Nuclear War on the Korean Peninsula – Danger to Carrier Strike Group 1?

The oft quoted curse, “may you live in interesting times” certainly applies to the contemporary Korean peninsula. A US carrier battle group (Carrier Strike Group 1) led by the Nimitz class supercarrier USS Carl Vinson currently steams into the region (1) to confront the Pyongyang regime’s nuclear weapons programme. In the meantime, the North Korean arsenal is put on display in a military parade (2). Another article headline screams “US War With North Korea ‘may break out at any moment'” (3).

The Americans can be rightly proud of their military prowess. However, is the US task force vulnerable to a North Korean nuclear strike? Could the fleet be taken out with one blast? North Korea certainly has the missile technology.


Vice-Admiral B.B. Schofield C.B., C.B.E. writing in the journal of Royal United Services Institution states:

“It is true that great strides have been made in providing anti-aircraft protection to forces so engaged, but whereas an interception rate of 95 per cent, of hostile aircraft would be quite acceptable in non-nuclear war, it is no longer so in repelling an attack by aircraft armed with nuclear weapons” (4).

The 95% interception rate mentioned above article may not good enough if the North Koreans deployed a nuclear weapon as part of an intensive conventional attack that gave the fleet innumerable targets to worry about. If a nuke gets through, then the fleet’s role in the war is over and South Korea is wide open to conventional and nuclear attack, as well as massive invasion.

The Americans may therefore opt for a first strike including the tactical use of nuclear weapons. They may also need to deploy tactical nuclear weapons at the outset against an advancing North Korean army to avoid South Korea being overrun.

To delay and prevaricate might invite the disaster of a North Korean first strike on the fleet, America’s principle method of projecting its power.

Would the American’s have to embark on a full-scale blitzkrieg style invasion to accompany any attack by the carrier battle group? Or would special forces specifically targeting North Korea’s nuclear strike capability suffice?

None of this even considers a simultaneous North Korean nuclear attack against American allies in the region. How likely would it be for a desperate regime to launch such an attack on Japanese population centres? What would be the economic impact of even a limited nuclear war on the already fragile global economy?

I think an America conquest of North Korea is possible but the costs – material, human, economic and political – could be extremely high. Perhaps it would be better if the American’s gave the green light for China to officially annex North Korea and displace the current regime. That’s if the Chinese were willing! That would at least maintain North Korea as some sort of buffer between superpower and would-be superpower and maintain a state of stability and strategic balance. It would also transfer the North Korean nuclear missile stock to more responsible and rational hands.

However, after saying all this, I suspect the whole military posturing by the Trump Administration is merely a strategic bluff to be used to encourage China to act in a way more beneficial to US interests. If this is the case it may be a very shrewd gambit that could yield wide ranging benefits to the United States.

Interesting times indeed!

(1) ‘Powerful’ USS Carl Vinson Steams Toward North Korea

(2) North Korea Displays Apparently New Missiles as U.S. Carrier Group Approaches

(3) US War With North Korea ‘may break out at any moment’ (4) The Employment of Nuclear Weapons at Sea, by Vice-Admiral B.B. Schofield C.B., C.B.E., Royal United Services Institution Journal. Pages 168-171, published online 11 September 2009.


“We Choose To Go To The Moon!” – John F Kennedy’s Inspirational Speech

Written on 14 October 2013.


It may seem unusual, but I have always seen autumn as a period of new beginnings.  This is probably because as a kid it was always the start of a new school year, and often a new class.  Later on in life it was the start of the first university term and my subsequent work in the education sector probably reinforced my feelings still further.  It is therefore at this time of year, rather than on New Year’s Eve that I often think of new beginnings, new projects, and new challenges.

John F Kennedy’s “We Choose To Go To The Moon” speech resonates with my feelings of greater optimism at this time of the year.  Its thrust of cutting new ground and use of words such as faith, vision, and boldness is inspiring and exemplifies new beginnings and new challenges.  The following line of the speech sums this up:

“We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained, and new rights to be won, and they must be won and used for the progress of all people.” (John F Kennedy, 12 September, 1962, Rice University, Houston)

It is for this reason that I have decided to post a vid of the speech that I found on You Tube.  The text of the speech can be found HERE.

Banana Split: The Great Banana War Rages – Is No Tropical Fruit Safe?

3_Bananas with size reduced from 1563 x 1321 to 640 x 541 px

Above: 3 bananas on a yellow background. 19 February 2007. Originally posted to Flickr as [][2]. Uploaded using F2ComButton. Author Rick Harris. Republished under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license. Modifications: File size changed from 1563 x 1321 px to 640 x 541 px. Source: Licence: Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Yanks, a curious group, when they’re not dropping bombs on our lads in the Gulf (friendly fire, etc.) they’re starting a trade war with us!

Well, what are allies for, if you can’t piss them off what can you do with you time[?]

In late 1998, as our bombers were being deployed to back up our American cousins in their quarrel with Saddam, a far more serious and heinous plot was being hatched against the Euro-banana.

What I call the Euro banana, is the fruit produced in former British and French colonies, which is distinguished from its American multinational-produced counterpart by its size, it’s a bit smaller (well, size isn’t everything!).

The problem of course, as with many Euro-American disputes, is that we give a trade preference to bananas produced in countries with wish we have historical links and responsibilities.

Naturally the greedy American companies which produced those bendy yellow pieces of fruit, are a bit upset that they can’t monopolise yet another market, that of the EU.

Oh, what a shame how will the American economy ever survive[!]

We have strong cultural and economic links with our former colonies (America included), and some are very poor countries.

When will the US come to realise that some countries take their international responsibilities seriously?

Sometimes we put historical commitment before stuffing our pockets full of cash and claiming to be the most moral and the most correct country in the world.

How many countries does the United States want to offend with its overbearing economic presence, its swaggering attitude, and its imposition of sanctions on countries [whose] leaders or policies it does not like[?]

Well, what do you expect, history has ended, Uncle Sam’s the only remaining superpower, and everyone else has to tow the line.

As Europe moves towards political unification, we might be able to actually have a truly independent foreign policy, a policy that allows a more benign social market capitalism to assert itself on the American version.

Perhaps the real reason behind the dispute is that Europe’s social market capitalism, with its welfare states and social safety nets, is too much of a diversion from the true faith that produces the deprivation and social malaise that is apparent in the US.

At a time when Europe is asserting its independence with a new currency that is a threat to the pre-eminance of the Dollar, the Americans have to come to terms with their decline. The American Century is all but over, and they are beginning to worry about what the future holds. American leaders may ultimately come to realise that the American way may not necessarily be the ultimate destiny of humanity, and that alternatives do in fact exist. The future is a very uncertain place indeed, and as America’s power wanes it will needs its European friends more than ever.

If America continues its aggressive economic posturing, Europe and America could suffer a banana split with serious implications for both. AMERICA BE WARNED!

By Chris Knowles

Originally published in the REaction! the political magazine of Wakefield District Young Labour, ISSN 1464-8105, Vol.2 no.1 April 1999.