Monday, March 20, 2017

Consider Yourself Challenged, Mr. President

"We're at an important inflection point. North Korea is on the verge of a strategic breakout that would enable its leadership to strike the United States with a nuclear-armed ICBM [intercontinental ballistic missile]."
"[North Korea] is at a point where it could, by 2020, have a nuclear arsenal half the size of Great Britain's, with missiles capable of striking the United States homeland."
Robert Litwak, expert on rogue states, Wilson Center
This photo taken on February 12, 2017 and released on February 13 by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) surrounded by soldiers of the Korean People's Army as he inspects the test-launch of a surface-to-surface medium long-range ballistic missile Pukguksong-2 at an undisclosed location.
STR | AFP | Getty Images
This photo taken on February 12, 2017 and released on February 13 by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) surrounded by soldiers of the Korean People's Army as he inspects the test-launch of a surface-to-surface medium long-range ballistic missile Pukguksong-2 at an undisclosed location.

"Critics of the Iran Nuclear Agreement reached near the end of President Obama’s second term are crying out in rage. As was predicted, Iran has failed to moderate its hostile behavior. In fact, Washington has put Iran on notice with cautionary threats in response to the rogue regime’s late-January intermediate-range ballistic missile launch."
"President Trump walked into a nuclear bee’s nest with growing concerns of possible war with the North Koreans and the ongoing violations of the Iran agreement. Iran fired another pair of anti-ship ballistic missiles last weekend, one on Saturday and again on Sunday."
"It doesn’t stop there. Iranian fast attack boats resorted to another episode of aggressive measures by coming within 600 yards of a United States Navy surveillance vessel in the sensitive Gulf waters of the Strait of Hormuz. These are provocative incidents that Iran is using to harass the U.S. Navy at every turn."

Dwight L. Schwab Jr., Foreign Affairs Columnist, People's Mojehedin Organization of Iran
The US Navy destroyer USS Mahan
The US Navy destroyer USS Mahan which fired shots at an Iranian vessel in the Strait of Hormuz on Sunday (January 2017) Credit: Photographer's Mate Airman Rex Nelson/ Wikimedia
The new President of the United States of America evidently merits an upsurge of challenges to the authority of the United States as an introduction to the office. Not simply the authority of the United States, but a much more full scope of threat than that; efforts in the near distance of time to bring the country to its proverbial knees. Through loss of prestige of authority certainly, but the spectre of military-type attacks not far from reality. The arsenal of weapons that American resourcefulness and financing has at its disposal has been a credible restraint on any passing thoughts of pounding its shores by malevolent sources.

But now the very weapons that were once so unattainable because of their scientifically-demanding and mechanical expertise in designing and creating are being divulged to states harbouring designs to be recognized as world powers whose accomplishments in weaponry enable them to challenge the super power to its place at the apex of strength and power. There is, of course, Russia, resurgent from its great loss as a partner in super-power stardom with the collapse of the USSR and resenting every minute of its descent.

A Russian Kamov KA-27 Helix closely surveils the USS Donald Cook (DDG 75),an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, operating in the Baltic Sea April 12, 2016.
A Russian Kamov KA-27 Helix closely surveils the USS Donald Cook (DDG 75),an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, operating in the Baltic Sea April 12, 2016. Credit: Handout/AFP or licensors

Resorting to cyber espionage is merely one other weapon reflecting the brilliance of Russia's technological superstardom in tandem with the Kremlin's recent surging renewal of its arms caches and the development of advanced weaponry to rival any of those that the United States' munitions-specialist experts are capable of designing and manufacturing. Then come the upstarts, Iran and North Korea, aspirants to the role of dreaded challenges to the world order and security. With dread comes terror and the 'respect' inherent in fear as a deterrent.

Of the threats impending there are always the non-state actors of Islamist terrorism central. The groups such as al-Qaeda and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant with the support of the Muslim Brotherhood throughout the world of Islam, reaching their tentacles outward into the non-Muslim world by stealth and infiltration, relying on the Western democratic concepts of 'justice' and 'fairness' and 'inclusiveness' and 'civil liberties', all of which are very useful tools for the jihadis to utilize through familiarization and predictable outcomes in frequent and successful manipulation.

The prospect of 'dirty bombs' to aid and assist Islamism to gain firmer footholds on their aspirations to conquer the naive and unsuspecting in the West does not go unrecognized; it is simply given short shrift and set up high on a shelf to be forgotten in the dust of time until such time as attacks recur and the recollection sets in retrospectively. Russia has posed as a threat for so long the commonplace presence of its mischief-making seems at times reduced to comedy, when in all seriousness it is more than willing and perfectly capable of committing enduring damage.

Still, the most currently possible direction from which unwholesome attacks whose dimensions and destruction will be of the utterly dreadful variety, potentially loom from the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Peoples Republic of North Korea, singly or in tandem. They are linked, happy to be usefully helpful to one another to advance their technologies in the creation of mass death. Iran is the calculating one, while North Korea's Kim Jong-un is the truly wild card, powerfully bumptious and egotistically driven to inspire fear and awe.

So, what to do, how to react in the best interests of stability in the world, to avoid some kind of cataclysmic sundering of the peace with far-ranging consequences? The game changed as soon as nuclear investment became an issue, with the sites geared to building the ways and means and resulting experimentation radioactive-contaminated. Which, if attacked to achieve destruction would atomize into the atmosphere, leaving behind a landscape of utter desolation.

Neither threats, nor cajoling, nor negotiations have worked in the past. The Obama administration settled on negotiating with Iran, and in that process negotiated nothing but an extension of the inevitable. How that benefits any but the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps whose special assignment the Iranian nuclear file resides with, is questionable. Is Donald Trump and his retinue any craftier and more determined than the Obama presidency clearly was not?

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