The Chinese curse is ”May you live in interesting times” well we are living in such times now. Turkey a NATO country has been acting with great belligerence towards Germany and The Netherlands over the refusal of both countries, also NATO members, to allow Turkish politicians allied to President Erdogan to campaign on the up-coming referendum to give him near dictatorial powers on their national territory and speak to the ex-pat Turkish community living there. Germany has a large and well established Turkish population going back 130 years. This behaviour by President Erdogan of Turkey and his rapprochement with Putin is destabilizing NATO and is difficult to understand.
On the one hand Turkey has never had good relations with Russia in over 500 years. Continuous wars and conflict, Turkey joined NATO after the Second World War to counter Soviet influence in the Mediterranean since they control access from the Black Sea via the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles. Also in this diplomatic conflict with The Netherlands, Turkey risk loosing billions of Euros in trade and tourism. There is already damage but Erdogan does not seem to care, did Russia promise investments? Most probably and China is not far behind, clever Chinese silent but deadly.
Which brings me to a far more dangerous and deadly possible conflict, that involving North Korea and the USA. In the Nuclear age a doctrine was established that no country would ever be allowed to develop ballistic Nuclear weapons to be used against the USA and its allies, but more importantly against a direct attack against the continental USA, this includes Canada since the USA is directly responsible for our Nuclear defence in case of attack.
The Trump administration has made it clear this week that it is not interested in continuing negotiations with the North about its developing nuclear missile facilities. For many years the USA have negotiated with the North Korean leadership and provided a sweetener in the form of aid. China who is the nominal protector of the North Korean Regime since the truce* in the Korean War in 1952 has also used leverage with the Kim family, it is not working anymore and China is frustrated. North Korea has been developing ever more sophisticated nuclear weapons and now are about 3 years away from having Inter-Continental Ballistic missiles capable of reaching the Western Coast of the USA. This means that the US Government and the President must stop North Korea before it is too late, the afore mentioned doctrine dictates it. Such North Korean missiles could easily be fired and reach the USA in 20 minutes, not enough time to properly respond in kind and this is why a sophisticated computer program monitors 24/7 the world in case of such an attack, which could come from Russia or China but it highly unlikely for a host of reasons including leadership ones who understand all too well what it means in terms of survival for us all. The computer system detecting such an attack can automatically launch missiles in case the White House does not respond quickly enough.
This week Secretary of State Rex Tyllerson was in South Korea and is then going to visit Japan and China. He has made it clear that the USA is considering a pre-emptive strike against North Korea if there is any further escalation or un-acceptable behaviour, what does that mean exactly is anyone’s guess. But the visit itself to China is to warn the Chinese President and leadership that President Trump is going to act differently from the past and a strike could come at any time, maybe even a nuclear one.
Trump is clearly after regime change in North Korea, the Kim family have for far too long teased the USA and made threats, testing missiles by launching them repeatedly to show they are capable of attack.
Rex Tyllerson is going to tell the Chinese that the time for discussion is over and if they do not act to change the leadership in North Korea, which they can easily do, given their enormous influence, the USA will strike. The big problem is that Nuclear weapons today are one thousand time more powerful than the one used in Hiroshima and then Nagasaki in August 1945. No one has seen the power of today’s weapons and it is truly terrifying. What would be the reaction of Russia in such a case, probably annoyance but not much more as long as their territory is not affected by the fall-out, though they border North Korea. What about China, major cities like DanDong across the Yalu river from North Korean, sharing 1000 Km border and they could suffer from the fall-out with all the horrors it entails. South Korea would certainly by affected given how close the Capital Seoul is to the North, only 22 minutes by air separate the two capitals or 121 miles.
Given that Mr Trump does not appreciate the power of Nuclear weapons nor the complicated balance between States and other great powers, such a pre-emptive strike could easily lead to a major catastrophe or doomsday for life on this planet. Most people do not want to believe this possible, but the unpredictability of Trump makes this quite possible. At the same time Kim Jong Un is equally responsible for this state of affair and he is not without knowing that a direct nuclear threat to the USA invites automatically a terrible response.