WHAT, ME WORRY?

“I am all peace; But when I speak, they are for war.” -Psalms 120:7

A spark lights a match. The match lights a fuse. The fuse detonates a bomb. The bomb kills.

1914: A city largely unrecognized except on maps. An archduke largely unfamiliar except within royalty. An assassin previously unknown except to his mother. Brought together in what should have been an unfortunate but relatively trivial act, the consequence was millions of men dying, and Western civilization beginning its continuing decay.

2013: Despite the bellicose rhetoric, despite the nuclear weapons, the South Koreans and the international community seem to be regarding North Korean threats as mere bluster intended to extract increased “humanitarian aid” and international respect while firming the political position of its new leader . . . witness the lackadaisical response of financial markets, including in South Korea. In the famous words of Alfred E. Newman featured in Mad Magazine, “What, me worry?”

Indeed, why should the South Koreans worry? Don’t they have American military might protecting them, to some large degree, at American financial expense? Even better, few of us Americans seem to be questioning whether we should be placing our own country at nuclear risk to protect a commercially predatory, South Korean “ally” that, even after the so-called free-trade agreement known as KORUS, feasts on us as its prey.

Depend upon American intelligence-services to evaluate North Korea militarily and politically as a basis upon which to make our decision? Did they accurately predict the Indian bomb? No. The Pakistani bomb? No. Iranian nuclear development? No.

At the moment, the North Koreans are engaging in a war of only words. Yet, words are a form of behavior, including Kim Jong-un’s, and behavior has its consequences. Would that you could ask the millions who died in the trenches following that day in Sarajevo in 1914 in the midst of a war of words.

Invasion?

Given the context of dithering by Mr. Obama’s administration, if you were Kim Jong-un, what might you do? Launch a non-nuclear invasion of The South?

How formidable a military foe does Mr. Obama . . .  a man of uncertain origin who never was in the military, who never owned a business, and who never held a job in the private sector . . . appear to the tyrannical Supreme Leader? How formidable a military foe does Mr. Obama’s Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, appear? How formidable a diplomatic foe does Mr. Obama’s Secretary of State, John Kerry, appear?

Would The USA commit ground-troops as it did in 1950, the consequence of which was the first war The USA failed to win since 1812? Now, after a pyrrhic victory in Iraq benefitting mainly Iran politically and Turkey economically as well as a pending defeat in Afghanistan with the religiously fanatical and anti-American Taliban regaining control, to what extent would the American public support sending hundreds of thousands of troops back to the Korean Peninsula, certain to suffer tens of thousands killed in action and many times that number wounded?

Without ground-troops, could the military of The South win with only air-support by The USAF and USN? The air-superiority of The USAF and USN failed against the North Vietnamese even with American ground-troops defending the South Vietnamese.

Would The USA be the first to use tactical nuclear weapons? A school of military analysts believes that the inescapable consequence of any tactical nuclear war is strategic nuclear war. Would the nuclear response from The North be only tactical? A worldwide strategic nuclear war will be catastrophic for most living creatures on this extraordinary planet, not only from radiation but from depletion of oxygen by firestorms raging worldwide . . . think Dresden in 1945 with non-nuclear bombs.

In the event of American military intervention, what might be the response from China? Even if it remained outside the fray, might it dump its U.S. Treasuries onto the open market as an economic weapon against us? If so, what would be the consequence on an already fragile American economy engaged in, yet, another massive military adventure?

A Further Consideration

Even today, South Korea remains a commercial predator with us Americans as its prey. How would it be in the national interests of The USA to defend South Korea? To what extent would a Korean Peninsula unified under Pyongyang represent a threat to The USA? Is the threat sufficient for us to launch an attack by air against North Korean military installations? After the momentary flag-waving of the Stars-and-Stripes, what would be the consequence?

Clearly, the North Korean military long has prepared for just such an attack. Would they, nevertheless, merely apologize, admit defeat, and promise to be good boys . . . or would they launch a strategic nuclear attack against The South and, to the extent practicable, against American military installations in the Pacific including Japan?

Ours To Make

At the moment, the decision is ours to make. Trying more talk leading to a militarily stronger North Korea while hoping against an invasion of The South by The North? Attacking the nuclear installations of The North? Continuing to obligate ourselves to defending The South then doing so should The North invade?

Given the context and contingent consequences, which option would you choose?  Before answering, consider less the provocative antecedents of Kim Jong-un but more the political context of Mr. Obama and his cohorts directing a war, potentially nuclear, and the horrific consequences of their making a miscalculation.

Is there better alternative to any of the above? Perhaps (www.inescapableconsequences.com).

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