I don’t know what Trump is thinking, but his sabre rattling towards North Korea is insane.
Trump’s bravado against North Korea began with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s undiplomatic remarks about the country while visiting South Korea on March 17th. As ZeroHedge reports:
The U.S. policy of “strategic patience” with North Korea has ended, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in South Korea on Friday quoted by Reuters, adding that military action would be “on the table” if North Korea elevated the threat level. Tillerson said that 20 years of trying to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear program had “failed” and that he was visiting Asia “to exchange views on a new approach.”
“I think it’s important to recognize that the political and diplomatic efforts of the past 20 years to bring North Korea to the point of denuclearization have failed,” Tillerson said. “Let me be very clear: the policy of strategic patience has ended. We are exploring a new range of security and diplomatic measures. All options are on the table,” Tillerson told a news conference in Seoul and added that any North Korean actions that threatened the South would be met with “an appropriate response.”
“If they elevate the threat of their weapons program to a level that we believe requires action, that option is on the table,” Tillerson said when asked about military action.
The harshly worded warning came as Tillerson began his first Asian visit as secretary of state; after Japan and South Korea, he will travel to China on Saturday with a main focus on finding a “new approach” on North Korea after what he described as two decades of failed efforts to denuclearize the insular nation.
North Korea’s response to Tillerson’s remarks have been swift.
Soon after Tillerson’s remarks, in a sign of mounting tensions, the North Korean Embassy held an extraordinary news conference in Beijing to blame the potential for nuclear war on the United States while vowing that its homegrown nuclear testing program will continue in self-defense, the WaPo added. North Korea has amassed a sizable nuclear stockpile and appears at the brink of being able to strike the U.S. mainland and American allies in Asia. The rising threat from the isolated military dictatorship has prompted the Trump administration to begin assessing its options for how to respond and serves as an early test for how the president will confront an increasingly volatile international situation.
North Korea has tested a powerful new rocket engine, state media said Sunday, with leader Kim Jong-un hailing the successful test as a “new birth” for the nation’s rocket industry.
The test was apparently timed to coincide with the visit of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Beijing on Saturday, where he warned that regional tensions had reached a “dangerous level”.
State news agency said Kim had overseen the operation, and “emphasised that the whole world will soon witness what eventful significance the great victory won today carries”, KCNA reported, hinting that the North could use the new engine to launch a rocket to put a satellite in orbit.
Rocket engines are easily re-purposed for use in missiles.
Outside observers say that the nuclear-armed Pyongyang’s space program is a fig leaf for weapons tests.
Wenzel now puts the probability of the U.S. going to war with North Korea as greater than 50%.
As for how such a war would proceed, he refers to an analysis by Eric Margolis that indicates that the U.S. could easily win it, but not without a significant loss of life.
North Korea’s one million-man armed force is large but obsolescent. Its great strength in heavy artillery partly compensates for its totally obsolete, 1960’s vintage air force. Key combat elements of the DPRK army are dug deep into the rocky hills just north of the DMZ, with thousands of heavy North Korean guns facing south. In the event of war, the North claims it will destroy South Korea’s capital, Seoul, that is only 30km away and has 20 million residents.
US estimates of war in Korea made a decade ago, suggest America would incur 250,000 casualties in a war that would cost one million Korean deaths. That’s why the US has shied away from the direct attack on North Korea. Unlike Iraqis, Syrians, Libyans and Somalis, North Koreans know how to fight back and are amply armed for a defensive war.
The US would certainly be tempted to use tactical nuclear weapons against North Korean troops and guns deeply dug into the mountainous terrain. Without them, air power, America’s usual trump card, would lose much of its destructive potential. No doubt, all North Korea would be ravaged by US air power, as it was during the 1950’s Korean War. South Korea plans massive air, missile and commando attacks on North Korean military HQ and against leader Kim Jung-un’s hideaway.
US war plans call for amphibious landings along North Korea’s long, vulnerable coastline. This threat forces the North to deploy large numbers of regular army and militia troops on both coasts.
North Korea’s air force and little navy would be vaporized on the first day of hostilities. But it is likely that the DPRK would be able to fire a score or more of medium-ranged missiles at Japan. If the war goes nuclear, Japan looks almost certain to suffer a nuclear attack, along with Guam. Tokyo and Osaka are prime targets.
North Korean forces might be able to push south to Seoul, but likely no further in the face of fierce attacks by the US and South Korean air power operating from bases further south. The North’s powerful commando force of some 100,000 troops would attack key South Korean targets, including its vital air bases shared with the US. Such raids would be highly disruptive but not decisive unless the DPRK used chemical and/or biological weapons to shut down South Korea’s air bases and its ports at Busan and Inchon.
The US and South Korea could certainly win such a war but it would be very bloody and expensive.
If Trump was mindful of the President’s role in the Constitution, he could not in good conscience put the U.S. into such a war without asking Congress for a declaration of war against North Korea. However, the likelihood of that happening is practically nil. He has his precessors such as Obama and Bush the Younger to thank. Before Trump’s election, the Deep State supported the continual buildup of the Imperial Presidency. Further, Congress is usually a paper pansy it relation to the Presidency, especially on foreign affairs matters.
I don’t know what it will take to prevent such a slaughter of innocent life. It does not even seem to be on the radar of major news outlets. Hopefully, there is some way to prevent such an unnecessary war.
St. Francis, pray for us!
St. Maximilian Kolbe, pray for us!
St. Edith Stein, pray for us!
Source: A Simple Fool