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Chuck Hagel and Dick Cheney Agree on North Korea, with Intelligence Minimal


“We have every capacity to deal with any action North Korea will take to protect this country and the interests of this country and our allies,” Hagel said. – North Korea nears ‘dangerous line,’ Hagel says

SECRETARY HAGEL made it clear this week that President Obama is no different than any other American president in how the Administration sees North Korea. But when it comes to real dangers, Kim Jong Un is no clear and present danger to the United States. The language we’re hearing from the Administration is the same as that of the motley crew who preceded him during the Bush administration era, which says a lot about what we still don’t know about the reclusive regime, this time being led by Kim Jong Un.

There are far graver dangers to American national security.

Former Vice Pres. Dick Cheney met with Republican on Wednesday and waxed rhapsodic about Saddam, reportedly folding Kim Jong Un into his monologue. After all, when it comes to leaders like them, “you never know what they’re thinking.”

“Here’s a young guy we don’t know very much about — have very little intel on him, so we just need to make sure that we don’t assume why he’s doing what he’s doing because he could be doing what he’s doing for any number of reasons,” Southerland recalled Cheney saying. – Cheney to GOP leaders: ‘We’re in deep doo doo’ on North Korea

It all depends on how good our intelligence is, which on North Korea isn’t very good at all. An equal worry is that Dick Cheney can still garner respect inside the Republican Party after what was wrought on his watch under George W. Bush and is a graver danger to United States national security than Kim Jong Un could ever be.

No one should kid themselves about what the U.S. can do. We won’t do anything preemptively, because of obvious reasons, so we’re just going to have to wait, then react, to whatever the Kimmy the Kid in North Korea decides he wants to do. But that in no way means our country is in grave danger. Whatever Japan or South Korea face is a regional threat that everyone on planet earth knows we would engage militarily and very directly if we had to.

Here’s what has gotten our attention this time over other missile launch threats:

The Musudan is an untested weapon that South Korea says has a range as far as 3,500 kilometers (2,175 miles). That would mean it could reach as far as Guam, a Western Pacific territory that is home to U.S. naval and air bases and where the United States recently said it was placing missile defense systems.

Missile defense systems remain unimpressive for the most part, except where expense is involved.

In the second decade of the 21st century, after Iraq and Afghanistan debacles under Bush and Cheney, as well as Abu Ghraib and Gitmo, why anyone is covering Dick Cheney without mentioning that Administration’s horrible record, dare we describe it as criminal, on foreign policy reveals just how bad foreign policy coverage in the U.S. remains.

No national media outlet should ever cover Dick Cheney’s views on foreign policy with anything but derision. He’s earned it. That CNN and others are lapping up his every word reveals very short memories.

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4 Responses to Chuck Hagel and Dick Cheney Agree on North Korea, with Intelligence Minimal

  1. mjsmith April 11, 2013 at 10:29 am #

    Australian News Website –

    -US, South Korea declare “Watchcon 2″ – the highest level of alert
    -’Multiple launches’ expected as more missiles spotted

    I found this to be a very informative look at what is going on right now.

    It looks like another scenario where we could be sending in Jimmy Carter as a last ditch effort for peace.

  2. spincitysd April 11, 2013 at 6:52 pm #

    The ghost of Otto Van Bismarck has been whispering in my ear. He hovers over me, murmuring warnings about the situation in Korea. Bismarck quietly reminds me of how the recent crisis in “The Land Of The Morning Calm” resembles the damn fool thing in the Balkans that ignited the World War One.

    I keep looking at Korea through this lens, and I do not like the view. The first thing I notice is that a series of alliances makes the Korean Peninsula a very dangerous place indeed. The U.S., Japan, and South Korea are wound very tightly in a defensive coalition backed by mutual interest and the nuclear stockpile of the U.S. The North Koreans are supported by China. Russia is the odd nation out. It is a neighbor of Korea and used to be a confederate but with the collapse of Communism in Russia relations between the DPRK and the Russians are much less simpatico. Still, the Russian can and do act as a break to the Washington/ Tokyo / Seoul nexus.

    If the alliance structure was not worrisome enough, the leadership issues are even more troublesome. Watching Kim The Third, Kim Jong Un, and listening his rhetoric is a nerve-wracking experience. Only three years ago, he was at best a shadow prince, a barely real presence in the obscure and secretive nether-land of Pyongyang. Today, the boy-king waddles though the halls of power, his porcine face adorning every possible nook and cranny of the public space. Not even thirty years old, he controls one of the largest armies in the world.

    Jong Un is the not only worry. The South has just elected their own deeply disturbing leader. Park Geun-hye has followed dear old dad’s foot steps into political power. In this case it is more like foot stomps as dear old dad was Park Chung-hee, a brutal military dictator that was finally put to bed by assassination. Showing a little more filial piety than is warranted, even for an Asian female, Ms. Park has followed dad’s predilection for authoritarianism.

    I should talk about Tokyo’s leader here, but that is a fool’s game. Japan has been playing musical chairs with its leadership with the present seat warmer being Yoshihiko Noda. The man may just mark his first year as leader on April 21, 2013; or not.

    This leaves us with “The Leader Of The Free World,” the oh so dreamy Barack Obama. Our man Barry has just swapped his own Iron Lady, Hillary Clinton, for a Boston Brahman, John Kerry. The new SoS has long experience in the trenches of foreign policy having been the lead Senator on the Foreign Affairs committee. What Kerry does not have is much room to maneuver as Obama is a top-down kind of guy.

    Unfortunately for my peace of mind Mr. Obama has often demonstrated a very transactional frame of mind. Barack’s “let’s make a deal” default is exactly the kind of values-free mentality that can lead to real trouble. I also wonder if Obama has the mental landscape to adequately deal with the serious weirdness coming out of Pyongyang. How does “No Drama Obama” deal with the Drama Prince of the DPRK?

    Obama has a poor track record in this regard. While the Republicans in Congress are a little less obstreperous and cannot back their brinkmanship with nuclear weapons, they have been richly rewarded for their bad behavior. If Obama cannot deliver a smack down on Mitch McConnell, what chance does he have with Kim?

    Circling back to Mr. Kim, I do wonder if the 29 year old has the seasoning and gravitas to truly lead. Other than the accomplishment of becoming morbidly obese in a land ware millions a starving, what else is there? He was not groomed for office like dear old dad, Kim Jong-il. Only three years on the job, and very young at that, Kim Jong-un is a wild card in a deck stacked with jokers.

    Yet the crisis escalates. Missiles are being moved. Embassies are being threatened and the DPRK gets ever more hysterical in its propaganda. Meanwhile, the US is quietly stacking up military hardware in the region like a real world version of “Risk.” B-52s and B-2s have popped up and with the Air Force in town can the Navy be far behind? Just like just before August, 1914 the military is on the move. And just like in 1914 the leaders are acting cavalier about those movements. It’s a case of “nothing to see here, move along.”

    The message of “Keep Calm” is the most unsettling part of the present crisis. To quote Don Rumsfeld there are far too many unknown unknowns for real comfort. Things can go real wrong real fast in Korea. I can see a real disconnect between the overly transactional Obama and the untested Kim causing a major snafu. I don’t trust either of these men to do the right thing. I especially don’t trust Obama. Obama is far too much a inhabitant of the brain-dead DC bubble conventional wisdom. There is no bigger oxymoron than the DC “Conventional Wisdom.” The same kind of unexamined group-think (mis)guided the European Powers into the destruction of WWI and then WWII, thereby ending European hegemony.

    I shudder to think what kind of disaster the present unexamined consensus may bring. I’m seeing Kim Jong Un as a wild card of history. Those wild cards; Napoleon, Julius Caesar, Mohammed, Gavrilo Princip, Genghis Khan always leave a swath of devastation behind them. I do not like what I see in Korea gentle reader, part two of the Korean War is not a sequel worth the price of admission.

    Note 1 : I wrote this before the death of Margaret Thatcher. Still, HRC as the Red White and Blue version of Maggie is appropriate.

    Note 2: Uncle Sam’s Grey Painted Canoe Club ( the US Navy) has shown up in Korean Waters. We have opted to send out a Tin Can (Destroyer) as a friendly hello to Kim The Third. Perhaps a Carrier Group will be sent later to add to the fun?

  3. newdealdem1 April 11, 2013 at 6:56 pm #

    “That CNN and others are lapping up his (Cheney’s) every word reveals very short memories. ”

    CNN seems to be itching for a war with North Korea least Blitzer’s report from a couple of years ago goes to waste which CNN and Blitzer have been pimping for days now every time our remote lands on CNN.

    CNN remaining “neutral” in the political arena and refusing to call balls and strikes will continue to diminish it’s once-stellar reputation which is gone with the foul wind of giving every kook the time of day even if their beliefs and positions have been proved wrong.

    One of the brightest lights over at CNN, Soledad O’Brien who actually took to task the nutzoids & ethically-challenged like John H. Sununu are fired to be replaced by the inane and obnoxious Chris Cuomo (who has not fallen anywhere near the same tree as his great father, Mario).

  4. Cujo359 April 12, 2013 at 3:10 pm #

    No national media outlet should ever cover Dick Cheney’s views on foreign policy with anything but derision. He’s earned it. That CNN and others are lapping up his every word reveals very short memories.

    Just like what passes for discussion of economics in the area of DC, it almost seems to be essential that you have no understanding of how foreign policy actually works to be taken seriously there. And just like in the case of economic policy, the Obama Administration has been hiring from the same “talent” pool that the Bush Administration did.

.... a writer is someone who takes the universal whore of language
and turns her into a virgin again.  ~ erica jong