Friday, February 23, 2018

Too Little and Too Late?

Does it matter if North Korea knows they're screwed?

So North Korea now realizes they're screwed?

In short, at the end of 2017 North Korea got a look at South Korean and American war plans and were alarmed at what they found. The northerners had every reason to believe this information was accurate because in late 2017 South Korean military networks were hacked and a large quantity of secret documents appear to have been copied. ...

Once the North Korean hackers delivered the stolen OPLANs documents in September 2017 it took a few months for the military and other security agencies up north to digest all this information and conclude that the north was screwed. Supreme leader Kim Jong Un was briefed, followed by him firing another few senior advisors who were apparently on the wrong side of this new reality. Kim then told South Korea that he wanted to improve relations, send a delegation to the Winter Olympics and get together with South Korea leaders to have friendly discussions about matters of mutual interest.

I noted that hack.

That's nice in the sense that the North Korean may now with that information not start a war in the mistaken belief they'd win. (But maybe not, even with very rational decision-making.)

But this is only good news if North Korea doesn't accelerate their nuclear weapons plans in the belief that this is the only path to salvation.

Really, if as I've long believed it is a race between nation or regime collapse on the one hand and getting nukes on the other, isn't it better for the North Koreans to be unaware they are in a race at all?

If North Korea decides the China option of economic reform can keep the North Korean elites in the lifestyle they've become accustomed to, and is willing to give up nukes to do that, we win.

North Korean are left in a police state, of course. But at least they'd stop starving. From where I sit, I'm willing to abandon them to get rid of North Korea's nuclear weapons. Sorry.

I'd hate to refuse to accept victory when it is staring us in the face, but practically speaking does this really lift the burden of figuring out what we should do to cope with North Korea's looming nuclear threat to America?

Is this the solution?

President Trump plans to unveil a “massive” new set of sanctions against North Korea on Friday, an administration official told Fox News.

Could North Korean knowledge of  their bad position really be reinforced with "massive" sanctions to make them climb down verifiably from their nuclear path before we must choose a course of action? Is there really enough time for that path?

Or is this just a nod to world opinion that we've explored all options short of war before striking North Korea?

I just worry that the North Koreans took a healthy blow to the head with the clue bat too late to make changes in their nuclear plans at this late stage; or to lift the burden on America, Japan, and South Korea for having to make a hard choice soon about what we should do.