week’s Analysis:
Trump Continues to Disappoint
The Voices Trump Listens to
Trump Backing Down on North Korea–For Now
French Election: Ganging Up Against Le Pen
Death of US Military Through Feminism
Don’t Drive in Some European Countries
Preparedness Tip: Vitamin C
TRUMP BACKING DOWN ON NORTH KOREA–FOR NOW
Naive US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, claims that Chinese pressure on North Korea is working. She’s merely repeating what was presented at the Senate briefing at the White House South auditorium this week. It was an hour briefing led by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford, and Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats. None are high level intelligence officials so it was all second-hand information.
Senators who oppose Trump, like John McCain and Lindsey Graham and all the Democrats claimed they learned “nothing new.” Many Senators on certain committees get constant intelligence briefings as a matter of course, so obviously they aren’t going to learn much new.
But despite the disparaging remarks from Democrats, there was something new in the briefing, which was highlighted by the anti-Trump The Daily Beast.
“We want to solve this through political or economic measures,” a senior administration official [said] ….any unilateral strike would likely lead to a North Korean counter-strike on U.S. allies South Korea and Japan—both within artillery or missile range of North Korea—as well as threatening tens of thousands of U.S. troops stationed in the Pacific.
“We want to bring Kim Jong-Un to his senses, not to his knees,” said Adm. Harry Harris, Commander of U.S. Pacific Command, at a House Armed Services Committee hearing Wednesday. He repeated the administration mantra that “all options are on the table,” but the tone had decidedly shifted from President Donald Trump’s earlier provocative tweets.
The U.S. might lobby to put North Korea back on the list as a state sponsor of terror as one of many options to isolate the defiant Asian nation. It had been removed in 2008 under previous negotiations with the Bush administration.
“It’s clear we are in a phase where unless North Korea takes a more provocative action, attacks our allies, attacks us directly, this is a diplomatic phase,” Democratic Sen. Chris Coons, of Delaware, told The Daily Beast outside the White House after the meeting.
This means Trump is backing down from his vow to disarm North Korea and stop its constant provocations. However, in a wide ranging interview with Reuters, Trump seemed to hint that he thought war with North Korea was a very real possibility:
“There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely,” Trump said. “We’d love to solve things diplomatically, but it’s very difficult,” he added.
Trump continued to promote his naive assessment of China’s Premier Xi Jingpin as a wonderful person, and repeating the assurance that China has told NK not to do any more nuclear tests. My takeaway from this is that Trump is going to let this play out diplomatically, but that he’s skeptical (as he should be) and fully intends to use military action to stop NK’s nuclear and missile development, even if that means NK will respond by going to war with SK—which would draw in the US.
That means that war isn’t imminent but that it is coming sooner tha[n] when China will be ready to join in. Whether or not they will becomes the big question. If they do, we’ll have WWIII early than I expected, if not, there will have to be another trigger event for WWIII later on when China and Russia are ready.
The sanctions Trump is proposing are tougher than ever before, but only in stages, which indicates it’s going to take time to play out: cutoff of oil supplies and isolating NK from all international banking and internet connectivity. There won’t be any food or medical sanctions as they put on Iran, for “humanitarian reasons.” Wasn’t Iran worthy of humanitarian exceptions?
Heretofore, NK has relied on China to bypass any sanctions, but for now at least China appears to play along with the sanctions. But I’m still skeptical. Either China plans to cheat, which would be hard for the US to detect, or it will comply for a period of time to buy more time and try and get Kim to shut down the hostile rhetoric.
I think this does confirm that China really isn’t ready to go to war on behalf of NK, and is determined to make sure NK remains in check for the next few years. Frankly, I’m surprise at just how reactionary Kim Jong-Un has been lately. In response to Trump’s interview, NK said it has no intention of stopping its nuclear and missile programs. Kim seems to be aiming for a bruising war. If it’s all bluster in order to save face with the communist party radicals in NK, that’s one thing, but no one’s going to believe Kim is capable of compromise is he doesn’t tone down the threats. Personally, I think Trump is being suckered into a delay in taking out Kim. I feel the conflict with Kim is inevitable and the sooner he is removed, the better. For each year’s delay, NK only gets stronger.
The bottom line: War with NK is inevitable, but it may or may not lead to WWIII depending on China. There is now a shorter window to prepare….
As for an EMP blast, which will proceed a nuclear attack, nuclear plants will go off line and some cannot operate again without grid power to absorb their output. But an EMP would not affect the military’s ability to get diesel fuel to backup generators at a nuke plant to keep them from melting down.