web analytics
April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘North Korea’

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.

Contradictions

Wednesday, December 24th, 2003
Each time I get on an airplane, I am struck by contradictions. We are a species that can take tons of heavy metal and transform it into an instrument of travel, transporting millions of passengers at very high speeds from one place to another. At the same time, we are required to take off our shoes before being allowed to board the plane, not for reasons of civilized comfort, but rather to ensure that we are not about to destroy the aircraft.

Moreover, many of our fellow human beings are forever trying to invent still more ingenious methods of mass killing in the skies. Recently, we were warned of the special dangers that now lie latent in various electronic devices such as cell phones and laptops – devices originally designed not for murder, but for pleasure and convenience.

What has gone wrong for humankind, especially in the overtly death-centered Arab/Islamic world? As a species, how shall we explain the growing gap between technical intelligence and reason?

In the time following 9/11, certain elements continue to reveal with anguish and clarity the delicate veneer of human society. Recalling William Golding’s shipwrecked boys in his novel, Lord Of The Flies, we discover that behind our civilized veneer always lurks a dreadful barbarism.

Reading through the daily newspapers, we unavoidably encounter a world apt to become bloodless, a skeleton, facing war and genocide with little concern about its impending fate. To be sure, our global civilization does make a great deal of noise, but the true point of all this delirium is ultimately to keep man from remembering G-d.

Why? How has so large a portion of our species scandalized its own creation? How many people are potential murderers of those who live beside them? Must every airplane passenger be a suspect terrorist? How have we gone so terribly wrong?

Today, as we look back at a 20th century that can only be described as the Age of Atrocity, there is little cause for optimism. Wherever we look, the corpse remains in fashion. Soon, with the assistance of spreading weapons of mass destruction, especially in Iran and other portions of the Arab/Islamic Middle East, whole nations of corpses will be the rage. Following even a small nuclear war, almost certainly a jihad or “Holy War,” cemeteries the size of entire cities will be needed to bury the dead.

How sad it all is. The appalling silence of good people is absolutely vital to all who would madden and torment. Yet these good people remain generally still, as quiet as they were from 1933 to 1945, content to spend their days impressing the neighbors and preparing their children for prestigious nursery schools.

Yes, of course there are appropriately impassioned reactions to the latest suicide bombings against Israeli civilians; to expanding exterminations in Africa, and even to the accelerating nuclearizations in Iran and North Korea. But the sighs and tears and obligatory exclamations of disbelief are rarely so serious as to interfere with lunch.

How sad, how sad it all is. I write these words as parts of the Arab/Islamic world think excitedly about future wars, some very carefully planned, others still largely unrehearsed. How much treasure, how much science, how much labor and planning, how many centuries have been ransacked to allow this seemingly unstoppable spasm of chemical, biological and nuclear conflict! Frightened by the spectre of personal death and also by the persistently desperate need to belong – how much longer can our fellow humans disguise and project their tortuous private terrors in world politics?

I don’t really know the answers, although I am certainly making some progress in figuring them out. I do know for sure that the universities are essentially unmindful of these important questions, and that they now proceed in their day-to-day business of education with precious little regard for anything that is not marketable, measurable or narrowly profitable. The French philosophers of the 18th-century Age of Reason liked to speak of a siecle des lumieres, a century of light, but most nations in the early 21st century remain mired in the bruising darkness, unaware that we are not here forever, and that we can make ourselves disappear.

As Jews, we understand that memory is always the beginning of redemption. But how shall humanity recall? Assyria, Babylon, Egypt, Greece, Carthage, Rome – ground to dust and burned into oblivion. Is this our collective human fate? Are we all presently still alive merely to become captives of corrupted knowledge and of an increasingly ominous terminal despair?

Hope remains, as it always must, but it should now sing softly, muted, in an undertone. First we must all learn to understand that the visible Earth is made of ashes, and that ashes have authentic meaning. Through the obscure depths of history, we must now struggle to make out the phantoms of great ships of state, and to learn that the disasters that sent them down were unquestionably of their own making.

We must study history, but no longer in an atmosphere of contrived greatness. The barbarians are not all outside the gates; the inclination to tolerate barbarism lies latent within many, heavy and dangerous. As for politics as usual - the upcoming festival of yet another presidential election is a good example - it can never save us. All ordinary politics is “normally” a distraction; shamelessly besmirching life’s great promise with complacent and purposeless babble. There are exceptions, to be sure, but not enough to grant modern civilization the reprieve it now needs to survive.

The Jewish philosopher Abraham J. Heschel, in his Who Is Man? (1965) lamented that, “The emancipated man is yet to emerge.” Heschel then asked all human beings to raise the following questions wherever they turn: “What is expected of me?” “What is demanded of me?” Indebtedness, an indebtedness to resist mass society, is assumed by Heschel to be part of our very being in the universe.

We are living at a moment in history when it is almost impossible to think of collective human behavior without revulsion. It is essential that camouflage and concealment in the mass give way to what Heschel calls “being challenged in the world,” to creating and sustaining small oases of reverence and achievement.

We humans can build complex machines to fly through the air, but we must also fear that some others will use these aircraft as calculated instruments of murder. The contradictions are stark and dense with implication. It is high time to finally figure them out at the most basic species level. Until we do, even our most informed musings about particular human issues and problems will remain distressingly incomplete.

 

Copyright The Jewish Press 2003, All rights reserved.

 

LOUIS RENE BERES was educated at Princeton (Ph.D., 1971) and publishes widely on international relations and international law. He is Strategic and Military Affairs Analyst for The Jewish Press.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/louis-bene-beres/contradictions/2003/12/24/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: