July 8, 2017

“I have some pretty severe things we’re thinking about,” Trump said of North Korea at a news conference in Warsaw. “Doesn’t mean we’re going to do them.”

What President Trump really meant is that he has painted the US into a corner with all his threats of war and really does not know what to do next. North Korea called his ‘or else’ bluff. Good. No action on North Korea is better than any conceivable military operation.

Last week the North Korea test fired a new, longer-ranged strategic missile, Hwasong-14, that US experts claimed was capable of hitting Alaska and perhaps even San Francisco. North Korea is now believed to have mastered a lightweight nuclear warhead that can be carried by the Hwasong and shorter-ranged Taepodong and Nodong missiles.

North Korea can’t today seriously threaten North America with missile strikes, but it probably will by 2019. Meanwhile, North Korean nuclear and conventionally-armed missiles (and this could include poison gas and biological warheads) today threaten the 80,000 plus US military personnel based in Japan, South Korea and Guam. They would be immediate targets should the US and South Korea attack the north.

Add tens of millions of South Korean and Japanese civilians who are at risk of North Korean retaliation. Half of South Korea’s capitol, Seoul, is within range of North Korean heavy artillery and rocket batteries dug into the so-called Demilitarized Zone.

It would take only three nuclear weapons to shatter Japan and just two to cripple South Korea, not to mention polluting the globe with radioactive dust and contaminating North Asia’s water sources. Nuclear explosions would spread radioactive contamination over northern China and Pacific Russia.

Why are we even talking about nuclear war in North Asia?

Because North Korea has scraped and skimped for decades to build nuclear weapons for the sole reason of deterring a major US attack, including the use by the US of tactical nuclear weapons. Pakistan ‘ate grass’ for decades to afford nuclear weapons to offset the threat from far more powerful India. Israel uses the same argument to justify its large nuclear arsenal.

After Washington overthrew the rulers of Iraq and Libya, it became painfully apparent that small nations without nuclear weapons were vulnerable to US ‘regime change’ operations. The North Koreans, who are very eccentric but not stupid, rushed to accelerate their nuclear weapons and delivery systems.

Almost equally important, North Korea boasts one of the word’s biggest armies – 1,020,000 men, 88,000 crack special forces, and an trained militia of over 5 million. The North’s weapons are obsolescent; its small air forces and navy will be vaporized by US power but its troops are deeply dug into the mountainous terrain and would be fighting from prepared positions. War against North Korea would be a slow and bloody slog– even a repeat of the bloody, stalemated 1950-53 Korean War in which 39,000 Americans and at least 2.5 million Koreans died. I’ve been in the deep North Korean-dug tunnels under the Demilitarized Zone. A full division can be moved through in only 60 minutes.

Ever since being soundly beaten in Vietnam and fought to a draw in Afghanistan, the US military has preferred to attack small countries like Panama, Grenada, Somalia, Yemen, Iraq and Syria. The Pentagon is not eager to tangle with the tough North Koreans. Estimates of the cost of a US invasion of North Korea have run as high as 250,000 US casualties and tens of billions of dollars.

Seemingly heedless of these hard facts, President Trump – who himself avoided national military service in the 1960’s – keeps beating the war drums over North Korea and needling its thin-skinned regime with naval exercises, over-flights, and intensifying bombast. North Korea’s Kim Jong-un has played right along, clearly relishing his game of chicken with tough-talking Donald Trump.

Trump seemed certain he could somehow cajole China into disarming North Korea’s nuclear arsenal. But the administration’s amateur foreign policymakers failed to understand that the only “deal” that could get China to disarm the North was by agreeing to remove all US military bases from the region – South Korea, Japan and Guam – and also moving the US Seventh Fleet far from China’s coasts.

Growing US hysteria over North Korea, a nation of only 25 million, recalls the propaganda storm launched by Washington to justify its invasion of equally small Iraq. The dim-witted US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, has become point-woman for hurling warlike threats at North Korea even though this neocon poster-girl’s foreign affairs experience appears to have been limited to the International House of Pancakes in her native South Carolina.

Everyone seems to have forgotten, or ignores, that North Korea, South Korea and the United States remain in a state of war. The 1950-52 Korean War ended with a cease-fire, not a peace. The US has been trying to overthrow and undermine North Korea’s Stalinist regimes ever since, using military threats, subversion and economic warfare. Talk of US-South Korean plans to “decapitate’ North Korea’s leadership with missile strikes and commando raids keeps giving Pyongyang the jitters.

South Korea’s new president, Moon Jae-in, demanded that his nation be consulted before any military action. But Moon’s pleas have been largely ignored by Trump. Most South Koreans shrug off the North’s threats and seek to avoid war at all costs. Of course. They would be the primary victims.

The US has spent over $200 billion on ballistic anti-missile systems in recent years designed to stop North Korean missiles.
Unfortunately, these ABM systems don’t work very well. More tens of billions will have to be spent before these anti-missile systems become reliable.

Would it not be easier and less expensive for grand deal-maker Trump to recognize North Korea, set up diplomatic relations, stop trying to overthrow the Kim regime, and finally end the Korean War?

Copyright Eric S. Margolis 2017

This post is in: North Korea, USA

8 Responses to “END THE KOREAN WAR”

  1. The real problem is when Trump did one of the few truly smart things he did and said he was willing to meet with Kim anywhere any time the warmongering American media utterly freaked out. Any time he does something that is not stupid like not making an enemy of the infinitely intellectually superior Putin America also freaks out. What can he do when the war profiteers own all the media?

  2. Some ramblings:
    I think I will address Kim Jong-un as ‘the Kim’, since he has so much in common with ‘the Donald’.
    The facinating thing about meglomaniacs is that they don’t know they have personality issues or that they are meglomaniacs. They are both privileged, and have no personal wants that are not fulfulled. They are both detatched from ‘human kindness’ and really care little if anyone around them is hurt. Such is the Donald and the Kim.
    My concern is that the Donald thinks he can pull a surprise blitzkrieg on the Kim, underestimating the quickness of response. If anything is done, and the Kim has the opportunity to ‘press the button’, then a terrible war will likely ensue. As American missiles are targetting all of North Korea the Kim likely will release all of his stockpile on anyone and everyone. North Korea is not a very big country and the Americans have a huge surplus of missiles waiting to be used. The Kim has no option other than releasing his entire stockpile since he will not have a second opportunity. The other thing going for the Kim is that there are so many targets in the area, and a high population, and, significant targets at that. It’s almost like a kid in a candy store. Only a pre-emptive attack that will destroy North Korea prior to them loosing their weapons will succeed. Destruction must be total and this scenario seems pretty remote.
    The Kim is not suicidal… being a patriarchal type of society, he does not want his Family Dynasty to be erased forever. This action, of his, has been well thought out and is not haphazard. The North Koreans have little to look forward to in the future… their impoverished state is a consequence of all the country funds being spent on military and American embargos. The Americans are a ‘focal point’ of their problems. There are other countries that share that view. Out of it, the North Koreans are poking the Americans with a ‘sharp pointy stick’, like the ‘Mouse that Roared’. Fortunately or unfortunately, they have the ability to seriously threaten a million people, Americans and those in the immediate area. I don’t think the Donald truly understands this.
    The Kim has a huge psychological advantage, and, it’s improving daily. The uncertainty has to cause many Americans sleepless nights. The clever ‘little people’ are improving their weapons delivery systems also daily; there has been a significant improvement over the last few months, with the effect of flaunting the Americans. What little country can hold sway over such a large powerful bully.
    The Americans do not have a stellar reputation for wars. Since WW2, they have ‘screwed up’ every significant battle they have undertaken. I would hardly think that they fought to a draw in Afghanistan, or, for that matter Iraq. They have lost both these theatres and the damage they have created with last for decades. The Americans start wars, but, never seem to finish; they walk away, leaving problems for others to deal with. Vietnam improved dramatically after the Americans were forced to leave.
    I sometimes enliken the Kim to Fidel Castro… another thorn in the American side. A little dictator that stood against the Americans and their embargos for decades. Fidel took a far more passive stance. It was a real disappointment for his brother Raul to welcome them back.

  3. “Would it not be easier and less expensive for grand deal-maker Trump to recognize North Korea, set up diplomatic relations, stop trying to overthrow the Kim regime, and finally end the Korean War?”

    Of course, it would, And not just easier but way smarter. If Trump could pull that off he’d go as one of the truly great US presidents. Even while many of us puke at that thought. But even if Trump decided to do that the Yahoo cabinet around him would never agree.

  4. Steve_M. says:

    I almost split my sides over this comment: “The dim-witted US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, has become point-woman for hurling warlike threats at North Korea even though this neocon poster-girl’s foreign affairs experience appears to have been limited to the International House of Pancakes in her native South Carolina.” It seems to me that Pat Buchanan said much the same thing about Bill Clinton in 1992, even though at the time the then-governor of Arkansas had far more knowledge and understanding of foreign affairs back than Haley has right now.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.