They keep saying that we don’t think like the North Koreans or their leader, Kim Jong Un, thinks. His generals likely run the country and make the decisions, so what do they think?
I think they want to stay in power at any cost and that pretty much encompasses their objective. The analogy to North Korea being run like a crime syndicate is probably not far off. They have two threats that they have repeatedly used to shake down U.S. administrations, the nuclear threat that they can’t yet really deliver on, but are working toward, and the conventional threat of massed artillery within range of Seoul.
If they get to the point where they have a nuclear capability that we can’t tolerate, it also puts them at risk. Americans are not in any mood for another ground war or saving any other countries for democracy at this time so our inventory of bunker busters would be depleted in such an engagement. This would set whatever portion of North Korea that is not in the stone age, back to it.
To neutralize North Korean artillery in range of Seoul, it would require essentially moving the DMZ back far enough so that Seoul is out of range. This artillery is dug into cave systems so that is where the bunker busters would come in. Seoul would sustain some damage, but it should be brief. With the DMZ relocated, the rest of North Korea would be written off to whither on the vine with the humanitarian obligations falling on China. That is what China wants to avoid.
North Korea has no resources to sustain military activity and if we don’t seek to occupy the country they become a desolate wasteland. I don’t profess to understand them, but I don’t think that is where they want to end up. Precipitating war would be suicide, and Al Capone or the Godfather were not suicidal.
The war possibility that I am more concerned about is with Iran. That country is run by clerics who think they talk directly to God. They have already proven time and again that they hear Allah tell them to do evil, despicable insane things in his name and they make good on that word North Korean generals are not nuts. I am not sure that the same thing can be said for the Ayatollah. Both North Korea and Iran make vile deadly threats. If it came down to which one would actually push the button I would bet on Iran.
While the U.S. military has moved a few assets into place to counter a North Korean missile launch, the prepositioning relative to a U.S. military confrontation with Iran has been far more encompassing and going on for some time, but given less press.
In the case of Iran, we are not their primary enemy, Israel is. If Iran continues with its nuclear development, and we have reason to believe they hear Allah commanding them to go nuclear, it is only a matter of time until war.
Diplomacy, sanctions and covert action has bought some time, estimated at a year, but the clouds of war are continuing to darken. The Pentagon has launched the largest buildup of forces in the Gulf since the run-up to the 2003 Iraq War.
Here is an excerpt from Time Magazine. “Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage once defined diplomacy as saying ‘Nice doggy, nice doggy’ until you can find a stick.
“Through luck and hard work, Obama has bought time for a massive buildup of forces in the Persian Gulf. General James Mattis, chief of U.S. Central Command, began accelerating the U.S. military increase in the Gulf a year ago. “In April, the Air Force deployed a squadron of F-22 stealth fighters to a base in the United Arab Emirates. The U.S. Navy has doubled the number of its minesweeping ships from four to eight and of its patrol boats from five to 10 in the past two years. “It has deployed combat search-and-rescue helicopters, unmanned minesweeping submarines and high-tech surveillance systems. Most threatening, it dispatched to the Persian Gulf a second aircraft-carrier battle group that had been destined for the Pacific.”
The U.S. is also building up other forces in the region, the article said. In early 2012, it expanded a military base in Kuwait, stationing two Army infantry brigades, 15,000 troops, there. That is still a token force, but the U.S. is pre-positioning covert and special-operations capabilities and beefing up facility defenses. It has been operating a drone based out of Saudi Arabia. It has delivered long-range X-band missile-defense radars to Israel and Turkey and has reached an agreement with Qatar to deploy a system there too. “The U.S. has reportedly asked the U.K. for access to bases on Cyprus, Diego Garcia and Ascension Island for use in an attack on Iran,” the article said.
The U.S. Navy also deployed its first laser weapon on a destroyer designed to defend like a Phalanx Close in Weapons System against swarms of small boats. The U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt is also coming out of dry dock after a complete overhaul. It will be needed. I give the odds of a full blown war as much higher with Iran than with North Korea. War with North Korea would likely result from some kind of miscalculation. Iran has far more resources and Allah on its side for instructions telling it to kill the Infidels.
God doesn’t talk to Kim Jong Un, thank goodness.
David Kruse is president of CommStock Investments Inc., author and producer of The CommStock Report, an ag commentary and market analysis available daily by radio and by subscription on DTN/FarmDayta and the Internet.