INDIANAPOLIS, December 3, 2017:– North Korea’s Kim Jung Un has nuclear weapons and ICBMs. He’s an isolated narcissist, a sociopath whose people are forced to believe in his divinity. He hates the United States. The rest of the world is facing “a moment” here.
The world depends on our military for protection against Kim’s insanity as the consequences of that insanity continue to grow. What will stop his ambitions? What even are his ambitions, beyond destroying the United States?
America and her allies and military dependents have been ignoring North Korea’s hegemony for too long. Finally – with missile launches that have gotten DC’s attention – the clamor for “a solution” is loud and worldwide.
Everyone wants America to do the heavy lifting. Russian missile technology, Chinese economic support, and Iranian money (thanks to the transfer of tens of billions of dollars by the Obama regime) are stacked up against us. Our own fear of losing “just one innocent life” has our hands tied.
We have “politically acceptable options” for North Korea.
We could continue diplomacy without the substantive help of China and Iran, two nuclear nations that continue to help Kim. This has delayed an actual nuclear attack until today, so who’s to say it won’t work indefinitely? Forever, though, is a long time, and slowing the approach doesn’t mean the arrival isn’t closer every day.
We could rebuild existing anti-missile defenses for unknown billions, but we might still fail in stopping the one missile that could wipe out our allies, or any city in the USA. Trading our righteousness for allied lives is an expensive play for an uncertain return. A multi-trillion dollar (in 1987 dollars!) “star wars” defense bluff broke the Soviet Union. Can we bluff again, with a fifth column so willing to destroy any attempt the Administration may pursue?
But there’s “reality” to deal with.
We face the unpalatable truth that defense, either diplomatic or military, is based on hope, hope that millennia of experience shows is unfounded. Defense, whether at Masada or on the Maginot Line, is always expensive and cannot anticipate enemy actions. Defense always ultimately loses.
President Truman faced a similar, though better-defined choice: do the unthinkable – obliterate hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians – or face the worse prospect of losing millions more, including innocents, in a protracted war.
We can debate Truman’s choice forever, but his results spoke for themselves. The bomb ended WWII and stopped the bloodletting. Japan replaced its divine emperor with a democratic leadership. The Empire of Japan ceased its quest for world domination. Sadly, this was only after the Empire raped and ravaged China, killed millions more in Asia, destroying countless military and civilian lives. The war against Japan, precipitated by a single, predictable attack, cost the world freedoms lost forever as its War Machines diverted billions of dollars from peaceful, productive enterprise, trading debt, lives, and prosperity for… ashes and graves.
A modern Truman moment
We face another Truman moment, but luckily we haven’t already lost the millions of lives and spent trillions of dollars. Yet.
We know what will happen if we continue on the present course – we see it every day. It’s unlikely that we can afford an effective defense and it’s impossible to build such a defense system in time. We also know that whatever we build cannot be 100% effective, and certainly not forever.
Preemptively striking North Korea
A pre-emptive strike against Pyongyang would end the Kim regime and tell its allies (overt and otherwise) that America will not tolerate being threatened. Surely “world opinion” will turn against us, at least in countries that see political advantage in continuing their hate of America (or our president). But “world opinion” isn’t protecting us now, as it has never protected us.
Only action has protected us, and action later will be more expensive and more deadly than action now.
We know that defense is unaffordable and (more importantly) not reliable. We also know that we have the capability, today, in hand, for no additional expense and at virtually no risk to American lives, to end the threat.
Must we wait until North Korea forces us to do what we already know we must?
Harry Truman had the intelligence to understand, and the constitution to bear the heat for his decision. He also had four years of bloody war to help him with that understanding and commitment. Will today’s America lead with strength, intelligence and understanding? Or must we first suffer the curse of a nuclear Pearl Harbor?