North Korea has the capability to unleash 500,000 rounds of artillery in the first hour of a conflict. Their Taepo dong 1 missiles can reach Japan and other U.S. interests.
In 2010 they sank a South Korean warship killing 46 naval officers. South Korea seemed to let it slide, but that will most certainly not be the response of their new leader, Park Geun-Hye, the so-called Korean Iron Lady. She has vowed a harsh response to an attack from Pyongyang. Pyongyang has a history of welcoming new South Korean leaders with military provocation.
With Russia confidently flying two Russian bears carrying nukes over Guam yesterday and China warships in the region, things could quickly get ugly. China is North Korea’s only ally. Go figure. It only takes one shaky trigger finger and an all out conflict could be started. But what should Washington’s response be?
Whether North Korea decides to descend the entire region into chaos or not, the Obama administration must realize that a weak stance is dangerous for the nation and for the allies we have sworn to protect. Whether we like it or not, South Korean and Japanese relations require our leadership in dealing with this rogue nation and their unfortunate allies.
Now that we are at the red line with young Kim Jong Un who is most certainly trying to prove himself, the U.S. government is not being taken seriously. Our stance on war as a society has become complicated with uncertainty. The resolve of the United States has been damaged by the poorly managed wars of the Middle East and a prolonged economic crisis at home. We want nothing more to do with external conflict…for the time being.
This comes at an unfortunate hour when the world is growing increasingly unstable. Violence in Bagdad has increased with suicide bombings and car bombings being reported weekly. Israel and Hamas have entered a new conflict. Now, the Korean peninsula is becoming heavily militarized in preparation for war.
While a desire to withdraw from the world seems to be on the lips of so many Americans, we will find it impossible to follow through. North Korea is a prime example. Our relationships with South Korea and Japan make it impossible to sit out of this conflict. The U.S. is obligated to come to the aid of Japan which has had no military force of its own since WWII.
For now, the question remains, how do we handle this conflict and future ones. Unless North Korea believes the U.S. is going to use military force, military force does not act as a deterrent and we will be forced to utilize it. America’s new found foreign policy insecurity seems to be a fact worldwide. As long as foreign powers believe we will not use deadly and precise military force, our national security is in danger and true diplomacy is in danger because we have no leverage with nations that only understand violence.
This is not an argument for preemptive military intervention, but we do need to consider whether we should be disarming and defunding the military in a time when many nations are throwing much of their resources towards theirs. By 2020, China will be outspending the U.S. on defense. As Ronald Reagan put it, peace will be in the hands of whoever has “superior firepower,” but not only that, The rogue nation must believe we will use it. That is the true deterrent. Diplomacy includes ensuring them that the cost for stepping across the Korean armistice line (the Hyujeonseon) means immediate and deadly retaliation.
Washington had asserted that Kim Jong Un would be removed from his position if they instigated an attack, but since, the Obama administration has dialed down the rhetoric in hopes that not arguing will get us out of this situation that was started up by the North Koreans in the first place. This will only embolden Un and our even more powerful enemies watching.
Obama administration has failed in diplomacy for three reasons:
The first, President Obama started out with a campaign of demonizing our nation which now must play out its role as a super power on the world stage with a leader at the helm who feels the same way about us that our enemies do.
Second, in every diplomatic effort he has caved in to the interest of our enemies without asking for anything in return. He has used this method incessantly with the Taliban.
And third, he has kept this nation in economic peril so that our presence on the world stage has been considerably diminished. No one takes our efforts seriously and where we should be leading, we are trailing.
Whether anyone feels Iraq or Afghanistan was a mistake, the question today is, how do we move forward? We cannot sit back because there are too many U.S. obligations. Of course, we should ditch some of our obligations to nations that despise us, but the United States has close allies that we have committed to protect. If North Korea, “the nationstate equivalent of the short bus” (as the character Sterling Archer calls it), will not take U.S. power seriously, how can we expect those who are an even greater threat to U.S. national security to do so.