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Thread: Korean Peninsula On The Brink Of War

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    Default Re: North And South Korea On The Brink Of War, Russian Diplomat Warns

    HAHAHAH - That made me LOL in real life. Sick the TSA on them. Bad touch! BAD TOUCH!!!

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    Default Re: North And South Korea On The Brink Of War, Russian Diplomat Warns

    Korea
    Nov 30, 2010


    Teetering Asian dominoes test Obama
    By Victor Kotsev

    "You have a row of dominoes set up, you knock over the first one, and what will happen to the last one is the certainty that it will go over very quickly. So you could have a beginning of a disintegration that would have the most profound influences."
    - Dwight Eisenhower, former US president

    TEL AVIV - The domino theory once governed American strategic thinking with respect to communism in Asia. It was one of the main justifications for the disastrous war in Vietnam, and was discredited greatly in the wake of it. However, looking at the situation in Asia today from the point of view of the United [COLOR=green ! important][COLOR=green ! important]States [COLOR=green ! important]government[/COLOR][/COLOR][/COLOR], it seems that the specter of the falling dominoes is rapidly coming back to haunt President Barack Obama, if not in




    its classical form, at least as a kind of a ripple effect in an already fragile region.

    The crisis between North and South Korea is a good example of that. The tension that soared last week after North Korean shelled an island south of the Northern Limit Line (NLL), killing four, has not subsided yet, and the ripples are being felt throughout the Asian continent.

    To the [COLOR=green ! important][COLOR=green ! important]president [COLOR=green ! important]of [/COLOR][COLOR=green ! important]the [/COLOR][COLOR=green ! important]United [/COLOR][COLOR=green ! important]States[/COLOR][/COLOR][/COLOR]
    ' credit, he doesn't bear most of the responsibility for the tough situation he is in; however, his defensive, albeit carefully-crafted, policy seems insufficient to stem the tide of reverses in Asia that threatens to undermine American influence on the continent.

    It is hard to understand the logic behind North Korea's shelling of Yeonpyeong Island or China's muted response simply by stating that the North is trying to extort financial aid from the international community or that the belligerence is a way for Kim Jong-eun to prove his credentials as Dear Leader Kim Jong-il's successor just as the bombing of the South Korean cabinet in Myanmar was for his father (though these explanations certainly help). [1] After all, a blatant attack on undisputed territory for these reasons would normally be too risky even for the quirky North Korean government. It is important also to look at Pyongyang's grievances in slightly more detail.

    "The [COLOR=green ! important][COLOR=green ! important]North [COLOR=green ! important]Koreans[/COLOR][/COLOR][/COLOR]
    never recognized the NLL, and by the late 1950s they were already complaining about it," says Stratfor analyst Rodger Baker. "They were suggesting the creation of what they called the MDL - the military demarcation line. This would have been a line that matches more along the 12 nautical miles and runs fairly diagonally between North Korea and South Korea in the West Sea ... We're seeing now on the NLL that the North Koreans are having to step up even to a higher state of activity to be able to draw attention to the NLL ... The question is how far do the North Koreans have to go before the crisis either draws attention in the way they want or forces a response from the South Koreans and, ultimately, from the United States."

    Yeonpyeong Island lies seven miles (11 kilometers) from North Korean shores (and much farther from South Korea), and thus is part of the territory claimed by the North. This contradicts the United Nations demarcation, and thus doesn't really work internationally as an excuse, but it certainly helps clarify the North's choice.

    Moreover, as it turns out from the American diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks on Sunday, Kim Jong-il had some real reasons to feel irked and threatened. "American and South Korean officials have discussed the prospects for a unified Korea, should the North's economic troubles and political transition lead the state to implode," writes The New York Times. "The South Koreans even considered commercial inducements to China, according to the American ambassador to Seoul."

    A [COLOR=green ! important][COLOR=green ! important]military[/COLOR][/COLOR] confrontation being an unsavory option for the White House and Seoul (even without the use of nuclear weapons, the North is widely assumed capable of destroying the South Korean capital and crippling the economy, at the very least), if a rise of tension up to that line would benefit Pyongyang, it would make sense for the United [COLOR=green ! important][COLOR=green ! important]States[/COLOR][/COLOR] to downplay its response. A similar conclusion is reached by Michael Green writing for the Shadow blog of Foreign Policy: "The Obama administration's opening response has been smart. They have not fueled the sense of crisis in a way that would give Pyongyang more leverage, but they have shown resolve by deploying the USS George Washington to the coast of the peninsula."

    According to this strategy, a victory for the Americans would mean that the North Koreans abstain from further attacks. However, defining such modest goals days after the North unveiled a new, reportedly state-of-the-art, uranium-enrichment plant, and eight months after another provocation by the North (according to most sources, including the United Nations) sank a military ship of the South and killed 46 sailors, would widely be perceived as a sign of weakness.

    Domestically, with the Republicans strengthened by the November congressional elections, we must watch for an increase of attacks on [COLOR=green ! important][COLOR=green ! important]Obama[/COLOR][/COLOR]'s record of supporting allies. Internationally, both allies and enemies will most likely exploit this and increase the pressure on the American administration.

    While Japan has called for a tough response and several other American allies have condemned the North Korean attack strongly, much of the focus really is on the Iranian confrontation and on the uranium-enrichment facility that North Korea disclosed and which is reportedly similar to Iranian facilities. [2] "Officials in Washington know that a failure to respond in this case would have grave strategic and international implications," writes Israeli analyst Ron Ben-Yishai. "Iran is closely monitoring North Korea's conduct on the nuclear and sanctions front, and there are quite a few indications that Pyongyang serves as a model for emulation."

    There are signs that Israel is preparing to use the distant crisis to demand that the Obama administration do more about Iran - or at least acquiesce to an Israeli military strike. "[It is] necessary today, more than in the past, to stop and to topple this crazy [COLOR=green ! important][COLOR=green ! important]regime[/COLOR][/COLOR], and to stop their proliferation and provocations," Avigdor Lieberman, Israel's right-wing foreign minister, said in reference to the incident. This comes on top of WikiLeaks revelations that Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak already put the matter to the Americans in grim terms. [3]

    It is not difficult to imagine collusion between domestic opponents of Obama eager to paint him as weak and cowardly and Israeli leaders trying to twist his arm and force him to take a tougher line on Iran. The worst-case scenario for the American administration would be if the violence in the Korean Peninsula escalated and it could not find an appropriate way to save face and de-escalate the confrontation.

    Should a credible argument be made that he has abandoned an ally in the form of South Korea, Obama would find it difficult to either avoid responding harshly to Iran or stop Israel from attacking. Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia would likely add their weight to that of the Jewish state, as they were revealed to have done by the WikiLeaks and other reports.

    This still outlines only the start of the potential ripple effect. The situation of several other American allies is already so bad that they hardly even need a Korean paradigm to despair. Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri, for example, just went hat-in-hand to Tehran [4] and started a diatribe against Israel, [5] in an apparent sign that he is ready to toe the Iranian line if that is what it will take to ensure his survival.

    In Iraq, the Western-backed Iyad Allawi was elbowed out of forming a government by his Iran-backed Shi'ite rivals despite winning the popular election earlier this year. In [COLOR=green ! important][COLOR=green ! important]Afghanistan[/COLOR][/COLOR], an already-alienated President Hamid Karzai [6] is looking on as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization effort to prop him up continues, [7] but as the counter-insurgence strategy employed by the American-led coalition continues to draw fire [8] and what happened to South Vietnam arguably looms over him in the slightly more distant future. In Yemen, too, the government is getting desperate against al-Qaeda militants and Iran-backed Houtini rebels, and, according to some reports, is considering playing both sides.

    All this suggests that the current patient and diplomatic strategy Obama is pursuing does not bode well for American interests in Asia. War, moreover, is unlikely to be a good substitute for a better and clearer vision, and by itself is unlikely to bring anything positive to the region. What is needed from the White House is strong leadership, and if it does not materialize, the effects will likely be disastrous.

    Notes
    1. Deja vu all over again with North Korea, Foreign Policy, November 28, 2010.
    2. Hecker: North Korea now has same nuclear defense as Iran, November 23, 2010.
    3. WikiLeaks expos้: Barak warned strike on Iran was viable until end of 2010, Ha'aretz, November 28, 2010.
    4. Lebanon's Hariri seeks Iran help, ynetnews.com, November 26, 2010.
    5. Lebanon PM: Netanyahu doesn't believe in peace, Ha'aretz, November 26, 2010.
    6. NATO, Karzai and the relics of Kabul, Asia Times Online, November 22, 2010.
    7. The incredible shrinking withdrawal date, Asia Times Online, November 24, 2010.

    Victor Kotsev is a journalist and political analyst based in Tel Aviv.
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    Default Re: North And South Korea On The Brink Of War, Russian Diplomat Warns

    Joint STARS reportedly tapped for Korea deployment
    by Gene RECTOR, Staff Writer The Warner Robins Patriot
    32 mins 12 secs ago


    slideshow






    Joint STARS aircraft apparently will deploy to Korea following a specific request from the South Korean government.

    Secretary of Defense Robert Gates approved the move late Sunday according to sources.

    The premier airborne ground surveillance aircraft – based only at Robins Air Force Base – will join U.S. forces already in the region. Tensions heightened following North Korea’s artillery attack last week on Yeonpyeong Island. The attack reportedly killed four people, wounded 18 and resulted in return fire from the South.

    The timing of the deployment, how many aircraft will be involved and from where have not been announced. Confirmation and additional details were not immediately available from the 116th Air Control Wing at Robins or an Air Force spokesman at the Pentagon.

    The 17-aircraft Robins wing maintains a deployed presence in Southwest Asia in addition to aircraft at the home station.

    U.S. and South Korean forces are currently carrying out a four-day joint military exercise, a move the Pentagon said had been planned well in advance. The U.S. presence includes an aircraft carrier and other naval vessels.

    North Korea reportedly has moved surface-to-air missiles and other multiple-launch rocket systems closer to its Yellow Sea coastline while South Korea has reinforced its 4,000 troops on Yeonpyeong.



    Read more: The Warner Robins Patriot - Joint STARS reportedly tapped for Korea deployment
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    Default Re: North And South Korea On The Brink Of War, Russian Diplomat Warns

    Koreas' sea border area seen as a recipe for war

    Comments 0
    November 29, 2010 2:32 PM


    The Associated Press
    YEONPYEONG ISLAND, South Korea (AP) -- The view from this South Korean island takes in the undulating hills of North Korea just seven miles away and the seafood-rich waters all around - a region of such economic and strategic importance to both countries that one expert calls it a recipe for war.

    Violence often erupts in this slice of sea claimed by both countries. Boats routinely jostle for position during crab-catching season, and three deadly naval clashes since 1999 have taken a few dozen lives.

    The South's president took responsibility Monday for failing to protect his citizens from a deadly North Korean artillery barrage on Yeonpyeong Island on Nov. 23. The origins of the attack can be traced to a sea border drawn at the close of the Korean War, nearly 60 years ago.

    As the conflict ended in a truce, the U.S.-led U.N. Command divided the Yellow Sea without Pyongyang's consent, cutting North Korea off from rich fishing waters and boxing in a crucial deep-water port, a move that clearly favored the South.

    North Korea has bitterly contested the line ever since, arguing that it should run farther south. But for Seoul, accepting such a line would endanger fishing around five South Korean islands and hamper access to its port at Incheon.

    "It is the perfect recipe for 'accidental' warfare," Erich Weingartner, editor-in-chief of CanKor, a Canadian website focused on North Korean analysis, wrote recently.

    "The navies of both sides protect their respective fishing vessels. Mischief and miscalculation does the rest," he added. "The outbreak of hostilities is less surprising to me than the fact that for 60 years these hostilities have been contained."

    The Nov. 23 attack hit civilian areas in Yeonpyeong (pronounced yuhn-pyuhng), marking a new level of hostility along the contested line. Two civilians and two marines died, and many houses were gutted in the shelling.

    Normally home to about 1,300 civilian residents, the island was declared a special security area Monday, which could pave the way for a forced evacuation of those who did not flee last week. Military trucks carrying what appeared to be multiple rocket launchers were seen heading to a marine base on the island.

    Long-range artillery guns and a half-dozen K-9 howitzers were also on their way, the Yonhap news agency reported, citing unidentified military officials.

    South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, in a nationally televised speech, vowed tough consequences for any future aggression, without offering specifics.

    "I feel deeply responsible for failing to protect my people's lives and property," he said.

    After his speech, Yeonpyeong officials announced new live-fire drills for Tuesday, warning residents to take shelter in underground bunkers. Another announcement later in the evening said there would be no exercise; marines on the island had failed to get final approval from higher authorities.

    The attack came on the same day South Korea conducted artillery drills from the island. The North says it warned Seoul that morning not to fire into the disputed waters.

    The North's anger has only increased as a nuclear-powered U.S. aircraft carrier and a South Korean destroyer take part in previously scheduled joint military exercises this week farther south in the Yellow Sea.

    On Sunday, North Korea described the disputed waters as "the most acute and sensitive area where military conflict might break out anytime due to the illegal 'northern limit line' unilaterally drawn by the U.S. and the ceaseless provocation of the South Korean puppet group."

    The U.N. Command demarcated the line after failed attempts to negotiate a sea border. Andrei Lankov, a North Korea expert at Kookmin University in Seoul, said the move clearly favored the South, exploiting the weakness of the North Korean navy.

    Many experts believe North Korea would be given greater territorial waters than it currently has if the issue were settled by arbitration or some other impartial means, said Daniel Pinkston, a Seoul-based analyst for the International Crisis Group.

    "International law is on their side in this case, but it does not justify the action they've taken in any way," he said. "In fact, it undermines their legitimate arguments for the establishment of an equitable maritime boundary."

    The waters were the scene of deadly skirmishes in 1999, 2002 and 2009 and then, in March, the worst attack on Seoul's military since the Korean War.

    A South Korean-led international investigation found that a North Korean torpedo sank the Cheonan, a 1,200-ton South Korean warship, killing 46 sailors. The North denied it.

    Rodger Baker, an analyst for the U.S. security think tank STRATFOR, said the North is stepping up its efforts to draw the world's attention to its push for a change in the maritime border.

    "They're now shelling South Korean islands," he said. "The question is how far do the North Koreans have to go before the crisis either draws attention in the way they want or forces a response from the South Koreans and, ultimately, from the United States?"
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    Default Re: North And South Korea On The Brink Of War, Russian Diplomat Warns

    Korea: Verbose Silence, Interpolation

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    posted at 2:15 pm on November 29, 2010 by J.E. Dyer
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    One of the most worrisome aspects of the Obama administration’s foreign policy is the effective inconsistency of its “information” posture. The crisis on the Korean peninsula is a case in point. Most Americans are probably under the impression that the USS George Washington carrier group is being sent as a show of force in response to North Korea’s provocative shelling incident on 23 November. But the naval exercise the carrier group is heading for has been scheduled for months.


    Following the sinking of the frigate Cheonan in March, the US and South Korea agreed to an intensified slate of military exercises. The first of the newly planned drills took place in July. George Washington is now heading for another of those additional drills, scheduled to run from 28 November to 1 December. According to Stars and Stripes, the spokesman for the US Forces Korea (USFK) command, speaking on Wednesday, was careful to downplay the timing:
    USFK said in a news release that the exercise was “defensive in nature and planned well before yesterday’s unprovoked military attack.”
    “These (exercises) are not a direct reaction,” USFK spokesman David Oten said. “Basically, they’re unrelated.”
    Speaking the same day, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley split the difference between that bald statement from the military and the narrative the media are running with:
    …we believe we have a strategy that involves continuing to cooperate with and protect our allies, whether it’s South Korea or Japan or others. We continue to look for ways of bolstering the capabilities so that we can address any provocations that North Korea may continue to do. That’s one of the reasons why we’ve had a series of military exercises with South Korea this year. It’s why the Pentagon announced – the President announced yesterday that the George Washington will be teaming up with South Korean military forces for an exercise coming up in the next few days.
    This peculiar ambiguity is heightened by the fact that a maritime exercise is not the most pertinent kind to advertise as a show of force, given the immediate military problem. Missile-defense drills, artillery training, and strike training by the US and South Korean air forces would be more relevant. There has been no announcement of such drills. It appears that the Obama administration is simply content to have the previously scheduled George Washington deployment interpreted as a show of force, probably viewing it as calibrated to be non-provocative in light of its lesser relevance to the most recent flare-up.


    A carrier group is a lot of firepower to sling around in this ambiguous manner. China continues to object to a carrier deployment in the Yellow Sea; on both of the previous occasions when the US had such deployments planned this year, we backed off and kept George Washington out of the area (see here and here). Perhaps Team Obama is now using the Yellow Sea threat as leverage with the Chinese to get them to rein in Kim Jong-Il. That isn’t as clever as it might look: we should never use our policy on maritime claims and freedom of the seas as a bargaining chip. If you’re willing to bargain it away, it isn’t principle – and everyone knows it.


    Overly clever, seemingly calculated ambiguities like the ones in the present posture on Korea are a big part of the Obama administration’s image problem with its counterparts abroad. The unfortunate impression is of a toddler being devious: his every move obvious to the adult observer, but the toddler himself unaware of being under knowledgeable surveillance.


    It’s worth paying attention to the methods and the development of events here, because this is how it happens. The responsible, order-keeping powers never announce a policy of behaving foolishly or inviting challenges and chaos. They manage to interpolate and calculate justifications for everything they do, without apparently breaking with the policies of the past. But through ambivalence, temporizing, grandstanding, and prioritizing their usually-unwarranted fears of “being provocative” over everything else, they undermine the stability of situations that have long required maintaining a steady strain on the lines.


    In a metaphorical sense, Obama is giving the lines of Far Eastern security an unpredictable jerk now and then – and letting them go slack at other times. It’s the blank fact of the US troop presence, conferred on Obama by his predecessors, that is holding Kim Jong-Il in check at the moment. Consider this final proposition as well: if China has the power to rein in Kim, and if she actually wants to, wouldn’t she have done so already? Why would it take US bargaining (or pressure) to induce China to do something she wants to do anyway?


    J.E. Dyer blogs at The Green Room, Commentary’s “contentions” and as The Optimistic Conservative. She writes a weekly column for Patheos.
    This post was promoted from GreenRoom to HotAir.com.
    To see the comments on the original post, look here.
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    Default Re: North And South Korea On The Brink Of War, Russian Diplomat Warns

    ictator seeks to placate generals




    By Praveen Swami, Daily Telegraph November 29, 2010


    Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Dic...#ixzz16i0RADf8





    More Images »


    North Korean leader Kim Jong- il (left) walks in front of his youngest son Kim Jong- un (right) as they watch a parade to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the founding of the Workers' Party of Korea in Pyongyang October 10, 2010.

    Photograph by: Kyodo, Reuters




    Palace power-struggles between North Korea's new-generation political leadership and its military could spark off a full war on the Peninsula, South Korean and American authorities are warning.


    Last week's attack on Yeonpyeong island was personally approved by North Korea's supreme leader, Kim Jong-il, and his son and heir-apparent, Kim Jong-un, to curry favour with military hawks, a senior South Korean defence official said.


    "I fear we're going to see much more fighting in weeks to come," the official added.
    Hardship has mounted in North Korea ever since sanctions were imposed over its pursuit of nuclear weapons.


    Hundreds of its soldiers are reported to have fled across the border into China in recent months. In August, a North Korean pilot's attempt to escape to Russia ended when his jet crashed in China's Liaoning province.


    But Kim Jong-il is determined not to rejoin talks aimed at curbing North Korea's nuclear program in return for aid, fearful of upsetting military leaders, U.S. government sources said.


    He hopes precipitating a crisis will rally the generals behind his son.


    Kim Jong-un was made a four-star general and named vice-chairman of the country's national defence commission in September, even though the Swiss-educated 27 year-old had no military experience.


    "The generals saw Kim Jong-un as a puppy who wasn't even lavatory trained, not a credible leader. There was lots of fuming," said Kongdan Oh Hassig, a North Korea expert,


    "Every time there's been a succession in North Korea, you've had trouble, because the leadership has needed to reassure the military."



    Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Dic...#ixzz16i0IYXg2
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    Default Re: North And South Korea On The Brink Of War, Russian Diplomat Warns

    WIKILEAKS: Chinese link to North Korean arms flights

    By Holly Watt, The Daily Telegraph November 29, 2010 3:52 PM

    North Korea has been secretly assisting Iran develop a weapons program under the auspices of the Chinese government, American officials believe.

    The U.S. government has repeatedly asked the Chinese to stop shipments between the rogue states passing through Beijing airport, according to memos sent by both the U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, and her predecessor, Condoleezza Rice.

    Documents released by Wikileaks show that the Americans provided Chinese officials with details of the exact times and planes on which supplies were being sent from North Korea to Iran.

    The website is understood to be preparing to release more detailed documents setting out the American government's view of North Korea - and the country's relationship with both China and Iran.

    The Americans had particular concerns about jet engine parts being sent from North Korea to Iran on board the national airlines Air Koryo and Iran Air on at least 10 occasions.

    Another memo written by the Secretary of State in 2008 lists the countries that North Korean planes must fly over to reach Iran, and officials in the embassies are told how to deal with these countries.

    © Copyright (c) The Daily Telegraph

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    Default Re: North And South Korea On The Brink Of War, Russian Diplomat Warns

    China has an envoy meeting in Seoul Korea today.

    US and SK forces are wrapping up their war games sometime today (night time, SK time).

    So far no major issues... North Korea I think, has stfu for now.

    Russia, by the way, as moved tactical nukes near NATO allies.... I wonder why?
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    Default Re: North And South Korea On The Brink Of War, Russian Diplomat Warns

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Donaldson View Post
    Russia, by the way, as moved tactical nukes near NATO allies.... I wonder why?
    Jeez Rick! Talk about quick on the draw!

    FNC just mentioned that and I was just about to post it.

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    Default Re: North And South Korea On The Brink Of War, Russian Diplomat Warns

    Russian Missiles Fuel U.S. Worries
    November 30, 2010

    The U.S. believes Russia has moved short-range tactical nuclear warheads to facilities near North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies as recently as this spring, U.S. officials say, adding to questions in Congress about Russian compliance with long-standing pledges ahead of a possible vote on a new arms-control treaty.

    U.S. officials say the movement of warheads to facilities bordering NATO allies appeared to run counter to pledges made by Moscow starting in 1991 to pull tactical nuclear weapons back from frontier posts and to reduce their numbers. The U.S. has long voiced concerns about Russia's lack of transparency when it comes to its arsenal of tactical nuclear weapons, believed to be many times the number possessed by the U.S.

    Russia's movement of the ground-based tactical weapons appeared to coincide with the deployment of U.S. and NATO missile-defense installations in countries bordering Russia. Moscow has long considered the U.S. missile defense buildup in Europe a challenge to Russian power, underlining deep-seated mistrust between U.S. and Russian armed forces despite improved relations between political leaders.

    The Kremlin had no immediate comment.

    Republican critics in the Senate say it was a mistake for President Barack Obama to agree to the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia, or New Start, without dealing with outstanding questions about Moscow's tactical nuclear weapons. New Start would cap the Russian and U.S. deployed strategic nuclear arsenals at 1,550 per side. It doesn't address tactical weapons, which are smaller and for use on a battlefield.

    Senior administration officials say New Start, like most arms treaties before it, deals only with strategic nuclear weapons, adding that only after it is ratified can Washington and Moscow begin to negotiate a legally binding, verifiable treaty to limit tactical warheads in Europe.

    The positioning of Russian tactical nuclear weapons near Eastern European and the Baltic states has alarmed NATO member-states bordering Russia. They see these as potentially a bigger danger than long-range nuclear weapons. Tactical weapons are easier to conceal and may be more vulnerable to theft, say arms-control experts.

    Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius Azubalis said he raised concerns about the weapons this month with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and senior defense officials in Washington.

    "Being a NATO member, of course, someone could say, 'Don't worry.' But when you're living in the neighborhood, you should always be more cautious," Mr. Azubalis said. He added that American officials "expressed worry but they also don't know too much" about where the weapons are and the conditions under which they are kept.

    Classified U.S. intelligence about Russia's movement of tactical nuclear weapons to the facilities has been shared with congressional committees.

    During a September hearing on the new arms-reduction treaty, Sen. Jim Risch, an Idaho Republican, spoke of "troubling" intelligence about Russia without saying what it was, adding it "directly affects" the arms-control debate. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D., Mass.) countered that it had "no impact" directly on Start, without elaborating.

    Sen. Christopher Bond (R., Mo.), vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, refused to comment directly on the tactical nuclear warhead issue, but he said the Russians cannot be trusted to make good on their arms-control promises. "We know from published reports of the State Department that the Russians have cheated on all their other treaties, Start, chemical weapons, [biological weapons], Open Skies," he said.

    U.S. officials say Mr. Obama's revised approach to missile defense, and warming personal ties with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, have fostered cooperation in key areas, from isolating Iran to opening new routes to transport gear to Afghanistan.

    But mistrust runs deep, U.S. diplomatic cables released by the organization WikiLeaks over the weekend showed. A February cable quoted Defense Secretary Robert Gates telling a French official that Russia was an "oligarchy run by the security services," despite Mr. Medvedev's "more pragmatic vision." A Gates spokesman declined to comment.

    Two senior Obama administration officials didn't deny the tactical warhead issue has arisen in private discussions with lawmakers, but said the 1991 pledges, known as the Presidential Nuclear Initiatives, weren't legally binding on either side and were difficult to verify.

    Administration officials say U.S. and Russian negotiators plan to turn their attention to tactical nuclear weapons, as well as larger strategic warheads that aren't actively deployed, as soon as New Start goes into force. "If we don't ratify Start, we're not going to be able to negotiate on tactical nuclear weapons," one said.

    Poland's minister of foreign affairs, Radosław Sikorski, called Start a "necessary stepping-stone" on the way to a deal to reduce tactical arsenals.

    Western officials say the Russian military views its aging arsenal of tactical nuclear weapons as a way to compensate for its diminished conventional capabilities, and as a hedge against the U.S.'s expanded missile defenses and China's growing might.

    U.S. officials point to steps Russia has taken to meet its arms-control obligations over the last two decades, including reducing the number of nuclear-weapons storage sites, once many hundreds, to as few as 50. But officials are skeptical Russia has fulfilled all of its pledges to destroy and redeploy tactical nuclear weapons in line with the 1991 Presidential Nuclear Initiatives.

    According to the U.S. assessment, Russia has expanded tactical nuclear deployments near NATO allies several times in recent years. An example is Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave between Poland and Lithuania. A State Department cable from April 2009 said Russia had warned it would take countermeasures, including putting "missiles" in Kaliningrad, in response to expanded U.S. missile defenses in Europe.

    U.S. officials believe the most recent movements of Russian tactical nuclear weapons took place in late spring. In late May, a U.S. Patriot missile battery was deployed in northern Poland, close to Kaliningrad, sparking public protests from Moscow.

    Some officials said the movements are a concern but sought to play down the threat. Russian nuclear warheads are stored separately from their launching systems, U.S. officials say.

    In the fall of 1991, the U.S. had about 5,000 tactical nuclear weapons deployed overseas, most assigned to NATO, according to the Arms Control Association. The U.S. destroyed about 3,000 as a result of the Presidential Nuclear Initiatives. Today, the U.S. is believed to have some 1,100 tactical nuclear warheads, of which about 480 are nuclear gravity bombs stored in six European countries.

    Estimates on the number of Soviet tactical nuclear weapons in fall 1991—just before the fall of the Soviet Union—ranged from 12,000 to nearly 21,700. At a May 2005 conference, Moscow said its arsenal "has been reduced by four times as compared to what the Soviet Union possessed in 1991," and was "concentrated at central storage facilities...."

    Russia's ambassador to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, this month reiterated the position that Russia won't withdraw all tactical nuclear weapons behind the Urals until the U.S. takes its battlefield weapons out of Europe.

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    Default Re: North And South Korea On The Brink Of War, Russian Diplomat Warns

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Ruck View Post
    Jeez Rick! Talk about quick on the draw!

    FNC just mentioned that and I was just about to post it.
    Something I heard at the water cooler.... Nothing classified. Fox mentioned it too? lol

    Good.

    No RickyLeaks here.
    Libertatem Prius!


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    Default Re: North And South Korea On The Brink Of War, Russian Diplomat Warns

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Donaldson View Post
    No RickyLeaks here.

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    Default Re: North And South Korea On The Brink Of War, Russian Diplomat Warns

    Russia Seen Moving Nukes to NATO Border

    Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010

    The United States suspects Russia has transferred a number of nonstrategic nuclear warheads to areas bordering NATO nations, a move seemingly made as the alliance members accepted additional missile defenses within their territory, the Wall Street Journal reported today (see GSN, Nov. 29).

    The alleged Russian redeployments, some of which may have taken place earlier this year, seemed to contradict a 1991 nonbinding agreement by Russia to withdraw its nonstrategic nuclear armaments from the border region and cut back their number, according to U.S. government sources. The U.S. finding on the weapons could intensify congressional scrutiny of Moscow's adherence to past nuclear commitments as the Senate mulls ratification of a new bilateral arms control treaty, the officials said (see GSN, Nov. 29).

    NATO nations neighboring Russia have aired anxiety over the alleged tactical weapons transfer. Arms control specialists said such armaments could be more easily hidden or stolen than their longer-range strategic counterparts.

    Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius Azubalis recounted discussing the matter with U.S. Secretary Hillary Clinton earlier this month.

    "Being a NATO member, of course, someone could say, 'Don't worry.' But when you're living in the neighborhood, you should always be more cautious," Azubalis said. U.S. officials "expressed worry but they also don't know too much" about the placement of the weapons, he said.

    Some congressional panels have received confidential details on the weapons transfers, the Journal reported. Two high-level Obama administration officials did not dispute the suggestion that such exchanges had taken place. Russian compliance with the 1991 deployment pledge was neither compulsory nor simple to monitor, they added.

    The Soviet Union was believed to possess between 12,000 and 21,700 nonstrategic nuclear weapons in late 1991, shortly before its collapse. In 2005, Russia indicated its stockpile "has been reduced by four times as compared to what the Soviet Union possessed in 1991," and was "concentrated at central storage facilities."

    Moscow this month reaffirmed its refusal to transfer all of its tactical nuclear weapons away from its western border unless the United States removes its nonstrategic weapons from Europe (see GSN, Nov. 24; Entous/Weisman, Wall Street Journal, Nov. 30).

    Meanwhile, Russia today announced it would begin deploying RS-24 ICBMs in place of its older RS-12M Topol-M missiles, RIA Novosti reported (see GSN, July 1).

    "The mobile missile system with the RS-24 ballistic missile is an improved version of the Topol-M, and during production experience with fifth generation mobile missile systems was taken into account," Russian Strategic Missile Forces Commander Lt. Gen. Sergei Karakayev said.

    The new weapon has proven to be dependable, Karakayev said.

    "Therefore it was decided to rearm the SMF with this type of missile system."

    "At the same [time], the Topol-M mobile missile system will not be supplied to the Strategic Missile Forces in the future," he said.

    The RS-24 ICBM is designed to travel up to 6,125 miles carrying a 550-kiloton warhead, according to RIA Novosti (RIA Novosti, Nov. 30).

    "By the end of 2010, we plan to put on standby alert a missile regiment equipped with fifth-generation silo-based Topol-M missiles at the Tatishchevo formation. The work to reequip the [Strategic Missile Forces] with silo-based Topols will continue in 2011," ITAR-Tass quoted Karakayev as saying (ITAR-Tass, Nov. 30).

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    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
    "Your grandchildren will live under communism."
    “You Americans are so gullible.
    No, you won’t accept
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    outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of
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    until you’ll finally wake up and find you already have communism.

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    ."
    We’ll so weaken your
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    like overripe fruit into our hands."



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    Default Re: North And South Korea On The Brink Of War, Russian Diplomat Warns

    North Korea says it has thousands of nuclear centrifuges

    By the CNN Wire Staff
    November 30, 2010 4:44 a.m. EST

    STORY HIGHLIGHTS

    • North Korea says it is producing nuclear energy for peaceful purposes
    • The nuclear claim comes a week after the North shelled a South Korean island



    (CNN) -- North Korea claimed Tuesday that it is has "thousands of centrifuges" working to create nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
    The claim printed in North Korea's state-run KCNA news service comes just a week after North Korean shelled a South Korean Island killing four people.
    "The construction of light water reactor is brisk in the DPRK and a modern factory for uranium enrichment equipped with thousands of centrifuges is operating to supply fuel to them. The development of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes to meet the need for electricity will be stepped up in the future," the news service report said.


    The North Korean news service report seemed to confirm parts of a statement made last week by Siegfried Hecker, a Stanford University scientist.


    In early Novermber, the U.S. scientist said he visited a North Korean nuclear facility at the invitation of the government, which included 2,000 centrifuges, that was producing low-enriched uranium.


    Hecker said he was told that facility was configured to produce low-enriched uranium but Hecker wrote that it could "be readily converted to produce highly-enriched uranium (HEU) bomb fuel.
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    Default Re: North And South Korea On The Brink Of War, Russian Diplomat Warns

    North Korea's 'industrial scale' uranium enrichment plant described by Stanford professors

    By Lisa M. Krieger
    Mercury News
    Posted: 11/29/2010 11:43:10 PM PST
    Updated: 11/29/2010 11:47:20 PM PST


    Click photo to enlarge


    Courtesy Stanford University/Rod Searcey -- Pictured is Siegfried S. Hecker, PhD, co-director of...





    In a first public analysis of their recent visit to North Korea, a pair of Stanford University professors on Monday described the rare inside peek at the nation's uranium enrichment plant -- and, startled by what they saw, urged changes to international diplomacy
    .
    "Our jaws just dropped," said nuclear scientist Siegfried S. Hecker, describing their visit to the nuclear center at Yongbyon during a four-day trip to North Korea in mid-November. "I expected a couple dozen garage-shop operations. I didn't believe there would be an industrial-scale facility, ready and available."



    The revelation, formally disclosed in a Nov. 20 paper, has caused a political firestorm. But the team urged against military attack, tighter sanctions or simply waiting.


    "The only hope appears to be engagement," said Hecker, co-director of Stanford's Center for International Security and Cooperation. "We need to deal with North Korea as it is, not the way we'd like it to be."


    Hecker described walking up polished granite steps and looking into two windows. "It was a modern facility and with three rows of pairs of centrifuges -- altogether, 2,000 centrifuges" that could enable North Korea to enrich the uranium needed to expand its nuclear arsenal, currently estimated at eight to 12 weapons, he said. "It really was mind-boggling."


    Hecker and Chinese politics expert John W. Lewis were invited by the North Korean government to the facility "because they trusted us to give an honest report of what we saw," said Hecker, who has visited annually since 1986.


    North Korea contends that the fuel is intended to make electricity, but the White House says this information shows the country, in violation of United Nations mandates, aims to expand its weapons arsenal.


    The timing of the visit -- just 11 days before a violent clash over disputed territory -- was coincidental and does not signify a more aggressive North Korea, the two experts said.



    But the sophistication and scale of the facility shows that financial sanctions and nonproliferation measures have failed to halt the nuclear program in North Korea, a sovereign and modern state with its own interests, they added.



    Rather than submitting to international demands for denuclearization, North Korea has forged ahead, building nuclear facilities out of materials bought from rogue Pakistani nuclear dealer A.Q. Khan, as well as businesses in China, Libya, Russia and Europe. A Japanese-made Hitachi bulldozer was clearing land, they noted.


    The Stanford-only seminar on Monday, sponsored by the university's Center for International Security and Cooperation, was filled to capacity, with some students and faculty listening from the hall.


    On the visit, Hecker and Lewis also confirmed satellite photographic evidence of another new advance by North Korea -- a light-water reactor built at the exact same place as a facility that had been dismantled earlier as part of an agreement to end its nuclear weapons program.


    While international policymakers have hoped that North Korea would change or its regime would collapse, Lewis described what he called "the rise of the Americanists" -- a modern nation with contemporary tastes. Its textile mills have piped-in rock music and students practice colloquial English. There are abundant consumer luxuries, such as cell phones and flat-screen TVs.


    "What is going on is mind-blowing," far from the popular image of North Koreans as a starving and bedraggled population. "The place is lit up," said Lewis.



    "If you think sanctions are working, forget it," he said. "They are not. This is not a country cut off."



    Why visit now? "It was going to be seen anyway," said Hecker. "The reactor is difficult to hide."


    Near-universal skepticism greeted Pyongyang's announcement last year that it intended to build a light-water reactor and perfect the enrichment technology to fuel it.



    In apparent frustration, a North Korean official chided the Stanford scientist: "No one believes us when we announced this -- including you, Dr. Hecker."



    Hecker said they were not allowed to take photographs during the tour. And they could not verify that North Korea is already beginning to produce low-enriched uranium.


    "If these are just external pieces of aluminum we saw and no guts, I'd be thrilled," he said.


    Based on what they saw, the Stanford team said they are not yet worried about North Korea's capability to build sophisticated bombs. The nation is still limited by materials and key components, such as ring magnets.


    But the enrichment facility means North Korea has the capacity to create more nuclear material, to build more bombs, if the time comes.


    The Stanford team also worried about poor regulation of the nuclear reactor --- for instance, whether it is seismically safe.


    Of great concern, they added, was the export risk. "Exportation of centrifuges is easy to hide. High-grade uranium is easy to hide," said Hecker.


    Their advice to diplomats: "Stay the course on denuclearization -- but contain the threat."


    Our message should be: "No more bombs, no better bombs and no exports "... But it will require addressing the fundamentals of North Korea's underlying insecurity."
    Libertatem Prius!


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    Default Re: North And South Korea On The Brink Of War, Russian Diplomat Warns

    Japan's response to North Korea takes on a sharper edge

    Prime Minister Naoto Kan is finding his nation dependent on the US in responding to North Korea, even as public opposition to the US base on Okinawa remains high.








    Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan is finding his nation dependent on the US in responding to North Korea.
    Yuriko Nakao/Reuters

    Enlarge







    By Justin McCurry, Correpsondent / November 30, 2010
    Atami, Japan

    North Korea’s attack on Yeonpyeong earlier this month, in addition to revelations that it has made dramatic advances in uranium-enrichment technology, has sparked anger in Japan and fueled the debate over its security ties with the United States.
    Skip to next paragraph Related Stories






    The shelling of the South Korean island has dominated the news in Japan, even as Tokyo debates a key economic stimulus package and Prime Minister Naoto Kan battles attacks on his leadership and approval ratings of below 30 percent.


    It has also exposed Japan’s dependence on the US in responding to North Korea’s unsophisticated, yet hitherto effective, negotiating tactics.


    Related: Disillusioned South Korea weighs response to North Korean flare-up

    Hours after the guns fell silent, Japan issued the expected call for calm, while condemning the attack.

    It was not, some observers agree, Prime Minister Kan’s finest hour as a statesman. His immediate response was confined to the setting up of an information-gathering task force, although he captured the public mood when he said: “Indiscriminate attacks on civilians is a barbaric act that should not be tolerated.


    “We will cooperate with South Korea, as well as the United States, and the three of us together will decisively counter North Korea's reckless and outrageous acts.”
    Sharpened tone on North Korea

    Japan’s response has since acquired a sharper edge, as the global diplomatic response to the crisis begins to take shape.


    Tokyo joined the US in quickly rejecting Chinese calls for emergency six-party talks in early December. In Tokyo, as in Washington, there is an innate resistance to being seen as rewarding the regime for its transgressions.


    In unusually unequivocal language for a senior Japanese politician, Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara said yesterday that talks would be “impossible” as long as the North refused to honor previous commitments to dismantle its nuclear weapons program.


    While some hard-line politicians have raised the prospect of further bilateral sanctions against North Korea, Japan’s options are limited. In addition to supporting UN Security Council sanctions, Tokyo has already banned all trade and refuses to allow North Korean ships and planes to enter its territory following the North’s nuclear and missile tests.


    Aside from sending technologically flawed rockets into the western Pacific and shunning Japanese demands to explain fully the abduction of Japanese nationals during the cold war, North Korea has again demonstrated its ability to create unease on the other side of the Sea of Japan.
    Naoto Kan shifts stance on US base
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    Default Re: North And South Korea On The Brink Of War, Russian Diplomat Warns

    S. Korea to strengthen rules of engagement
    Published: Nov. 30, 2010 at 7:40 AM
    SEOUL, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- South Korea will toughen its rules of engagement so troops have more control on determining the intensity of a counterattack, the Defense Ministry said.

    The revisions come amid mounting criticism the South Korean military responded too slowly to last week's North Korean air assault on Yeonpyeong Island, in which four people died, the South Korean news agency Yonhap reported Tuesday.

    Among other things the changes would give South Korean troops greater leeway to determine the intensity of a counter attack by considering the level of damage and the threats received, the Defense Ministry said in a report.

    "We plan to make supplements to guarantee conditions for punishing the enemy," the ministry report said.

    The military also would grant more leeway to field commanders in counterattacks and invest more power to the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff to help the military respond to an enemy attack in a timely manner, the ministry said.

    "We plan to differentiate the levels of responses to attacks on the military and attacks on civilians," the ministry said.

    The U.S.-led United Nations Command and the South Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command would be consulted during the revisions, the ministry said.

    Mindful of the outcry over North Korea's assault, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak chided his Cabinet Tuesday for not properly assessing the situation when South Korea's national security is at stake, Yonhap said.

    "We should recognize that (South Korea) is confronting the world's most belligerent group," Lee was quoted as saying Tuesday during a weekly Cabinet meeting.
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    Default Re: North And South Korea On The Brink Of War, Russian Diplomat Warns

    Asia RSS Feed

    Yeonpyeong Island Residents Fear Another N. Korean Strike

    Jason Strother | Yeonpyeong 30 November 2010
    [IMG]http://media.voanews.com/images/480*360/strother_south_korea_yeonpyeong_damage_30nov10_480 .jpg[/IMG] Photo: VOA - J. Strother

    A bombed out house island of Yeonpyeong that was struck by North Korean artillery, 30 Nov 2010

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    Days after a North Korean artillery barrage killed four people on Yeonpyeong island, only a few residents remain.

    Authorities hurried everyone on the island into bomb shelters. Sounds of artillery explosions had been heard in the distance. The South Korean military reported that a North Korean base just 12 kilometers across the sea placed surface-to-surface missiles on the launch pad.

    Residents feared a repeat of North Korea's artillery attack on the island on November 23.

    But after a half hour, authorities said the coast was clear and residents could return to their homes.

    Ghost town

    Only about 30 of Yeonpyeong's 1,500 inhabitants remain. Most evacuated to Incheon, a two-hour ferry ride away.

    The community is a ghost town, homes abandoned and shops closed.

    The frequent sound of military helicopters flying overhead is a reminder that Yeonpyeong is on the frontline of the Cold War's last battleground.

    Why some stay

    Choi Cheol-young, district director for Yeonpyeong, said those who remained did so either because they do not have enough resources or are too old to travel on the boat to the mainland.

    Choi said they do not encourage anyone to leave the island and go to Incheon. And if they stay, they support them administratively and also provide them with food.

    Controlled access

    The South Korean military now controls who has access to the island, and has the authority to order residents off Yeonpyeong if they fear another attack is eminent.

    Judging by the devastation from North Korea's bombardment, it is clear why officials are taking no chances with the safety of citizens.

    A resident's story

    In one neighborhood struck by the shelling, glass is everywhere. Several houses have collapsed, others have been gutted by fire.


    [IMG]http://media.voanews.com/images/230*230/Strother+50+yr+old+resident+of+S+Korean+Island+230 .jpg[/IMG]VOA - J. Strother

    Ahn Gwang-hun, a 50-year resident of Yeonpyeong, who stayed behind after the attacks
    But just one block away from this wreckage is the home of Ahn Gwang-hun. The 50-year resident witnessed the attack.

    Ahn said they were making kimchi when the attack happened. But they are not ready to leave the island, there are still many things they need to do here.

    Ahn, like most other residents, is a fisherman. But the military has banned civilian boats from going to sea. So Ahn and others still here do what they can to pass the time. Some residents give free rides to visiting journalists, others repair the damage to their homes.

    Help for homeless

    For those who no longer have a home to return to, the South Korean government offers help.

    Outside the Yeonpyeong elementary school, crews are building small shelters.

    Kim Sam Yeol, the project manager, said they are building 15 temporary houses for the people whose homes were destroyed in the attack, so when they return to the island they will have a place to stay while they reconstruct their own houses.

    But Kim does not know when people will start coming back to Yeonpyeong.

    District manager Choi hopes it will be soon. But he said it may take some incentives.

    Choi said, the island has a long history and he does not think it will ever be completely abandoned. But the government will have to help encourage the people to move back.

    Doubts about returning

    But for Yeonpyeong residents like 71-year-old Park Myung-jae, it will take more than encouragements to return home.

    Park is from a smaller nearby island that was also shelled. He is now staying with family in Incheon and returned to the island for just a short time to check on his home.

    Park said there have been many firefights near the island in the past, but the last one was different because of the two civilian deaths. And he added that his government should have been more prepared to protect the residents of Yeonpyeong.

    Park said he does not know when it will become peaceful enough for him to return home.

    "Over the years, North Korea has made many attacks near the island. I think the government should have had more missile or soldiers stationed here, they failed to stop this attack from happening," Park said.



    North Korea's artillery attack killed two civilians and two South Korean marines, and prompted South Korean troops on the island to return fire. Pyongyang said the South provoked the attack by firing into a disputed area of the ocean during a military training exercise. Seoul said its forces were training well away from the disputed area.
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    Default Re: North And South Korea On The Brink Of War, Russian Diplomat Warns

    The Left could twist an oak tree with words...

    "Liz Cheney Blames Bush".

    LOL

    Liz Cheney: Bush Administration To Blame For North Korea Aggression (VIDEO)

    The Huffington Post | Nick Wing Posted: 11-29-10 01:45 PM

    What's Your Reaction?



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    Liz Cheney, a former State Department official and the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, said Sunday that the Bush administration was to blame for the recent attack by the North Korean military on a South Korean island.


    During a discussion on Fox News Sunday, Cheney, who has adamantly defended Bush's policies when others tried to attribute current events to his administration's actions, said that the 43rd president failed to adequately sanction North Korea in the wake of some key incidents.


    "I do think what that we've seen there is an example of how provocative American weakness can be. And I think that unfortunately it is policy of weakness that has expanded back into the Bush administration -- into the last years of the Bush administration," Cheney said. "I think that we've seen time and time again North Korea -- they test a nuclear weapon, there are no consequences, they build a reactor for the Syrians, there are no consequences. And what they have learned is that their belligerence, in fact, often times yields from us capitulation and concessions. I think that it's time for us to put them back on the terrorist list."


    In 2008, a chorus of House Republicans spoke out against Bush's decision to remove Korea from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, a move that helped dismantle his once renowned "Axis of Evil."


    "Just as the Clinton administration was fooled by the Kim Jong-Il regime, time will soon tell if the Bush administration will fall for the same bait," Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.) said then.


    Bush's move came in a wide-reaching foreign policy reversal that freed North Korea of key trade sanctions in return for supposed cooperation in dismantling their nuclear capabilities.
    God, BLAME BUSH already, would ya?
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    Default Re: North And South Korea On The Brink Of War, Russian Diplomat Warns

    U.S. Rejects Six-Party Talks With North Korea

    In news from Asia, the Obama administration has rejected a Chinese proposal to hold emergency multiparty talks with North Korea. Beijing had called for the six-party talks to resume after a Northern Korean artillery barrage killed four people, including two civilians, on a South Korean island last week. Meanwhile, a diplomatic cable leaked by WikiLeaks indicates China supports the reunification of the Korean peninsula if North Korea were to collapse. Cheng Guoping, the Chinese ambassador to Kazakhstan, was reported to have told U.S. Ambassador Richard Hoaglan that "China hopes for peaceful reunification in the long-term, but he expects the two countries to remain separate in the short-term".
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