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Now Trump is trying to out-crazy North Korea

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  • #76
    Originally posted by posthuman View Post

    It would take less than 30 minutes for the whole episode to play out. They won't even be able to find Trump on the golf course before it's over. I find it difficult to believe that Trump could start a war in response to a splash in the ocean. I mean crazier things have happened but...
    The US can't accept missiles that are potentially nuclear armed splashing down 30km from Guam. I'd find it entirely reasonable if Trump started a war over that, just a shame it would be Trump running it. Most likely NK is just blustering though, making Trump look foolish for his threats that they've better not threaten.

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    • #77
      Originally posted by AnalHamster View Post

      The US can't accept missiles that are potentially nuclear armed splashing down 30km from Guam. I'd find it entirely reasonable if Trump started a war over that, just a shame it would be Trump running it. Most likely NK is just blustering though, making Trump look foolish for his threats that they've better not threaten.
      We accept Bear bomber flights over our navy all the time and we know they can carry nukes. If it splashes into recognized international waters I don't think it's reasonable to call it an act of war or even a real threat if it's inert.

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      • #78
        Originally posted by AnalHamster View Post

        Their desired result in the past has been aid and lifting sanctions, they've done it before fairly successfully. The deal hammered out under Slick Willy was working out pretty well for both sides until Bush came along with the axis of evil regime change thing. I expect they think there will eventually be talks again where they can trade elements of their weapons program for concessions. If they actually launch near Guam though I think they'll find they've miscalculated.

        Or possibly they are genuinely delusional. Pretty much impossible to tell if they believe the propaganda they've pumped out for decades, which is why issuing them an ultimatum with the intent to follow through is starting to seem like a reasonable idea to me. Either they are rational and will back down to keep breathing provided face saving is allowed, or they are irrational and need to git got sooner rather than later. If it turns out they are willing to attack SK or fire off nukes at the US or its allies, it's probably best to find that out before they nail down the guidance systems.
        Their actual stated national goal is unification of the Korean Peninsula. They believe the US is the only thing standing between them and unification. They believe- as the Russians did decades ago- that if the US is under threat of ICBM attack that we will abandon our allies for self preservation.

        NK doesn't want a war especially one they will lose.

        The likliehood here is that nukes and ICBMs are an expensive attempt at keeping the dictatorship afloat by promising something they can't deliver: capitulation by the US.

        Dropping a rocket in the ocean as a show of force is probably in line with that "policy" and their statement that all Trump understands is force underscores that resolve.

        what we might see is the most terrifying game of ICBM chicken ever played, as the US responds in kind.

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        • #79
          Originally posted by posthuman View Post

          We accept Bear bomber flights over our navy all the time and we know they can carry nukes. If it splashes into recognized international waters I don't think it's reasonable to call it an act of war or even a real threat if it's inert.
          If a bomber flew into US airspace it would be shot down, if it goes near the US or its assets in international airspace it gets shadowed by fighters, prepared to shoot it down. It's not a comparable threat. There's no way of detecting what warhead is on a missile, and since path adjustments can be made in flight there's a very very short window of having it pinned down to within 30km. This is a country that regularly threatens to nuke the US, your position only makes sense if you have absolute confidence in the rationality of North Korea's leadership, which does not make sense.

          And if you do have that confidence, why worry about declaring war on them? Their rational option would be surrender, escalation would mean death.

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          • #80
            Originally posted by AnalHamster View Post

            If a bomber flew into US airspace it would be shot down, if it goes near the US or its assets in international airspace it gets shadowed by fighters, prepared to shoot it down. It's not a comparable threat. There's no way of detecting what warhead is on a missile, and since path adjustments can be made in flight there's a very very short window of having it pinned down to within 30km. This is a country that regularly threatens to nuke the US, your position only makes sense if you have absolute confidence in the rationality of North Korea's leadership, which does not make sense.
            My position is that the event will be over before Trump can respond. Also that he would be foolish to initiate a response before the rocket hit its open ocean target. If we respond to an open ocean splashdown with a nuclear strike it will be the end of a number of alliances and treaties.

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            • #81
              As long as we are speculating the US might shoot such a missile out of the sky. If it's before the trajectory could be confirmed, a claim that NK has carried out an act of war could be made. That would be a sticky situation.

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              • #82
                The Russians fly spy surveillance flights over the US roughly monthly.
                They just flew one that circled Washington and over Trump's vacation spot in New Jersey this week.
                There is an international treaty specifically allowing it.
                The Russian spy planes are the size of normal commercial transatlantic jets.

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                • #83
                  The response I'm talking about would be to the demonstration of capability and willingness to strike with icbms in a manner to which the only option is to wait and see each time if this one was a nuke. It's simply an unacceptable national security risk to have a country regularly threatening to nuke you dropping icbms seconds from potential targets. If the Soviets had done that the counterstrike would have been launched as soon as the trajectory was indicating a US target, and within 30k with an ICBM whose trajectory can be adjusted in flight looks like it's on target until very shortly before the impact.

                  In missile defense terms what should happen is the nuclear football is rushed over to trump on the golf course with the information that icbms have been launched, they may be nuclear, they are heading for Guam and will be there in about ten minutes, what do you want to do. What do you think the moron would do then?

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                  • #84
                    Originally posted by Beagleman View Post
                    The Russians fly spy surveillance flights over the US roughly monthly.
                    They just flew one that circled Washington and over Trump's vacation spot in New Jersey this week.
                    There is an international treaty specifically allowing it.
                    The Russian spy planes are the size of normal commercial transatlantic jets.
                    They give 72 hours notice and have american observers on board.

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                    • #85
                      The real problem isn't the safety of the US mainland. It's the safety of places like Seoul and Tokyo. We simply can't attack NK without risking the loss of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of lives in SK and Japan. Even with conventional weapons. NK wants nukes, like anybody else, as a means of self preservation. They're not going to strike anybody preemptively. But if they get hit, there's no reason to not expect them to fire off everything they've got.

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                      • #86
                        Originally posted by Zach11k View Post
                        The real problem isn't the safety of the US mainland. It's the safety of places like Seoul and Tokyo. We simply can't attack NK without risking the loss of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of lives in SK and Japan. Even with conventional weapons. NK wants nukes, like anybody else, as a means of self preservation. They're not going to strike anybody preemptively. But if they get hit, there's no reason to not expect them to fire off everything they've got.
                        Once they've got them they aren't going anywhere unless the regime collapses, which could happen if nothing comes of the sacrifice the nation makes for getting those nukes.

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                        • #87
                          I'd expect them not to fire off everything they've got in response to a limited attack because it would mean their total annihilation. The thing is that if they would attack those allies at the cost of their own complete annihilation they are not rational, which means we cannot rely on the usual deterrent against using nukes in the first place. It's a catch 22, the normal calculation of nuclear threat relies on the opponent being rational. If they aren't rational then a confrontation could come any time and their nuclear program is developing fast.

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                          • #88
                            Originally posted by AnalHamster View Post
                            I'd expect them not to fire off everything they've got in response to a limited attack because it would mean their total annihilation. The thing is that if they would attack those allies at the cost of their own complete annihilation they are not rational, which means we cannot rely on the usual deterrent against using nukes in the first place. It's a catch 22, the normal calculation of nuclear threat relies on the opponent being rational. If they aren't rational then a confrontation could come any time and their nuclear program is developing fast.
                            I'm just gonna say this is the first time since the Civil War that I would entertain there's a chance North Korea could outlast the US before either government collapses

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                            • #89
                              Originally posted by AnalHamster View Post
                              I'd expect them not to fire off everything they've got in response to a limited attack because it would mean their total annihilation. The thing is that if they would attack those allies at the cost of their own complete annihilation they are not rational, which means we cannot rely on the usual deterrent against using nukes in the first place. It's a catch 22, the normal calculation of nuclear threat relies on the opponent being rational. If they aren't rational then a confrontation could come any time and their nuclear program is developing fast.
                              I guess I'm arguing that they're most likely rational, then. It's easy to paint Kim as crazy, but he's not going sacrifice his country for nothing. The simple fact that they can hold densely populated, developed countries like SK and Japan hostage is a massive bargaining chip for them - doesn't mean they'll throw that chip away at the earliest provocation. But I do think it's possible that they'd be willing to start lighting people up if the regime feels threatened. They don't even need to use up their nukes - their massive artillery presence along the DMZ alone could do a lot of damage to Seoul. It's a shitty situation. There's no way to "take out" NK without a lot of innocent people dying.

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                              • #90
                                Originally posted by Zach11k View Post

                                I guess I'm arguing that they're most likely rational, then. It's easy to paint Kim as crazy, but he's not going sacrifice his country for nothing. The simple fact that they can hold densely populated, developed countries like SK and Japan hostage is a massive bargaining chip for them - doesn't mean they'll throw that chip away at the earliest provocation. But I do think it's possible that they'd be willing to start lighting people up if the regime feels threatened. They don't even need to use up their nukes - their massive artillery presence along the DMZ alone could do a lot of damage to Seoul. It's a shitty situation. There's no way to "take out" NK without a lot of innocent people dying.
                                Would it be rational to nuke Japan (the only realistic way they can seriously harm that country) or nuke or conventionally attack Seoul? The counterattack in either case would devastate their country and result in the death or prosecution of their leadership. I don't get this argument, if they are rational we can't attack because then they might do something irrational? Their assumed rationality is the carrot, and their assumed irrationality is the stick. It seems to me to be the opposite, if they are rational - the reason not to attack despite them threatening to nuke you while developing better nukes - then an ultimatum that an attack will happen on a fixed timeframe would force them to the table. If they are not rational then they are crazy people with rapidly improving nukes which puts a very high cost on waiting.

                                I don't paint Kim as crazy, I think he probably isn't. The thing is, I don't know if he is or not and neither do you. That level of propaganda for generations could well have sent the whole country cuckoo. My assessment is based on considering what he would do if he is crazy, and what he would do if he isn't. Either path gets me to the same conclusion, disarm them through the threat of force with a hard deadline for deploying it. If he's crazy enough to attack SK that threat to them could be carried out any time and is only getting worse. If he's crazy many people will die, but if he's crazy it's still better to force the issue now than it is to wait while he develops MIRVs for the west coast.

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