"Armageddon Risk" Returns: North Korea Predicts "Catastrophe" As Massive U.S. War Games Begin Monday

Traders barely had time to enjoy the lull from the "Armageddon trade" - the rising possibility of a nuclear exchange between the US and North Korea, which peaked over the weekend when various US officials said a nuclear war is not imminent, echoed by a statement by N. Korea's state-run news agency KCNA, before a new set of worries promptly took over, chief among them the ongoing slow motion train wreck in Donald Trump's administration coupled with yesterday's double terrorist attacks in Spain. Alas, "nuclear war" risk is about to come back with a vengeance because on Monday US and South Korea are scheduled to begin joint military exercises, a massive show of force which every time in the past has infuriated North Korea, sometimes triggering a show of force.

Held every fall in South Korea, the Ulchi-Freedom Guardian war games are the world’s largest computerized command and control exercise. Some 30,000 U.S. soldiers and more than 50,000 South Korean troops usually take part, along with hundreds of thousands of first responders and civilians, some practicing for a potential chemical weapons attack.

Scheduled long before the recent diplomatic fallout between Washington and Pyongyang, the U.S. and South Korean militaries will simulate warfare with North Korea from Aug. 21 to 31, well aware that North Korea could respond with another missile test, according to McClatchy.

In light of this perceived provocation by North Korea, which will almost certainly prompt some reaction, Scott A. Snyder, a Korea specialist with the Council on Foreign Relations said “Over the course of the next two weeks I expect tensions to escalate. This is always a sensitive issue, but it is more hair-trigger as the North Koreans are very sensitive to the likely additional nuclear-capable aircraft flyovers.”

While the Pentagon has repeatedly stated that the biannual exercises are "defensive" in nature, both North Korea and China have long criticized them as a provocation and an affront to regional security. “There certainly will be some reaction,” said J.D. Williams, a retired Marine colonel and defense policy researcher at the RAND Corporation in California. He said he wouldn’t be surprised if North Korea conducted some kind of missile launch — not a test but a defiant demonstration of might.

As discussed earlier in the week, North Korea’s Kim backed off a threat to launch missiles at Guam, saying he’d watch “the foolish and stupid conduct of the Yankees” before deciding on the launch, a decision that Trump quickly tweeted was “very wise and well reasoned.” While the exchange suggested that cooler heads were prevailing in the latest U.S. standoff with North Korea. But next week’s war games could rekindle hostilities. On Thursday, North Korean state media declared that the military exercises will “further drive the situation on the Korean Peninsula into a catastrophe.”

It's not just North Korea: Beijing will likely be rather unhappy too.

The exercise, along with one in March, often triggers anti-war protests in South Korea and condemnation from China. While Chinese President Xi Jinping has been noticeably cool toward Kim Jong Un, and has been critical of North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons, China has long wanted the United States to shrink its military footprint in Asia, including some 12 bases in South Korea and Japan.

 

In an editorial Monday, China’s Global Times newspaper, an arm of the Communist Party’s People’s Daily, lambasted the decision by the United States and South Korea to go ahead with Monday’s exercises.

 

“The drill will definitely provoke Pyongyang more, and Pyongyang is expected to make a more radical response,” the newspaper said. “If South Korea really wants no war on the Korean Peninsula, it should try to stop this military exercise.”

In other words, China - which is largely expected to rein in North Korea - is already hedging in case North Korea does something impulsive, suggesting the exercise itself could be the provocation that sets Kim off. And set him off, it will: in the past North Korea has reacted strongly during the biannual war games. In 2014, the north fired off scud missiles during the March exercises held by the U.S.-South Korean command, called Foul Eagle.

During the 2015 Ulchi-Freedom Guardian exercises, North Korea and South Korea exchanged artillery and rocket fire over their border. That exchange came after two South Korean soldiers were maimed stepping on land mines in the Demilitarized Zone. South Korea accused North Korean soldiers of sneaking across the border and planting the land mines.

Last week, China and Russia urged the United States to consider a “freeze for freeze” agreement to reduce tensions. In such a deal, Pyongyang would agree to suspend its tests of missiles and nuclear weapons, and Washington and Seoul would agree to suspend large-scale military exercises. That, however, is not happening: U.S. military experts say such a deal would give a lopsided advantage to North Korea, which could continue its military training even as the U.S.-South Korea exercises were suspended. “It is hard to imagine why the United States would accept that, because of the vulnerability it would create,” said Bruce Bennett, a senior defense researcher at RAND.

In a media briefing on Tuesday, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the United States will continue to hold joint exercises with South Korea. And since North Korea will immediate see this "provocation" as a green light for a response, the respite that traders got from the "Armageddon trade" that sent the VIX soaring by one of its biggest and fastest intraday moves in history, may prove very short-lived. Perhaps the only silver lining is that the exercises don't begin until Monday, so traders don't have to do anything too crazy ahead of the weekend.

Comments

NickyGall Fri, 08/18/2017 - 07:57 Permalink

Here is an article that looks at the number of deaths and injuries that would result from a North Korean nuclear attack on the west coast of North America: 
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https://viableopposition.blogspot.ca/2017/08/the-impact-of-north-korean… Our only hope is that both the United States and North Korea step back from their current game of brinkmanship.

evildimensions (not verified) UndergroundPost Fri, 08/18/2017 - 14:59 Permalink

CNN gets more surreal and disconnected from reality by the hour...

Wolf Blitzer wonders if Barcelona terror attack was a Charlottesville 'copycat': http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/wolf-blitzer-wonders-if-barcelona-ter…

You can't make this shit up ^^^^. Wolfie apparently doesn't realize there have been 8 vehicle attacks by ISIS in the last 13 months. Something he could have gleaned from a simple front page google search.

In reply to by UndergroundPost

neutrino3 Haus-Targaryen Fri, 08/18/2017 - 11:23 Permalink

"nothing happens." Filed with 0.1% probability.Now mark my words. There will be shuffle wars. US military & Ziaville has no other chance to survive. Bankers are only tool.Let it be. All those hidden EU countries that make bloody logistics in Cocoonville should feel repercussions. Worm mail hand on their butts. Lil-cut immigrants are only logistics. For the next step.

In reply to by Haus-Targaryen

Justin Case VinceFostersGhost Fri, 08/18/2017 - 09:33 Permalink

merica is using NK as a proxy to antagonize China, NK is a useful idiot at this point. Gives merica an excuse to have their military equipment in the region as they slowly encircle China as they did Russia after verbal agreement with Mikhail Gorbachev not to build up ZATO foces on Russia's borders. Now it's China's turn. It's also good for MIC business. Britain is bankrupting the military with the F-35's from the MIC. They threatened Trudeau if he doesn't buy the F-35's they'll close up shop in Canada. There's a capitalist business strategy.

In reply to by VinceFostersGhost

BenBache VinceFostersGhost Fri, 08/18/2017 - 10:53 Permalink

The Deep State will stage a major false flag on the west coast to blame on North Korea.  Probably Seattle because it has a huge navy base to help in the hoax.  And it has a bunch of old structures like the Space Needle that need replacing and a nice big "terrorist" attack could kill two birds with one stone.Monday August 21 looks like a good day, coupling these super expensive war games with a total eclipse.  If it happens, remember if I can predict it that means someone here in the states planned it.  Just like 911, a total inside job that netted trillions in profits for those in the know.

In reply to by VinceFostersGhost

SilverDoctors VinceFostersGhost Fri, 08/18/2017 - 11:18 Permalink

Except for the fact that the Deep State is about to unleash an epic False Flag 10x bigger than 9/11 and usher Obama back into power under Martial Law triggering the 2nd Civil War: Barack Obama will be Worshipped as God, for the God of this World Shall Possess HimThis was spoken to my wife this morning:"Oh How My Heart Hurts For What I AM About to Do""Speak to the Church:Repent for the time is near- heed my warnings. I don't like what I see. A wicked and adulterous generation. You mock Me, you despise Me, you take My name in vain. For who can I save? I will tell you again, Repent!You do not listen to My call, you will reap what you sow.Oh how My heart hurts for what I AM about to do. Tell My children I love them. I've given My warnings.Father Yahweh God""Listen to My voice.  What I AM about to tell you may come as a shock to you.  Destruction is coming upon your nation very soon.  Days.  The eclipse - a great sign from your heavenly Father.  He is warning His people. Sudden destruction comes.  Do not be fearful.  I hold you in the palm of My hand.  The days ahead will be very hard.  Do not lose hope My love, I AM coming for you..."And it shall come to pass that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord (Jesus, Yahshua, Yahweh) will be saved....

In reply to by VinceFostersGhost

Justin Case Fake Trump Fri, 08/18/2017 - 09:37 Permalink

Why would anything change? The men behind the curtain pull the leavers, not any president. He's just a figure head to give the immpression that merica is a domocracy. Merica is a corporatocracy. Left wing right wing, two wings of the same bird. If voting made a differance they would have banned it long time ago. This illusion of a democracy is working fine.

In reply to by Fake Trump

Thom Paine NickyGall Fri, 08/18/2017 - 08:27 Permalink

So how long should appeasement go on?Appeasement is selling your children down the drain.Appeasement was tried by previous Presidents whose fault it now that we have a nuke and missile capable NK ffs.So the appeasers want to want to wait until NK has a genuine ICBM and minaturised nuke capability - ie a bunch of missiles that can fuck up any part of planet they want, if they don't get their next demands.The appeasers say, everybody should go home and not talk about the cancer, because cancer will just cure itself if you ignore you have it.The USA's options are regime change, China action on NK, China forced regime change.The USA will not attack NK unless and until they can guarantee that there will be little collateral damage to SK and Japan - which is probably impossible, so the chance of attacking NK is near nil. This is known, but Bannon should have shut up about it because it undermines Trump's game.

In reply to by NickyGall

HalinCA (not verified) NickyGall Fri, 08/18/2017 - 16:32 Permalink

Yawn ... the worst part of this having to listen to al the triggered snowflakes whining about missing their TV shows for 4 years while the grid is rebuilt. Can't wait for the 0.1% to try to buy their way into part of the country that 'won't take kindly' to them.  They won't be able to eat their money ....

In reply to by NickyGall