The Korean Peninsula is relatively small by comparison to the rest of planet Earth. But it is central in a dance that could, if mismanaged by us or by China, impact us all.
We have now installed and brought to operational status a missile system with the acronym THAAD in South Korea. THAAD stands for the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system. This is essentially an anti-missile missile system which will enable the engagement and destruction of North Korean missiles fired that might be aimed at Hawaii, mainland U.S. or other targets allied with us. Missiles armed with nuclear warheads are the primary target but a conventional warhead can do significant damage so it stands to reason that THAAD will be employed in the case of any such targeted launch. These NK missiles are designed as essentially intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) even though they’ve yet to travel very far before self-destructing. Sooner or later, however, they’ll get one to go where they aim it and we need be ready to drop that into the ocean in pieces.
Missiles armed with nuclear warheads are the primary target but a conventional warhead can do significant damage so it stands to reason that THAAD might simply take down anything fired by North Korea. That might be overkill given the success rate, currently zero, enjoyed by Kim Jung-un’s countrymen who seem to have a difficult time getting anything they launch to work as designed; not that I am complaining.
Apparently, China is not at all happy with South Korea for permitting the THAAD system to be installed and made operational and has subjected that country to economic pressures to make sure the South Korean leaders pay a price for this bold transgression on China’s world as China sees it. South Korean citizens have also registered their dissatisfaction with their leaders’ decision apparently losing sight of the significance of a successful launch of a missile armed with a nuclear warhead that can easily target them rather than, or in addition to, Hawaii or the U.S. mainland.
Given the seeming questionable mental stability of Kim Jung-un, this preparation was something absolutely essential from our perspective.
I am reminded of the old saying that when the elephants dance, mice need to get out of the way. It is unfortunate that the South Koreans find themselves embroiled in something created by the North Koreans, and potentially others, who aided in this arms build-up, but that is where they’re at and there is no other recourse than to be ready to destroy any and all missiles capable of reaching long distances since we cannot trust the North Korean government.
As a matter of fact, North Korea’s ‘dear leader’ is no doubt capable of targeting China in a fit of delirium or temper. That would involve China in a big way and could easily destabilize our planet given China’s response. Nothing is beyond possibility when Kim Jung-un is holding his finger on a trigger.
This begs the question of how long we’ve known of these attempts by North Korea to get an ICBM launched. Has this all occurred just since January 21, 2017? Of course, that is not possible. So, we must assume that our leaders have known all this before President Trump took office. Or should’ve been able to connect the dots. Everything in the world is now essentially right ‘next door’. Weapons exist that make us all next-door neighbors whether that is what we wish or not.
This also begs the discussion of our debt, increasing regularly, held by China, and of what we would do if we could no longer borrow from China to sustain our economic system. China is a far greater potential issue than is Russia from our perspective. This globe has shrunken markedly over the decades as our reach has extended. I would submit that the last eight years were costly in terms of our standing in the world, and in terms of our indebtedness to China.
Engagement, even if frustrating at times, is absolutely essential. President Obama did not seem to relish that part of his job. He made choices in foreign policy based upon what he thought of the other countries’ leaders, and not necessarily on what each leader meant in terms of the United States’ safety and relative position in the world. President Trump has taken a more aggressive role in that regard by reaching out to many and by choosing emmisaries who know their way around this planet. President Trump has taken a more aggressive role in positioning the U.S. as the strength of the free world where our last Administration didn’t seem overly concerned with world affairs.
Issues such as this with North Korea’s sabre-rattling make the difference between the past eight years and what we see of the coming eight years. We will be engaged and we will make our positions known to preclude others from mistakenly assuming a position we don’t occupy.
North Korea with intercontinental ballistic missile capability, let alone a nuclear ICBM capability, simply is not something the entire globe needs nor should tolerate. I hope that President Trump’s actions continue to make that very clear. There is no room for weakness in this world.
I would also think China would be apprehensive with Kim Jung-un holding his finger on that trigger, as well. If he isn’t a bit crazy, he sure has me fooled.