Sunday, May 14, 2017
Is War with North Korea Inevitable?
What does North Korea really want? Seriously. Kim Jong-un is openly flaunting the rest of the world, including his greatest trading partner, China. His underground nuclear tests are numerous, and his continual testing his rapidly-developing missile and rocket program are legendary. He is working on submarine missile launches, and it seems as if he will, sooner or later, be able to shrink the size of nuclear warheads to fit on his future fleet of ICBMs. He has stated that he will continue those programs without hesitation, no matter the consequences. Government controlled television blasts constant images of that nation’s military capacity (right above), especially it nuclear weapons. Pictures of the White House and the Capitol being destroyed are common on local media.
With over a third of his 25 million population available in the regular and reserve military, Kim fields the largest army earth. His people believe that they live a particularly austere life in order to allow their leader to build and maintain a military force quite capable of meeting and defeating the military of their biggest opponent: the United States, an enemy that seeks to destroy them. South Korea, in their eyes, is simply an American puppet. We are technically still at war with the North; the Korean War “ended” with an armistice (cease fire/truce) in 1953… not a peace treaty.
The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system we are deploying in the South to take out North Korean attacking rockets and missiles is depicted in North Korean media as evidence of the clear American intention to invade them. Add the carrier fleet anchored by the U.S.S. Carl Vinson, engaged in war games with Japanese forces in the adjacent Sea of Japan, and North Korea will simply not tolerate U.S. saber-rattling without a clear militaristic voice in opposition. China’s greatest fear is sharing a common border with a strong U.S. ally, so she accepts the lunatic in the North, while trying to contain his lunacy. They are particularly unhappy about the THAAD deployment, which, they maintain, is as easily able to take out Chinese weaponry as well.
Which brings us back to the question? What does North Korea want? And is it just Kim Jong-un who is setting this vector or something that is deeply embedded throughout his military leadership? Jonathan Kaiman, writing for the May 1st Los Angeles Times, explains a more sinister possibility that some senior analysts suggest is accelerating under the Kim’s brutish leadership:
“One longtime analyst of the secretive country’s murky ideology says it’s become clear that North Korea’s rulers have come to consider nuclear capability not just a means of defense, but also the only way of achieving their most important goal: to rid South Korea of U.S. troops, and reunite the Korean peninsula on their own terms.
“North Korea is a radical nationalist state and it’s committed to anything that anybody in North Korea’s position would be — which is the reunification of the [Korean] race, and the reunification of the homeland,” said B.R. Myers, a professor at Dongseo University in South Korea who has studied the official ideology of self-reliance, known as juche, that has been a fundamental feature of the North Korean state since the 1950s.
“Tensions on the Korean peninsula are at their highest point in years. North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests since 2006, and could soon conduct its sixth. Its missile tests have become routine, including another attempted launch Friday [4/28]. The U.S., in response to North Korean tests and threats, has diverted an aircraft carrier strike group to the Korean peninsula. North Korea, meanwhile, has responded with a massive artillery exercise and warnings of imminent nuclear war.
“Why is this happening? The North’s strategic calculus hasn’t changed in decades, Myers said. In 1994, President Clinton contemplated a preemptive strike on the North’s nuclear weapons program — yet he balked in the face of the potential fallout: North Korea has a devastating array of artillery aimed at Seoul, which sits 35 miles south of the countries’ heavily militarized border, and if a conflict were to erupt, hundreds of thousands of South Koreans could be killed within an hour.
“Now, Kim Jong Un, the country’s current leader, has accelerated efforts to enable a strike not just on Seoul, but also on the United States… ‘Why is it doing the one thing that could cause the U.S. to strike North Korea, even at the risk of South Korean fatalities?’ Myers said. ‘The only logical answer is that it’s pursuing something greater than mere security — and there’s only one logical conclusion as to what that is.’
“North Korea has been demanding the removal of U.S. troops from South Korea since the Korean War, which ended with an armistice in 1953. In December 1955, Kim Il Sung, the country’s founder-president and Kim Jong Un’s grandfather, said in a speech that ‘peaceful unification’ was the ideal option, and could come about when ‘we grow stronger’ and the ‘forces of peace, democracy and socialism become more powerful.’… If that fails, ‘the problem of reunification might also be solved by war,’ he said.”
If you buy this scenario, either Kim is removed from office or we are heading for resumption of a war that will be unbelievably murderous. Nukes? Maybe. Look at the night map of the Korean Peninsula. That bright spot is Seoul, the biggest city and the capital of the South. Look at how close to the border that city is. Scary. And look at that little tiny dot in the North; that is their capital, Pyongyang. It think that aerial view says it all.
Donald Trump gets to face this situation, worse now than it has ever been since 1953. After a very hard line, is Trump switching to flattery as his next strategy? On April 30th (CBS’ Face the Nation),President Donald Trump said, “At a very young age, [Kim] was able to assume power. A lot of people, I'm sure, tried to take that power away, whether it was his uncle or anybody else. And he was able to do it. So obviously, he's a pretty smart cookie.” On May 1st the President said he "would be honored to" meet with the North Korean leader amid rising tensions between the countries “under the right circumstances.” Feeling confident in the outcome?
I’m Peter Dekom, and we really have a complex situation that is going to take the rest of the world to drill down on the real possible spark that could launch WWIII.