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Fast and furious: Korea edition

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Fast and furious Korea edition

A few weeks ago I wrote about my opposition to continuing the war in Afghanistan. I explained why. My opposition to remaining in Afghanistan was based on personal experience and a firm understanding that continued fighting is useless. It doesn’t mean I’m a libertarian or a liberal who thinks if we just try to get along with everyone all war can be avoided.

Korea is a whole other ball of wax. Kim Jong-un is directly threatening the United States, not to mention the rest of the world, with hydrogen warheads on his ICBMs, which may or may not be able to hit something other than the Sea of Japan.

North Korea’s current leader is far more confrontational than even his father and grandfather were, and it seems that things may be coming to a head after more than 65 years of stalemate on the Korean Peninsula.

Korea is an interesting socio-political example. You have the Republic of Korea (ROK) in the south which is capitalist, free, prosperous. They have successful trading relationships with much of the world.

Then you have the deceptively named Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in the north. Communist, totalitarian, with people living in abject poverty, and what little the country does have used for their military, largely coming from their communist patron, China. North Korea’s military is formidable, but it’s really all they have, making it inevitable that they will eventually want to use it to conquer their southern brothers, and conquer the wealth they’ve accumulated.

When the North comes across the DMZ it will be with the coiled energy of six decades of military buildup. Their artillery will rip apart the massive minefields we’ve laid in wait for them. North Korean commando units will likely infiltrate the South prior to any invasion and wreak havoc. Tanks will enter Seoul in a matter of days, at best. More likely, hours. Maybe we beat them back, at which point Kim Jong Un launches ICBMs carrying nuclear weapons at Tokyo and Washington DC.

That’s the nightmare scenario, of course. There is another option. We could hit them first.

Many on the American Left have expressed displeasure at President Trump’s rhetoric regarding this particular portion of what President George W. Bush called the “Axis of Evil.” Personally, I hope his rhetoric matches the action we actually take.

This country is struggling through difficult times. We’re in serious debt, radical groups of every stripe are rising to create chaos, and this hurricane season is making up for the fact that we have not had a serious hurricane problem since Katrina. The last thing we need is a lunatic running around the Far East with nuclear weapons. What we need second least is to get into yet another protracted war.

President Trump’s rhetoric is not dissimilar to Secretary of Defense James Mattis’ own rhetoric on the matter. Mattis is someone who has much more credibility than Trump on these matters, having served his entire adult life as a Marine officer and is one of the most respected generals in a generation. There is little doubt that he has a plan for every contingency, and I’m sure he is telling Trump exactly what I would tell him, which is this is not a war like we’ve seen in the last half century.

This will not be about politics, or making sure the people of the DPRK like us. Should another open conflict with North Korea come, this will be about the complete annihilation of Kim Jong Un’s military forces, in the air, on the ground, and at sea.

North Korea’s naval forces will be of little concern to our Navy, but as we’ve seen with recent collisions at sea, there is always the possibility of terrorist attacks causing significant damage to our ships. Their air forces are older, and our Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, not to mention the ROK’s very competent Air Force, should have no problem handling them. However, the DPRK has a robust anti-air defense network, including plentiful modernized radars, missiles and anti-aircraft guns. Our pilots would face the densest anti-air network possibly in history.

The B-2 Spirit stealth bomber and the fifth generation F-22 Raptor would no doubt find themselves gainfully employed. B-1Bs and F-15Es, some of them flown by old friends of mine, would likely shoulder the bulk of the strike duties. Mobile surface-to-air missile (SAM) batteries would still be a threat even after the stealth aircraft had whittled the stationary SAMs down to size.

Establishing air supremacy very quickly would be vital. The Korean Penninsula doesn’t have a lot of land to trade for time, and Seoul, the capital and home to a quarter of the population of the ROK, isn’t far from the DMZ.

The ground war will be messy. We can move soldiers fairly quickly by air, but moving M-1A2 Abrams tanks, Strykers, and Bradleys is much more difficult and time consuming. Equipment prepositioned at various locations cuts down on the time, but as I mentioned already, time is at a premium. The armies of the US and ROK will need to slow the advance of the DPRK until the Air Force and Navy can start to cut off their supply routes and then kill the advancing units.

I have no doubt we will win, but the casualties will be high, and we have to make certain we hit the DPRKs nuclear capabilities very early on to prevent a scorched earth retaliation. The war will be fast and furious, but if it comes, I hope it will be one trouble spot we can finally leave behind and allow the ROK to integrate what is left of the DPRK into their society with a minimum of help from us. We don’t need more mouths to feed. I’ve already pointed out we have enough problems already.

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Foreign Affairs

Did North Korea pull a con job on President Trump?

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Did North Korea pull a con job on President Trump

For most of 2018, President Trump has been tooting his horn as the great negotiator who forced Kim Jong un and North Korea to the table. He has showered praise on the dictator, a sharp contrast to the Twitter wars they had in the past. Now, it seems that negotiations may be falling apart.

On top of that, it now appears North Korea has continued to work on their nuclear and missile programs the whole time.

Undeclared North Korea: The Sakkanmol Missile Operating Base

https://beyondparallel.csis.org/undeclared-north-korea-sakkanmol-missile-operating-base/Located within the Tactical Belt in North Hwanghae province, 85 km north of the DMZ and 135 km northwest of Seoul, the capital of South Korea, is the Sakkanmol missile operating base (38.584698° 126.107945°).1 Although occasionally and incorrectly referred to as an “underground missile storage” facility, it is a forward Hwasong-5/-6 missile operating base subordinate to the Strategic Force of the Korean People’s Army (KPA), which is responsible for all ballistic missile units.2 The base is located near the point where the three counties of Pongsan, Sohung, and Yontan in North Hwanghae province meet. Disambiguation of references to reported missile bases in these counties indicates that they are actually referring to the Sakkanmol missile operating base. This is likely true for references to a missile base at Togol, 9.5 km to the northeast, and may also be true for a reported ballistic missile unit in the Sariwon area, 31 km to the west.3

According to former CIA station chief Daniel Hoffman, North Korea is just trying to wait us out. They are trying to wiggle out of sanctions while simultaneously breaking them through secret deals with countries like Russia and China.

Was this all just a big con job? Did the North Koreans take advantage of President Trump’s desire for a foreign relations win? Are these latest revelations signs that they will not negotiate in good faith? It seems so.

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Immigration

Of course the military must be sent to the border

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Of course the military must be sent to the border

The most irresponsible move any president could make is to know up to 10,000 people were heading to the border with intent of breaching it and NOT send the military. The migrant caravan heading towards us from Mexico, which is reportedly comprised of 85% adult males, poses a threat regardless of their stated intentions.

Let’s be clear. Even if you believe the vast majority of people in the caravan are simply looking for a better life, you cannot ignore the risk from the few who have other intentions. If you believe there aren’t many people in the caravan with dangerous intentions, you’ve already bought into the leftist media message and Democratic Party talking points. There’s no way the truth is going to convince you otherwise.

Nevertheless, critics are already calling it the wrong move to send 5,000 troops to the border to support border patrol agents.

Military to Deploy 5,000 Troops to Southern Border

https://www.wsj.com/articles/military-to-deploy-5-000-troops-to-southern-border-u-s-officials-say-1540820650The U.S. military plans to deploy 5,000 troops to the southwest U.S. border in anticipation of a caravan of would-be asylum seekers and migrants currently moving northward in Mexico, U.S. officials said Monday.

The new figure is a major increase from initial estimates of 800 troops and would represent a military force equal to about one-third the number of customs officials currently working at the border. The military sent about 2,000 National Guard troops to the area earlier this year.

The military will be there for support, intimidation, and to stop an invasion if the group turns out to be militant. Chances of the latter are slim, but again we’re talking about thousands of young, able-bodied men. We cannot assume they are not armed and ready to breach the border by force. Making that assumption, no matter how slim the chances, would be a huge mistake.

Assuming they’re not all armed with AK-47s and rocket launchers, the military’s role there will be to assist border patrol in spotting illegal border crossings. They will almost certainly not participate in apprehending them unless the force is so great that true military action is required.

Leftists will argue that this is an attempt at intimidating members of the caravan. They’re absolutely right. What they get wrong is believing there’s no need to intimidate them. If this is going to be an orderly and safe experience for people on both sides of the border, including the caravan itself, then intimidation is necessary. Otherwise, we may see something similar to what Mexico saw today.

Watch this video of a 2nd migrant caravan trying to breach the Mexican border

http://noqreport.com/2018/10/29/watch-video-2nd-migrant-caravan-trying-breach-mexican-border/We’ve been saying for weeks that if the large migrant caravan that’s heading towards the United States border is allowed to enter, it would spark new caravans to form weekly. What we didn’t anticipate was that they’d be sparked by the first caravan’s ability to breach the Mexican border first.

In other words, it seems they believed it would be harder to get into Mexico than to get into America.

Mexico repelled an attempted invasion by the second caravan. During the attempted breach, a Honduran migrant was shot and killed, though Mexican officials deny the shots were fired by them. That should worry us all.

Even if most in the caravan have peaceful, positive intentions, a military presence is necessary to keep things from getting out of hand. Critics of the move need to back off. They have no clear argument against deploying troops to the border.

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Military

Pentagon is looking for a cheap solution to friendly fire

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Pentagon is looking for a cheap solution to friendly fire

It’s bad enough when the enemy is attacking you. It’s even worse when you have to watch your back for friendly fire. In the convoluted war zones the United States often finds itself in, there are challenges distinguishing between friends and foes.

The Pentagon wants to fix this problem and they’re asking for solutions. They’ve commissioned a call for personal identification technology that will allow friendly soldiers and their vehicles to be easily identified from a distance while not making them easier targets for the enemy.

The Pentagon Wants To Stop U.S. Troops From Shooting Our Allies

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/pentagon-wants-stop-us-troops-shooting-our-allies-34382Phase I of the project will be a feasibility study to determine what current technology is capable of providing. Phase II will call for a prototype Partner Force Identification Friend or Foe device. SOCOM says there could be spin-off applications for U.S. law enforcement, border patrol and search and rescue teams.

Unfortunately, this project may only solve part of the problem, as shown by a recent incident in which a U.S. general was wounded by an Afghan government soldier who apparently was a Taliban sympathizer. This device may protect allied troops from American fire, but it won’t protect American soldiers from the fire of their “allies.”

It isn’t just about cost-savings. Arguably more important is the technology’s ability to be implemented quickly with a low level of technical understanding. Some of our allies are not accustomed to having identifying technology on them.

As noted in the story, we will have an easier time with technology that helps us identify friends than generating solutions to allow friends to identify us. One problem at a time, I suppose.

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