China warns on North Korea

| August 11, 2017 | 106 Comments

The Washington Post reports that the Global Times published a warning from China that they would not support a North Korean missile strike on US interests. They also stated that they would intervene if the US tried to change the regime in the hermit kingdom;

In an editorial, The Global Times said China should make it clear to both sides: “when their actions jeopardize China’s interests, China will respond with a firm hand.”

“China should also make clear that if North Korea launches missiles that threaten U.S. soil first and the U.S. retaliates, China will stay neutral,” it added. “If the U.S. and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so.”

The Global Times warning comes at the end of a week of threat and counter-threat between Washington and Pyongyang, and as the United States weighs up its options to deal with the threat of North Korea’s nuclear and missile program.

The Global Times said both sides were engaging in a “reckless game” that runs the risk of descending into a real war.

The article claims that the Chinese aren’t all that happy that there are nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula, but that ship has sailed. Too bad they didn’t grow cojones a decade or so ago when they could have intervened and prevented North Korea from developing nuclear weapons. Now they’re just closing the barn door after the horses got out. President Bush tried to get the Chinese to have a regional solution to the nuclear problem, and they kicked the can down the road.

Meanwhile, Congress thinks that this is Constitutional;

Category: North Korea

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  1. Ex-PH2 says:

    ‘Kicked the can down the road’. Well, hey, Pres. Xi, the can is in your lap. You may have a lotsa lotsa Norkis refugees pouring over your border. I hope you’re prepared to deal with that probability.

    Oh, while I’m at it, the Norks should shoot first. We can ask questions later.

  2. HMCS(FMF) ret says:

    China had a chance to take control of the situation, and now they have a fool with nukes at their back door. So what do they do – play the same card they did in the 50’s (attack the North and we’ll intervene). What happens when the first nuke is used against the Chinese when Kim da Turd thinks the Chinese have “disrespected” him.

    How long until this thread gets to be the platform for a certain poster to hijack?

  3. Jeff LPH 3, 63-66 says:

    Ok China, this is your last warning. We will not buy any china from you peeps that says made in China. Then you can file for a chapter 11.

  4. Rock says:

    It’s sad that Rep Ted Lieu is an officer in the Air Force Reserves and can’t comprehend the lawful authority of the CINC, or in the case of deploying nuclear weapons, the National Command Authority.

    • UpNorth says:

      Yeah, maybe he should be removed from the AF Reserve if his ability to understand is so compromised.

      • Rock says:

        This kind of reminds me of Harold Hering, who was promptly booted from the Air Force since he decided that he was authorized to question the sanity of the President:

        “How can I know that an order I receive to launch my missiles came from a sane president?”

        “I have to say, I feel I do have a need to know, because I am a human being. It is inherent in an officer’s commission that he has to do what is right in terms of the needs of the nation despite any orders to the contrary. You really don’t know at the time of key turning, whether you are complying with your oath of office.”

        Then boom, a hero to the left wing.

    • HMCS(FMF) ret says:

      Well, he is a JAG Corps officer… and a (D) member of Congress, so he knows better than us “deplorables”.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      Maybe we’ll get lucky and a 1st strike will land on his house. That’s the distance Fatty Kim da T’ird is aiming to cover, you know.

    • USMC Steve says:

      Trump should take his commission. Roosevelt did it to Lindbergh.

  5. Texas Nomad says:

    Wait, why is there a nuclear exception to War Powers act?

    Congress has exclusive rights to declare war, seems like a pretty big loop hole if President can launch nuclear strike then “respond to (counter) attack”.

    Although in case of NK is a little more murky.

    • Jonn Lilyea says:

      Are you in Congress? Your reading comprehension skills equal those of our legislators.

      • Texas Nomad says:

        I don’t think “A” President should be able to launch a nuclear first strike without Congressional authorization.

        Isn’t that the substance of the bill Lieu introduced? How is that unconstitutional?

        • USMC Steve says:

          Yeah, that ought to work out really well. Incoming missiles – get that Mongolian clusterfuck known as congress together so we can decide if we want to fire back.

          A flawless solution that is.

          • Graybeard says:

            Hondo may clarify matters somewhat – and I’m away from my books on Constitutional Law, but this little phrase:

            “The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States;…”

            gives the President of the United States the right and the authority to order any form of military response he or she deems necessary without any input from some idiot Congressman (but I repeat myself).

            That the law has given to Congress the power to fund or not fund a military action and/or formally declare war is a distinct issue and ought not to be confused with what the POTUS is Constitutionally empowered to do.

            And given the ineptitude of Congress, only those who are willing to work for the destruction of the United States would agree to removing that power from the POTUS.

            • timactual says:

              “the authority to order any form of military response”

              The key word is RESPONSE, which is not a first strike, by definition.

              • Graybeard says:

                Q, then (purely hypothetical)

                If a hostile nation-state were to have or, upon best intelligence, be believed to have a weapon for which the US has no effective countermeasure,
                and if the head of said nation-state were to declare openly, and repeatedly, his/her intention to attack or harm the US,
                and if best intelligence indicates that such an attack with said weapon is eminent within an hour or two,
                would the POTUS be Constitutionally justified in what might be termed a “pre-emptive response” in shooting first?

                Or to put it in a simpler context – if the crazy guy next door is vowing to kill me or mine and he picks up a gun, do I get to shoot first?

                • 11B-mailclerk says:

                  Would a reasonable person consider your hypothetical situation a declaration of war, or the making of war? That would seem to be the key point.

                  granted, there are seldom any “reasonable” neutral people around when needed. Most are -quite- decided already.

                  The Founders clearly didn’t want the Executive getting us into wars on single-person say-so. However, they also clearly wanted Congress kept -out- of the chain of command, for a whole bunch of good reasons.

                  So to our near-future scenario:

                  If Trump is given incontrovertible satellite info, and soem other corroboration, that the DPRK is prepping and fueling their rockets to launch a first strike, do we really want to say “Well, the President did the right thing going to Congress to ask a declaration of war to retaliate against their cities, killing tens of millions there, rather than counter-striking their launch sites on his own, before they could fuel and prep to launch their rockets killing only thousands there. And, of course, preventing the obliteration of a half dozen US cities and similar numbers of allied cities, and tens of millions of US and Allied dead, each.

                  Is -anyone- saying that allowing a first strike, to follow the formalities, is preferable to a presidential strike to prevent a launch against us?

                  Because a retaliatory strike after a first strike is going to involve far, far, more deaths than a US decapitation strike.

                  I am also reasonably sure that anyone advocating for a “don’t shoot back” scenario would be dangling from a lamppost if such belief was uttered after Los Angeles and/or Seattle were vaporized. (Or just lit by a near miss)

          • timactual says:

            If there are incoming missiles then our response would not be a first strike.

    • Commissar says:

      It is a cold war relic. A military aid carries a launch device with him everywhere the president goes. The idea is that allowing the president to have nuclear launch capability everywhere he goes helps assure we can respond quickly to a first strike thus serving as a deterrent to prevent a first strike.

      However, congress could pass a bill that would prevent the president from lawfully initiating a first strike making any attempt to do so without congressional approval an “illegal order” and giving those holding control over a launch device at least some authority to refuse to agree to turn over the launch device to the president.

      Right now the president has complete unilateral authority to launch nuclear weapons. The only thing standing in his way is an advisor trying to intervene either through persuasion of physical intervention.

      I can imagine if the president tries to do a first strike there are a few people that will fall on their swords and try to stop him or delay him until the 25th amendment can be invoked**. But they would be acting illegally and arguably committing treason.

      Not exactly the position you want the world to be in with a malignant narcissist in the white house.

      Congress and our national security advisory teams need to come up with some way to still provide the capacity to respond to a first strike quickly while preventing someone that might not be in their right mind or might not have a right mind from starting a nuclear war.

      **Theoretically, if the vice president and the majority of the sitting cabinet believe the president is mentally unfit to discharge his duties they can put it in writing and invoke the 25th amendment. Immediately transferring the presidency to the vice president until congress can investigate and determine if the president is fit to serve.

      • Rock says:

        The president is the civilian Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States. He has the authority to command them to take appropriate military action in the event of a sudden crisis.

        If such a law were passed, it would come into direct conflict with the War Powers Resolution. Plus, it’s kind of stupid to want to pass a law to take the constitutional authority from the CinC.

        • Commissar says:

          No it would not come in conflict with the war powers act. The president is still the commander in chief. And he could still be given the authority to RESPOND unilaterally to a first strike.

          I am just talking about removing his ability to INITIATE a first strike.

          The president does not have the constitutional authority to initiate a war.

          Only CONGRESS has the constitutional authority to start a war. Launching a nuclear weapon is starting a war. So it would not violate the War Power Act.

          Besides, the War Powers Act is not part of the constitutional and thus is merely a law that congress could amend without needed to change any constitutional authorities.

          Also, the War Powers Act was passed to LIMIT the president’s ability to use military forces unilaterally. To claim passing another law or amending the War Powers Act to further limit the president’s power to use military forces unilaterally violates the War Powers Act does not even make sense.

          • Rock says:

            Alright, you are partially correct, except Congress has the power to declare war whereas the President has the authority to make war.

            The Constitution provides the President the ability to make war in the face of a clear and present danger, without the authorization of Congress.

            Also, the War Powers Act, as you said, limits the President’s ability. However, the President, per the same act, can deploy forces as long as he notifies Congress within 48 hours.

            • Hondo says:

              Um, no.

              The POTUS is CINC of US forces. As Chief Executive, he lawfully executes war – when it has been duly authorized by Congress. Otherwise, his orders to use military force, unless in immediate self-defense, are legally suspect.

              Under the Constitution, the POTUS does not have the authority to unilaterally initiate war. Congress – and ONLY Congress – has that power under the US Constitution.

              Congress has not been zealous in guarding that authority, and has let various POTUSs do much that is highly questionable if not blatantly unlawful in this area. Korea is first real “shining” example of such unlawful conduct on the part of the POTUS – Truman NEVER requested authority for that conflict from Congress. Ditto Clintoon, AKA BJ Willie, in Kosovo. One can argue much the same about Iraq in 2003 – though arguably there is at least a tenuous tie to global terrorism there (due to Hussein’s financial support to terrorism), so you can also argue that was covered under the 2001 AUMF. Correction – did some further checking and it appears there was a separate Congressional action to AUMF for Iraq in 2003, prior to OIF. So Iraq 2003 was also apparently authorized by Congress. My apologies for the error.

              The POTUS has gotten away with much since 1950 in the way of making war without legal authority. But if Congress is willing to let the POTUS do so, both are IMO culpable for that blatant abuse of the US Constitution.

              • Rock says:

                Um, Yes. The framer’s intent here is below:

                “Alexander Hamilton spoke in such terms when he said that the president, although lacking the power to declare war, would have “the direction of war when authorized or begun.” The president acting alone was authorized only to repel sudden attacks (hence the decision to withhold from him only the power to “declare” war, not to “make” war, which was thought to be a necessary emergency power in case of foreign attack).”

                The Founding Fathers differed from declaring war vs making war for that very reason.

                • timactual says:

                  “The president acting alone was authorized only to repel sudden attacks”

                  Again, by definition that is not a first strike.

                  • Hondo says:

                    Bingo. Repelling sudden attacks is self-defense. It is not unilaterally “making war”. War includes making unannounced and unprovoked attacks on enemy assets simply because they are the enemy and you are at war with them. That’s a far more than mere “self-defense”.

                    Further, while it may have been Hamilton’s desire that the POTUS be authorized to decide unilaterally whether or not to make war, that was decidedly not the desire of the Constitutional Convention overall. That authority was withheld from the POTUS in the Constitution and given to the Congress instead. Hamilton was one of the original “Big Government” proponents. Most of the rest of the Founding Fathers were not, and their views prevailed in this area.

                    Had the Constitutional Convention wanted the POTUS to have the power to unilaterally begin a war, that authority would have been given to the POTUS by the Constitution itself. It’s not there. When it comes to authority, what the Constitution omits is just as important as what it grants.

                    It was not then, and is not today, within the POTUS’s legal authority to commit the US to war unilaterally. Under the Constitution, the Congress has the exclusive power to commit the US to war. The POTUS executes a war when duly authorized to do so by Congress. In the Constitution, that division of responsibilities is clear and unambiguous.

              • Green Thumb says:

                He could issue a Letter of Reprisal.

              • USMC Steve says:

                Not so. The president can deploy military forces into combat action for up to 30 days without anyone’s permission. That is one reason why the Marine Corps has as one of its core requirements the ability to operate independently for up to 30 days in combat. For a period longer than that he has to get with Congress.

                • Commissar says:

                  Not accurate. According to the War Powers Act the president is only allowed to deploy limited forces in defense of our nation without congressional authorization. This has been interpreted to be “national interests” by President’s who deploy forces in the “spirit” of the War Powers Act.

                  According to the act they have up to 90 days (not 30) to get authorization and if they don’t he has 30 days to cease hostilities and bring the troops home.

                  It is all a mess. Not even the War Powers Act has been recognized as constitutional so presidents tend to follow the spirit of it rather than force a constitutional crisis.

                  It appears the founders intended the president to have the authority to use faces in self defense without approval but using them outside the US (waging war) would require a declaration of war by congress.

                  However, since we have a presence on a global stage and US interests are global various presidents have increasingly decided that they have the power to use forces “in defense of our interests” without congressional approval. The War Powers Act was intended to limit the extent to which presidents could do that.

                  • Hondo says:

                    Two small corrections, Commissar:

                    1. It’s 60 days plus 30 to withdraw (90 total), not 90 plus 30 to withdraw.
                    2. The WPA has not been considered by any competent Federal court to the point of a final decision. It is presumed to be IAW the Constitution, and thus valid, unless and until it is invalidated by some Federal court on the grounds that it is unconstitutional. That’s true of any law.

                    Other than that, spot on.

            • timactual says:

              “The Constitution provides the President the ability to make war in the face of a clear and present danger”

              Show me.

      • USMC Steve says:

        Hey dude, Obama is gone. Your statement of “Not exactly the position you want the world to be in with a malignant narcissist in the white house.” no longer applies.

      • Fyrfighter says:

        “Not exactly the position you want the world to be in with a malignant narcissist in the white house.” Not to worry, he left on Jan 20, 2017…

        “**Theoretically, if the vice president and the majority of the sitting cabinet believe the president is mentally unfit to discharge his duties they can put it in writing and invoke the 25th amendment. Immediately transferring the presidency to the vice president until congress can investigate and determine if the president is fit to serve.”…The wet dream of leftists everywhere since the date above..

  6. Hondo says:

    OK, I’ll be the contrarian here.

    While I think such an act as proposed by Rep. Lieu would be a monumentally bad idea, I believe such an act may well be Constitutional.

    Article I, Section 8, grants Congress numerous specified authorities. Clause 14 gives Congress the specific authority “To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces”.

    This is the Constitutional authority by which the UCMJ – and courts-martial – are passed by Congress and differ from other parts of Federal law. If I recall correctly, it’s also the same authority under which Congress enacted the former statutory ban on women serving in combat (which as I recall went away sometime in the late 1970s/early 1980s).

    A ban on the use of a specific class of weapons absent Congressional approval arguably falls within this same authority as being “Regulation of the land and naval Forces”. And yes, it would apply to the USAF too; arguing otherwise is absurd.

    The same argument applies to the War Powers Act. If Congress wishes to regulate the conduct of DoD, IMO that clause of the Constitution appears to give Congress effectively carte blanche authority to do so.

    Passing this law would be a huge mistake, because there are plausible scenarios in which it would be literally impossible to get Congressional approval for use of nuclear weapons a priori and in which the use of nuclear weapons would be appropriate (decapitation strike on DC being one such case). And unless something really unusual happens, good luck on getting the 2/3 majority in both the House and Senate necessary to override a veto – which I guarantee will happen if any such bill is ever passed, regardless of who is POTUS at the time.

    But unconstitutional? Um, I don’t think so.

    • Commissar says:

      The law can be written to prevent the president from initiating a first strike while still have the authority to respond to a nuclear first strike.

      • Hondo says:

        Indeed, it could be. But do you really want to try and enumerate every possible way Congress could be dispersed/disabled/destroyed in advance? You’d have to do that to avoid ambiguity on when a nuclear response was and wasn’t authorized.

        Good luck with that. I guarantee you’ll miss something.

        Also, a disabling first strike doesn’t have to be nuclear, nor do they have to be overt. An attack on US forces or assets wouldn’t necessarily have to be made on US territory. And if the law were to have language to the effect “unless prior approval by Congress is impracticable”, then the law would be worthless.

        Again: this would be a monumentally bad idea. One of the things the POTUS needs as CINC is first-use authority. I want any foreign nation out there considering the use of WMD against US assets anywhere in the world to wonder if they’re taking the risk of getting nuked afterwards in response. It’s rumored that that is exactly why Saddam Hussein did not use chem/bio in 1991 Gulf War I (we allegedly told him through third-party diplomatic channels, “You use chem or bio, we’ll respond with nukes.”). I want any future POTUS to have that same option.

        • Ex-PH2 says:

          Hondo, how much of Li’l Kim’s barking, snorting and fence rattling would you label crying ‘wolf!’ and how much of it is real?

          Given that he is still aiming at Japan’s west coast, and that they are taking him seriously, isn’t it a matter of ‘when’, instead of ‘if’?
          Or is he just throwing tantrums as a deflection and misdirection, while he’s working on something else?
          Personally, I would go for the misdirection. I may point at him and laugh, but he’s not stupid. I think it’s only a matter ‘when we stop paying attention for just one moment’, and then BOOOM!
          Just my view.

          • Graybeard says:

            I personally view Li’l Kim as that crazy guy in the neighborhood who ends up killing someone.

            If he were living next to me, we’d be in Condition Red at all times. And I’d be trying my durndest to get him committed.

            Li’l Kim makes Cray Cray look like an improvement.

          • USMC Steve says:

            The Japanese, generally a pragmatic and reasonable people, have changed their constitution to allow for them to make war against North Korea. They, who have a good amount of skin in this game, have taken that lunatic very seriously.
            I think we should too.

          • Hondo says:

            My concern here is that Kim Jong Un (1) has highly questionable judgement, and (2) appears to be unstable as hell.

            Nuclear deterrence works if both sides are led by rational leadership – one that will decide that a nuclear exchange is unacceptably costly to his side under virtually all conditions. But if one side is led by someone who’s either mentally unstable or isn’t rational, the concept breaks down completely. A madman, or someone who doesn’t think rationally, might well push the button.

            That’s what scares me about Kim. I seriously wonder if he’s mentally stable, or if he understands the ramifications of the use of nuclear weapons. He was raised a child of privilege and was born well after atmospheric nuclear testing was halted. He’s never seen war “up close and personal”, like his grandfather did. He was raised in a very warped environment and likely has had his every whim catered to since birth. He thus may literally (1) not have a good grasp on how destructive nukes are, and (2) because of his warped upbringing, may not have a good grasp on reality period.

            His dad scared me for the same reasons, but to a lesser degree (he seemed at least mostly rational while at the same time being somewhat mentally warped; he was also old enough to remember the Korean War, as he turned 10 during same). Fatboy Kim here is IMO far worse than his father in both respects.

        • 11B-mailclerk says:

          As I stated above, do we really want to explain to our posterity a “retalitory strike” scenario, with tens of millions of dead on both sides, possibly one hundred million total if the incoming strike was big enough, versus striking the enemy force before launch, killing thousands to tens fo thousands, mostly off US soil.

          Because if the DPRK ever does launch a nuclear war, they will throw ever thing they have in it, to do as much damage a possible, before we reduce their nation to a sterile wasteland and render them extinct.

          So morally, is waiting for them to launch defensible, when it increases the death tole by two or three orders of magnitude – tens of millions- , and most of the dead civilians?

          If the president, now or in the future, has to go ask Congress, then any enemy will be mightily tempted to strike, knowing that they can get the whole package delivered before we will ever begin to respond.

          And -that- means the attack is -far- more likely than otherwise.

          Personally, I think we should explicitly legislate the “decap” strike as an option for the president. let the enemy know there is absolutely no way to strike us without retaliation, but also that if you try to be sneaky about it, and get in a sucker punch, we are willing and able to sneak one right in ourselves.

          And the balance is restored, not removed. “Don’t even try it.”

          Otherwise, our plan is to allow the mass murder of tens of millions of -us- as well as of them.

          And I for one, really do not want to ever see the damn things fly. But if they must, then we are obligated to make it as lopsided in our favor as possible.

          So no one ever again forgets the lesson “Do. Not. Fuck. With. US. Or you wont -have- a country anymore.”

          • Graybeard says:

            So, short version:
            X realizes that he cannot tell when, if, or whether a nuclear pre-emptive strike will come. So X is moderately disincentivized to trigger one.

            As long as “X” is not “Iran” it seems to work.

            • 11B-mailclerk says:

              If the enemy is relatively sane, and is concerned about long-term survival, “massive retaliation” deterrence will probably work.

              If they are nuts, or do not object to mass casualties, then “massive retaliation” probably won’t deter them.

              the trick to the “preemptive” game, is to be -just- predictable enough where the opponent can learn to choose not to prepare a pre-emptive or sneak attack, but we are -not- predictable enough where the opponent can come up with a comfortable plan to build up a better “sneak”.

              But at some point, we are going to have to knock off a crazy with nukes, because crazy is crazy. I just would prefer it not to be a 10 to the 8th power event. Or worse.

      • HMCS(FMF) ret says:

        Congress has a hard enough time trying to do the things to keep this country running and you want to give them first strike authority? Hell, there are members that have a hard enough time remembering how to breathe that represent “the people”.

        I’m with Hondo on this… giving Congress first strike authority would be a huge mistake that would be seen as a sign of weakness by our enemies and friends.

    • sj says:

      I’m ignorant on all this (and other things too) but aren’t we still technically at war with the NORKs? If so, wonder how that would play in all this?

      • Rock says:

        The Korean War was a police action. South and North Korea are the parties technically still at war.

        • Commissar says:

          You beat me to it because I talk to much and took longer to say it.

          • Hondo says:

            So, you’re saying that Truman committing us to engage in hostilities in Korea without Congressional authority was both improper and unlawful? Just asking for clarification.

            For the record: yes, I think it was. And it was Congress’ failure to slap his hand there that started this whole mess we have today re: the POTUS assuming warmaking authority he does not have under the Constitution.

            • Commissioner Wretched says:

              I wish Truman had listened to MacArthur when the general had some ideas that would’ve ended the war, ended North Korea, and brought the peninsula together. (All that before China got involved, of course.) But we’d entered the time of “political” solutions to “military” problems, and it wasn’t so much about winning the war as it was ending the war.

              • Fyrfighter says:

                Hell CW, if we’re gonna play that game (and I’m not saying we shouldn’t), He should have listened to Patton, and rolled up the russkies at the end of WW2, then we wouldn’t have had to worry about them, China, NK, Viet Nam, et al…

                • 11B-mailclerk says:

                  Interesting tidbit of history. We supplied the USSR with trucks, so they could concentrate on tanks and munitions. We also supplied them hugely with essential items.

                  Thus their entire logistical system in 1945 was -hugely- dependent on US and other outside aid. They could -not- support a major war effort in Europe alone.

                  1946-1950 let them close that truck and shipping gap.

                  But in late 1945 we could have rolled them all the way back to Russia, in one huge bloody slog, but a -winnable- one, because we would have been in a position to reduce their logistics to rubble. Our air power would have been overwhelming to theirs. (Again, a bloody slog, but doable.

                  Not try to conquer Russia, just push them back to their own turf, and leave them with a ruined military, thus a largely ruined police state.

                  And unlike Germany, we -could- strike the factories behind the Ural Mountains.

                  Yup. We could have prevented something like 50+ million dead civilians that way. But someone “gave peace” a chance. And we almost incinerated the whole world as a result.

                  Sometimes, the ugly war -right now- is far more moral than the gigantic war later.

            • Rock says:

              The Quasi War with France was not a state of declared war.

              The Barbary Pirates campaigns were not a state of declared war.

              The Philippine–American War was not a state of declared war.

              This has been going on way before Korea.

              • Hondo says:

                While none of those were declared wars, all but the last had some type of approval by Congress. The last was not an international conflict.

                1. Military action during the Quasi-War was authorized by act of Congress passed on 9 July 1798 (“An Act further to protect the commerce of the United States”).

                2. Congress apparently approved the use of military force against Morocco and Tripoli on 6 February 1802 (authorization for the First Barbary War).

                3. Congress likewise authorized the use of military force against the Algiers on 10 May 1815 prior to the second Barbary War.

                4. The “Philippine War” was an insurrection in a US possession/territory, not an international conflict. Don’t believe that’s relevant here, as internal insurrections haven’t historically required a declaration of war. (There was no declaration of war by the United States during the US Civil War for the same reason.)

                There were indeed other relatively minor external military actions prior to Korea without an explicit authorization of force by Congress prior to the Korean War. But those aren’t among them. And unless I’ve missed something, the Korean War is the first major US foreign military action undertaken without some form of Congressional authorization. Truman did that “under UN authority”, without ever requesting approval from Congress.

              • Dinotanker says:

                The good Ol’ Days…

                Hello Mr. President, Commodore Preble asked to drop by and let you know that we had a war a few months ago…

                Yes we won. Yes Sir, with some pirates in the Mediterranean. Sorry it took so long to get the word back home, we got stuck in the doldrums…

                Sorry for the tongue in cheek. Times have sure changed…

                • Fyrfighter says:

                  On a related note, “Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates” is a very good read, with a lot of info you didn’t learn in school…also, for all his flaws, Jefferson had read the koran (file under “know your enemy”) and did not have a single good thing to say about islam… his opinion of that alone is worth learning..

      • Commissar says:

        Actually, that is an interesting question.

        If we are at war the president has the authority to direct the execution of our war efforts without congressional approval (though congress still controls the funding of the war effort).

        However, I do not think the US is at war with North Korea. At least not according to our constitution.

        Technically congress never declared war with North Korea. So while the Korean war never ended in a formal peace treaty the United States is technically not at war with North Korea, we were acting under United Nations security council resolution. So while a peace treaty was never signed the cessation of hostilities ended the UN involvement in the war.

        So it is North and South Korea that is technically at war. Not the US. In fact, constitutionally we were never at war with North Korea to begin with.

        • sj says:

          Thanks to both of you gents. Great explanation.

        • Bill R. says:

          I’m not certain your statement that the cessation of hostilities ended UN involvement in the war. There is still, to this day, a UN Command in the Republic of Korea.

          • Commissar says:

            The UN command in South Korea is there to monitor the cease fire. The UN is now a “neutral party” on the Korean Peninsula.

            North Korea is also now part of the UN. If it were to become a belligerent nation again and the UN was forced to deploy troops in to oppose NK one of the first things the other UN members would do is vote to suspend NK membership in the UN.

        • Fyrfighter says:

          I’m not sure how it would effect the UN involvement as mentioned above, but North Korea has repeatedly stated that it has withdrawn from the accords, in the years 1994, 1996, 2003, 2006, 2009, and 2013, and that it no longer recognizes any non-aggression pacts with South Korea..

          • Commissar says:

            It doesn’t really change the role of the UN. The role is still to monitor the cease fire. NK rhetorically withdrawing from the accords does not cause the UN to change their role unless NK violates the accords in such a way that the UN votes to declare NK a belligerent nation and vote to commit forces under UN command to stop NK from continuing to violate the cease fire.

    • Rock says:

      I normally agree with you Hondo, but I disagree here.

      “Regardless of the inability to declare war, the President does have the power to unilaterally order military action in defense of the United States when he determines that a foreign political entity poses a clear and present danger to the safety and security of the United States. By U.S. law, the only limitation on that power is a requirement to notify specific members of Congress within 48 hours after the beginning of military operations. Once proper legal notification is given to the required members of Congress, military action can continue and remain secret so long as the President judges it necessary to national security.”

      By taking away a major option that the President has sat disposal I would be lead to believe that such a law would be unconstitutional.

      • Hondo says:

        Rock: you’re quoting from something, but didn’t identify your source. However, from past readings that appears to be either from the War Powers Act itself or a discussion related to the WPA.

        The War Powers Act is a creation of Congress, not a part of the US Constitution. In passing the WPA, Congress arguably gave the POTUS the authority you cite above (e.g, the authority to temporarily commit US forces, provided that Congress later ratified that action after-the-fact). If Congress refused to ratify the commitment of forces, the same law requires US forces to be immediately withdrawn.

        Whatever authority Congress has the power to grant, barring a provision of the Constitution saying otherwise they also have the power to modify – or to withdraw entirely. The bill in question would withdraw part of that authority previously granted by Congress to the POTUS by the WPA. Doing that is within Congress’ authority.

          • Hondo says:

            I’m not finding that quote anywhere in the link you posted. Sure that’s the right link?

            Moreover, if the quote is from something said during the debates at the Constitutional Convention, those debates are not part of the US Constitution. Many things were discussed during the Convention, and those debates were perforce before the Constitution was finalized and sent to the states for ratification. Only the final version became the “supreme law of the land”.

            • Hondo says:

              Follow up: I did some additional checking, Rock. The quote you use above appears to be lifted word-for-word from Wikipedia, appearing there in a article about Article II of the US Constitution. It’s the fifth paragraph (ignoring an introductory quote from the Constitution itself) of a section of that article discussing the Executive power of the POTUS.


              Other than a citation regarding a brief quote from the Constitution, that entire section of that Wikipedia article has no other footnoted citations that reference authoritative sources whatsoever. That quote is thus merely the opinion of whoever authored that particular section of that Wikipedia – and IMO, is nothing more than bullsh!t. Since it’s “crowd-sourced”, Wikipedia contains a fair amount of bullsh!t.

              If you’ve got a citation to an authoritative document, please provide it. But the quote, at this point, appears worthless to support your assertion.

              And, FWIW: the reference to “Federal law” in that quote is indeed a reference to the WPA. That’s where in Federal law the 48 hour notification to Congress requirement is found.

    • timactual says:

      Congress could also forbid any money be used for a first strike. Goofy but Constitutional.

  7. Ex-PH2 says:

    Since that bill was first introduced on January 24 this year, it seems coincidental to bring it up now. It must be stalled in Committee or something, because I don’t see anything on the info page itself that says it has gone anywhere since it was introduced.

    It’s probably worded that way because Pres. Trump seems to be too impulsive for the more timid members of Congress, but it does not specify that he’s required to NOT invoke the War Powers Act. However, since the rhetoric stream coming out of Norkiland is increasingly aggressive, if a first strike were launched at Japan (ally) or Guam (US Territory), the Japanese Defense Department has a THAAD system, which we gave them, as well as our ready response, and a missile aimed at Guam, of course, does not require anything other than defensive maneuvers on our part to protect our own territory.

    I doubt seriously that Pres. Trump is interested in a first strike option, and therefore, I view this inert bill as a panicky approach to muzzling him. If, however, the Norks do manage to get a trans-Pacific missile zooming all the way to the California coast, I sincerely hope it lands on and splats Lieu’s house, but good. Spiteful, I know, but he’s a panderer and he’s probably afraid of guns, too.

    • Rock says:

      Personally, I think the President could send an awesome message to NORKs by recapturing the Pueblo.

      • Ex-PH2 says:

        Guess I should have posted this here, so as to not get interrupted.

        I agree, Rock. It can’t maneuver on its own, so bombing it is the other option.

        A quick flyover, precision targeting, BOOOOM!!! Souvenir all gone.

    • Commissar says:

      That bill was DoA. The bill was drafted by democrats and originally introduced as part of the political rhetoric to paint the president as unhinged.

      Now that even a few republicans are talking about the president acting in a way that seems a little unhinged the bill is being discussed again.

      If congress was really going to even consider passing such a bill it would need to be drafted and introduced by a bi-partisan partnership or by a republican team.

      There is no way in hell a republican controlled congress is going to pass a democrat drafted bill even if the republic version ends up being damn near identical.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      I agree, Rock. It can’t maneuver on its own, so bombing it is the other option.

      A quick flyover, precision targeting, BOOOOM!!! Souvenir all gone.

      • Commissar says:

        I do not think sinking our own captured ship would be a win for us. Symbolically it would play pretty negatively. Not as bad as bombing a PoW camp with US prisoners but still it would not play well.

        I would feel sad if we sunk her at this point.

        The time to sink her was the crew doing it and abandoning ship just before she was captured.

        I think eventually liberating her and returning her home would be a symbolic victory.

        Besides bombing her would create a significant risk of triggering a war. If we were going to do that we ought to pick a more important target.

        • Hondo says:


          The time to retake the USS Pueblo was when North Korea moved her from their east coast to Pyongyang in the late 1990s. They had to tow her through international waters to do that.

          A certain POTUS apparently declined to do so at the time.

          • Commissar says:

            When I first learned about the Pueblo I was in the Korean course at DLI in 1989.

            When bored in class I would sometimes fantasize about being involved in the recapture of the USS Pueblo, assassinating Kim IL Sung, or capturing the NK flag over Kijong-dong.

            Probably should have just payed more attention in class instead.

          • Fyrfighter says:

            Too busy with blue dresses and cigars maybe?

  8. Perry Gaskill says:

    The WaPo story left out a factoid that was in the original Global Times editorial:

    “Meanwhile, North Korea issued plans to fire four intermediate-range missiles to land 30-40 kilometers from Guam and claimed it would finalize the plan by mid-August.”

    So the obvious question from those of us on the short bus is what happens if the fat kid fires the missiles at Guam even if they aren’t armed? It would seem to me that such would be the equivalent of starting a game of Russian Roulette. If an adversary points a weapon at you, and you have no way of knowing if it’s loaded or not, a reaction of lethal force is understandable.

    It also makes you wonder if the Chinese would consider such a thing a de facto preemptive strike and back away from intervention of behalf of the NORKs.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      Isn’t this why we have WestPAC and CINCPACFLT? Those maneuvers they were engaged in a few weeks ago are still in place.

      Unless things have changed, I don’t think they have to wait for permission to down a missile aimed at Guam.

      • Ex-PH2 says:

        Meant to include that FatBoy may just shoot at South Korea as a test run while we’re guarding the turf at Guam.

        He IS working on a thermonuclear or H-bomb device. Give the little bastard time and he’ll have that on a delivery wagon, too.

      • timactual says:

        Heck yes. Time to see whether those expensive anti-missile defenses actually work in the real world. Also a good lesson to the NORKS et al.

  9. A Proud Infidel®™ says:

    Translation as I see it: China is basically telling tubby ‘lil Kim-Cheese that they’ll lend help if he gets attacked but he’s all on his own if he starts the shit himself, their way of telling him to quit trying to start a shitshow!

  10. USMCMSgt (Ret) says:

    This is getting out of hand.

    Dennis Rodman and Sean Penn need to be sent over and put a stop to ‘Lil Kim’s madness.

  11. jonp says:

    I’d like to go on record as stating that any use of missiles by the Norks that result in a US retaliation will without a doubt cause a regime change. You can’t run a country with dead men and they will all be that way. At that point all will be moot as to what China wants or doesn’t want.

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