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North Korea launches another missile, escalates aggressions

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North Korea launches another missile escalates aggressions

North Korea launched another missile today just before 7am local time. The missile was launched from Sunan near Pyongyang and flew eastward over Hokkaido in Japan. This comes two weeks after reports of a hydrogen bomb test. Yesterday, they threatened to “sink” Japan and turn the United States into “ashes” following harsher United Nations sanctions.

Instead of backing down, North Korean leader Kim Jong un appears to be ramping up his aggression. Threats haven’t worked. Negotiations from China haven’t worked. Sanctions, apparently, will not work, either. This puts the United States and all of east Asia in a poor situation. How do you deal with someone who may have nuclear weapons, the ability to deliver them, and a threatening posture that appears poised to strike at any moment?

Most of conservative media is currently focused on Donald Trump, Chuck Schumer, and Nancy Pelosi. Some are watching Bernie Sanders and single-payer healthcare. Ben Shapiro speaking in Berkeley is certain to be interesting. With all this happening, we cannot take our eyes off the existential threat that could trigger a nuclear war on the whims of an unstable man.

Perspectives

North Korea fires another missile Pyongyang South Korea Japan | David Choi, Business Insider

http://www.businessinsider.com/north-korea-fires-missile-near-pyongyang-south-korea-japan-2017-9In response to the latest provocation, South Korea is reportedly conducting a ballistic missile drill in the East Sea. South Korean President Moon Jae-in and the country’s National Security Council will be holding an emergency meeting in response to the launch.

 

North Korea’s nuclear and missile program moving ‘faster than expected,’ expert says | Greg Paikot, Fox News

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/09/14/north-koreas-nuclear-and-missile-program-moving-faster-than-expected-expert-says.html“They are moving forward very fast,” leading Seoul-based North Korea expert Andrei Lankov said about North Korea’s nuclear and missile program. “Much faster than expected.”

 

US nuke commander ‘assumes’ North Koreans tested H-bomb | Robert Burns, Washington Post

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/us-nuke-commander-assumes-nkoreans-tested-h-bomb/2017/09/14/9727cd10-9995-11e7-af6a-6555caaeb8dc_story.html?utm_term=.faa1c3c862aaAir Force Gen. John E. Hyten, commander of Strategic Command, told reporters that while he was not in a position to confirm it, he assumes from the size of the underground explosion and other factors that it was a hydrogen bomb — which is a leap beyond the fission, or atomic, bombs North Korea has previously tested.

 

North Korea: the US should be “beaten to death like a rabid dog” – Vox

https://www.vox.com/world/2017/9/14/16306772/north-korea-united-states-japan-south-korea-trump-rabid-dog-threat“Let’s reduce the US mainland into ashes and darkness,” said a spokesperson for the Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, which oversees North Korea’s foreign affairs and propaganda, as reported by the state-run Korean Central News Agency. He even said the US should “be beaten to death as a stick is fit for a rabid dog.”

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Final Thoughts

This is not a situation that’s going to go away. The administration needs to send a message to North Korea that doesn’t go through the United Nations. The message needs to be clear and away from the public eye as taunting would be the wrong move. Kim Jong un needs to be allowed to tone it down without losing face. If we don’t address this immediately, there will be an attack. It’s just a matter of time.

Military

Entire F-35 fleet grounded until fuel tubes inspected

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Entire F-35 fleet grounded until fuel tubes inspected

Following a crash last month in South Carolina of a F-35 fighter jet, the United States military has grounded the entire fleet. The suspected problem, faulty fuel tubes, must be inspected before the fleet will be brought back into combat duty.

F-35 jets: US military grounds entire fleet

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-45827795“If suspect fuel tubes are installed, the part will be removed and replaced. If known good fuel tubes are already installed, then those aircraft will be returned to flight status.

“Inspections are expected to be completed within the next 24 to 48 hours.”

The aircraft, which uses stealth technology to reduce its visibility to radar, comes in three variants.

Each F-35 costs around $100 million. Expect the military to move quickly as the aircraft is crucial in the air defense of the nation, giving us complete air superiority regardless of the threat.

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Russia to send advanced weapons to Syria to fight Israel

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Russia to send advanced weapons to Syria to fight Israel

After last week’s downing of a Russian Il-20 surveillance plane by Syrian air defense, Moscow has promised to send it’s advanced S-300 air defense system. The Russians blamed Israel for the downed aircraft.

Russia blames Israel for Syria shooting down its spy plane

https://noqreport.com/2018/09/18/russia-blames-israel-syria-shooting-spy-plane/This is troublesome for one reason and extremely concerning for another. It’s troublesome because it likely means Russia will want more direct involvement in Syria’s defense. When weapons it supplied are used to take down its own aircraft, the practical and predictable response is to either downgrade involvement or ramp it up. Russia will likely do the latter.

It’s extremely concerning because of the clear threat made to Israel. “Commensurate measures” can be read in many ways, but based on Russia’s recent history this incident will likely be used as a get-out-of-jail free card for them to use at the right moment against Israel. How that manifests remains to be seen.

While Russians are denying that the system is targeting any nation in particular, they know Israel is the only nation that regularly flies into Syria to attack weapons depots intended for use against the Jewish state.

Russia to send S-300 missile defence systems to Syria

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/09/russia-send-300-missile-defence-systems-syria-180924093518745.html“According to information of our military experts, the reason (behind the downing) were premeditated actions by Israeli pilots which certainly cannot but harm our relations,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.

However, the Kremlin said the installation of S-300 was aimed at increasing safety of Russian military and “not directed at any third country”.

My Take

Russia is playing with fire in more ways than one. The S-300 system is designed as a multi-stage air defense system capable of changing the game in the Middle East. Israel had demanded they not be installed in Syria after the initial agreement was made by Russia in 2013, but last week’s incident changed things.

What Russia cannot afford is further antagonizing the west. If the result of this leads to more attacks on Israel because they weren’t able to stop them in Syria, it is likely America will step in with countermeasures for Israel to use against the S-300. This will lead to escalations neither country wants.

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Russia blames Israel for Syria shooting down its spy plane

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Russia blames Israel for Syria shooting down its spy plane

A Russian Il-20 surveillance plane was shot down off the coast of Syria by anti-aircraft weapons that were attempting to target Israeli F-16s. Fifteen Russians were killed in the attack.

Russia is blaming Israel for it, claiming it was their attack near a Russian base that resulted in the downed aircraft.

Russia blames Israel after Syria kills 15 in Il-20 plane in air battle

https://www.businessinsider.com/russia-blames-israel-after-syria-killed-15-downing-an-il-20-in-air-battle-2018-9“The Israeli pilots used the Russian plane as cover and set it up to be targeted by the Syrian air-defense forces,” Russian media reported the Russian Defense Ministry as saying. “As a consequence, the Il-20, which has radar cross section much larger than the F-16, was shot down by an S-200 system missile.”

“As a result of the irresponsible actions of the Israeli military, 15 Russian service personnel perished. This absolutely does not correspond to the spirit of Russian-Israeli partnership,” the Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told Russian state media, Reuters noted.

“We reserve the right to take commensurate measures in response,” Konashenkov said.

My Take

This is troublesome for one reason and extremely concerning for another. It’s troublesome because it likely means Russia will want more direct involvement in Syria’s defense. When weapons it supplied are used to take down its own aircraft, the practical and predictable response is to either downgrade involvement or ramp it up. Russia will likely do the latter.

It’s extremely concerning because of the clear threat made to Israel. “Commensurate measures” can be read in many ways, but based on Russia’s recent history this incident will likely be used as a get-out-of-jail free card for them to use at the right moment against Israel. How that manifests remains to be seen.

Russia wants to establish a stronger relationship with Israel, but Trump’s presidency has made that less likely. Just as President Obama pushed Israel towards Russia, President Trump is pulling them back away. This makes for an extremely interesting situation, especially with the need for Israel to proactively defend itself from terrorism and military efforts against it.

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