TLDR UpFront: The more things change, the less North Korea does. Two analysis posts originally written during a 2006 confrontation crisis with North Korea over missile launches are provided. Sound familiar? What’s scary is how so many of the details remain close enough that without warning I fear the lay reader would mistake the posts for being current. Even though they were written mid-way through President Bush’s second term and before Obama had even announced his candidacy for President.
FullContext in the Back: The single most radical foreign policy I have ever advanced is a preemptive strategic-surprise attack on North Korea. It wasn’t something I thought of lightly, or just on a lark. The details are contained in these two posts now made available on the InfoMullet.
North Korea – A Case for War
North Korea – A 2-4 Week War, a 2-5 Year Occupation
To be clear – these posts were written eleven years ago after the latest in what was (even back then) a decades long string of brinkmanship crises. I’ve learned a lot since then – some of the elements in these two HistoricalMullet’s make me cringe (this actually before the release of the West Point Atlas of Militant Terrorism by several months, that’s how old it is!) Likewise other facts have changed. US troops since these posts were re-stationed well south of the 38th Parallel …partly to put them out of the risk of a surprise conventional artillery attack by North Korea; partially to free up valuable real estate in the congested area around the always growing megalopolis that is Seoul.
But most of it remains as valid today as it was written then. I’m actually fairly confident that a lay reader, equipped only with the details in these posts, could still fare well in the normal Facebook argument. Though whether that’s to the credit of my far-reaching analysis or the descent of Facebook’s discussions is up for debate.
Thinking on it again with the retrospective of time however, it’s still a policy I do not think is nearly as wrong-headed as the invasion of Iraq was – even while seeing it as very radical. It’s still one I endorse. Which I guess makes me a radical and quite possibly a war-monger, though I’ve been called worse.
On the one hand we’ve survived 11 years and North Korea hasn’t attacked. We also have far less troops in Iraq or Afghanistan so our our ability to respond to an escalation militarily is greater than when our ready forces were pinned down in protracted insurgencies. But North Korea’s capabilities continue to grow, slowly, but they grow. The ICBM’s I fretted about in these posts are now being tested today. Albeit only to a height of about 200m or so. (/rimshot) And though even science may advance a funeral at a time, the leadership in North Korea clearly hasn’t. A young dictator has replaced the old and now, several years into his reign, apparently consolidated his leadership after eliminating threats. Meaning that without action we may be facing many years, even decades more, of this brinkmanship game.
The case for war I made eleven years ago is predicated on strategic surprise. That means now would not be a good time to do it. I’m not even sure our President is capable of strategic surprise. For someone on the campaign trail upset we were broadcasting troop movements on ISIS he’s awful quick to take to Twitter. But maybe after the dust of this latest confrontation fades, when the immediate crisis has passed. When North Korea has settled down into its parade and festival season – perhaps when Denis Rodman is visiting…might be a good time to brush off this analysis and give it another look.