Cynical Synapse

Sat, 06 Aug 2011

Seriously? North Korea Heads Non-proliferation Effort

fox done guarding the henhouse

Talk about the proverbial fox guarding the henhouse. North Korea assumed the presidency of the Conference on Disarmament today. The presidency rotates alphabetically among the 65 participating countries for 4-week terms. Ri Jang Gon—deputy to North Korean Ambassador to the UN in Geneva So Se Pyong, now chairing the Conference—had this to say to the body:

The DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] remains consistent in its support for total and complete elimination of nuclear weapons in the world and is fully committed to this goal.

Really? North Korea has proven that it’s not trustworthy. They are, obviously, actively pursuing nuclear weapons capabilities, to include missile delivery systems.

Conference on Disarmament

As the Council on Disarmament plenary session opened, Canada boycotted the session and no less than 28 groups protested. Not surprisingly, the North Koreans criticized Canada’s boycott. But, as U.N. Watch’s director Hillel Neuer said:

Allowing an international outlaw to oversee international arms control efforts is just plain wrong. North Korea is a ruthless regime that menaces its neighbors and starves its own people, and should not be granted the propaganda coup of heading a world body dedicated to peace.

While the propaganda point certainly has merit, this is really mostly meaningless. You see, it seems it’s time to recognize North Korea is part of the nuclear club.

sign not in use

It’s apparent the Conference on Disarmament hasn’t done anything substantive for years, maybe even a decade. Perhaps, as the UN considers budget cuts, they UN should consider eliminating the Conference on Disarmament.


Fri, 26 Nov 2010

Each North Korean Leader Gets Nuttier than the Last

Kim Jong-un with his generals

North Korea’s heir apparent hasn’t risen to power yet, but some believe Kim Jung-un behind recent North Korean saber rattling. If so, Jung-un is an even looser cannon than Kim Jong-il, his father. In any case, Pyongyang is not lieing very well. Per usual, they’re blaming South Korea and the US.

Pyongyang is certainly ratcheting up the tensions in the region. The North fired artillery at South Korea’s Yeonpyeong Island twice in the last week. The first attack killed two South Korean Marines and two civilians. These events follow, by less than a week, North Korea’s unveiling of gas centrifuges at Yongbyon, their nuclear research facilities. Sanctions are obviously not working.

North Korean centrifuge plant

We know the centrifuge plant exists because Dr. Siegfried Hecker of Stanford University, and two other US scientists, were invited by the North Koreans to see it. According to Heckler, the North Koreans have installed 2,000 centrifuges. They are thumbing their noses at the West and proving they have enrichment capability.

After these latest provocations, a series that began with the North Korean sinking of ROKS Cheonan, killing 46 sailors aboard the South Korean Navy ship. In response to the shellings, the US and South Korea have scheduled military maneuvers. The US dispatched the carrier USS George Washingtion and other warships. In response, North Korea says the region is on the brink of war.

Kim Jong-il doll

Unfortunately, the US lacks a clear North Korean strategy, tending to rely on China to apply pressure on the fruitcake regime. In all likelihood, however, North Korea’s actions have Chinese approval. If not, China would slap it upside the head because of the dangers Pyongyang’s rogue actions represent to the region.

Before the Iraq War, I was more concerned about Kim Jong-il than I ever was about Saddam Hussein. And I still am. Now, with proven nuclear capability, Pyongyang must be shut down. China’s not going to stop North Korea. Sending the carrier task force to the South China Sea is a good starting show of force. The US should build up forces in South Korea and President Obama should call for development of war plans in the event North Korea attacks again.

North Korean missiles

Some have advocated placing tactical nuclear weapons in South Korea. While I admit this is appealing, there are more reasons not to deploy nuclear weapons on the Korean penninsula. In any case, the carrier group provides a nuclear-capable response in the region.

As much as anyone may want to avoid the hard choice, it has become apparent North Korea’s nuclear program must be destroyed. That requires military action. Diplomacy has served only to delay the inevitable and allow North Korea to continue development. They have proven they will not adhere to any agreements. And they gave the green light to military strikes when North Korea abrogated the armistice. Reap what you sow, Kim.

Previously on North Korea:

Tue, 13 Oct 2009

Afghanistan: The Mission is in Serious Jeopardy

Filed under: Global War on Terror, Government, History, Indecision, Military, Politics, Rogue states, Terrorism — cynicalsynapse @ 6:13 am

That’s what Senate Intelligence Committee Chairperson Diane Feinstein (D-CA) said on ABC’s This Week. She added delaying sending more forces puts those already there at greater risk. To host George Stephanopoulos, Feinstein said:

I think General McChrystal, who is one of our very best, if not the best at this, has said a counterterrorism strategy will not work. The president said to us very clearly, just as you said, George, we will not pull out.

Now, if you’re going to stay, you have to have a way of winning. The question is, what is that way? And I think the counterinsurgency strategy, which means protecting the people, not shooting from afar, but securing, taking, holding, and providing security for a period of time is really critical.

So, Feinstein is shooting down Vice President Joe Biden’s call to scale back the Afghan theater to special forces and Predators. On CNN’s State of the Union, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said much the same thing. “I think the great danger now is a half measure sort of (to) try to please all ends of the political spectrum,” McCain remarked. He added the Biden approach “would be the counter-terrorism strategy that we attempted in Iraq under (former Defense Secretary Donald) Rumsfeld and Gen. (George) Casey. It didn’t succeed.”

Michigan’s Sen. Carl Levin (D), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, appeared on CBS’ Meet the Press. He said, “[T]he mistake going back to that last question I believe that was made in Afghanistan was taking our eye off that ball. Not going after bin Laden when we had him where we wanted him.” Levin is calling for dilly-dallying and coming up with the right strategy. “But now I think it would be a mistake for us to do anything other than to look for ways to succeed in Afghanistan,” he commented. Seems to me Feinstein summed it up pretty good:

I think we need to look for those warlords that we can work with, those Pashtuns who want to work for stability, for good, solid governance. I don’t think we can make the country into a Jeffersonian democracy, but I do think you — you’ve got to stabilize this country.

You leave this country, and the Taliban are increasing all of the time. They’re taking over more. It will have a dramatic impact on Pakistan one day. I really believe that.

Occasional references to the Vietnam War are used to make the case for pulling out of Afghanistan. The problem in that conflict is what we are seeing now: a lack of political will. The politicians didn’t listen to the military experts and the war was lost. The lesson there is actually to give the commanders in the field what they need to win. Politicians have been reticent to do that from the very beginning when Rumsfeld fired Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Eric Shinseki. The Chief blasphemed the US needed 150,000 to secure the peace after toppling Hussein’s regime in Iraq. Seems history bore that out.

McCain’s take on what President Obama needs to do is pretty straight-forward: give Gen. Stanley McChrystal the 40,000 troops he’s asking for. “To disregard the requirements that have been laid out and agreed to by Gen. (David) Petraeus and Admiral (Mike) Mullen would be an error of historic proportions,” McCain said. Why doesn’t Obama get this?

The significance of this? Need I remind anyone the attacks on the Twin Towers and Pentagon were launched from Afghanistan?

UPDATE: Obama Decision in “Coming Weeks”

OMG! Is he serious? The Commander-in-Chief said he’ll make his decision on Afghanistan strategy in “the coming weeks.” Say what? What are the Joes on the ground supposed to do between now and then? How is McChrystal supposed to come up with any plans that support the future warfight until he knows what direction Obama’s going to go in?

This isn’t rocket science, folks. We’re either in it to win it or we’re not. I know this and I haven’t seen the intel reports. If we want to win, we’re burning daylight. If we want to give up, then we’ll be handing nuclear-armed Pakistan to the Taliban. If you think that’s a good outcome, what are you doing here in the first place? Did I mention the extremist Taliban and Al-Queda seek nothing less than the total annihilation of our way of life?

Update: Won’t Rush Afghanistan Decision

Mon, 26 Oct 2009

It’s been a month since Gen. Stanley McChrystal asked for 40,000 more troops and President Obama still doesn’t have a plan! Today, 26 October, he told military personnel at Jacksonville Naval Air Station he would “never rush the solemn decision of sending you into harm’s way.” Hello! Troops are already in harm’s way! In fact, 14 US personnel were killed today in Afghanistan.

As retired Gen. Anthony Zinni said, time’s up on the Afghanistan decision. Either we want to defeat global terrorism or we don’t. Commit or withdraw. Personally, I’m for doing whatever it takes to wipe out the threat to the US and western civilization.

Mon, 12 Oct 2009

Columbus Day is Anti-Chavez Day

Filed under: Behavior, Economy, Government, holidays, Hugo Chavez, Oil, Paradoxes, Politics, Rogue states, Uncategorized — cynicalsynapse @ 7:26 am

Although I tend to support the Leif Erikson discovery of America theory, Columbus’ “rediscovery” certainly brought about the modern era for the two continents. There is a wide varIety of experiences as a result of this. It includes the English east coast of North America, the Spanish influence in southern North America and South America, some French influence, and the Portuguese.

Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez says “Columbus was the spearhead of the biggest invasion and genocide ever seen in the history of humanity.” Never mind that South American culture and economics has its basis in Spanish and Portuguese development of the region. Never mind that much of the so-called genocide has been perpetrated by dictatorial regimes in Central and South America. Columbus isn’t responsible for that. That part is probably not in Chavez’ book.

Chavez doesn’t represent everyone’s view. Still, Chavez, Venezuela’s “duly elected dictator”, seeks to shape South American politics in his own immage. He is trying to reshape Columbus Day as the “Day of Indigenous Resistance“.

Well, screw Chavez! Without Columbus, the Americas would have been backwaters for centuries. Chavez’ issue isn’t with Columbus, it’s with the United states because the US made something of itself. Shame on Chavez for being an apologist.

Thu, 08 Oct 2009

Somali Pirates Repelled, Caught by French Navy

Filed under: Allies, Economy, Global War on Terror, Military, Politics, Rogue states, Terrorism — cynicalsynapse @ 7:12 am

La Somme, a French logistics and flag vessel

There is a lot of irony in the story of the Somali pirates attacking a French naval vessel. The vessel is obviously a military logistics ship; how could the pirates mistake that, even in the dark? After repelling the initial attack, the French gave chase. They captured five pirates after an hour-long chase.

Only in the French Navy could the fueler La Somme also be a command vessel. Don’t get me wrong—modern forces depend on logistics, so tankers are important. I’m just having a hard time envisoning an admiral being happy commanding the fleet from a fuel tanker.

Still, the have a leading role in the EU’s anti-piracy operations. Their effort includes warships, as well as La Somme, and today’s events are not their first successes.

While their anti-piracy role is a bit of a surprise to me, France is actually quite engaged in Operation Enduring Freedom. They’ve got troops in Afghanistan and they’ve suffered losses like all participating countries. They’ve earned a new respect from me.

Wed, 07 Oct 2009

Operation Enduring Freedom–8th Anniversary

Filed under: Global War on Terror, Heroes, History, holidays, Military, Patriotism, Rogue states, Terrorism — cynicalsynapse @ 8:35 pm

Today marks the 8th anniversary of the start of Operation Enduring Freedom, the beginning of the Global War on Terror. We are at a key point in whether or not we can be successful in Afghanistan.

Crash into the south tower

It’s criminal the Iraq war overshadowed the fundamental region critical to our national security. Nonetheless, that can’t be allowed to stand in the way of doing the right thing in Afghanistan now. Yes, we need to have a strategy for victory and give the military the means to accomplish it. In this regard, I don’t fault President Obama for taking time to consider the strategy.

But, never forget the attacks of 9-11 were made possible by the Taliban. That is, after all, why Pres. Bush attacked Afghanistan in the first place. Less than a month after the terrorist attacks on US soil and citizens, I might add. This is the cause that resulted in Congress giving Bush carte blanche to wage the War on Terror as he saw fit. Consider, before the next election, which legislators supported the war and which ones now don’t. Those politicians have wavered, but the enemy has not.

Wed, 24 Jun 2009

Nazis Wish They’d Thought of This

Filed under: Behavior, Civil liberties, Oppression, Politics, Rogue states — cynicalsynapse @ 10:02 pm

I’ll bet the Nazis wish they’d thought of the concept of driving motorcycles into dissenting crowds and beating them with batons, nightsticks, truncheons, or clubs.

Sat, 30 May 2009

Axis of Evil Spinning Out of Control

Filed under: Behavior, North Korea, Politics, Rants, Rogue states — cynicalsynapse @ 10:56 am

Kim Jong-Il, North Korea’s dictator, has taken his country off the deep end. While we were enjoying beer and brats over the holiday weekend, the Communist regime successfully tested a nuclear bomb. Not satisfied with just that, North Korea launched two test missiles, one a surface-to-air and the other a surface-to-ship. So, in two days, North Korea demonstrated it was now a member of the nuclear club and that it had a delivery capability. With Iran’s nuclear huffing and puffing, North Korea’s actions underscore the axis of evil concept.

Naturally, there was world outrage and the UN Security Council condemned the tests. So, why did North Korea conduct the atomic explosion? How about proof of concept or negotiating position? Or maybe just just mocking Obama. The proof-of-concept ties into what is probably the larger concern, however. North Korea probably won’t use nukes on South Korea; China probably wouldn’t stand for that. But, North Korea could sell the technology, which is probably the bigger concern.

Since the tests, South Korea signed on to the US-led Proliferation Security Initiative. North Korea called it an act of war and said it’s no longer bound by the 1953 armistice. Kinda seems to prove the point, doesn’t it?

Although the level of commitment is less clear, the 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council denounced North Korea’s actions. Big woopie do! No better than Secretary of State Clinton’s comment “there are consequences.”

Ever the spoiled brat, North Korea said sanctions would trigger “further self-defense measures”. There is discussion about the effectiveness of sanctions, considering average North Koreans are practically starving and living in abject poverty. The key is to employ effective sanctions; there are some.

There’s been much huffing and puffing on the situation, including claims North Korea’s test was inconclusive. There’s been no shortage of North Korean rhetoric and calls for tougher sanctions. At least it seems China and Russia are in agreement this time. It sure took them long enough to realize what a nutjob Kim Jong-Il is and how out of control Pyongyang is.

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