Tag Archives: North Korea

US Must Hold China Responsible for North Korean Crisis

North Korea has a long history of ignoring the global community and making dangerous and hostile moves that threaten to engulf East Asia in military conflict. In 2006, the Communist Nation tested a Taepodong missile over the objections of the global community. Last year, the attempted to detonate a nuclear device underground, though the results were questionable. Just since President Obama took office, they have tested more missiles, and successfully detonated a nuclear weapon equal in size to the Hiroshima bomb which killed more than 70,000 people.

Combined, these tests threaten the security of the United States – it is now clear that North Korea has nuclear weapons, and that they are quickly developing the technology (through improvements to their Taepodong missiles) to deliver such weapons to distant locations – presumably including the United States. These facts demand that the United States eliminate the North Korean threat before it can be used to further blackmail the developed world.

Thus far, Dimplomacy has failed. Only through what amount to bribes has the international community been able to delay – and just delay – further development. This is unacceptable. Continued appeasement of the North Korean regime will only further damage our credibility and will, in the end, still lead to a Korean nuke that can be delivered at will.

While, at this point, military action is clearly justified, there are good reasons to avoid yet another military conflict on the Asian continent. It may still be possible to avoid such conflict, but in order to do so, the US must move beyond North Korea and the United Nations and put direct, significant pressure on China to solve the problem before we do. As Gordan Chang points out on Forbes.com, China holds enough leverege in North Korea to put to rest any crisis that develops:

Today, China supplies about 90% of North Korea’s oil, 80% of its consumer goods and 45% of its food. Beijing is Pyongyang’s only formal military ally and its primary backer in the United Nations Security Council and other diplomatic forums. If it weren’t for the Chinese, there would be no North Korean missile program, no North Korean nuclear program and no North Korea.

Knowing the power China holds in this situation, and their need for continued good relations with the United States (on whom they are just as dependent as the reverse), President Obama must issue an ultimatum to the Chinese government, making it clear that we view our national security to be at risk, that we will take action to end the Korean threat if China does not, and that we will view attempts to restrict any efforts to block such action as hostile acts. It goes without saying that we must also be willing to back up that ultimatum with action if China is unwilling or unable to prevent further development of the North Korean threat. That must include, but not be limited to, airstrikes and limited ground incursions to eliminate missile pads, and, if possible, nuclear weapons development.



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Defense Cuts Good For Now – But What About the Future?

For those who haven’t heard, the Secretary of Defense has recently announced a shift in priorities that includes the cancelling of several high-cost programs which attracted criticism from many who believe them to be excessive or no longer necessary – among them them the F-22, an air-superiority stealth fighter jet with roots in the Cold War; the Airborne Laser, a missile defense system mounted on a modified Boeing 747, and the missile defense shield, which consists of radar detection and interceptors to shoot down any threats from East Asia. The President’s new Marine One Helicopter was also cancelled, but that is far less of an issue, since those helicopters do not see much combat action.

Now, for the threat we currently face – Islamic terrorists, rebels who hide in caves or in the shadows of Arab cities, those with no radar, and very limited rocket technology – these cuts (combined with a greater focus on anti-insurgent technology) are a good thing. Its true that a multi-million dollar warplane that can avoid radar detection has limited use (or at least little advantage over other, less high-tech warplanes) against those like UBL, and its true that a missile-shield has little use against terrorists who’s closest resemblance to a missile is a steal pipe on the back of a truck – and who’s nuclear delivery system is most likely to be a backpack or suitcase. So, in this regard, this shift in priorities will help us to fight the current enemy more effectively.

But what about the future? Al-Qaeda will not remain our primary opponent for the next 100 years, eventually the leaders will die, the money will dry up, and security improvements will severely restrict their ability to conduct attacks. Even a quick glance at the front pages of CNN or FOX News will tell you who is in line to be our next major military adversary – Rogue nations like Iran or North Korea, or restless superpowers like Russia and China. All of these nations have developed armies, modern military hardware, and most have ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States. We’ve seen how Russia and China aren’t afraid to use force to spread their influence, and anyone with access to the news knows that North Korea and Iran have been creating problems for years – so with these threats in mind, is it really a good idea to be cutting the kind of technology that gives us an advantage over other nations? Probably not.

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Obama’s Plan for a Nuclear-Free World Ignores Reality

One of the more controversial comments to come out of Obama’s European trip was the President’s call for a complete global elimination of nuclear weapons – a goal that, if achieved, would eliminate the threat of nuclear attack that has existed, on and off, for more than 50 years. The problem is no so much the goal – the elimination of nuclear arms is a noble cause – but it is simply not realistic. And for the President of the United States, the only leading nation who has shown the commitment to take action against rouge states, to be proposing the abandonment of a defensive nuclear arsenal on the very day that North Korea – itself a nuclear-armed state – tested a long-range missile with the capability of reaching US soil displays a dangerous naiveté which places liberal idealism above the harsh realities of the global political situation.

As even the President noted in his speech, even the far less idealistic goal of preventing the further spread of nuclear weapons – where the threat of complete destruction for the use of such devices by rogue states still exists – has failed. Both Iran and North Korea, two of the most unstable and hostile nations on Earth, either have or are developing nukes. Both have made threats against their neighbors, and neither can be trusted with the kind of responsibility that comes with a nuclear arsenal. Neither nation is to the point of being able to deliver their weaponry to other nations via missiles, but both are working in that direction, and unlike the United States and England, who have committed to using nukes purely as a defensive and/or determent tool, in the hands of North Korea or Iran, these weapons will be used for blackmail and genocide. If those nations with the capability to respond to such attacks were to give up their arms, the road would be clear for Kim Jong Il or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to embark on a deadly reign of terror in their respective regions.

The problem then, with calling for a plan to completely eliminate nuclear arms, is that those who would be likely to respond to such a plan do not pose a real threat to global security, and those who are most likely to use such weapons for malicious purposes aren’t likely to sign on to any kind of international agreement that would limit their military strength. Even if they did agree on paper, nations similar to and including those currently causing problems have shown that they cannot be trusted on arms limitation.

Obama’s proposal is certainly desirable, but its application could very well shift the global balance of power away from the United States.

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North Korean Threat Calls for Military Response

By all accounts, President Obama, Europe, and the UN Security Council have completely flunked the latest test put forward by North Korea. Not only did they allow the launch – which was in clear violation of UN mandates – to go forward, but it now appears that further UN action will be weak. Unless the newest round of sanctions contains authorization for the United States to another nation to use military action to enforce the no-missile-launches restriction, the time for diplomacy will have passed.

As with other nations – most notably the Saddam Hussein-era Iraq – who have been placed under UN sanctions, there has been little success in stemming the dangerous and provocative behavior from the tyrannical regime. Despite the warnings from the US, Europe, Japan, and even China,  to the North against going ahead with the launch, while most in the US were asleep, the Taepodong-2 missile left the pad and ended up crashing somewhere over the pacific ocean.

Despite this failure to put the actual satallite (if there ever was one) into orbit, its likely that this launch provided the North Koreans (and whichever other anti-American nations they choose) with valuable data about their missile – data that can be used to improve the chances of success on the next attempt, as well as develop even more advanced rockets that could extend the range all the way into the mainland US. The current rocket already has the capability to reach Alaska, and is extremely close to being able to reach Hawaii. Improvements could extend the range into California, Washington State, and beyond. Add that to the capability to place a nuclear warhead on the missile, and you have a very dangerous threat to the United States – one that can now, it seems, only be avoided through the threat and use of military force to eliminate the production, transport, and launch of future missiles.


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Good Questions….

In response to my call to destroy the North Korean Missile before it even gets off the ground, one of my readers asked a few good questions about whether or not the missile actually posed any danger to the US or its allies. Since I’m aiming for more reader-interaction, I figured I’d answer in a front page post.

What do we have to gain by destroying the missile on the pad? (Even North Korea is not dumb enough to launch a missile strike. The leaders all know that most of them would be dead in a matter of days.)

Its probably true that North Korea isn’t about to nuke the south, but there is no telling what instability could do. Kim Jong Il is old, ill, and with no clear successor. The nation is unable to feed itself, and there is always the potential for an armed revolt by the military in the event Kim dies or otherwise become unable to lead (or simply unpopular with the guys with the guns). I’m not sure in leaving the future to chance, if this test works, they will not have both nuclear weapons AND the power to deliver them to other areas (though I’m not sure if they have the technology yet to mount the missiles with warheads – that may be next) – even without firing a missile, those two things combined could be enough to blackmail the world into caving into whatever demands the regime may have.

Think about China and Russia. How would they react?

China isn’t exactly willing to invade its neighbor (and fellow communist country) to its south, but they aren’t exactly thrilled by the prospect of a nuclear-capable NK either. And its probably safe to say that they resent the tension this has caused with the United States, their biggest consumer of the kind of cheap manufactured goods that keep the economy going. Russia would likely take little action, at very most, they might criticize the United States for preemptive action, but they have their own problems to worry about, and would probably be just as happy if North Korea was no longer an issue.

How about the Middle East?

As for the middle east, there would likely be little impact. Sure, some might claim that this is the US being another aggressive, imperialist nation – but remember that the kinds of Islamic extremists who would be likely to make such a claim aren’t exactly the biggest fans of Godless Communists either. In any case, this issue is so separate from our operations in the Middle East that I would not expect much response from anyone in that region.

How about Europe?

This is, once again, a region largely separate from events in East Asia.  Europe is probably between a rock and a hard place on this issue – they aren’t fans of an active military policy, but they have just as good of a reason to want to avoid the kind of instability that comes with a Nuclear-capable North Korea.

What would the global economic impact be?

This is an important question. Unfortunately, the markets are likely to take a hit either way. The same kind of international strife that would be caused by taking the missile out on the pad will be caused by knocking it out of the air – something that both Japan and the United States have already announced their intent to do. The markets hate instability, so any conflict between the US and the North cause a drop in the NYSE. But what would be the global – or even American – economic impact if the North Koreans can accomplish this test successfully? Probably just as bad.

Would the US public support such an action?

I believe, ultimately, they would. Any action to take out the missile would require little risk to American lives, and, since the missile CAN reach the United States, I don’t see any large segment of the population objecting.

Would it change North Korea? (I think it would embolden them as they play the victim and China, Russia, Iran, Venezuela, etc., run to their support.)

China and Russia are not going to tie themselves to an unstable nuclear-destined regime who made enemies with the United States, and who has intentionally provoked the international community. Iran would probably complain about US Imperialism,  but, at the same time, this could serve as a good example to our other allies that the United States, despite being under new leadership, is still prepared to use its military power.

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Why Wait? US Should take out North Korean Missile Now

Pictures now show the North Korean Taepodong 2 missile sitting on the launch pad, ready for fueling and launch within the next two weeks. Predictably, this has caused considerable concern from both Japan and South Korea – but also from the United States, who is also technically within range of the nuclear-capable missile. Though the West cost is just out of reach, both Alaska and Hawaii are within the extended range – as is Northern Australia, which makes you wonder why they’ve been so silent.

Japan has already positioned interceptors on both naval vessels and Japan’s west coast – even pulling missile defenses out of Tokyo to put them within better range of the latest threat. The US has also dispatched ships to the region, and the missile detection facility in Alaska is expected to assist in any attempted intercept.

Its encouraging to see the US taking this threat seriously, but I question the decision to wait for an actual test to occur. Though our intercept technology has improved significantly since the days of President Reagan’s “star wars” proposal, we’re still known to miss one every now and then – and that suggests that the best way to defend against this missile would be to take it out before it even gets off the ground.  Yes, it would be provocative – but so is butting the thing on the pad in the first place.

The United States has a wide military arsenal that could be used to take out the missile before it even got out of the ground – from its own missiles to planes to, well, whatever they DON’T tell us about. A night raid or attack launched from a ship would likely succeed without too much of a risk for Americans.

Probably better to blow that thing out of existence before they find out they finally got it right.

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Act of War?

Has North Korea already commited an act of War by threatning the United States? I beleive so. I feel there is significant evidence that the DPRK has threatened to conduct a nuclear strike against the United States. This is an agressive act, and the U.S. should repond accordingly by destroying North Korea’s ability to conduct such a strike. The United States should give Pyongyang a twenty four hour deadline to completely suspend all nuclear activities and allow U.N. inspectors into the country. If they refuse, we should use or B-2 spirit bombers and tomahawk missiles to destroy all nuclear powerplants, nuclear storage facilities, and missile pads. If they continue to threaten our saftey, we should then conduct targeted strikes against the parliment building, leaders residence, Juche tower, and other government buildings. Any attack against any U.S. ally would result in the total destruction of all military bases in the North. The United States must defend its self against the North Korean threat.

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