Friday, August 11, 2017

"Wrestling With North Korea, Trump Finds Perilous Options"

Via Drudge:  North Korea’s threat on Thursday to test-fire ballistic missiles soon near the American territory of Guam deepened the challenge confronting the Trump administration: how to defang Pyongyang’s missile programs without risking all-out war.

President Trump has made clear that his goal is to deny North Korea the capability to field a long-range nuclear-tipped missile that could strike the United States.

And though the Pentagon still hopes for a diplomatic solution, highly classified military options are at the ready, last seriously debated when the Clinton administration pondered pre-emptive action to try to thwart North Korea’s nuclear program...

“In the event of a first strike against Kim, even a non-nuclear option, it is highly likely that Kim would retaliate at least conventionally against South Korea,” said James Stavridis, a retired four-star admiral who is now dean of Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. “This almost certainly would create an upward spiral of violence which would be extremely difficult to manage or to mitigate.”

(Link to more)

14 comments:

Fr Martin Fox said...

I am puzzled that no one seems to be talking about the following options:

- Destabilization of the North Korean regime;

- Significant, sustained U.S. build-up in the region.

The point of both of these is that the real target is China; China does not want instability in North Korea, and it does not want a stronger, permanent presence in east Asia. So if you want China to act differently, then there must be a consequence to North Korea's bad behavior that matters to Beijing, and which we can live with as well. See, that's the problem with threatening war; I'm not so sure "we" can live with it, especially if "we" includes our allies South Korea and Japan. That uncertainty is precisely what China is counting on, because the great goal they have must be to break up the U.S.-R.O.K.-Japan alliance, and weakening it is still a plus for them.

Two problems with a sustained build-up. We don't have a lot of top-flight military assets just lying around; we've been cutting back, and we need naval forces, air assets and trained soldiers in other places too. My theory is that Russia and China are unofficially coordinating; if we get too tied down in east Asia, Russia has a stronger hand in Europe, and vice-versa.

Still, it might be worthwhile to get the Kitty Hawk out of mothballs, and see what else we can scrape up. Meanwhile, make a big show of ordering new equipment; yet that will take awhile to get it online.

The other problem? We don't have the money.

So it's back to destabilizing North Korea, which is cheap and can be turned on and off. Maybe we're doing stuff right now, and most of us don't know about it. But that seems like the best option.

William said...

What are the chances that some devout Muslim billionaire buys a nuclear device from Kim?.......The ideal weapon is not a nuclear device, but a nuclear device with no return address.

Methadras said...

If the DPRK sets off an attack on any ally or the US, then all bets are off Father. While your assessment is but a small portion of the overall problem, China's continued coddling of this regime is the real problem. They have not acted in any way to curtail their activities and letting the DPRK coordinate with Iran in terms of an exchange of information related to nuclear chemistry, deployments, infrastructure, and execution without repercussions is a serious problem. It is abundantly clear that China with their current agreements with Russia are seeking to continue to try and destabilize the US and using the DPRK as that wedge issue by which the Trump administration could fatally misstep is a part of their calculus, which is why they are wholly against a pre-emptive strike against the DPRK, but will 'accept neutrality' if the DPRK strikes first.

Think about that for a second. A country's satellite state is willing to take on a neutral position of that satellite state strikes first. It's a win-win for China. They don't see a downside. They commit no troops and the DPRK does all the dirty work.

An attempt to destabilize the DPRK means shaking China's confidence in them. I don't see that happening.

edutcher said...

Padre, you nailed it.

The Donald is not going to enable the Kims the way the Demos have done, simply because it makes things worse, not better, but the Reds can shut down NoKo in a heartbeat, if it's in their interest.

ricpic said...

Little Kimmie has a great life. Why would man-god risk everything by firing a missile in the vicinity of Guam?

He's bluffing (I hope).

Fr Martin Fox said...

Ricpic:

I agree with you. It's hard to see him actually launching an attack on the U.S. This is really the same playbook he and his family have worked from for decades. The goal is to persuade us to delay taking any decisive action.

Methadras:

Sure -- if North Korea actually attacks, then everything becomes fairly clear. They know that; that's why I think that's unlikely.

Trooper York said...

Why are we in Korea in the first place?

Trooper York said...

Why are hundreds of thousands of our soldiers and their dependents held hostage by their presence in South Korea?

Trooper York said...

What do we gain by our involvement in the Korean peninsula?

Stopping Communism?

Subsidizing South Korea's unfair competition with our manufacturing base by paying for their defense?

Pouring money and lives down a rathole?

edutcher said...

Trooper York said...

Why are we in Korea in the first place?

WWII, dagger at the throat of Japan. Korean War, geopolitics.

Pretty simple, actually.

Of course, the Nips want to handle their own defense.

You just have to ask yourself one big question, "Do I feel lucky?".

Trooper York said...

WW2 ed?

Are we going to invade France to get revenge for the French and Indian war? Do the Brits and the Spanish have to duke it out to continue the War of Jenkins Ear? When is enough enough for you neocons?

If we give the Japs and the Gooks the bomb then we can get our ass out of there and let it be their problem. We don't have to subsidize their manufacturing base by spending billions on their defense.

Sorry WW2 was 71 years ago.

It is time to move on.

Trooper York said...

Geopolitics is bullshit.

Realpolitck is the way to go. Our interest. Not anyone else. Not Japans. Not South Korea. Not Germany. Not Iraq. Not Afghanistan. Not Israel for that matter. They are big boys. Let them stand or fall on their own two feet.

Bring our boys home. America first.

edutcher said...

Trooper York said...

WW2 ed?

Are we going to invade France to get revenge for the French and Indian war? Do the Brits and the Spanish have to duke it out to continue the War of Jenkins Ear? When is enough enough for you neocons?

If we give the Japs and the Gooks the bomb then we can get our ass out of there and let it be their problem. We don't have to subsidize their manufacturing base by spending billions on their defense.


No, because we'll still have our own interests there. Besides, I'd bet money the Nips could drop a hot one of the Norks tomorrow if they had to.

Kim threatened us, not the Nips.

Methadras said...

Go back a few weeks and read what I said Trump had to do and was going to do about the DPRK and you will see, I was 100% spot on.