Tag Archives: Korea

The Realistic Threat Of North Korea: a different approach


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Tonight once again, once again the same old discussion. The discussion being heard so many times but so little effective action being taken.

The discussion about the pending and increasing dilemma’s as how to deal with North Korea. North Korea perceived as an increasing threat, – North Korea being an increasing threat.

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North Korea, with snowy mountains in the north and rugged ranges in the east with swift rivers flowing to the sea. A country ideal for growing rice and other crops, but being harsh in winter. A country with mud coated and thatched cottages being bleak, and black pigs lolled by barns, – and the digging of soils still being carried out by the kind of spade used by land working men.

Men and women, – like us, like everywhere.

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The country where fishermen converge like seabirds in tiny fishing boats to catch a share for thousands of families to sustain the living conditions in an exploited land full of stricken poverty, – and malnutrition of far too many children.

A country once invaded by the Russians and denied free elections in history, with iron curtains dividing both the south and the north.

A country once invading the south with the US and Japan coming to the rescue of the south, – with finally the south and the north controlling each their own zone… Isolated now, close to the borders of China, – not only isolated in terms of trade and other good things with the outside world, – but foremost isolated as well as a country in terms of rational international diplomacy.

North Korea in 2001 still the country remaining communist, closely spied by its Government, cut off from almost all outside contacts and over and over armed.

One new young leader now with a massive war machinery behind him, in a way fragile and not mature as a person, – but coming forth from a family tradition of maximum power and ambition. Encapsulated in various inflated views about the world of North Korea and the real world.

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Encapsulated by historic traditions within the army, a powerful army, – but the last powerful as well where it comes to keep up existing doctrines, which do not work.

Neither do they work for the many people who are poor in North Korea, the families with children and malnutrition being the events of the day, nor do they work for the outside world, – as North Korea is one of those nations enduring great difficulties to face the challenge to become civilised, and responsible, – in the way they deal with matters.

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It is one of those countries who perceive in their isolation threats from the outside world, – perceive their family neighbour from the south as an enemy, – perceive the US as an enemy. And in all this are preparing for conflict, – being both irrational and pointless.

The facts are now that North Korea will conduct its third nuclear test soon, – that North Korea did sent a satellite into space in December and are preparing for both long range missiles eventually having the ability to carry nuclear and/or other weapons.

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Reason does not seem to work as North Korea is perhaps the worst enemy of its own ideology, but reason never reached North Korea as isolation created fear and fear created the potential for major confrontation where nobody as head of any civilised state apart from China did visit North Korea in the eye of its Parliament.

It takes courage to prevent war and create dialogue. History showed on a few occasions that the actions of men are able to this, as once illustrated in the Israelite Parliament with the visit of a seemingly almost forgotten Egyptian President, who stood up for Peace being the last rationale argument to fight for.

Different circumstances though, the last, but the examples are there of men and women, people and Presidents taking action with a bigger interest at heart, proactive in style and determined to win their case, – as a lost case being the case of war goes at a cost of millions who are innocent and did not ask for it.

In the eyes of North Korea both the US and South Korea are earth enemies for reasons never being really clarified in face to face communication. Face to face communication with both modesty and strength, to reach both out and to try to diffuse inflated perceptions. Face to face communication – like eg happened in dialogues between Reagan and Gorbachev at a crucial time of the cold war right in the face of all hard-liners, – all hard liners being surprised of the break through being created at the time.

There is a situation now not being the place for making any threats, – as words lead to provocations and provocations lead to war and war leads to an instinct of willing to combat by every means.

It’s pointless, – pointless as it proved so many times in history!

Lets face it, we are not living any more in time of guns and bullets only, but the guns have been replaced by potential missiles and the bullets have been replaced by plain potential nukes, – either dirty or clean, but in both cases devastating in its implication once used by people who lead wars from behind their computer, – blind for the destruction of human life and culture

The new US Secretary of State John Kerry liked engaging North Korea in the past at the time he was a Massachusetts Senator and this is the only way forward. Kerry, who replaced Hillary Rodham Clinton, joined with South Korea and Japan in calling on the North to end its “provocative behaviour” or face “significant consequences from the international community” in a statement Sunday, – but he did not make endeavours to visit North Korea as yet. Being only joint by Japan and South Korea, statements of this nature have no impact on North Korea at all!

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Media presented threats do not help. “There’s a reluctance in the White House to have a deal with North Korea only to have it repudiated again,” said James Acton, an expert on nuclear non-proliferation at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. However, – some risk is required as the risk of war and not being able to end the process once the last is implemented is a greater risk, and again we are not simply speaking about guns. North Korea will master a delivery system for nuclear weapons, and it will join Russia and China as the only non-U.S. allies with such capabilities, – besides Iran perhaps. Kim Jong Un seems to shrug off pressure from most of the international community, including North Korea’s main ally, China, and go ahead with a third test. Bruce Bechtol, a former Pentagon intelligence analyst, said it is really not up to the United States solely to alter the North’s behaviour. He said Kerry’s instructions from Obama will likely be to work closely with the South Koreans and have them set the tone.

However the US needs to go into a straight dialogue with North Korea and Kerry needs to visit and speak to the Communist Parliament as only a minor shift in perception may change events in history, the last being of greater impact when a delegation of South Korea would visit the North. The reasoning behind this is that North Korea wants to go nuclear as part of its military deterrent in its confrontation with the United States, which it describes as “the sworn enemy of the Korean people.”

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Long range missiles are not aimed for South Korea but are on the long term aimed at the US and its citizens and the only way is working on a shift in perception, – a shift of perception delivered perhaps even by the US President in North Korea.

The new US Secretary of State John Kerry would be well able to visit first, and discuss with the North Korean leadership the issues of concern. Such a visit will have a major impact and may help the required shift in perception which enables parties to reconsider existing strategies. Besides this benefit it will create some element of goodwill, – noticed by both Russia and China, as the US goes out of his way to avoid confrontation. However one should be watchful for this oppressive regime

If no change afterwards it will help the US to get both China and Russia on the same page of the international agenda to stop North Korea with its dangerous endeavours, leading simply to an avoidable war, – now.

Leadership by providing a change of perception works stronger than sanctions as sanctions proved to be the cut corner strategy not having an impact on historic based perceptions in this case, – the last neither being changed by media delivered warnings nor by measures being perceived as provocative

North Korea is able to test two devices at the same time, one with plutonium and the other with uranium, both then with more technological information and political damage being provided, – apart from the single fact that they are not far away from testing a thermonuclear device more powerful than any of their earlier devices being used, and again, – again straight on dialogue and working on a shift in perception with coöperation being the aim is a short-term goal of eminent importance, – even if this is against Pentagon advise.

Politically the new regime of Kim Jong-Un is more defiant to U.N. dictates than his predecessors, – just by still pursuing his nation’s nuclear aims. Neither stronger sanctions, nor the likely discontent of both Russia and China with his behaviour, appears to change North Korea’s young leader from its military driven aim and it is clear that only straight on discussions on both dismantling and cooperation might be helpful to change the perception that the US is not not the number one enemy, – as this is an inflated perception not based on any realistic facts, – unless the facts do change by further provocations by North Korea.

This is what the military leadership in North Korea needs to understand or facing the implications if North Korea indeed is going to face a nuclear threat for the region, with growing pressure from both China, Russia and the US.

The UN proved to be of no value to North Korea.

The aim is to get both China, Russia and the US on the same page of the strategic agenda as by not achieving this shift in perception with the North Korean leadership, this nation becomes a vey unpredictable nation at the potential cost of millions of people inside North Korea and outside its borders.

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Hence steps of courage being required at the personal level to change those possible dynamics in history, as history will judge both in retrospect and relentless, on what “we” did to prevent “the North Korean problem” from evolving into a worst case scenario.

Thank you!

 Paul 

Paul Alexander Wolf

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/we-dream-of-things-that-never-were-and-say-why-not/

 

 

The nuclear energy dangers in our times


English: Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant. Tigh...
English: Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant. Tight crop showing reactors 4, 3, 2 and 1, reading left (South) to right (North). Area shown is approximately 600 by 350 metres. 日本語: 福島第一原子力発電所。 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The nuclear energy question has been raised on many occasions but the situation in Japan again reflects issues which if not resolved properly have implications for many future generations.

The question is not whether we can supply ourselves with efficient energy but the issue is whether the kind of energy we opt for is really safe.

As long as it proves that even one of the most advanced nations as Japan with modern nuclear plants do not have the abilities to contain the energies being released when things go wrong (in this case as a result of natural disaster), – there is no guarantee that those energies can be contained in times of conflict (war, terrorist attacks) where nuclear plants could be targeted. The risks are not only limited to natural disasters and earthquake prone areas, clear however as they are.

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The question of a sustainable energy supply when natural resources are coming to an end  at about 2070 can’t be ignored,  but the way this question will be resolved can’t be a shortcut in terms of >”easier to offer nuclear energy”<  if  the use of those energies can’t be guaranteed safely – to be contained.

We can’t turn a blind eye to the dangers on the long -term implications if e.g in over populated areas those energies are uncontrolled released, – either by natural disaster, acts of war, insufficient maintenance, mechanical error or any other human failings. Where some incidents may only have local implications, other incidents may have global implications resulting in radioactive pollution of both air and water, radio-active clouds & rains, upper and lower streams spreading radioactive material at high-speed in the atmospheres. Besides the risks that those energies are used in some countries for the wrong reasons, in other countries the technical know how and the financial resources eventually may prove to be insufficient to keep up their plants in line with the required quality & safety.

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Where we have been able to discover forces of nature which can’t be controlled in the very best hands, we should be reluctant to allow it being used, – at least  in those countries  where international surveillance is insufficient. Japan’s Fukushima  nuclear power plant being badly damaged did affect local waters with radioactive iodine levels more than 1800 times the legal levels. Traces of radioactive iodine 131 have been found at 12 places in the air around South Korea.

Till so far the worst nuclear power plant disaster in history happened on the 26th of April in 1986 at Chernobyl, Ukraine (at that stage part of the Soviet Union). Radioactivity levels being released in the atmosphere were about 400 times higher than the fall out of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Still there is a 30 to 40 km exclusion zone surrounding the plant where over 300000 people had to abandon their homes.

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The argument that the use of increasing nuclear power plants would solve or reduce climate change is not valid. If the UK e.g. by 2024 would have some 10 new nuclear reactors being build, the UK carbon emissions would be reduced by only 4%.

Nuclear power plants simply create more nuclear waste for future generations, apart from the implications when things go wrong. At times of war nuclear power plants are most likely prime targets with conventional weapons. If e.g. the power plant in Petten (the Netherlands) would be as such destroyed, the nuclear energies being released would not only affect  the Netherlands on its own with its dense population, but surrounding countries as well, – not to speak about the nuclear material being released in the atmosphere, –  like it happened in Chernobyl.  Needless to say that at times of war more power plants at the same time are at risk of destruction by those who are totally irresponsible, – as history shows there have been many irresponsible minds at the forefront of decision-making.

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Just imagine the implications of 10 nuclear power plants being destroyed at the same time. Life on earth would be under potential threat with genetic malformations running in many generations.

At present in Japan drinking half a liter contaminated fresh drinking water would expose any person to their annual safe dose as far as Officials concerned. Needless to say that people need more fresh drinking water to sustain in life and that there will be accumulations with profound health effects on the long-term, not being seen as yet. Radioactive material released into the sea will spread due to the tides.

Iodine-131 has a half-life of eight days, however levels of Caesium -137 have a half-life in the range of 30 years and the local levels in Japan recently were close to 80 times the legal maximum. Radioactive iodine, caesium and cobalt levels in water in the turbine buildings next to the reactors 1 and 3 in Japan were 10000 times the normal level.

If the volatile uranium plutonium mix would start to burn really through its steel pressure vessel, there would be a worst case scenario in place, – nearly similar to the destruction of a nuclear power plant as a result of e.g the use of a conventional weapon during an act of war. Total destruction of nuclear power plants at times of conflict or natural disaster may create catastrophic implications, even worse than the Chernobyl disaster. Those implications may affect the food chain including farm and dairy products. At present in Japan the evacuation zone around the plant is 30 km, however still below the 80 km zone as advised by the United States. If such thing would happen in eg Petten (the Netherlands), it would mean evacuation of Amsterdam.

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Still the dangers of nuclear energy are often underestimated by the experts in both the national and international discussions and within the arena of politics not everybody seems to be familiar with those dangers, – and at times decisions with little real insight in the dangers of those nuclear energies are often made to short-term interests and not being taken with the long-term future at heart.  Some would still say believe that nuclear energies in advanced power plants are safe, but the incidents in Japan proves that they are far from safe.

If backup systems in unforeseen circumstances can’t be modified and/or improved, – if it is still allowed to build nuclear plants at earthquake prone areas (the area of San Fransisco is at risk if there would be nearby power plants), – and if nuclear energies in power plants can’t be secured and prevented from uncontrolled release in case of natural disaster, times of war and other human failure (either intentional or non intentional), – this form of energy will be an energetic liability for our own human genetic structure, where we survive such disasters in the short-term.

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The warnings of the Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant can’t be ignored or wiped underneath the carpet. At this time traces of radioactivity have been found in Europe, Korea and the United States. Rainwater in Ohio has been contaminated. There are significant import restrictions on food from Japan.  The potential presence of caesium, iodine and other radioactive material in fish are realistic dangers.

It is clear that the impact of a partial destructed nuclear power plant in Japan has ripple effects all over the world, not to speak about the nightmare scenario’s in case of destruction of nuclear power plants as a result of forces of nature or calculated acts at war, – including terrorist attacks.

We are using powers which can’t be controlled eventually and then there is nothing else we can do than running behind the facts as they will evolve over time. The last if collective reason is not taking over at the early start of this decade and make selective its use. under the proper circumstances with maximum safeguards in place including ongoing quality maintenance. The last will be most questionable if countries will be hit by significant economic crisis or together with natural disaster and even in the most advanced countries it proves that systems are not foolproof

Thank you!

 Paul 

Paul Alexander Wolf

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2011/04/16/fukushima-why-is-vital-help-arriving-so-late/

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/21st-centurys-collision-course-of-nuclear-disaster-both-the-possible-and-the-impossible/

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/we-dream-of-things-that-never-were-and-say-why-not/