President Trump will inherit a mess. There are many issues in the mix, some of them can be laid at the feet at Barack’s and Hillary’s incompetence and others at their indifference. Still other matters were not handled badly by the current American regime, but just ended up all mushy. (yeah, whatever “mushy” means) Getting to the point of “making America great again” will be a long and rocky road with North Korea, Iran, China and Russia being challenges to navigate correctly.
There are linkages between those powers and while your attention is focused on the RNC and flowery speeches designed to impress the body politic – things are going on in the world that the American news media is ignoring. Let’s take a moment and explore some of them.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff told the press in a statement that North Korea launched three ballistic missiles from North Hwanghae Province into the Sea of Japan between 5:45 a.m. and 6:40 a.m. local time on July 19. The missiles flew 500 to 600 kilometers.
Context and Precedence: The first North Korean Scud ballistic missile base was in Sariwon, the capital of North Hwanghae Province. While North Korea still had a credible air force, the Sariwon Scud regiment was the only ballistic missile base in North Korea. As the North’s fighters and fighter-bombers became obsolete in the 1990s, the ballistic missile force was developed as a lower-cost, effective replacement. Sariwon has been the headquarters location for a Scud brigade since 1990.
“North Korea seems to be fully prepared to carry out a nuclear test at any time. South Korea is closely monitoring every move at the North’s test site in close cooperation with the United States,” Unification Ministry spokesman Jeong Joon-hee said at a regular press briefing.
Recent Timeline Review: Since the US imposed sanctions on Kim Jong Un on July 6, North Korea has attempted to launch a submarine-launched ballistic missile on July 9 and terminated the UN channel for contacts with the US on July 11. Since the US THAAD basing announcement, the North has launched three Scud missiles on July 19 and increased activity at its nuclear site.
My comment to the Chinese leadership: If your ally and ward state (the Norks) didn’t keep shooting ballistic missiles, the ROKs might not have felt it necessary to deploy THAAD.
Linkage with the South China Sea Issue
|S-300 Missile System|
Russian President Vladimir Putin lifted the S-300 (surface-to-air missile) sales ban to Iran in April 2015. The Tasnim news agency reported on July 18 that Russia has begun delivery to Iran of the missiles for the S-300 air defense missile system.
|Russia’s support for Iran|
The window for delivering the missiles probably was agreed months ago, but the actual delivery date might have been somewhat variable. In any event, the timing is useful for showcasing Russian support for its clients and its high profile involvement in the Middle East. Putin talked with Turkey’s President Erdogan on the 17th and Russia is delivering on a contract to Iran on the 18th. Russia continues to act and look like an honest broker.
|Map of Turkey|
In a press interview with CNN, President Erdogan said that the failed military coup was a “clear crime of treason.” He refused to rule out reinstating the death penalty for the coup plotters. He repeated earlier statements that the Turkish people want death for the coup plotters. “The people now have the idea, after so many terrorist incidents, that these terrorists should be killed, that’s where they are, they don’t see any other outcome to it,” he said. “Why should I keep them and feed them in prisons, for years to come? That’s what the people say,” he said. “They want a swift end to it, because people lost relatives, lost neighbors, lost children … they’re suffering, so the people are very sensitive and we have to act very sensibly and sensitively.”