Opinion: North Korea, China & the Nuclear Challenge to US World Empire

Opinion: North Korea, China & the Nuclear Challenge to US World Empire
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Published October 3rd, 2017 - 13:17 GMT via SyndiGate.info

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  • The failure to de-escalate tensions with North Korea by limiting the DPRK's potential to develop incontinental nuclear weapons is a sign of the growing power of China and a consequence of US military overstretch.
  • Kim Jung-un and his military are looking for international recognition as a nuclear weapons state with the ability to reach out intercontinentally against potential aggressors.
  • If sanctions fail to work and China fails to reign in the DPRK, then the only military option available is the nuclear option.
  • The pressure President Trump is applying against China has less to do with isolating the DPRK and more to do with hurting the Chinese financially for not removing the Kim regime. 
  • The rhetoric between North Korea and the United States should concern people everywhere. China has a much bigger role to play.


By James Phelps.

Kim Jung-un and his military are looking for international recognition as a nuclear weapons state with the ability to reach out intercontinentally against potential aggressors.  With such recognition comes a proverbial seat at the table as an equal with the other nuclear powers: Russia, China, France, Great Britain, the U.S., and India.  

In September, United Nations U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley arranged a compromise with China and Russia to impose the most severe sanctions to date on the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea], essentially a unanimous Security Council vote condemning the continued DPRK nuclear weapons and missile development programs, missile flights over other countries, and threats against ROK, Japan, and the U.S.  Extensive sanctions were applied and are just now beginning to bite against the Kim regime.  

Why the U.S. Has Few Tenable Military Options in North Korea

Mansudae Monument, North Korea. Mansudae with the Leaders is the most sacred monument in North Korea (Shutterstock)

The almost unlimited expansion of U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan and Syria, without the concurrence of the U.S. Congress, is a demonstration of the next steps President Trump could take against the DPRK.  The positioning of THAAD missiles in ROK, the placement of U.S. and Japanese ships equipped with anti-ballistic missile (ABM) missiles in the Sea of Japan, and exercising overflights of the region by B-1, B-2, and B-52 strategic bombers may all be leading up to the actual deployment of military force against the DPRK.

When dealing with a nuclear capable military in an isolated, repressed dictatorship there are few options.  If sanctions fail to work and China fails to reign in the DPRK, then the only military option available is the nuclear option.  The Korean peninsula is too small geographically for any restoration of the non-resolved military conflict to result in anything except massive loss of life, property, and industry in Seoul along with the potential toppling of the ROK government.  Neither the U.S. nor the ROK can stand by while artillery shells, rockets, and missiles rain down on the homes and businesses of nearly 26 million people.

Conventional attacks against DPRK artillery cannot be carried out without establishing air superiority. In the time that would take, Seoul would essentially be destroyed with massive loss of life.  It has proven impossible to identify the location and movement of the DPRK military and political leadership with any consistency.  A decapitation of the government by military strike is unlikely: any failure or near miss would result in retaliation against the ROK coupled with the use of nuclear weapons.

This leaves only a single military option against the DPRK, a patterned first strike with nuclear weapons along the length of the DMZ and at least 100 miles further north, combined with targeted strikes against other military sites.  The devastation of such a strike would be unbelievable.  Radioactive fallout would rain down on the ROK and Japan.  Parts of China and Russia might also find themselves in the fallout pattern under certain wind conditions.  The immediate loss of life would be in the millions with many millions more dying over several years from disease.

Such a targeted strike would require both the launching of multiple strategic missiles from the mainland U.S. and American strategic missile submarines.  This would necessitate advance warning both China and Russia of the attack– neither of which could be depended upon to not inform the political and military leadership of the DPRK. North Korea would respond by preemptively attacking the ROK and U.S. forces, as well as Japan, with nuclear and conventional weapons in a “use them or lose them” response at least 30 minutes prior to U.S. missiles leaving North American missile silos.

The Influence of China


President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping speaks at the opening of the 70th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations Organization in New York (Shutterstock)


The pressure President Trump is applying against China has less to do with isolating the DPRK and more to do with hurting the Chinese financially for not removing the Kim regime.  The Trump administration efforts are calculated to push Beijing to find a different, more approachable potential leader within the DPRK who can not only depose Kim Jung-un but control the DPRK military.  
This creates a situation where true peace between the North and South can be established along with a phased reunification more to the liking of the Chinese communist government.

Additionally, such a move by the Chinese would help to reduce the flow of DPRK refugees across the Yalu River into China and Russia, a significant improvement over what will happen should the U.S. use nukes.

Troubling Rhetoric

The U.S. is attempting to maintain its military and political supremacy in light of the failures of multiple administrations. Russia wants to regain a long-lost empire. The fear of terrorism drives EU migration and border policies. The Middle East is in turmoil.

Nuclear warheads do not discriminate.  They are general use destructive devices that treat all targets similarly.  The known sharing of weapons and missile technologies between the DPRK and Iran places all the Middle East, Pakistan, Central Asia, Russia, and Turkey in the same position as the South Koreans and Japanese.

The destructive power of a nuclear warhead is difficult for the rational mind to fathom. The rhetoric between North Korea and the United States should concern people everywhere. China has a much bigger role to play.


Dr. James Phelps is a former U.S. Navy nuclear submariner. 
The views in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Al Bawaba News.

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