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North Korea strike


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Poll: North Korea strike?

Will the US intervene in North Korea

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#1 Palex80

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Posted 02 August 2017 - 04:51 AM

I am not certain if a topic like this is welcome here. I have been asking myself this question every other day the past week and would like to hear your opinion.



#2 CV32

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Posted 02 August 2017 - 05:36 AM

Of course, its welcome. Discussion about current events is the purpose of this sub forum.

 

The USA (and others) have few viable options for dealing with the DPRK.

 

A pre-emptive conventional strike against nuclear, missile and C2 facilities would likely prompt the bombardment of Seoul, if not all out war on the peninsula.

 

A nuclear strike (whether pre-emptive or retaliatory) against the DPRK - in addition to the above - also runs the risk of inciting a Chinese or Russian knee jerk reply, and will undoubtedly cause a humanitarian and environmental disaster that would spill over into both the ROK and PRC.

 

Continued, increased sanctions against the DPRK haven't worked largely because of China.

 

China has been a largely unhelpful partner in pressuring the DPRK because it has a keen self-interest in keeping the Hermit Kingdom under its wing and exploiting it as a buffer in the region.

 

Doing nothing allows the DPRK to perfect and expand its delivery systems, and always holds a large risk of exporting technology to other rogue nations with which it has a longstanding relationship (e.g. Iran).



#3 Palex80

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Posted 02 August 2017 - 06:43 AM

Good points CV32. I do wonder however, if the US administration is simply going to allow the NK regime to perfect its delivery systems, which could strike mainland US.

 

Whether or not such a threat is really viable is another issue. The NK delivery systems have had trouble in the past and numerous failed launches have been recorded. Furthermore we know little about what kind of warhead they could possibly put into such a missile. It's doubtful if they have miniaturized a nuclear weapon enough to actually send it half away across the globe.

 

On the other hand allowing a rogue nation to posess WMDs and now have the capability to deploy them upon the US mainland is a new development, which has not happened before. If the US was to allow this to happen, it would actually mean a fundamental change of policy. 

Another question is however how "safe" the US administration feels right now because of the GMD system. Although only half of the tests were successful, it is probable that a limited NK strike of let's say 5 missiles could be intercepted if 20 or so killer vehicles were deployed against the incoming ICBMs.



#4 CV32

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Posted 02 August 2017 - 06:58 AM

Good points CV32. I do wonder however, if the US administration is simply going to allow the NK regime to perfect its delivery systems, which could strike mainland US.


As I said, there are few attractive options to do otherwise.
 

Whether or not such a threat is really viable is another issue. The NK delivery systems have had trouble in the past and numerous failed launches have been recorded. Furthermore we know little about what kind of warhead they could possibly put into such a missile. It's doubtful if they have miniaturized a nuclear weapon enough to actually send it half away across the globe.

The latest Hwasong-14 (KN-20) tests appear to have been all about the propulsion system. Achieving intercontinental range is all well and good, but you have to put something on top of that rocket if you want to actually hit something. The tests offer little proof of a useful throw weight, let alone the ability of a re-entry vehicle to survive to detonation.



#5 Palex80

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Posted 02 August 2017 - 08:43 AM

I think it's actually a gamble here.

 

Striking at NK with overwhelming force means that NK may not be able to actually threaten the US with deliverable nuclear weapons, while its record of intermediate range ballistic missiles is also not that good. Which again means less of a threat for Japan and US bases in Asia.

 

The first question is whether the US can use overwhelming force to perform this, while keeping casualties in Seoul at a minimum. That's a tough question. NK has hundreds of long range and thousands of intermediate/short range artillery pieces just Norh of the DMZ. Can the US use overwhelming force to stop artillery rounds from landing into Seoul? Perhaps yes, but that again would probably mean deploying nuclear weapons. Tactical ones, yet nuclear. I do not think that conventional weapons are going to be enough, there are simply way too many targets and many of them very well dug in mountains/caves to hit before they start pounding Seoul. This again makes the equation more difficult, since one needs to ask the second and third questions:

1. how is the US going to justify going offensively nuclear as a preemptive strike? Quite tough. Unless directly provoked, nuking another country at right may be viewed as a very hostile move by China and Russia.

2. would South Korea allow such a move? I don't think so. Not unless directly threatened by NK. Most South Koreans would actually be more in favor of giving billions of dollars to NK in aid (or ransom) in order not to risk nuclear war in their ***ula.

 

On the other hand not doing anything right now will only make matters worse.

NK will be able to perfect its arsenal and may actually start blackmailing the South Korean regime. They will be able to nuke Seoul in a matter of years (they can probably due that now already) and could simply blackmail them then. Would the US step in and nuke NK if NK blackmailed South Korea? Difficult to tell...

There is hope that there may be some kind of regime change in NK, but this hope has been there for decades and proven wrong. The NK regime has survived and is still strong.

 

And then there's the Trump card. I think we do not know really know what the current administration wants and what Donald Trump is willing to allow. He has already been quite loud about not being willing to allow NK to threaten anyone. Let's see if his Tweets may need to find counterparts in action.



#6 Palex80

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 05:38 AM

Does anyone have any information concerning US measures in / around Guam in reaction to this perhaps planned North Korean test launch? Is the US deploying Aegis cruisers around Guam? Have the THAAD-batteries in Guam been reinforced?

 

 

And what does everyone think here?

Would a North Korean test launch lead to a US response? Of what magnitude? Would this be dependent on how many missiles actually got through to splash somewhere around Guam?



#7 CV32

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 09:34 AM

The America ARG and 15th MEU were in Singapore recently but were supposed to be heading west to relieve the Bataan ARG in the Middle East.

 

The Bonhomme Richard ESG and 31st MEU were in the Coral Sea, so its possible they might move north.

 

Both the Roosevelt and Vinson CSGs were off the coast of California.

 

The Reagan CSG was operating east of Japan.

 

I don't know if the THAAD battery at Guam has been reinforced, but it would not surprise.

 

Meanwhile, it may be tough to ignore four incoming Hwasong-14 IRBMs, even if they are intended to splash down outside territorial waters, more especially if they look to overfly the island.

 

That said, I think there has to be a strong impetus to ignore them. Engaging them means a challenging target set, expending a lot of expensive interceptor missiles, and risking a loss of credibility if you don't knock down all of them (which is highly likely).

 

The DPRK may never fire any missiles at all. Let's hope that is what happens.

 

[I moved your comment here to keep the discussion centralized.]



#8 Silent Hunter UK

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 04:15 PM

Any nuclear strike order by the US President has to be essentially be signed off on by the Secretary of Defense; if Trump decided to launch a nuclear strike against the DPRK without them firing first, then I strongly suspect that Mattis would refuse to carry out the order and we would be moving very quickly into 25th Amendment territory i.e. an attempt to get Trump declared officially crazy with VP Pence installed as Acting President.



#9 CV32

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 04:50 PM

Any nuclear strike order by the US President has to be essentially be signed off on by the Secretary of Defense; if Trump decided to launch a nuclear strike against the DPRK without them firing first, then I strongly suspect that Mattis would refuse to carry out the order and we would be moving very quickly into 25th Amendment territory i.e. an attempt to get Trump declared officially crazy with VP Pence installed as Acting President.


While such orders are filtered through the SECDEF typically, he is not necessarily a required component. So the President does not require the consent of the SECDEF.

#10 Silent Hunter UK

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 05:05 PM

The orders have to go through the DoD communications system (starting with the 'football') and he could order them not to launch an attack without his explicit approval; many historians believe that at the tail end of Watergate then SecDef James R. Schlesinger did precisely that.



#11 CV32

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 05:56 PM

The orders have to go through the DoD communications system (starting with the 'football') and he could order them not to launch an attack without his explicit approval; many historians believe that at the tail end of Watergate then SecDef James R. Schlesinger did precisely that.

 

Read the Politico article, did ya? ^_^

 

Notice how the 'football' always goes with the President regardless of whether the SECDEF is there. The President alone can order the use of nuclear weapons, and although the SECDEF confirms same, there is nothing to say that an uncooperative SECDEF will end the matter. Sole authority remains with the President by virtue of the Atomic Energy Act, which is exactly the way it was intended in the wake of WWII.



#12 Palex80

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 05:32 AM

 

Meanwhile, it may be tough to ignore four incoming Hwasong-14 IRBMs, even if they are intended to splash down outside territorial waters, more especially if they look to overfly the island.

 

That said, I think there has to be a strong impetus to ignore them. Engaging them means a challenging target set, expending a lot of expensive interceptor missiles, and risking a loss of credibility if you don't knock down all of them (which is highly likely).

 

The DPRK may never fire any missiles at all. Let's hope that is what happens.

 

 

 

Indeed, if THAAD was used to intercept the missiles, it would be visible to anyone in Guam if it was successful or not.

But couldn't Aegis-equipped cruisers be used in that role too? If they are far out at sea when they engage the IRBMs, then there's less risk of anyone finding out, if they ever tried to intercept the missiles or not.

If they manage to splash all of them, the US can then state that they countered the threat successfully. If not, they can still claim they never tried to intercept the missiles at first place.

 

On the other hand, I cannot image the US administration being happy with not-intercepting or attempting to intercept incoming IRBMs. They would seriously lose face if they didn't even try and let North Korea (in case of a successful test) "prove" that they can hit Guam if they want to. It just doesn't fit to the rhetoric of the current administration.



#13 CV32

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 07:29 AM

Indeed, if THAAD was used to intercept the missiles, it would be visible to anyone in Guam if it was successful or not. But couldn't Aegis-equipped cruisers be used in that role too? If they are far out at sea when they engage the IRBMs, then there's less risk of anyone finding out, if they ever tried to intercept the missiles or not. If they manage to splash all of them, the US can then state that they countered the threat successfully. If not, they can still claim they never tried to intercept the missiles at first place.  On the other hand, I cannot image the US administration being happy with not-intercepting or attempting to intercept incoming IRBMs. They would seriously lose face if they didn't even try and let North Korea (in case of a successful test) "prove" that they can hit Guam if they want to. It just doesn't fit to the rhetoric of the current administration.

Aegis and SM-3 Block IIA could potentially have a shot at intercepting an IRBM in the terminal phase, or in the ascension phase, if the warship(s) was in the right place at the right time. But I think it would be quite difficult to keep the engagement secret.



#14 CV32

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Posted 14 August 2017 - 09:53 AM

The Reagan CSG has apparently returned to port at Yokosuka. The America ARG is in Malaysia, and the Bonhomme Richard ESG is still in the Coral Sea.



#15 Silent Hunter UK

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Posted 20 August 2017 - 06:01 AM

That and Donald Trump has stopped tweeting about the place.

 

(When I was typing that, I mistyped "stopped" as "stropped"... Freud in the house?)






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