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North Korea: the Peaceful Way

2017-09-21

The world has been propelled towards a crisis by North Korea’s new tests of ICBM’s  that could reach Hawaii or Alaska, and an enlarged nuclear weapon that could level a large city like New York.  The North Koreans and our own Don the Con have been engaged in a Twitter war, although Don’s credibility was diminished one day when he threatened with warships that were headed the other way.  The North Koreans have threatened to attack Guam, an isolated US airbase that is the most forward expression of US power and the home base of B-1B bombers that are reputed to carry nuclear weapons that project power over all of Southeast Asia.  Fortunately, the last Twitter exchange between the two sides seemed to indicate that the North Koreans would temporarily delay their threatened launch of missiles at Guam while they observed our behavior.  Don the Con tweeted back that he was glad to see the North Koreans showing good sense.

This sort of Twitter exchange is not an adequate substitute for private, personal negotiations between the governments of the two nations involved.

The way to prevent WW III from breaking out in Korea is to unambiguously tell the North Koreans that we will not attack them first, even in the face of outrageous provocation, but that we will strike back with overwhelming force if they attack us or any other country (South Korea or Japan, for example.)  Then we can proceed to lower tensions by repeating those statements, with variations.  In order to prevent war, we can reduce our level of aggression– avoid military exercises and overflights of North Korea, for example.  The forces we have in Guam and Japan available to attack North Korea can be ever so slightly reduced.  We can even offer to open bilateral talks, even if there is no progress to be made.

There is always the offer of “freeze for freeze”, which I am told the present White House is dead set against, as they are against any bilateral negotiations.

At the same time, we should continue the UN-approved sanctions and hold secret talks with the Chinese about infiltrating North Korea or even having the Chinese forcibly depose the Kim regime.  The point is that we do not want to do anything that would be seen as a push towards war between the US and North Korea but, at the same time, we are prepared to continue crippling sanctions.

Then we should mount a massive propaganda campaign directed towards information-starved North Koreans.  For example, cell phones and chargers smuggled into the country could be used if some method of spreading cell phone service to areas of the North currently out of reach could be managed.  There is the example of the high-flying drones carrying cell phone antennae that can saturate the country with signals if flown in quantity.

 

The Problem

The problem is that we have allowed an insane person to build up a nuclear regime, with an estimated twenty to sixty nuclear weapons and an active program to mount them on ICBM’s (see last week’s New Yorker magazine for these numbers and a revealing visit by a reporter to North Korea only a month ago.)  This mini-arsenal (less than half the size of the United Kingdom’s nuclear arsenal) would, even if all the weapons were delivered, only produce horrific suffering at the their targets, with the vast majority of US military might undamaged.  There is no possibility of North Korea even slowing the US down in such a war.  A hundred American nuclear weapons, each ten times the size of the North Korean weapons, would turn North Korea and much of Southeast Asia into a radioactive wasteland– and the US has thousands of those and more powerful weapons, and the means to deliver them.  The North Koreans don’t understand this and they think that they can credibly deter the US from attacking them– they are, by our definitions, insane.

The point is that there is a serious lack of knowledge of both sides about one another which should be addressed with high-pressure injection of truthful information and personal contacts.

As to the definitions of insanity, there are these beliefs:

The North Koreans actually believe that we started the Korean war and that they won it.  Literally, they believe that we surrendered in the face of their superior resolve and abilities.  They believe the most fantastic things because these “facts” have been drilled into them all their lives, over the seventy year life of the current North Korean government.  They really think that they can credibly stop us from attacking them again with a couple of dozen nuclear bombs not much bigger than the Hiroshima weapon.  They seem to not know that we have spent more than the next five largest countries in the world combined every year for many years on weaponry and that we have enough nuclear weapons to wipe out all of humanity the world over.

The North Koreans are so deluded that they think they can start another war, invade South Korea, and deter us from attacking them with their nuclear weapons.  That is their ultimate goal: to conquer South Korea and prevent the US from intervening with a threat.  They have been drilled to believe in their right to possess the whole of Korea and the necessity of military means.

The North Koreans will never abandon their nuclear weapons because they believe that the United States would destroy them if they did.  They point to the fate of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi: after abandoning his nuclear program in 2001 (after 9/11) he was eventually deposed and murdered by rebels supported by the US and Europe.

Because of this insanity, their regime is unstable and will eventually start a war or collapse catastrophically unless someone intervenes.

Because of this insanity and paranoia, it is necessary for us to treat them with kid gloves– to humor them.  We should provide them with elaborate reassurances that we mean them no harm and give them a wide berth– but secretly we should be plotting to have them removed.  The Chinese might be willing to do us this service if we give them appropriate incentives.

Our current problem, however, is the pathological narcissist in our Oval Office.  Before we can make progress and peace in Korea, we have to impeach and remove the emolument-in-chief and his enabler Pence.   Now that the emails promising Russian government help with dirt on Clinton have surfaced, the evidence that Don the Con broke election laws by “accepting anything of value” from a foreign government is strong enough– all that remains is to convince Republican congressmen that they are better off without Don than without a party.

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