Wednesday, October 18, 2006

O Brave New World!

US will hold N. Korea responsible if it arms terrorists: " President Bush said Wednesday the United States would stop North Korea from transferring nuclear weapons to Iran or al-Qaida and that the communist regime would then face 'a grave consequence.'" Bush refused to spell out how the United States would retaliate. "They'd be held to account," the president said in an ABC News interview.


This sounds like a new doctrine of deterrence. If not, it's a least a first cousin. Here's a threat to retaliate not against a proxy, but a state sponsor. This subject was discussed in the Belmont Club about a dozen posts back. Discussion centered around whether it was possible to assign a one-to-one correspondence between the source of a nuclear weapon and its use by a proxy. Apparently the President feels it is possible -- not to say easy -- but at least theoretically possible.

We're not in Kansas anymore.


Blogger Woman Catholic said...

If "being held to account" has as much teeth as the prior "we will not accept a nuclear North Korea" then Li'l Kim has no worries at all.

10/18/2006 07:18:00 PM  
Blogger johnCV said...

At any moment KJ Eel will start ejaculating violent rhetoric that this is a direct provocation(!), a challenge to the DPRK's sovereignty(!), a declaration of war(!!) yadda yadda yadda.

He really needs a new speech writer.

10/18/2006 07:20:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

The mantle of protection that China has thrown over North Korea effectively meant that it has approved, by omission and at several removes, a breakout from the nonproliferation treaty. Of course the same argument can be made about the West and Israel. But not even China thinks Israel is crazy like North Korea is.

But having been ultimately responsible, China must also accept the deterioration of the neighborhood. Baradei now says there may be 30 new nuclear powers. Not his fault of course. Nothing ever is. But with every country with a flag spoting a nuke, how long until Japan and Germany get theirs? What would be the point of not getting theirs?

Now if North Korea is fixing to deniably strike at America, why does it not bear thinking about deniably striking North Korea? In fact, if Iran is figuring on teaching some masked men about nukes why can't it happen that some "settlers" on the West Bank just happen to brew some mischief of their own.

If terrorism is an arm, then there can be a terrorist arms race too. No military advantage, including an asymmetrical one, is every inherently permanent.

10/18/2006 07:28:00 PM  
Blogger Otpu said...

Just in case anyone is wondering how the USA can positively identify a North Korean nuclear weapon post detonation maybe this will help.

If the DPRK's Dear Leader tests enough weapons at his Kimch'aek test site the U.S. intelligence agencies should be able to collect enough leakage samples to positively establish an isotope fingerprint for N.Korean nuclear material.

This nuclear fingerprint would be unique to the fissionable material produced by N.Korean enhancement facilities and can be used, like the fingerprints taken by the police when someone is arrested, to positively identify any nuclear detonation anywhere, at any future time, and claimed by anyone as being a product of the DPRK's enrichment facilities.

What the diplomatic result of this imformation will be is, of course, anybody's guess.


10/18/2006 07:56:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Teresita said...
"If "being held to account" has as much teeth as the prior "we will not accept a nuclear North Korea" then Li'l Kim has no worries at all."
I don't consider the NORKO's to represent a *Nuclear* Threat at present, but they DO have all those mortars and such north of Seoul, so it seems that those in charge are choosing to accept a FUTURE Nuclear Armed No Korea because of that risk, and the general fecklessness of our sensitive and compassionate selves.

We allow the New World to bloom
Our children will have to live with the results of our cowardice.

10/18/2006 08:05:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Live or Die"

10/18/2006 08:05:00 PM  
Blogger Tom_Holsinger said...

I bet they're so scared.

As if we'd find out. The plutonium and whatnot is flown from North Korea to Iran over China and Pakistan. China is using nuclear proliferation as a means of attacking American hegemony, and Pakistan's ISI is riddled with Al Qaeda.

10/18/2006 08:07:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

Precisely, Wretchard.

I was wondering when I would hear or read someone advocating this sort of jitsu.

Question is, does the West have the balls or -- more diplomatically -- the will to 'adapt'?

10/18/2006 08:10:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmo said...


Where the HELL did you get that thumbnail of HRH-HRC? Looks like something Trey Parker and Matt Stone would come up with.

10/18/2006 08:17:00 PM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

What the Palestinians, Hamas, the Arab League, Iran, NoKor and the rioting islamic masses dont understand is that they in fact are in MUCH greater risk then those they seek to terrorize.

They isolate themselves and live in ghettos, their countries are mostly ethnically cleansed, as I like to say, target rich.

The West, Israel CHOOSE not to be genocidal, whereas if the bad guys could they would (have). If it comes down to Tel Aviv vrs Gaza, Gaza will lose.

Hezbollah claims to have won, and yet they shot their wad shot 4200 rockets and killed 44 civilians (some arabs) & 120 soldiers, whereas Israel did not even break 3% of her potential killed more and spent time warning people to flee and still killed 600 fighters (& 300-400 civilians). If Israel acted LIKE hezbollah and shelled a populated beirut they COULD HAVE KILLED 10,000

The bad guys are forcing us to take the gloves off, up to now they banked on our soft human rights POV. They will cry wolf and beg for hunda's or ceasefire all the while planning the next attack. Sooner or later the west will get fed up and it will make stalin and hitler look childish.

Will we need to hit NOKOR? Or will they do something stupid 1st to cause us to hit them.

I personally think all of these issues: palestinians, hamas, hezbollah, iran & nokor are related. We might have to teach the koreans about japanese history in asia to wake them up again.

If nokor want to be an upstart, let's re-introduce him to a Nationaliztic/militant Japan and sit back and enjoy the show

10/18/2006 08:20:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Nuclear Armed Israel on one side,
Nuclear Armed Japan on the other.
...but so far Japan is still on the kinder and gentler sensitive and compassionate side w/us.

10/18/2006 08:29:00 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Teresita: I liked Naomi Armitage much, much better. Hillary is a real climbdown.

Actually, what I suspect is in the works is an interdiction program with the Japanese Navy. Condi knows that the Chinese aren't truly with us, so we'll work with the Japanese.

10/18/2006 08:53:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Otpu - "enough of a sample) to positively establish an isotope fingerprint for N.Korean nuclear material.

This nuclear fingerprint would be unique to the fissionable material produced by N.Korean enhancement facilities

It's the grand Tom Clancy fictional tale of "instant bomb" recognition - where a wand is waved at a piece of fallout and "viola!" we know where it came from.

Truth is, you get yield, type of fissile material used, device efficiency, even an idea of device design - but for A-bombs, no foolproof fingerprint.

and can be used, like the fingerprints taken by the police when someone is arrested, to positively identify any nuclear detonation anywhere.


Whatever is sniffed in one test does not give you what future bombs will use in the way of internal bomb mechanisms - neutron gun, reflectors, alloys, Even the type and isotopic composition of plutonium created in future reactor runs. With HEU weapons, unless tramp elements are introduced in the purification process, you don't have a clue if it is loose Soviet HEU, Chinese stuff, Paki stuff, Indian or even Dutch or British.

It could be wholly different from the first bomb designs.

There is no "positive fingerprint" save for in more sophisticated devices where hundreds of tests of advanced thermonuclear devices has led to certain distinct "Russian design" "French design" "American design features" being developed - slight differences in alloys, neutron gun, polystyrene X-ray focusers.. In the most sophisticated of all nuclear physics packages you see the differences....but not cruder ones.

Even then, if the French wished to blow up NYC and have it blamed on China instead, they have the means of modifying a thermonuclear device to make it look "less French" and "more Chinese".

Sorry to prick your balloon, but the Clancy "instant knowledge of point of origin" myth joins the ash heap of "a single surgical bombing can wipe out a countries WMD capacity" and "wonderous new high tech wonder devices will enable undermanned US soldiers who don't even speak the language or understand who they are fighting -to defeat The Insurgency."

10/18/2006 08:57:00 PM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

Candidate Bush had some very interesting views regarding Nation Building. Also about our military's duties and its declining capabilities. This post of mine deals not only with those problems but his misidentifying of the enemy.

Candidate Bush on Nation Building and Can Islam and Freedom survive one another?

10/18/2006 09:55:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Even then, if the French wished to blow up NYC and have it blamed on China instead, they have the means of modifying a thermonuclear device to make it look "less French" and "more Chinese"."
Well, at least THAT Scenario won't keep me awake at night!

Would that the French would be "less French" wrt their Muzzie Guests.

10/18/2006 10:18:00 PM  
Blogger 2164th said...

10-4 C-4

10/18/2006 10:45:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

From Pierre's Post:
"The people of the Middle East are not children nor are they stupid, they have merely chosen another way to live. They have seen our world and apparently rejected it.

We need to get over the shock of such a revelation. We must realize that we are in a race for our very lives. This foolish attempt to moderate a religion that has not moderated in its history before a band of fanatics from that very religion gain access to nuclear weapons, which should they gain only 5, would change our world into a nightmare, is pure folly. Stating the problem so plainly leaves me wondering exactly what sort of nonsense our nation is engaged in right now.

Some say that it is only a small minority who actively seek our destruction and yes that may be true in the sense that any Army is smaller than the population that supports it. But polls around the Muslim world show a level of support for those who would murder us in our sleep that might shock you if you bothered to look. For instance in Indonesia a supposedly moderate Islamic State Bin Laden received a 58% vote of confidence in 2003 and yes it went down to 36% in 2005. Hitler gained power in Germany with right around 37% of the vote.

So instead of Nation Building perhaps our time would be better spent waging fear instead of freedom.

We are no longer men instead we have become exactly what Bin Laden and Saddam told their troops we are, Paper Tigers who flinch at shadows and thrust at allies.

Perhaps we are at a point where our very softness will encourage Iran or Syria or North Korea to give terrorists the tools to bring down the obstacle to their collective dreams. Maybe instead of trying to moderate fanatics we should be instilling fear into the hearts of the old men who run those governments. We could accomplish this in part by increasing our defense spending to the point that no country or group of countries in the world would imagine that we are overextended. By spending above 6% of our GDP on the Military we would be sending unmistakable signals to the world that we are serious about defending ourselves."

10/18/2006 10:57:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...


Less assume arguendo that there is no way in principle that the origin of a nuclear device can be traced. In that case traceable retaliation doesn't make any sense either. Suppose France blew up NYC with a China-like bomb. What sense would it make to openly strike back at China?

Since one will never be certain who ordered the hit, then openly retaliating only creates the danger you may revenge yourself on the wrong party and gain an enemy. The correct strategy then would be to anonymously incinerate Paris and Beijing and all the other suspects into the bargain with a Russia-like bomb in retaliation for a hit on NYC.

Then what would Russia do?

Of course nuclear blasts would spread around the world like a chain letter. But, absent any way of fixing the blame what alternatives do we have?

10/18/2006 10:58:00 PM  
Blogger loner said...

This sounds like a new doctrine of deterrence. If not, it's a least a first cousin. Here's a threat to retaliate not against a proxy, but a state sponsor.

Third: It shall be the policy of this nation to regard any nuclear missile launched from Cuba against any nation in the Western Hemisphere as an attack by the Soviet Union on the United States, requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union.

—John F. Kennedy, Address on the Cuban Crisis, 10/22/62

10/18/2006 11:37:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Wretchard - But, absent any way of fixing the blame what alternatives do we have?

It's late here, look back later Richard....I'll try to give you two alternatives.

We had nuclear stability in a bipolar nuke weapons race. If we had been bombed, it would have been by the Commies, if they had been, it would have been apparant the West attacked them. In a multipolar world, that stability is lost and beyond that - we have the instantaneous global transmission of knowledge and market forces in place that have put a high value on the export of certain knowledge.

In the meantime, my read on the tracibility of bombs is based on my background in the military and nuclear physics. I could be obviously if there was some secret program that I was unaware of, that went beyond my knowledge of what can be measured..perhaps quanta patterns...but to the best of my knowledge, you can't tell where all but the most sophisticated thermonuclear devices come from by analyzing fallout.

10/18/2006 11:40:00 PM  
Blogger Tarnsman said...

Figuring out what country is the origin of a nuke that goes off in say, San Fransico, is a little after the fact don't you think? Massive and punitive retalation might "feel good" after 100,000+ dead and an entire city laid waste, but it won't bring back the city now will it? Strike first and strike hard is probably our only defense.

10/19/2006 01:28:00 AM  
Blogger Phydeaux said...

Let's look at this from the other side of the fence. You're a WMD proliferator, and want to strike a blow at the Great Satan Running Dog or whatever, via terrorist delivery system. What are your difficulties?

1. Nukes are hard to build. Admittedly, the hardest part is producing the fissile material, but even producing the bomb itself is a major undertaking. (Just ask the Norks. Can you spell "fizzle"?) Face it - you'll have to build the thing yourself.

2. Now worst-case it: what happens if your bomb is intercepted? Given the Great Satan's track record in stopping terrorist attacks, the chances are much better than 50/50. And while it would be a real effort to track the radioactive debris of a bomb blast back to you, if they captured your intact device, you may as well have painted your address on the side. The Great Satan will be highly annoyed. Expect an imminent visit from the Running Dog Strategic Air Command bearing multiple mushroom-shaped gifts.

Lesson to be gleaned: this is a HIGH RISK endeavor. Unless you have a foolproof delivery method, don't do it.

Lesson for the Satan/Running Dog: make every effort to keep this a high risk endeavor without foolproof delivery methods. Enhance intelligence. Scan containers. Waterboard terrorists. Let the proliferators and terrorists go after somebody who is less of a counterthreat - like the infidels/captialist running dogs in the country next door....

10/19/2006 03:16:00 AM  
Blogger summignumi said...

WRETCHARD, I mentioned before and agree, there is no way to retaliate against a terrorist nuke strike unless the state sponsor is really stupid, and there is no way a US prez would strike Russia because some Moscow skin heads detonated a nuke here. I for one think that giving the N-bomb out is a plus more then a negative, the fallacy that we (US) can protect our allies from the one shot nuke is over, Prez Bush needs to quite putting lines in the sand and take action!

10/19/2006 03:44:00 AM  
Blogger Spanish diplomat said...

As of today, I think we can argue there is a number of responsible nuclear powers, and short number of non-responsible nuclear powers (including North Korea, but it is arguable whether Pakistan should be included here and, certainly, Iran when the time comes).

I believe the only available containment policy is, simply, to inform them that ALL will be retaliated in the same kind the moment any terrorist group is intercepted (or, sadly so, not) with any ABC material. This is to create "objective responsibility" for them.

In the meantime I suggest:
a. Are the Chinese able to organize a coup d'état in North Korea so as to substitute a new military or Communist Party leadership more amenable to compromise while it protects Chinese and South Korean appeasers interests?
b. What kind of protective measures can the US, Western and allied nations have in order to reduce their vulnerability.
c. Keep going with the Proliferation Security Initiative. It works.

10/19/2006 05:09:00 AM  
Blogger Papa Bear said...

I wonder how China would feel about Taiwan having its own set of nukes, plus missiles capable of reaching Beijing and the Three Gorges Dam?

10/19/2006 05:54:00 AM  
Blogger patrick neid said...

the truth be known, this is all bluster. unless the south koreans give their blessing or have it from god's lips that the north won't attack them, there's very little--actually nothing that the US can really do militarily vs the north. the Seoul blackmail card has been played some 50 years now and it is very effective and will continue to be. china and the south control all the moving parts.

i think japan making waves will get the chinese to re-think their pet bull on a leash strategy. i just bush and company would do a little more "walking silently and carrying a big stick"........

10/19/2006 05:58:00 AM  
Blogger epictetus said...

Papa Bear,

Yes i wonder the same thing.


Actually, that's not true. We could launch a massive, surprise nuclear attack on North Korea (using mostly airbursts to minimize the fallout of course). As we step down from that in terms of lethality on the Norks, more South Koreans would die in retribution. Factually though, there are military options.

If you mean we don't have any military options that we would do, then I agree with you. We aren't going to launch any attacks on North Korea, Iran, or even the Palestinians if they were to start a nuke program some day. Instead, we will wait. We will wait until we are forced to nuke MULTIPLE countries in response to several unidentified nukes going off in our own cities. See the logic? It's because we are such good, moralistic people. It's nobler to BE FORCED to kill hundreds of millions than to choose to kill a much lesser amount.

And of course, there's blind hope. There's always hope that eventually, the horse will learn to sing. Now WHY we are putting ourselves in a situation where we are forced to rely on blind hope, when we have the power to avoid it, is beyond me. With the Soviets, no, we couldn't wipe them out with a surprise attack. Then, we WERE FORCED to adopt a MAD doctrine. Now, we are adopting SuperMAD by choice.

10/19/2006 06:58:00 AM  
Blogger charlotte said...

Here's a threat to retaliate not against a proxy, but a state sponsor.

Who's the state sponsor and who's the proxy in nuclear bomb makings or completed weapons going from NoKo through China and Pakistan to Iran to terrorists in Warizistan on to Syria and Lebanon or Gaza then Sicily and Catalonia and to the Sudan then Venezuela and ultimately to Tel Aviv, Paris/London and Miami/ New York?

For some reason I'd suspect Russia as sponsor, were it to look this "clean," and NoKo and the rest as chump proxy anti-imperialist-terrorists.

10/19/2006 07:38:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

No fellas and gals, it'll just take one nuke, going off in the canary cage of Israel, for US to react.
That is the "Master Plan", if there is one. The enemy's last raise, before we go "all in"

To goad the enemy into a large enough provocation to justify the required response, that's the US's requirement.
Preemption, as in Iraq, has gotten a black eye.
Nuclear strikes as preemption, you've got to be joking, if you try to put that proposition forward.

10/19/2006 07:42:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Post modern War, it's a
Tit for Tat Affair

10/19/2006 07:56:00 AM  
Blogger charlotte said...

Would The Enemy be so stupid as to just nuke Israel and give us/the West perfect justification for decimating the regime of our choice?

Those fundy anti-Americans don't want our tit for that kind of tat.

10/19/2006 08:06:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

They'd hit Israel well before they'd hit US.
Easier to do, closer to their base of support, done with smaller and proven, in the 34 day war, to be unstoppable missles.

If the Enemy will not use those nuclears against Israel, then MAD works. The threat can be contained by deterence.

Peace in our time.

10/19/2006 08:23:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Wretchard asked if you can't "fingerprint" nukes, what alternatives exist but to take out (possibilities)??

I mentioned listing 2 alternatives. It is relevant because we are now finally coming up into realizing the limits of hegemonic American power in enforcing the "Pax Americana" meant to deter the rest of the world from using technologies we have but deem "too dangerous" for others, and to launch 4-5 successive wars to safeguard our "Special Friend", Israel - secret WMD stockpiles and regional nuclear monopoly.

Alternative #1 - The Enforcement model. Where the leading powers by fiat "close" the nuclear club. Anti-proliferation forces have had this model kicking around for 50 years. The first iteration was the Codominion. Where the Soviets and America, and "client nations" would have a monopoly under NATO and the Warsaw Pact where an attack by one nation on either side would be considered an attack against all and trigger a general West vs. Commie thermonuclear end war. Informally, this did exist and work. Successor models would entail the UN or preferably an independent group not under Veto or a world of 160 pissants of 180 nations that would have an "equal vote" - organizing to have a purpose to launch a retaliatory strike against any nation that does "first use" of nukes. Imagine a dozen Trident-type subs laying in wait under "neutral" control..

Alternative #2 - The WMD-free MOdel. This has also been worked by anti-proliferation forces. It seeks to create WMD-free regions and has been partially successful in keeping key areas of the world free of nukes and the lid on biowar. It recognizes that when one nation alone is armed and none of it's neighbors are protected by "nuclear umbrellas" that any responsible military command or national leader will seek nuclear parity. This has worked to stop or reverse nuclear arms programs in Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. It has failed in the "seams" - outside umbrellas or remote global regions like Latin America and Africa that can be effective "islands" - as long as they can stop their neighbors - they are unlikely to be menaced by either America or Eurasian powers.

It was an inherent part of SALT. The major powers would reduce their stockpiles and deter others.

The biggest dangers are rogue nations and the great remaining "seam"...the nations of the Middle East. The first, the rogue nation I think is controllable. The latter - the ME seam" needs major efforts to keep other nations there from seeking nukes and biowar... Because they quite sensibly seek strategic parity with Israel and Pakistan which point biowar warheads or nuclear tipped missiles at nations like Iran, KSA, Syria, Egypt, Turkey.

To stop this ME nuclear race, which has compelling motives, requires major changes.

1. First, the 4 Muslim theological branches need to agree that first use of WMD is haram - forbidden - as unIslamic. There have been vigorous debates about this in years past, with the general feeling "Yes, but the Zionists have their devices pointed at us!"
2. There has to be a general ME settlement established or imposed - where final borders and legitimacy and sovereign rights are recognized. And restitution is paid for both the Palestinian refugees and the Jews that lost wealth in both sides have agreed to in past UN resolutions. Iran needs reassurances that the Russians, Pakis, Americans formally pledge to respect their sovereignity.
3. No 1st use, only defense against a nuking, genocide, or mass biological or WMD attack has to be agreed to by all parties.
4. An umbrella must be established by major powers or the aforementioned "independent" to lay waste to a "No 1st use" treaty violator.
5. Dealing with rogue nations or the quest for WMD parity in the ME should not be considered a "Ban all wars" pacifist piece of naivite`. War is part of civilization. Such a WMD ban should not be considered a ban on conventional war - which needs to continue to resolve affairs diplomacy fails to.

Others may think of different alternatives. Those are my 2. The irresistable force over the horizon that will punish WMD users or developers. The quest to make regions WMD-free and wind down major WMD powers with SALT regimens and new "no 1st use" agreements.

We have pretty definitively reached the stage where 2 other alternatives have been shown to be unworkable:

A. There is no such thing as a single surgical bombing raid that "eliminates the threat". Nations now disburse their WMD efforts at hundreds of locations in high population areas or hundreds of feet underground in hardened shelters. Even if it was possible to bomb existing WMD infrastructure, if compelling state interests and the will is there - a WMD program can quickly be reconstitututed.

B. The idea of Pax Americana where America alone will wage near-endless wars on several nations to to preserve our "Special Friend's" secret WMD monopoly appears politically untenable. BY global opinion. By our own internal politics, Same with us doing a land invasion of N Korea to "defang it" without S. Korea, Russia's, or China's cooperation.

10/19/2006 08:38:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

I worked on radiographic spectral-analysis devices a decade or more ago and it was definitely possible to use in “fingerprinting” applications. Though, as C4 pointed out, it would be impossible to spoof such a signature. The Russians have infamously made it clear that they may or may not have had control of all their nuclear material during the break up of the Soviet Union, but if rogue sh!t holes like Iran and North Korea can acquire nuclear weapons then imagine what industrialized nations with the ability to keep secrets might be able to produce. South Africa developed a nuclear weapons capability which it supposedly dismantled in the early nineties after helping Israel with theirs.

In the end it is clear that the mullahs and Kim Jong the Ill plan on getting payback with theirs… they are already making overt threats. The nuclear club is not a gentlemen’s club anymore; it is the kind of club that you use to make threats.

10/19/2006 09:13:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

It would be possible to spoof such devices... and the idea of terror proxies pretty much screws the pooch on decisive retaliation. The ability to trust but verify terror organizations like Hezbollah seems unlikely. Diplomatically the best solution is to close the nuclear club and defang those not openly in it with arms reduction and verifications programs. The idea of a world wide interlocking system of mutual deterrence seems untenable.

10/19/2006 09:28:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

In 1993 there was a mild furor because the North Koreans sent a ship loaded with Scuds to Iran. The USN complained that they did not even track the ship - implying that their capabilities were inadequate to stop it even if they had been directed to do so.

I think that Pres Bush statement says that such an event will not be accepted any longer. It will not be a complete blockade but there will be a selective one.

10/19/2006 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

What was he thinking?
"Of course nuclear blasts would spread around the world like a *chain letter.*"
Talk about going out of your way to avoid the obvious!

10/19/2006 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

On an interesting parallel, there has been an international effort to embed “micro taggants” in explosive materials. Much of the commercially produced explosives already have taggants that can lead to the manufacture and possibly the buyer. This keeps the home grown terrorists at bay but will not help in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.

10/19/2006 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

Annoy Mouse said:

"The ability to trust but verify terror organizations like Hezbollah seems unlikely. Diplomatically the best solution is to close the nuclear club and defang those not openly in it with arms reduction and verifications programs."

Do you really think this is possible if Nancy Pelosi is Speaker of the House? Not only are the bad guys arming themselves with nuclear weapons but we (the United States) are on the verge of going into full ostrich mode, i.e. our heads in the sand with our buts high in the air. The enemy is about to be given a "free hit". The islamic facists maybe violent, evil religious fanatics but they aren't idiots. They'll see their opportunity and give us their best shot.

Courtesy of the LLL/MSM, we're acting like a herd of cattle being stampeded over a cliff.

10/19/2006 11:39:00 AM  
Blogger charlotte said...

I would have to agree with Annoy Mouse here, that prevention holds more promise, though no promises, than mutual deterrence ever would in today's geopolitical sandstorm. Cedarford cites Israel as a major cause or excuse for Iranian nuclearization, but Iran's push for WMD seems far more aggressive in nature with political/ economic ends of its own over only wanting weapons parity with the Jewish state or satisfaction for the Palestinians.

NoKo without the bomb holds South Korea hostage, but it claims to need weaponized nukes for self-preservation and sovereign feel-good. The lucrative trade in proliferating for profit and punishment must be an unintentional side benefit---

Desert Rat, I think that at least Iran or her proxies won't nuke Israel alone. To do so would be to invite the regime's destruction. MAD wouldn't be in play so much as Iran wishing to gamble for much higher stakes.

Here's a scenario for you in a year or two: nukes (not necessarily large ones) and bio attacks simultaneously go off in the cities I mentioned above- Tel Aviv, Paris, London, Miami and New York and maybe Tokyo and Bombay.

While the West scrambles to find some equilibrium and decide what action to take, a threat is issued that other major cities in a country will be hit immediately if its government takes retaliatory action against ME or Asian countries. The threat doesn't even have to be true.

The West might be more likely to fold in this case, than it would were only Israel nuked and the same threat made, because now the pain would be up close and real and governments thrown into a panic.

Such a scenario would only have to be arranged by one bad actor with the help of others, but would advance everybody's interests- those of Iran, Syria, Pakistan, NoKo, China, Russia, Islamist Africa, Venezuela and Cuba- for the domination of both East and West. And then we'd have a brave New World with Islam, the Orient, gangsterism and a little Marx ascendant.

The US and West would still be big but fractured more than ever.

10/19/2006 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger Habu1 said...

"No military advantage, including an asymmetrical one, is every inherently permanent."

Just a small reminder but nothing,zero,nada is permanent.

So with all this nuke mak'n by evil nations any ya'll reckon Israel just gonna hunker down and wait for a strike on their golf course size country?
The way I figure it is that they won't. Now Mr. Bush, well let's just leave that there.
Nope don't reckon fer a minute that Israel's gonna let Iran develop the bomb.
Yep, tough assignment but not impossible by any measure. it doesn't even have to be 5% effective and we'll be in it up to our eyeballs ...
Tonight's movie, Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner in Neville Shute's "On the Beach"'ll go a waltzing Mathilda with me ....

10/19/2006 12:57:00 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

Catherine said, "While the West scrambles to find some equilibrium and decide what action to take, a threat is issued that other major cities in a country will be hit immediately if its government takes retaliatory action against ME or Asian countries. The threat doesn't even have to be true."

But the issuance of that threat tells us who struck us (or who supports those who struck us). No administration would survive politicaly if they didn't strike back. If they really didn't know, I think that they would be hard pressed not to srike the most likely suspects. The call for revenge would drown out fear of a second strike.

10/19/2006 01:19:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Catherine - Cedarford cites Israel as a major cause or excuse for Iranian nuclearization, but Iran's push for WMD seems far more aggressive in nature with political/ economic ends of its own over only wanting weapons parity with the Jewish state

Those in Iran that have stated the usefulness of nuclear weapons, while of course denying they seek them - always lead with the fact that the Zionist state and Pakistan (another traditional enemy) have nuclear missiles pointed at them. Other reasons are the threat of Russian or American invasion (the 1st has happened in "The Great Game" era, the other is Bush & the neocons foolish regime change threat).

Like it or not, Iran has vital interests, and acquiring strategic parity makes total sense. Where Iran goes past other states is in their striving to be a sort of Trotskyite transnationalist - instead of organizing, equipping, and energizing cells of progressive Jews and like-minded devotees to the cause of violent global revolution - Iran wants cells of Shia and like-minded Jihadis ready to go and as loyal to Tehran as the communist movement was expected to be to Moscow..

It is that 2nd feature, not the entirely rational 1st reason, that makes Iran so dangerous in the future. Even more than Trotsky and his Bolshevik wing..because Trotsky was just a rational, cold-blooded mass murderer. The Iranians add irrational, mystic religious goals to their menace and may strike out of Faith...not caring of repercussions..

Catherine: Here's a scenario for you in a year or two: nukes (not necessarily large ones) and bio attacks simultaneously go off in the cities I mentioned above- Tel Aviv, Paris, London, Miami and New York and maybe Tokyo and Bombay.

While the West scrambles to find some equilibrium and decide what action to take, a threat is issued that other major cities in a country will be hit immediately if its government takes retaliatory action against ME or Asian countries. The threat doesn't even have to be true.

The West might be more likely to fold in this case.

I would say that would not happen because it would be clearly existiental. Us or them. Only one side survives.

Except in India, where too many Muslims exist for it to be practical..other nations could put a "shoot-first" 24-hour curfew on any Muslim families and round up selectees as needed to stop a follow-on attack. No lawyers would be in business anymore to advocate for Muslim clients.

A counterstrike then makes several Muslim cities into glowing glass puddles and delivers retaliation on a scale of 5 to ten times the mass death the Jihadis delivered. Any bases suspected to have nukes are eradicated, any large scale nuclear facility gets a 400KT H-bomb dropped on it.

Then the Islamoids are told that while they might still have a few dozen nukes, the West, Russia, China, India have 20,000 left and at least 2 have Mecca and Medina written on the warheads. So desist.

My guess is the Islamoids would not wish to go the self-induced genocide path. So they stop, and demand UN officials and ACLU lawyers take over - to "protect their human rights". Which would be a "no deal".

Then the orginal attacked nations take over Muslim oil fields that once belonged to culpable Muslim nations - as reparations. And bar all Muslims from the West and do mass deportations on a scale even greater than the deportations of 5 million Germans from the East after WWII.

Obviously, I don't buy the "West would be helpless against the mighty Jihadis and their handful of nukes!! argument". As another poster mentioned, the risk of detection prior to emplacing covert nukes would be very high. Detection alone without any detonation would mean complete surrender to the infidel or risk partial or full thermonuclear war. A very one-sided deal. There is a reason why the US and the Soviets and the Chicoms never risked sending SEAL or Spetsnaz or Chi Triad smugglers to work doing so - extraordinary risk..

10/19/2006 01:32:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

The pisser with that scenario Paul is the possibility of a false flag operation. Does Russia, NorK, or Pakistani militants want to see the US hit ME and Asian countries to start the end of all battles? Maybe so maybe not but that would ensure level the playing field for many marginalized economies and could build a new alignment of nations that edges out the US. Nuke the US and then issue such a statement through some shadowy ME web site. There are certainly those crazy enough to try.

10/19/2006 01:38:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

If Tehran has a rational side to it’s brinksmanship it may force Israel to divest itself of atomic weapons. But special friend or no, the Israeli’s have been both an ally and a thorn in the side of US interests and foreign policy. To this date, Israel is denied much of sensitive US technology and both the DOD and the State Department recognized that Israel cannot be trusted or controlled. That said, maybe the US should convince the Israeli’s to dismantle their nuclear weapons capability in return for the kind of mutual assistance pacts that we have with Japan and Taiwan.

10/19/2006 01:49:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Trust Us"
(With your very existence.)

10/19/2006 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger charlotte said...

I was hoping to be convinced that some in the aligning axis of Islamists, Asians, Middle Easterners, Africans, Latin Americans, terrorists, gangsters, transnationalists and corporate enablers east and west wouldn't risk partial destruction for god, power and $. I'm not, and see the same possibility that Annoy Mouse mentioned. Nothing is forever is right, not even American and western civ hegemony.

Certainly seems a better bet for the US to count on aggressive, stealthy, and dogged prevention (to include confrontation and mil action) rather than on the common good sense or survival instinct of our enemies, or even of our ostensible allies . Unfortunately, the will to prevent is political and inconsistent, at best, given elections and changing priorities. The fickle nature of politicians and agencies, both here and international, isn't reassuring, either.

Do we really believe that after a devastating blow with other cities gravely threatened that our leadership whoever it might be would muster the will to retaliate and suffer further consequences? Maybe.

But will our aggressors even care and their extended network and interests sufficiently destroyed, even were we to vaporize some cities in return?

10/19/2006 02:17:00 PM  
Blogger patrick neid said...


my point is as you first described it. we have no first strike possibilities with north korea that we can morally and ethically live with. the several hundred thousand dead in Seoul preclude it. however there is a footnote. if south korea, for whatever reasons, gave its approval then a modern WW II could proceed--not the restrained type of warfare currently in iraq/afghanistan.

in fact the constraining factors are such, that even if a small nuclear device is exploded in a US city and we know who is responsible, we will not retaliate with the same. we will however reduce said country to ruins, conventionally. while the results may be the same the methods employed are vastly different. we will never, ever use nuclear weapons unless our complete existence is at stake.

with that as background i wish bush and company would tone it down a bit unless of course south korea has given the nod behind closed doors.

i'm in the camp that believes north korea and iran will get the bomb and we will react with a total devastating war that does not spare civilians if one ever, anywhere goes off. but we will not act preemptively, no matter how much sense it makes. israel, however, probably will because their entire existence is/maybe at stake.

10/19/2006 03:44:00 PM  
Blogger lugh lampfhota said...

Will the Bush deterence doctrine matter as the American electorate moves to the pacifist/left and elects a Democrat majority Congress in 2006 and President Hillary Clinton in 2008?

Russia and China will wait to use their proxies (Iran, DPRK, Venezuela), who will use their plausibly deniable proxy terrorist groups to sow chaos in the West.

Threats alone will force compliance from a weakened West. Actual use of WMD will only be for demonstration of power and amusement for the barbarian masses.

The effeminant West is quickly sliding into irrelevance. The 21st century will be dominated by ruthless men from other cultures.

Ponder why billions of dollars of Western capital is flowing into China. Does the market believe that their assets are better protected by ruthless men than fem Westerners?

10/19/2006 06:13:00 PM  
Blogger Billy Hallowell said...

Find out how other Americans feel. Our foreign policy index is an amazing way to gage public opinion about American foreign policy and the current state of affairs, and from the way things look, the public may just be at a tipping point. Read on…

Here at Public Agenda, we’ve created a new tool to track Americans’ opinions on foreign policy issues, providing a basis for political commentary. Similar to the Consumer Confidence Index, the Foreign Policy Anxiety Indicator provides policy makers, journalists and ordinary citizens with the public's overall comfort level with America's place in the world and current foreign policy.

An essential tool updated twice a year, the Indicator will consistently provide much-needed information on the public’s perception of more than two dozen aspects of international relations.

In a world strewn with violence and highly-charged international issues, Americans are broadly uneasy about U.S. foreign policy. The September 2006 shows the Foreign Policy Anxiety Indicator at 130 on a scale of 0 to 200, where 0 is the most confident, 200 the most anxious and 100 neutral.

Eight in 10 Americans feel the world is becoming a more dangerous place for Americans, yet they're also skeptical about most of the possible solutions, such as creating democracies or global development. Only improved intelligence gathering and energy independence have substantial support, with energy firmly established as a national security problem
for the public.

In fact, the public lacks confidence in many of the measures being taken to ensure America’s security. Less than 33% of Americans give the U.S. government an “A” or a “B” grade for its execution of the following foreign policy issues: reaching goals in Iraq and Afghanistan, maintaining good relationships with Muslim countries and protecting U.S. borders from illegal immigration. And these are just a few of the findings of the survey.

These are some of the other startling findings:

- 83 percent say they are worried about the way things are going for the United States in world affairs (35 percent worry "a lot", with an additional 48 percent saying they worry "somewhat.")

- 79 percent say the world is becoming more dangerous for the United States and the American people

- 69 percent say the United States is doing a fair or poor job in creating a more peaceful and prosperous world

- 64 percent say the rest of the world sees the United States negatively

- 58 percent say U.S. relations with the rest of the world are on the wrong track

Want to learn more? Go to to download the report.

Public Agenda is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group devoted to public opinion and public policy. The confidence in U.S. Foreign Policy Index is developed in cooperation with Foreign Affairs with support from the Hewlett and Ford foundations.

10/20/2006 12:29:00 PM  

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