Missiles and Madmen–How to Respond

As of today the N. Koreans have apparently launched 6 missile test within the last two or three days.  From the news accounts the tests ran the gamut from ground to air to anti-ship to ground to ground.  It is presumed that these missiles are being tested to deploy the nuclear weapons they are developing.   Those missile tests are hard on the heels of the nuclear underground test they conducted last week.  The device last week was not huge by nuclear weapons’ standards but was large enough to put a really big hole in LA.   It has been about 15 years now that we and others around the world have been quarrelling with the N. Koreans about the development of these weapons.  Their progress has been slowed on a couple of occasions but never halted and shut down.   The thought of the N. Koreans and the Iranians having nukes is very scary.

It is to be remembered that N. Korea has been a wild card for over 60 years now, since the end of the Second World War.  They had Chinese support for their invasion of S. Korea in 1950 but it was back door support.  The actual timing and strategy was N. Korean all the way.  It was only after the N. Koreans were pushed all the way back to the Chinese border in 1951 that China took an active role in the fighting.  N. Korea has been like an attack dog on the leash of the Chinese for years.  It is leashed but dangerous and can break away at any moment.  Today the Chinese influence is less dramatic than it was 60 years ago.  Then the Chinese influence was offset somewhat by the Soviet pressure brought to bear on N. Korea.  You can look at a map and immediately see why China and Russia are the most influential parties on the N. Koreans.  But the N. Koreans are lead by a madman.  He starves his own people for the military prestige and power.  The world has been supplying humanitarian aid to N. Korea off and on for years now to prevent starvation.  Again looking at the map and studying the topography of N. Korea reveals that there isn’t really any purpose in having the nukes other than intimidation or a Hitler-like desire for an Armageddon. 

The last real madman to have nukes under his control was Stalin.  Thankfully he had them only a couple of years before he died.  He had no compunction about killing millions for the advancement of his cause and self-aggrandizement.   His track record is one sloshed in the blood of innocents who weren’t deemed loyal enough to the revolution.   The Soviets after Stalin were certainly our enemies but they were rational and had an appreciation for survival and articulated goals that on paper at least were doable.  The concept of mutual assured destruction served us well for decades and kept the dogs of wars at bay.  The Kim Il regime is another Stalin. 

Even from afar the paranoia of that man and his inner circle of cronies is obvious to an informed observer.   There is no rational basis for the military threat that N. Korea wishes to impose on  the Asian area or the rest of the world when their missiles attain greater range.  They couldn’t win any conventional war against S. Korea.  The 38th parallel is well defended and  N. Korea doesn’t have the logistical resources to prevail in any extended conflict.  There is no economic advantage to N. Korea for conflict whether with nukes or conventional weapons.  What would they gain from any war?   That is right, nothing.  Yet they continue to threaten  and I for one believe them.  I always think it is best to take someone at their word.  They have threaten that any attempt to embargo and inspect ships in or out of N. Korea to restrict nuke weapons or materials for nukes will be deemed an act of war. 

The words have availed us nothing.  All those who think another UN resolution will have any effect whatsoever on the N. Korean ambition to have nukes, please raise your hands.  The Six Party talks have produced nothing.  Our nasty letters and public announcements of condemnation have been useless and so have the denouncements from other nations around the world.  Can the world afford to allow nukes to be under the control of a regime like N. Korea?  I don’t think they adhere to the doctrine of mutual assured destruction.  What the hell is there to destruct in N. Korea in the first place?  It is a pit.  That regime is a modern day pirate out to extract tribute from the world and believes it has nothing to lose.  If we allow them to have nukes that can be deployed world wide we are setting on a time bomb awaiting the moment of detonation.

We should strike their facilities now.  We wouldn’t have to use any nuclear devices.  Conventional weapons would suffice  if utilized in sufficient quantities.  The threat would be eliminated at least for a couple of generations and perhaps there would even be a final chance for reconciliation between the North and the South.   Peace and stability would be our reward.  What are the negatives to such an action?  First there would be substantial casulties.  No doubt they would be in the thousands.  But better them than us or our allies and the number would be far, far less than the deaths if they strike with their nukes first.  The UN would condemn us.  So what.  They condemn lots of people.  The major players would shake their fingers at us and say bad things for a while.  China and Russia would be upset but getting to the nub of the matter what would they do?  China isn’t going to cut of trade with us.  The Russians ren’t going to attack over N. Korea.  Making a major issue out of it simply would not be worth the candle to either of them or anyone else around the world.  Even if N. Korea attacked into the South after the strike it would be short lived and the outcome certain in defeat for them.   The world will be a safer place.  It is the right thing to do.  A sad and regrettable thing but compared to the angish the world would know if they launch one of their nukes it is bearable and the right choice.  Sticking our heads in the sand or negotiating another Munich like Chamberlain will not make us safer.

When a fellow points a gun at you you better assume he will pull the trigger.

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Filed under Foreign Affairs, history, military history, Politics

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