We live in a nearly constant state of concern, in general, given the world’s powers and their motives. One of the world’s self-professed ‘powers’ is North Korea…and it may be telling the truth about its capabilities.
Kim Jong Un is anything but a stable, non-bellicose ruler of his people. He appears to have had his half-brother eliminated…assassinated would be the correct term…and he sees himself as a genuine power with which to be reckoned. He is the absolute ruler of his country. There are no generals who give any thought to purging their country of this madman. There is no opposition party to hold his feet to the fire. He commands all to give him absolute fealty under the penalty of an ugly death, after their families have been accorded that ending first, if they were to outwardly disobey this demand. He is the ultimate megalomaniac.
His name might be more appropriately Kim Jong Un-hinged. There seems little question as to his mental stability; that does not appear to exist in sufficient amount to make one comfortable.
Against that backdrop, we are involved with a powerful China from whom we borrow considerable sums with a monetary debt growing every day. That is the same China that is flexing it’s very real muscle in that region knowing we have the need to maintain ‘friendly’ relationships, and that we have our hands full with North Korea.
President Trump says that he is ordering B-1 and B-52 bombers to that region. Is he really ready to order those aircraft into the air with the intent to destroy North Korea? Is the rest of the civilized world ready for the U.S. to act in this manner? Would such action destabilize that entire area and breed even worse conditions elsewhere? Sabre-rattling should only be done if and when the rattler is prepared to use the saber. Anything short of that destroys the aura of power it was intended to convey.
There is not much doubt about North Korea’s (read Kim Jong Un’s) intent. Maybe the more appropriate question is where China and Japan would stand if we were to take action to eliminate the threat that North Korea appears to pose. I suspect those two nations would extract some kind of assurances from the U.S. but I also think they’d see the elimination of the Kim Jong Un threat a worthy goal so long as we were the ones to spend our military currency (materiel and lives).
BUT, China would also be essentially reneging on its ally, North Korea. ‘Face’ is critically important in that world.
Is this the time for the U.S. to remove troops from South Korea and let them fend for themselves with the weaponry we’ve supplied. South should be able to handle North militarily at least for the moment, but they’d have to engage the North very soon given the aggressive militaristic nature being demonstrated. Would that encourage China in ways we’d rather not see China encouraged? Very probably, but that may be the price to be paid.
That would essentially take us out of the far east political realm, but we may have no real business there anyway. If we were to do this, we’d be relinquishing open South China sea access, and we’d be encouraging China to continue to build islands to further its boundaries. But, how would China read such actions on our part? Would China simply continue to push its agenda by more and more militaristic action testing to see if we have a point where we’d again become actively defensive?
What we have known as ‘The Far East’ is not nearly so far away as might’ve been the case when that phrase was first uttered. This truly smaller world, from a geopolitical and a military perspective, demands that we have thought about such eventualities before they hit us.
These kinds of decisions have potential repercussions over coming years, no matter how they are decided. The world is far more complex today. Far more complex than it was fifty years ago. I have to say that I am very happy we have some tough, battle-tested former generals/admirals in our cabinet today. I suspect that President Trump, a global thinker in the world of business, was also thinking about such events as this and made sure he had capable military advisors surrounding him.
This may well be the first global test of our new President. And it may well be the first test of our belief in this Administration. Any action of this nature will see the anti-Trump players engaging their mouths immediately. The liberal press will be all over him for this kind of decision. The liberals in Congress might find this too tempting to ignore thus keeping them from coalescing behind their President. This kind of ‘blood in the water’ may be just too tempting to pass up given some of the Democrat spectacles we’ve already seen.
This might also be the first real test for our former president who sits in the District of Columbia for the very reason that he has access to his rabid fans from the press to assert his opinions on anything he’d like to opine about. Unfortunately, I do not expect to see the decency shown by other past presidents for their successors. Maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn I am wrong in that assessment.