Articles and analysis

This is an edited version of a presentation made by John Everard, UK Ambassador to North Korea (DPRK) 2006-2008, to a EURODEFENSE conference in London.

1. Conventional capabilities include supplies of gas such as Sarin (used to assassinate Kim Jong Nam in Singapore). The often-quoted artillery facing Seoul may be degraded, and troops are reportedly under-trained and under-armed as nuclear and missile programmes have drained cash from other areas of armed forces. Defectors report low morale in what is mostly a conscript army.

With the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the U.S became the world's only "hyper power". A state defined as possessing such overwhelming economic, technological, political, and military powers and resources, it has no rivals. No individual state, nor any alliance of states are capable of challenging its global primacy. Washington can project its power anywhere across the globe at any time. Power so intimidating, it should fulfill the maxim of Sun Tzu, China's great military strategist: "The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting." Power that has, however, experienced unanticipated limitations, writes Joseph E Fallon.

A major theme of the US and Western commentariat in recent months has been the way in which so-called "grown-ups" from the Washington foreign and security policy establishment have stepped in to control the "reckless and irresponsible" President Trump. Given the record of that establishment over the past two decades, one might be pardoned for asking which of the parties to this arrangement is the more irresponsible, says Anatol Lieven.

Two things however are indubitably true: that for the past 12 years or so the US security establishment has acted severely to constrain the foreign policies of three successive presidents; and that more than ever before this security establishment is dominated by the US uniformed military. Today, not only the Secretary of Defense and the National Security Adviser but the White House Chief of Staff as well are all generals or ex-generals who reflect absolutely the consensus of the US military high command. Another general who defied that consensus – Mike Flynn - was rapidly removed, in part through behind-the scenes pressure from his former military colleagues.

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