We're not the onery ones with nukes

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"Seismic" activity seems to confirm North Korean nuke test was for real, and successful.

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  1. I guess this throws a wrench into your silly peace party tonight.

  2. Oh boy, now I get to hear the republicans ramp up the security rhetoric again and try and frighten voters into voting for them. This’ll be fun.

  3. “Can we go back to deterrence, please?”

    (finally, does this news mean Foleygate can go away)

  4. Chinese not the onery ones pissed about all those songs….

  5. I guess this throws a wrench into your silly peace party tonight.

    Right, because once another country obtains nuclear weapons, we have no other option than to pick a fight with them… Oh wait.

  6. Kim Il Jong is just a rovian tool. Isn’t the timing convienent? October suprise – hmmm?

    Don’t buy it people. There are no nukes. There is no “North Korea.” There is only domestic politics. This election must remain all about republican boy sex.

  7. I recall that the N. Koreans first announced that they had nukes in 2002, right before we invaded Iraq. The lesson we have taught the nutzoids of the world with our Mesopotamian adventure is that if you want nukes, get ’em in a hurry before we have a chance to invade. Once you acquire them, we leave you alone. That this is counterproductive should be obvious to anyone parent of toddlers, except the ones in charge of our country right now.

  8. The problem for the PRC is that this directs American attention back towards their area of the world. Its had a relatively free hand there since 9/11 and that is going to likely change now.

  9. Phileleutherus Lipsiensis,

    And this will doubtlessly accelerate the militarization of Japan. Bet China wants that.

  10. Pro Libertate,

    We are probably on our way to a world with 30-40 nuclear powers.

  11. It has been widely assumed for the last decade that North Korea was building [and probably had built] nuclear weapons.

    The only thing the test proves is that they know how to build one that works.

    Since you can’t conduct your strategy on the contrary assumption – that the weapons they’ve built don’t work – the test changes nothing.

  12. Thank you, Bill Clinton.

    Thank you, Madeline All-Dim.

    Thank you, Jimmy Carter.

    Thank you, Ban Ki-moon.

  13. Phileleutherus Lipsiensis,

    Yes, and egad. I don’t see how we can avoid the eventual use of a nuclear weapon when the djinn finally truly frees itself from the bottle. In Asia, the nations that are potential targets of a North Korean strike will likely decide that they will need their own independent deterrence. On top of that, proliferation is even more likely in the Middle East if Iran gets the bomb.

    This isn’t one of those easy issues, either. Do we threaten to attack anyone who tries to get a nuclear capability? Or do we just let proliferation happen? I don’t think we can stop it forever, but even slowing the process down may buy us enough time to avoid nuclear warfare. Eventually, if enough countries have the capability, the weapons will be used. I’d like to think that a technological solution to the problem is out there, but I’m dubious. I’d like to think even more that humanity can reach a maturity level high enough to avoid blowing itself up in large quantities, but I’m even more dubious about that. At least in the near term, I am.

    Aresen,

    I mostly agree, but it does up the ante a bit more. If the test had failed, well, we might have become a bit more doubtful of North Korea’s claims. Incidentally, is it certain that a nuclear explosion occurred? I read something suggesting that, in the event of a failure, a lot of conventional explosives could be used to simulate the seismic effects. Needless to say, I’m way out of my depth in this sort of thing. I imagine that they really do have atomic bombs, anyway–with the proper materials, the know how and capability are within the reach of most nations.

  14. Probably Troll,

    Yeah, well, maybe you’re right as far as North Korea goes, but unless we were willing to risk a war and the possible alienation of China, I’m not sure that we really could’ve stopped it. Besides, nuclear proliferation seems inevitable. I suppose if all the major nuclear powers agreed to absolutely slam the door on aspirants, we could slow things down a bit more, but that isn’t the case.

  15. Certainly all the starving patriots in North Korea are thrilled and proud that their country has a working nuclear weapon. 50+ years of American military presense on the Korean peninsula doesn’t seem to be working out.

  16. Philaleutherus Lipsiensis

    Possibly we will have 30 to 40 nuclear powers, but I think a more realistic number is 10 to 15. Iran, Nigeria, a future radicalized Egypt, are potential candidates. The scary part is that, with the exceptions below, they will mostly be third- and fourth-level nations with unstable governments.

    The only middle powers that might be interested would be South Korea and Taiwan. Mainly for internal political reasons, I don’t think a remilitarized Japan would build nukes.

  17. The one aspect of the test that is ‘positive’ for North Korea is marketing.

    They have shown their willingness in the past to sell weapons to terrorists. Now they can say “See, they do work. Bring cash.”

    Best strategy now is to work as closely as possible with the Chinese and South Korean intelligence services to try and prevent such sales.

  18. I think Pro L’s right; we can’t avoid nasty people getting nukes forever, but we can delay it as much as possible. The longer the time before that happens, the more likely we can find something to make the use of nukes undesirable. Also, I think the US would be able to make a far more credible threat to Kim Jong Il were we not bogged down to our axles in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    On a less-terrifying note, Kim Jong Il should really get a better tailor. He wins the Karen Prize for Most-Ridiculous-Looking Public Figure, Evil Dictator Category, what with the poorly-fitting khaki Eisenhauer jackets and the ugly Mao suits, which no one else in the country apparently wears. Now, please commence with ridiculing ME for making an inane joke about the scariest thing on the planet right now.

  19. I’m so ronery.

  20. If I were an insane world leader, I’d either wear a Nehru jacket or some sort of silver science-fiction jumpsuit, ? la the 1950s’ vision of the future. Oh, or maybe a Darth Vader costume: “George, I am your father”. I mean, why not? A certain leader of North Korea is already clearly batshit insane, anyway.

    Actually, if it were me, I’d wear a toga. Naturally. With a nice purple fringe, like a good Roman Senator/Emperor.

  21. Aresen,

    The current nuclear powers are: Israel, France, UK, Russia, India, Pakistan, N. Korea, and the PRC. So we are nearly at ten as it is.

  22. We’re definitely headed for 9/11 times 1,000.

  23. Togas are good, but what about a black damask tunic, high boots, and a black cloak with crimson lining, like the bad guy in a Middle-Ages epic? I’m thinking Sir Guy of Gisborne, from the Errol Flynn “Robin Hood,” although Sir Guy never wore black. He’d have to grow a mustache and pointy Van Dyke to make it really work though, and facial hair is kind of a problem for Asians.

    Oooooh, I know!!! Fu Manchu! Long Fingernails, mandarin collars, fancy silk brocade robe, Spock eyebrows, lots of incense burners and gilt chairs . . . Now that’s a wardrobe and setting for an Evil Asian Warlord.

  24. I’m so hungy.

  25. Phileleutherus Lipsiensis,

    I understand that the United States has a nuclear capability, as well 🙂

    Karen,

    No, I’m sticking with the toga. It has a coolness rating that goes off the board. For Kim Jong-il, I’d totally dress as the Evil Spock–beard, pointed ears, the works.

  26. Probably a troll-Don’t blame Clinton for this; he managed to get them to stop plutonium production in 94. This is all the fault of the present administration, who yanked the deal that kept them at the table and then refused to try to make another one when they started enriching uranium.

  27. Oooooh, I know!!! Fu Manchu! Long Fingernails, mandarin collars, fancy silk brocade robe, Spock eyebrows, lots of incense burners and gilt chairs . . . Now that’s a wardrobe and setting for an Evil Asian Warlord.

    Geez Karen, the guy is already a cartoon character without being turned into a walking stereotype.

  28. Pro Libertate,

    Heh. 🙂

  29. Nuh uh.
    I have the coolest outfit.

  30. Pro Libertate-

    Will Exhalted Leader Kim be getting his toga from GWB’s tailor? Are invisible togas made by invisible tailors?

    Our nuclear capability doesn’t count- we’re the good guys, remember? We’d NEVER…
    oh, wait…

  31. 50+ years of American military presense on the Korean peninsula doesn’t seem to be working out.

    Unless you are a South Korean, of course. For them, its worked pretty well.

    Probably a troll-Don’t blame Clinton for this; he managed to get them to stop plutonium production in 94.

    Sure, they did. You can tell by the way they allowed the inspections that were part of that deal.

  32. Pro Libertate:

    I picture him wearing white cowboy boots, a large pair of diapers, pierced nipples and one of those beany-hats with a propeller on top. This is serious shit.

  33. R C Dean:

    Good points.

  34. Is it still reasonable to blame Clinton for North Korea nearly six years into the Bush Administration? What’s Bush been doing for the past 70 months with respect to this issue?

  35. This is all the fault of the Democrats, and is obviously a reason to vote Republican. After all the Democrats have controlled both houses of Congress for most of the last twelve years and the White House for the last six.

    (In all seriosuness, is there *some* length of time when Republicans are in power after which Bad Things can be admitted to be partly their fault? If they win the next four presidential elections and there’s a terrorist attack in 2024 will it be CLinton’s fault or Jimmy Carter’s?…)

  36. Barring military action the U.S. could ultimately do nothing to stop the N. Koreans from developing nuclear weapons. After all, N. Korea is one of the most heavily sanctioned places on the planet. So blaming Clinton, Bush, etc. has to be viewed in that light.

  37. R C Dean

    Thanks for support.

    Maybe I’m not such a troll. BUT, if being a troll means pointing out that a particular cabal of politicians knowingly ignored 2 of the greatest threats to civilisation in the history of civilisation (i.e., Islam and Juche), then I plead guilty to being a troll.

    Having said that, I should also say that I do not believe in living in the past. The Dear Leader is a threat to all human beings; therefore “he” must be destroyed, regardless of how “he” came to be a threat. Similarly, all the rock-worshippers (hint: they worship a rock in Mecca) must be eliminated/destroyed.

    We should not live in the past. But, if we want to save civilisation, then we must look back at the errors of the past. And…should civilisation survive another 20 years, its members will record as errors the 21st Century’s obsession with treating Islamics as human, and North Koreans as worthy of sparing.

  38. I don’t see what’s so bad about this.

    NK having Nukes = Sweetness. Why, might you ask?

    NK having nukes means that Shinzo Abe will de-neutralize Japan’s constitution, and a new millitarism craze will hit Japan.

    This craze will cause trillions of yen to flow in the direction of millitary contracts and development… and in the case of Japan… you know what that means?

    GIANT WAR ROBOTS! Toyota, Honda and Mitsubishi are all competing to be the first with a prototype, I’ll wager.

    Giant War Robots = Sweetness. NK having Nukes = Giant War Robots. Therefore, NK having Nukes = Sweetness.

    Now, if they can just get some ninjas… oh yeah…

  39. Kevin Drum at The Washington Monthly has an interesting post up discussing the seismic data, which is, apparently, somewhat different from the typical nuclear test signature. (Sorry, I don’t have my html link notes with me and can’t do a hyperlink from memory.)

  40. Kevin Drum at http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/“The Washinton Monthly” has an interesting post discussing the seismic data, which isn’t the typical signature for a nuclear test of the size bomb Kim is believed to have.

  41. Serious question: if everything that goes wrong during the Bush II adminstration was the fault of Bill Clinton, doesn’t this mean that any problems during Clinton’s administration can be blamed on Bush I and Ronald Reagan? Or is it only Democratic predecessors that can be blamed for the problems of a current administration?

  42. <A>The Washington Monthy</A>

    The Washington Monthly

  43. If North Korea (and Iran) want Nukes so badly, I think we should send them some.

  44. “And…should civilisation survive another 20 years, its members will record as errors the 21st Century’s obsession with treating Islamics as human, and North Koreans as worthy of sparing.”

    Thank Goodness nobody sees us as a destabilizing force in the world; there’s no telling what might happen.

  45. As Phileleutherus Lipsiensis stated above, what else, other than military action, could we have done to stop North Korea? I think there is a small argument that the Clinton administration had the better opportunity to do something (i.e., to act before North Korea actually had a nuclear weapon), but did we really have a free hand to attack them even then? China might’ve had something to say about U.S. troops running around North Korea, you know. Still, if I were forced to blame someone other than Dear Leader for this, I’d have to say that this administration had fewer options than the previous one.

    Nobody said that foreign relations was easy.

  46. How about a new Monroe doctrine like statement? The prez gets on TV and states that the US will rain 500 nukes on any nation that makes first use of a nuke. MAD worked vis-a-vis the Soviets, and certainly the world believes that we are crazy enough to do it.

  47. slugger,

    Since the fallout from fallout would be an issue with 500 hydrogen bombs, I suggest an alternative: Nuke the Moon. The world will think we’re absolutely crazy, and you won’t hear any more nonsense from these two-bit players. In fact, I predict a long period of Pax Americana as a result. Though it might have the side effect of many people in the world having significantly higher stress levels than they might have had otherwise.

  48. Probably a troll-Don’t blame Clinton for this; he managed to get them to stop plutonium production in 94.

    Clinton got them to say that they stopped plut production. That one little word makes a HUGE difference.

  49. Serious question: if everything that goes wrong during the Bush II adminstration was the fault of Bill Clinton, doesn’t this mean that any problems during Clinton’s administration can be blamed on Bush I and Ronald Reagan? Or is it only Democratic predecessors that can be blamed for the problems of a current administration?

    I don’t believe RC was blaming Clinton, he was simply correcting the ignorance of another poster.

  50. I was kind of hoping they would have some kind of live broadcast of this test and the bomb would not explode. Now I guess I am hoping that this turns out to be conventional explosives detonated to create the appearence of a successful test, as some have suggested.

    In July, when North Korea’s missle test failed, most public figures were talking about how it was a serious incitement of hostilities. I was thinking “Can we at least laugh at them a little because the missile fell into the ocean after about ten seconds?” A similiar display of incompetence would have been nice this time.

  51. Kevin Drum at The Washington Monthly has an interesting post up discussing the seismic data, which is, apparently, somewhat different from the typical nuclear test signature.

    So what, he has an earthquake machine? That’s even worse!

  52. Looks to me the Norks have a “fizzle.” Its unlikely they designed a bomb it the 400 to 600 ton yeild range, because of the great technicial knowledge they would have to have to make a small efficient device.
    So again, it looks to me they designed a big (16KT) fission device like our old Mark 1 “Fatman.”
    But it didn’t go boom so well. If this is true, then they are the first nation to screw up on their first test.
    This is better, however, that I expected.
    By the way the term big used above was big in 1945. Not so big today. Most of our weapons still in use are in the 330KT range. I thinks the russ. made one in the 50MT range.

  53. Duh…a bomb in the 400 to 600 ton yield range.

  54. Eric,

    Yep, Tsar Bomba–fifty megs of pure fun. We and the USSR moved away from giant bombs when our guidance systems got more accurate and the MIRV option allowed for greater saturation of targets. Not nice stuff.

  55. We’re spending all this money, millions of dollars, to blow up the moon, when there are so many things here on Earth to blow up … Mount Everest, the North Pole, et cetera. We’re earthlings, let’s blow up Earth things!

  56. Loonie Moonie! Nuking the Moon is our God-given right as Americans. We landed on it, we can bomb it! Bombing earthbound targets is so Twentieth century.

    Besides, nothing says crazy like attacking a target for no good reason. And it’s a target that everyone can watch us bomb, if we time it right.

  57. I’ve been an advocate of the Moon’s destruction for years. Why? Because, the Moon is our enemy, and must be destroyed. Once it is, we will finally be free of the tyranny of both the tidal system and the packs of roving werewolves that every full moon threaten our cities and towns.

  58. Pro L, the first book my husband ever loaned to me, back when we were first dating, was The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Somehow, your idea of bombing the moon reminded me of the Luna revolutionaries dropping giant rocks on deserted places on Earth. If only we were led by someone with the wisdom of Adam Selene.

  59. No blood for green cheese!

  60. Karen, are you advocating the rule of Lunar-based robot overlords? I suppose if they’re libertarian robot overlords I could be persuaded. But I’ve always thought Heinlein was a closet authoritarian, so I don’t trust his artificial intelligence.

    thoreau, only you have seen through my fa?ade–indeed, it is to seize total control of the green cheese market that I have proposed Nuking the Moon.

  61. Shem,

    And don’t forget its bright light–it burnsss usss, yesss, it doessss.

    If it turns out that there are, in fact, vampires and werewolves, should they be given the full panoply of civil liberties? Discuss amongst yourselves.

  62. Well, Pro L, I always thought robot overlords had to be authoritarian. It’s in the rules somewhere, but I’m too lazy to look. However, since you’re going to control the supply of grilled green cheese, I think we could work a deal. (Lunar robots run on radioactive green cheese instead of oil. Up there it’s cheaper.) Our lunar robot overlords will repeal the drug war laws, but the restrictions on high fructose corn syrup will be strict.

  63. I actually like the moon and want to keep it. But it’s another example of the tragedy of the commons–since nobody owns the moon nobody has the right to regulate its existence. So go ahead and blow up the damn moon if y’all want to. It will screw up the tides and destabilize earth’s tilt to the point where the environment and climate change so harshly life will become impossible, which is just another example of why pure libertarianism will never work.

  64. If it turns out that there are, in fact, vampires and werewolves, should they be given the full panoply of civil liberties?

    Vampires-Absolutely not. A dead body doesn’t gain civil liberties just because it can still move around. If they get rights, what’s next, laws against necrophilia? I don’t want to live in that world, and neither should you.

    Werewolves-I think that would require a court case. Right offhand I’d say yes, since it’s either A)genetic and covered under antidiscrimination laws or B) a disease, granting them the same protections as AIDS victims would get.

  65. Not to quibble or anything, but we don’t really have the capability yet to destroy the Moon. I’m just talking about setting off, oh, one-to-two hundred 3-megaton bombs there. Nothing quite says hegemony like that.

  66. – don’t mess with the moon. It’s the most likely location for Galt’s Gulch

    – As people speculated last week, it’s likely a ruse that they tesyed a nuke anyway. The radiological activity will confirm/deny it in the next few days.

    – As a comedian pointed out, there’s no reason to worry about a Korean nuke. Have you ever bought anything “Made in Korea” that worked right anyway?

    – Should also be a reality check for people worried about an arab terrorist nuke. If former communist client states like Iran and NK can’t procure fissile material or working bombs from “disgruntled scientists”, why should believe bin Laden can do it?

    – Really tired of the R/D pissing match. Any issue that comes up – terrorism, Foleygate, Katrina, etc. – we’re treated to the childish blame game. Bush did this, Clinton did that, bah! Both parties are corrupt and incompetent. The only way they’ll reform is if they feel their existence is threatened. The LP may be hapless, but it’s the only pressure point we have.

  67. don’t mess with the moon. It’s the most likely location for Galt’s Gulch

    That’s the single most convincing argument I’ve heard to blow the fucker up yet. Do you want to join the Citizen’s Council to Blow Up the Moon? I’ll make you co-President.

  68. And North Korea was building their own bomb from scratch, a difficult thing to do. It’s not like they sell Fat Man Snap-Tight kits by mail order. (though it would be awesome if they did. Horrifying, but awesome) If they had wanted to buy one, they probably could have from a disgruntled Russian scientist,(is there any other kind these days?) but then once they used it they would have been at the mercy of the market. Better to build up a homegrown program, then you can make as many as you want.

  69. Why blow up Alta Wisconsin when we can write our name on it in laser-beam. Well, at least the first 2 letters.

    Kevin

  70. kevrob,

    Alta Wisconsin? Is that a reference to the cheesiness of the Moon and its “highness”? The Moon’s not really made of cheese, you know, but Wisconsin is 🙂

    I think we could fit “USA” on the Moon. That, or a round-eyed happy face.

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