The American military is ready with a plan to strike North Korean missile sites in a preemptive attack if Donald Trump decides to do so.
The plan involves flying a B-1B heavy bomber from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam accompanied by satellites, drones, higher jets, and aerial refuelling warplanes. Training for the mission has been ongoing, and there have been 11 practice runs for a similar mission since May when the training was accelerated.
“Of the military options … [President Trump] could consider, this would be one of the two or three that would at least have the possibility of not escalating the situation,” retired Admiral James Stavridis, the former Supreme Allied Commander Europe, told NBC.
There are six B-1B bombers positioned in Guam, about 2,100 miles by air to North Korea. The bombers have been heavily used in both Afghanistan and Iraq, and have been updated since then.
Should Mr Trump choose the attack plan that includes the B-1B bomber, they would be targeting approximately two dozen North Korean missile-launch sites, test grounds and other facilities, sources told NBC.
Defense Secretary James Mattis, following the exchange of threats, released a statement saying that the Pentagon was prepared for any escalation to violence including an offensive attack or a defensive, retaliatory attack.
“While our State Department is making every effort to resolve this global threat through diplomatic means,“ the statement said, ”it must be noted that the combined allied militaries now possess the most precise, rehearsed and robust defensive and offensive capabilities on Earth.”
Despite intense saber rattling between the US and North Korea, experts told Business Insider that all intelligence coming from the Hermit Kingdom indicates it's not getting ready for war and that doing so would be catastrophic for it.
"Yes there's a lot of statements going back and forth that are escalating tensions, but in the real world on the ground in North Korea, and I suspect in South Korea, life goes on," Joel Wit, a senior fellow at US-Korea Institute who previously worked on North Korea policy at the State Department, said on a call with reporters organized by 38 North.
Wit said satellite imagery of North Korea just wasn't showing the drumbeat of war playing out for normal citizens. Foreigners haven't fled. Workers haven't been pulled from factories, and even the media remains calm and focused on the economy.
Additionally, though North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may posture as though he's ready to fight within hours, the timing is particularly difficult for him.
"We're now entering the season in North Korea where we're going to see the starting of harvesting crops," Wit said. If North Korea had to go into defensive lockdown, he added, there would be a "serious impact on food collection, and then food distribution, then after that, food availability."
So Kim faces what appears to be a relatively easy choice: initiate a conflict he is sure to lose, and let his people starve, or continue with business as usual while maintaining his usual brash propaganda.
So here’s an interesting thing. Footage so striking that even the BBC has run with it. This is the film of a migrant boat landing on a beach in the south of Spain. In recent years for a whole variety of reasons, Spain has avoided the worst of the migrant crisis. Perhaps that’s why these images have broken through where the daily images from Italy this summer have not.
Anyway, it’s hard to think of a more vivid encapsulation of the ongoing suicide of our continent than this one. If you believe Angela Merkel, the European Commission and most of our political class, the people storming that Spanish beach are doctors, engineers and physicists fleeing the terrible civil war in Morocco, and just desperate to lend their skills to our continent.
The reality (as I recently described at book length) is somewhat different from that dream. These young men from a range of sub-Saharan African countries have come to Europe for a hundred different reasons and they will stay in Europe. Most will try to move northwards. And along the way the only employment most of them will find will be working with illegal gangs made up of people from their countries of origin.
Meanwhile, those people on the beach in Spain can happily stand for all the rest of Europe. They want to have a nice time, the sun is still shining and it’s all just a bit of a bummer that another boatload of people would illegally break into your continent while you’re working on your tan. But someone else will deal with them, won’t they? Except they won’t. It’s a myth, like the idea that it doesn’t matter because it’s just one more boat and the continent can easily take in this boat. Like the ones before it. And the endless boats to come.
Elsewhere the Italian authorities have been making more discoveriesabout the collusion between the smuggler’s networks and some of the NGOs operating in the Mediterranean. All just another story in the strange suicide of our continent.
My own view is that the effects of a borderless continent (borderless at its external borders – where anyone can just get on a boat and arrive – as well as borderless within) are already being felt. A lot of the public know this, but there just aren’t enough people in power who want to admit to it, let alone tackle it. And so for a while to come our politicians will continue to try to find a way around the consequences of their evasions, half-truths and untruths. They will continue to witter on about ‘diversity’, for instance as though we just need more and more of the stuff and that it is just an endless good in itself.
On which note, whatever else you may say about the latest gang of child-rapists to have been sentenced in the UK (this time in Newcastle) nobody could claim that it was boringly mono-cultural. The Newcastle rape-gang included men not just from Pakistan and Bangladesh but also from Iraq, India, Iran and Turkey. Which is a fine demonstration of the diversity which our continent has welcomed in and a model of the integration which our society is trying to make possible.