Friday, March 10, 2017

Is a Korean Missile Crisis Ahead?

Pat Buchanan echoes some of my thoughts from yesterday:
To back up Defense Secretary “Mad Dog” Mattis’ warning last month, that the U.S. “remains steadfast in its commitment” to its allies, President Donald Trump is sending B-1 and B-52 bombers to Korea.

Some 300,000 South Korean and 15,000 U.S. troops have begun their annual Foal Eagle joint war exercises that run through April.

“The two sides are like two accelerating trains coming toward each other with neither side willing to give way,” says Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, “Are (they) really ready for a head-on collision?”

So it would seem...

But this crisis raises larger questions about U.S. foreign policy.

Why, a quarter of a century after the Cold War, do we still have 28,000 troops in Korea? Not only does South Korea have twice the population of the North, but an economy 40 times as large and access to U.S. weapons far superior to any in the North.

Why should Americans on the DMZ be among the first to die in a second Korean War? Should the North attack the South, could we not honor our treaty obligations with air and naval power offshore?

Gen. James Mattis’ warning last month was unambiguous:

“Any attack on the United States or our allies will be defeated and any use of nuclear weapons would be met with a response that would be effective and overwhelming.”

JFK’s phrase in the Cuban crisis, “full retaliatory response,” comes to mind.

Hence the next move is up to Kim.

New tests by North Korea of missiles or atom bombs for an ICBM could bring U.S. strikes on its nuclear facilities and missile sites, igniting an attack on the South.
Buchanan does hold out hope that China will pressure North Korea to dial things down:

 What this crisis reveals is that China has as great an interest in restraining North Korea as do we.

While the United States cannot back down, it is difficult to reconcile a second Korean war with our America First policy. Which is why some of us have argued for decades that the United States should moves its forces out of South Korea and off the Asian continent.

Events in Asia – Chinese claims to reefs and rocks in the South and East China Seas and North Korea’s menacing her neighbors – are pushing us toward a version of the Nixon Doctrine declared in Guam in 1969 that is consistent with America First:

While we will provide the arms for friends and allies to fight in their own defense in any future wars, henceforth, they will provide the troops.
Of course, the real problem is that President Trump has a different view on what America First means than Buchanan does.

Trump's views is too far from, "America First to Fight."


  1. IMHO, the worst problem is that Trump is attacking the one thing that brings more peace than anything else: free trade.

  2. I guess it was really Yemen First, Syria Second, North Korea Third, then America Fourth. That slogan might not have worked on Twitter. Since he is not America First, is he still an anti-Semite?

  3. It's quite incredible that North Korea has been able to insulate itself from the rapid changes in commerce for so long.

    1. You can stuff a lot of tin foil in those great big hats.