Pepe Escobar On North Korea: Fire, Fury, Fear, & False Flags

Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Asia Times,

Alarm bells ringing as rampant speculation breaks out over Pyongyang’s ‘possible’ miniaturized nuclear warheads.

Beware the dogs of war.

The same intel “folks” who brought to you babies pulled from incubators by “evil” Iraqis as well as non-existent WMDs are now peddling the notion that North Korea has produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead able to fit its recently tested ICBM.

That’s the core of an analysis completed in July by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). Additionally, US intel believes that Pyongyang now has access to up to 60 nuclear weapons.

On the ground US intel on North Korea is virtually non-existent – so these assessments amount to guesswork at best.

But when we couple the guesswork with an annual 500-page white paper released earlier this week by the Japanese Defense Ministry, alarm bells do start ringing.

The white paper stresses Pyongyang’s “significant headway” in the nuclear race and its “possible” (italics mine) ability to develop miniaturized nuclear warheads able to fit on the tips of its missiles.

This “possible” ability is drowned in outright speculation. As the report states, “It is conceivable that North Korea’s nuclear weapons program has already considerably advanced and it is possible that North Korea has already achieved the miniaturization of nuclear bombs into warheads and has acquired nuclear warheads.”

Western corporate media would hardly refrain from metastasizing pure speculation into a “North Korea has miniaturized nuclear weapons” frenzy consuming the cable news cycle/ newspaper headlines.

Talk about hearts and minds comfortably numbed by the fear factor.

The Japanese white paper, conveniently, also escalated condemnation of China over Beijing’s actions in both the East and South China seas.

So let’s look at the agendas in play. The War Party in the US, with its myriad connections in the industrial-military-media complex, obviously wants/needs war to keep the machinery oiled. Tokyo, for its part, would much appreciate a pre-emptive US military attack – and damn the inevitable, massive South Korean casualties that would result from Pyongyang’s counterpunch.

It’s quite enlightening that Tokyo, for all practical purposes, considers China as a “threat” as serious as North Korea; Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera went straight to the point when he said, “North Korea’s missiles represent a deepening threat. That, along with China’s continued threatening behavior in the East China Sea and South China Sea, is a major concern for Japan.” Beijing’s response was swift.

Kim Jong-Un, demonized ad infinitum, is not a fool, and is not going to indulge in a ritual seppuku unilaterally attacking South Korea, Japan or US territory. Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal represents the deterrent against regime change that Saddam Hussein and Gaddafi could not count on. There’s only one way to deal with North Korea, as I’ve argued before; diplomacy. Tell that to Washington and Tokyo.

Meanwhile, there’s United Nations Security Council Resolution 2371. It does target North Korea’s major exports – coal, iron, seafood. Coal accounts for 40% of Pyongyang’s exports, and arguably 10% of GDP.

Yet this new sanctions package does not touch imports of oil and refined-oil products from China. That’s one of the reasons why Beijing voted in favor.

Beijing’s strategy is a very Asian attempt to find a face-saving solution – and that takes time. UNSC resolution 2371 buys time – and may dissuade the Trump administration, for now, from going heavy metal, with horrible consequences.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi cautiously stated the sanctions are a sign of international opposition to North Korea’s missile and nuclear weapons programs. The last thing Beijing needs is a war right on its borders, also bound to negatively interfere with the expansion of the New Silk Roads, a.k.a. Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Beijing could always work on re-building trust between Pyongyang and Washington. That’s an order taller than the Himalayas. One just needs to look back at the 1994 Agreed Framework, signed during Bill Clinton’s first term.

The framework was supposed to freeze – and even dismantle – Pyongyang’s nuclear program and was bound to normalize US-North Korea relations. A US-led consortium would build two light-water nuclear reactors to compensate for Pyongyang’s loss of nuclear power; sanctions would be lifted; both parties would issue “formal assurances” against the use of nuclear weapons.

Nothing happened. The framework collapsed in 2002 – when North Korea was enshrined in the “axis of evil” by the Cheney regime. Not to mention that the Korean War is still, technically, on; the 1953 armistice was never replaced by a real peace treaty.

So what next? Three reminders.

1) Beware of an engineered false flag, to be blamed on Pyongyang; that would be the perfect pretext for war.


2) The current narrative is eerily similar to the usual suspects blaring since forever that Iran is a heartbeat away from “building a nuclear weapon”.


3) North Korea holds trillions of US dollars in unexplored mineral wealth. Watch the shadowplay by candidates bound to profit from such juicy loot.


The Cooler King (not verified) ShakenNotStirred Fri, 08/11/2017 - 01:02 Permalink

I'm holding all judgements until Pepe Le Pew chimes in.<-- ok, fuck the downvote. & since I know from whom it came, I'll add this EDIT"Escobar is a seasoned, boots on the ground foreign correspondent and one of the few writers today with his head screwed on straight." Horseshit. Escobar just sticks a bunch of 'resolutions' or this or thats together and winds them into some kind of plausible 'surface story' that the intellectuals eat as dessert cake because they like the taste of beating around the bush and hate to eat vegetables. FFS ~ that's all the US Congress ever does 24/7 None of anything he wastes words spinning into a story have any bearing on what's truly at hand. Any person with their head 'screwed on straight' knows that this whole charade is yet another play bt TPTB to: - Keep the MIC oiled- & if they get lucky, maybe the FAT BOY will run & hide, they do a regime change, put one of their cronies on the throne, & steal some mineral rights in NK- line a few pockets So I don't need an article from a so called 'expert' to tell me that no matter how many Japanese 'white papers' and UNSC resolutions you want to spin into it to make it sound heady. Chrissakes, the only new blurb I read in this story to be added to the word cloud was 'miniaturized nukes', which, it's stated that they have no friggin clue if they have them or it's not. I mean, I should become a weatherman so I could give you ACCURATE forecasts like "tommorow, there will be a 50-50 chance of whether it's gonna rain or not". In the Rocky Mountains~Cloudy, In the Cloudy Mountains~Rocky! All I'd need would be a clown suit & I might get a gig on GOOD MORNING AMERICA and become the next Willard Scott. I mean, it's always the same. WTF is this one all about?… this ffs?… /rant offI could have left it alone with the Pepe Le Pew joke, but somebody had to get stupid on me   

In reply to by ShakenNotStirred

aurum4040 ShakenNotStirred Fri, 08/11/2017 - 00:56 Permalink

Funny how Pepe thinks diplomacy is the only solution after diplomacy has failed 25 years in a row. What a moron. The MIC is greedy no doubt but to possibly ignite a direct confrontation with China and or WW3 in order to go after minerals that are more or less Chinas minerals on land that is also more or less Chinas? What sounds more plausible - NK has SOME nuclear capability or the MIC is now a group of not only nutjobs but nut job kamikazes? I am not saying on or there other is definitely true or definitely false. But let's logically look at the situation. There's more at play here then minerals. Perhaps we consider South Korean tech/econ proliferation and it's impact on the US, China, and Japan. Unstable NK is an unstable SK and investment flows out unstable SK. Or at least slows significantly. And then there SCS military buildup, trade war, curreny problems. There just isn't a cut and dry Saddam/Iraq to Un/NK analogy here. It's more complicated and has far more implications than oil in MENA. 

In reply to by ShakenNotStirred

aurum4040 Flybyknight Fri, 08/11/2017 - 01:32 Permalink

25 year reference points at Oct 94 and Bill Clinton $billion handout to NK... Believe me, I know the stories....Answer my question - where has diplomacy worked? And when is the last time we were repeatedly directly and overtly threatened with NUKES by anyone? CMC in the 60's doesn't compare. If we stand down to threats on this level, who are we? A bunch of post WW2 pussies who will allow this country to fall because we can't possibly have an agenda that attempts to ensure our standard of living continues for as long as possible. Someday you war pussies will beg for the MIC to return. 

In reply to by Flybyknight

edotabin aurum4040 Fri, 08/11/2017 - 03:56 Permalink

I believe it may be best to drill down a bit and take a closer look at the word diplomacy. Diplomacy can work well in some situations but not in this one.So, the basic breakdown is that we tell them they can't have nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, in about 20 years, my grandmother will be able to build one. Splitting the Atom ain't the magic it used to be. They either say "yeah yeah yeah" and get some kind of reward or they take an argumentative stance and begin to threaten. In the case of the latter the only thing left to do is to invade/bomb. There is no law without the threat of force.So, either technologies are developed to eliminate the threat of missiles or the US will go around the world doing this. North korea today, Iran tomorrow and my Grandmother's kitchen in 20 years.........

In reply to by aurum4040

Flybyknight aurum4040 Fri, 08/11/2017 - 04:53 Permalink

The soviet union won WWii in Europe with help from the USA in 1945. 72 years ago. Hollywood may disagree. The war ended with the totally unnecesary atomic bombing of Japan by the USA. They were worried that the USSR would finish off Japan too so needed to end things quickly. The USA  promptly started the cold war to establish its hegemony over the western world using the threat of those terrible commies to justify the Korean war and Vietnam. Two wars it didn't win.The USA went on to fight wars overtly and covertly against dictatorships and democratically elected governments in numerous countries such as Honduras, Cuba, Nicuragua, Chile, Yugoslavia, Iraq ,Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Somalia, Afghanistan, Panama, Ukraine, Georgia, and some I have probably forgotten. WW2 Pussies you are not. War criminals is what you are. North Korea would not be threatening anyone if the USA just fucked off and died and let the adults in the room take care of it.Do you really believe NK would attack anyone? What then? We all live subsevient to Kim Jong Un. Get a life.Do you think people should be arrested for looking like criminals? While that is how the US police seem to work that is not the standard in the civilised world. When was diplomacy actualy tried? Beg for the MIC to return? It never left and the day the NK's or the Russians or the Chinese storm the beaches I will beg for their help but it ain't never going to happen.P.S. Russia is no longer communist in fact it is less socialist towards it's corporates than the USA is, yet your beloved MIC needs an enemy to build its profits on so we get this ludicrous Russiagate bullshit.Open your eyes aurum4040     the

In reply to by aurum4040

Anteater Flybyknight Fri, 08/11/2017 - 02:35 Permalink

MAGA actually meant a military anagram Mike Alpha Golf Alpha.Trump was saying he is an 'alpha' and will continue his mission('mike') by playing golf with bankers and generals, also 'alphas'.Translating:"MAGA! My mission is to play golf with alpha males."And basically that's all he's been doing, beside twittering out tweets while he's squeezing out another fat Papa. An even morevenal Kaballah interpretation, in the number of letters, MAGA inmilitary spelling is 4 5 4 5. He just wants to hear you shout 45!!

In reply to by Flybyknight

OverTheHedge aurum4040 Fri, 08/11/2017 - 01:17 Permalink

As with all these things, there are lots of players, each with differing objectives. Some objectives intersect, so some players are on the same side, but only until they are not.Japan would benefit if South Korea took a hit (pardon the pun)China would lose if North Korea took a hit, but there are also countering plus points to not having a difficult regime on the border.MIC might gain initially, but it might actually destroy the US economy, so perhaps not a long term gain.Mining and mineral wealth up for grabs? Good luck holding on to that, without instigating a nuclear exchange with China.North Korea is China's back yard (but note international corporations don't have loyalty to any one nation, so might not be as clear-cut, if China needs western expertise)China would benefit from the removal of Guam bases.I could go on and on, but it's a mess, and you notice that at no point does the life and wellbeing of the slaves in the various countries come into consideration. Perhaps it is time to have a different way of doing business. Open to suggestions, but "nuke them from orbit, it's the only way to be sure" might be the best bet, but only if you include the entire planet. Embarrassing to be human, these days (same as it ever was).

In reply to by aurum4040

SybilDefense aurum4040 Fri, 08/11/2017 - 17:59 Permalink

China and Russia want to end the US Dollar hegemoney. They have been preparing with the Shanghi Exchange (haven't seen the shock yet), and Russia circumventing the us petrodollar (gold).Both China and Russia are hoping we go to war, one that we are in no way financially or politically sound enough to "endure".  This would give them the ability to take full advantage and institute a global currency no longer controlled by the US (except for the globalists).  Remember that the US emerged from the first WWs as the leader because 1) it got into the fight late and 2) only after making $ on loans to both sides. It would be great if we were allowed to see reality here, but since those days are forever gone, I will just hope that our leaders recognize that being broke, deeply in debt, and in a war makes for easy prey from scavangers who have been waiting for a ripe chance like this to change America's position until America is once again in the position they are in now, if ever.War will end badly.  Let's drop our Corp tax rates to zero, drop the min wage and bring the business to the Americas, creating jobs so immigrants stay in their own lands and happy to do so.  In other words, let's beat China at their own game, like we did Russia.  In two years if we want NK to be glass, so be it.  No reason, tho and now is a bad time to try to prove you have testosterone.

In reply to by aurum4040

Anteater aurum4040 Fri, 08/11/2017 - 02:19 Permalink

Hyundai and Samsung are about to bury Nissan and Apple.LGElectronics will dominate large screen TVs for next decade.Hyundai Heavy Industries does all the heavy shipbuilding now.Fastest internet on the planet, and it's where Saudis go for surgery.Phenomenal growth rate, incredibly intelligent, emotionally mature.THIS SHALL NOT STAND!!SEND IN THE RINGWRAITHS!!!LOVE, MORDOR

In reply to by aurum4040

rp2016 Thu, 08/10/2017 - 23:54 Permalink

you are scaring me too much... ZH, are you using the same diapers or got new ones??? Where are you hiding.... You still don't believe my claim on the entire world? Why are you running and for what?I am with you... don't be scared... just fight with me. only you ... send me the fight acceptance or a white flag... the more you delay the better it gets.… The are 10 people and resoures ... why are you running and for what?

Hillarys Server Thu, 08/10/2017 - 23:59 Permalink

The US is just one tiny false flag away from grabbing North Korea''s trillions of dollars worth of underground mineral wealth?

I think we have an answer to what will happen right there.

Manipuflation Fri, 08/11/2017 - 00:03 Permalink

I always loved model rocketry.  I have built dozens of them.  Those Estes engines have gotten a little too expensive.  You get bummed when they get hung up in trees, powerlines or land on the top of a roof.  I built some nice ones and I still have them.  I did get a lot better at telemetry and this was for the kids and they liked it.  It is fun.  It is educational. 

AurorusBorealus Manipuflation Fri, 08/11/2017 - 00:14 Permalink

Don't tell the CIA about your model rockets.  They will accuse you of having a "nuclear weapons program" and claim that you are designing "solid-fuel" rocket scuds to launch from caves at U.S. forces.  Then, the media will start screaming about your "weapons of mass destruction" and a distinguished U.S. general will go the UN and lie, lie, lie about your model rockets to the entire world.  Then the U.S. will send stealth fighters over your home to destroy your model rocket "air defense grid."  Then the ground troops will come and search your house until they find you hiding in a "spider hole."

In reply to by Manipuflation

lakecity55 Manipuflation Fri, 08/11/2017 - 05:02 Permalink

I still build them. Built a perfect flying scale model of a V2 in accurate camouflage last year. They have little altimeters you can put in them to record your flight now. Plus I am building a video Camroc. I am angling the camera to show the ground and hopefully capture the horizon at apogee. Kim had better not launch anything at me, as my Patriot model rocket can carry a miniaturized M80 (1/4 stick of dynamite) and knock out his rocket.The motors have gone up, but the grandkids love 'em.Carry on. I wish Centuri was still in business. 

In reply to by Manipuflation

AurorusBorealus Fri, 08/11/2017 - 00:07 Permalink

Again, let me reiterate... the "framework" of the 1994 agreement did not "collapse."  The U.S. broke the treaty, every single clause in it.  How can the U.S. now claim to seek a diplomatic solution when they violated every term of the previous "diplomatic solution?"  Who would believe them?  The signature of Tillerson or Trump on a piece of paper is meaningless.  The U.S. must now accept a nuclear N. Korea because the U.S. refused to honor its obligations under the treaty that was designed to prevent N. Korea from acquiring nuclear weapons.  No further "diplomatic solution" is necessary.  N. Korea now has nuclear weapons... end of story.  So the war-mongers in the U.S. should just go back to shuttling arms to Muslim terrorists through Syria and shut up about N. Korea.  There is nothing more to see here.

mc888 Fri, 08/11/2017 - 00:15 Permalink

Finally a good article. But I still think there's misdirection in play on both sides.Announcing in advance you're gonna plop a couple of tin cans in the water is not a threat of attack.I'd be watching the South China Sea.

Anteater Lost in translation Fri, 08/11/2017 - 02:05 Permalink

DPRK IS the false flag, to move the news cycle away from Muellersinvestigation of the three traitors, Prince Donald Jr, Czar Jared and'cooperating with authorities' (sic) Paul Manafot, which is mafiya code-talking for 'the Feds din' find nuthin'. DPRK is the 'shiney object' so youwon't feel your wallet pocket and say, 'hey, wait a minute what happenedto my $8,000 BILLION the Pentagon lost after it was hacked...twice. DPRKbuys enough ink that nobody will notice the Ukrainian troops moving intoposition to attack Crimea. DPRK is bug spray blinding you to the brutaltruth that Trump:Kushner just sold $112 BILLION of tactical and theaterweapons to the al-Saud Wahhabi-ISIS terrorist headchoppers, and thatevery one of those bmobs and bullets will be aimed at 20,000 of our kids Trump:Kushner surged into Great Sandbox, making Trump a traitor TWICE,a venal Ziopig, more of a war criminal than McCain, more of a fraud thanMadoff, sitting there in his short bathrobe with the Mar-a-Lago crest,when he should be doing 20- to life in United States Penitentiary II, Coleman 

In reply to by Lost in translation

ItsAllBollocks Fri, 08/11/2017 - 01:03 Permalink

Ok, here's the deal. For a tiny $10 per month subscription you don't need an underground bunker, you don't need a long term supply of food, you don't even need unlimited fire power to protect you and yours, all you need do is subscibe to this limited offer today. Don't waste time, be the first one on your block to take advantage of this amazing oportunity. You wont be dissapointed, your security is just a few clicks away. If you believe in the future of your country and the future of mankind, click on the link below to enter your credit, social security and IRS details and rest assured, we wont use your personal information for anything

Dr. Bonzo Fri, 08/11/2017 - 00:50 Permalink

It's really too bad that the US had to go blow its wad on mideast misadventures for the last 30-some years. It's squandered its credibility, shredded core values and mired the US in debt. Thousands of US dead, tens of thousands of permanently maimed troops and hundreds of thousands of dead chocolate people. And now this bullshit.The North will never denuclearize, the North will never stop developing its nuclear program and the North will not back down. AND.... the North is not the US's problem. If the US packed up all its shit and left the Korean peninsula tomorrow and let the Koreans sort out their own shit everyone in NE Asia would be the better for it.And the Norks would still have nukes.The Norks situation has been badly mishandled for the last 30 years, especially since they demonstrated their intentions to develop nukes. Should have been manhandled 30 years ago, but the South Koreans decided to coddle them and attempt unilateral rapprochement. The Norks never returned the favor, never took the bait and never responded in kind. The South remained oblivious and has been coddling the Norks ever since.North Korea is South Korea's bad headache. Wanna end this "crisis." Bring our boys home. Now.

AurorusBorealus Dr. Bonzo Fri, 08/11/2017 - 02:47 Permalink

I will never forget watching Colin Powell, one of the few U.S. figures whom I respected, stand in front of the UN and present the "evidence" of Saddam's weapons's program.  I will never forget listening to those audio recordings of Iraqi unit commanders talking and saying things like, "Did you dispose of the 'stuff.'"  And the response, "Yeah."  I will never forget thinking, "This is the 'evidence.'"  Looking at the plans for those aluminum tubes that the CIA kept referring to as components for "centrifuges" and thinking that those tubes could be for just about anything including lawn chairs.  The U.S. permanently lost all credibility in my eyes that day, and I will never believe another word that comes out of the mouth of anyone in Washington: so long as I live... not one word.

In reply to by Dr. Bonzo

FixItAgainTony AurorusBorealus Fri, 08/11/2017 - 15:09 Permalink

And yet the UN, UE, UK, and pacific vassal state govts did absolutely NOTHING to stop the wars. Do you remember Kofi Annan standing utterly silent next to GW Bush as Cheney's and Rumsfeld's absurd Iraq lies (the weapons inspectors being kicked out) were repeated at the UN?

I knew then that the fix was in and a collaborative decision to gang rape Iraq must have been made without public knowledge.

In reply to by AurorusBorealus

youshallnotkill Fri, 08/11/2017 - 00:54 Permalink
  • Does Kim already have such a war head?

Probably not.

  • Does he try to get one? 

Hell yes.

  • Does he already have nukes? 

Yes, according to seismic measurements of the last tests. Just because the hounds of war are almost always wrong, doesn't mean they can't be right on occasion.