Korea – A Legal Context

Given that the Kim Dum Shrimp in N. Korea is being belligerent against THE most capable military in the world, one that could have had his parade stand go “POOOF!” mid parade with zero notice and undetectable methods, just what would be the legal context for such a thing.

The Korean War ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty. Technically we are still at war and under a UN Authorization.

But such things have a rats nest of “in the details”. This one is worse.

So here’s my take on it.

First off, an Armistice is just an agreement between the belligerent ARMIES (read ‘military’) to stop shooting for a while. Kind of a formal long truce or time-out. There’s some fur on this one (details below) that amounts to them coming in 2 flavors. Those with a specified time limit and those without. Those with have an end time where you can start shooting again. Those without mean you can start shooting anytime. This one has a ‘definite time limit’ of ‘forever’, so is an odd duck… sort of implying can never shoot again… but also not forbidding it.

Another bit of murk is “Who is the belligerent?”. Turns out the folks who signed the Armistice are not necessarily the ones who did the fighting, so “who knows” if it binds on anyone in particular…

Then there is the ‘violation out’. If a party violates an armistice the other party can start shooting. One of the agreed points was no new armaments in theatre. Since a whole county full of new armament has been loaded up by BOTH sides, looks to me like either side can declare a breech. In fact, N. Korea has claimed it several times, so all Trump needs to do is agree with them… them bomb the living daylights out of them… (“Hey, they said it was over… don’t blame me…”)

OK, here’s the murk and muck:


We’ll start with the wiki:


The Korean Armistice Agreement is the armistice which serves to insure a complete cessation of hostilities of the Korean War. It was signed by U.S. Army Lieutenant General William Harrison, Jr. representing the United Nations Command (UNC), North Korean General Nam Il representing the Korean People’s Army, and the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army. The armistice was signed on July 27, 1953, and was designed to “insure a complete cessation of hostilities and of all acts of armed force in Korea until a final peaceful settlement is achieved.” No “final peaceful settlement” has been achieved. The signed armistice established the Korean Demilitarized Zone (de facto a new border between the two nations), put into force a cease-fire, and finalized repatriation of prisoners of war. The Demilitarized Zone runs not far from the 38th parallel, which separated North and South Korea before the Korean War.

OK, so first off, NONE of the individual NATIONS fighting in Korea, other than North Korea, signed this puppy.

It is binding on a “Chinese Volunteer Army”, not China. It is signed by a US officer, but FOR the “United Nations Command”. OK, so the UN can’t just ignore it, but the USA isn’t bound, near as I can tell.

By mid-December 1950, the United States was discussing terms for an agreement to end the Korean War. The desired agreement would end the fighting, provide assurances against its resumption, and protect the future security of UNC forces. The United States asked there needed to be a military armistice commission of mixed membership that would supervise all agreements. Both sides would need to agree to “cease the introduction into Korea of any reinforcing air, ground or naval units or personnel … and to refrain from increasing the level of war equipment and material existing in Korea.” The U.S. also desired to make a demilitarized zone that would be roughly 20 miles wide. The agreement would address the issue of prisoners of war which the U.S. believed should be exchanged on a one-for-one basis.

Um, I think nuclear bombs and submarine launched nuclear missiles would count as a breech. As would the miles of long range canon N. Korea has put on the border. So, too, IMHO, would all the gear the USA has shipped over. Near as I can recall, sidewinder missiles from jet aircraft and drones and ship launched cruise missiles were not around in 1953.

I think that pretty much all by itself clears the deck for any attack either side wants to launch. But that’s just my opinion (as is all of this, really…)

While talks of a possible armistice agreement were circulating, in late May and early June 1951, the President of the Republic of Korea (ROK, South Korea) Syngman Rhee opposed peace talks. He believed the ROK should continue to expand its army in order to march all the way to the Yalu River and completely unify the nation. The UNC did not endorse Rhee’s position. Even without UNC support, Rhee and the South Korean government launched a massive effort to mobilize the public to resist any halt in the fighting short of the Yalu River. Other ROK officials supported Rhee’s ambitions and the National Assembly of South Korea unanimously passed a resolution endorsing a continued fight for an “independent and unified country.” At the end of June, however, the Assembly decided to support armistice talks, although President Rhee continued to oppose it.

Like Syngman Rhee, North Korean leader Kim Il-sung also sought complete unification. The North Korean side was slow to support armistice talks and only on June 27, 1951 – seventeen days after armistice talks had begun – did it change its slogan of “drive the enemy into the sea” to “drive the enemy to the 38th parallel.” North Korea was pressured to support armistice talks by allies the People’s Republic of China (PRC, China) and the Soviet Union, whose support enabled North Korea to continue fighting.

Hmmm… Looks like South Korea has a free hand, too. I don’t see anything saying the rescinded that resolution, nor that they signed any deal.

There is a bit of an open question for me about what the UNC has in the way of binding agreements on any participants under their flag. Then again, I’m not seeing how the UN has authority over nations in general…

Skipping a bunch of the history of the negotiations in the wiki:

The signed armistice established a “complete cessation of all hostilities in Korea by all armed force”[3] that was to be enforced by the commanders of both sides. Essentially a complete cease-fire was put into force. The armistice is however only a cease-fire between military forces, rather than an agreement between governments. No peace treaty was signed which means that the Korean War has not officially ended.

The armistice also established the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). The DMZ was decided to be a 2.5-mile (4.0 km)-wide fortified buffer zone between the two Korean nations. The Demilitarized Zone follows the Kansas Line where the two sides actually confronted each other at the time of the signed armistice. The DMZ is currently the most heavily defended national border in the world.
In addition to the established regulations listed above, the armistice also gave recommendation to the “governments of the countries concerned on both sides that, within three (3) months after the Armistice Agreement is signed and becomes effective, a political conference of a higher level of both sides be held by representatives appointed respectively to settle through negotiation the questions of the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Korea, the peaceful settlement of the Korean question, etc.” Even in 2013, 60 years after the signing of the armistice agreement, these issues have not been settled as a peaceful settlement of the Korean question has not been reached and American troops still reside in South Korea.

After the armistice was signed the war is considered to have ended even though there was no official peace treaty. Despite the three-year war, the Korean peninsula greatly resembled what it did before the war with national borders at similar locations. The U.S. views the war as a tie while North Korea and China both claim that they won the Korean War.

So we still have an official hot war, and we still have a failure to make a peace. Seems to me like either side starts shooting anything, even missiles out to sea, the other side can fire back as much as they like.

United States abrogation of paragraph 13(d)

Paragraph 13(d) of the Armistice Agreement mandated that neither side introduce new weapons into Korea, other than piece-for-piece replacement of equipment. In September 1956 the U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Radford indicated that the U.S. military intention was to introduce atomic weapons into Korea, which was agreed to by the U.S. National Security Council and President Eisenhower.
However paragraph 13(d) prevented the introduction of nuclear weapons and missiles. The U.S. unilaterally abrogated paragraph 13(d), breaking the Armistice Agreement, despite concerns by United Nations allies. At a meeting of the Military Armistice Commission on June 21, 1957, the U.S. informed the North Korean representatives that the United Nations Command no longer considered itself bound by paragraph 13(d) of the armistice. In January 1958 nuclear armed Honest John missiles and 280mm atomic cannons were deployed to South Korea, a year later adding nuclear armed Matador cruise missiles with the range to reach China and the Soviet Union.

The U.S. believed that North Korea had introduced new weapons contrary to 13(d),
but did not make specific allegations. North Korea also believed the U.S. had introduced new weapons earlier, citing Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission inspection team reports for August 1953 to April 1954.

North Korea denounced the abrogation of paragraph 13(d).[37] North Korea responded militarily by digging massive underground fortifications resistant to nuclear attack, and forward deployment of its conventional forces so that the use of nuclear weapons against it would endanger South Korean and U.S. forces as well. In 1963 North Korea asked the Soviet Union and China for help in developing nuclear weapons, but was refused.

Following the abrogation of paragraph 13(d), the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission (NNSC) largely lost its function, and became primarily office based in the DMZ with a small staff.

So both sides have already abrogated the agreement. OK, that puts us back at ‘legally a hot war’ as I read this.

Now the fun bit. The UNC no longer exists. One of THE key signatories is a no-op. So N. Korea has an ‘agreement’ with a non-entity and with a ‘volunteer’ force that has disbanded (and was a questionable legal entity anyway). So who’s left to be an active signatory other than N. Korea?

In 1975, the U.N. General Assembly adopted resolutions endorsing the desirability of replacing the Armistice Agreement with a peace treaty and dissolving the UNC.

In October 1996, the U.N. Security Council, by a statement of the President of the Council, urged that the Armistice Agreement should be fully observed until replaced by a new peace mechanism. Approving nations included the United States and the Peoples Republic of China, two of the armistice’s signatories, effectively refuting any suggestion that the armistice was no longer in force.

So if you agree to scrapping something entirely that constitutes affirmation it is working right? Come again? But then there is also the point that the wiki says the USA and PRC were “signatories” when in fact the UNC through a subordinate US officer and a “Volunteer Army” were signatories, not the USA and PRC per se. I think this is a dodgy bit in the wiki.

But I think it is a moot point anyway, as after that, North Korea announced it was withdrawing anyway.

North Korean announcements to withdraw from the agreement

North Korea has announced that it will no longer abide by the armistice at least 6 times, in the years 1994, 1996, 2003, 2006, 2009, and 2013.

On April 28, 1994, North Korea announced that it would cease participating in the Military Armistice Commission, but would continue contact at Panmunjom through liaison officers and maintain the general conditions of the armistice. North Korea stated it regarded the U.S. deployment of Patriot missiles in South Korea as terminating the armistice.

On May 27, 2009, North Korea announced it no longer felt bound by the armistice agreement. There were two isolated violent incidents in 2010, the ROKS Cheonan sinking (attributed to North Korea, despite denials) and the North Korean Bombardment of Yeonpyeong.

In 2013 North Korea argued the armistice was meant to be a transitional measure. North Korea had made a number of proposals for replacing it with a peace treaty, but the U.S. had not responded in a serious way. It further argued the Military Armistice Commission and Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission had long been effectively dismantled, paralysing the supervisory functions of the armistice. North Korea believes the annual U.S. and South Korean exercises Key Resolve and Foal Eagle are provocative and threaten North Korea with nuclear weapons. JoongAng Ilbo reported the U.S. vessels equipped with nuclear weapons were participating in the exercise, and The Pentagon publicly announced that B-52 bombers flown over South Korea were reaffirming the U.S. “nuclear umbrella” for South Korea.

In March 2013, North Korea announced that it was scrapping all non-aggression pacts with South Korea
, along with other escalations such as closing the border and closing the direct phone line between the two Koreas. North Korea stated it had the right to make a preemptive nuclear attack. A United Nations spokesman stated the armistice agreement had been adopted by the U.N. General Assembly, and could not be unilaterally dissolved by either North Korea or South Korea. On March 28, 2013, the U.S. sent two B-2 Spirit stealth bombers to South Korea to participate in ongoing military exercises in the region, including the dropping of inert munitions on a South Korean bomb range. This was the first B-2 non stop, round-trip mission to Korea from the United States. Following this mission, North Korean state media announced that it was readying rockets to be on standby to attack U.S. targets. In May 2013, North Korea offered to enter into negotiations for a peace treaty to replace the armistice agreement.

In August 2016, North Korea installed anti-personnel mines to prevent potential defectors of its front-line border guards around the “Bridge of No Return,” situated in the Joint Security Area(JSA). The UN Command has protested this move as it violates the Armistice agreement which specifically prohibits armed guards and anti-personnel mines.

The U.S. position, as expressed in 2010, is that a peace treaty can only be negotiated when North Korea “takes irreversible steps toward denuclearization”.

Well, that looks like a UN Weenie trying to claim anything they do is forever, despite everyone else saying “it’s over”. Then, at the bottom, the UN Command says it violates the agreement, that would also mean it is functionally over.

So to me it looks like the whole Armistice thing is a legal red herring. It’s functionally over. It was signed by entities that no longer exist and was not signed by South Korea, China, or the USA as the USA.

All in all, it looks to me like Trump can go ahead and bomb any munitions and sites that are in violation of the armistice (and likely anything else as well) and be on acceptable legal footing.

But what I think doesn’t matter as lawyers have a peculiar way of thinking. So let’s ask the lawyers.

Legal Stuff

Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer. I don’t even play one on TV or the internet. I known nothing about law other than contract law and what I learned as a Police Wanna Be Scout (so about 100 hours of training in those areas all told I’d guess) so don’t depend on me to say what is actually legal or what the armistice really means (besides, it looks like the Real Lawyers ™ don’t even know…) BUT if you want me to sound intimidating and nag them about a breach of implied contract on their deliverables, well, that I can do ;-) once you sign a contract to make me Project Manager… 9-0

The actual text is here. I’ve done a quick scan of it. To me, it is lacking a lot of the stuff I expect to see in contract. Who’s legal structure is used for interpretation. How disputes are settled. Terms for exit. It’s a nice little “aspirational goal” statement, but I’m not seeing much in the way of enforcement provisions or penalties for violation. Maybe I just don’t know how “international law” works, but it seems pretty weak tea to me.


Then there is a look at ending the armistice from a legal point of view and a critique of it here:



I. Legal Interpretations of the Korean War
II. The Armistice Agreement
III. Events Subsequent to the Geneva Conference
IV. Solutions
V. Conclusions
NAPSNet Invites Your Responses


This paper discusses the legal arrangements necessary to terminate the Korean War and to replace the current Armistice Agreement with a lasting peace. To that end, it discusses the numerous legal issues arising out of: (1) the tension between the war as, on the one hand, a civil war between the two Koreas and, on the other, an international war involving the armed forces of some 20 countries; (2) the unprecedented use of the United Nations’ name and flag by one side to the conflict; and (3) China’s insistence that the Chinese armed forces participating in the hostilities were only “volunteers.” The paper concludes that: (1) each of the governments contributing forces to the U.N. side was a belligerent in the war and is now technically a party to the Armistice; (2) although the Security Council and the General Assembly at various times endorsed one side to the conflict, the United Nations itself was not a belligerent and is not a party to the Armistice Agreement; and (3) the PRC, despite its disavowals, was a belligerent and is now a party to the Armistice. The paper recommends that the Armistice be supplanted by an agreement among the two Koreas, the United States, and China, accompanied by a resolution of the U.N. Security Council endorsing the agreements, pursuant to Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter, as necessary to the restoration and maintenance of international peace and security in Northeast Asia.

Now there’s just now way I can quote the whole thing here, or even enough to make sense of it. So “hit the link” if you want more than a couple of sample bits.

Here’s the response:


On March 3, the NAPSNet Policy Forum Online featured a paper by Patrick M. Norton, “Ending The Korean Armistice Agreement: The Legal Issues.” A set of questions based on the work was appended following the conclusion. The following response, drawing on these questions, was submitted by Kim Myong Chol, an ethnic Korean born and living permanently in Japan. Mr. Kim’s studies include graduate work in US foreign policy at Tokyo University. Mr. Kim worked as a reporter and editor at “The People’s Korea” and has written extensively on DPRK perspectives on Korean and international relations. To join this discussion, contact the NAPSNet Coordinator at: […]

Kim Myong Chol responds to these questions:

Is the Korean conflict most properly characterized as an international or a civil war? Norton finds fault in both the former position (the premise of UN involvement) and the latter position (held by the DPRK and PRC). What bearing does this problem have on strategies for pursuing peace on the Korean peninsula today?

Norton argues that the four-party peace talks proposal represents an accurate grouping of the major parties to the conflict “in practice.” Given the formal UN role as a party to the war and the Armistice, ought there be a role for the UN in any negotiations toward a peace treaty? In particular, what role might the UN Command allies such as the UK or Australia play in the UN debates which may occur over a proposal to end the Armistice?

Norton notes that the UN abrogated its own charter to involve itself in Korea, that it had no actual control over combat forces during open hostilities, that the UN had no role in the Geneva conference following the Armistice, and that today the DPRK is now a UN member. Do these considerations obviate any UN role in such negotiations?

Norton notes that during hostilities ROK forces were effectively under US control, and that the ROK (unlike the DPRK) was not a formal party to the Armistice. Yet he also argues that the DPRK’s insistence that negotiations for a peace treaty include the US but not the ROK are “polemical and without legal foundation,” given the ROK’s role since the Armistice. Does the DPRK position have a credible legal basis?

Is a formal peace treaty required to bring peace to the Korean peninsula? Norton notes that a peace treaty customarily follows an armistice, and that many interested parties have expressed such a need. However, he also notes that an armistice may evolve over time into a de facto peace treaty (although this has not happened among the major belligerents in Korea). Might more of a political focus (i.e. toward a “detente” rather than a treaty) ultimately prove more constructive than continued abortive efforts to convene formal negotiations?

How do decisions regarding bringing a formal peace to the Korean peninsula bear on the objective of Korean unification?

The Soviet military fought in the undeclared war, although Moscow denied US allegations at the time. Does this provide the legal or realpolitik basis for Russian participation in negotiations to end the Armistice, given the argument that the ROK obtains such a right by virtue of its military participation in the fighting on the Peninsula?

To me, it all looks like a giant Cluster Fondle of Legal Bits. Near as I can tell, there is no real governing law, no clear agreement between parties, not even a decent definition of who the parties are, and the whole thing has been violated and abrogated all over by all sides. But you can read they too and fro and see what you think. I’m going to quote a few semi-random bits from the first paper (bold added by me):

The issues are more complex than may appear at first glance. From a legal perspective the Korean War and the Armistice Agreement are anomalous in several respects: (1) there was from the outset a fundamental tension between the character of the war as, on the one hand, a civil war between the two Koreas and, on the other, an international armed conflict between the armed forces of some twenty different countries; (2) for the first time the armed forces on one side of an international armed conflict fought under the flag of the United Nations; and (3) one of the principal belligerents, China, insisted that it was not, in fact, a belligerent and that Chinese armed forces engaged in the conflict were only “volunteers.” The passage of many years and inconsistent positions taken by all of the interested parties as it has suited their purposes have compounded the legal uncertainties resulting from these anomalies.
And on July 7, 1950, the Council adopted its Resolution 84(V), “recommending” that Members provide military forces and assistance “to a unified command under the United States,” requesting the United States to designate the commander of such forces,” and authorizing “the unified command at its discretion to use the United Nations flag in the course of operations against North Korean forces concurrently with the flags of the various nations participating.”

Unless 84(V) was rescinded, looks to me like The USA still has the lead as it feels like it.

The Korean War was the first major armed conflict after the founding of the United Nations and immediately called into question the applicability and effectiveness of the peacekeeping provisions of the U.N. Charter,13 which had superseded in large part the customary international law of war (jus ad bellum).14 The governments contributing to the United Nations Command (“UNC”) expressly invoked the new Charter Law, characterizing their participation in the armed conflict as a “collective action” resisting an “aggression” identified as such by the Security Council.15 By cloaking their operations in the mantle of the United Nations, these governments were able, among other advantages,16 to claim that theirs was a “just war” and, as a consequence, that non-belligerent states were not free to assume the traditional rights and duties of neutrals but were, rather, obligated to “tilt” in favor of the U.N. side.17

For their part, the DPRK, the PRC, and their supporters preferred to characterize the conflict as an internal Korean one. In such a “civil war,” they argued, no foreign forces could properly intervene, and the United Nations had no proper role.18 This position was one of the reasons that the PRC chose to cloak its intervention in the guise of “volunteers.”

Neither side’s legal position, however, stood up to scrutiny.
The recommendatory, rather than mandatory character of the Security Council resolutions authorizing a “unified command,” adoption of these resolutions in the fortuitous absence of a Permanent Member (the Soviet Union) that was known to oppose them, failure of the UNC structure to follow the procedures specified in Chapter VII of the Charter for United Nations “enforcement actions,” and lack of any explicit Charter basis for the General Assembly’s Uniting for Peace resolutions caused most observers to conclude that the action in Korea was not an action “of the United Nations” but, at most, an action “sanctioned by the United Nations,” or “under the auspices of the United Nations.”19 By the same token, the contention of the Communist side to the Korean hostilities that this was a “civil” conflict in which the U.N. side was impermissibly intervening was untenable, at least after the PRC’s intervention.20

So even the legal basis of the war, and if it be a war between two parties or a “Civil War” is ill defined. If a “Civil War” and South Korea invites our help… Just sayin’…

1. The United Nations Side

Security Council Resolution 84(V) of July 7, 1950, authorized a “unified command under the United States.” The United States interpreted this authorization as constituting the United States itself, in its sovereign capacity, as the “Unified Command.”24 Fifteen nations other than the United States contributed forces to serve under the Unified Command.25 The United States then created, as an entity theoretically separate from and subordinate to the Unified Command, the “United Nations Command,” which it described as an “international field force” conducting the actual hostilities.26 The military contingents from other participants were placed directly under the UNC,27 and the ROK placed its troops under the operational command of the UNC.28

Throughout the conflict, the United States and its allies emphasized the U.N. character of their actions.
Secretary of State Acheson described the Korean operations as being “under the aegis of the United Nations and … not a question of the whole series of nations acting independently to the same result.”29 The U.N. Commander generally characterized his forces as “United Nations forces,” and various of the contributing states made clear that their offers of assistance were to the United Nations.30 One leading legal commentator has concluded that: “There can be no doubt that, in practice, the overwhelming majority of states involved in the Korean action were fully prepared to regard it as a United Nations action involving United Nations Forces.”31

Many actions of the United Nations can also be cited to support the view that the United Nations itself regarded the forces under the UNC as “United Nations forces.” At least three General Assembly resolutions (Nos. 376(V), 483(V), and 498(V)) referred to them as such. And Security Council Resolution 84(V) specifically authorized the “unified command” to fly the U.N. flag.

So the UN via the UNC is a party to the Armistice, but the USA is not, other than any duty to the UN. Since the UNC no longer exists, it would be up to the USA, provided the resolutions were not rescinded, to reconstitute it if needed to restart things… I think… maybe…

Then yet more “what a mess” for S. Korea and the other side:

2. The Role of South Korea

The insistence of the U.N. participants on fighting under at least the auspices of the United Nations also called into question the position of the ROK. The obvious victim of the aggression that started the war and the bearer of the brunt of the casualties on the U.N. side,38 the ROK had been recognized by the U.N. General Assembly prior to the war as the legitimate government in the part of Korea that it controlled.39 Nevertheless, because ROK armed forces were placed directly under the UNC, effectively placing U.S. officers in command of South Korean troops, the political position of the ROK in the conflict was obscured. This was compounded when the Armistice Agreement was signed for all participants on the U. N. side by the U.N. Commander, i.e., a U.S. general, and the ROK, in contrast to the DPRK, did not itself sign the Armistice.

3. The Communist Parties to the Korean War

The status of the Communist forces was subject to other uncertainties. The DPRK was not recognized as a de jure government of an independent state. In order that it could be regarded as a responsible party for applying the laws of war and as a potential party to the Armistice, it was necessary that the DPRK be accorded some form of legal status or “personality.” The U.N. side therefore implicitly recognized the DPRK as a “belligerent” (a sort of de facto recognition for purposes of the law of war), although the articulations of even this position were somewhat ambiguous.40

More problematic was the PRC’s characterization of its millions of troops as “volunteers.” The PRC so characterized its participation in the conflict for several reasons: to preserve the Communist characterization of the war as a “civil war”; to preserve its position that the PRC did not intervene in the internal affairs of other states; and, most importantly, to ensure that its participation in armed hostilities was confined to Korea.

The General Assembly specifically rejected the PRC’s characterization of its role when it found in Resolution 498(V) that the PRC was itself an “aggressor” in Korea.41 The PRC, too, repeatedly contradicted its own position, for example when it appeared at the United Nations to defend Chinese intervention on the grounds of self-defense,42 or when it made demands by diplomatic note that third parties observe neutral duties.43 For present purposes, the important consideration is that China’s solicitude for its ostensible neutrality and the unwillingness of the other belligerents to confront China on the issue led to the Commander of the “Chinese People’s Volunteers” signing the Armistice.

Then this bit seems to say just violating it does not make it go away, but is unclear as to what “belligerents” it binds. South Korea? China? USA? Or just the signatories of UNC and N. Korea?

It further states that the “conditions and terms [of the Armistice] are intended to be purely military in character and to pertain solely to the belligerents in Korea.” Paragraph 60 of the Agreement provided that “the military commanders of both sides hereby recommend to the governments of the countries concerned on both sides that … a political conference of a higher level of both sides be held….” Paragraph 62 provided that the Armistice “shall remain in effect until expressly superseded . . . by provision in an appropriate agreement for a peaceful settlement at a political level between both sides.”44

I think you can make a case that it is binding on the UN and North Korea and nobody else. At least long enough to bomb the snot out of someone and then say “Ooops. My bad.”

It looks to me like this is the bit that lays out the thorns most directly:


The Korean Armistice Agreement is signed by military commanders and is stated to be “purely military in character” (Preamble). Nevertheless, international law has consistently regarded general armistices as of such political significance that they can only be concluded on behalf of the sovereignty of the state.57 As a consequence, although almost invariably signed by military commanders, as in the Korean case, general armistices are universally recognized as binding states.58 Which states are bound is less clear. The Armistice is studiously ambiguous in this regard, referring to “the governments of the countries concerned” (para. 60), a “political conference of both sides” (id.), and a “peaceful settlement at a political level between both sides” (para. 62).

The relationship of the DPRK to the Korean Armistice Agreement conforms to the traditional rules of international law most clearly. Although signed by Kim Il Sung in his capacity as military commander, the Agreement clearly binds the DPRK as such.59

The statuses of the “United Nations Command” and the “Chinese People’s Volunteers” are more problematic.
By all objective criteria, the PRC itself was a belligerent in the hostilities. This belligerent status, the rule of customary international law that the parties to general armistices are states and not military authorities, and the PRC’s participation in the 1954 Geneva Conference argue persuasively for considering the PRC itself as a party to the Korean Armistice Agreement. The PRC, moreover, implicitly conceded the point in a series of diplomatic notes invoking rights under the Armistice, which were sent by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the British Embassy in Beijing to “the Governments of the other countries on the United Nations Command side.”60 Nevertheless, China’s insistence during the hostilities that it was not a belligerent, and the acquiescence of most of the U.N. side, at one time or another, in that position, gives rise to some ambiguity on this issue.

Throughout the hostilities, the United States and other participants in the UNC maintained that it was the United Nations itself that was engaged in the hostilities. This and the fact that the Armistice Agreement is signed by the “Commander-in- Chief, United Nations Command” have sometimes caused observers to conclude that the United Nations is a party to the Agreement.61 Conversely, the DPRK has long argued that the U.N. Commander was a U.S. general, that it was, therefore, the United States alone that adhered to the Agreement
, and that none of the other participants in the UNC, including the ROK, can properly participate in negotiations to supersede the Armistice Agreement.62

The evidence, however, supports neither position.
Paragraph 60 of the Armistice specifically suggests that “the governments of the countries concerned on both sides” hold a “political conference of a higher level of both sides … to settle through negotiation the questions of the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Korea, the peaceful settlement of the Korean question, etc.” It thus clearly contemplates that the governments of individual participants, rather than the United Nations, are the real parties in interest here.

It goes on for a few more paragraphs from there. Read it and scratch your head. Copious Scotch, Gin, or Vodka advised.

IMHO, it is such a legal mess that the USA can do whatever it wants and let the thing go to the lawyers for about 40 years. None of the people in power will be alive then so none will care what is finally decided.

Which, IMHO again, puts this all squarely as a Political and P.R. issue.

But at least we know what the legal types think…


To Bomb, or Not To Bomb, that is the question…

Personally, were I POTUS, I’d wait for a missile test launch, then completely flatten the launch site, ALL the nuclear facilities including fab and labs, and any forces within 50 miles of the DMZ that have the capability to shoot over it. Oh, and send a MOAB or related to The Little Kim and all his palaces, bunkers and parade stands.

After that, ask if “Anyone else want to negotiate?”…

Then invoke the peace negotiations part of the Armistice and “Get ‘er done”.

The cost of the post event legal budget would be far far less than the cost of housing an army or two in Korea.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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93 Responses to Korea – A Legal Context

  1. pearce m. schaudies says:

    Hi Chief. A little background on how the Korean War got started. The question of legality probably is not too important. It seems the United States can conduct some questionable or possibly illegal activity, and it’s okay as long as it’s not in my backyard hahaha.

    In April 1950 the American National Security Council issued a report (NSC 68) recommending that America abandon ‘containment’ and start ‘rolling back’ Communism.   This led Truman to consider driving the Communists out of North Korea.

    Finally, Truman realised the USA was in a competition for world domination with the USSR.   By supporting South Korea, America was able to fight Communism without directly attacking Russia.

    The USSR, also, went to war because of the Cold War.   Stalin wanted to see Communism expand as long as he did not get involved in a ‘hot war’ with America.   In 1949, Kim II Sung visited Stalin.   He persuaded Stalin that he could conquer South Korea.   Stalin did not think that America would get involved, so he gave his agreement.   
    Kim II Sung also went to see Mao Tse Tung, the leader of China, to get his support.

    The trigger for the war was when, in 1950, Syngman Rhee boasted that he was going to attack North Korea.   It was a good enough excuse – the North Koreans invaded South Korea.   This started the actual fighting.

    Pearce M. Schaudies.
    Minister of Future

  2. pearce m. schaudies says:

    Hi Chief. Well it seems North Korea tested another missile launch this morning. Rather than starting with the big hammer as you suggest I would start with a buzz saw. Have a 7-Day carpet bombing of the north edge of the DMV by a fleet of B-52s. The resulting Canal could be flooded and filled with alligator hahaha.

    Pearce M. Schaudies.
    Minister of Future

  3. pearce m. schaudies says:

    Oops. speech to text … DMV – DMZ , heh.

  4. Larry Ledwick says:

    As noted above the Korean Police Action was intentionally created as a “non-war” and has been an odd duck from day one.

    As you say the armistice is highly questionable but there are other factors that play into this.
    DPRK ( Democratic People’s Republic of Korea ) has engaged in direct military acts of war against the US which are unresolved. Does international law set a time limit that such an act of war needs to be declared as a Casus belli?

    On January 23, 1968 the United States Navy ship USS PUEBLO (AGER-2) was attacked in international waters by North Korean forces and the ship taken into North Korean waters by force. The Eighty-two crew members who survived the seizure of the flagged US ship on the high seas were held prisoner for 11 months. To gain the release of the crew the United States admitted the ship’s intrusion into North Korean territory, (even though the action took place 16 miles off shore in international waters) apologized for the action, and pledged to cease any future such action.

    In April 1969 a North Korean MiG fighter shot down a U.S. Navy intelligence aircraft, killing all 31 men aboard.

    August 18, 1976 Joint Security Force (JSF) company commander Capt. Bonifas and Lt. Barrett of the US Army was killed by a North Korean guard with an ax in the “Truce Village” during an altercation over a tree. (tree later removed in Operation Paul Bunyan, August 21, 1976 Three days after the killings, American and South Korean forces launched Operation Paul Bunyan, an operation that cut down the tree with a show of force to intimidate North Korea into backing down, which it did. North Korea then accepted responsibility for the earlier killings.

    The incident is also known alternatively as the hatchet incident, the poplar tree incident, and the tree trimming incident.

    There are other incidents as well including a helicopter shot down by NK when it strayed into the DMZ killing the 3 crew (In 1977, a U.S. CH-47 helicopter)

    December 1994 an unarmed OH-58 Kiowa helicopter from the US Army crossed the MDL while undertaking a low-altitude flight over hilly, wooded terrain in South Korea.[37] KPA air defense forces shot the aircraft down (MDL the demarcation line that runs through the Truce Village)

    So there are preexisting grounds for hostilities directly between DPRK and the US. outside the formal truce agreement and end of active combat in Korea.

  5. pearce m. schaudies says:

    Hi Chief. Korea Manchuria and Mongolia have a history almost as complicated as Yugoslavia haha.

    More Korea background …

    Korea under Japanese rule began with the end of the Joseon dynastic monarchy in Korea in 1910 and ended at the conclusion of World War II in 1945.

    (my note- this time in Korea most of the ruling classes were very corrupt and only looking after their own interests. It’s peasants were having a very difficult time dealing with all the corruption.)

    Japanese rule of Korea was the outcome of a process that began with the Japan–Korea Treaty of 1876, whereby a complex coalition of Meiji government, military, and business officials sought to integrate Korea both politically and economically into the Empire of Japan.

    A major stepping-stone towards Japanese occupation of Korea was the Japan–Korea Treaty of 1905, in which the then-Empire of Korea was declared a protectorate of Japan. The annexation of Korea by Japan was set up in the Japan–Korea Treaty of 1910, which was never actually signed by the Korean regent, Gojong.

    Imperial Japanese rule over Korea ended in 1945, when American and Soviet forces captured the peninsula.

    In 1965 the unequal treaties between Joseon-ruled Korea and Imperial Japan, especially those of 1905 and 1910, were declared “already null and void” at the time of their promulgation (i.e. “dead on arrival”, implicitly a declaration of their illegality) by the Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and South Korea.

    As part of their Manchurian Campaign at the end of WW2 … In August 1945 the Soviet Army established the Soviet Civil Authority to administer the country until a domestic regime could be established. Provisional committees were set up across the country putting Communists into key positions. In February 1946 a  provisional govt called  North Korean Provisional People’s Committee was formed under Kim Il-sung. Soviet forces departed in 1948, and a few years later, in an attempt to unite Korea under Communist rule, the Korean War broke out.

    Pearce M. Schaudies.
    Minister of Future

  6. E.M.Smith says:

    Well, both France24 (crawler) and ABC news reporting that after the parades N. Korea launched a missile that “promptly blew up” or “almost immediately failed”; so it is confirmed.

    I’ve been waiting 2 days for the “Launch and splat” news.

    I strongly suspect what we are testing a CO2 laser ( IR Beam ) missile disruption system. I suspect their failures after launch and down range some months back was likely the sea-born version – out at sea and beyond observation range. IF what happened today was a similar system, it would be a space based or very high altitude airplane based system.

    They have been talked about, analyzed, and pretty much shown working in labs for about 20 years now. Maybe Trump has decided (like Reagan did with the B2?) that it had been a dark project long enough and time to start using it… At least, that’s my guess.

    The other really good fit is just that N. Korea makes crappy missiles and a lot of them fail…

    I suppose it could also be a hypersonic mini-bullet / rocket that can punch a hole in the fuel section. That ought to be doable and hard to spot as well… Say about an inch in diameter and a foot long. Going Mach 10, hard to spot..

  7. John F. Hultquist says:

    Until further info is available, I’ll go with “N. Korea makes crappy missiles“, and I’m willing to wait for the “Crazy Fat Kid” to actually do something more than bluster.

  8. Ralph B says:

    If you haven’t, I recommend reading “This Kind of War” by Fehrenbach. The leftists were just as crazy back then and their meddling is probably the reason Korea remains a hot spot today.

    The author was in the US Army during the war and experienced first hand the farcical actions by the UN.

  9. gary turner says:

    Aargh! Hit my funny bone, “Anyone else want to negotiate?”

    I just re-watched “The Fifth Element” two nights ago.

  10. j martin says:

    Given that the US sent 59 cruise missiles to one airfield recengly and didn’t seem to achieve all that much, I seriously doubt that they have sufficient weaponry in theatre to take out all NKs nuclear facilities. China created the Korea problem, China should fix it.

  11. E.M.Smith says:

    @J. Martin:

    The cruise missiles blew up inside the arches so as to destroy the planes while not injuring the Russians on the same base OR their equipment outside.

    It was a stellar display of precision sending a very clear message.

    Not taking out runways was by design. Repair methods now let you fix it in hours, so blowing up runways just gives the opponent a PR tool. It is worth doing in a hot war to buy time in battle, but silly in a messaging strike. A destroyed airplane is gone forever.

    To take out only the aircraft that were housed at the base that did the drop, not touching any colocated Russians, is exactly what was wanted. Doing exactly the desired thing is superior effect. That mission was a spectacular success.

    As to how many munitions the USA has: Mountains of them. I’d expect lots to be in theatre. Planners will have prepared for a massive attack. Remember N.Korea lacks fuel, so can’t do much mobility warfare. In a mobility war, the set pieces lose.

  12. j martin says:

    Apparently they have a total of 70 subs, 22 of which are a decent size. Presumably the half dozen ships of the US navy has the capability to find and sink all of them even if they mount a concerted attack on the small naval forces heading to North Korea.

    I can’t imagine that the US navy has just sent a half dozen surface ships, there are probably as many US subs in the vicinity. Even so, some of the surface ships must be at risk, unless the anti sub capabilities of the US are quite something.

  13. j martin says:

    The real danger here is that North Korea attacks South Korea in response to a US strike. Hopefully if they did so the Chinese army would then invade NK. If NK attacks SK then I think the mini dictator in NK becomes a valid target and will hopefully be eliminated.

    Meanwhile on the edge of Europe could Erdogan be the next Adolf Hitler ?

  14. bob sykes says:

    Too much irrelevant mumbo-jumbo. Here is the reality. China will not tolerate a US ally on the Yalu River. Whatever happens, any state on the Yalu must be a Chinese ally. China entered the Korean War explicitly to enforce those demands, and they succeeded.

    It should be noted that China defeated the US with no air force or navy to speak of and a primitive WW I (1914-1918) style army. Today China has a large modern military with the full spectrum of forces a nuclear super power can be expected to possess. China is more than a match for the US/South Korea, and the North Korean military adds to that power. Bare in mind, that Russia also participated in the Korean War, just as they did in the Vietnamese War.

    The US cannot do anything in Korea without the approval of China. If we do, China will intervene once again, and this time they will advance all the way to Pusan.

    North Korea is not the main actor here, although Kim could precipitate another war. He is enough of a nuisance to everyone that a victorious China would likely replace him. For now, as long as Kim behaves, he and the North Korean military are Chinese assets.

  15. philjourdan says:

    I strongly suspect what we are testing a CO2 laser ( IR Beam ) missile disruption system.

    I have no idea if we are. But my mischievous side hopes we are not. The best weapon is the one never found.

  16. pouncer says:

    Absolutely irrespective of which party or individual held the White House, and regardless of the truth of the matter, were I in US intelligence I would be leaking BOTH narratives to my various friends in the press. Story (A) that we had a super-duper secret weapon, the details about which I am prevented from disclosing, that did manage to shoot that missile down seconds after launch. AND (to other friends) Story (B) that we have super-duper secret SENSORS, the details about which, etc, that prove the NorKs built a crappy missile that fell apart, all on its own, under the stress of a few seconds of launch.

    Confusion to the enemy!

  17. p.g.sharrow says:

    Well, we do have high kinetic energy weapon with a 400 mile range available and an enhanced carrier battle group in the area. 4 to 5 seconds of lift off is just about the right altitude and timing for such a “test” shot. I would vote for all of the above…pg

  18. Oliver K. Manuel says:

    North Korea (Konan) happened to be the place where Japan had an atomic bomb production plant that Stalin’s troops captured in August 1945. On 24 OCT 1945, nations and national academies of sciences were united under the UN, while Stalin had sole control of the world’s remaining inventory of atomic bombs.

    National Academies of Sciences betrayed their own public worldwide and were on the make for the tyrannical one-world government that has ruled the post-WWII world.

    Thanks in large measure to P. K. Kuroda, I believe that evil empire is even now collapsing:

    Click to access The_Rise-Fall_of_Science-Democracy.pdf

  19. Graeme No.3 says:

    I think you should look at the Chinese actions. They have stopped coal shipments from Nth. Korea (Kim’s last source of foreign exchange), moved 187,000 troops to the North Korean border and issued a declaration that “whoever starts anything will suffer”. Possibly it lost a lot in translation but it sounds a long way from “we will standby our fraternal comrades”. China has obviously lost patience with Kim and the risk of war on their doorstep. And equally obvious is that Trump and Xi Jin Ping discussed this at their recent meeting. Don’t forget that China has invaded (and ruled) Korea several times before.
    We only have Kim’s claims about the number of nuclear bombs he has and that his missiles can reach the USA (and Australia) although they could reach Japan and Sth. Korea. But if he launches a nuclear attack then Nth. Korea very rapidly would become the first Glow in the Dark country. If he launches a conventional attack on Sth. Korea then he risks having the Chinese army sweeping in.
    He can’t fight a 2 front war, he can’t bomb (assuming he’s rational), so all he can do is bluster and threaten, and it has always worked in the past, so that is his only hope.
    In the meantime the pressure will build and some people in the senior ranks of the Military and/or Secret Police will get very worried about the impending loss of their privileges and decide to take preventative action. In all probability Chinese agents are encouraging the idea of a Kim-free future.

    P.S. The only likely target in Australia that his missiles coud reach is Darwin. There is a small USA base nearby, the Port has been leased to a Chinese company* and the town is subsidised by an excess of public servants. One missile gains 3 enemies (although there are quite a few in Australia who wouldn’t worry too much about a reduction in the numbers of public servants).


  20. E.M.Smith says:

    Trump has repeatedly said he will not telegraph actions. The convoy en route is touted as a telegraphed action… so I think it IS the action, as a distraction.

    My guess is Trump said Xi can take N. Korea, then we will pack up our radars and anti missile systems …

    Better a Chinese satripy than Kim Nutjob …

  21. Graeme No.3 says:

    I am not sure the Chinese would want Nth. Korea. Impoverished money pit, and don’t forget that there has been a 1,000 years of dislike (wars, conquest etc.) between the two peoples.
    I would think that after a cleaning out period the Chinese would hand it over to the Sth. Koreans (with conditions like no US bases) and let them pay for the recovery. What was the saying? It doesn’t matter what colour the cat is, so long as it catches mice”.

  22. Larry Ledwick says:

    China wants N. Korea as a buffer state between them and South Korea that is not allied to the US or Japan. They like the fact that it is a burr under the saddle for both Japan, So. Korea and the US. but it wants it to not get it into a nuclear war with the US until it is ready militarily for such a confrontation. China on many occasions has openly stated that they think war with the US is inevitable. Being Asian they are patient strategist and are willing to spend several decades getting ready for that, but don’t want that triggered by an over eager fool. Like a junk yard dog serves a purpose as long as it scares folks into not getting too close, just like a mad dog they will put the leadership down the moment they think it is the better option for them.

    I suspect they might also be using Korea to do some proxy nuclear testing (or at least are watching that testing and development closely to improve their own nuclear systems).

    They probably have some sympathetic NK military types who are on retainer to take down Kim with the understanding they will jump across the boarder for two reasons, one to prevent a flood of NK refugees into China and to us it as a pretext to “keep the peace”.

    It is conceivable to me that China and the US might have an understanding about how that would work, (ie the US only engages in defensive actions and does not move north of some predetermined line, and agrees to let China take control and pacify NK and retreat across the DMZ in exchange for a formal closure of the Korean War Truce and final settlement to that issue to all the US to pull some forces out of SK. as long as the US agrees to keep Japan from getting too involved in the resolution of the turmoil.

    But that is just a guess based on what rational players would do to solve the situation. China would get some propaganda value out of protecting NK from the evil US and SK and Japan, and would gain a satellite army of 4.5 million NK soldiers who would aid them if needed.

  23. gallopingcamel says:

    Remember Neville Chamberlain brandishing a sheet of paper that guaranteed “peace in our time”?

    The “Armistice” with North Korea is just as worthless……….a piece of paper.

    What matters is the agreement Trump and Xi made last week. Do any of you know what it is? Where are the leakers when you really need them?

  24. llanfar says:

    My first thought when I heard about the missile failure the other day: Powerful 3 Color Phaser Hit the Korean Missile Test??

  25. beththeserf says:

    ‘Rouse him, and learn the principle of his activity or inactivity. Free him to reveal
    himself, so as to find out his vulnerable spots.’ – Sun Tzu. ‘The Art of War.’

    China versus the U.S, the Balance of Power doesn’t mean ‘Peace.’

  26. LG says:

    @ E.M. Smith,
    This site is the second place ever where I’ve encountered the word satrapy …
    Yes, ChiefIO’ Musing is the place where secretive RF Geeks, Scholars, and all around smart folks gather …. ;)

  27. E.M.Smith says:


    I just like mind tickles and some concepts do that more than others. Then noticed they often show up in the more rare words of the language…


    A good general rule of thumb is that all benefits accruing to an actor are causal in proportion.

    You need not find “the one” cause (and it is often an error to search for it among the all causes)

    A good martial artist uses any benefit that presents and fluidly accepts those gains, so China can easily be acting to: block US trade protections, get N.Korea back under control, get US forces reduced in S. Korea (one way or another…), irritate Japan, establish Stage Presence in the eyes of the worl, increase trade with S. Korea, ensure N. Korea stays a client, learn US modes of action and asses new weaponry, test some of their own gear, get troops experienced in mobilization (I.e. lightly bloodied so more competent), etc. etc.

    Similarly The Trump can be getting many gains… Testing and showing military control, gaining mutual trust with Generals, reducing Chineese animosity and immediate action, reducing Kim, testing secret gear, getting popular support, and so on.

    The ones left out of this dance are the out of power Democrats. They will try to gain by denigation and FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt – now called Concern Troll on blogs).

    But still wating for the rotund alto chanteuse to start the show…

  28. R. de Haan says:

    If you want to handle a totally crazy suicidal mass murderer with a nuclear button in his hand
    , you wait untill he sleeps and than you put him in a straight jacket, problem solved. You don’t provoke him. Just hit him before he suspects anything. That would be my approach to the Korea problem.

    In the mean time Trump’s promised economic reset with China has gone out of the window, Obamacare repeal/reform in shambles and the promised tax reform hanging in the ropes.
    Trump’s claim was that China was manipulating it’s currency in order to harm the USA but now, because a deal had to be made about North Korea, all has been wiped from the table.

    Even the relation ship between Trump and the “Witch” occupying the Fed has improved as his new economic policy to promote US exports now is to downgrade the dollar value. Well, the Fed is very good at that job as their wise policies already have reduced dollar value by 99%.
    The only positive news was that record tax revenues have been reported, unfortunately it not enough to plug the budget.

    It looks to me the military has taken over the WH driver seat taking Trump for the ride.

    America First in the mean time is in the waiting room.

    One judges a President not by his words but by his deeds and for now I don’t like what I see..

    What I see is more of the old.

    I still could be wrong but I think the people who have voted him into office, his “Movement” are going to end up empty handed.

    Big mistake.

  29. pearce m. schaudies says:

    Hi Chief. I’m sure you have noticed since the cruise missile strike in Syria that Emperor Trump has done flip flops on many of his campaign pledges. It looks like somebody behind the scene has figured how to pull his marionette strings and make something strange happen. I get this feeling that it’s not going to be nice hahaha. One interpretation I’ve seen is it will accelerate the collapse of America and other big countries in order to promote a strong world government to take care of all the little details of making serfs an debt slaves happy, heh.

    Pearce M. Schaudies.
    Minister of Future

  30. E.M.Smith says:


    You insult Trump then slander his actions. Odd that, from someone using an IP address in Thailand…

    First off Trump is not in any way an emperor and he knows it.

    Secondly, in under 100 days he has fulfilled more campaign promisses than all candidates for president in the last 1/4 century combined, near as I can remember, so I am exceptionally well pleased with his focus on America and average Americans, and with his consistency.

    Third, you seem to have missed entirely his method. A synopsis would be to ask for more than you want, then settle for your actual goal. Stellar negotiating tactics. Now season it with claiming someone is going to be whacked for what they are not doing then get what you want for not doing anything about a non issue. An example: China as currency manipulator was a bogus claim in the last 1/2 decade plus. They have a managed drift to exchange rates, a normal policy for many countries (unlike 15 years or so ago when they had a currency peg). In exchange for not claiming what isn’t true he has China acting like they will help on Korea…

    That isn’t a flip flop, that’s hustling the mark…

    Now how you get to the crazy notion that winning for America and Americans is going to cause collapse and promote a one world government (when he is busy taking apart their tools of usurpation) is an interesting, if fanciful leap of fantasy…

    Might I suggest laying off the Thai Stick for a few days?…

  31. R. de Haan says:

    We’re still hooked up with the Paris Climate Agreement and the Climate Fraudsters still haven’t shut up. Trump congratulated Erdogan with his his creation of a Global Caliphate of Islamo Fascists which is nothing less but a bloody shame since the election has been a total fraud. The worst aspect however is that Turkey while Erdogan is heating up the crowds to introduce death penalties is still a full NATO member.
    Trump rose extremely high expectations.
    Very disappointing.

    North Korea = diversion from his national policies

    Don’t get distracted and keep your eyes at the ball.

  32. E.M.Smith says:

    @R de Haan:

    Patience… give it some time.. Trump has decided to remove the N. Korean rook from the board first. He is trading some small things to China, for a while…, to get that. That’s fine. Later he’ll get the other half done.

    Tax reform is a work in progress so way to early to score it.

    Yes, the Obama Care repeal failed. That’s on Ryan, with only a little mud for Trump for trying to work with “leadership”. That game is still afoot, though, so not over yet.

    Then you want to tag Trump for what The Fed does? Need I point out they don’t report to him? And the 99% idea is closer to 95% and all before his time. Sheesh. Might as well blame him for the Civil War…

    While I doubt the Syria bombing was based on a real Syrian gas attack, we don’t have the info to say, and he ought to have much better. So far the Korean gambit is better than anything from the prior 3 decades. None of it looks like Trump is just rubberstamping things, but rather like he is listening to good advice. The MOAB, for example, was very good tactics. One bomb, little risk, major stronghold gone.

    Oh, and today he started gears turning to fix the h1b visa scam. That is huge for me.

    Note coal country has started getting some relief too, the military is happy not being a social experiment lab, EPA is getting a well needed trim, NASA is looking at space issues again, the list goes on. About 18 last I looked, not one of the actions a dud, IMHO. Many signed in public.

    Then there is Gorsuch. Dems tried to derail and play politics with it and got hoisted on their own petard.

    I have had more days of joy from political news in this Presidency so far than in all my life prior… and we’ve got 3 years 8 months to go…

    Only dissapointment so far is Obummercare, and it will fail anyway without massive money applied, so replacement is certain, eventually.

  33. E.M.Smith says:

    @R de Haan:

    Paris is also a ball still in play. Please stop declaring winners when it isn’t even the first quarter yet!

    Per Erdogan and Turkey: what would you have him do? Insult the guy and shout fraud? That’s not going to be helpful when we need the air base in Turkey. Mutt and Jeff it. He makes nice while other agencies cry foul. You don’t burn someone you need. The normal protocol is to make nice while finding alternatives and just not helping him when the takedown comes.

    Look, Trump is the US President, not world dictator. When the Union Boss wins in a rigged election, you send him a congratulations box of Cuban Cigars and suggest your job site be a priority in schedules. That doesn’t mean you LIKE the guy or the outcome, it means you don’t want your gas sugared and your cement watered…

  34. pearce m. schaudies says:

    @Chief. This from news clip …

    President Donald Trump and his staff reversed or walked back at least six campaign positions on Wednesday.

    Ranging from monetary to budget to defense policy, the reversals culminated at an afternoon press conference withNorth Atlantic Treaty Organizationsecretary general Jens Stoltenberg, where Trump said he no longer believes that the landmark defense pact is “obsolete.”. END

    I would agree that he has kept quite a few of his campaign promises. Although stopping Obamacare hasn’t worked out too well yet. and we’re still in NATO, which should have ended in 1991.

    Calling him Emperor was gratuitous slander. I am angry that he is not living up to what I expected From him.
    Things I was hoping he would do was to get us out of foreign intervention entanglements. We have troops in over 100 countries I believe. Starting with the cruise missile strike, it seems by his actions he has been co-opted by neocon warmongers, who have been running the country since Bush the First.

    Besides NATO he now approves the FED, bankers bff.

    He is prepared to attack N.Korea, then Iran, Pakistan, … We still haven’t won Afghanistan or Iraq. These are black holes sucking taxes, for what? ordinary wages haven’t grown in real terms since 1985.

    You said- Third, you seem to have missed entirely his method.

    That’s certainly easy, there is none! oh wait, he uses dice, heh.

    I haven’t had a Doobie in over 9 yrs.,or a beer. sigh …

    For his slogan, MAGA, he needs to define it better … 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, … ?
    1880? or ?

    Pearce M. Schaudies.
    Minister of Future

  35. pearce m. schaudies says:

    @Chief. Rather than turning out to be a new age Hitler as many detractors seem to think, it looks more like he is morphing into Mussolini. Il Duce. In other words a neo-fascist government where business and executive branch work hand-in-hand to make more profit And Power.

    My pick for when America was great would be 1960 to 1980.

    Pearce M. Schaudies.
    Minister of Future

  36. Larry Ledwick says:

    Yes a good negotiator, (leader) plays the long game, sometimes opening gambits are feints to draw a specific reaction, sometimes to set conditions for a later move or misdirect the opponent to move into the next attack. He gave Ryan enough rope to hang himself, he now owns that opening health care failure, and has lost a lot of his luster.

    Congratulating Erdogan, just good old fashioned manners and good statesmanship to send congratulations to another leader when he has a big personal win. That sets the stage for a better bargaining position about middle east activities and smooths the feathers so that Turkey does not yank our access to bases in Turkey and maybe earns a few brownie points to be cashed in later.

    Trump knows not to make enemies when it is not necessary, and to give small perks to get bigger wins later.

    Watch his actions and his results not his words. Good salesmen know how to create a mood of cooperation before pressing the deal.
    He has not even been in office 90 days and the Democrats have been slow walking his appointments, so he does not even have a full staff yet.

    Arrests of illegal immigrants reportedly jumped 32% in Trump’s first months!
    signs executive order to clamp down on foreign visa workers
    signs executive order for buy America initiative

    Fox News Research‏Verified account @FoxNewsResearch 8h8 hours ago

    Fox News Research Retweeted Fox News Politics
    Executive Orders in First 100 Days

    Reagan: 18
    GHW Bush: 11
    Clinton: 13
    GW Bush: 11
    Obama: 19
    Trump: 24 (as of 4/18)


    Arrests of people caught trying to sneak into the United States across the Mexican border plummeted in March to the lowest monthly figure in more than 17 years, the head of the Department of Homeland Security reported.

    He is cracking down on the ultra violent MS-13 gangs and rounding up their members tearing their organization apart (will probably take years to finish that job since they had 8 years of unlimited immigration to bring in soldiers)

    Trump has cut the U.S. debt burden by $68 billion dollars
    Set a hiring freeze on Federal government for the first 80 days or so and is reviewing staffing requirements for entire departments.
    Manufacturing is at its most robust since 1984
    Highest small business confidence (NFIB Small Business Optimism Index is at its highest level since 2004)
    Philly Fed Index, a survey of how well manufacturers are doing, hit its highest level since 1984
    Trump killed the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal.
    Approved the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Keystone Pipeline
    Trump issued an executive order to end “sanctuary cities”.
    Trump has ordered the DOJ and Homeland Security to withhold federal funds from cities that harbor criminal illegal aliens.
    Trump selected Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court and got him ratified ( for many folks this was the most important single goal of this last election cycle was to get Supreme Court appointment authority out of Democratic hands and stop packing it with ultra liberal judges)
    Stopped the war on coal
    Talked multiple major corporations to invest billions in new plants in the US.
    The president signs veterans health-care legislation on Wednesday
    Trump has returned tactical and strategic decision making to the Military commanders instead of micromanaging every facet of military operations relaxing rules of engagement and allowing a faster decision loop cycle.
    Putting pressure on defense contractors to lower prices of weapons systems.
    Set up regulation reduction with the retire 2 for each new 1 regulation.

    Not a bad run out of the starting blocks at this point.


  37. R. de Haan says:

    I really would like to share your optimism. I really was a huge Trump fan from day one,
    I really hope you are right.
    Lots of people are worried about him though and in more than one way:

  38. pearce m. schaudies says:

    @Chief.said- Now how you get to the crazy notion that winning for America and Americans is going to cause collapse and promote a one world government (when he is busy taking apart their tools of usurpation) is an interesting, if fanciful leap of fantasy…

    Hmmm. What winning for America? Afghanistan? Iraq? Syria? Libya? These are tax sinkholes. The pentagon cannot account for over $600 Bn.

    And …

    Tools of usurpation, like UN, NATO?
    CIA?, Pentagon?, Home Security?
    Police departments have seized over
    $ 2.5 Bn for no just reason.

    Wasting money and resources on war not in defence of our borders, and seizing citizens cash will lead to collapse.

    Pearce M. Schaudies.
    Minister of Future

  39. R. de Haan says:

  40. R. de Haan says:

  41. David A says:

    Concerning NATO Trump has certainly not given up, and we’ll before the election he telegraphed his real gambit, to force them to foot the bill. In Syria he has twice strongly reiterated he has ZERO intent to invade and nation build. However he must negotiate with Russia regarding, santions-Iran-the war on Islamic terror- the Ukraine, etc… In the mean time he is fighting a civil war in every branch of government. Man-o-man, give the guy some breathing space. If you have ever tried to change the culture of a company you can begin to grasp the battles he is facing. I am thus far greatly encouraged.

  42. David A says:

    The critics appear to ignore his many sucesses, each one based on his campaign promises, and to assert blame on Trump where established bureaucrats and multi-million dollar budgets have highs momentum and disparate objectives. Trumps EPA appointments is moving that monstrosity in the right direction.

    Seriously, the last 6 months of his Administration will be a far bettor time to judge it. He is fighting a hundred battles at once, and many realities determine how he sorts what priorities. Blaming him for not making all opponents instantly desperate enemies backed into a corner is, IMV counter productive.

  43. David A says:

    Correction, multi billion dollar bureaucracies, not multi million dollar. The Federal Goverment is a MASSIVE unwieldy evil necessitie.

  44. David A says:

    Regarding Turkey, dollars to donuts he is evaluating how to constrain the pro Islamic Edrogen, quietly telling Europe, ‘I told you so regarding Islamic immigration, planning how to secure our nukes there if necessary, and how to parlay the clear Turkey threats into EU cooperation on disparate fronts, NATO, Russia, trade, immigration, etc… Islamic extremism, an insane dark-age empire religion, will inevitably drive Europe towards Trump.

  45. pearce m. schaudies says:

    @David – I will certainly wait until his first term is over before any final evaluation. I really want him to succeed in draining the swamp. However he has hired a bunch of Goldman Sachs alligators and it will be difficult. I also want him to stop nation-building and interfering in other countries business. I think he said that during this campaign, then there’s the cruise missile incident. I’m sure he has some master plan I’m not aware of so we wait and see what comes out of the fog of war an politics, heh.

    @R.deHaan- thanks for the video. I watch the beginning of two of them and I got the information from various Wiki articles 10 years ago. I think he is right, the group he identify and Carroll Quigley in 1965, Tragedy and Hope, is still try to achieve their goal. I don’t think they will.

    Pearce M. Schaudies.
    Minister of Future

  46. pearce m. schaudies says:

    Hi Chief. Here’s more info showing why we should be a little worried about a near term collapse. In a
    number of natural phenomena, ‘goodness’ increases slowly but declined rapidly, in a curve called a Seneca Cliff. See the Secular Cycle chart in this article …


    The FIRE economy (finance, insurance, real estate)
    passrd the Manufacturing economy as a percent of GDP in 1986. This was the beginning of income inequality, which has only grown worse. This is a key factor in many empire collapses … Rome, France, America, …

    Link to article plotting various inequality, resource, population scenarios … enjoy


    Pearce M. Schaudies.
    Minister of Future

  47. pearce m. schaudies says:

    Hi Chief. My IP address in Thailand should not be a surprise. In my Arrakis fantasy the brief bio says I retired here in 1992. My ‘American Dream’s wasn’t working. I got off the weary- go- round, heh.

    Pearce M. Schaudies.
    Minister of Future

  48. E.M.Smith says:

    When a person puts great store in a source and cites it, and at the same time asserts it claims something that is obviously and demonstrably completely wrong: I have two immediate reactions. One is to assume the presenter is un-careful in what they read, how they think, and what they let into their world view. The other is to assume the reference is most likely garbage until proven otherwise, and since garbage is not high on my list of things to absorb, proving otherwise takes a very low priority.

    Now that’s just a general description of my behaviours, not directed to anything in particular.

    Next is the particular:

    The FIRE economy (finance, insurance, real estate)
    passrd the Manufacturing economy as a percent of GDP in 1986. This was the beginning of income inequality, which has only grown worse.

    Um, say what? No remembrance of the Robber Barron era? The names J.D. Rockefeller, Carnegie, Chase, Morgan drawing a blank? No recollection of Plantations in the Old South even? How about the grand estates of Colonial England, with Barons, Dukes, Lords… The Great Depression and The Grapes of Wrath impact on the unemployed and the Forgotten Man also forgotten? (Great movie about the Forgotten Man demonstrating the rich living it up while the poor lived in the garbage pit… BTW).

    “Income Inequality” has been the hallmark of most of recorded history and with vast disparity for most of it. Only in the post W.W.II era was their really a large rise of a Middle Class and a flattening of it, to some small extent.

    Then there is the reasoning… One might as well make the same statement in the 1800s about the way Manufacturing surpassed Farming and put all those peasants out of work while enriching the Robber Barrons. (My Grandad among those farmers, BTW. I’m damn glad I work in computers now instead of milking cows at 4 AM and spreading manure at 11 am and feeding hay at 2 pm and plowing / planting / weeding / harvesting / canning / slaughtering / making hams at every other hour until 10 pm…).

    It all sounds like someone has been tippling at the Left Economic Cool-aid a bit too much…

    Then a link to “Yet Another Peak Energy Chicken Little Paranoid Site”. Sigh.

    Please read:



    We can, at any time we decide to do so, make all the energy we want with at most a 4 year lead time.

    Yes, that schedule would take a Manhattan Project kind of devotion and political will (10 years is easy). Yes, it is unlikely to happen simply due to the coal, oil, gas, etc. etc. etc. taking CENTURIES to ramp down. (NOT counting methane clathrate with demonstration mining by Japan and trillions of BBL of Oil Equivalents of shale oil and oil shale scattered all over the globe AND ignoring the demonstrated ability to grow oil via algae – just not cheap enough to compete with fossil oil AND ignoring operational garbage-to-oil plants and…)


    There is only a shortage of the will to use known, proven, affordable technologies currently in hand.

    Please Please PLEASE stop drinking the “Running Out!!!!” scare story cool-aid. It is daft and causes insanity.

  49. E.M.Smith says:

    @David A:

    BINGO! Give that man a cupie doll!

    He’s just angling for NATO members to pony up their real share, while putting them on notice He’s The Man now.

    Honestly, I get the feeling some folks have never had to deal with office politics or complex organizations. He’s inherited a very huge very broken monster of an organization to fix AND a worse collection of international players to corral and defend against. So far he’s doing a great job of it.

    On a few things he’s had to “embrace the opposition” (either to “keep your enemy closer”, or as they had the levers of power he needs to get pulled…) but I’ve not seen him change his fundamental beliefs on anything (the “show” on top, sure… normal part of the job…)

    It will likely take a decade of concerted work to clean up the Judiciary, for example. Along the way he will need to conform to their rulings (while he finds adequate replacements…). So again as an example, I can’t fault him for not having an immediate real “Muslim Ban” just because it is legally forbidden to do it. He went for the (legally vetted and found sound by council, BTW) ban on failed States – and even there the Political Judges decided to call it what it isn’t. Again, can’t fault him for the actions of his opponents.

    Heck, I had a group of about 8 I took over with only one real “cultural issue” to fix (and a few internal disputes between folks) and it took me darned near a year to fix just that and get the group running well and with positive customer reviews. People do not change easily and usually not willingly even when it is for their own benefit. Now Trump has an organization of God Only Knows how big and how many people and agencies and HE is not in direct control but must work through layers of intermediates (many of whom want to work against him) and with a Congress constantly meddling. Then folks expect it all to be fixed and done in 3 months? Wow. It is hard to just get your open vacancies filled with vetted folks and have them through orientation and at their desks in 3 months, even in a flat organization. IMHO Trump has moved with astounding speed. (The heads spinning on the Nightly News confirms that as they run to keep up day by day…)

  50. pearce m. schaudies says:

    @Chief.Yeah, I did forget about income inequality before 1945 or so. And the link to Gail’s post was to show the Secular Cycle curve as an example of Seneca’s Cliff. Thorium cycle nuclear energy is the only kind that can be cleaned up after cheaply. Most other cycles will be active hazards for several thousand years. I’m not proposing energy is running out, although I expect the price to bounce up and down, getting higher each bounce.

    Pearce M. Schaudies.
    Minister of Future

  51. cdquarles says:

    Income inequality isn’t a problem. Why should there be income equality? /rhetorical. So, when I hear some one spouting that nonsense, I suspect nefarious intent, delusional thinking, or both. No, no one can ever be that ignorant of reality, in my opinion. Reality just Is, as our host says; and it is what it is, so our perceptions don’t matter a whit.

  52. R. de Haan says:

    Let’s face facts.
    Define Rogue Nation.
    The USA, defense and foreign policy, hell, the entire country is run by companies like Lockheed Martin, pushing for ever increasing defense spending and a predatory financial system that makes money of conflict all at the costs of the US tax payer. Think of a “self licking ice cream” to get the clear picture. Those involved rather die than give up this system. To be more to the point, they kill for it getting rid of anything blocking their way. The entire political system from Congress to Senate is corrupt to the bone. In the passed Congress blocked arms sales to Saudi Arabia so the exports were funneled via the UK. Later illegal arms deliveries were funneled via S.A. Today Senate and Congress are simply ignored thanks to icredible black budgets.
    Not entirely “black” though since trillions of dollars over the past surfaced as deficits.
    The War on Terror against an “invisible ennemy” that took off with the staged attack of 9/11 has submerged the USA and it’s coalition partners into the longest wars in American history with absolutely no end in sight.
    A pepetual slaughter machine with an unstoppable appetite.
    America now is it’s worst ennemy,
    Ennemy State.

    Now that’s reality.

    Very difficult to clean up a settled system like this.
    Only a cosmic extinction event can solve this.

  53. R. de Haan says:

    Nothing to die for… nothing to live for.

  54. R. de Haan says:

    We all agree the North Koreans are crazym but not as crazy as this:

  55. Jeff says:

    @ R. de Haan: You list miles upon miles of problems and failures.

    What would your solution(s) be?

  56. E.M.Smith says:


    The history of the energy supplies of the world has been one of ever LOWER costs for the same productive energy. The wobbles go up and down, but end up lower (in real terms) each cycle.

    Thorium is nice, but Uranium and Plutonium work just fine too. BTW, the “thousands of years” to store waste is ENTIRELY due to using a broken yardstick. The measurement used is “to equal average background”.

    Except the ore did NOT start at “background”. It started at mildly radioactive…

    If you only require that the waste be no more hazardous than the original native natural ore, it reaches that point after about 300 years (or a bit less…)

    Kinda makes the whole problem very different, doesn’t it…

    BTW, we could also make reactors that burn up the more reactive actinides in the waste and produce even more energy and less waste, if we wanted to…

    @R. de Haan:

    I would very much like to disagree with you on the arms industry, black projects, and perpetual war.
    Unfortunately, I hate arguing my side from false premises and made up “evidence” so I can’t… ;-)


    It is even worse than that. Income inequality is essential to creating a growing economy and more wealth for everyone.

    It all comes down to “marginal propensity to consume” vs “marginal propensity to invest”. Poor people consume 100% of everything they get. They have no choice. Rich people simply can’t consume it all, and must invest. The richer they get, the more they must invest, and the faster they get even richer.

    Somewhere near the middle is the “middle class”. Generally saving and investing enough to get through non-productive old age years. Perhaps a minor investment that lets their kids move a tiny bit further upward, but hardly spark plugs of industrial growth.

    Now you can make an argument over just what level of “rich” is the point were excess earnings as a percentage are close enough to maximum that there isn’t much benefit from that individual getting richer, and it would be almost as good to have a second individual getting richer to ‘catch up’. However, to the extent you “tax away” any gain above some point and then give it to people who consume it, you are guaranteeing a worsened future for all as less R&D, invention, and investment will be done. You are moving that wealth from high “propensity to invest” to high “propensity to consume” and it gets consumed and is gone forever.

    So to have an advancing productive and rich society, you must have rich actors in it and you must not give the wealth to the poor. (Economics is called “The Dismal Science” for a reason… )

    The only variation on this law is that the Rich Guy can be a single rich entity, that being The Government. How having a Very Rich Single Monopolist with all economic AND legal AND military power is better than a competing batch of petty capitalists (with a government referee) is yet to be demonstrated… But in fact, Stalin did move Russia forward and into modernity. Though at the cost of many millions of lives and with a hellish working environment…

  57. pearce m. schaudies says:

    Hi Chief. Your claim that inequality of income distribution is necessary sounds good on paper, but the bottom 80% had no real increase since 1979, while the upper 20% did, yet GDP still trended down. Mabe the top didn’t invest, just bought more yaghts and vacation homes.

    Then there’s this … excerpt …

    IMF released a study assessing the causes and consequences of rising inequality. The authors reckon that while inequality could cause all sorts of problems, governments should be especially concerned about its effects on growth. They estimate that a one percentage point increase in the income share of the top 20% will drag down growth by 0.08 percentage points over five years, while a rise in the income share of the bottom 20% actually boosts growth.

    Link to article …


    (is there a way to post .jpg charts?)

    Pearce M. Schaudies.
    Minister of Future

  58. Larry Ledwick says:

    and 1979 was when the Carter Administration broke the economy and it has never really recovered. Go back to the regulation environment of the early 1970’s and late 1960’s and the economy would explode. You know when investment banks were separate from savings institutions etc. and folks were still investing on projected earnings and growth of solid companies which had good business models rather than just churning money to skim the wiggles off the charts.

  59. Graeme No.3 says:

    In 1905 there were around 400,000 industrial workers (including railway workers) came out in one strike. Estimated about one quarter of the industrial workforce in Russia. There were also strikes in Finland and that part of Poland ruled by Russia. A smaller percentage of the population than, sa, in the USA but indicates that a deal of development was under way.

  60. David A says:

    Pearce quotes… “They estimate that a one percentage point increase in the income share of the top 20% will drag down growth by 0.08 percentage over a five years, w

  61. David A says:

    Pearce, that is an absurd report, worthy of any CAGW claim.

    Ask yourself why Obama, despite trillion dollar annual deficits, shrunk the middle class -and made blacks poorer. That is not an idea or therory on paper, but a reality on the ground.

  62. David A says:

    I do not accept that 9-11 was an inside job. The war and threat from Islam is real.

    Yes, disparate corporations use means, legal and otherwise, to secure business.

  63. pearce m. schaudies says:

    @Dave. Large numbers of people would disagree with your opinion that this IMF report is absurd. Reference to cagw is misleading. That is about climate problems and not economic problems.

    I ask myself why did Obama shrink the middle class and make blacks poorer. I have not read any reports about that so I’m going to have to make a guess. He was trying to boost the GDP make people love the Democratic Party. It doesn’t seem to have worked very well.

    Pearce M. Schaudies.
    Minister of Future

  64. pearce m. schaudies says:

    @Larry. The law preventing Banks from making Investments and also regular Savings and Loan bank was called the glass-steagall ACT. It was repealed by President Clinton in 1999.

    Pearce M. Schaudies.
    Minister of Future

  65. pearce m. schaudies says:

    Hi All. Regarding the 9-11 tragedy. There is no strong evidence that it was an inside job. However there is evidence that some insiders were aware it was coming. There are records on the CBOE and New York Stock Exchange that individuals bought shares in Airlines and commodities that would definitely go up or down right after 9/11.

    x. x. x. x. x.

    9/11 commission report, July 2004.

    After releasing the report, commission chair Thomas Kean declared that both Presidents Bill Clinton  and  George W. Bush were “not well served” by the FBI and CIA.

    (my input) In the weeks following 9/11 I read on several websites that Junior FBI and CIA officers were told by their superiors to ignore some irregularities in procedures regarding foreign Saudi Nationals. There is also the tower 7 problem.

    The commission also concluded 15 of the 19 hijackers who carried out the attacks were from Saudi Arabia.

    Pearce M. Schaudies.
    Minister of Future

  66. David A says:

    @Pearce, I did not read the report, just the predicted .08 percent decline in GDP being due to the rich getting richer. It is absurd, and reminds me of CAGW proponents claims of accuracy with regard to globAl mean temperature.

  67. Larry Ledwick says:

    @pearce m. schaudies on glass-stegal
    Yes it was one of the key factors in the final stage of the collapse but the whole process started with the run away inflation and economic instability in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s when you saw folks getting 20% interest returns on some investments and others got killed by high interests on short term credit (removal of usury laws on credit cards etc.) which grossly distorted what good economics was.

    In the early 1970’s payday loans were a valid and useful method for folks in a pinch to get by and avoid check charges and credit problems and everyone was happy. You borrowed $300 from a check casher and wrote them a $320 check, to be cashed after your pay day. Now it has turned into a predatory system where 400% interest rates and predatory terms are not unusual. That was when things like flipping houses took off into industrial level scams — the savings and loan crisis which broke the savings industry which financed most home mortgages at the time (my Mom worked for one of the oldest and most sound S&Ls here in Colorado up until her death). It was a cascade of shifts in the economy and how things got done that took 30-40 years to take us to 2008. Huge amounts of money was shifted from sound business investment to scam financing (Enron etc.) or some system that just took a bit of money off the top as money moved, as people shifted from investing for good business development reasons to trying to skim the system by churning money.
    Now you have trillions of dollars in fake money moving around at light speed and the only thing it does is try to move a few milliseconds faster than the next guy to beat the system. No productive resource or raw material is ever created by it. It is a closed club where if you can’t afford to buy in to the game with a few hundred thousand dollars you can’t play, and the little guy can’t get interest on his savings which exceeds inflation. It was in the late 1970s that folks started pushing money into large denomination CDs to get 10+% interest rates but pass book savings account (there is a term you don’t hear much any more) began their slide to negligible or negative interest rates where you actually had to pay the bank to store your money. That sort of behavior broke the entire model of sound money management where average folks could save for the future accumulate some wealth and live on the income from their investments in their old age.

  68. philjourdan says:


    Better a Chinese satripy than Kim Nutjob …

    Rule of 3. 3rd generation that is. I think the Chinese are really worried about Un. They probably felt they could control the father and gramps. But not this little pip squeak. What is the most telling is the silence of the Chinese.

  69. R. de Haan says:

    If Trump is making a freaking war monger that goes by the name of Lindsey Graham happy, something is definately wrong:

  70. p.g.sharrow says:

    It is the Chinese that have the most reason to fear the Hermit Kingdom…pg

  71. R. de Haan says:

    @ W.M.Smith,
    @R. de Haan:

    “I would very much like to disagree with you on the arms industry, black projects, and perpetual war.
    Unfortunately, I hate arguing my side from false premises and made up “evidence” so I can’t… ;-)”

  72. p.g.sharrow says:

    Korea map for those that are following this ;


    China and Russia have their own concerns about the future of the Democratic Republic of Korea,,,pg

  73. E.M.Smith says:

    I wonder if Trump has pointed out to China and Russia that Kim Dum Pipsqueek is closer to them, his missiles can actually reach them, and he is a nutjob no longer “on leash”?

    There comes a time when the mad dog becomes a threat to the master and must be put down…

    My suspicion is that Trump “green lighted” this, and said not only would we stand by and watch, but would pack up our best military toys and take them home after it is over and Korea cleaned up.

    It is the gambit I would have offered in a private dinner meeting…

  74. philjourdan says:

    He was trying to boost the GDP make people love the Democratic Party.

    Research more, guess less.

  75. philjourdan says:

    There are records on the CBOE and New York Stock Exchange that individuals bought shares in Airlines and commodities that would definitely go up or down right after 9/11.

    Bet you will find “some” doing the same today. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. But that does not make it a conspiracy.

  76. pearce m. schaudies says:

    @PhilJ,- Dave’s question seemed retrieval, not requiring research but mild humor.

    As to the individuals investing, they were in govt or relatives as I recall. Of course it could be coincidence.
    Just like Humpty Dumpty wasn’t pushed. heh.

    Minister of Future

  77. pearce m. schaudies says:

    oops – retrieval should be rhetorical. bad autofix!

  78. David A says:

    ? What question?

  79. pearce m. schaudies says:

    @Dave- 20 Apr 6:07 you say …
    Ask yourself why Obama, despite trillion 

    Minister of Future

  80. David A says:

    Yes, the answer was articulated by our host discussing what you said, ” sounds ok on paper”.

  81. E.M.Smith says: 21 April 2017 at 5:59 pm

    ” I wonder if Trump has pointed out to China and Russia that Kim Dum Pipsqueek is closer to them, his missiles can actually reach them, and he is a nutjob no longer “on leash”? There comes a time when the mad dog becomes a threat to the master and must be put down…My suspicion is that Trump “green lighted” this, and said not only would we stand by and watch, but would pack up our best military toys and take them home after it is over and Korea cleaned up.”

    Indeed! You all don get in my face! An I will sit back and watch, honest!!

    “It is the gambit I would have offered in a private dinner meeting”

    Indeed, just like the used care, only driven on Sundays Folk think that they can fool there own kids about Santa Claus! Ha! The kid has been observant\learning of both parents since popped from oven. By ten years, if unable to piss you off in a millisecond, you are saddled with a very stupid offsprout!
    Now think of governments! If you think some ‘spook’ can ever be identified as a ‘spook’, by congress, you have identified an incompetent ‘spook’ (manager); deliberately sent to you by the competent ‘spooks’! We seem to have a presidential newbie, learning fast of this BS. I pray that he survives, Ask the learned for the odds! :-)

  82. Paul Hanlon says:

    I think President Donald Trump has knocked it out of the Park, to use a baseball expression. The proper measure of how he is doing, is how far along he is on the points he raised in his Gettysburg address. And on that, he has made significant progress.

    Despite the fact he is not a “politician”.
    Despite the fact that he hasn’t done this sort of thing before, at least not on this scale.
    Despite the fact that half of his own party, and all of the opposition party, are against him.
    Despite the fact that 90% of the media overall are against him, and actively working to bring him down.
    Despite the fact that a significant minority of the bureaucracy, including the “Intelligence Community” have tried to exercise a “soft coup” against him.

    Even though he has said that America comes first in his deliberations, and that shows in his deeds, look at what he is doing on the international stage. Bear in mind, all he has done is asked people to stick to their agreements. Where countries have stepped egregiously out of line, he’s left a marker, but besides that what has he done?

    He has held Europe to account for their contribution to NATO, and other things.
    Result: Within twelve months, all NATO participants will be up to their quota of 2%.
    Germany is now going to help America with regard to vocational training, something which they are preeminent at.
    TTIP, which is the Euro-American equivalent of TPP, is going to look significantly different from what it would have been under HRC or BHO. The concept of a “reciprocal” tax is absolute genius.

    He has held Russia to account
    Result: Putin’s standing in the international stage has been significantly downgraded. You can be absolutely sure that there is a lot of chatter between Russia, Syria and Iran at the moment, they are all now on the back foot, trying to keep up, not to mind stay ahead.
    Russia will “toe the line”, because they know that they will be a lot better off economically AND politically (PDT is not an idealogue), if they do their part and help tackle IS, rein in or replace Assad, and realise that Iran does not have Russia’s best interests at heart either.

    He has held China to account, not just on trade, but also politically.
    Result: He has totally re-oriented the dialogue between them. He has framed it within a win-win context, the object being to increase trade between the two nations. but for America to get the lion’s share of that extra business.
    China turned back NK coal ships, and replaced it with American Coal. China moved 150.000 troops to the NK border. China threatens to cut off all oil exports to NK. Be absolutely assured that China are looking at other means of getting to a point where NK doesn’t continuously be a threat to its neighbours. They don’t need it either, not within the new framework that PDT is proposing.

    Let’s say that the MOAB and the Tomahawks cost $300m, when you include all the infrastructure needed to do something like that. Look at the result. It probably saved $30trn long term. Who’s going to mess with him now? And he did that with the backing of most of the countries in that region, all of them predominantly Muslim. After eighty days?!! Still not got his full team approved by Congress? Most of that time spent on trying to get other aspects of his agenda moved forward?

    And that’s just during the period of time while congress are waving their “stuff” at each other over R & R, and tax reform. They’re probably the biggest obstruction to his agenda. And we see that he is quietly putting his own candidates in place for the upcoming 2018 elections. And it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if they end up getting the gig. Can you imagine? Probably one of the first presidents to extend his base in the mid-term elections.

    It’s going to be messy, it can’t be any other way under the circumstances. It takes three whole miles to turn a supertanker 180 degrees. Imagine what it takes to turn around the American economy so that it is working for everybody. Especially when you see where it is coming from. And he’s doing the messy stuff, the things for which you get no credit, but which are absolutely vital to success in the long term. Regulatory reform, reducing Big Bureaucracy, getting rid of the internal fiefdoms, introducing technological advances, getting the states to pony up their end. The “hard yards” of draining the swamp.

    And here’s another thing that gives me comfort. PDT isn’t just thinking of getting re-elected in four year’s time. He’s thinking dynastically. And I don’t think it’s Jared (He is subtly elevating him for a fall), I think it’s Ivanka (or Goddess in Chinese :-)). I don’t think there is anything more he would like to see in his lifetime, but Ivanka becoming the first female President. And he’s doing it in a good way, in the sense that she has a job within the White House, but it is up to her to make her mark. I think she will (she’s dressing down, rolling up her sleeves), but more importantly, PDT isn’t going to want to be the one who screws up her chances.

  83. Graeme No.3 says:

    Paul, nice summary and he still has his opposition underestimating him.

  84. E.M.Smith says:


    Such “deals” are made all the time. The players know there is risk it will be a ruse, so you prepare for the likely twists, but work to the common good. Just like the British Empire, USA, and Soviet Stalin worked together in W.W.II despite having orthogonal beliefs. At the end, the USA worked to reduce the UK Empire (the Progressives being closet Socialists) and the USSR decided to keep 1/2 of Europe… but still they worked together until then against the common threat.

    History is full of such a pattern.

    So it isn’t much of a stretch to think Trump would cut a mutually beneficial deal. Or that after a hypothetical Chinese take down of Kim they would be “slow” to ramp down until they saw evidence we were keeping up our end of the bargain… just like we would likely ramp up, not down, until China showed good fath by doing to Kim what was agreed. Then someone makes the first trust gesture. Likely us doing a drawdown to just below starting position and cratting up some key gear preparatory to shipping (but ready to unpack if no confirmatory move by China…)

    Really all S.O.P.

  85. Another Ian says:

    Re Larry Ledwick says:
    20 April 2017 at 3:50 pm

    Larry I tried this on a friend who works in that field your side of the big puddle. The answer was

    “I probably agree”

  86. p.g.sharrow says:

    I had a vision of this coming possible conflict, So I called up a map of the area. 600 miles to Peking, 200 miles to Vladivostok and 400 miles to Japan, all from the main missile base and atomic bomb facilities of North Korea. The North Koreans have been at war with their neighbors for a 1,000 years. This is a point of real contention, real danger to local peace. Both the Russians and Chinese will fight to control this, vital to them, place. Both are in an expansionistic mood. Neither needs a crazy little pipsqueak playing with atomic weapons in the area or worse inviting the Americans to take an interest. Look at the local area from an on the ground POV. Tell the D R of K Military “Eradicate this guy or they will be eradicated.
    Lets make a Deal! South Korea is no military threat to anyone…pg

  87. Larry Ledwick says:

    @ p.g.sharrow South Korea is no military threat to anyone…pg

    True but the Chinese see them as an economic and social threat. Can’t have a highly productive modern economy right on the boarder which is friendly to the US. Like Russia, China likes buffer states, so I suspect they will deal with him quietly in the night and a military leader will take control to maintain peace and order after the (name the appropriate bad guy) assassinated our Dear Leader, or more easy to deal with, the sudden unexpected death of Dear Leader due to an accident or bad medical outcome. Nice plane you have there it would be a shame if the wings fell off.

  88. E.M.Smith says:


    The real question isn’t how fast N.Korea can fire undesturbed, or how many casualties that makes in the first hours.

    The real question is how many of the long range artillary pieces can be taken out in a massive stealth strike and how good the S. Korean civil defence is at moving mass population underground and or south by 5 miles in one hour…

    There would be casualties, but my guess is the number would be acceptable. Folks have been planning in this scenario for decades. I’ve got to think they have thought out solution scenarios.

    For example, how efficient would that 40 mile artillary be when under constant attack by cruise missiles dumping out submunitions… for a couple of hours… then stealth bombers and counterbattery fire for the rest of the day… command and control gone in the first 10 minutes or less…

    Though what I would think most likely is just that the USA is the distraction while China helps Kim out of his empire and it is announced he expired from too much rich food and a heart attack… That our fleet was off somewhere entirely different from the announcements and so the N. Koreans get to stay on high alert for a coupke of extra weeks fits that kind of plan.. let them sweat themselves to death…

    So keep them hyped up through the joint air exercises, have the population “drill” an evacuation south, then rattle the cage just a little, and China enters from the north to help. We quiet down and Kim wakes up dead…

    Then a closer N.S, truce arrangement gets neotiated to avoid such risk in the future…

    That’s what I’d try to arrange. But knowing full well if things go pear shaped a massive counter battery combined forces strike is preapproved and ready to launch on first shots fired at S. Korea.

  89. Paul Hanlon says:

    A very interesting read. It is the transcript of an off camera press gaggle on Friday. It covers quite a range of PDT’s agenda. He will also be going to three South and East Asia summits. That’s half of the world’s population right there.

    This is the other side of what he did in Syria and Afghanistan, and what he is now doing with NK. Imagine the reception he’s going to be getting there as a result. He’ll be working 25 hours a day doing deals, expanding trade that’s more aligned with America’s interests. It’s going to be a huge message to the world.

    Looks like next week will either be his biggest week as president, or a little bit of a damp squib. And coming right on his “hundred days”. Potentially, the AHCA passed in the House, his tax reform outline, government shutdown avoided, possible “Paris accord” decision made?, with the delicious cherry on top, of a rally in Pennsylvania at the same time as the White House Correspondents dinner. I wonder which one will get the biggest ratings?

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