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THAAD’s Enough — Analysing the Pentagon’s Korean missile deployment

US deployment of an ABM system does not protect either South Korea or the US from North Korea. It is an expensive folly aimed at China and Russia.

Haneul Na'avi

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Trolling-in-real-life has become the State Department’s favourite pastime, and recent developments on the Korean peninsula have given the State Department the perfect impetus to further political agitation.

Various Pentagon mouthpieces cited North Korea’s semi-successful BM25 Musudan missile tests as potential concern for regional security and in response, and coerced Park Geun-Hye into accepting a shiny new Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system to the bemusement of South Korean protesters in the Seongju province.

Whilst rightfully acknowledging that the deployment was “a very sensitive issue for the partners throughout the region”, US Defence Secretary Ash Carter enthused that the US was “working closely to ensure the swift deployment of THAAD”, a Defence News article noted.

Regional superpowers Russia and China have also rightfully expressed concerns over the THAAD systems citing America’s Asian Pivot strategy—which feeds off of Pyongyang’s oscillation between brinkmanship and detente—which advanced immediately following the UNCLOS arbitration over the South China Sea.

Many shortsighted Western newspapers even admonished Park’s pivot to American defences, rather than focusing on the long-term specifics of doing so. “The appearance of elements of the US global missile defence system in the region […] can provoke an arms race in Northeast Asia and complicate the resolution of the nuclear problem on the Korean peninsula,” the Russian Foreign Ministry mentioned.

He Yafei of the China Daily also referenced two neocon American professors who cheerleadered for America’s Asian pivot and hailed it as “a superior ‘grand strategy’ to be applied seriously by the US in East Asia and Europe in order to contain the two rising powers”, namely by relying “on local powers to contain China’.

If unsuccessful, the report advises the US to “throw its considerable weight behind them’”. That “considerable weight” was reallocating defence funds from backing the Syrian “moderate Mafia” and the Turkish pivot back to Russia, to creating mischief in the South China Sea in order to counteract increasing rapprochement between Japan and Russia, as well as China and the Philippines.

As weapons, THAAD system are relatively useless against North Korea. Throughout 2016, the DPRK tested several Rodong 1-2 medium-range missiles and a Taepodong-2 ICBM in order to launch a Kwangmyŏngsŏng-4 satellite into orbit.

This was verified by Pentagon experts as a harmless experiment, where “Vice Admiral James Syring, director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, told reporters that North Korea’s launch was ‘provocative, disturbing and alarming,’ but could not be equated with a test of an intercontinental ballistic missile,” Reuters stated.

Chinese and Russian officials are also well aware that THAAD systems are ineffective against North Korean Nodong missiles, which travel at lower altitudes. “THAAD is incapable of intercepting Rodong and Scud missiles targeting South Korea as the DPRK missiles travel at an altitude of 20-30 km.

The U.S. anti-missile system is designed to shoot down missiles at a much higher altitude of 40-150 km,” a Xinhua analyst remarked. This was echoed by Chang Young-Keun, professor at the Korea Aerospace University, in who stated “if North Korea launches a medium-range Rodong missile near Mount Paekdu […] it is found that the THAAD missile may not be capable of intercepting it.”

This reveals several discrepancies: (1) that North Korea is wholly capable of using low-altitude (and low cost) missiles to turn Seoul into a “sea of flames”, (2) that short-range nuclear attacks against Seoul, which would share Seoul’s nuclear fallout,  go against Pyongyang’s existential interests, and finally (3) that the expensive THAAD systems are painfully vulnerable to primitive low-altitude attacks from Rodong-1 and Hwasong-series missiles.

Conversely, THAAD technology has tested more successfully since 2005 against terminally-high altitude threats such as nuclear-capable ICBMs and Multiple Independently Targeted Re-Entry Vehicles (MIRVs); weapons that only Russia and China possess.

Adding to this, 38 North analysed THAAD system inefficiencies, such as taking an hour to reload, which North Korea could facilitate by simply launching over 96 missiles.

They are also unable to track more than 20 missiles simultaneously, which effectively overwhelms the radar. Furthermore, the Aegis anti-ballistic systems the ROK Navy already possesses are adequate to deter low altitude missiles, yet Americans insisted on delivering THAAD units to the peninsula on the premise of yet another Pentagon lie.

Speaking of MIRVS, America’s thirsty attitude towards the Asia-Pacific is not rooted in North Korean antics, but in the American War on Terror. No longer bound by the 1972 USSR-US Anti-Ballistic Missile Defence Treaty or the wisdom attained from the Cuban missile crisis, both the Bush and Obama administrations have sought to advance NATO towards Beijing and Moscow by strategically proliferating missile defence systems in Europe, Asia, and the MENA region via their vassal states.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, gains made through negotiations between then-US President Richard Nixon and USSR General Secretariat Leonid Brezhnev were dismantled.

Notably, Article V of the treaty stated that “each Party undertakes not to develop, test, or deploy ABM systems or components which are sea-based, air-based, space-based, or mobile land-based”, which Lockheed and Martin’s mobile THAAD batteries in Guam and sea-based Aegis units in Japan and South Korea clearly violates.

On 13 June, 2002, George Bush struck gold in the post-9/11 environment when “[…] the United States withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and recommenced developing missile defense systems that would have formerly been prohibited by the bilateral treaty.

The action was rationalized under the need to defend against the possibility of a missile attack conducted by a rogue state. The next day, the Russian Federation promptly dropped the START II agreement, intended to completely ban MIRVs,” a National Defence University publication expressed.

Shortly after renouncing participation in the long-held treaty, NATO allies led by George Bush held the Nov. 2002 Prague Summit in order to cement cooperation on missile defence systems’ within Eastern Europe as well as the Baltics. Poland and Czech Republic accepted Bush’s proposals, but acting President Barack Obama scrapped it in 2009, then reinstated it in Deveselu, Romania in May 2016, citing the usual “Russian aggression” mantra.

Currently, North Korea is that “rogue threat” for the US bureaucracy, but just how much of a threat, in what capacity, and how to neutralise it has proven how woefully misguided and ignorant the Obama administration is.

Russia and China have every right to counteract America’s THAAD systems in the Asia-Pacific and Eastern Europe, and in the process, South Korea may pay a bigger price than the 1.25 billion USD spike in its military budget by risking 25 million people in the Gyeonggi-do province with a false sense of security.

Following the disastrous review of the F-35, THAAD technology may prove a much larger headache for America than its allies and rivals.

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“Transphobic” Swedish Professor May Lose Job After Noting Biological Differences Between Sexes

A university professor in Sweden is under investigation after he said that there are fundamental differences between men and women which are “biologically founded”

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Via Zerohedge


A university professor in Sweden is under investigation for “anti-feminism” and “transphobia” after he said that there are fundamental differences between men and women which are “biologically founded” and that genders cannot be regarded as “social constructs alone,” reports Academic Rights Watch.

For his transgression, Germund Hesslow – a professor of neuroscience at Lund University – who holds dual PhDs in philosophy and neurophysiology, may lose his job – telling RT that a “full investigation” has been ordered, and that there “have been discussions about trying to stop the lecture or get rid of me, or have someone else give the lecture or not give the lecture at all.”

“If you answer such a question you are under severe time pressure, you have to be extremely brief — and I used wording which I think was completely innocuous, and that apparently the student didn’t,” Hesslow said.

Hesslow was ordered to attend a meeting by Christer Larsson, chairman of the program board for medical education, after a female student complained that Hesslow had a “personal anti-feminist agenda.” He was asked to distance himself from two specific comments; that gay women have a “male sexual orientation” and that the sexual orientation of transsexuals is “a matter of definition.”

The student’s complaint reads in part (translated):

I have also heard from senior lecturers that Germund Hesslow at the last lecture expressed himself transfobically. In response to a question of transexuallism, he said something like “sex change is a fly”. Secondly, it is outrageous because there may be students during the lecture who are themselves exposed to transfobin, but also because it may affect how later students in their professional lives meet transgender people. Transpersonals already have a high level of overrepresentation in suicide statistics and there are already major shortcomings in the treatment of transgender in care, should not it be countered? How does this kind of statement coincide with the university’s equal treatment plan? What has this statement given for consequences? What has been done for this to not be repeated? –Academic Rights Watch

After being admonished, Hesslow refused to distance himself from his comments, saying that he had “done enough” already and didn’t have to explain and defend his choice of words.

At some point, one must ask for a sense of proportion among those involved. If it were to become acceptable for students to record lectures in order to find compromising formulations and then involve faculty staff with meetings and long letters, we should let go of the medical education altogether,” Hesslow said in a written reply to Larsson.

He also rejected the accusation that he had a political agenda – stating that his only agenda was to let scientific factnot new social conventions, dictate how he teaches his courses.

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Despite Pledge Not to, Germany Approves Sale of Arms to Saudi Arabia

Germany is the latest to renege on promises to ban weapons sales for use in the Yemen War.

The Duran

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Authored by Jason Ditz via AntiWar.com:


With Saudi Arabia forever escalating their war in Yemen, the growing calls by human rights groups to stop selling them arms with which to commit war crimes are struggling to compete with the vast sums of money the Saudis are offering for those arms.

Germany is the latest to renege on promises to ban weapons sales for use in the Yemen War, announcing Wednesday that the Economy Minister has greenlit a new round of artillery systems for sale to the Saudis.

The systems are designed for precise counterattack, and are clearly being bought explicitly to use in Yemen. Yet the Merkel government, as part of its coalition deal, announced a full export ban to “any sides fighting in Yemen,” including the Saudis.

While this was at the time supposed to be a condition of the Social Democrats joining the government. So far, Merkel has not explained why the sale was approved over the putative ban, and the Social Democrats have not complained either.

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FBI Had “Two Sets Of Records” On Trump Investigation; Comey, McCabe Implicated: Carter

Sara Carter: FBI/DOJ had ‘two sets of books’ in the Russia investigation.

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Via Zerohedge


Journalist Sara Carter told Sean Hannity during his Wednesday radio show that the FBI has two sets of records in the Russia investigation, and that “certain people above Peter Strzok and above Lisa Page” were aware of it – implicating former FBI Director James Comey and his #2, Andrew McCabe.

Hannity: Sara, I’m hearing it gets worse than this–that there is potentially out there–if you will, two sets of record among the upper echelon of the FBI–one that was real one that was made for appearances. Is there any truth to this?

CarterAbsolutely, Sean. With the number of sources that I have been speaking with as well as some others that there is evidence indicating that the FBI had separate sets of books.

I will not name names until all of the evidence is out there, but there were certain people above Peter Strzok and above Lisa Page that were aware of this. I also believe that there are people within the FBI that have actually turned on their former employers and are possibly even testifying and reporting what happened inside the FBI to both the Inspector General and possibly even a Grand Jury.

Listen:

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