Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The 5% Solution

Experts dismiss the chance of war on the Korean peninsula. Which is reassuring until you remember that Kim Jong-Un could make that decision and not experts.

So the US is unlikely to strike North Korea?

Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Cho June-hyuck also said that the rumors about imminent war is “groundless,” highlighting that the US will not seek military options against North Korea without coordination with South Korea.

Hard to say. I assume we would coordinate with South Korea and Japan. Failing to do that makes allies nervous when they are in the path of retaliation. Which makes allies wonder if the alliance is to their benefit. So if South Korea or Japan are too unsure about striking, they probably have a veto.

For now, until North Korea has missiles with the range to hit American territory. Then all bets are off.

I suppose. Trump could be the unlucky president to be left standing when the North Korean nuclear ICBM music stops.

A strike campaign on North Korea's nuclear infrastructure (which President Trump telegraphed (unintentionally?) would include our cruise missile submarines) doesn't mean war, necessarily. North Korea would have to decide to initiate a war across the DMZ in response to a US (and ROK and Japan?) strike on North Korea.

That response would be suicidal for the North Korean state.

But that doesn't mean North Korea wouldn't launch a war.

In my view, North Korea might calculate that doing nothing could lead to a 100% chance of regime collapse while a decision to launch a war would have a 95% chance of defeat and regime collapse.

Kim Jong-Un might take that 5 percentage point spread as the best deal possible.

That calculation is aside from the question of whether Kim Jong-Un even fully appreciates how weak his military really is. He might believe he can win a war.

And the thought of that might make for a US-China (and Japan and South Korea) deal to end the North Korean threat.