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View Poll Results: What is the near-term future of the DPRK
It will fall into chaos as a result of renewed famine and poverty, resulting in military crackdowns. 3 15.79%
There will be a military coup that displaces the current leadership, hopefully soon. 4 21.05%
It will continue to remain a closed society, technologically dormant and otherwise insignificant. 12 63.16%
The leadership will eventually make a misstep, forcing military action from the United States. 0 0%
Voters: 19. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-13-2015   #481
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OSINT photo analysis.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...pm_world_pop_b

Quote:
According to Greg Scarlatoiu and Joseph Bermudez Jr., the authors of HRNK's report, the the antiaircraft guns in the picture appear to be six ZPU-4s, Soviet-made heavy weaponry first used during the Korean war. They are positioned about 100 feet from the standing figures. A few feet behind the antiaircraft guns, there appear to be a line of troops and/or equipment, the report notes, with buses and trucks at the site suggesting that people had been bused in to watch whatever was happening.
Shout-out for Joe Bermudez. Good job.
http://www.kpajournal.com/about/
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Old 05-15-2015   #482
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Default Vulnerability on display

Adam Cathcart comments on the leadership's problem:
Quote:
But given what we know about how Kim operates and how he wishes to be perceived, it is more than possible that Hyon’s basic lack of interest in the personality cult is what led to his downfall.
Link:http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...ong-un-rumour?
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Old 05-21-2015   #483
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More shennanigans from Lil'Kim

Quote:
Photographs showing Kim Jong-un proudly watching as a North Korean missile was launched from an underwater submarine were manipulated by state propagandists, experts claimed on Tuesday.

German aerospace experts said photos of the launch were "strongly modified", including reflections of the missile exhaust flame in the water which did not line up with the missile itself.

"Considering the track record of North Korean deceptions, it seems sensible to assume that any North Korean SLBM [submarine-launched ballistic missile] capability is still a very long time in the future, if it will ever surface," Markus Schiller and Robert Schmucker, of Schmucker Technologie, told Reuters.
http://www.smh.com.au/technology/tec...gh6927?stb=red
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Old 05-22-2015   #484
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Default For one Korean a luxury trip

A bizarre twist to this thread and the headline is enough:
Quote:
Kim Jong-un's 'brat pack' brother jets in to London for Eric Clapton concert
Link:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...n-concert.html
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Old 06-15-2015   #485
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Quote:
SEOUL — North Korea has been planting anti-personnel mines alongside the inter-Korean border for the past couple of months to prevent North Korean soldiers from fleeing to South Korea, a South Korean official said Sunday.
http://www.koreatimesus.com/n-korea-...diers-fleeing/

Quote:
A teenaged North Korean soldier walked across the world's most heavily militarized border on Monday in a bid to defect to South Korea, South Korean Defense Ministry officials said.

While there are more than a thousand defections from North Korea to South Korea every year, most defectors come via China and it is rare for a North Korean to crossing the heavily mined Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). The last such crossing was in 2012.
http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/...0OV04W20150615
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Old 09-09-2015   #486
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Default A place watching DPRK

Found just after a tip from FP:http://38north.org/

From their 'About':
Quote:
a website devoted to analysis of North Korea. While it strives to break new ground, the site’s main objective is to bring the best possible analysis to both seasoned North Korea watchers and general audiences alike. Too often analysis of the North is permeated by inexperience, littered with inaccurate information or grounded in poorly deducted reasoning. We believe no one really knows for sure what is going on in North Korea, but we can at least try to understand the possibilities. Similarly, anyone who professes certainty should be viewed with the greatest skepticism. To accomplish these objectives, 38 North harnesses the experience of long-time observers of North Korea and others who have dealt directly with North Koreans. It draws on other experts outside the field who might bring fresh, well-informed insights to those of us who follow North Korea.
From Wiki:
Quote:
is a blog about North Korea maintained by the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies and authored by its faculty and by guest commentators. The site analyzes reporting on North Korea from a cautious perspective.
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Old 09-15-2015   #487
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Quote:
North Korea appears to be intensifying nuclear and ballistic missile development efforts that could lead to further international sanctions against the Kim Jong Un regime.

North Korea’s state controlled media KCNA said Tuesday the country’s main nuclear complex in Yongbyon was in full operation. The reactor was shut down in 2007. However following North Korea’s third nuclear test in 2013, Pyongyang said it would restart the facility.

Some military analysts, studying satellite images of the complex, asserted back in January that the nuclear bomb fuel reactor was again operational. But until now there had not been any official confirmation.
http://www.voanews.com/content/south...h/2964186.html
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Old 01-07-2016   #488
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Default North Korea’s Nuclear Trajectory

A commentary from Kings of War:http://kingsofwar.org.uk/2016/01/to-...r-trajectory/?
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Old 01-31-2016   #489
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First I saw this, and thought this certainly isn't deterrence and it doesn't look like something CSIS would propose as a viable sole action to deter North Korea from conducting cyber attacks.

http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/nort...000200315.html

Outside information questioning Kim's legitimacy can be response to N.K. cyber attacks: CSIS report

Quote:
Penetrating outside information into North Korea questioning the legitimacy of leader Kim Jong-un should be considered as a key means to retaliate against and curb the communist nation's cyber attacks, a U.S. think tank said.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) made the suggestion in a report on policy suggestions on how to counter the North's cyber operations, saying responding to cyber attacks with cyber attacks won't be effective because the North isn't as dependent on networks as South Korea and the U.S. are.

"Therefore, responses should be tailored to leverage North Korea's specific weaknesses and sensitivities," said the report released this week. "North Korea has unique asymmetric vulnerabilities as well, especially to outside information that attacks the legitimacy of the regime."
Then I found and read the report (executive version), and the recommendations are fortunately more comprehensive than simply pushing more information to the North.

http://csis.org/files/publication/15...dout_final.pdf

NORTH KOREA’S CYBER OPERATIONS: STRATEGY AND RESPONSES

It identifies four policy objectives:

Quote:
a. Prepare a graduated series of direct responses targeting North Korea’s cyber organizations.
b. Curb North Korea’s operational freedom in cyberspace.
c. Identify and leverage North Korea’s vulnerabilities to
maintain strategic balance.
d. Adopt damage mitigation and resiliency measures to ensure that critical systems and networks maintain operational continuity despite suffering an attack.
Provides four recommendations for the U.S., and then provides seven recommendations (culturally insensitive) for the U.S.-ROK Alliance, one of which was Consider
Quote:
exploiting North Korea’s vulnerability to outside information
.

By all means keep pumping information into North Korea, in fact governments can't stop it, because if they stop non-state actors are engaged in their own information campaign against the backwards and incredibly cruel KJU regime. North Korea a festering wound from the 20th Century that continues to threaten regional and increasingly global stability, not to mention the human rights atrocities.

However, I don't think the use of information is an effective deterrent if we're truly talking deterrence. For one, this implies we would only push information north in response to a provocative act (cyber attack, nuclear weapons test, long range missile test, a kinetic engagement). While the ROK PSYOP unit may only blare it loud speakers near the border in response to a provocative attack, others are pushing information via balloons and items smuggled across the border such as DVDs. The Kim family façade is slowly cracking, we should never stop pushing the truth forward, and using it as a deterrence implies we would do just that if North Korea ceased the undesired behavior. Second, if anything, the information is provocative and North Korea is hardly deterred by it. They continue to conduct cyber activities, test long range missiles, and recently conducted another nuclear weapons test.

A recent article in the strategist indicates some of the information warfare activities ongoing.

http://www.aspistrategist.org.au/inf...ean-peninsula/

Quote:
At the same time, however, US–ROK forces have also engaged in a war through information—particularly focusing on psychological operations. Following the sinking of the Cheonan warship and subsequent shelling of Yeonpyeong Island in 2010, the South Korean military established a new psyops unit to diffuse news and information into North Korea—whether through radio transmissions, balloon leaflets, DVDs, and possibly USB memory sticks. Since then, it has sent thousands of leaflets and transmitted broadcast into North Korea using mobile broadcast vehicles and six relay stations. While its effects on North Korean society are difficult to ascertain, North Korea has previously threatened to fire across the heavily fortified border to stop such campaigns.

With changing strategic realities on the Korean Peninsula, information warfare has important ramifications for the US–ROK defence strategy.
Another recent article of interest.

https://www.strategypage.com/htmw/ht.../20151110.aspx

Information Warfare: North Korea Surrenders To The Future

Quote:
Despite the high price of these North Korea smart phones (about $500) there are over 300,000 users, many of them members of the new “trader class” who have made a lot of money operating legal markets. There are believed to be over a million illegal cell phones, which can access the international Internet if near the Chinese border or a foreign wi-fi hotspot within North Korea. These hotspots are available in the North Korean capital. There, many embassies have taken to installing powerful wi-fi systems that can be easily used by nearby North Koreans.
Quote:
North Koreans have noticed the abundance of Korean language Internet content down south. Those who can connect to get to these South Korean can use “grabber” apps (many of them available free) to download all the content on a website. This can then be passed around inside North Korea via a USB memory stick. The North Korean government does not like this sort of thing but so far has preferred to avoid international condemnation for cracking down on embassy Internet use.
It appears that even North Korea can't resist the ever growing integration of globalization. That will hopefully be a good thing.
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Old 01-31-2016   #490
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Default CSIS: Deter North Korea with subversive information Posted on January 29, 2016 by Jos

See Joshua Stanton's recent blog post here:
CSIS: Deter North Korea with subversive information
Posted on January 29, 2016 by Joshua Stanton
http://freekorea.us/2016/01/29/csis-...e-information/

I concur with Joshua here (and I forwarded a copy of the report to him and you can download it at this link: https://csis.org/files/publication/1...ations_Web.pdf per my email last week I sent out to everyone on my national security listserve)
“The deliberate introduction of additional media and information into North Korea’s networks and population may serve as a potent means of responding to cyber attacks without resorting to use of force, armed attacks or countermeasures,” it said. [Yonhap]
Joshua Stanton: "Well, isn’t that what I’ve been saying since 2010? The times have finally caught up with me. By the way, if you can lay your hands on a copy of the original report, I’d be most grateful."


I provide an outline of some of the information and influence activities in my 2004 research paper on a long term strategy for the Korean peninsula beyond the nuclear crisis at this link (pages 97-102) http://bit.ly/1CWA5vm
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Old 01-31-2016   #491
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Default Information and Influence Activities in north Korea

A lot of this is being done by defector organizations. The amount of Korean news and Korean television dramas (on DVDs, thumb drives, and the Chinese video players) which are loved by the Korean people living in the north is growing significantly (I use those word very deliberately - I no longer use 'north Koreans' except in relation to the Kim Family Regime and the elite - the rank and file population should be referred to as Koreans who live in the north under the most oppressive regime in the 20th and 21st centuries). the north has shown how afraid it is of information coming from the South in August and most recently as the ROKs restarted their propaganda broadcast which are really only symbolic. The real information effort is being done electronically. Follow the Daily NK news site as the Korean defectors from the north

I have been talking to my Korean counterparts about a program to work with the Korean entertainment industry to produce Korean dramas that are based on unification. My recommendation is that they design dramas that take people through conflict and regime collapse and then show how ROK policies if implemented and followed by the Korean people living in the north will result in President's Park's Bonanza for Unification (the Dresden Initiative) They can show various scenarios such as how HA operations will be conducted, how people will transition to land ownership, how the integrated political system will function - e.g., local governance by free elections, what happens to second tier leaders when they do not attack the South and cooperate with the ROK military, how they can benefit from providing information about WMD and ensuring it is not proliferated off the peninsula (and what happens to those who do try) and much more. This could really help to prepare the population psychologically. I would of course also like to show them how resistance can work and what the Korean people living in the north could do to resist the regime.

There is so much we can do if we put our minds to it.
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Old 01-31-2016   #492
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
First I saw this, and thought this certainly isn't deterrence and it doesn't look like something CSIS would propose as a viable sole action to deter North Korea from conducting cyber attacks.

http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/nort...000200315.html

Outside information questioning Kim's legitimacy can be response to N.K. cyber attacks: CSIS report



Then I found and read the report (executive version), and the recommendations are fortunately more comprehensive than simply pushing more information to the North.

http://csis.org/files/publication/15...dout_final.pdf

NORTH KOREA’S CYBER OPERATIONS: STRATEGY AND RESPONSES

It identifies four policy objectives:



Provides four recommendations for the U.S., and then provides seven recommendations (culturally insensitive) for the U.S.-ROK Alliance, one of which was Consider .

By all means keep pumping information into North Korea, in fact governments can't stop it, because if they stop non-state actors are engaged in their own information campaign against the backwards and incredibly cruel KJU regime. North Korea a festering wound from the 20th Century that continues to threaten regional and increasingly global stability, not to mention the human rights atrocities.

However, I don't think the use of information is an effective deterrent if we're truly talking deterrence. For one, this implies we would only push information north in response to a provocative act (cyber attack, nuclear weapons test, long range missile test, a kinetic engagement). While the ROK PSYOP unit may only blare it loud speakers near the border in response to a provocative attack, others are pushing information via balloons and items smuggled across the border such as DVDs. The Kim family façade is slowly cracking, we should never stop pushing the truth forward, and using it as a deterrence implies we would do just that if North Korea ceased the undesired behavior. Second, if anything, the information is provocative and North Korea is hardly deterred by it. They continue to conduct cyber activities, test long range missiles, and recently conducted another nuclear weapons test.

A recent article in the strategist indicates some of the information warfare activities ongoing.

http://www.aspistrategist.org.au/inf...ean-peninsula/



Another recent article of interest.

https://www.strategypage.com/htmw/ht.../20151110.aspx

Information Warfare: North Korea Surrenders To The Future





It appears that even North Korea can't resist the ever growing integration of globalization. That will hopefully be a good thing.
It's hard finding detailed information on non kinetic UW operations to foment civil resistance in the former Warsw Pact.

But I wonder if there are lessons to be learned in comparing known/suspected efforts against the Warsaw Pact(70's-80's) with known/suspected efforts against North Korea today.

Im reminded of Bob's World's post from 2011 that I think is highly relevant:

http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...5&postcount=16
Quote:
Did Rome's roads matter in the rise of the Barbarians?

Did the invention of the printing press matter in the rise of the people of Europe against the Holy Roman Empire?

Did Britain's global telegraph network matter in the rise of her colonial populaces?

Did the internet matter in Tunisia and Egypt.

Answer to all: Yes.

When a state relies upon overt controls of a populace to maintain stability, the speed and availability of information is their greatest threat. As information and transportation technology continue to emerge, control-based systems of governance will continue to become less and less viable.
To this I would add the following questions questions:

Exactly how effective was external support for non kinetic UW/civil resistance in Facilitating and/or accelerating the implosion of the Warsaw Pact?

How applicable is the Warsaw Pact civil resistance experience with likely North Korean scenarios tactically and operationally(and accounting for wireless internet as an additional catalyst/tool)?

How does the strategic political environment amongst key external stakeholders both align and differ comparing the Warsaw Pact experience and North Korea?
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Old 01-31-2016   #493
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As long as KJU maintains control of his security forces there is no potential for a non violent revolution to be successful. The ideology tied to juche has created a high degree of distrust, even within families. More so than what we saw in the former communist eastern Europe.

While information won't deter provocative acts like cyber attacks, the decreased confidence it creates between the government and its people may prevent KJU from launching a full scale war, where the people in the north could welcome the south. On the other hand it could trigger a full out war, because it could be perceived as an existential threat.

But what if we see a North Korean Arab Spring like event? How do you think the U.S., ROK, PRC, and other countries would respond? I suspect much like the Arab Spring we would cheer it on, but provide no support due to the high level of uncertainty. It is a tragic situation, maybe one global citizens will impact more than states.
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Old 01-31-2016   #494
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External support in eastern Europe came in the form of information, money, advice, both from states and the church.
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Old 01-31-2016   #495
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
External support in eastern Europe came in the form of information, money, advice, both from states and the church.
As I understand it(rightly or wrongly), the Catholic Church under Polish Pope John Paul II had a partnership or at least closely aligned interests with Reagan Administration led NATO during the 80's with Poland/Solidarity being one of the key points of focus.

As I understand it, there are private groups in South Korea that may be acting unilaterally with efforts of quite questionable effectiveness like balloon flights laden with western media.

On the surface it seems similar, but I suspect a key difference is that private non kinetic efforts against the Warsaw Pact were aligned(or not contrary to) with government policy, while private efforts against North Korea may be an embarrassing disconnect with South Korean/allied strategic and diplomatic policy.

As indicated here:

http://www.theatlantic.com/internati...drives/283106/

Is that a crucial and key difference?

Could the behaviour of some key partners/allies(US, Japan perhaps) be akin to perpetually refinancing the "North Korean mortgage" and pushing out the "balloon payments" when NK falls?
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Old 01-31-2016   #496
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
As long as KJU maintains control of his security forces there is no potential for a non violent revolution to be successful. The ideology tied to juche has created a high degree of distrust, even within families. More so than what we saw in the former communist eastern Europe.

While information won't deter provocative acts like cyber attacks, the decreased confidence it creates between the government and its people may prevent KJU from launching a full scale war, where the people in the north could welcome the south. On the other hand it could trigger a full out war, because it could be perceived as an existential threat.

But what if we see a North Korean Arab Spring like event? How do you think the U.S., ROK, PRC, and other countries would respond? I suspect much like the Arab Spring we would cheer it on, but provide no support due to the high level of uncertainty. It is a tragic situation, maybe one global citizens will impact more than states.
If non violent civil resistance is not a likely outcome.

Would North Korea's increasing permeability to information/truth make it far more likely to transition to something akin to late term Saddam Era Iraq?

Resilient Totalitarianism with Truth accessibility?

Heavily sanctioned with degrading quality of life and standard of living for the masses, but propped up by nuclear blackmail and oil for food corruption respectively?

Would North Korea be a prime candidate for a realpolitik negotiated transition of power and immunity from prosecution for core leadership?

Or would a possibly likely outcome for potential success for North Korea look more like a planned and coordinated rise of a North Korean Deng Xioaping?

If NK does try to copy Deng, could it have missed the boat waiting so long changing course and now sailing INTO the winds of unskilled labour being increasingly and globally automated combined with fast increasing global recession risk?
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Old 01-31-2016   #497
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flagg View Post
As I understand it(rightly or wrongly), the Catholic Church under Polish Pope John Paul II had a partnership or at least closely aligned interests with Reagan Administration led NATO during the 80's with Poland/Solidarity being one of the key points of focus.

As I understand it, there are private groups in South Korea that may be acting unilaterally with efforts of quite questionable effectiveness like balloon flights laden with western media.

On the surface it seems similar, but I suspect a key difference is that private non kinetic efforts against the Warsaw Pact were aligned(or not contrary to) with government policy, while private efforts against North Korea may be an embarrassing disconnect with South Korean/allied strategic and diplomatic policy.

As indicated here:

http://www.theatlantic.com/internati...drives/283106/

Is that a crucial and key difference?

Could the behaviour of some key partners/allies(US, Japan perhaps) be akin to perpetually refinancing the "North Korean mortgage" and pushing out the "balloon payments" when NK falls?
That was an informative article in The Atlantic, thanks for sharing the link. I'm hypothesizing of course, but I do think private groups so far are less effective than governments in waging information shaping. However, combined efforts working towards similar goals can be quite powerful. I'm not sure the private groups are ineffective though, they certainly prompted KJU regime to respond.

As for

Quote:
If non violent civil resistance is not a likely outcome.

Would North Korea's increasing permeability to information/truth make it far more likely to transition to something akin to late term Saddam Era Iraq?

Resilient Totalitarianism with Truth accessibility?

Heavily sanctioned with degrading quality of life and standard of living for the masses, but propped up by nuclear blackmail and oil for food corruption respectively?

Would North Korea be a prime candidate for a realpolitik negotiated transition of power and immunity from prosecution for core leadership?

Or would a possibly likely outcome for potential success for North Korea look more like a planned and coordinated rise of a North Korean Deng Xioaping?

If NK does try to copy Deng, could it have missed the boat waiting so long changing course and now sailing INTO the winds of unskilled labour being increasingly and globally automated combined with fast increasing global recession risk?
Who knows? I think this quote from for SEC Gates is relevant (it is also a topic that Kissinger discussed in his book "World Order"):

http://myemail.constantcontact.com/T...id=O9-ltc5cBTM

Quote:
"The administration got caught up in the Arab Spring. They misread it pretty badly. There were no institutions to support the kind of reform efforts that the street demonstrators were calling for in the overthrow of these authoritarian governments." Worse, it sent a message to friendly regimes facing potential instability: "If you have demonstrations in your capital, the U.S. will throw you under the bus. So it disconcerted the Saudis and all our Arab allies."
The highlights are mine. I think we still have this End of History view that democracy and free markets will magically emerge if dictators are suddenly removed. A view that hundreds of years of history disputes. If KJU is removed through force of a peaceful revolution, then what? What type of follow on government is the realm of the possible? What would China allow? What would the ROKs try to impose? Maybe a year or a little longer, the magazine, The American Interest, published an article or opinion piece that argued instead of trying to impose democracy, we should take a longer term view and approach and set the conditions for democracy. What does that entail? Is that even possible in North Korea?
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Old 03-14-2016   #498
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Quote:
SEOUL — North Korea claimed Sunday that it could wipe out Manhattan by sending a hydrogen bomb on a ballistic missile to the heart of New York, the latest in a string of brazen threats.

Although there are many reasons to believe that Kim Jong Un’s regime is exaggerating its technical capabilities, the near-daily drumbeat of boasts and warnings from Pyongyang underlines the regime’s anger at efforts to thwart its ambitions.
http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/...omb/ar-AAgIXYy

Golly, how will they deliver it?

http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/dprk/nd-b2.htm
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Old 03-14-2016   #499
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It seems that the defense community is almost solely focused on whether or not North Korea can miniaturized their nuclear weapons enough to mount them on a long range missile. North Korea claims they have, but I'm hesitant to give any credence to North Korea's claims, yet at the same time the claim could be correct.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-35760797

North Korea 'has miniature nuclear warhead', says Kim Jong-un

Quote:
State media published images showing the North's leader standing next to what it said was a miniaturised weapon.

The claim is impossible to verify from the images alone and experts have long cast doubt on such assertions.
Even if North Korea has not yet mastered the technology to miniaturize a nuclear weapon sufficiently to mount it on a missile, that doesn't mean they cannot deliver a nuclear weapon to the U.S.. During the Cold War we had backpack nukes, which would do a hell of a lot of damage, even if the amount of damage fell well short of a large nuclear weapon. I doubt North Korea has it, but regardless it indicates there are other ways to deliver a weapon. For example, even a large, crude nuclear weapon could theoretically be transported concealed in a ship and set off in a port of a large city.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontl.../comments.html

Quote:
Do "backpack" nuclear weapons exist?

Yes, small atomic charges exist. They are very small. Several dozen kilos, thirty kilos, forty kilos. I spoke with people that made them, I saw them. The American specimens can be seen on the Internet, they can be seen on photographs, they can even be seen in the movies. I have never seen Russian analogies, I have only seen American ones, but Russian ones do exist, because I spoke with people who made them, and I believe these people, these people knew what they were talking about.

How powerful are they?

Their power is about one kiloton, possibly less, but a powerful charge. You cannot destroy Moscow or London, but the Kremlin, you can destroy ... Capitol Hill can be wiped out by such a bomb. ...
http://www.homelandsecuritynewswire....port-container

The consequences of one nuclear bomb smuggled into a port in a container

Quote:
A RAND study says that a 10-kiloton nuclear explosion at the Port of Long Beach could kill 60,000 people instantly, expose 150,000 more to hazardous radiation, and cause ten times more economic loss than the 9/11 terrorist attacks

A RAND Corporation study concluded that a nuclear explosion at the Port of Long Beach, California, could kill 60,000 people instantly, expose 150,000 more to hazardous radiation, and cause ten times more economic loss than the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The Santa Monica, California-based think-tank’s study examines the human casualties and infrastructure effects of terrorists detonating a 10-kiloton nuclear bomb in a shipping container after being unloaded onto a pier in Long Beach, which shares a waterway with the Port of Los Angeles.
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Old 04-24-2016   #500
AdamG
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(CNN) — North Korea has fired what is believed to be a submarine-launched ballistic missile off the east coast of the Korean peninsula, the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said Saturday.

The missile was fired at 6:30 p.m. local time (5:30 a.m. ET), South Korean officials said, and appears to have flown for about 30 km (about 19 miles) -- well short of the 300 km (roughly 186 miles) that would be considered a successful test.

One U.S. official said Saturday the launch "was provocative but not a threat to the U.S. and the missile was fired away from South Korea and Japan." But another U.S. official noted that after previous launch attempts by Pyongyang that didn't appear to be successful, this one seems to have gone much better.

"North Korea's sub launch capability has gone from a joke to something very serious," this official said. "The U.S. is watching this very closely."
http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/23/asia/n...e751aStoryLink

For perspective, from just about a year ago..

Quote:
Photographs showing Kim Jong-un proudly watching as a North Korean missile was launched from an underwater submarine were manipulated by state propagandists, experts claimed on Tuesday.

German aerospace experts said photos of the launch were "strongly modified", including reflections of the missile exhaust flame in the water which did not line up with the missile itself.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...-pictures.html
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