Not exactly the sound of music, is it?
Now that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has announced that the armistice that ended the Korean War is over and is openly making threats to attack the U.S. and 'other enemies', the Obama Administration is springing into action.
New Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced that the U.S. would move 14 new ground-based missile interceptors to Alaska in response.
The new interceptors will be based at Fort Greely, an Army launch site about 100 miles southeast of Fairbanks, Alaska, and are projected to be fully deployed by 2017, Hagel said. The additions will bring the U.S.-based ground interceptor deployment from 30 to 44, including four that are based in California.
That will boost U.S. missile defense capability by 50 percent and "make clear to the world that the United States stands firm against aggression," he said in a briefing at the Pentagon.
After four years of downgrading U.S. missile defense, the Obama Administration appears to have decided that it's a useful bugger to have around after all. The reason it's going to take until 2017 is because we still have to build them and their launch sites.
Kim, meanwhile, isn't waiting.Today he essentially fired a shot across Japan's bow by conducting another weapons test and launching some short range KN-02s into the Sea of Japan.
North Korea already has missiles that can reach America's West Coast, although such an attack is at the limits of their current technology as far as we know.U.S. Ally Japan is just short hop by comparison, and as Scott Kirwan points out in this article, Japan might end up proving to be the target Kim has in mind:
The North Korean regime would really like to hurt the United States. An attack on the US would contain the element of surprise, and is ideologically the best target. But it’s also the hardest to hit. The continental US is over 9000 km away, meaning the North would have to rely upon its longest range missile to fly in a suborbital trajectory, providing ample time for the US to determine its trajectory and likely target and to employ its anti-missile defense systems. It has tested such a missile twice, and neither test was a complete success as far as our intelligence has learned, so not only would the missile have to survive US countermeasures, it would also have to avoid falling apart.
If the North Koreans are rational even in their apparent craziness, the only target is Japan – likely a sprawling metropolis such as the Kanto containing Tokyo and Yokohama or the Kansai area where Nara, Kobe, Kyoto and Osaka sit. These areas would not require precision guidance systems beyond current North Korean capabilities and fall well within range of its Taepodong 1 missile that North Korea fired over Japan in 1998. An attack on Japan would temper the response by both China and South Korea: China would be hard pressed to punish the regime for attacking a foe China itself is threatening war against over the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, and both North and South Koreas hold deep historical animosities towards Japan for its treatment as a Japanese colony from 1910 to 1945.
If Japan was nuked by North Korea it cannot retaliate. It lacks nuclear weapons and its conventional forces do not have the capability for an invasion. Japan would therefore have to rely upon the United States. Would the US launch a nuclear attack against North Korea on Japan’s behalf? It’s not a given, and such uncertainty increases the risk of an attack on Japan.
The entire Korea situation is an example of how weakness and appeasement in response to aggression only brings on more of the same..and always at a higher cost.
There was no reason for the West to agree to a partition of Korea after WWII, just as there was no reason not to demand that the Soviets pull their armies out of Eastern Europe after the Nazis were defeated.In Europe, President Roosevelt,steered by Soviet agents like Harry Dexter White, Lauchlin Curtie and Alger Hiss chose to believe Stalin's assurances, and so did Harry Truman, who kept the Roosevelt advisers in place after FDR's death.
There's no question that America, as the sole Atomic Power after WWII couldn't have sent the Red Army packing back to Russia and freed Eastern Europe.The Soviet victory in WWII would not have happened without substantial U.S. aid, and even Stalin knew that the Red Army was not ready for another war.
The rationale for allowing a partition of Korea was similar. It was a bribe to the Russians to aid the U.S. in what Truman supposed was the prospective invasion of the Japanese home islands. Once that proved unnecessary after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, there was no reason to allow the partition of Korea and had Truman stood up to Soviets, they would have had no choice but to withdraw.
Truman later compounded the error by ignoring South Korean leader Sygman Rhee's frantic request for heavy weapons, artillery and increased military assistance as Rhee watched the Nork's Soviet sponsored military buildup on his borders. When the North Koreans invaded, our troops on the ground in South Korea lacked even enough basic ammo, let alone anti-tank weapons and they were completely overwhelmed.
Korea has been called the Forgotten War, but it was also an unnecessary one.
Even after the war started and General MacArthur had pushed enemy forces back to the Chinese border, Truman declined to take the steps that would have enabled victory - diplomatic negotiations with the Chinese that would have resulted in clear borders and a united Korea. That solution was possible even after the Chinese came in (as China always has when what they consider enemy forces are too close to their borders), although it might have required a few strikes on Chinese military installations as necessary once that happened to underline the need to Mao Tse Tung for a diplomatic solution.
It's worth remembering in this context that China only came in after Soviet assurances that they would back them..assurances which later proved as empty as the ones Stalin made to Roosevelt and Truman.
Instead of that, we settled for an armistice that left a poisonous regime in place.
The Kim regime has been gaming the West ever since...seizing the odd U.S. ship here and there, making agreements it had no intention of keeping, issuing numerous threats, attacking South Korean ships and territory, and acting as a major nuclear weapons proliferator - all without any significant action by the West,and especially by the U.S.
It's the Iranian story all over again.Aside from enabling the Kim regime to survive in the first place after blatant aggression, we've never made the North Koreans suffer any significant cost for their actions since. Is it any wonder they're upping the ante? Or that they have no fear of U.S.response whatsoever?