Cold War II

The adages goes, “those who fail to understand History are doomed to repeat it.” That is so true for our government. Obama and the dems have emasculated our military while destroying our economy. We are seeing a scenario reminiscent of mid-1980s, when Ronald Reagan’s plan to force the USSR into economic failure succeeded. The US won the Cold War by outspending the USSR—forcing them to compete until their spending ruined them.

This time around, the roles are reversed. The former USSR, the empire Putin wants to restore, is recovering from its economic collapse and it is rebuilding its military and returning to it’s expansionist history to restore the Russian Empire. We need only to look at the Crimea and the Ukraine for proof.

In fact, Putin’s Foreign Minister has announced the beginning of the next Cold War.

Russian Prime Minister: We Are ‘Approaching a Second Cold War’

7:08 AM, May 20, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER

Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev says that “we are slowly but surely approaching a second cold war.” He also said that U.S. President Barack Obama could be “more tactful politically” and that he’s disappointed in some of the decisions Obama has made.

“Yes, I believe that President Obama could be more tactful politically when discussing these issues. Some decisions taken by the US Administration are disappointing. We have indeed done a lot for Russian-US relations. I believe doing so was right. The agreements that we reached with America were useful. And I’m very sorry that everything that has been achieved is now being eliminated by these decisions. Basically, we are slowly but surely approaching a second cold war that nobody needs.

Medvedev continues about the incompetency of Obama. Putin and Medvedev would not be making these statements, pushing, being aggressive in the Crimea, sending ‘agent provocateurs’ into the Ukraine, if the United States had the ability and the determination to counter him.

When Ronald Reagan was president, we had a 600 ship navy, twelve carrier battle-groups, troops in Europe, commitments from our NATO allies requiring a level of competency in their militaries and navies, and an equally strong US Army, Air Force and Marine Corps.

Now, the democrats and Obama have created an unsustainable welfare state, reduced out military forces, destroying their morale with repeated back-to-back deployments and, when they can no longer meet the physical requirements, the veterans are discarded into a Veterans Administration that ignores their needs.

But Putin isn’t our only enemy. China looms in the west. They’ve made extraordinary territorial claims to vast segments of the western Pacific, imperialistically seizing resource rich areas from a number of neighboring countries—countries who, by treaty, look to the United States for defense.

http://i.imgur.com/m8Vuf.gif

China’s Exclusive Economic Zone

Just this week, we watched an approaching confrontation between China and Viet Nam. We don’t have any treaty obligations with Viet Nam, but we do with the Philippine Islands, Taiwan and Japan.

How an oil rig sparked anti-China riots in Vietnam

By Hilary Whiteman, CNN, May 19, 2014 — Updated 1307 GMT

http://thediplomat.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/thediplomat_2014-05-08_15-06-31-386x231.pngHong Kong (CNN) — When China’s state-owned oil company dispatched an oil rig to a contested area of the South China Sea it flicked a match on a long-smoldering dispute with its communist neighbor Vietnam.Analysts say Beijing must have known the move would elicit some reaction, but it clearly didn’t predict having to evacuate thousands of Chinese nationals desperate to put some distance between them and violent Vietnamese protests.“The whole episode seems to reek of miscalculation, perhaps by both sides, but it demonstrates how volatile how this region can be,” said Alexander Neill, Shangri-La Dialogue Senior Fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Asia (IISS).At issue is the positioning of an oil rig in waters claimed by both China and Vietnam. Vietnam claims the rig’s presence is “illegal” while China says it has every right to drill, and has castigated the Vietnamese government for failing to ensure the safety of its nationals.To understand the issue, it’s vital to look at the exact position of the rig.Where is the rig?In early May, Beijing announced the HD-981 rig would be parked at sea for exploratory work until mid-August. Owned by the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), the rig is anchored in Lot 143, about 120 nautical miles east of Vietnam’s Ly Son Island and 180 nautical miles from China’s Hainan Island, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).Analysis co-authored by CSIS experts said China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs appears to be basing its right to be there on the assumption that one of the Paracel Islands, which it claims as its own, is 17 miles north, allowing it to claim its own continental shelf in the region.China calls the contested Paracel Islands the Xisha Islands, while in Vietnam they’re known as the Hoang Sa Islands.Vietnam says the rig site is clearly on its continental shelf, and moreover is in its Exclusive Economic Zone. Hanoi has demanded that China remove the offending rig, escort vessels from the region and hold talks to settle the issue.The Chinese rig was escorted to the region by naval vessels and fighter jets, drawing Vietnamese boats to the area and raising tensions at sea. The Vietnamese have accused Chinese vessels of ramming and blasting its boats with water cannon. The Chinese say any conflict was provoked by Vietnamese harassment.

The column was just updated with the following bullet points.
  • China evacuates thousands of nationals from Vietnam amid territorial dispute
  • Protests erupted after China’s state oil company sent a rig to disputed territory
  • Vietnam says the rig site is on its continental shelf and within its Exclusive Economic Zone
  • China says the rig will be there until mid-August, has sent ships to guard the site
Another report tells of Chinese troops massing on the border next to Viet Nam. The report states that “Conflict Between China And Vietnam Is Imminent.

Conflicts in the east with Putin, conflicts in the west with China and Obama and the dems, as well as our military and naval forces, are completely unprepared. I think we are entering another of those “interesting times” mentioned in the Chinese curse.

More Wednesday’s Words

It seems my shot at the US Postal Service the other day hit home. They’ve just announced they are ending Saturday mail pickup and delivery—other than at the Post Offices. If they weren’t authorized in the Constitution, Article I, Section 8, they would have long been bankrupt.

This announcement is just another example of the USPS’ stagger towards irrelevancy and extinction. If they truly wanted to save the Service, they’d end union domination and outsource most of the operation. But, that will never happen and UPS, FedEx and other commercial package and delivery services will continue to grow while the demand for the USPS diminishes.

***

This is an interesting item.  The unions want to become drug dealers…specifically dealing marijuana.

Together, the dispensaries are a symbol of the growing bond between the nascent medical marijuana industry and struggling labor unions.

During the last few years, unions, led by the UFCW, have played an increasingly significant role in campaigns to allow medical marijuana, now legal in California, 17 other states and Washington, D.C.

In the November elections, UFCW operatives also helped get-out-the-vote efforts in Colorado, where voters approved a measure that made possession of one ounce (28.3 grams) or less of the drug legal for anyone 21 and older. Washington state approved a similar measure and both states require regulation of marijuana growers, processors and retailers. — Reuters.

At least the unions are limiting themselves to a quasi-legal area. If they expand beyond medical marijuana, they’d find themselves in competition with the Mexican Cartels and their US allies, M13 and others. The difference between unions and the gangs is blurry enough without making the distinction worse.

***

The tensions in WesPac between China, Japan and the other western pacific nations is heating up. A ChiCom warship engaged missile radar lock on a Japanese warship. Many nations consider this an act of war. At one time, the US Navy considered such an act as an attack worthy of immediate response, i.e., an anti-radar missile fired back along that radar path.

“The incident is a dangerous conduct that could have led to an unforeseeable situation. It is extremely regrettable that China carried out such a one-sided, provocative act when signs are emerging for dialogue,” Abe told parliament.

“I ask the Chinese side to return to the spirit of mutually beneficial, strategic relations and prevent the recurrence of an incident like this. I strongly ask them for restraints so that the situation will not escalate further.”

Fire control radar is used to pinpoint the location of a target for missiles or shells. Directing the radar at a target can be considered a step away from actual firing.

The radar incident, which Japan said took place in the East China Sea on Jan. 30, came days after Chinese Communist Party chief Xi Jinping told Abe’s envoy that he was committed to developing bilateral ties. — Dawn.Com.

The territorial disputes arise from the claims of a number of nations to the oil and gas fields in the South China Sea and the Spratly Islands. China has laid claim to the entire area and has threatened to close it to shipping of other nations.  In response the US sent a carrier battlegroup through the South China Sea to show support for open navigation.

SpratlyScarboroughShoalMapThere have been unverified reports that China may seed the disputed area with mines in an attempt to deny access to other nations. In January 2013, China announced naval exercises in the South China Sea in another attempt to intimidate Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippine Islands—all parties with interests and claim to that area.

China to conduct naval drills in Pacific amid tension

updated 1/30/2013 3:20:08 AM ET

BEIJING (Reuters) – Three advanced Chinese warships left port on Wednesday for naval drills and war games in the Western Pacific, and the fleet will likely pass through disputed waters in the East and South China Sea, state media said.

The official Xinhua news agency described the maneuvers as routine, but they come as China is engaged in an increasingly bitter, high stakes dispute over maritime territory with Japan and with several Southeast Asia nations.

“The fleet will carry out more than 20 types of exercises including naval confrontation, battle drills far out at sea, the protection of maritime rights and command and control,” Xinhua cited the Defence Ministry as saying in a statement.

“These exercises on the high seas will take in the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea, the South China Sea, the Miyako Strait, the Bashi Channel and the seas to the east of Taiwan.”

In the US, everyone’s attention is on the Mideast with Iran’s announcement they are now nuclear, and by inference, have a nuke. However, if WW3 erupts, it’s more likely to occur in the Pacific.  China is a nuclear power. Taiwan is one of several nations, like Israel, South Korea, who have quietly developed nukes or could develop nukes quickly.

Note, too, that Japan has nuclear technology. They have the knowledge to make nukes whenever they want. However, they also have a cultural prohibition. I would expect that prohibition to go out the window if China ever threatened Japan with a nuke.  Japan also has missile technology that could be easily converted to ICBMs.

If large scale war erupts in the Pacific with an exchange of nukes, strategic or tactical, I expect Iran to “accidentally” go poof.

Coming Conflicts

If you read history, you’ll discover that national and international conflicts appear to be cyclic. Take a look at the 20th Century. The Spanish-American War ended just before the start of the 20th Century. The Boxer Rebellion in China climaxed in June, 1900.

In June 1900 Boxer fighters, lightly armed or unarmed, gathered in Beijing to besiege the foreign embassies. On 21 June the conservative faction of the Imperial Court induced the Empress Dowager Cixi, who ruled in the emperor’s name, to declare war on the foreign powers that had diplomatic representation in Beijing. Diplomats, foreign civilians, soldiers and some Chinese Christians retreated to the Legation Quarter where they stayed for 55 days until the Eight-Nation Alliance brought 20,000 armed troops, to take out the Boxers.Wikepedia

World War I started with the assassination of ArchDuke Franz Ferdinand and his wife on June 28, 1914. World War II started twenty-five years later. The Korean War started on June 25th, 1950 and the 60th Anniversary of that war will occur on Friday of this week.

Korea was followed by other conflicts around the globe. For the US, there was the intervention in the Dominican Republic in 1965 and the gradual buildup in Southeast Asia. History documents the War in Southeast Asia covers the period from 1955 with the French through 1975 with the fall of Saigon.

The next military operation was the invasion of Grenada in 1983 follow by the invasion of Panama at the end of that decade in 1989. Panama was quickly followed by Gulf War I with the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

The point of all this is that there were few periods in the last 100 years when the United States was not in some military activity. Even the period between WW1 and WW2 was not totally peaceful. The US Marines were involved in suppressing “bandits” in Nicaragua in the 1920s.

The United States military faced armed opponents in every decade of the 20th Century. And, looking at the beginning of the 21st Century, that trend appears to be continuing.

As I stated above, the 60th Anniversary will occur this coming Friday, June 25, 2010. It is prudent to remember that conflict is NOT over. We have been in a period of armistice since the cease-fire in1953. Recent actions by North Korea, such as the torpedoing of the South Korean Patrol Boat Cheonan by the North Koreans indicates that conflict may resume. The South Korean Navy has retrieved fragments of a older Soviet designed torpedo that sank the ship. Those torpedoes are only used by North Korea.

As a blatant warning to the North, South Korea with the US, will conduct a reenactment commemorating the 60th anniversary this coming Friday.

South Korea brings out big guns for battle re-enactment

Seoul – The Korean War is now referred to as the ‘The Forgotten War’ 60 years after it began, but some South Koreans are hoping to change that as they prepare to re-enact one of its early battles this week.

As the country commemorates the 60th anniversary of the June 25, 1950, start of the war, which ravaged the Korean Peninsula, the government, military and civilians are working together to re-enact the conflict’s first naval engagement in the port city of Pusan, about 450 kilometres south-east of Seoul.

‘This is the very first victory that South Korea achieved in the war, so we want to shed light on what happened in the past,’ said Park June Su, head of public affairs at the Pusan office of the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs.

Called the Korea Strait victory celebration, the event commemorates South Korea’s sinking of an armed North Korean steamer carrying 600 Korean People’s Army troops about 29 kilometers off Pusan’s coast, Park said.

But Korea is not the only hotspot. Israel has intercepted smugglers attempting to breach the quarantine of Gaza. Hezbollah has been attempting to bring in additional arms and rockets to the militants controlling Gaza in the guise of humanitarian aid. The initial incident used Turkish ships. The militants hoped that using ships from a NATO member would cause Israel to allow them to proceed.

That didn’t happen. Of the six ships, five allowed peaceful boarding and inspection. The sixth, however, attacked the Israelis. That ship was the one containing contraband. Ten of the militants were killed when they attacked the Israeli boarding party.

Anger over Ship from Turkey which carried contraband

It appears the International humanitarian aid ship stopped by the Israeli Navy had contraband used to build rockets and harden bunkers.

The Islamic militants used this event as propaganda fuel. Iran was the hidden sponsor and revealed itself by proclaiming they were provide a military escort for the next smuggling attempt. A futile boast since Iran has almost no Navy and of those, most of the vessels are made up of coastal patrol boats.

However, Iran’s boasting is not being taken likely. Drudge contained this headline over the weekend printed in red.

US, Israel Warships in Suez May Be Prelude to Faceoff with Iran

Tammuz 8, 5770, 20 June 10 06:08

by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

(Israelnationalnews.com) Egypt allowed at least one Israeli and 11 American warships to pass through the Suez Canal as an Iranian flotilla approaches Gaza. Egypt closed the canal to protect the ships with thousands of soldiers, according to the British-based Arabic language newspaper Al Quds al-Arabi.

One day prior to the report on Saturday, Voice of Israel government radio reported that the Egyptian government denied an Israeli request not to allow the Iranian flotilla to use the Suez Canal to reach Gaza, in violation of the Israeli sea embargo on the Hamas-controlled area.

International agreements require Egypt to keep the Suez open even for warships, but the armada, led by the USS Truman with 5,000 sailors and marines, was the largest in years. Egypt closed the canal to fishing and other boats as the armada moved through the strategic passageway that connects the Red and Mediterranean Seas.

Despite Egypt’s reported refusal to block the canal to Iranian boats, the clearance for the American-Israeli fleet may be a warning to Iran it may face military opposition if the Iranian Red Crescent ship continues on course to Gaza.

The warships may exercise the right to inspect the Iranian boat for the illegal transport or weapons. Newsweek reported that Egyptian authorities could stop the ship for weeks, using technicalities such as requiring that any official documents be translated from Farsi into Arabic.

The magazine’s website also reported that the Iranian navy is the weakest part of its armed forces. Tehran has already backed down from announced intentions to escort the Iranian ships with “volunteer marines” from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

The Iranian news site Hamsayeh.net reported, “The move might be in connection to U.S. self-inflicted embargo against Iran aimed at inspecting Iran bound ships for suspected goods related to the country’s nuclear program.”

Another battle on the high seas may involve one, and possibly two, Lebanese vessels that are aimed at challenging Israel’s sovereignty over the Gaza coastal waters. Hizbullah, gearing up for a reaction to a possible clash between the Israeli Navy (pictured) and the Lebanese boats, has deployed rocket units near Lebanese ports, according to unofficial military sources.

Israel has warned U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that Israel will use force, if necessary, to stop the boats, one of which is carrying approximately 70 women passengers and crew organized by Hizbullah supporter Samar al-Hajj. Her husband is one of several jailed suspects involved in the assassination of former Lebanese anti-Syrian Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Hizbullah has denied it is connected with the Lebanese flotilla, but it has been reported that Al Hajj met with Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah last month.

I’m not sure what constitutes an “armada.” Eleven ships is about the size of a Carrier Battle Group. It’s obviously a show of force. Whether Iran and Hezbollah heed the warning is another issue. Past actions have shown that militant Islamics are not sane using the definition of doing the same thing over and over and expecting different result.

Iran thinks that developing nuclear weapons will make them the leader of the Islamic world. More likely, if Iran uses or threatens to use those weapons, Iran will become a radioactive wasteland along with other locales in the mid-east.

It’s not hard to foresee the coming conflict with Israel remembering the holocaust of WW2 and the Islamics who think they are impervious. Whatever happens, we will be dragged into the conflict whether we wish it or not.

Coming Conflicts

If you read history, you’ll discover that national and international conflicts appear to be cyclic. Take a look at the 20th Century. The Spanish-American War ended just before the start of the 20th Century. The Boxer Rebellion in China climaxed in June, 1900.

In June 1900 Boxer fighters, lightly armed or unarmed, gathered in Beijing to besiege the foreign embassies. On 21 June the conservative faction of the Imperial Court induced the Empress Dowager Cixi, who ruled in the emperor’s name, to declare war on the foreign powers that had diplomatic representation in Beijing. Diplomats, foreign civilians, soldiers and some Chinese Christians retreated to the Legation Quarter where they stayed for 55 days until the Eight-Nation Alliance brought 20,000 armed troops, to take out the Boxers.Wikepedia

World War I started with the assassination of ArchDuke Franz Ferdinand and his wife on June 28, 1914. World War II started twenty-five years later. The Korean War started on June 25th, 1950 and the 60th Anniversary of that war will occur on Friday of this week.

Korea was followed by other conflicts around the globe. For the US, there was the intervention in the Dominican Republic in 1965 and the gradual buildup in Southeast Asia. History documents the War in Southeast Asia covers the period from 1955 with the French through 1975 with the fall of Saigon.

The next military operation was the invasion of Grenada in 1983 follow by the invasion of Panama at the end of that decade in 1989. Panama was quickly followed by Gulf War I with the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

The point of all this is that there were few periods in the last 100 years when the United States was not in some military activity. Even the period between WW1 and WW2 was not totally peaceful. The US Marines were involved in suppressing “bandits” in Nicaragua in the 1920s.

The United States military faced armed opponents in every decade of the 20th Century. And, looking at the beginning of the 21st Century, that trend appears to be continuing.

As I stated above, the 60th Anniversary will occur this coming Friday, June 25, 2010. It is prudent to remember that conflict is NOT over. We have been in a period of armistice since the cease-fire in1953. Recent actions by North Korea, such as the torpedoing of the South Korean Patrol Boat Cheonan by the North Koreans indicates that conflict may resume. The South Korean Navy has retrieved fragments of a older Soviet designed torpedo that sank the ship. Those torpedoes are only used by North Korea.

As a blatant warning to the North, South Korea with the US, will conduct a reenactment commemorating the 60th anniversary this coming Friday.

South Korea brings out big guns for battle re-enactment

Seoul – The Korean War is now referred to as the ‘The Forgotten War’ 60 years after it began, but some South Koreans are hoping to change that as they prepare to re-enact one of its early battles this week.

As the country commemorates the 60th anniversary of the June 25, 1950, start of the war, which ravaged the Korean Peninsula, the government, military and civilians are working together to re-enact the conflict’s first naval engagement in the port city of Pusan, about 450 kilometres south-east of Seoul.

‘This is the very first victory that South Korea achieved in the war, so we want to shed light on what happened in the past,’ said Park June Su, head of public affairs at the Pusan office of the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs.

Called the Korea Strait victory celebration, the event commemorates South Korea’s sinking of an armed North Korean steamer carrying 600 Korean People’s Army troops about 29 kilometers off Pusan’s coast, Park said.

But Korea is not the only hotspot. Israel has intercepted smugglers attempting to breach the quarantine of Gaza. Hezbollah has been attempting to bring in additional arms and rockets to the militants controlling Gaza in the guise of humanitarian aid. The initial incident used Turkish ships. The militants hoped that using ships from a NATO member would cause Israel to allow them to proceed.

That didn’t happen. Of the six ships, five allowed peaceful boarding and inspection. The sixth, however, attacked the Israelis. That ship was the one containing contraband. Ten of the militants were killed when they attacked the Israeli boarding party.

Anger over Ship from Turkey which carried contraband

It appears the International humanitarian aid ship stopped by the Israeli Navy had contraband used to build rockets and harden bunkers.

The Islamic militants used this event as propaganda fuel. Iran was the hidden sponsor and revealed itself by proclaiming they were provide a military escort for the next smuggling attempt. A futile boast since Iran has almost no Navy and of those, most of the vessels are made up of coastal patrol boats.

However, Iran’s boasting is not being taken likely. Drudge contained this headline over the weekend printed in red.

US, Israel Warships in Suez May Be Prelude to Faceoff with Iran

Tammuz 8, 5770, 20 June 10 06:08

by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

(Israelnationalnews.com) Egypt allowed at least one Israeli and 11 American warships to pass through the Suez Canal as an Iranian flotilla approaches Gaza. Egypt closed the canal to protect the ships with thousands of soldiers, according to the British-based Arabic language newspaper Al Quds al-Arabi.

One day prior to the report on Saturday, Voice of Israel government radio reported that the Egyptian government denied an Israeli request not to allow the Iranian flotilla to use the Suez Canal to reach Gaza, in violation of the Israeli sea embargo on the Hamas-controlled area.

International agreements require Egypt to keep the Suez open even for warships, but the armada, led by the USS Truman with 5,000 sailors and marines, was the largest in years. Egypt closed the canal to fishing and other boats as the armada moved through the strategic passageway that connects the Red and Mediterranean Seas.

Despite Egypt’s reported refusal to block the canal to Iranian boats, the clearance for the American-Israeli fleet may be a warning to Iran it may face military opposition if the Iranian Red Crescent ship continues on course to Gaza.

The warships may exercise the right to inspect the Iranian boat for the illegal transport or weapons. Newsweek reported that Egyptian authorities could stop the ship for weeks, using technicalities such as requiring that any official documents be translated from Farsi into Arabic.

The magazine’s website also reported that the Iranian navy is the weakest part of its armed forces. Tehran has already backed down from announced intentions to escort the Iranian ships with “volunteer marines” from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

The Iranian news site Hamsayeh.net reported, “The move might be in connection to U.S. self-inflicted embargo against Iran aimed at inspecting Iran bound ships for suspected goods related to the country’s nuclear program.”

Another battle on the high seas may involve one, and possibly two, Lebanese vessels that are aimed at challenging Israel’s sovereignty over the Gaza coastal waters. Hizbullah, gearing up for a reaction to a possible clash between the Israeli Navy (pictured) and the Lebanese boats, has deployed rocket units near Lebanese ports, according to unofficial military sources.

Israel has warned U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that Israel will use force, if necessary, to stop the boats, one of which is carrying approximately 70 women passengers and crew organized by Hizbullah supporter Samar al-Hajj. Her husband is one of several jailed suspects involved in the assassination of former Lebanese anti-Syrian Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Hizbullah has denied it is connected with the Lebanese flotilla, but it has been reported that Al Hajj met with Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah last month.

I’m not sure what constitutes an “armada.” Eleven ships is about the size of a Carrier Battle Group. It’s obviously a show of force. Whether Iran and Hezbollah heed the warning is another issue. Past actions have shown that militant Islamics are not sane using the definition of doing the same thing over and over and expecting different result.

Iran thinks that developing nuclear weapons will make them the leader of the Islamic world. More likely, if Iran uses or threatens to use those weapons, Iran will become a radioactive wasteland along with other locales in the mid-east.

It’s not hard to foresee the coming conflict with Israel remembering the holocaust of WW2 and the Islamics who think they are impervious. Whatever happens, we will be dragged into the conflict whether we wish it or not.

Korea: Too Quiet

As usual, the bombasts from North Korea continue after they were exposed of committing an act of war against South Korea by torpedoing a South Korean Patrol Boat in international waters. However, the climate in the North Korean Worker’s Paradise is not all that it may appear. There is an underlying rumble and it isn’t directed towards the South. A report appearing on the Strategy Page website has this bit of information.

Too Quiet

June 14, 2010: Up north, morale, and respect for the government, continues to decline. For over half a century, the communist government had successfully brain washed the population into believing that North Korea was a workers’ paradise and the rest of the world sucked. This attitude even survived the great famine of the 1990s (that killed over five percent of the population and left a third of the children with stunted growth). But the currency devaluation last November, which wiped out the savings of so many North Korean entrepreneurs, was different. After the 1990s, the government allowed a bit of capitalism, in the form of free markets. At first, these were mainly to distribute food supplies more efficiently. But soon the markets contained, well, everything. The old-school communists in the government disliked this, and started shutting down the markets. The currency switch last November was intended to finish off this potentially troublesome middle class, but instead it caused a general collapse in support for the government and the ruling family (Kim Jong Il and his clan). People now openly criticize the government and Kim Jong Il. Bravery borne of desperation is the order of the day, and the secret police and prison camps aren’t so scary anymore. This has made the ruling elite very nervous. A few percent of the population lives well, while everyone else suffers. The elite have the guns, but not the numbers and, worst of all, they are no longer scary. At the moment, the situation is quiet up north. Too quiet.

The UN has admitted that most of the worlds nations do not enforce UN sanctions on North Korea (or most other nations). If the sanctioned nation is discrete and willing to bribe the right people, the sanctions can be circumvented. Energetic efforts by Western nations that do enforce the sanctions, tend to create unpleasant diplomatic situations when sanctions evasion is uncovered.

As a result of the sinking of the South Korea corvette Cheonan last March, a South Korean government oversight agency has recommended that 25 senior military officers and officials be punished. This made public long standing complaints (by South Korean and American military officials) that the South Korea military leadership had gotten complacent and sloppy. Now these accusations are out in the open, and action is demanded. Action may not be forthcoming, as the generals tend to protect each other, no matter what. It’s an old problem in South Korea, and North Korea as well.

But this isn’t the only situation that is facing North Korea. They’ve managed to piss off their supporters in Communist China. If China refuses to support and back militarily North Korea, it would leave them open for retaliation from South Korea—and the South would win hands-down.

The Strategy Page continues…

June 8, 2010: A June 4th shooting of four Chinese civilians, on the North Korean border, has become a major issue. As word of the incident, which left three Chinese dead and another wounded, spread in China, the Chinese government was forced to go public, and demand a public apology from North Korea. The four victims were in a boat, on the Chinese side of the Yalu river, when the North Korean border guards opened fire. The North Korean border guards have been rather more trigger happy of late, as they are under pressure to stop people from escaping, or smuggling goods out of North Korea. A particular irritant to North Korea is the high price of scrap copper in China, and the subsequent rampant theft of copper in North Korea. This is often taken from closed factories (most of the nations’ factories are closed because of electricity shortages and general mismanagement), which renders these facilities in need of expensive repairs if they are ever to reopen. Border guards have orders to shoot to kill if they spot anyone trying to get copper wire out of the country. But they are only supposed to shoot North Koreans. The June 4th incident was a case of mistaken identity. That doesn’t happen often, because Chinese, even those of Korean ancestry, appear better fed and dressed than North Koreans. But this time, the border guards screwed up, and China wants their heads, and a public apology. The former is possible, the latter less so.

Definitely an Oops!