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Posts Tagged ‘North Korea’

Who’s Being ‘Provocative’?

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

Israel is now “provocative” in a ratching up from State:-

In unusually rare and blunt criticism* of its top Mideast ally, the Obama administration on Tuesday slammed Israel for continuing to announce new settlement construction on land claimed by the Palestinians.

The State Department accused Israel of engaging in a “pattern of provocative action” that calls into question statements from Israeli leaders that they are committed to peace.

Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said settlement activity only puts the goal of peace “further at risk” and urged both Israel and the Palestinians to halt all provocations and take steps to revive long-stalled peace talks.

“We are deeply disappointed that Israel insists on continuing this pattern of provocative action,” Nuland told reporters. “These repeated announcements and plans of new construction run counter to the cause of peace. Israel’s leaders continually say that they support a path towards a two-state solution, yet these actions only put that goal further at risk.”

I guess that since Arabs never build “settlements”, they aren’t ‘provocative’?

Note, on the Turkey blockade run, she avoids the term ‘provocation’:-

QUESTION: Okay. Well, one of the things that the Secretary said yesterday in – when – in her comments to this was that attempts to go into Israeli waters were provocative and irresponsible. And it’s my understanding that the flotilla organizers do not intend to go into Israeli waters but in – they will stay in international waters. Is that your understanding or is that not your understanding per what the Secretary said yesterday?
MS. NULAND: I can’t speak to the intentions of those involved in the flotilla. I think the Secretary was clear it was in response to a question yesterday –
QUESTION: Correct.
MS. NULAND: – as you remember, so that also speaks to the fact that publicly this issue is out there, that we do not want to see the bad situation of last year repeated. We do believe that channels exist for providing humanitarian aid to Gaza in a safe and secure way and that that situation is improving. And we urge all NGOs who want to participate in that to use those channels.
QUESTION: But does a flotilla sitting in international waters off the Gaza – off the coast of Gaza, is that a problem for the U.S.?
MS. NULAND: Again, I don’t want to get into the Law of the Sea issues here. I simply want to say that we don’t want to see a conflict at sea, on land. We want to see appropriate legitimate channels used for the –
QUESTION: I understand, but in the briefing that just preceded this –
MS. NULAND: Yes.
QUESTION: – you talked about wanting to – in another instance, in the South China Sea, the U.S. has been very concerned about the freedom of navigation.

But later used it:

MS. NULAND: Well, thank you for that, Arshad. We are quite concerned, as I said yesterday. We are talking to both the Israelis and the Turks. We are urging both sides to refrain from rhetoric or actions that could be provocative, that could contribute to tensions.

Hillary Clinton used it in connection  with North Korea:

We all agree that North Korea’s provocative and belligerent behavior jeopardizes peace and stability in Asia. We are deeply concerned by its unprovoked attack on the island of Yeonpyeong, resulting in the loss of South Korean lives.  On behalf of the American people, I would like to convey our sympathies to the victims and their families.  Our thoughts and prayers are with you.  We want the people of South Korea to know that we are standing shoulder-to-shoulder with you, and we are deeply committed to your defense.The minister and I share the view that the attack by the North Koreans violates the Armistice Agreement of 1953; that North Korea’s provocative and belligerent behavior threatens us all, and that it will be met with solidarity from all three countries.

Visit My Right Word.

Missiles, Missiles Everywhere

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

Back in 2007, when Vladimir Putin promised to rebuild Russia’s military and resume its activities on the world stage, Westerners were complacent.  Russia was an economic basket case, after all.  It would take years for modernization programs to kick in.  And even when they did, they would bring Russian capabilities to no more than what America already has.  Right?

That may be the case for some conventional forces.  But when it comes to “strategic” missiles – missiles used for the purpose of strategic intimidation – it’s 2012 now, and Russia is unquestionably ahead of the United States.  Not in terms of numbers, but in terms of missile capabilities.  The Russians have already fielded ICBMs that are better than anything we have.  These missiles present a much tougher target for our national ballistic-missile defense network than anything has before.  If they are launched against us – and certainly if they’re launched against anyone else – a lot of them are going to get through.

The missile tests popping up all over Asia should be seen in this light.  Everyone’s arming up, starting with Russia.  As we speak, Moscow is rearming missile units with Russia’s most advanced ICBM, the Yars missile, which was first tested in 2007.  The Topol-M missile, tested in 2004, is already deployed.

The US, by contrast, has not developed or tested a new long-range missile system since the Reagan administration.  The US Air Force conducted test launches of the Minuteman III ICBM in February and early March 2012 (the last test launch, in 2011, resulted in the missile being destroyed by the controllers in flight, due to a malfunction, rather than being allowed to proceed to splash-down).  The Minuteman III entered service in 1970.  The MX Peacekeeper ICBM was decommissioned in 2005.  The Navy’s Trident II D-5 ballistic missile, which entered service in 1990, was tested in March 2012.

The Russians plan to complete the modernization of five strategic rocket force units by the end of 2013.  Shortly before the US election, Russia held a big strategic exercise in which long-range missiles were launched from sea and shore.  Russia isn’t resting on her ICBM laurels either; besides putting the new Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) into service, she is developing a new ICBM with a huge, Cold War-style nuclear-payload capacity on a much improved missile body.

But in a very missile-choked continent, Russia is just the biggest kid on the block.  China has her own robust ICBM programs.  On 24 July, 2012, China conducted the first test of her newest ICBM, the DF-41, which can hit all of the United States.  The Chinese have also tested the DF-31A ICBM throughout 2012.  The DF-31A can hit much of (not all of) the United States.  The most recent test was on 30 November, which also happened to be the last day of a joint US-Chinese disaster-relief exercise in Chengdu.

India, with China and Pakistan to worry about, continues her own ballistic missile testing.  In April 2012, India tested the Agni-V, her most advanced ballistic missile, which, with a 3100 (statue) mile range, can reach most of China and all of Pakistan.

India also tested an interceptor missile in November 2012, claiming a successful intercept, although the type of target missile was not reported.

On 28 November, five days after India’s interceptor test and two days before China’s DF-31 test, Pakistan test-launched a Hatf-V medium-range ballistic missile, the newest in Islamabad’s family of nuclear-capable MRBMs.

And, of course, Iran is working hard on improving her MRBM inventory (and testing it to create alarm in the region).

So when you see that North Korea is preparing to launch a ballistic missile, keep in mind the character of the neighborhood.  Because of the danger presented by North Korea, the US and South Korea agreed in early October 2012 that Seoul would double the range of South Korea’s own ballistic missiles from the Hyunmoo series.  This is the kind of thing that would have gotten a lot more coverage if there were a different president in the Oval Office.

Japan is also concerned, of course.  Tokyo is deploying Patriot missile batteries and putting the armed forces on alert in preparation for Pyongyang’s launch.  It may not be long before Japan decides she wants her own ballistic missiles.  Having been capable of putting satellites in orbit for 40 years, the Japanese could develop and deploy ballistic missiles on a very short timeline.

Report: Iran Conducted A-Bomb Test With North Korean Assistance

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

JERUSALEM – As senior members of the International Atomic Energy Commission acknowledged that Iran’s nuclear program has a military component, the German newspaper Welt Am Sonntag (World on Sunday) revealed that Western intelligence agencies believe the Iranian regime authorized North Korea to conduct a secret test of a nuclear weapon some time during 2010.

Hans Ruhle, a former German Defense Ministry official, told the newspaper that intelligence experts pored over information supplied by a Swedish nuclear physicist who had monitored North Korea’s nuclear tests.

If the reports are accurate, North Korea, which also supplied Iran with the technology to build the Shihab intercontinental ballistic missile, is playing a direct role in helping Tehran create the infrastructure to assemble nuclear warheads that can be mounted on missiles aimed at Israel, American military bases in the Persian Gulf and pro-Western oil sheikhdoms in the Middle East.

Ruhle maintained that for the moment Iran still lacks an independent capability to build its own nuclear weapon.

Last month, in an article he wrote for Welt Am Sonntag, Ruhle disputed the notion that the Israeli Air Force was incapable of knocking out Iranian nuclear facilities, claiming Israel could “easily” destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Meanwhile, Israel’s secret submarine program is proceeding at an accelerated pace at the Thyssen Shipyards in Emden and Kiel, Germany.

Two Super Dolphin submarines, reportedly equipped with highly long-range silent propulsion and cruise missile technologies, are being protected by dozens of German naval guards and are nearly ready for deployment to the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf. Israel’s growing submarine fleet is being positioned for second-strike capabilities should Iranian mount a ballistic attack on Israel.

Former US Ambassador to UN Calls for Military Strike on Iran

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Writing in USA TODAY Tuesday, former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton derided President Obama for being “naively fixed on diplomacy with Iran,” and reiterated that military – not economic – measures are the answer.

Bolton mocked recent Obama administration claims about slowing Tehran down as being “little more than re-election propaganda.”

Addressing the issue of sanctions, Bolton noted that North Korea, “the world’s most heavily sanctioned country, with a population perennially near starvation, has exploded two nuclear devices.”

He also dismissed the covert war of assassinations, sabotage, and computer viruses as “diversions masquerading as solutions.”

“The most likely outcome is stark,” he concludes. “The world’s central banker of terrorism will very soon become a nuclear weapons state. The only other option is to take pre-emptive military action to break Iran’s program.”

North Korea Buries Kim Jong-Il

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

North Korea buried “dear leader” Kim Jong-Il on Wednesday in a massive national funeral.

A long, snowy funeral procession in the capital of Pyongyang featured a funeral cortege, marching soldiers with bared heads in mourning, and Jong-Il’s successor and son, Kim Jong-Un, crying in the hearse. Jong-Un will be the third member of the family to run North Korea.

Civilians lined up to pay homage to the “dear leader”, crying “father, father” as the hearse passed by.

North Korean Kim Jong-il is Dead at Age 69

Monday, December 19th, 2011

Kim Jong-il, the leader of North Korea is dead at age 69. North Korean media reports that he died on December 17 while traveling on a train.
Kim Jong-un, his third oldest son is supposed to replace him as the new head of state.
Jong-un, in his late twenties, is reported to have gone to school in Switzerland while living there under a pseudonym. He is reported to be a diabetic and suffer from hypertension. His father made him a general in 2010.
In response to the news of Jong-il’s death, South Korea has put its military on high alert.

Barack Obama, Individual Sacredness And The Lamed-Vav

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

Our new president seemingly understands something of very great importance: The state of our union is intimately intertwined with the state of our world. Our fate as Americans will ultimately depend upon our willingness to identify more broadly and openly as citizens of the entire planet. Reciprocally, the fate of all others on earth will be impacted more or less by what happens next in American politics. But the final outcome of all such interdependence will be determined by what is ordinarily called “human nature.”

To help rescue an imperiled planet, America’s newly elected president will have to look beyond politics. Our always troubled and too-often exterminatory species contains within itself the sources of its own periodic eradications through war, terror and genocide. “The horror, the horror,” mumbles the Marlon Brando character in “Apocalypse Now.” How thin, he reflects correctly, is the veneer of our so-called “civilization.”

Consider not just Iraq and Afghanistan, but also the Sudan and Somalia and Congo and Georgia and Pakistan and Iran and North Korea. Recall especially the Holocaust. Look back at Rwanda. Remember Cambodia. Crimes against humanity, however and wherever displayed, are never remediable through law, politics or diplomacy. Rather, they must be stopped at their source. This means that they can be understood and curbed only by a ubiquitous prior awareness of our most basic human needs and expectations.

At their deepest core, crimes against humanity are not really the product of politics gone awry. They stem ultimately from the unbearable loneliness of individual human beings. “Normally” unable to find meaning and security outside of groups, literally billions of individuals will often stop at nothing to acquire membership in a crowd. Whether it is a nation, a social organization, or a terrorist band, the crowd offers all an essential communion. Indeed, it is the frantic search to belong, and thereby to overcome individual loneliness, that best defines “history.”

Real history – president-elect Obama should observe – is pretty much the sum total of individual souls seeking redemption. Tangible expressions of the incessant human search for redemption in groups can be found in the enduring jurisprudence of sovereignty and self-determination. But the “self” in these legal principles refers to entire peoples, never to individuals. The ironic result is sometimes even a measureless orgy of mass killing that we conveniently describe as “power politics.” As Jews, we still see entirely too much of this today in the incessant Arab/Jihadist preparations for war, terrorism and genocide.

Divided into thousands of hostile tribes, almost 200 of which are now called nation-states, many human beings generally find it easy to slay “others.” As for empathy, it is typically reserved almost exclusively for those who live within one’s own tribe. It follows that an expansion of empathy to include all outsiders is a basic condition of authentic peace and global union, and that without such expansion our species will remain dedicated to its own incremental debasement and disappearance.

What must our new president do to encourage wider empathy, and to foster deeply caring feelings between as well as within tribes? How can he improve the state of our world so as to ensure a viable and prosperous state for our own American union?

Sadly, the essential expansion of empathy for the many would be literally “dreadful,” possibly improving human community, but only at the terrible expense of private sanity. We humans are designed with particular and largely impermeable boundaries of feeling. Were it otherwise, an extended range of compassion toward others would bring about our own total emotional collapse. Planning seriously for national and international survival, Mr.Obama must thus prepare to accept a very unorthodox and paradoxical understanding: A widening circle of human compassion is both indispensable to civilizational survival, and a potential source of private anguish.

The president-elect can learn much from our own Jewish traditions. According to ancient Jewish thought, the world rests upon 36 just men – the Lamed-Vav. Only because of their own “heavy lifting,” because of their own unimaginable suffering, can the rest of us endure.

There are many meanings to this wonderful Jewish tradition, but one is altogether primary. A whole world of just men (and women) is impossible. It is, then, because ordinary individuals simply cannot bear the torments of so many others that G-d has created the Lamed-Vav. How shall human union now deal with a requirement for global civilization that is both essential and unbearable? Newly informed that, empathy for the many is a precondition of a decent world union, what can create such empathy without producing intolerable emotional pain? How can we deal with the ongoing and multiplying expressions of war, terrorism and genocide?

The answer cannot be found in ordinary political speeches and programs. It lies only in a resolute detachment of all individuals from certain lethally competitive tribes and other collective “selves.” A more perfect union, both national and international, thus lies in a determined replacement of “civilization” with “planetization.” In turn, this politically problematic replacement will depend upon prior affirmations of true Self, upon a steadily expanding and incontestable acceptance of the sacredness of each individual. Again, these affirmations would express tenets integral to Judaism.

Our new president should understand that the state of our union could never be better than the state of our whole world. He will also need to realize that the state of our world will depend substantially on what happens inside the United States. In acknowledging this significant mutuality, the overriding common factor must always remain the individual human being – the sacred “one” who steadily follows an immutable and universal trajectory of birth, gratification, suffering and death.

Copyright © The Jewish Press, January 9, 2009. All Rights reserved

LOUIS RENÉ BERES (Ph.D. Princeton 1971) is the author of many books and articles dealing with international relations and international law. Strategic and Military Affairs columnist for The Jewish Press, he has lectured and published widely on various behavioral, philosophical and legal aspects of war, terrorism and genocide.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/louis-bene-beres/barack-obama-individual-sacredness-and-the-lamed-vav/2009/01/07/

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