Category Archives: Military History

North Korea- No Good Options

As the situation with North Korea grows more urgent and intense, North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile on November 29 that, in theory, could reach Washington D.C. or New York City. This rocket test is a significant milestone for a country that has pledged to annihilate America. There are no indications that Pyongyang is stopping anytime soon.

So what can the U.S. and its allies do?

There are really no good options on the table. Mostly you are choosing from bad to much worse. For over twenty years, the North Korean nuclear problem has bedeviled four U.S. Presidents from both parties.

Now with North Korea ratcheting up the pressure, Vice President Mike Pence on a visit to South Korea in April 2017 said, “the era of strategic patience is over.” There are three main options, but each has a severe downside.

  1. Military Attack on North Korea

The U.S. has used strategic bombing in the past like Kosovo and in Libya. The North Koreans are experts at hiding their artillery and missile launching stations.

An unprecedented, strong show of force in the Western Pacific will do two things:

  1. Putting more troops will continue to put Kim Jong Un on notice. Nothing says you are “committed” to peace like tens of thousands of U.S. troops in the region.
  2. More troops and a stronger military presence continues to put pressure on the Chinese diplomatically and economically to make sure the North Koreans know we are serious.

China continues to play both sides of the fence. They are an unreliable ally when it comes to North Korea.  This pressure would force the Chinese to take action with their “client state.” When it comes to war, the Chinese would not be unaffected with a second Korean War.  A significant American troop commitment in South Korea would make China reign in North Korea.

What about a cyber-threat from North Korea?

Cyber is now the fourth dimension of war after air, sea, and land. Cyber-threats give the North Koreans unlimited range. Using high speed and small signature means, that can cripple America. Imagine a cyber-attack that targets the vulnerable infrastructure of the United States like in the movie “Live Free or Die Hard.” A cyber military strike that takes down the entire U.S. computer and technological structure. This computer hack would disable the economy of the United States (and the world). The North Koreans could inflict casualties similar to a nuclear bomb.

Can we hack North Korea?

If the U.S. attacked North Korea with cyber-attacks, almost nothing would happen. If you look at a satellite image of North Korea and South Korea, there are some big differences. North Korea is almost entirely dark outside of Pyongyang, its capital. South Korea looks like Fifth Avenue on Christmas Eve. North Korea has very limited power structures. Outside of Pyongyang, there would be almost no threat. The ramifications would be small. The North Korea power grid is very limited. North Korean society doesn’t depend on a central infrastructure. North Korea is a very backward country. Most North Koreans don’t have running water or central heating in their homes or businesses. North Korea is mostly rural without power.

North Korea is a primitive, almost third-world country. Most of its technology dates from 20 years ago or later. Most of the weapons that the North Koreans are using don’t need computers or at least very advanced ones to fire their weapons. North Korea’s aircraft and missile guidance systems have the latest technology.

What about a pre-emptive air strike on North Korea?

Russia and China are quasi-allies of North Korea. The Chinese will hold back. The Russians won’t react as long as we don’t threaten them.

If we attack any North Korean targets, it will trigger a war with North Korea immediately attacking South Korea. Seoul, the capital of South Korea, is within conventional artillery range of North Korean batteries are just over the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).

Whatever action the U.S. decides to do it has to be done with a great deal of planning. This planning will minimize South Korean casualties.

There are always military options. In this scenario, there are no good options.  Any military action will get an immediate response from North Korea. This also includes limited air strikes on North Korean military facilities.

The North Koreans will answer our attack with a counterattack across the DMZ. The Korean War (officially we are in a “ceasefire’) will fire back up again. Either limited air strikes or an all-out war, the first thing the North Koreans will do is to attack south.

Strategic Map
  1. Economic Sanctions and Pressure

China is the ally with the most sway over North Korea. The majority of food and energy coming into North Korea comes from China. Beijing sees aggressive sanctions as a step towards the eventual collapse of North Korea.

China does want the government in Pyongyang to collapse because it would yield to a massive wave of refugees. Plus, if the two Koreas were reunified, China would end up with a major U.S. ally on its southern border.

Multilateral negotiations helped to curb North Korea obsession of nukes in the past. In 1994, North Korea signed the Agreement Framework that suspended North Korea’s nuclear program for almost a decade.

  1. Direct Diplomacy

Does diplomacy matter? Are Presidential trips, diplomatic visits, and international summit meetings nothing more than pomp and circumstance and feel good measures that signify nothing?

President Richard Nixon’s trip to mainland China, which began on February 21, 1972, tells us something different. This historic visit started the slow process of re-establishing diplomatic relations between the United States and Communist China.

In a world where Americans get their iPods and iPads from China, and the Chinese government regularly buys U.S. Treasury notes, allowing Washington to run up a trillion-dollar deficit, a single presidential trip was called “a week to change the world.” That’s precisely what happened with President Richard Nixon’s trip to China in 1972.

History is usually the story of epic battles and courageous last stands against overwhelming odds, but diplomacy is just as crucial as sweeping battles. Diplomacy allows the U.S. to deal with diverse countries and complex cultures as in China, North Korea, Iraq, and Iran. Foreign and international relations during the Cold War kept the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. out of World War III.

Wars that are avoided, like in the Cuban Missile Crisis, and treaties that are signed by bitter enemies like the United States and North Vietnam ended the American involvement in Vietnam. New agreements that are forged in friendship with warring nations is the mandate of the United Nations.

What’s the Problem with North Korea?

Diplomacy only works if both sides are willing to have a conversation and an agenda. The North Koreans only want to have a conversation about the world, accepting their status as a nuclear power.

Kim at the control.
Credit: AP News

In 1972, President Richard Nixon made a dramatic step in normalizing relations with China. It was the first step in a slow process of re-establishing diplomatic relations between the United States and Communist China in almost thirty years.  Over the next forty years, that relationship would ebb and flow, but the two countries would remain reluctant allies.

Trump’s trip to China in November 2017, was a brilliant move to drive a wedge between the world’s two last remaining communist powers. Closer diplomatic relations with China can be used as leverage by the U.S. in dealing with North Korea, particularly on the issue of nuclear weapons.

Also, a massive U.S. military buildup in the region allows the United States to make use of the Chinese as a counterweight to North Korea. Despite claims of communist solidarity, China and North Korea are, at best, strongly distrustful allies.

President Trump plans is to use China to contain North Korea’s nuclear aggression. China desires another ally in the world with an increasingly tense relationship between the U.S. and North Korea. The U.S. welcomed the possibility of making North Korea more malleable to U.S. policy requests (such as North Korea signing a peace treaty to disarm its nuclear program in exchange for U.N. aid and food).

President Trump scheduled the travel to meet with the region’s leaders to reassure them and the world of the U.S. stance on a nuclear North Korea. The message of the trip was clear- Either they needed to do something to contain the threat of North Korea or the U.S. will.

What does North Korea want?

North Korea wants recognition of its status as a nuclear power. More than anything China, Japan, South Korea, and the U.S. want Kim Jong Un to come to his senses.

Kim is obsessed with his regime’s survival. In 2003, Muammar Gaddafi disarmed Libya’s nuclear program. No doubt Kim watched the deposed leader of Libya be captured and killed eight years later. The lesson learned was give up your nukes, and you give up your power. North Korea sees disarmament as an “invasion tactic” of the west.

In the end, a deterrence and containment policy like we had with the Soviet Union during the Cold War maybe out our only option. The job of the international community is to break the logic of Kim and nudge Pyongyang towards rethinking its nuclear goals.

North Korea Building

The North Korea Conundrum

Why does Trump need to continue to pressure on a nuclear North Korea?

If there is one lesson for U.S. foreign policy in the last 15 years is that military intervention can seem simple, but it is in fact very complex. A military invasion has the option for intended consequences that not even the best planner can anticipate.

So I am glad that the Trump Administration is studying all the options on North Korea. President Trump and his team of experienced advisors are taking the time to arrive at a smart policy rather than shooting first and having to ask important questions later.

The national-security issues surrounding North Korea goes deeper than just nuclear weapons. The problem with Pyongyang is a much larger issue. North Korea is experiencing a genuine awakening with having a nuclear capability. Kim Jung Un, the profanity-prone, paranoid tyrant, is leading his citizens to the precipice of an unrecoverable disaster. Kim’s story is as fascinating as he is terrifying. A nuclear North Korea with Kim at the helm is a recipe for destruction.

For the U.S., this current situation presents a compelling opportunity. For nearly seven decades, North Korea has regarded Washington as the ultimate enemy because it was the principal supporter of South Korea, the region’s leading democracy. North Korea wants nukes to even the playing field with America, a country that represents everything North Korea hates. The U.N. (with significant U.S. help) defeated them in a war nearly 70 years ago. Kim’s obsession with destroying America and unifying the Korean Peninsula has produced a very real national-security problem: the rise of a nuclear North Korea that directly threatens the U.S.

North Korea’s first argument against the U.S. is that supports the “tyranny” of the government of South Korea. Kim’s view is ironic seeing how Kim oppresses his own people and more than a quarter of North Korean have died from starvation and famine while he pursues a nuclear missile at the expense of his citizens.

Now in the latest crisis, the U.S. has a chance to break the dysfunctional dynamic that produces so much hatred and violence, but at what cost? A war with North Korea will cost over a trillion dollars and leave millions, …yes millions, dead while devastating the region. The war would cause the biggest refugee crisis since World War II and make Syria’s refugee issues seem very, very small. The outcome of the war would be terrible. The result would be mass slaughter of North and South Koreans.

The Trump Administration has properly aligned itself with hopes and aspirations of the world by asking China to intervene. President Trump has called on allies from all over the region to engage in severe reform and sanctions against North Korea. It would be great if Kim would step down, but that will never happen. For Kim to survive a war with America would be a humiliation for Washington at the moment in history when the world is watching. Kim right now faces sanctions and isolation with his continued nuclear tests. All of this makes Kim anxious to stay in power. This crisis has been an opportunity for the U.S. to align with partners in the region- South Korea, Japan, and China- to contain a nuclear North Korea.

So the U.S. must follow through in its efforts to get contain Kim, pulling all the diplomatic levers and seek maximum multilateral and international support to stop Kim from getting nukes. If the North Koreans ask for assistance and aid to feed its starving people in exchange to stop testing missiles, then Washington should move in that direction.

The U.S. military is already directly in the conflict by beefing up its presence in the region. This buildup really makes little difference. Kim’s main advantage is not in the air but on the ground. He has tanks, armored vehicles, a fanatical 2 million-man army devoted to him, and massive firepower all pointed at Seoul. The basic question is how to shift the balance away from Kim and towards resolution without bloodshed.

What kind of war would the U.S. wage against North Korea?

There is no doubt that the U.S. military is ready and able to defeat North Korea. The American military is at its very best in maneuver warfare. Just look at Desert Storm and the first three weeks in the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The American approach to warfare is not on overpowering an enemy but on outflanking him, targeting his weaknesses and destroying him. Nobody does this better than the U.S. military. The post-Vietnam army was built, deliberately, for short, conventional, decisive conflict just like the one we face in North Korea. Moreover, we know the terrain, the people and the culture better than other foreign places in the world because we have been on the Korean Peninsula for nearly seventy years.

What should the U.S. do about North Korea?

  1. Military planners are urging President Trump to go slow with North Korea. Make sure that all avenues of diplomacy have failed before launching a military option. A nuclear North Korea with weapons of mass destruction is a scary thought.
  2. Don’t go to war without NATO or the United Nations.

Our greatest threat is from the unpredictability of North Korea. We don’t know what Pyongyang will do next. We don’t really have a good system for combating a rogue nuclear threat.

There is no doubt that we would wallop North Korea in a conventional war, just as we did in the Korean War (1950-1953). The war with North Korea never really ended. The war ended in a ceasefire and armistice. North Korea has been a major seller of rocket technology to Iran and Syria. So, it is a sponsor of terrorism.

North Korea Conundrum

America is very good at using military power to project its foreign policy goals. The problem with using military force is that you sometimes make mistakes and you create enemies, and you get bogged into another quagmire. The best example is the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. We are still dealing with ISIS almost 15 years later.

The problem with North Korea is that there is no magic bullet. The best way to prevent a nuclear North Korea is to prevent Kim from turning his missile tests into an area of strength. That needs to be done on the diplomatic end. So, we need to keep doing that until all other options have been exhausted.

Keeping strategic priorities focused on containing a North Korean nuclear threat first. Then, if necessary, you go after Kim Jung Un or his weapons of mass destruction capability. It’s high time that we force Kim Jung Un to comply with U.N. Security Council Resolutions. But, in doing that, as always, the use of force should be a last resort.

 

Why did the Japanese Attack Pearl Harbor?

“Yesterday, December 7, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”

– President Franklin D. Roosevelt

Seventy-six years ago today, the Japanese carried out a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

Why did the Japanese Attack Pearl Harbor?

The Rise of Imperial Japan

Compared with the great Axis powers like Germany and Italy in the 1930s, Japan was a newcomer to world politics. Japan was the only Asian nation with ambitions to become a world power. Overcrowding cramped the principal islands, which make up Japan. Japan called itself an empire, but its imperial possessions consisted of the island of Formosa, now called Taiwan, Korea and the southern part of the island of Sakhalin.

It had few natural resources of its own, but the Japanese warlords believed that Japan had a destiny, to rule not only Asia but also the entire world. Fulfilling that destiny was not only a lifeline for desperately needed resources- rice, minerals, fibers, and oil- but a sacred duty.

Their emperor was divine, they believed, he was the 124th descendant of their sun goddess. The emperor was regarded with such awe that his given name was never mentioned. The highest honor a Japanese soldier could achieve was to die for the emperor in battle.

As in all totalitarian countries, young children in Japan were filled with these beliefs. In unfolding their plan for world conquest, the Japanese knew they must first conquer China. Japan needed a base to attack China. It invaded Manchuria, a Mongolian state in the far north of the Chinese mainland.

To this end, Japan declared war on China in 1937. This declaration resulted in the Nanking Massacre and other atrocities against the Chinese.

In just four days, it occupied southern Manchuria. Shortly afterward, the whole state. The world was outraged. Japan was called to account for actions in front of the League of Nations. The League of Nations was supposed to keep the peace. Japan was a member of the League of Nations. Delegates of peace-loving nations condemned Japan’s aggression. Japan knew that almost no army could stop them. Japan simply quit the League of Nations.

Tensions Rise

Next, in 1940, Japan invaded French Indochina (Vietnam) to seize all imports into China, including war supplies China had bought from the U.S.

At this same time, Japan had signed a pact with Germany and Italy. This pact formed the Axis powers. This pact guaranteed assistance if any of its members were attacked by a country not already at war. This pact was intended to keep the U.S. out of World War II.

After Japan invaded Indochina, the U.S. started embargoing certain goods to Japan. To make matters worse, the U.S. was increasing its military presence in the Philippines. This escalated tensions due to Japan’s proximity to the Philippines.

Soon the U.S. placed a strict oil embargo on Japan. This ban was joined by the U.K. and the Netherlands, who stopped providing much-needed tin and rubber to Japan from their Asian colonies. This restriction was a devastating and humiliating blow to Tokyo. The Japanese estimated they only had two years of oil remaining. Japan needed oil and other resources to continue their conquest of the Pacific. Just America stood in the way of the Japanese conquest of the Pacific.

American officials responded to this Japanese aggression with a battery of economic sanctions and trade embargoes. The Americans reasoned that without access to money and goods, and especially essential supplies like oil, Japan would have to cut back on its expansion campaign in the Pacific.

Instead, the sanctions made the Japanese more determined to stand their ground. At this point, the Japanese conquered territory for over a decade without opposition.  Months of negotiations between Tokyo and Washington, D.C., neither side would budge. It seemed that war was all but inevitable.

Japan knew that they would lose a war with the U.S. given America’s manpower, material, and resources.  Japan believed that a pre-emptive strike on the U.S. Pacific Fleet was their best choice.

Why attack Pearl Harbor?

The Japanese carried out a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The attack was motivated by the imperialist aspirations of the Japanese in the Pacific region.

America possessed the strongest naval fleet and was the only real threat to Japanese expansion. The U.S. was opposed to Japanese expansion in the Pacific. Japan’s demands were not being achieved through diplomacy.

Pearl Harbor, Hawaii was the home of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. The Japanese thought if Pearl Harbor were destroyed, the Americans would feel demoralized and not want to fight.

The Japanese were convinced that a devastating attack on the U.S. Pacific Fleet would dishearten the Americans. Eventually, that demoralization would lead to cracks in the fabric of American society and take America out of an active role in World War II.

The Attack

Two aerial attack waves of 353 Japanese fighter planes were launched from six Japanese aircraft carriers. The Japanese strategic aim was to protect their advance into the Dutch East Indies and Malaya. Japan needed their natural resources of rubber and oil. The Japanese believed that by neutralizing the U.S. Pacific Fleet, America would be out of the war.

The attacks were successful, but the effects were temporary. Five of eight battleships were sunk. The rest were severely damaged. The worst damage was to the U.S.S. Arizona. Other ships and most of the Hawaii based combat planes were destroyed. More than 2,300 Americans died in the attack.

Battleships burning at Pearl Harbor

On the positive side, critical fuel storage, shipyard, maintenance, and headquarters facilities were not hit. Six of the battleships were repaired. Later, these ships were used to defeat Japan in World War II.

The following day, America declared war on Japan. America had entered World War II.

 

 

 

 

Helpful Survey for OIF/OEF Combat Vets

Last year I did a helpful survey. The survey was for combat veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. What follows is from my friend Pauline Lubens, a Doctoral Candidate at the University of California, Irvine.

Hopefully, this survey this will help Pauline get some results to help OIF and OEF combat vets who have lost buddies to combat or suicide.

Pauline has interviewed 28 veterans in 11 difference states, but she still needs more participants in order for the number of participants to reach a number that that meets research standards. She asked me to send a message to OIF/OEF combat veterans I know.

Here is the information:

Combat Veterans:

You are invited to participate in an anonymous survey of combat veterans who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan.  The online survey, which takes 15-20 minutes to complete, is being conducted by researchers from the University of California, Irvine who are studying the experiences of OIF and OEF combat vets who have lost military comrades to combat or suicide.

The participation of a large number of vets will help raise awareness of veterans’ issues that have not yet been adequately addressed. After completing the survey, you will be given the opportunity to enter a drawing for one of two $250 Amazon gift cards.

Please use the following link to complete the survey:

 

https://ucisoe.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_3dCsP139kYINbSd

Thank you,

Pauline

 

Pauline Lubens, MPH

War and Public Health Lecturer

Doctoral Candidate

Pedagogical Fellow

Program in Public Health

Susan and Henry Samueli College of Health Sciences

University of California, Irvine CA 92697

“The only ones among you who will be truly happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.”

Albert Schweitzer

New North Korean Missile Capability

Well, Rocket Man Kim is at it again. After a two-month-long hiatus, North Korea tested another missile on Wednesday. This new long-range missile North Korea boasted could hit “the whole mainland of the U.S.” We know that North Korea has made substantial progress in its nuclear program, but the rogue regime is known for exaggeration.

What do we know? What should we believe?

Can a North Korean missile hit the U.S. East Coast?

At this point, probably. North Korea’s missile test on Wednesday shows that North Korea has made considerable strides in extending the range of its intercontinental ballistic missiles. Now it looks North Korea may be able to reach targets on the East Coast of the U.S.A. easily.

Based on the test missile’s trajectory and time of flight, experts say that Wednesday’s launch could travel 8,100 miles. That is a significant development because Washington and New York City are 6,800 miles from Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital.

During past tests, North Korean missiles have gone high into the atmosphere. This measures the possible range of a rocket into space. Up to this point, all the test missiles have landed harmlessly in the sea. The North Koreans have avoided hitting any real targets thousands of miles away.

Wednesday’s test reached an altitude of 2,800 miles and covered a distance of about 600 miles, the highest yet. North Korea can now fire a missile on a flatter and lower trajectory around the earth’s surface and reach a much further target during a missile attack. The test on Wednesday has convinced scientists that North Korean missiles are now within range of Washington D.C.

Can North Korea place a nuclear warhead on their long-range missiles?

Best news yet is the obstacle of re-entry for their missiles. A nuclear warhead has to withstand heat, intense pressure, and vibrations as the “re-entry” vehicle coming back through the earth’s atmosphere. Most experts believe, right now,  that North Korea does not have this capability. So far, North Korean missile tests have failed at this. A North Korean nuclear payload probably could not withstand the rigors of a long flight to the United States.

Can the U.S. defend against a North Korean missile attack?

America can defend itself against a single North Korean missile attack launched at mainland U.S.A. The challenge would be trying to defend against multiple missiles at the same time.

Right now, the U.S. military has 36 ground-based interceptors in California and Alaska to defend the U.S. mainland. The Pentagon has plans to add eight more interceptors. The interceptors have proven very effective in tests. Added to this impressive defense grid, the U.S. has missile defense systems in Asia. This defense grid has ship-based radar, interceptors, and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) systems. This defense system is deployed in South Korea and the U.S. territory of Guam. After Wednesday’s test, the Pentagon is looking for new ways to beef up its missile defense.

Kim at the control.
Credit: AP News

Will Kim Jong Un abandon his nuclear program?

Experts are wary. The North Korean dictator believes that he needs a nuclear-strike capability to be taken seriously. He states having nukes deters any U.S. efforts to topple his regime. In short, nukes keep him power and keeps the U.S. in check.

The North Koreans believe that they stand alone in the world. After the fall of Communism and the collapse of its main support the U.S.S.R. in 1991, North Korea has struggled as a nation. Despite the fact millions of North Korean citizens have died as a result of starvation and widespread famine, Kim and his father have squandered hundreds of millions of dollars on getting nukes.

A North Korean nuclear program is a point of great national pride to a brainwashed almost third-world nation. A nuclear-strike ability allows the tiny Hermit Kingdom to enter the exclusive club of a nuclear superpower. South Korea, Japan, China, Russia and the U.S. all treat North Korea with respect, fear and as an equal, all things Kim wants. Why would a man who lusts for power and legitimacy ever give that up?

Dom’s New Book- “A War With North Korea”

Here is the introduction of my new book. The book is free to Amazon Prime members. Please tell me what you think.

Introduction to “A War With North Korea”

If the U.S. goes to war with North Korea, there are many questions that the American people have. What follows is a potential unfolding of events, a few scenarios out of many. I did my best to paint a picture of the current tense situation on the Korean Peninsula. I hope there never is a war with North Korea. It would be a great pity.

An all-out hot war on the Korean Peninsula would be catastrophic. Conservative estimates of casualties of past conflicts have guessed that millions of people, mostly North and South Korean civilians, would die in such a costly war.

War may be the only thing that will force North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to understand clearly that his pursuit of nuclear missiles is useless. This awful fact is something Kim and his military leaders refuse to comprehend. Unfortunately, war and the end of Kim’s regime may be the only option left. Nothing else has seemed to work since 1994 when North Korea started its nuclear program.

President Trump’s decision to go to war with North Korea may be the least awful of all the options available to him a Commander-in-Chief.  Hopefully, in retrospect, twenty plus years later, far removed from the pressures President Trump faces today in December 2017, his critics will see he had few other options that would be better and less costly in casualties than a war with North Korea.

The judgment is clear and decided. A nuclear North Korea cannot happen and cannot exist. A short and decisive war with North Korea will stop the threat of a North Korean invasion into South Korea, and will potentially save countless of lives, both American and North Korean. Finally, an American President will end a nuclear North Korea’s brutalization and blackmail of the people of Asia. Going to war may be the right and only decision. This short e-book attempts to answer all the questions that may arise out that decision.

A War with North Korea Book Cover

Finally, this e-book is not to be taken as an official war manual. It was written to inform and engage. The information should be treated that way. This book is intended for information purposes only.

God bless America and God bless the brave people of South Korea.

Link:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B077T2FTTX/ref=sr_1_6?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1511950562&sr=1-6&keywords=War+with+north+korea

 

How dangerous is North Korea, really?

Is North Korea Dangerous- or Desperate? Both. How Kim Jung Un has backed Western leaders into a corner.

Yesterday President Donald Trump designated North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism because of the rogue regime’s repeated support of terror and continued nuclear threats. The three other nations on the list are Iran, Sudan, and Syria.

In the past, North Korea is a country that Americans love to hate, with good reason.

A United Nations Force led by the Americans fought a costly war on the Korean Peninsula after North Korea troops poured over across the 38th parallel and invaded South Korea.

North Korea

The Korean War (1950-1953) ended in a stalemate and cost over 33,650 American lives.

President George W. Bush made North Korea a charter member of his “Axis of Evil” in 2002. Later in 2008, Pyongyang was taken off that list by the George W. Bush administration to ease nuclear deal negotiations. Fifteen years later things haven’t gotten any better with a younger and more insane dictator at the helm.

North Korea is a secretive police state led by an “unreasonable” dictator. Now it’s believed to possess chemical and biological weapons, along with nuclear missiles capable of hitting America’s West Coast.

President Trump’s extravagant fears would appear to have some basis in fact.

The United States military is certainly acting as if North Korea were an imminent threat, a massive show of American firepower has three carriers in the waters around Korea. This impressive display of military might includes fighter jets, nuclear submarines, cruisers, and destroyers. There is a hint that a military strike against North Korea’s nuclear facilities may be coming sooner rather later if Kim doesn’t stop with the nuclear threats.

The reality is that North Korea right now is more desperate than dangerous. Its economy is collapsing under the weight of brutal, but justified U.N. sanctions. Its principal ally, China, seems to be backing away from North Korea amid growing U.S. pressure.

What is the deal with North Korea?

North Korea is the worst and weirdest place on earth. North Korea is a place that is a constant source of frustration, fear, and amusement to the United States.

North Korea is a convoluted place. It makes you cringe in disgust, yell in frustration look at with bewilderment and laugh-out-loud with its singular vision as a Communist paradise. North Korea is a country that suffers from its own internal contradictions.

North Korea is anything but a utopia. It’s one of the cruelest, most controlled and isolated countries on earth. North Korea is ruled by a violent, repressive regime.

Its internal politics seem to be fractured. Kim Jong Un’s estranged half-brother Kim Jong Nam was killed by a highly toxic nerve agent in Malaysia in February 2017. Investigators suspect Kim killed his brother to remove him as a possible threat.

Kim Jong Un drawing

North Korea’s attempts to cause mayhem in the world- by test-firing long-range missiles into the Sea of Japan and threatening the West with nuclear annihilation.

Sandwiched between China, Japan and bordered by South Korea, North Korea lives in a complicated neighborhood with a variety of security issues. Ineptitude and failure have marked North Korea’s nuclear program. Some outside observers see the North Korean nuclear program as a pathetic cry for help for a nation on the brink of starvation with a nuclear threat as its own bargaining tool.

The American-led coalition is justifiably intimidated by North Korea’s retaliatory capabilities.

North Korea’s nuclear project has been severely compromised over the years by an ongoing, joint U.S. – U.N. blocking effort with sanctions banning imports of coal, minerals, and seafood.

The North Koreans have rebuffed President Trump’s effort to negotiate with the rogue regime. The failed negotiations served a larger purpose: it made it clear to the Europeans, Russians and most important to the Chinese that North Korean’s leadership was inflexible. This made Chinese and Russian cooperation on U.N. sanctions possible.

Now North Korea is nearly isolated. Pyongyang is extremely unpopular in the world, but its nuclear rhetoric has not ebbed. The martyrdom of the Hermit Kingdom is reinforced as it stands alone in the world.

There are signs that even North Korea’s long-time ally China is growing impatient with Kim.This is augmented by America’s heavy military presence in the region, as Kim continues to issue threats. Kim Jong Un has backed the West into a corner.

Kim’s only reasonable option is to negotiate with the West. But as his erratic behavior has shown, Kim Jong Un is not a reasonable man.

A year ago the UN Security Council passed sanctions that cut North Korea’s main export by 60 per cent.

Every day Monday through Saturday, more than 24 million people work to maintain the communist machine of North Korea. North Korea is a unique political experiment that has been running for almost 70 years. It’s all at the expense of an isolated and subjugated people. The North Koreans see themselves as being protected from the outside world by the Dear Leader.

Kim Jong Un’s exact age is a mystery even to North Koreans. Like his father and grandfather before him, the young general is head of state in a country at war with the outside world. The country is exhausted and decimated by four million deaths suffered from earthquakes, famine, and starvation in the 1980s and 1990s.

North Korea is obsessed with what happened to the Soviet Union in 1991. Pyongyang believes that if you compromise with the West, you collapse. Kim Jong Un’s father and grandfather never compromised. From this example, Kim is unrelenting and unengageable.

In April 2017, President Trump started working with China to deter Pyongyang from developing more nuclear weapons. That same month the U.S. installed a missile defense in South Korea. The Chinese hate having the system’s capabilities in their backyard.

China is North Korea’s only significant trade partner. China has suspended its coal purchases from North Korea. China is reluctant to push too hard because it doesn’t want a collapse of the North Korea government. Meanwhile both South and North Korea have hundreds of thousands of troops on either side of the border.

President Trump’s visit to China last week was an attempt to thaw the chilly relations with North Korea. President’s Trump’s trip was a calculated move to drive a deep wedge between the world’s two remaining communist powers.

Closer diplomatic relations with China is significant leverage to deal with North Korea, particularly on the issue of nuclear weapons. Despite claims of solidarity, North Korea, and China are, at best, strongly suspicious allies due to the aligning of China with the West.

President Trump plan is to use China to contain North Korea. Diplomatic overtures to the Chinese might make stubborn North Korea more malleable to U.S. policy requests. China might be able to pressure Pyongyang to sign a peace treaty and de-escalate their nuclear threat.

North Korea seems to be following another more compelling model: Pakistan. As soon as Pakistan gained nuclear weapons in 1975, the world treated Pakistan with more respect. North Korea is getting clobbered by sanctions. Its economy may collapse before any concessions can be reached.

North Korea has a long history of escalating and deescalating tensions over the last 60 years. Pyongyang does this game of cat and mouse to broker deals of economic and concessions of U.N. sanctions.

This leaves the U.S. and its allies in a tricky position. Most diplomatic situations call for a carrot or stick approach. Unfortunately, for NK, neither the aid in the form of a carrot or stick in the form of sanctions has worked in the last decade.

What are the options?

Ever stronger sanctions. The downfall of the Kim regime or military confrontation that risks enormous casualties. Doing nothing is dangerous especially considering Kim’s erratic behavior. Kim has executed top advisors including his own uncle. As long as Kim is in power, North Korea will never give up its nuclear weapons.

North Korea faces its greatest crisis since the end of the Korean War in 1953. Kim Jong Un faces the defining choice of the future of his nation: compromise, collapse or possible nuclear war. One way or the other, his time is running out.

 

 

Dom’s New Business- Fast Facts- No Fuss, No Fluff, Just the Facts

I am launching a new business. I love history, and I love writing about history and telling people about how much fun history is. I love history so much I decided to make a business out of it.

“Fast Facts” is series of ebooks for busy folks on the go- short, well-researched ebooks and paperbacks about historical events and people that will educate, engage and entertain the reader.

Fast Facts Logo

“Fast Facts” is a series of ebooks written to help the reader learn the basic facts of a given subject in history or biography. Everything you need to know about a time period, historical event or person is presented in a simple, direct narrative in chronological order. Fast Facts is a not an intimidating 500-page book with a 20-page introduction. Each book is between 10,000 to 15,000 words- about an hour’s read. Just straight to the point and you’re done. In the words of President Trump, “Get in. Get it done. Get it done right. Get out.” Then, after knowing the Fast Facts about the subject you may feel inspired to read and explore a little more.

Give yourself about an hour with Fast Facts and see what you can learn…

About Dom

I have already written two books about Billy Graham and the Ancient Romans. I am about to finish two other biographies on Malcolm X and Arnold Schwarzenegger, two personal heroes of mine.

I am now taking on my favorite subject- World War II.

I have a biography series planned on 1. Adolf Hitler. 2. Winston Churchill. 3. Joseph Stalin.

I have a warfare series planned on 1. The 41st Infantry Division- a division of the National Guard that fought in World War II. 2. The Devil’s Brigade- a commando unit made up Canadian and American soldiers in World War II. 3. The War Machine of Nazi Germany.

This history and biography series will give my readers a taste of the World War II. I am also putting together a fact book about a possible war with North Korea.

In the end, I am finally putting my history degrees to good use. I will probably never make a lot of money at what I do, but I get to do what I love every day, and that is priceless.

Here is my introduction to Fast Facts ebook that I am writing about Adolf Hitler.

Fast Facts: Hitler

Introduction

Adolf Hitler wrote in his autobiography Mein Kampf, or “My Struggle” in English, a book filled with hatred. Its last passage is a fanatical cry, “A state that refuses racial contamination will inevitably dominate the world.”

Adolf Hitler was born on April 20, 1899. He committed suicide on April 30, 1945.

As a young man, Hitler wanted to be a painter. He considered himself an “artist” to the end of his life. Even as a young man, Hitler would show a fierce, unbending will.  His will made him the dictator of a humiliated Germany and led it to war.

Hitler, the man, was an evil, bloodthirsty genius. Hitler belongs in history with Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Genghis Khan and Napoleon Bonaparte. Hitler and his war machine conquered most of Europe.

Hitler was the murderer of millions of innocent persons, including six million Jews in the Holocaust. Hitler’s story is both fascinating and repelling. Hitler rose from humble beginnings to become the greatest conqueror of the 20th century. He overcame incredible obstacles in his rise to power. Hitler abused and used his power for evil. The absolute power he craved ultimately killed him.

How did this failed Austrian artist, who seems to come out of nowhere, succeed in conquering Germany?

How did he sow the seeds of hatred and violence?

How did Hitler and the Nazis drag the world into the Apocalypse of World War II?

How was a Hitler phenomenon possible?

This, Fast Facts ebook, is the story of Adolf Hitler.

Happy Belated Birthday, Devil Dogs

I love Marines. They are America’s Spartan warriors. They are always ready to do battle. They are closet idealists and pessimists.

Marines have an intense feeling of identity. They have almost a mystical connection of belonging to an elite fighting force of nearly invincible warriors.

Some of this attitude comes from their brutal and efficient training. Another part of that comes from their deep confidence and pride in their mission and leaders.

There is no better friend and no worse enemy than a U.S. Marine.

The Emblem of the USMC

 

Who are the Marines?

The United States Marine Corps is an all-purpose military strike force that can mobilize quickly and fight anywhere. Marines can be deployed almost anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice. The Marine Corps protect United States interests whenever a crisis flares up.

The Marine Corps is part of the Department of the Navy, but the Marines are still considered a separate branch of the armed services. The Marine Corps is the smallest branch of the armed forces. As of 2017, the Corps has around 185,000 active duty members and additional 38,500 reserve Marines.

What is the Marine Corps history?

The United States Marine Corps was created by the Continental Congress on November 10, 1775, during the Revolutionary War. America Marines first served on Continental Navy ships to protect them. The Marines also used amphibious assaults to attack ground targets, enemy ports, bases, and cities from the sea.

From 1800 to 1934, the Marine Corps landed 187 times in 37 countries “to suppress lawlessness or insurrection.” Marines saw constant action in countries as close as Latin America and as far away as the shore of Libya in Tripoli, as the “Marines’ Hymn” from the Marine Corps Hymn.

Throughout American history, the Marines have been American presidents’ force of choice when they send troops to fight in faraway lands. In 1805, the Marines fought Islamic Barbary pirates and captured the North African city of Derna, Tripoli in present-day Libya. In 1847, during the Mexican-American War, Marines were the first troops to storm and enter Mexico City, the enemy’s capital.

Throughout the 20th century, Marines have fought small wars in colonies or third-world countries: Cuba, Honduras, Mexico, the Philippines, the Dominican Republic and Honduras. The Marine Corps had a long tradition of fighting small wars.

In World War I, the Marines earned their tough reputation in several battles like Belleau Wood in France. During World War II, the Marines spearheaded a series of amphibious assaults in the Pacific. The Devil Dogs defeated the Japanese in legendary battles such as Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. In Korea, the Marines froze in the bitter battle of the Chosin Reservoir. In Vietnam, the Marines fought through the siege of Khe Sanh, the worst battle of the war.

The United States Marine Corps War Memorial

In the 21st century, the Marine Corps has been deployed multiple times to Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2004, the Marines fought two fierce battles against insurgents in Fallujah, Iraq. In 2010, the Marines fought in the campaign of Marjah, Afghanistan to re-take Helmand Province from the Taliban.

What is Marines boot camp like?

Marines undergo 13 weeks of intense training at boot camp at recruit depots in San Diego, California or Parris Island, South Carolina. Recruits are transformed into Marines by becoming physically fit, receiving first-class combat training, and learn how to respond instantly to orders. They hone their bodies and their minds by learning highly valuable leadership skills.

The Marine Corps places great importance on infantry combat. One of the Corps’ important mottos is “Every Marine a rifleman.” All Marines, no matter what their job is, are well-trained soldiers in combat skills and specialize in shooting rifles and other weapons.

Today, the standard rifle of the Marine Corps is the M16A4 assault rifle and M4A1 carbine, a compact version of the M16 rifle. Marines are also well-trained in the use of the M9 pistol, M203 grenade launcher, M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW), M240B light machine gun and the M2 .50-caliber heavy machine gun.

How do Marines fight?

Marines specialize in amphibious assaults, attacking land targets from the sea. The U.S. Navy transports the Marines to get them close to combat zones. Then the Marines can attack their objectives by using amphibious assault vehicles and support aircraft.

The Marines have a variety of vehicles that they use to fight. The Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV)-7 is a tracked, lightly armored vehicle. The AAV-7 can travel through water and on land. The AAV-7 can transport 21 combat-equipped Marines or 10,000 pounds of cargo.

The Marines use a version of the U.S. Army’s M1 Abrams main battle tank. The M1 weighs 70 tons and fires a 120mm smoothbore cannon that can destroy most enemy vehicles.

The Marines get dropped into combat zones by several aircraft. Marines use the CH-46 Sea Knight and the MV-22 Osprey, a plane that has propellers that rotate like helicopters so it can hover.

What other missions does the Marine Corps have?

In addition to combat duties, the United States Marines Corps has the honor of standing guard at the White House and Camp David. Marines also operate Marine One, the helicopter that transports the President of the United States. Also, the Marine Embassy Security Command protects U.S. embassies and consulates in more than 140 foreign posts around the world.

Proud, marching Marines

What is the future of the Marine Corps?

The Marines are a quick-strike force that can fight anywhere. They are America’s Spartan Warriors capable of doing the hard work of protecting American citizens and interests around the world. With the best-trained infantry riflemen and technology available, the Marine Corps is prepared for whatever the future holds.

 

The History of Veteran’s Day

Why we celebrate Veterans Day?

Each year on November 11, Americans march in parades, veterans put on their old uniforms and bands play patriotic songs. U.S. flags wave from homes, buildings and are carried in ceremonies. What is everyone celebrating?

Americans celebrate Veterans Day to honor the men and women who keep America safe and free. We acknowledge the sacrifice of veterans who protected people and places important to the United States around the world.

Veterans come from all branches of services including the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard. Those serving are called service members. They protect American interests in the land, sea, and air. Their jobs can be dangerous, and they fight in wars. Other times, they help people in trouble. Sometimes they get hurt or killed doing their job.

Bruno’s Grave in Crescent City, CA, his hometown.

 

Often their duties keep service members away from home for a long time. They give up their lives so the majority of Americans can live in peace. Veterans Day is a simple thank you to the men and women who gave up so much to help and protect us.

Why celebrate Veterans Day on November 11?

The idea for Veterans Day goes back to World War I (WW I). The Industrial Revolution would change warfare in WW I. Death caused killing on a massive scale- tens of thousands of men were killed in a single day.

WW I started in 1914. The United States entered the war in 1917. Almost 5 million Americans fought in the war. About 116,000 Americans died. The worldwide casualties were nearly 9.7 million dead and 21 million wounded. On November 11, 1918, the long, terrible war ended at eleven o’clock on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the year- 11/11/1918.

The end of the fighting was called an armistice. People all over the world poured into the streets. Stores closed, whistles blew, and strangers danced and hugged to have peace at last.

A year later, President Woodrow Wilson asked American to remember the armistice for one day. November 11 was named Armistice Day. At eleven o’clock people stood silently for two minutes. Staying silent was their way to give thanks for peace. The quiet time gave them a chance to thank the veterans who helped win the peace.

In 1920, Britain and France each buried a soldier in a special place of honor. Nobody knew who the soldiers were. The unknown soldiers stood for all those who had died in the war. The British soldier was buried with past kings and queens. At sundown, French soldiers lit a flame over their soldier’s grave. This gave the Americans an idea of an unknown U.S. soldier monument.

In 1921, an unknown soldier was placed in a tomb, a building that is the last resting place for the dead. The monument is at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was shut at eleven o’clock on November 11. Flags were flown halfway down flagpoles to show respect.

In 1938, the America’s lawmakers voted to make November 11 a national holiday that would give Americans a time to think about and thank veterans. The holiday was called Armistice Day. It was a day to celebrate world peace.

Soon it became a tradition for the President of the United States to place a wreath of flowers on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers. The flowers came from all over the country. Soldiers standing guard shot their rifles into the air in salute. A bugler played Taps, a haunting song to honor the dead.

Three years later America entered World War II. More than 16 million brave service members volunteered to fight. More than 416,800 Americans died in the war.

In 1954, lawmakers voted again to change the name from Armistice Day to Veterans Day. Two more soldiers were buried in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, representing the fallen soldiers of World War II and the Korean War. The tomb was renamed the Tomb of the Unknowns.

Honoring veterans became a sacred tradition in America. Post offices sold stamps with heroic images, and lawmakers built statues and memorials to honor veterans from different wars.

In 1984, an unknown soldier who died in the Vietnam War was placed in the Tomb of the Unknowns. Now there are four soldiers from four different wars. Guards keep watch on the tomb around the clock, 365 days a year. This neverending watch honors all Americans who gave their lives in battle.

Other countries find other ways to celebrate. Most of their holidays take place on November 11, just like the United States. Britain, Canada, and Australia call their holiday Remembrance Day. They wear red poppy flowers to think of veterans from World War I who died in the poppy fields of France.

Thank You, Veterans

In the United States, Veterans Day is a special day. It is a time to tell the millions of women and men in our armed forces both past and present their work for peace is essential. Veterans use the day to think about their service. Americans everywhere thank veterans for their sacrifice on Veterans Day.