Well this week in America we beheld two school yard bullies, two man-babies with nuclear weapons leveling threats at each other.
“What are you looking at!?” “Talk to me like that again and I’m gonna kick your ass!” “You’re gonna be sorry pal!” As I mentioned in passing, these two have nukes and could incinerate millions as they hurl bombast and invective at each other.
Our carrot top “deal maker” President threatens to incinerate North Korea while young Kim, who idolizes Dennis Rodman responds by threatening to nuke Guam. Meanwhile, thirty million inhabitants of Seoul, 35 miles from the border shake their heads and wait with bated breath.
Once we had sensible, level headed men leading this nation in crisis. Once upon a time we had thousands of atomic and hydrogen bombs pointed at us, mounted on ICBMs we KNEW could obliterate every major American city. The Soviet Union was not North Korea. I vividly remember crawling under my desk at school.
And yet no bombs fell. General war with the USSR never broke out, not through the Berlin air lift, Korean War, the Hungarian revolt, the Cuban missile crisis, Vietnam, Afghanistan. Calm, steady leadership and the policies of containment and MAD, Mutually Assured Destruction got us through 50 years of nuclear terror.
Unfortunately we have elected a President with a narcissistic personality disorder and seriously arrested development. We no longer have a serious leadership and our impotence is plain for all to see as the Trumpster practically begs China to rein in N.K.
“Is North Korea different from the Soviet Union? Of course. Is anyone comfortable with the fact that North Korea is building nuclear-tipped missiles that can hit the United States? Of course not. But the point is: We’ve lived with such threats before, and there is simply no reason to believe that the deterrent capabilities we’ve had in place to prevent North Korea from attacking South Korea and American forces there since the end of the Korean War will not continue to work. North Korea’s ruling Kim family is homicidal, but it has not survived for three generations in power by being suicidal. And firing a nuclear missile at us would be suicide.”
What disturbs Washington no end is that North Korea has acquired the means to strike back at us or our allies which now makes aggressive military action against the regime mch more dangerous. It takes a preemptive first strike off of the table. A serious President would not desperately seek negotiations on terms sure to fail and threaten a war that would be catastrophic politically, militarily and morally.
“A serious president would seize the diplomatic initiative with a strategy that serves our interests, protects our stakes in the Asia-Pacific theater, solidifies and keeps faith with our allies, doesn’t harm American-Chinese relations but also doesn’t discard 70 years of post-World War II American leadership in that region waiting for China to rescue us.”
North Korea has one strength and many profound weaknesses which can eventually prove fatal. Time is on our side as it was with the USSR. A containment strategy with constant pressure and deterence is our least bad option. While some situations are unacceptable they do not lend themselves to short term fixes. The NK challenge is one of them.
Kim wants to survive. He will not lob a nuke anywhere unless he is attacked. He is simply showing us that he can lob a nuke or two making a first strike military option untenable on our part. Certainly both of our allies, South Korea and Japan, which would be easy targets, as well as China would oppose such action.
So put a deal on the table; a formal peace proposal so the world — especially South Korea and China — see that America is serious about solving the problem. The more the whole world sees us as the solution and not as a country led by someone just as crazy, irrational and unstable as North Korea, the more leverage we will have.
“What should the American proposal say? It should tell the North Koreans that in return for their complete denuclearization and dismantling of their missile program, we would establish full diplomatic relations; end the economic embargo and sanctions; and provide economic assistance, investment and a peace treaty to replace the 64-year-old armistice agreement. “Each side could commit to those objectives at the outset, with the timeline and key implementing framework to be negotiated,” he added. “There would be nothing in such an agreement that would be contrary to U.S. national security interests, and it would provide to North Korea the security that it claims justifies its nuclear weapons programs.”
It’s called the art of the deal.”
Kim, who is obsessed with possessing nuclear weapons to defend his regime will most likely reject it. Putting a deal on the table however will go a long way toward convincing South Korea, Japan as well as China and Russia that we are prepared to put an attractive deal forward as well as blunt Kim’s position that he needs nukes for his defense. Rejection by NK will go a long way in convincing South Korea to support a serious strategy of deterrence, containment and pressure.
“We didn’t get into this North Korea problem the short way, and we are not going to get out of it the short way. But the least bad option now is to gear up for a long game that contains, deters and isolates a nuclear-armed North Korea — by getting China, Russia, South Korea and Japan to see that America is ready to make peace with North Korea’s regime if it will abandon its nuclear weapons — and to keep that game going until the North either relents or cracks.”
The more we freak out about North Korea’s nuclear capabilities, the more leverage it has. Instead we should be telling Kim Jong-Un: “Hey, pal, not impressed with your nuclear toys, been there, done that with the Soviet Union. Time is on our side — and now the whole world is asking why you won’t accept our credible peace proposal.” Kim already knows that starting a conflict will be the end of the regime. The attack submarine Kentucky alone carries enough weaponry to obliterate North Korea.
Such a long term strategy of containment, deterrence and economic pressure worked against the USSR; it can certainly work against NK.
Unfortunately we do not have a President capable of implementing a long term strategy. He would rather blather in language no different than Kim’s, filled with the bluster of a 12 year old school yard bully.
“Trump was on permanent public display, raging over mere slights, seeing plots in every ill turn of events and, as always, stunningly self-absorbed. He was called a racist, a sexist and a bully. But his mental health issues were euphemized as problems of “temperament.” He lied ceaselessly, reflexively and clumsily, but his lies were called merely “unproven” or, later, “false.” The New York Times called the birther story a lie only after Trump grudgingly retracted it. Not till he was safe in office claiming that millions of phantom immigrants cast votes for Clinton did the paper of record use the word “lie” in reference to a tale Trump was still telling.”
The danger is, of course, that the administration will start a war to deflect attention from the on-going investigations of the Russian connection. And, in this brave new world, he can do it all by himself, Congress having abrogated its power to decide when war is to be waged decades ago.
Two days ago the Trumpster publically attacked Venezuela, declaring we are looking at all options, including military solutions to the civil strife in that country.
This week the world watched two men of obvious, serious emotional impairment in control of ungodly nuclear weapons trade puerile taunts while threatening to incinerate millions of innocent human beings.
You don’t need to be a botanist to tell a rose from a dandelion. You needn’t be an amateur diagnostician to see that Donald Trump is mentally ill.