Is Korea Just A Smokescreen?

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Bryan McBride via Mises Canada,

Is Korea just a smokescreen?

In my last article (Sticking the arson charge on a couple of patsies) I questioned why North Korea’s nuclear program was attracting such attention from the United States. North Korea is a very poor and backwards country whose bellicosity reflects the regime’s need for an external enemy like the United States to galvanize domestic support. Attacking America and its allies in the region is the last thing North Korea’s leaders would want to do as such an attack would guarantee an American response that would be sure to destroy their lives, their government and the lives of millions of innocent Korean civilians.

However, this month I was made aware of another possible reason for the attention being paid to North Korea and its nuclear program.

What if the escalating tensions over Korea are just a smokescreen intended to legitimize an American military buildup in the region aimed at intimidating China?

In 2011, former U.S. President Barack Obama announced a change in U.S. foreign policy that was termed a ‘Pivot to Asia.’ The official thinking was that as China and the emerging countries of South-East Asia gained in economic importance, it made sense to devote more military and diplomatic attention to the region while reducing the attention paid to Europe and the Middle East.

Of course, observers also saw the pivot as a response to the rising economic, political and military power of a resurgent China. Just as the U.S. sought to contain the Soviet Union during the Cold War with a string of encircling alliances and economic agreements, so America today seeks to keep China in check through military alliances with East Asian countries like Japan, South Korea and Taiwan and trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Chinese leaders acutely resent continued American dominance in a region they consider their own backyard. However, they are not reckless and do not seek to engage in a potentially catastrophic military confrontation. Instead, they have spent the past few years establishing institutions and agreements which, taken together, will displace the U.S. dollar from the centre of the global financial system. Empire is expensive. Just as the British were forced to decolonize in the 1960s once the pound lost its reserve currency status in the years following World War II, so too will the demise of the dollar force American retreat from global (and, most importantly for the Chinese, East Asian) hegemony.

At this point, it is worthwhile to recall how the U.S. dollar became (and remains) the world’s reserve currency in the first place. At the Bretton Woods conference in 1944, it was agreed that all currencies would have a fixed exchange rate with the U.S. dollar, which itself would have a fixed value in terms of gold. From 1945 until 1971, foreign central banks were allowed to exchange their accumulated dollars for gold at a price of $35/ounce. As the U.S. dollar was literally ‘as good as gold,’ commodities were priced in dollars and foreign governments found it desirable to accumulate and hold dollars in order to purchase imports.

However, by the late 1960s the system was coming under stress. The value of the U.S. dollars in circulation abroad was far greater than the value of the 8000 tons of gold held by the U.S. Treasury in Fort Knox, Kentucky. In order to stop foreign governments stripping the U.S. of its gold reserves, in 1971 U.S. President Richard Nixon ‘temporarily suspended’ the convertibility of dollars for gold. Predictably, while a dollar bought 1/35th of an ounce of gold in 1971, by 1980 it only bought 1/850th of an ounce.

To try to arrest the decline in the value of the U.S. dollar Richard Nixon, in one of the last acts of his presidency, sent newly-appointed Treasury Secretary William Simon to Saudi Arabia in 1974. The agreement he came away with reinforced the dollar’s position as the global reserve currency by replacing gold convertibility with oil convertibility. In exchange for agreeing to price and sell oil in dollars and to lend their newly-acquired oil wealth to the U.S. by purchasing U.S. government Treasury bonds, the U.S. agreed to provide military aid and equipment to the Saudis.

To this day, oil continues to be priced and sold in dollars. As everyone therefore needs U.S. dollars (often referred to as petro-dollars) in order to purchase crucial energy imports, the dollar has remained the world’s reserve currency.

However, China has recently established two complementary markets aimed at removing this crucial pillar of dollar support. First, in April 2016 the Shanghai Gold Exchange launched a yuan-denominated gold price fix in order to become a price maker in a market historically dominated by London and New York. Uniquely, though, while in London and New York traders deal mainly in paper contracts for gold which are very rarely exercised, the Shanghai market is primarily a spot market whose participants purchase physical gold, usually in the form of one kilogram bars.

Second, within the last two months China has announced its intention to offer a crude oil futures contract denominated in yuan before the end of the year. This contract will establish a benchmark price for oil in yuan to compete with the dollar-denominated oil prices set in New York. To make the yuan-denominated contracts more attractive to oil exporters, the Chinese are emphasizing the convertibility of yuan for gold at the Shanghai Gold Exchange. As the economist and lawyer Jim Rickards put it recently:

“China, Russia and Iran are coordinating a new international monetary order that does not involve U.S. dollars. It has several parts, which together spell dollar doom. The first part is that China will buy oil from Russia and Iran in exchange for yuan.


“The yuan is not a major reserve currency, so it’s not an especially attractive asset for Russia or Iran to hold. China solves that problem by offering to convert yuan into gold on a spot basis on the Shanghai Gold Exchange.


“This marks the beginning of the end of the petro-dollar system that Henry Kissinger worked out with Saudi Arabia in 1974, after Nixon abandoned gold.”

Chinese yuan with the gold-convertibility of the pre-1971 U.S. dollar should prove an attractive alternative to the dollar for major oil exporters. Just this past month Saudi Arabia, the country at the centre of the petro-dollar arrangement, agreed to purchase S-400 air defense missile systems from Russia. By making this purchase, the Saudis are signaling that they no longer feel obliged to rely on America for their arms as laid out in the 1974 petro-dollar agreement. Might this historic first signal a repudiation of their commitment to price their oil in dollars as well?

If so, the end of the dollar is at hand, and with it the beginning of the end of the American empire. Weaker countries like Iraq and Libya which tried to price their oil exports in, respectively, euros and gold-backed dinars were invaded and bombed by the U.S. in order to maintain dollar supremacy. Given this history, the threat to American power posed by a yuan-denominated global oil market may also be met with force.

This being the case, it is reasonable to question whether the American air and naval units being moved to Asia are in fact being sent to protect American allies from North Korean missiles.

Looking at the bigger picture, it seems more likely that the entire Korean issue is a smokescreen designed to provide cover for a military buildup intended to intimidate or even force China to abandon its challenge to the U.S. dollar. However, China is not Iraq or Libya. It is a major nuclear power. Trying to enforce continued dollar dominance in East Asia could very well end in catastrophe for America, East Asia and the entire world.

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Savvy's picture

Norks have no central bank. I'd say no.

TruxtonSpangler's picture

This is a misdirection but its even larger than this author thinks

philipat's picture

The points made are valid, BUT again we get the MIS-information that the CNY proceeds for oil sales "will be convertible to Gold on the SGE". That is NOT correct. Gold traded on the SGE in CNY is NOT for export. It is true that the CNY proceeds could be converted to Dollars to buy Gold on the Shanghai International exchange but they can do that with the Dollars they receive at present if they want to. And, importantly, the Gold traded on the International exchange is NOT China's Gold; it is NOT controlled by Beijing. There is no way that Beijing is going to back its currency with its own Gold.

How come so many otherwise very bright people continue to misunderstand this "Gold backed Oil CNY" story?

Winston Churchill's picture

A the moment its a threat used as leverage in negotiations we are not privy to.

Exactly as the USN deployments of carriers right now is.

I think the coming meeting between Xi,DJT and Putin ? is far greater signifigance that we

are aware of.In fact I believe its possibly the most important heads of state meeting in 70 years.

WWIII or a much slower peacefull transition in a controlled manner will be decided at it IMO.

Its my gut feeling as I have no evidence,just a inner knowledge of real history of similar meetings in

the past.and putting pieces of a larger jigsaw puzzle  into place.

new game's picture

achilles heal=dolla

merica circling the bowl howl...


and all MIC generals couldn't put trumpty dumpty back on his imaginary wall



philipat's picture

Except that at no time has China or any Chinese Publication even mentioned a Gold-backed CNY or a Gold for oil trade. China doesn't want the CNY to become the world's reserve currency, especially in the near-term whilst it remains dependent on exports. And China definitely will not reverse the flows and start "giving away" it's own Gold. But agreed, there is a bigger picture and I think the recent developments in Saudi are a part of it also.

Getting the Saudis to accept CNY for oil shipments to China is definitely on the cards soon but that is a separate, but related issue and is perhaps where some of the wheeling and dealing will take place.

Winston Churchill's picture

You're wrong ,or looking in the wrong places or date range.

It was was widely discussed as far back as 09 in a BIS paper of all places.

Its not a proposal for a gold backed yuan,China doesn't want it,they like fiat games.

Jim Willie for all his mouth,has it right,its for external settlement only,probably thru Hong Kong.

They want to turn back the clock to pre 71,but not 34.

Oil would just be the begining, but all contracts would have to be delivery only for

obvious reasons,which brings us back to those Sino Russian energy pipelines,are they going

via Uranus as they're taking so long to build ?

Probably not,just more leverage that we  are not privy to.

All of it has led us to the brink of an open WWIII, and I repeat my surmise above about the coming summit.

It won't be DJT giving an ultimatum,but probably getting one,hopefully without chocolate cake served.

Deploying all those carriers does not bode well.Look on the bright side,you will have a front row seat where your at.

philipat's picture

Sorry, I stand by my statement that neither China nor any ChinesePublication has ever made this claim and I don't believe there is any chance of CHINESE oil CNY for Gold or any Gold-backed CNY. Time will tell. Let's check back in a year?

Yes, I do have a front row seat and, even better, the jet stream runs W>E so any nuclear fallout goes your way not mine!!

ReturnOfDaMac's picture

Gold bulls, gotta bull...

AlexCharting's picture

NK is military ind. complex's marketing department 

kellys_eye's picture

It's not just China/NK though is it.... there has been a (not so) quieter build-up of so-called missile defense systems across the Russian/Europe borders.  After all, it's not just China that's creating this issue - it takes two to tango.....

secretargentman's picture

They may not have their own central bank, but they have their own Bureau of Engraving and Printing branch specializing in US C notes. 

holdbuysell's picture

Might want to watch these, as it might change your view on where those notes actually came from.

spanish inquisition's picture

Interesting stuff, watched it a while ago.

runningman18's picture

China is working closely with the IMF to replace the dollar as the world reserve currency using the SDR basket and eventually a cashless blockchain.  The banksters control East and West.  When are people going to get this?  The banksters are not going to send a naval force to intimidate China because China is already doing exactly what they want China to do. 

Conscious Reviver's picture

How much do the Bankster Jews pay you and your alter-ego, Brando?

Total nonsense. SDRs are just more unbacked fiat. After the World economy goes into convulsions due to the failure of unbacked fiat, more unbacked fiat in the form of SDRs will not find acceptance.

Anyone who wants to waste their time on a Brando Smith article deserves whatever delussions they acquire as a result.

runningman18's picture

Smith isn't the only one that has noticed that China and Russia support the IMF and the SDR, he was just the first, and I don't get paid anything for pointing out the obvious.  The SDR isn't exactly just fiat either, it's a basket system that encompasses all member currencies and gives the IMF the power to control monetary conversion.  Add to that the banksters using blockchain tech to create a cashless system, and there you have the replacement for the dollar as world reserve and the makings of a one world currency.  You haven't made an argument, just acted like a douche.  The banksters love fiat, why wouldn't they replace one fiat system with another?  People are idiots, they'll accept whatever is handed to them, most of all when there's a crisis.  Only a delusional person would think otherwise.   

Herodotus's picture

Take five rotten apples and place them in a basket.

So now, what do you have?

A basket of rotten apples.

new game's picture

full faith or everyday transactions with zero alternatives. it will keep working with full compliance cause there are no alternatives by design. and that is why gold is sooooooooooo stompted on. gold may be the only alternative, but it's value is not be allowed. so therefore zero alternative. gold is cumbersome, heavy and easily not-trusted as pure. fiat rules, and electronic is coming on strong as the faith is in place as billions of visa, mastercard and debit card transactions occur daily. digital fiat, here to stay. on phone, on computer...

next is full comp[liance of digital currency for full comtrol of all the minions. craddle to death full manipulation and control. social control with full compliance. masters of the universe are all on the same page. jews will be at the top rung directing all human activity. get out of line and the knock.knock will ring loud and clear-death just arrived at the door...


at my age i hope to be dead and gone by the tyme this regime of human control is in full force. OR I FIND A PLACE THAT REJECTS THIS STRUCTURE OF HUMAN CONTROL...india was unable to stop it.

google, apple, samsung and luv you, please comply with your hard earned fiat. your labor is ours to be used to control your every life fullfilling activity. humans will be controlled like lab rats. sample populations will be experimented on by controlling what they can purchase. think monsanto, think biological control areas for experimentation. certain purchases will be blocked with what? as an alternative. illegal trade will be a new alphabet enforcement agency labeled as terror purchase. how dare you not comply...

Implied Violins's picture

Then why did China sign on to the SDR basket?

And why have they been buying gold like it's going out of style?

China WILL present a gold-backed currency, first through the SDR, and it WILL be the death-knell of the dollar.

Failure to acknowledge reality could soon result in rigor mortis. Your move, if you can make one.

Conscious Reviver's picture

There is Zero downside in accepting the invitation. It was presented to them as an honor. It would be rude and counter productive to decline. Chinese don't operate that way. None of that means China has any plans in promoting SDRs. They will let the market choose and the market will not choose SDRs. It's a problem of destroyed trust. After the bust, everyone will understand what stinks about unbacked "trust us" fiat. Look into the Golden Age of Chinese Banking in the decades before WWII.Money in circulation was bank issued but backed and traded against each other, rising and falling based on issues like public confidence. The economy boomed until the government started looting the banks to fund the civil war.

China has already shown how it intends to buy oil. SDRs are just another rip-off.


veritas semper vinces's picture

Exactly. Who thinks it is possible to replace  paper monet,not backed by enything(or backed by military force) with other form of funny money,not backed by enything,after a total economic collapse,is delusional or a shill.

It's amazing how many here are unable to see this,

And ,by the way,the replacement of the petro-f*cking-dollar will come through TRADE,which is controlled by countries with the manufacturing base , natural resources, and having the gold.LIKE RUSSIA,CHINA,IRAN .See a pattern of "US enemies" here?The replacement of the petrodollar will not come through financial system reform.This will be the second phase. The financial system is controlled by the west,the zionist banking cabal.You can not beat them at their own game. So the decision was made to by-pass them,hit them asymmetrically,in places they do not control.Enter the future oil contrcts denominated in yuan ,backed by gold. Enter the Russia_ China piplines worth hundreds of Billions.It is so obvious .Look at what is happening,with all the trade deals out of the dollar,OBOR,etc.

What does US have? No manufacturing base,debt,paper shoveling,rent extraction from a shrinking middle class unable to pay rent anymore(see FIRE economy),war economy and a staggering trade deficit in the amount of 600 billion $ every year.Which will have to be paid not in dollars .And it has NO GOLD.I will call this checkmate.

Conscious Reviver's picture

Well done Veritas. The fact that Brando ignores the obvious ...

Conscious Reviver's picture

"Is Korea Just A Smokescreen?"

Yes. Iran is the target.

Savvy's picture

I don't think so. I think Iran is the smokescreen and Egypt the prize.

TruxtonSpangler's picture

No single country is the prize - they are ALL the prize.

LetThemEatRand's picture

Don't forget the $250M a day spent on these various military adventures, much of which flows to private enterprise.  Mises Institute has a problem calling that out because private enterprise is the answer to all things.

Ms No's picture

True but in order to enforce their psychopathic Globalism they need to control both currency and oil (also the movement of oil).  Those are the keys to the big blue marble.  Iran is key, Saudi is key, Syria and in the end they want/need Russia too.  China is screwed and vulnerable without good sources of oil.  Russia is supposed to be the last best off, or close to it, on oil stores and they say they only have 30 years left.  I'm thinking they're the only ones being honest right now and SA is going to go into big decline before long.  Russia then becomes very important, so important that if they remained standing on their own that they will just become a bigger force to be reckoned with as time goes on.  They have zero intention of allowing that to happen.  They can also threaten the petro dollar.

The Bakken miracle that never made money but is running zombie helped collapse prices to put a squeeze on Russia and any other oil bearing targets that aren't in the fold.  Some will disagree but I'm thinking the Bakken was the last big oil boom that you will see in the US, and it didn't really make any money, tons of debt, but they didn't care about that though.  It wasn't the shale boom's purpose.  They had left that exorbitantly expensive to extract oil with huge decline rates sitting all this time because they knew it wasn't worth it.  The whole damn thing was a national security operation that we will be bailed out by the US taxpayer down the road.  So we just blew our load just for a shot to weaken Russia and make for further targets in the ME.  My theory anyway. 


RationalLuddite's picture

Your theory is a good theory. Net energy return is what makes wealth. The west has largely forgotten this. Russia certainly has not. The Colder War by Marin Katusa shows in great detail Putin's 15 year disciplined drive to control high EROEI sources of oil, gas & uranium. It is astonishing the discipline they have shown both in strategic deals and in debt decoupling.  The sanctions actually made it easier, as it was an extra dose of enforced fiscal 'self discipline' and pushed non vassal countries closer to Russia & China. Moronic hubris by tge US & Co.  

The opening paragraph of The Colder War is particularly pertinent now:

"I am going to tell you a story you'll wish weren't true. Sometime soon, likely in the next five years or so (book published in 2015) there is going to be an emergency meeting in the Whitehouse Situation Room. It will probably start in the wee hours of the morning, when the early risers among Europe's oli traders and currency speculators have already begun to scramble out of the way of what's coming. None of the worried participants in the meeting will have a good solution to propose, because there will be no way for the United States to turn without embracing calamity if one kind or another.

The president will listen to his closest advisers lay out the dilemma. After a long silence he will say, "You're telling me that everything - everything - is coming unglued.".

He'll be right. At that point there will be no good options, only less awful ones.

Don't count on the wise and worldly who occupy the highest echelons of government power to know what they are doing when they sit in that meeting. Solving the puzzle of what to do will fall to the same kind of people who taday are standing by and letting disaster build."

The ending of this post series of 1944 cons and ponzis has been long in the planning by Russia, China et al. Fisky knew about detailed plans from sources in 2008 for a 2018 deadline. They are pretty much on schedule. (

Negative entropy that is useful or desirable for humans is the only  real capital and wealth. We forgot that in our post-modern techno triumphalist stupor. Entropy's a bitch and the West at least is going to learn this again the hard way. Next 20 years are going to be character building kids.

Savvy's picture

A market for your product is the prize.

Don't pay the ferry man...

Anteater's picture

"However, this month I was made aware of another possible reason for the attention being paid to North Korea and its purchased-from-Dual-Israeli-Junta-leaders- in- Kiev nuclear program."

There, fixed it for you. Israelis have sold the Norks the ICBMs and nukes to attack USA! Their Satanic overthrow coup in Ukraine for Greater Israel was entirely to capture the heavy lift rocket motors and nuclear warheads left after the former Soviet Union collapse.

The Israelis sure know how to turn a shekel.

TruxtonSpangler's picture

All the pieces are public but still no one has put them all together

land_of_the_few's picture

They cannot sell what they do not have.

Ukraine had no warheads by 1996, and they were dismantling the last of their SS-24 launcher in the 2000s

Conscious Reviver's picture

The new and improved rocket engines did come from dual-Israeli run Ukraine. We all read about it a few weeks ago. War heads were not mentioned, but it would not surprise me.

just the tip's picture

for the multitudes of US haters here, you better hope china has put its best know how into its weapons of war, because china can't even make a center punch that will.

Arthur Schopenhauer's picture

Nine out of ten articles on this website (ZeroHedge) are based in nothing but conspiracy theories, and the assholes on this site spread this shit around all over the place.

Hell, even our president, Donald Trump, considers the conspiracy theories hatched on this goddamn conspiracy theory website to be "the truth".

Small wonder this country is so fucked up.

maplesyrup's picture

If the conspiracy theories are wrong....they're wrong, but by chance their can get ugly. Wouldnt it make more sense to fucking question everything? Demand that our governments be completely transparent? Then if it doesnt come true so be it. But I'm sure we would turn up some government wrongdoing even if its just fixin a little league game. Hold the cocksuckers accountable.

LetThemEatRand's picture

"Hell, even our president, Donald Trump, considers the conspiracy theories hatched on this goddamn conspiracy theory website to be 'the truth'.  Small wonder this country is so fucked up."

The irony of your statement is staggering.  You should google the origin of the term "conspiracy theory."  Then you should google what Google now admits (after denying it for years) what they do with your emails, searches, and even online documents.

fangulos's picture

Hardcore antisemic Schopenhauer must be rolling in his grave.

maplesyrup's picture

The players for world war three have just been named. In the left corner, weighing in at 5 Gazzillion in debt is , Saudia Arabia et al.... The USofA, and Nato (kinda) versuuuus The red machines......Russia, China and everyones favorite........Iran.

Whats that about Gog/Magog?

Maybe their robbing like theres no fucking tomorrow and the only thing that matters is assets. Cash will be zero value in just a little while. The great reset. Fuck maybe Buffet was right when he said the market is going to a million.

Those assets being purchased today, will lose value (during the war and great financial reset) but on money that cost you nothing to get, makes it a win. Dont forget, interest rate is the cost of money, and money cost nothing today. Gold will skyrocket at one point. Bitcoin may become as valuable as some say it'll be.
Sure, during the fire and Brimstone gold and probably silver will be worth more than bitcoin, but when the smoke clears, bitcoin may very well be the currency of choice to starve these scums of their prescious fiat, stemming their ability to do it again. Hopefully.
This may be in 15-20 years from now. Kids in their early teens today will be in charge of the future at that point. We'll be too old. I can definately see my nephews using a bitcoin in the future over a silver roosevelt.

Just my 2 cents.

TruxtonSpangler's picture

Russia is still relatively independant and US would do well to get them on their side

Conscious Reviver's picture

"US would do well to get them on their side"

If wishes were horses, pigs would ride.

Never gonna happen. The Jews that control America will never allow it.

tigerbean's picture

I suggetsed this possibility months ago in the comments section but was ignored or downvoted. Glad to see someone else finally picking up on it. The whole N. Korea thing is the proxy positioning of the 2.

Dank fur Kopf's picture

Can't go to war with China, without it being a pre-emptive nuclear strike. And no matter how the warhawks try to spin such a thing, Americans and the entire rest of the world won't tolerate the use of nuclear weapons for any reason. US would become the rogue state, as every nation would boycott and sanction.

Can't do a conventional war, because China would win--easily. They'd play defensively, and they've spent the last three decades building weapons that ensure they would win under those conditions. China would respond by wiping out all air bases within striking distance of mainland China, and then hunt down carriers. Without air superiority, the US would have to commit to a ground war in a mountainous country with no clear objectives against a force that could send endless reinforcements.

US forces have never had to fight an enemy that can create a zone of denial as Russia and China can. US has never has to worry about carriers being sunk, or aircrafts being downed by the hundreds and thousands.

Dank fur Kopf's picture

The problem is that throughout the entire Bush Snr, Clinton, Bush Jr, and Obama era, the deep state focused on war, and trying to push Zionist ambitions. Doing so, they completely dropped the ball on economy. What made the US powerful originially wasn't military but economics, and doing trade with everyone. It wasn't war that defeated the Soviets, but financial strength.

US was beggared in the middle-east while China went about doing business. That's 30+ lost years that can't be recovered by force.

Sanctions are only isolating the US from business with a large portion of the world, and forcing allies to suffer--and eventually turn away.

It's possible for a turn-around but it would involve withdrawing from 80+ countries around the world, and focusing on MAGA.

I am Groot's picture

The way to beat China is to not fire a shot. Pull 100% of our buying from them and buy cheap, shitty stuff from India, Vietnam, South Korea, Columbia, and other 3rd world litter boxes. Then pit Russia again them. Easy peezy, lemon squeezy. As their economy collapses, they will need to keep supporting their behemoth military. They will go bankrupt in a matter of a few years just like the Soviet Union did back in the 80's.

Or better yet, sick the Japs on them. They can be some wicked nasty mo-fo's when they want to be. Nobody talks about them killing 14 million people and laughing every day about it during WWII. Everybody romantisizes Auchwitz like a it's the fucking Fountainblue on Miami Beach.

If Trump doesn't stop writing checks our ass can't cash, we're gonna be in deep doody. Fighting with China is gonna be like a fat chick sitting on your face. It's gonna hurt and eventually suffocate you.

Conscious Reviver's picture

If in the near future, no one wants your dollar, then no one will want your dollar. Clear yet?

Gohigher's picture

Then lets just go fight China over in Africa ?? And Russia in the ME where our paid for friends bought into the Koshernostra Langley line.
Oh .... wait ......

THE USSof FUBAR rides again !!!!

Ms No's picture

Duh... China has been supporting that place since the Korean war.  He is the mad dog vassal to keep the wolves at bay and allows them to act while remain free of blame (Just like the US and ISIS but way less stupid and aggresive).  When China said that if the US struck first they are coming out fighting it was pretty obvious they weren't concerned about the alternative, because obviously they have some control over whether NK strikes first.  The rest is posturing to back the wolves off, the wolves who are always aggressing and have tried this before.  If they have to make a rash maneuver it would likely come out of NK so they could hope to limit the stage. 

War with NK is essentially war with China but the MSM has everybody believing otherwise.  It could also end up a vassal fight between Japan and NK.  Without NK there it would just be war against China.  If China doesn't direct NK then they did a piss poor job after having decades to do it.  The Zionists would have had NK in no time flat if they were in their position.