We now have a nuclear North Korea. Those in the know all agree that any attempt at “surgical strike” to eliminate their nuclear capability will result first in the annihilation of Seoul’s 10 million people and followed shortly by devastation in Japan and the rest of South Korea. And even so will not eliminate their nuclear capacity. And a “decapitation strike” to eliminate the Kim Jong Un leadership will have the same results. These are not a sensible choices.
So what can we do with North Korea joining the other 9 nuclear states? Remember many of those nuclear states have been our sworn enemy since 1949. We have lived with thousands of nuclear tipped missiles aimed at the US 24/7 for decades.
After the times when this country considered the crazy “survivable nuclear attack strategy” we figured out that our strategy, and world’s strategy, should be to avoid all nuclear attacks. Thus we had things like MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) – all sides knew that if the launched a nuclear attack, even one which destroyed the target nation, they would also be destroyed.
What is Kim Jong Un trying to get? He has repeatedly stated that he needs nuclear capability for defensive reasons. He even cites what the US did to Libya and Iraq as why he needs to have nuclear capability. He does not have the power for a preemptive attack on the US. But with nuclear weapons he can deliver significant pain to the US if attacked by them. And he hopes that that risk is great enough to deter the US from attacking him. And certainly with reasonable leadership in the US it should.
There is a saying, “Beware a cornered fox”: any animal that feels they are trapped and at risk gets much more aggressive. The more threatened North Korea feels the more they will set their nuclear weapons on a fail-deadly rather than a fail-safe system and the more they will set them on a hair trigger. All of which increases the chance of a misunderstanding, or a rogue unit, or an accident causing an unintended nuclear launch. Even the US and USSR internal systems have failed a number of times and almost causing nuclear devastation.
This is a case in which, to re-purpose an old WWII adage, “Loose lips Sink ships.” The more threats, the more saber rattling, the more bellicose posturing the US does, more North Korea will feel at danger, besieged, and under threat of attack. Congress can not stop what the White House says. But they can and should exercise their powers under the US Constitution and issue a resolution that no act of war, thus any military action, can be taken against North Korea without prior written consent by congress under Article 1 of the US Constitution. This would go a long way to helping Kim Jong Un feel that the US is not planning a preemptive attack, or a decapitation strike, or an imminent war and help get him out of this dangerous besieged, hair trigger mindset.
Mr Adams was in South Korea while in the US Army. He was in the infantry as a paratrooper and was also deployed to Vietnam , Japan, and Alaska. He has maintained his interest in and continued to study the Korean conflict ever since.