This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Diplomacy Failed, Sanctions Failed: Military Option?

"It is not only [a] ballistic missile defense system — it has real function. That is why it is alarming. And it is [a] direct threat to Russia. We are convinced that it will increase the tensions of the region. That is our principle position.''
"Economical restrictions should be a kind of tool to invoke North Korea to a peaceful process of resolving the dispute and conflict, and not to once again deteriorate the economic solution in North Korea."
"All states involved in territorial disagreements in the South China Sea need to adhere [to] the principle of the non-use of force."
Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un looks on during the test-launch of the intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang July 5, 2017.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un looks on during the test-launch of the intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang July 5, 2017.
"Well, there was a failure [in the second-to-last missile test, April]. I don’t know why it failed except there’s been quite a high rate of failure over the last year, and my guess is that’s mainly due to a very rushed pace of development. The North Korean missile program is making some progress, but I think that Kim Jong-un is willing to tolerate a very high rate of failure in his effort to try to develop a more credible long-range capability as quickly as possible. He may feel that he’s got a window of time to try to perfect some of these long-range systems, and he doesn’t seem to be deterred by all of the threats that the U.S. and China and other countries have been trying to dissuade him from continuing testing. But obviously, that’s not working."
"I think this is all just noise. Both sides are rattling sabers, but neither side is going to start a war. We recognize that a military attack on North Korea would probably not be effective in terms of destroying North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile program and would run the risk of a North Korean retaliation against South Korea and Japan, which could cost hundreds of thousands of lives. And the North Koreans know that any attack on U.S. allies in the region would provoke an American response that would destroy them. So I think both sides are posturing, but I think the risk of war is very low."
Nuclear security analyst Gary Samore, executive director, research, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, second from right, inspects the preparation of the launch of a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile, ICBM, in North Korea’s northwest on July 4, 2017. Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP

A lot can happen in the world in the space of a month or so to shatter any sense of possible complacency such as that expressed by Mr. Samore back in April, that the likelihood of Kim Jong-un's threat of "all-out war" is simply verbal over-reach, the kind of empty threat that he appears to enjoy indulging in. Since that earlier missile test fizzled, another hugely more successful test, purported by experts in South Korea and the United States to have been an introductory intercontinental ballistic missile with a range approaching the coast of the U.S.   

Not much was seen in the Western-based news sources that an earlier missile had hit close to Russia, a next-door neighbour of North Korea, which appears to be preaching patient tolerance, diplomacy rather than responding in kind to North Korean provocations. Neither Russia nor China has a wish to see the collapse of North Korea by any means, ending with the unification of the two Koreas under South Korea with its alarming (to China and Russia) firm links to the United States, leaving no bulwark between them and U.S. interests.

And nor does either happily contemplate the kind of acceleration that would see both South Korea and Japan, concerned for their own security and defence, securing their own nuclear arms and ICBMs, with the consent of the United States. There can be no mistaking the alarm felt in both South Korea and Japan over the danger that Kim's North Korea poses to them. Public service announcements were being run in Japan to warn citizens to stay clear of windows should a missile attack strike.
North Korea Founder's Birthday
Photo by Wong Maye-E/AP
North Korean women soldiers march across Kim Il Sung Square during a military parade in celebration of Kim il Sung's 105th birthday. Gary Samore, executive director for research at the Belfer Center, sees little substantial change in the decades-long stalemate with North Korea, but with economic sanctions imposed even by China, a longtime ally, the hermit nation may be running out of options to sustain its nuclear ambitions.
The Japanese are well versed in how they must react in such earth-shaking conditions, knowing full well how to take refuge, since they are accustomed to reacting to earthquakes on a regular basis, in their earthquake-prone geography. Although the Russian representative to the recent ASEAN Shangri-La conference in Singapore urged restraint in response to North Korean threats, it is extremely difficult to set aside the reality that it is simply not possible for rational debate with North Korea with Kim Jong-un at its helm.

China, its only regional ally, has had ample experience in trying to guide North Korea's actions, to no avail. Even though China has long been North Korea's regional mentor, it too has not been immune from experiencing Kim's glum threats and petty retorts to what it feels is interference in North Korea's affairs. All the more so since Beijing has been lately taking Pyongyang's provocations far more seriously, resulting in its own sanctions hitting the North Korean economy, eliciting more threats from Kim.

Kim Jong-un's reputation has been well earned. This is a man, after all, who summarily arrested and ordered his trusted uncle by marriage, who had guided him in the early days of his presidency, to be killed. The mysterious death of his older half-brother was not really a mystery, representing as it does yet another instance of Kim's penchant for ridding himself of those he no longer finds useful or views as threats.

The Hwasong-14 missile fired into the Sea of Japan with its capacity to fly 6,700 kilometres by U.S. expert estimate, represents a direct threat to Alaska. Other competing estimates of its powerful range go up to 8,500 kilometres, and once it is fine-tuned even more, and fitted out with a miniaturized nuclear head, it becomes a viable threat to the United States and Canada. There are, as it happens, NORAD fighter bases in Alberta and Quebec and they would make achievable targets for this man whose ambitions threaten world order.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

() Follow @rheytah Tweet