The World Holds Its Breath


Justin Smith quite correctly alerts readers that nuclear peace in our time with North Korea is unlikely without trustworthy verification of any signed agreement. I concur, and you should too.

 

JRH 5/8/18 [updated 4:23 PM CT – again updated 7:47 PM CT with added source links Justin Smith]

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The World Holds Its Breath

Kim’s Word Means Nothing

 

By Justin O. Smith

Sent 5/5/2018 11:00 PM

 

North Korea and Kim Jong Un are far from “honorable”, and President Trump’s administration and everybody else must not lose their minds in a premature adulation and singing Trump’s praises, in anticipation of a Nobel Peace Prize, before they taste the proof in the pudding. Yes, it is true that President Trump’s tough talk and his tight economic sanctions on North Korea have captured Kim’s attention and seemingly renewed his interest in playing nice in the realm of international affairs and abandoning his nuclear weapons program; but, further success is highly unlikely as the historical record shows, despite the short memories of the American people and their hopes that this president and the U.S. will not “get played” once more.

 

Kim Jong Un is far from an ordinary dictator. He has murdered his own senior military officers for the slightest of perceived insults, he executed his uncle and he had his brother assassinated. And just a few short months ago, he was threatening U.S. cities and territories with nuclear annihilation.

 

In a surreal moment, America witnessed North Korea’s evil Little Dictator and South Korean President Moon Jae In shake hands on April 27th in  Panmunjom, as Kim first stepped across the demarcation line into South Korea and Moon reciprocated and stepped into North Korea; and, they later signed the ‘Panmunjom Agreement’ this day, that stated in part, “there will be no more war on the Korean Peninsula and thus a new era of peace has begun.”

 

Who could have imagined six months ago, that the world would see the leaders of North and South Korea embrace or hear South Korean President Moon Jae In recommend President Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize?

 

President Trump does deserve credit for taking North Korea to task for its evil acts and malfeasance, such as the horrific torture that resulted in Otto Warmbier’s death — a slow murder that culminated weeks after the torture hollowed out the mind of this young man, whose only “crime” was seeking a souvenir of his visit. He also ordered the U.S Treasury Department to clamp down on North Korea through economic sanctions, and he motivated the United Nations Security Council to do the same, in response to an assortment of aggressive North Korean missile tests.

 

However, President Trump’s negotiators, the American people and the international coalition overseeing this matter of North Korean denuclearization should not fool itself with high expectations and see successes where none exist, until they are in fact verified. The world has been here with North Korea on numerous other occasions.

 

In May of 1972, a similar agreement was reached between the Korean Bureau CIA director, Lee Hu Rak, and Kim Family Regime cadre members in Pyongyang, but nothing came from it. In 1989, Pyongyang held out the hope of a nuclear free Korean Peninsula, and afterwards, it began requiring conditions from the George H.W. Bush administration and won one concession after another, sending the message that America could be played.

 

There was also the Joint Declaration of the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in 1992, which was obviously discarded by North Korea. North Korea ultimately refused to sign a “safeguards” agreement, and it perpetrated mass deception, as it designated its nuclear plants as something they were not.

 

The Clinton administration essentially abandoned all efforts towards inspections. Under Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, the United States gave away the farm, appeasing North Korea [PDF pages 15,16 & 20] through shipments of food and oil, essentially speaking softly and carrying a big carrot.

 

Trump’s team must deal with the facts that North Korea’s production of fissile material is continuing at a furious pace, and according to the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, North Korea is producing enough material for twelve nuclear weapons a year, also detailed by Adam Mount and Ankit Panda on April 21st in The Atlantic.  Also, the U.S. must note that in 2012, North Korea simply reclassified its nuclear missile tests as space launches to circumvent its 2012 agreement. Even now, there are indications that North Korea is continuing work on its most advanced ICBM, the Hwasong-15.

 

Although Kim did state that nuclear missile tests would be suspended for the foreseeable future, Western media missed the core of Kim’s message. Kim’s moratorium is, in his mind, the next logical step to a fully operational nuclear weapons program, not a concession to the United States before any comprehensive negotiations over his nuclear program. Not once has Kim uttered the word “denuclearization”.

 

Even President Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Defense, William Perry was wary of any North Korean promises, telling the New York Times: “I’d rather [face the risk] of war than face the risk of even greater catastrophe two or three years from now.

 

Just as with past regimes, Kim’s word and signature on paper mean absolutely nothing. He can break any moratorium or any agreement and treaty, just as Pyongyang did in 2006, when it broke a 1999 moratorium on missile launches. His pledge to a temporary moratorium on his nuclear program and halting the proliferation of nuclear technology is not worth the paper it is printed on without any verification, and Pres. Trump and his negotiators cannot lose sight of this fact, going forward.

 

In short, America can look for North Korea to continue trying to separate South Korea from its alliance with the U.S. and eventually absorbing South Korea under Pyongyang’s hardcore communist rule, while North Korea will also continue to produce and test more nuclear missiles of multiple range capabilities and warheads. And, despite vague statements from North Korean state media and optimism from South Korea’s leaders, there is little hard evidence that North Korea is truly interested in abandoning its nuclear weapons program for security, economic and political concessions.

 

The reunification of the two Korea’s would hold even more significant regional and global geopolitical ramifications, that would heavily bear on U.S. vital national security interests, already on National Security Advisor John Bolton’s radar and contingency plans. The U.S. would most certainly be asked to withdraw from Korea, which would coincide  with China and their current efforts aimed at expelling the U.S. from the Pacific Theater, as such movements are also ongoing in both the Philippines and Okinawa. The withdrawal of U.S. soldiers from Korea would be a strategic grand slam for China, an emerging and expanding totalitarian nation that views America’s presence in the Pacific as an impediment to their long-term agenda to become a regional, and then global, hegemon.

 

These are interesting and dangerous times, and the only good solution to this entire mess is actual regime change in North Korea or the reunification of a non-nuclear Korea under South Korea’s auspices, guidance and democratic republic form of government. Whatever President Trump and his team of negotiators do, Trump must hold the line and protect America’s vital security interests first and foremost, wherever those interests are found, and he must be prepared to walk away from any deal that does not have North Korea giving up its nuclear weapons program in a matter of months. This is the time for strong, clear, no-nonsense meaning in America’s message to all parties concerned, as the world holds its breath, watches and waits.

 

By Justin O. Smith

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Edited by John R. Houk

Text embraced by brackets and all source links by J.O. Smith and the Editor.

 

© Justin O. Smith

 

 

What if Japan became a Military Power Again?


Imperial Japan Re-Armed

John R. Houk

© December 27, 2013

 

Japan embarked on military campaigns in the 1930s to become an Asian political hegemon and to obtain the natural resources to maintain hegemony. The beginning of the end for Japan’s hegemonic agenda occurred when the Japanese Imperial Military attacked the U.S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor Hawaii with the design to cripple the U.S. Navy in the Pacific. Military aggression was bad enough; however even worse things than aggression took place against innocent civilians and Prisoner of War (POW) personnel. Civilians of China, Korea, Philippines and other Asian peoples were rampaged, put into slave labor, raped, murdered, tortured and a lot of Korean gals were drafted to be pleasure girl prostitutes for the Japanese Imperial Military personnel. The American, British and the Asian nations lucky enough to have any kind of military were also tortured and brutalized as POWs.

 

Because of European Theatre of WWII and the NAZI implemented Holocaust, most Americans are cognizant of the atrocities particularly against the Jews and other groups of people that were considered genetically inferior to the NAZI super race. The Nuremberg War Crimes trials of NAZIS is prominent on documentary channels such as the History Channel and in American entertainment motion pictures. BUT did you know the Japanese treatment of conquered people may have been more brutal in its nature of execution than the Holocaust. Perhaps not as many people died as in the Holocaust (Approximately 6 million Jews and 6 million other people by race and physical limitations).

 

Apparently the Japanese Imperial Military was better at covering their tracks than the NAZIS. Genocide expert R.J. Rummel produces the number genocide victims at the hands of the Japanese to be between 3 MILLION and 10 MILLION. You can find Rummel’s research on Japan’s acts of genocide at “STATISTICS OF DEMOCIDE: Chapter 3; Statistics Of Japanese Democide Estimates, Calculations, And Sources”. Rummel uses the word “Democide” rather genocide. He defines Democide thus:

 

Democide is the murder of any person or people by a government, including genocide, politicide and mass murder. Democide is not necessarily the elimination of entire cultural groups but rather groups within the country that the government feels need to be eradicated for political reasons and due to claimed future threats. According to Rummel, genocide has three different meanings. The ordinary meaning is murder by government of people due to their national, ethnic, racial or religious group membership. The legal meaning of genocide refers to the international treaty on genocide, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. This also includes nonlethal acts that in the end eliminate or greatly hinder the group. Looking back on history, one can see the different variations of democides that have occurred, but it still consists of acts of killing or mass murder. A generalized meaning of genocide is similar to the ordinary meaning but also includes government killings of political opponents or otherwise intentional murder. In order to avoid confusion over which meaning is intended, Rummel created the term democide for the third meaning.[7]

 

The objectives of such a plan of democide include the disintegration of the political and social institutions of culture, language, national feelings, religion, and the economic existence of national groups; the destruction of the personal security, liberty, health, dignity; and even the lives of the individuals belonging to such groups.[8]

 

Rummel defines democide as “the murder of any person or people by a government, including genocide, politicide, and mass murder”. For example, government-sponsored killings for political reasons would be considered democide. Democide can also include deaths arising from “intentionally or knowingly reckless and depraved disregard for life”; this brings into account many deaths arising through various neglects and abuses, such as forced mass starvation. Rummel explicitly excludes battle deaths in his definition. Capital punishment, actions taken against armed civilians during mob action or riot, and the deaths of noncombatants killed during attacks on military targets so long as the primary target is military, are not considered democide.[9]

 

You can read the entire article from Wikipedia (Democide; Wikipedia)

 

With this information in hand I have to ask you. Did you know that Japan has a National Shrine dedicated to their war dead that reaches back to 1867? The place honoring Japan’s war dead is called the Yasukuni Shrine.

 

Yasukuni Shrine … is a Shinto shrine located in Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan. It was founded by Emperor Meiji to commemorate individuals who had died in service of the Empire of Japan during the Meiji Restoration.[1] The shrine’s purpose has been expanded over the years; the deities enshrined at the Honden shrine within Yasukuni currently include more than 2,466,000 individuals who died in conflicts spanning from the Boshin War of 1867 to the end of World War II,[2] and the adjacent Chinreisha “spirit-pacifying” shrine commemorates all of the dead from all wars fought worldwide throughout history.[3]The shrine also includes a war museum, Yushukan, which honors Japan’s war dead and presents a pro-Japanese narrative of World War II.[4] (Yasukuni Shrine; Wikipedia)

 

As Americans we can understand honoring our war dead for we do that as well (we just don’t deify our war dead as the Japanese do). That is what Arlington National Cemetery is for in Virginia near Washington DC. The thing that bothers the billion or so Chinese and the Koreans (North and South) and to a certain extent the U.S. government is that Japan buried notorious war criminals at Yasukuni Shrine. The big dog himself, the Japanese Premier during WWII – Hideki Tojo.

 

Here comes the most recent controversy over the Yasukuni Shrine. Yesterday Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe went to the shrine to honor Japan’s war dead in a Shinto religious ritual. On the diplomatic front the official governments of Communist China and South Korea formerly protested vehemently that the highest representative of the Japanese government essentially honored all the Japanese war dead INCLUDING WWII war criminals. The Obama Administration joined his displeasure with the Chinese and South Koreans expressing disappointment with Prime Minister Abe’s display of honor.

 

The AEI organization posted an essay on this situation entitled, “Japan officially enters Cold War with China and Korea”. That article explains that antagonism between these nations (which included nuclear armed North Korea) has been brewing for some time.

 

Here is a snapshot to look at about a brewing new military paradigm emerging among the Asian nations of the Pacific Ocean.

 

Abe’s finance minister Taro Aso, a former prime minister, declared in 2006 that there was nothing wrong with discussing whether Japan should possess nuclear arms. A Japan Times article last month, entitled “Nuclear arms card for Japan,” noted that politicians who had advocated nuclear weapons, officially and unofficially, included former prime ministers—Nobusuke Kishi (Abe’s grandfather), Hayato Ikeda, Eisato Sato, Yasuo Fukuda and Aso.

 

During the election campaign last year, Shintaro Ishihara, who was an LDP member until last year and now leads the extreme nationalist Japan Restoration Party, declared: “It’s high time Japan made simulations of possessing nuclear arms,” saying that it would be a form of deterrent against China. He has previously insisted that Japan had to have nuclear weapons.

 

The same Japan Times article reported that the Japanese government in September 2006 compiled an internal report examining “the possibility of domestically producing nuclear weapons.” A Defence Ministry source told the newspaper that the secret document had been produced by the Foreign Ministry and had aroused serious concerns in the US State Department.

 

According to the article, the report found that it would take three to five years and 200 to 300 billion yen ($US2.2 to 3.3 billion) for Japan to manufacture nuclear weapons. A significant obstacle was the impurity of the plutonium produced in Japan’s commercial power reactors. The Rokkasho reprocessing facility, which has taken more than $US21 billion and two decades to build, would be able to provide weapons-grade plutonium. No date has been set for its start up but the Japan Atomic Energy Commission and the plant’s operator, Japan Nuclear Fuel, say it could be as early as October. However, the Nuclear Regulation Authority has indicated that safety guidelines will not be ready until December.

 

 

In March and April, Washington deliberately inflamed tensions on the Korean Peninsula, provocatively sending nuclear-capable strategic bombers to South Korea, supposedly to counter North Korean threats. The US sought to use the crisis to put pressure on China for economic and strategic concessions, including to rein in Pyongyang.

 

However, the Abe government also exploited the North Korean “threat” to deploy anti-missile systems in Japan, and establish a political climate of fear to justify military rearmament—including potentially with nuclear weapons. The US is directly responsible for creating the conditions for a nuclear arms race in Asia that would enormously heighten the danger of conflict and war. (READ ENTIRETY Is Japan Developing a Nuclear Weapons Program? By Peter Symonds; Global Research; 5/7/13)

 

And Here

 

It became clear at the 28th Annual Conference of the Council on U.S.-Korean Security Studies in Seoul this past week that the DPRK’s recent escalatory rhetoric and other provocations has reinforced the concerns of some South Korean strategists about the credibility of U.S. extended deterrence guarantees in Asia.

 

As the United States becomes vulnerable to a North Korean nuclear strike, the credibility of its extended deterrence guarantees to its Asian allies is called into question. Some South Koreans, including some of the former ROK general officers at the conference, already doubt that the U.S. officials would defend them against a DPRK attack if North Korea could destroy Los Angeles in retaliation. They want to acquire their own national nuclear deterrent, whose use in response to an attack against them would be much more credible than that of a third party.

 

If more South Koreans lose faith in the U.S. willingness or capacity to defend them, or they come to fear that potential foreign aggressors doubt the credibility of U.S. assurances, then South Korea might pursue alternative security policies, including possibly seeking their own nuclear weapons. Such a move could easily prove counterproductive by harming the ROK’s relations with the United States and other countries, resulting in a net decrement to the country’s security.

 

READ THE REST (North Korean Threats Deepen Southern Nuclear Insecurities; By Richard Weitz; The Diplomat; 7/4/13)

 

And Here

 

As China rattles sabers over its newly claimed airspace in the East China Sea directly over Japanese sovereign soil, as reported by the Israeli news portal Arutz Sheva on Dec. 2, 2013, one thing that many international watchers agree would rattle China’s cage would be a militarily-allied and nuclear-armed Japan and Republic of Korea (ROK).

 

Especially a nuclear Japan and ROK independent of U.S. military control.

 

Tensions are still running high since China claimed international airspace over Japan’s Senkaku Islands, the southernmost of the 3,000 islands comprising the Japanese archipelago.

 

READ THE REST (Getting China’s attention: A nuclear-armed Japan and South Korea; Examiner.com; 12/2/13)

 

The picture here is that of a lot of Asian mistrust including the mistrust of U.S. Military capabilities to protect Japan and South Korea from an aggressive China and North Korea. AND YET due to history neither is South Korea entirely trusting with a Japan independent of the USA arming itself with nuclear weapons.

 

I see two things that could happen affecting American National Security Interests.

 

The positive: A nuclear armed Japan and South Korea means a decrease in military defense deterrence as a buffer between South Korea versus China and North Korea as well as a buffer between Japan versus China and North Korea. Lessening the commitment means lessening the U.S. budget as it pertains to the Military policing the Pacific due to our National Interests.

 

The negative: A nuclear armed Japan would flex muscles over land disputes with China and Russia and undoubted retaliate against North Korean adventurism that was not well thought out; such as the sinking of a Japanese commercial or naval vessel. Or perhaps North Korea shooting an airline pertaining to Japanese commercial or military interests. Amazingly a global war could start that has very little to do with Muslim psycho-Caliphate supporters.

 

In essence, any path the USA chooses would be a gamble, hopefully an informed and educated gamble.

 

JRH 12/27/13

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Japan officially enters Cold War with China and Korea

 

By Michael Auslin 

December 26, 2013

Originally National Review Online

American Enterprise Institute

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (C) is led by a Shinto priest as he visits Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo December 26, 2013.Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (C) is led by a Shinto priest as he visits Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo December 26, 2013. 

 

 

 

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe (pronounced “Ah-bay”) has just visited Yasukuni Shrine, Ground Zero for political controversy with China and Seoul. In doing so, he has all but acknowledged that a cold war exists between Japan and its northeast-Asian neighbors China and South Korea. It’s a shot across the bow of both countries, boldly, perhaps recklessly, announcing that Japan will no longer seek better relations on their terms. Nor does he have the support of the United States. Abe is putting Japan on a path of increasing diplomatic self-reliance, but doing so with the belief that it is the right response to continued tensions with Beijing and Seoul. That it will inflame those tensions, he is well aware.

Yasukuni Shrine is somewhat analogous to Arlington National Cemetery, being the religious site where the spirits of Japan’s war dead since 1867 are commemorated. Founded in 1869 across from the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, there are nearly 2.5 million individuals enshrined there. Among them are 14 Class A war criminals from World War II, including wartime premier Hideki Tojo. These individuals were enshrined in 1978, nearly two decades after the first Class B and C war criminals were included in the shrine. Emperor Hirohito, who reigned during the war, refused to visit the shrine after 1978 and the inclusion of Tojo and others.

There was little international controversy about the shrine until 1985, when then–prime minister Yasuhiro Nakasone paid an official visit to offer prayers for the dead. The outcry forced him to abandon plans for future visits, but annual visits by popular prime minister Junichiro Koizumi between 2001 and 2006 again fanned the flames of diplomatic protest. Both Beijing and South Korea have heatedly and vehemently condemned visits to the shrine by any serving Japanese cabinet official, and especially the prime minister. While no doubt feeling true outrage over what they see as attempts to whitewash the memory of the atrocities committed by the Class A war criminals, Chinese and Korean officials have also used the shrine visits as a means of pressuring Japan and keeping it diplomatically isolated in Asia. Contemporary politics have as much to do with the furor over Yasukuni as does the historical record.

Since 2006 no serving Japanese prime minister visited Yasukuni, in part to try and stabilize relations with China and South Korea. Yesterday, a year after taking office and refraining from going to the shrine, Prime Minister Abe made an official visit. The reaction from Beijing and Seoul was swift and expected. According to the BBC, “China called the visit ‘absolutely unacceptable to the Chinese people’, and Seoul expressed ‘regret and anger’.” More surprisingly, and worryingly, the BBC reports that “the US embassy in Tokyo said in a statement it was ‘disappointed’ and that Mr. Abe’s actions would ‘exacerbate tensions’ with Japan’s neighbors.” It was a clear message that Washington doesn’t trust Abe’s judgment and may not see him as a responsible ally.

Both Beijing and Seoul will undoubtedly take comfort in the U.S. pronouncement, seeing it as a signal to pressure Tokyo and continue with their relentless attempts to isolate Japan. South Korean president Park Geun Hye has been particularly vociferous in her anti-Japanese statements, taking the opportunity during the visits of Vice President Biden and Defense Secretary Hagel to publicly chastise, if not embarrass, Japan. For those concerned over Washington’s repeated attempts to restrain Tokyo’s response to China’s provocations in the waters around the disputed Senkaku Islands, the embassy statement will seem yet another instance of the U.S. government undercutting its ally.

The real question is not what China and South Korea will do in response to Abe’s visit. The question is, rather: Why now? Abe is regularly labeled a nationalist and right-winger, by political opponents at home and anti-Japanese voices abroad, in both Asia and America. His plans to increase Japan’s defense budget and lift some of the remaining post-war restrictions on Tokyo’s ability to engage in collective self-defense, as well as undertake some controversial constitutional reforms related to civil liberties, has alarmed critics at home and abroad.

From Abe’s perspective, the trend line in northeast Asia is getting worse. He has been rebuffed for nearly a year by the South Korean president, who has met with the Chinese. Last month, China established a controversial air defense identification zone in the East China Sea that partly overlaps Japan’s own zone over the Senkaku Islands. Instead of a firm American response, Tokyo saw Vice President Biden fail to demand a repeal of the zone during his visit to Beijing. China’s military modernization and growth plan shows no sign of abating, and it is starting to develop sophisticated offensive weapons such as aircraft carriers and stealth fighters.

Thus, rather than start 2014 on the defensive, Abe seems to have decided to take the bit between his teeth. It shows he’s willing to buck his only ally, the United States, and pursue a more independent path. His visit was a message that his administration will not continue to apologize for its history, having done so numerous times in the past. It is also a signal that he will not supplicate for better relations with China and Korea at the expense of what he thinks is in Japan’s best interests. At the outer edge of interpretation, that may well mean a more muscular response to China’s interloping around the Senkaku Islands or moving ahead on strike capabilities that could target North Korea. Combining this with a push for high-level diplomatic talks with Beijing and Seoul could possibly blunt the impact of his visit, but for the foreseeable future, Japan’s relations with China and South Korea will be in a deep freeze.

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What if Japan became a Military Power Again?

John R. Houk

© December 27, 2013

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Japan officially enters Cold War with China and Korea

 

©2013 American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research