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Question: Trump's options?  (Voting closed: Sep 17, 2017, 03:20PM)
Pre-emptive nuclear strike by US - 1 (5%)
Pre-emptive non-nuclear strike by US - 3 (15%)
More tough talk from Trump (bluff) - 3 (15%)
Trade sanctions against China and/or S Korea - 4 (20%)
Relax. This will blow over, not up. - 6 (30%)
No options. - 3 (15%)
Total Voters: 19

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Author Topic: N Korea tests H bomb  (Read 2434 times)
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Ellrod

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« on: Sep 03, 2017, 03:20PM »

On what is possibly the nicest day of the summer - sunny, not too warm - I wake up to read that North Korea has successfully tested an H-bomb 7 times more powerful than the A-bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Moreover, Un is quickly improving his ICBM capability, such that he is capable of hitting the US.

So, what are Trump's options? His prior bellicosity seems not to have much effect. Indeed, Un has in the past few days fired a missile over Japan and conducted the aforesaid nuclear test. What now?

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Graham Martin
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« Reply #1 on: Sep 03, 2017, 03:40PM »

As I see it the only way to stop North Korea is to completely isolate it. China appears not to be fair dinkum about the sanctions and must stop supplying oil. I guess we have to remember that North Korea is China's only ally and they do not want to turn them into an adversary, certainly not with their newfound nuclear capability.

Not sure why you included South Korea in the list.

Australian rhetoric against China's lack of action is certainly getting stronger; the problem being that they are our biggest trading partner and our economy would probably collapse without them.

I would like to see Trump's team trying some real diplomacy with North Korea - preferably without Trump himself involved. I really don't trust him any more than I do Kim.
 
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Grah

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« Reply #2 on: Sep 03, 2017, 03:49PM »

Graham: Trump is talking about ending a trade agreement with S Korea and is complaining about SK "appeasement".
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BGuttman
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« Reply #3 on: Sep 03, 2017, 03:57PM »

I don't see any good options.  We can turn North Korea into a radioactive pit that will remain uninhabitable as long as Fukushima but I don't think that will help -- China and Russia will feel compelled to retaliate.  We can't convince China to rein them in.  I would think the only possibility is subversion, but it's hard to infiltrate the North.
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Bruce Guttman
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« Reply #4 on: Sep 03, 2017, 04:07PM »

If you think them having H-bombs and ICBMs is troubling, imagine when they have impossible-to-track submarines to launch them from anywhere on the globe.

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Robert Holmén

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robcat2075

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« Reply #5 on: Sep 03, 2017, 06:47PM »


Australian rhetoric against China's lack of action is certainly getting stronger; the problem being that they are our biggest trading partner and our economy would probably collapse without them.
 

Remember, that's a two-way need. They need you too. A trade war would be bad for everyone but seriously bad for China internally.

Has post-Mao China ever just cut someone off?  Don't know 

I don't think they've ever done a political revenge trade embargo against a country or anything like the OPEC oil embargo of the 70s. (unless you count the current UN sanctions against N Korea)

Someone correct me if I'm wrong.  Don't know
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Robert Holmén

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« Reply #6 on: Sep 04, 2017, 07:27AM »

The big problem with military intervention of any sort is the fact that China needs NK as a buffer zone against the west. If we start sending in missile strikes, things could escalate very very quickly.

Something has to be done, but it is very dicey. The best scenario would be if somehow, someone assassinates that lunatic (the Korean one, not Trump lol)
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robcat2075

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« Reply #7 on: Sep 04, 2017, 09:12AM »

The NYT notes that this test happened just hours before a significant international meeting in China and that perhaps the test is more about China than the US.

Quote
The confluence of North Korea’s nuclear testing and Mr. Xi’s important public appearances is not a coincidence, analysts said. It is intended to show that Mr. Kim, the leader of a small, rogue neighboring state, can diminish Mr. Xi’s power and prestige as president of China, they said. In fact, some analysts contended that the latest test may have been primarily aimed at pressuring Mr. Xi, not President Trump.

“Kim knows that Xi has the real power to affect the calculus in Washington,” said Peter Hayes, the director of the Nautilus Institute, a research group that specializes in North Korea. “He’s putting pressure on China to say to Trump: ‘You have to sit down with Kim Jong-un.’”

What Mr. Kim wants most, Mr. Hayes said, is talks with Washington that the North Korean leader hopes will result in a deal to reduce American troops in South Korea and leave him with nuclear weapons. And in Mr. Kim’s calculation, China has the influence to make that negotiation happen.


The paradox I sense in all this is that if the US did some sort of regime-change/regime-end strike in NK the workd would be all angry and upset, but if China did it they'd all go, "YES! It's about time!"


But China won't do that. It would be a lot of work just to make the US happier and China doesn't really need that.


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While some Chinese analysts say North Korea should be made to pay a price for its contempt of China, the North’s ally and major trading partner, they were not optimistic that Sunday’s test would change Mr. Xi’s determination to remain above the fray and not get his hands sullied trying to force Mr. Kim to change his ways.

Even the North’s claim that the weapon detonated was a hydrogen bomb that could be mounted on an intercontinental ballistic missile would probably not sway Mr. Xi, they said.

“This sixth nuclear test should force China to do something radical; this will be a political test,” said Cheng Xiaohe, a nuclear expert at Renmin University. “But the mood is not moving that way.”
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Robert Holmén

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« Reply #8 on: Sep 04, 2017, 09:39AM »

NK Is China's puppet. Instead of China threatening its enemies with nukes, it uses NK to do its dirty work, and then claim innocent while it states how awful NK is. Good cop/Bad cop routine in its foreign national affairs.

First off, destroy China's puppet.

Any body that still thinks appeasement works is ...................
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Ellrod

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« Reply #9 on: Sep 04, 2017, 09:41AM »

It's difficult to see China's options. Economic sanctions would starve the DPRK population which, by some accounts, is already starving. Kim Jong-un seems unaffected. If one takes the long view, it is in China's interest to remain on good terms with the DPRK. Who needs angry neighbours? In the long run, it is best to be perceived as a friend, protecting the DPRK from its enemies, than an enemy.

As for China's ongoing dealings with the US, well, with all the talk about the debt ceiling and default, one might ask "Who holds the paper?" i.e. who does the US borrow from? I'm not sure Trump can count on stiffing his creditors, in this case the Chinese, by declaring bankruptcy this time.
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Doghouse Dan

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« Reply #10 on: Sep 04, 2017, 09:49AM »

NK Is China's puppet. Instead of China threatening its enemies with nukes, it uses NK to do its dirty work, and then claim innocent while it states how awful NK is. Good cop/Bad cop routine in its foreign national affairs.

First off, destroy China's puppet.

Any body that still thinks appeasement works is ...................

Dusty, do you really consider the destruction of NK to be a viable option, in light of the retaliations that would be provoked?
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Dan Walker
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Doghouse Dan

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« Reply #11 on: Sep 04, 2017, 09:53AM »

NK Is China's puppet. Instead of China threatening its enemies with nukes, it uses NK to do its dirty work, and then claim innocent while it states how awful NK is. Good cop/Bad cop routine in its foreign national affairs.

First off, destroy China's puppet.

Any body that still thinks appeasement works is ...................

Follow up question:

Do you consider anything short of armed conflict to be appeasement?
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Dan Walker
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Ellrod

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« Reply #12 on: Sep 04, 2017, 09:59AM »

"First off, destroy China's puppet."

Pretty tough talk from the River Point Church Praise and Worship (or is that "Warship") Band.

By the way, China is as likely to allow the US (or its "puppets") to invade the DPRK as the US was to allow Russia to put nukes in Cuba, for pretty much the same reason.
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robcat2075

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« Reply #13 on: Sep 04, 2017, 11:02AM »

I'll note that while China is the largest foreign holder of US debt, it's still less than 9%.

The largest holder of US debt, about a third of it, is... the US government! In the form of the Social Security Administration and other Federal Retirement funds plus various agencies that have some reason to hold US debt.


The debt probably isn't a serious foreign policy tool for either the US or China. There is no way to just default on the Chinese-held debt. A default would affect all holders, largely US citizens (Social Security) and corporations. Meanwhile China doesn't need the money for something right now.  That's why they bought it.

There isn't a practical way for China to just stop buying it and sell it off quickly.  They bought it because they wanted a safe place to put their extra money.  There aren't other good places to put it. They tried gold and gave up.

If they did try to sell it off suddenly... 9% is a lot to dump on the market but I don't doubt there would be buyers to soak it up and bring the market back to normal eventually.


The debt is a dance that US and China are stuck in and will continue for both's sake.

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Robert Holmén

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« Reply #14 on: Sep 04, 2017, 11:51AM »

Then why the concern over raising the debt ceiling?

It seems that the gov't borrowing from social security is like a company borrowing from the employee's pension plan.
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Don Draper
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« Reply #15 on: Sep 04, 2017, 12:02PM »

For the sake of discussion…

The only way the US gets involved in a shooting war is if DPNK decides to attack Japan, South Korea, or a US Territory.  We will only retaliate with conventional weapons. 

Their “navy” is a joke, and in an hour the US subs that are already in the area will make ALL of their subs disappear.  US bombers and cruise missiles will destroy their offensive missile capability at the same time.  Their army will try to surge across into South Korea, but the USAF and South Korean military will take care of that very quickly.  (Can you say, “A-10”???)  The DPNK Air Force will not make it into the air.  Very quickly after the shooting starts most of their army will realize how deeply over their heads they are and quit. 

Within 6 hours we will have denied them the ability to fight in the air or on the water, disrupted ALL communications amongst their leaders, and as a final kick in the balls, given their citizen’s access to the Internet without filter.  Remember Baghdad????  This will take one night.

The DPNK knows all of this.  They are crazy, but not stupid.   

Russian will not get involved directly, unless we use nuclear weapons, which we won't and don't need to do.  If Russia does make a military move, remember, they have the economic capability of sustaining war for about 20 minutes.  They are not an issue.

China will rattle the sabre, but will not get involved.  There is no win for them militarily or economically.   They know the DPNK is a loose cannon and in then end know that a united Korea is much easier to deal with than the current regime.  Their world domination play is economic, not military.   

After all this, I still think diplomacy is the way to go.  Unless they shoot a nuke that hits land anywhere, the military solution is a lose-lose for the US.  Everybody knows what the DPNK is, nobody truly thinks they have the capability to launch and successfully strike anything.  I say, let the UN sanction them into the ground, give them unfiltered Internet and let the DPNK people revolt and overthrow the government.  Isolate them economically and show their people what they have been missing and this is over. 

DD
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Ellrod

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« Reply #16 on: Sep 04, 2017, 12:15PM »

"Remember Baghdad????  This will take one night."

And how is that working out?

I suppose China might allow the US to orchestrate a non-nuclear attack on the DPRK. South Korea could clean up the mess, but it would likely require hundreds of millions of dollars of aid from the US. Maybe this would play out like the unification of East and West Germany. Actually, this sounds like a pretty reasonable solution, if you can get buy-in from China and SK - except I recall Bush talking about the US "liberating" Iraq.
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robcat2075

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« Reply #17 on: Sep 04, 2017, 12:34PM »

Then why the concern over raising the debt ceiling?

Because the government spends more than it collects in taxes and more debt must be issued to pay for it while also paying off the old debt that has matured and accrued interest.  If you don't raise the debt ceiling (the total that can be borrowed) then you start defaulting on bonds that have come due.

Basically we are refinancing old debt with more new debt. With the current near-zero interest rates, lots of older high interest rate debt has been refinanced at lower rates so that cost of servicing this debt has not created the alarm that it did in the 80s and 90s.



Quote
It seems that the gov't borrowing from social security is like a company borrowing from the employee's pension plan.

It does sound that way, but it is really a reasonably  advantageous situation for a nation to have.

If Joe Worker has to pay more taxes to cover the debt to Social Security and other US citizens, at least that money goes back into the US economy , buying things and creating demand that creates jobs for... Joe Worker! Money that we pay to pay off debt to foreign borrowers is mostly just gone and drains wealth out of the US.

On the other hand, when a company pays back what it owes to an employee retirement fund not much of that money circles back to help the company.  It's not much better than US debt owed to "foreigners".

Lots of countries issue debt, but most have to sell it to foreigners because few in their own country have the money to buy it. When they pay off the debt, it's like throwing money away.

Not so for the US. The US is fortunate to have citizens, retirement funds, and business within it's own economy to buy  most of the debt and take repayment when it comes due.

We'd be more fortunate to have citizens who would pay the taxes needed up front so we didn't need to issue debt, but that's another story.
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Robert Holmén

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« Reply #18 on: Sep 04, 2017, 12:48PM »

"Remember Baghdad????  This will take one night."

And how is that working out?

I suppose China might allow the US to orchestrate a non-nuclear attack on the DPRK. South Korea could clean up the mess, but it would likely require hundreds of millions of dollars of aid from the US. Maybe this would play out like the unification of East and West Germany.

I was only speaking to the actual combat the night we went in.  The Middle East is a debacle and has been since forever.  I did not mean to confuse the situation. 
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« Reply #19 on: Sep 04, 2017, 12:52PM »

Refinancing existing debt at lower rates is sensible. Taking advantage of lower rates and increasing the amount of debt - a little more dubious.

Raising taxes on Joe Worker appears not to be an option, in election years at least. Of course, we know the two certainties of life.
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