Every week on Monday, the WoW! community and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week’s question: How Would You Fix The Problem Of North Korea?
Mike McDaniel: NOTE: I’m writing this at 0430 Tuesday morning, having just arrived home after an 18 hour drive, so I missed the Monday deadline. This one will be brief. There are only two options: Apply the usual sanctions and make the usual stern pronouncements. In this case, we end up waiting until Kim dies, in the hope whoever replaces him will not be a lunatic Communist and might actually give a damn about his people. In the meantime, Kim will lob some artillery shells here and there, sink the occasional South Korean military vessel, and in general behave like an insane dictator. The danger here is if he is pressed too hard–and Mr. Trump just may do that–he may try to use more indiscriminate military force than usual on the theory the Americans will do what they’ve always done: give the Norks more money and engage in some tongue clucking. This might–might–be a serious miscalculation with Trump in the White House.
The other danger is that Kim’s nuclear weapons have dramatically changed the status quo.
The second option is “surgical” but overwhelming military strikes to so badly damage the Nork military capability any war will be brief and minimize civilian casualties. This would take some time to build up our forces to the necessary levels. Absent waiting generations in the hope of sane leadership in the Hermit Kingdom, that’s the only other option. Take out their nukes, or face the real possibility they’ll use them, or provide them to lunatics that will.
The rest, including China, is details.
Don Surber: Not really sure what to do. I was in South Korea over Easter (Passover) when Matt Drudge had us on the brink of war. Nobody told the South Koreans who continued to do what they always do: build things and bow.
China buying more American coal from my home state of West Virginia could starve the North Koreans, but Kim Jong Un has years of blubber left and cares not about his people. Our proxy war with the Chinese is a bad tooth that occasionally aches.
Perhaps the South Koreans know what they are doing. I mean they are there are they not?
Rob Miller: I think there are a couple of solutions.
China has always used the Kims as pit bulls, with the idea of having them act up whenever a distraction for the West is needed. The problem now is the same one that occurs if you encourage a dog to be vicious. Eventually, the dog starts behaving that way on his own.
That’s pretty much where things are now. Kim Jong-um is doing this on his own without consulting China per se.
My preferred solution would be a secret protocol with Russia, China, The U.S. and perhaps South Korea based on the following principles:
1) The Kims and their cronies would be given a choice – to relocate to a pleasant asylum in China or to face total sanctions on everything from China and Russia. North Korea cannot feed itself, and is dependent on China for a great many things besides foodstuffs.
2) Korea would become a unified country…but would disavow any formal security treaties with the West although they would still be free to have commercial ties, etc. This is similar to the arrangement Finland had with the Soviets and now has with Russia. China has only ever fought wars on its ‘near abroad’, the lands bordering it. A neutral Korea would give the Chinese confidence in the arrangement.
3) The Yong-biyon reactor would be deactivated along with all other nuclear facilities, and North Korea’s ballistic missile program would be ended. Technicians and inspectors from all 4 countries would oversee this.
The Chinese have already signaled that they’re getting tired of Kim’s antics and the necessity of U.S. anti-missiles THAAD batteries to counteract them. Given the vastly improved diplomatic climate created by President Trump and SecState Rex Tillerson, I think this is a definite win win for all concerned except the Kims. And frankly I don’t care about them at all.
The second solution is military. We would have to knock out North Korea’s nuke facilities, missile sites, air force and navy. An important part of that would be assuring the Chinese that we had no intention of moving U.S. forces beyond the DMZ.
In this scenario, it would also be important to kill off the Kims to slow up North Korea’s large conventional army. In a totalitarian regime like North Korea, military people in particular are reluctant to make that first move without orders from up high. That delay would prove extremely useful.
We would also have to be prepared to beef up our conventional forces at the DMZ and have our air power ready to strike if the North Korean army tried moving south.
There are a number of drawbacks to this solution, the most poignant being the amount of civilian casualties involved. But given a choice between civilian casualties here and civilian casualties there, I’d reluctantly say ‘there.’
Laura Rambeau Lee : The only way the North Korean problem can be fixed would be to eliminate Kim Jong-un. He has kept his country and the people so isolated and so indoctrinated it seems unlikely that anyone within the country would stage a coup. His mental instability and notorious purges and executions of his enemies keep the population in fear and paralyzed to act. Perhaps our best hope at this point is to engage China to put economic pressure on the Supreme Leader to stop his increasingly aggressive actions in missile testing and nuclear threats. If that fails and he continues to saber rattle we will have no option but to act militarily to protect our allies South Korea and Japan from his warmongering.
Well, there it is!
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