July 17, 2017

THERE WERE NO TROOPS AT HIROSHIMA:

How to Deal With North Korea (MARK BOWDEN,  JULY/AUGUST 2017, The Atlantic)

[T]he U.S. has four broad strategic options for dealing with North Korea and its burgeoning nuclear program.

1. Prevention: A crushing U.S. military strike to eliminate Pyongyang's arsenals of mass destruction, take out its leadership, and destroy its military. It would end North Korea's standoff with the United States and South Korea, as well as the Kim dynasty, once and for all.

2. Turning the screws: A limited conventional military attack--or more likely a continuing series of such attacks--using aerial and naval assets, and possibly including narrowly targeted Special Forces operations. These would have to be punishing enough to significantly damage North Korea's capability--but small enough to avoid being perceived as the beginning of a preventive strike. The goal would be to leave Kim Jong Un in power, but force him to abandon his pursuit of nuclear ICBMs.

3. Decapitation: Removing Kim and his inner circle, most likely by assassination, and replacing the leadership with a more moderate regime willing to open North Korea to the rest of the world.

4. Acceptance: The hardest pill to swallow--acquiescing to Kim's developing the weapons he wants, while continuing efforts to contain his ambition.

Let's consider each option. All of them are bad.

1 | Prevention

An all-out attack on North Korea would succeed. The U.S. and South Korea are fully capable of defeating its military forces and toppling the Kim dynasty.

For sheer boldness and clarity, this is the option that would play best to President Trump's base. (Some campaign posters for Trump boasted, finally someone with balls.) But to work, a preventive strike would require the most massive U.S. military attack since the first Korean War--a commitment of troops and resources far greater than any seen by most Americans and Koreans alive today.

A nuclear strike on Pyongyang would not require any troops and rather limited resources.




Posted by at July 17, 2017 5:51 PM

  

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