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Korea Crisis - Trump's American Armada Faces
| Armada was an apt description by President Donald Trump for his naval
campaign against North Korea, since the term originated with the royal fleet
of the Spanish Empire that was set ablaze and blown to smithereens on the
remote western fringe of Europe by bold sea captains Francis Drake and Walter
Raleigh, those “Admiral’s Men” under the command of Charles Howard, the
Earl of Nottingham.
Another great armada met a similar fate in the distant waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan. The Battle of Tsushima pitted the Russian Tsar’s massive flotilla against the firepower of Japan’s fleet of nimble Scottish-built battleships, which swerved in S-formations to fire broadsides and then realigned in file to narrow their target profile. The “Togo turn” was named after Admiral Heihachiro Togo, who leaped from the status of an adopted son of a samurai dynasty (my own family of the Satsuma domain) to become the leading naval strategist of his era.
The humiliating defeat for Tsar Nicholas II shattereed his sprawling empire’s myth of invincibility, resulting in the popular unrest that culminated in the Russian Revolution exactly a century ago.
Japan’s own armada was later dealt a historic defeat in carrier-air combat at the Battle of Midway, which reversed the shock of its surprise naval-air victory at Pearl Harbor. Maritime history shows that assembling great armadas has always been a poor military strategy devised by “land-lubbers” and not by canny sailors, especially in the Sea of Japan where Russia’s Baltic Fleet slipped under the waves.
Eclipse of 19th Century Seapower Strategy
The U.S. Seventh Fleet, equivalent to an American Armada, is now facing a similar catastrophic defeat in that same Sea of Japan (or East Sea, as Koreans prefer to call those shared waters), despite its presumed superiority in armaments and surveillance technologies. Against the show of naval power, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, or simply North Korea) is activating an array of next-generation of weapons, including self-guided rising mines, stealthy anti-ship missiles, electronic warfare systems and thermobaric warheads. The latter, also known as heat-air vacuum bombs, explode to create a huge atmospheric cavity with the force of a nuclear blast, which eliminates oxygen and implodes with terrific crushing power.
Despite the underdevelopment of its economy, caused in large part by U.S. economic sanctions, Pyongyang has invested heavily toward expansion of a corps of weapons designers and military engineers to develop futuristic weaponry for a coming conflict with a covertly nuclear-armed Japan. Lacking the baggage of old-style supercarriers and stealth bombers, the North Korean military research bureau has built advanced weapons that are portable or mobile, small enough for easy concealment, and deployed by thousands of tiny teams of soldiers.
Battle Ready on the Peninsula
The North Korean People’s Army (NKPA) is equipped with new weaponry including the MiG-29 interceptor, the Su-25 fighter, and missile-launching submarines. Its overall strength, however, is based on combining older weapons-systems with cutting-edge armaments, for example, by creating the world’s densest air-defense system with layers of jamming technology, electromagnetic warfare instruments, tower-mounted high-altitude artillery, rockets and the SS-300 class anti-aircraft missile that can easily knock out the swiftest and highest-flying U.S. warplanes like the B-2 bomber or B-52s.
The US Air Force has long ago lost its edge of “stealth” aircraft with advances in wraparound radar, which has become a standard for air-defense units ever since a Serb missile battery downed a supposedly “invisible” USAF F-117A over Belgrade in 1999.
If one point needs to be understood, there exists no terms of a peace treaty to prevent hostilities in the Korean theater. Pyongyang has pulled out of the armistice, meaning that a state of war still exists and the North Korean military has no restraints from firing on intruders. As soon as the USS Carl Vinson crosses the Strait of Tsushima, the next Korean War could erupt at any moment.
In the narrow confines of the Sea of Japan, the U.S. Navy’s whale-scale carriers and destroyers will face a swarming defense of hundreds of missile-bearing patrol craft, torpedo boats and sub-launched self-propelled mines along with stealthy Silkworm cruise missiles and thermobaric warheads.
Learning from the Iranian coastal defense in the Persian Gulf, the NKPA Navy has built tube-shaped attack boats, which can reach speeds of more than 60 mph, for boarding parties of special-forces units to capture U.S. naval craft. These swift craft will be covered by helicopter gunships armed with anti-ship missiles and revolving “Gatling” guns. Lest one assumes these raiders can be suppressed by superior firepower from U.S. destroyers, all American electronics systems will be disabled in the first few minutes of battle, rendering them into sitting ducks.
The use of exotic weapons and the intensity of fire-fights in a small battle zone means that not many prisoners will remain alive to be captured, in stark contrast to how Admiral Togo’s rescue crews saved thousands of Russian sailors from drowning. Shaping up in the days ahead is the Second Battle of Tsushima, a naval defeat as disastrous for the U.S. superpower as the first was for the Tsarist Empire.
Self-Promotion Guarantees Another Defeat
The cause of this approaching defeat is self-promotion and conservative thinking among the officer corps in a U.S. Navy hierarchy, where all eyes are on the prize of being appointed Rear Admiral at the helm of a supercarrier strike force. The competition to command one of the blue-water Ten Supercarrier Groups has shifted ambition, talent and glory away from officer assignment to lowly brown-water duties of patrolling bays and gulfs, estuaries and rivers, which are the havens for pirates, smugglers and jihadists armed with smartphones, Google maps and manpad rockets. It is in the brown waters, where the naval skirmishes of today and tomorrow will be fought by unknown lieutenants in the mold of PT109’s John F. Kennedy.
While it is tempting to define the North Korean tactics as “unconventional” or “asymmetric” warfare, their preparations are simply part of standard war-planning by many smaller nations, whereas the posture of the USN is relegated to antique colonialist gunboat diplomacy. The 19th century seapower strategy of Alfred Thayer Mahan has long been superseded by obscure conflicts against Somali pirates, Coast Guard interdiction of drug traffickers, and flexible Vietnamese marine garrisons in the South China Sea.
Other conservative defense thinkers include the commanders of the ballistic missile and anti-missile forces in the U.S. and Israeli militaries, whose presumptions are rooted in the long-gone post-Sputnik era. (Most college students today have never heard of the first satellite.) The notion of pinpoint physical targeting of incoming missiles is pushed with impressive salesmanship but it’s impractical in the blurry electronic fog of war.
FEMA to the Defense
During an exchange of nuclear missiles, the overwhelming political priority is on the capability to protect the population of one’s major cities from annihilation. The deep metro systems in China, for example, serve as a sprawling interconnected network of bomb shelters. American civilians, by contrast, are the world’s most vulnerable to weapons of mass destruction. For sure, the Pentagon has dug deep bunkers and tunnels to protect its military assets in Colorado and Washington DC, but it will immediately lose any popular support and rationale for a long tough war when New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and Los Angeles are reduced to ashes and the boulevards are crawling with radioactivity-burn victims deprived of medical care.
Nuclear warheads are the weaponry of last resort. Attacks on the adversary’s homeland will likelier consist of electromagnetic attacks against critical infrastructure. In this sphere, the American mindset is over-focused on Internet-based communications due to the fascination with personal communications, whereas potentially hostile powers will concentrate on knocking out the electricity grid and water systems to put comfort-loving Americans under an unbearable siege. How long can Americans survive without showers, refrigeration, microwave ovens, heating or aircon, and fast-food outlets as opposed to Asians who can subsist indefinitely on noodles? With surrender comes hot Big Macs and cold Cokes flown in from Hong Kong or Dubai, so who can resist coming out with their hands up?
Gotham Under Siege from Simplified Missile Shots
While there are many other threats related to the nonexistent U.S. civil-defense system, the most immediate problem is official denial of massive radioactivity from Fukushima still pouring onto the American shores and skies along with contamination from its own leaking nuclear reactors. The negative effects on public health, including birth defects, cancer and brain damage, are mounting with every breath as it alters the DNA in the now-mutated population pool. Radioactivity is also degrading the matrix of electronic communications that Americans are plugged into. Post-human synthesis with technology has been short-circuited before it can begin.
Operation Gotham, the current homeland security exercise along the New Jersey-New York boundary is an abject failure from the start, since it does not deal with the fundamental issue of why the United States is an easy target for a nuclear attack. For decades Pentagon strategists assumed that North Korean ballistic missiles will be aimed eastward in the direction of Hawaii or Los Angeles. The American side scoffed at North Korean rocket science because of the complex mathematical challenge of adjusting acceleration, speed, angle and curvature with the Earth’s rotation, which is certainly harder than passing a speeding car within an exact distance.
To their shock, instead of using its fixed test facility, the North Korean military now relies on truck-mounted mobile launchers and submarines that can launch from the Sea of Okhost near Siberia. By firing missiles over the North Pole, the elliptical trajectory is simple, requiring only a stopwatch and the turn of a globe to determine whether the warhead will drop precisely onto New York City, Washington D.C., Chicago or Los Angeles. If the North Koreans strictly limit their test blast to Wall Street, Americans just might applause.
Fukushima Radioactivity Boosts EM Weaponry
While the hapless civil-defense agency FEMA simulates yet another foreign assault on American soil, it cannot admit the cause of the recent power blackouts in San Francisco and Chicago.
It is now ridiculously easy to bounce electromagnetic transmissions off the “aerial river” of Fukushima radioactive isotopes flowing over the northern cities of the United States. Does Pyongyang possess such technology? This was considered seriously by my investigative journalism team immediately after the artificially triggered earthquake that leveled Kobe in 1995, and later that year I published an issue of The Japan Times Weekly devoted to the geo-electromagnetic science behind this technology. Even if foreign adversaries do not take advantage of the Fukushima sky-mirror effect, solar flares are bound to knock out the nation's grid over coming years. America is on the defensive and in no shape to mount foreign wars.
Worse yet, a small thermobaric warhead used in a limited infrastructure attack could suck down the streaming radioactivity from the upper and meso-atmosphere levels down to street level, killing every city resident within weeks. The USA is today absolutely defenseless, thanks to the overpaid, over-fed Pentagon bureaucrats and military brass and Fukushima deniers in the White House and federal government.
The denial of the ever-rising impact of radioactivity on America’s population and infrastructure has been perpetrated by three presidents, including George W. Bush who covertly supplied warheads to Shinzo Abe’s covert nuclear-war program at Fukushima, Barack Obama who switched off public access to dosimeter data along the radioactive West Coast, and now Trump, a best friend and ally of Abe who has never once mentioned the word “Fukushima”. Denial, this late in the game, indicates passive acceptance of national suicide.
A Friendly Message from Pyongyang
As its military prepares to sink the approaching Armada, Pyongyang is sending a strong message to the American public and defense planners: The U.S. is a paper tiger already on fire from covering up the real cause of Fukushima radioactive releases, which is illegal support of the US Department of Energy for Japan’s secret nuclear weapons program (all the while pointing the finger at North Korea).
By calling North Korea a nuclear outlaw while secretly supporting infinitely larger nuclear-weapons programs in Japan and South Korea, Washington DC has hypocritically prevented any possibility for nuclear disarmament on the Korean Peninsula. Instead, there will sooner or later be a war of catastrophic dimensions, perhaps within the next few days. The denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula would require all parties to the conflict to admit to and decommission their own illegal programs, especially former colonial master Japan, and for the Security Council nuclear powers to pull back their strategic forces under a new arms-control treaty.
Unilateral nuclear disarmament by North Korea is not going to happen, not after the United States betrayed Saddam Hussein and Colonel Muammar Gaddafi when Iraq and Libya went non-nuclear. Those violations of trust and promises, that ended in regime change and assassination, expose the duplicity and dishonesty that rules the smug Washington establishment.
War Will Wipe Out American Greatness
President Trump’s promise of the greatest-ever build-up of military hardware has merely reinforced the self-serving complacency of admirals, generals and defense-industry executives, who could care the less about a world of changing geopolitical realities. Clearly, an anti-intellectual Trump is by now hostage to the liberal Atlanticist establishment (NATO, CFR, Brookings and their ilk) and neoconservative Zionist think tanks, those Cold Warriors of yesteryear.
Not one of these intellectual grandees have been willing to face the actual causes of dismal American failures, including a quarter-century of military intervention in Iraq, 16 years of futile combat against a tiny band of Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, and the massive defeats in Vietnam and the Korean War. Trump’s promise to invest in expensive toys for the generals will completely gut his pledges to the public to halt foreign interventions. The re-industrialization of America is by now a forgotten fib.
The dyed-in-wool militarist hucksters, such as John McCain whose reckless prank killed 137 Navy personnel and nearly sank the carrier USS Forrestal off the Vietnam coast in 1967, still blame the many defeats and stalemates on “demoralization” caused by peaceniks rather than accept responsibility for the absence of deep-rooted military reform. Cost reduction, not rearmament, is what the U.S. military needs, including radical downsizing of forces, pullback from unsustainable regions of conflict, a ban on recruitment of foreigners into the military through enticements of citizenship and veteran’s benefits, an end to interventions, reliance on Constitution-mandated citizen-soldier militias to defend the borders, and rebuilding the economic sinews and moral values of an ethical nation that citizens can be proud of and willing to defend.
The supporters of the populist nationalism in the Trump campaign and the antiwar left that backed Bernie Sanders must devise ways to cooperate on an insurgent strategy for the midterm elections 18 months from now. Otherwise America will have zero chance of ever becoming great again. The facts are: The corrupted American imperium is collapsing, and a conflict with the North Koreans who are the Spartans of Asia could spell doom for whatever remains. Americans must demand a pull back from the brink of a hopeless, sensless and potentially disastrous conflict in order to attend to much more pressing issues at home.
Russia, China and North Korea are not the enemy, at least not now nor for the foreseeable future, not when the worst violations against American society come from Wall Street and the global nuclear industry. Fukushima is killing Americans every hour of every day, and there is no end in sight until the White House admits that there might be a problem.
Yoichi Shimatsu is a science journalist and contributer to rense.com radio..