During most of my 40 years as a Pyongyang watcher I’ve avoided watching television.
That simple expedient helped save me from getting caught up in an annual, totally predictable panic that erupts when joint US-South Korean military exercises prompt North Korea to issue dire threats.
The panic this year is the worst it’s ever been.
I’m in Japan at the moment, and I hear from my wife in Hawaii that our gardener fears North Korea is about to bomb both places. The gardener no doubt watches television — a pastime that I’m told is similar, at this time of the year, to viewing a horror movie each day.
The problem is that it’s 2017 and the panic felt by ordinary Americans is suddenly more dangerous than the underlying geopolitical forces.
That’s because there’s an impetuous president in the White House who lives for audience ratings. Put enough pressure on him to “do something about North Korea” and he might succumb to that pressure, with disastrous results.
Let’s go through the arguments one at a time.
First, North Korea doesn’t yet have the wherewithal to attack the United States.
Yes, North Korean dictators have pushed nuclear weapons development for 65 years, since the Korean War. But as the continuing tests show, they don’t have long-range nuclear-tipped missiles ready for prime time.
Second, the primary mission for which they’re building those weapons is not an attack on the United States.
Nor is it an attack on Japan, which hosts first-responder US forces and where Tokyo subway authorities last week began taking the precaution of stopping the trains during a North Korean missile test.
North Koreans are building the weapons largely as a deterrent to keep the Kim dynasty from being forcibly removed before it can achieve its ultimate goal: Vanquishing its main rival, South Korea, and ruling over the entire Korean peninsula.
They believe they can beat the South Koreans — perhaps even without using their nuclear weapons — if only they can maneuver the US to stay out of that fight. Thus, the North’s consistent demand for decades: A peace treaty and withdrawal of US forces from South Korea.
Are there circumstances in which the North might attack the US and Japan as well as South Korea? Yes. In case the Kim regime is cornered, about to be removed, North Korean leadership doctrine calls for “destroying the world.”
Triggering a desperate, all-out nuclear-chemical-biological response by ordering a preventive US attack on Pyongyang is one way President Trump could overreact if pressed hard by popular opinion to “do something.”
Another way he might overreact would be by following his “America First” instincts.
This would feed his suspicion that South Korea is not pulling its weight in the alliance and then deciding that the U.S. should wash its hands of the Korean problem, sign a treaty with the North and remove its troops from the South.
In other words he might move to give the North what it has sought all along, at great peril to the South and to American alliances worldwide.
And so, my fellow Americans, please try to avoid panic during the rest of this year’s annual display of Korean peninsula brinkmanship and for the three such seasons to come before the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
As another president, whose first hundred days were far more successful than Trump’s, put it: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
The North Korean mess have only one good solution; North Korean leaders steps down. The probability this will happen is very close to ZERO. What surprises me is the South Korean’s does not seem to be too worried and the strong stock market in Korea indicates the South Korean’s believe there will not be a war. The North Koreans might look for a peaceful “face saving” solution. Let us hope this solution is “face saving” enough for the USA and for the North Asia region.
Main Stream Media has overhyped the concerns (with good assistance from Pentagon and US arms industry). An attack on North Korea was thoroughly analyzed by the President Obama administration, but they found it to be too risky. ANY war will be a human, environmental, and economic tragedy for the entire North Asia region.
“They believe they can beat the South Koreans — perhaps even without using their nuclear weapons — if only they can maneuver the US to stay out of that fight. Thus, the North’s consistent demand for decades: A peace treaty and withdrawal of US forces from South Korea”.
I can’t read their minds but if a peace treaty is a mere deception to defeat and take over South Korea “even without using their nuclear weapons” then why not give it a try for those who are fearful of this scenario to find out that this would be nothing but a pipe dream:
According to UN (2015) South Korea has the 11th largest GDP versus North Korea’s 113th largest GDP. It has a strong, diversified and internationally highly competitive industrial and manufacturing base, and is among other things a global leader in high-quality electronics; it also has an excellent education system and a high level of public R&D spending. This would allow it to fund and develop a formidable military force which would be absolutely no match for the North.
I´m not an expert like Bradley here, but from what I´ve gleaned, the NK regime needs nuclear deterrent so they can bargain with those nice US folks around the annual war games which they choose to hold at rice planting time, which draws critical manpower resources to defend the country against potential invasion. With China as a broker, (see Xinha article posted ) they have offered to halt nuclear weapons development in return for the US stopping this routine, but the US refuses out of hand. What the f uck people?
Exactly right! For the past month, as happens every Spring, Kim Jong Un has been making threats to destroy the U.S. and South Korea, but those claims are not intended for us; they are intended for the North Koreans. Now that Exercise Foal Eagle (formerly Team Spirit) is over, the American military units that came over for the exercise will leave, and Kim can announce "Mission Accomplished" because he will have once again stopped the invasion of his country. His people will praise him for his sheer force of will that has kept them free once more.
er…the warmongering US is the problem here, they and the corrupt puppet regime that they have in place in SK. The US military is the only one to have devastated civilian populations in Asia with WMDs, chemical and nuclear. They have for 60 years been carrying out their aggressive wargames around NK at rice -sowing season, to maximise disruption of that vital task.
It all about the elite mafia pushing to establish their central bank in North Korea. The last victim was Libya now look how the elites raped them.
Comments are closed.