Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Anne Applebaum over at Slate makes a simple and concise case for where international responsibility for North Korea’s continued intransigence lies:

“Blame China”

From the article:

“There is one significant country, after all, that has the military, economic, and political power not only to pressure North Korea to discard its bomb but to topple its regime altogether.

That very large superpower is, of course, China… Beijing could bring North Korea into line tomorrow—if it really wanted to”…

First question: Why don’t they want to?

And a darker question I haven’t heard anyone ask…

Since the DPRK’s first test, there has been a lot of interconnected speculation as to whether or not the test was a success and how big the bomb yield “should” have been. Much of the groundwork for this speculation was based on intelligence estimates of the limits of the DPRK’s bomb-making technology. Dogma stated Korea’s expertise was very limited; hence, evaluation was based on the assumption Korean bomb makers could only make a fairly simple bomb, which meant it had to be of a certain minimum size and yield.

Hence, when the expected multi-kiloton blast turned out to be much smaller, we were treated to a week of speculation that either the bomb wasn’t a nuke – a fake, perhaps - or it was a dud, or perhaps a partial dud… Finally on the 16th the US government confirmed the DPRK did in fact set off a bomb:

“U.S. Confirms North Korea Set Off Nuclear Explosion”,2933,221182,00.html

Still, the assumptions held, and the dogma remained unchallenged:

“The official said that the North Korean device was believed to be roughly the equivalent of 200 tons (181 metric tons) of TNT, suggesting to analysts that it was probably a partial failure. Experts in and out of government had expected a detonation of at least several thousand tons.”

Fatal errors often arise from obsolete assumptions…

Once there was a Pakistani scientist, Abdul Qadeer Khan, who founded a little enterprise… “Bombs R Us,” so to speak… Khan’s stock in trade was technology – some of it was physical but most of it was the equally dangerous informational variety.

If our government knows for certain who bought what at Bombs R Us, they aren’t telling “we the people”…

But the customer list included Iran, Libya, and the DPRK. – while the products list likely included some very good plans for very small nukes.

Is it possible? I haven’t read anyone else addressing this possibility. What if their “dud” wasn’t? The yield would have been right on the low edge of a small bomb.

And would our government conceal this – if they could???

Did Howdy-Doody have wooden balls???


It is assumed that although Korea has missiles, including the recently crash tested long range Taepo-dong-2, a nuke wouldn’t be any good to the DPRK because any design they could come up with would be far too large for even the Taepo-dong-2. So short of smuggling, the only way they could deliver their bomb would be in the back of an old truck, which pretty much limits the targets to Seoul and the troops on the DMZ.

It is also assumed the bomb used plutonium scavenged from the spent fuel of their recently reactivated reactor complex. Within that larger assumption are collateral ones: How much was available, and how well they could separate out the useful isotopes from the rest. “How well” bears not only on how much but also how small – a smaller bomb needs purer separations. Purer separations require better centrifuges and chemical process controls –especially centrifuges.

It is assumed the DPRK DID NOT obtain really first-class centrifuges or centrifuge designs from Bombs R Us…

Perhaps I’m chasing ghosts here but if so I would like to hear it from Ghostbusters. Conventional wisdom holds the DPRK has enough material and the appropriate technology to build 8 or 9 large, crude bombs that might or might not work and couldn’t be delivered against a strategic target in any case.

The bombs are therefore something between a gesture and a suicidal urge – kind of a National suicide by cop…

Even Korea’s opting to spread their technology wouldn’t mean much, since so much better is easily available.

But if this is otherwise… 8 or 9 bombs might suddenly be 10 or even 20 times that number of smaller, deliverable weapons useful not only as a fatalist’s deterrent but also as tactical weapons one might actually use on a battlefield.

Perhaps that explains China’s failure to act. Perhaps swatting this hornet’s nest isn’t worth chancing the sting to the rulers in Beijing… Or perhaps not all scenarios including a really nuclear-armed Korea displease the Communist leviathan…

In any case, let’s hope we know more in 20 days. It would be nice to take this bit of ire to the polls November 7th…

Suckered again.

I was reading the latest blog entry and thinking to myself "wow, at last, a cogent post without the ridiculous partisanship, I cant believe it.... ok Im basically all the way through and this is really reasonably done"

But of course that was not to be. Ending with the "take it to the polls" brings back the familiar left wing partisanship of which anyone who reads this blog is now all too familiar.

The North Korea situation is probably the most hilarious of all the "its George Bush's fault" arguments. Lets get this straight: Carter goes over and brokers probably the most inane deal ever, the "Agreed Framework". Gee whiz, the North Koreans lie to him and brake the deal by continuing to enrich uranium. Who'd have thunk it? I mean generally guys who run totalitarian states were always straight shooters with Carter. Well except for the whole Ayatollah fiasco when Carter wrote the infamous "one man of God to another" letter. Oh yeah and then I guess there was the whole Sandanista thing. Man did I love the depressed look on Carters face when he supervised the election that threw the totalitarians he loved out of office. But hey, that was all Regan's fault.

Anyhooo, with this one it looks really silly to blame Bush, Democrats, Republicans or even Clinton for that matter. The North Koreans effectively broke the "Agreed Framework" long before Bush was in office. Clinton played nice nice with them and they cheated on the deal. Bush played tough guy with them and they continued to the point where they now have the bomb. Anyone who thinks the North Koreans would not have developed the bomb had Kerry or Al Gore been elected is smoking something.

Of course all this does prompt the most pertinent question of all: If one believes the party line so completely, does it then follow that they stand stead fast with Carter when he claimed that rabbit he clubbed to death really was attacking the canoe he was in? Hey who knows, I mean Carter cant tell a ruthless dictator from a hole in the ground but maybe he has a keen sense of viciousness in bunnies? Anyway, its really ridiculous to think that our elections have any effect on the sanity of Kim Jong Il. Trust me on this one, you could have Nancy Pelosi running the house, Hillary as president, and even bring back Ron Dellums to head the Armed Services Committee and you still aint gonna get a nice and cozy Kim Jong Il. How do I know this? Well, he kills and tortures his own people, that's a good clue. Jimmy baby, can you hear me?
r Huse...

If you blame the Dems, then take that ire into the election... This can be interpreted as an equal opprotunity failure, dipshit.

Your problem is obvious. You are so partisan you can't even read a neutral line without sensing an attack.

Which is becomming very common among Republicans today. I think it means they sense they are going down fighting.
Ok, then this is a case of wildly incorrect word usage then.

Here is the quote:

"Let's hope we know more in 20 days. It would be nice to take this bit of ire to the polls November 7th"

Ire means anger, dissatisfaction. In the context of your past posts, October 9 in particular, it would simply be incorrect to read that sentence as meaning "take this ire and keep the status quo with Republicans in charge of both houses". That would not really be an expression of ire, given your stated opposition to Republicans. Finally, given your support of the Democrats in, one would hardly think you would find it "nice" if ire was expressed at the Dems by re-electing the Republicans.

Sorry, that's pretty much a QED on that one. It was a partisan closing, clearly intended as such.

Your second paragraph is also weak, since I do say right off the bat that I honestly did find your post cogent and not ridiculously partisan. I actually meant that sincerely. My expression of surprise is hardly unfounded given that most of your posts are quite partisan, often by your own admission. You probably should have taken that into account.

Look, there really isn't anything wrong with the ire statement. I think you should stand by it. There also isn't anything wrong with partisanship. But please, don't think everyone but you is an idiot. Trying to weasel out of a statement that can only be taken one way is really silly.

By the way, I do thank you for the use of the word "dipshit". I did give me a chuckle as I haven't heard that term in years. It pretty much validated my point. If nothing else it certainly hurt yours. I do thank you for that. Cheers!
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