Saturday, December 09, 2017

If So, the Sooner the Better

I don't think the North Koreans thought through their most recent nuclear rage:

North Korea says a nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula has become a matter of when, not if, as it continued to lash out at a massive joint military exercise between the United States and South Korea involving hundreds of advanced warplanes.

That undermines the claim of many in the West and North Korea that it needs nuclear weapons to deter an invasion of that jewel of northeast Asia.

Also, if a nuclear war is inevitable, shouldn't America thoroughly nuke North Korea right now?

I mean, if the North Koreans are correct, it would be worse for America and our allies to delay a nuclear war and allow North Korea to build up their arsenal. Right? We should strike first based on North Korea's stated belief.

That is the logic of the situation.

And there is added incentive to hit North Korea first with a non-nuclear strike campaign.

The stealthy F-35 could in theory loiter unseen over North Korea to shoot down North Korean missiles when they launch. Here's more not behind a pay wall. (Tips to Instapundit.)

In practice this would have to be as part of a strike campaign to go after missiles our strikes miss because such patrols can't work indefinitely.

I have mentioned this capability before--going back years pre-F-35 if you follow links. So I don't know why "eyes rolled" when this possibility was recently raised by Representative Hunter because without any special briefings I read about this possibility many years ago late in the Bush 43 administration (or maybe very early Obama administration).

And if North Korea is so sure there will be a nuclear war next door to China, was the message of recent Chinese aerial exercises one that defends North Korea or threatens North Korea?

Because while I've stopped trying to find signs that North Korea's regime might collapse from economic problems, the greater problems and regime work-arounds that undermine control seem to indicate a regime that could be pushed over from the outside by China.

UPDATE: North Korea reacts with their usual flair for the dramatic:

North Korea said Friday that President Donald Trump has effectively declared war on supreme leader Kim Jong Un’s government by gathering the U.S.’s Pacific allies to surround the Korean Peninsula and restrict trade.

Not that the North Koreans don't have a point, as I've noted before:

[Sanctions] are unlikely to achieve our objectives peacefully for the simple reason that any sanctions that hurt a target nation enough to compel them to change their priority policies more to our liking will be sanctions tough enough to seem like an act of war to the target nation's leadership. So sanctions tough enough to work will likely just compel the target nation to escalate to military action as their response.

North Korea could strike first, firmly believing they are under attack. And they'd have a point. The failure of sanctions isn't the only way to get a war.

UPDATE: Is China setting up refugee camps to cope with North Koreans streaming north?

If we are planning to hit North Korea, we'd be talking to China a lot to warn them so they don't wake up in the middle of the night to reports of explosions and American ships and planes all over the place and wonder who America is shooting at.

And if we want China to deal with North Korea, we'd want China to absolutely believe we are coming and coming big.