Sunday, May 28, 2017

Kabuki or Kablooie?

While the third carrier could just be to replace one carrier going home, we will for a time have 3 carriers near North Korea (tip to Instapundit):

The U.S. Navy has decided to deploy the USS Nimitz as a third carrier-led strike force to the western Pacific to increase pressure on North Korea to rein in its arms programs.

Nimitz, one of the world's largest warships, will join the USS Carl Vinson and USS Ronald Reagan there, sources close to the U.S. military said May 26.

That's a lot at sea in one place at one time and takes an effort to engineer.

This is either serious pressure to convince China to do something about North Korea to avoid instability on China's border (and a humiliation to have America police China's neighbor); or it is a serious preparation for war in the near term?

Will China do the deed and overthrow/invade with the promise of economic benefits to sweeten the threat of doing something so we won't?

Are South Korea and Japan on board?

Did Duterte of the Philippines play a role in conveying American seriousness to the Chinese?

Heck, could it be a joint American-Chinese-South Korean-Japanese attack/regime change (to China friendly and nuke-unfriendly)?

Is this all a bluff?

UPDATE: Voice of America notes the carrier deployment and also this:

The Missile Defense Agency said it will test an existing missile defense system on Tuesday to try to intercept an ICBM. The Pentagon has used the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system to intercept other types of missiles, but never an ICBM.

If America leads a strike campaign against North Korea's nuclear infrastructure, missile defenses will be necessary to fend off missiles we miss in the strikes. The strikes hopefully make the number of missiles North Korea can launch small enough for the thin missile defenses to stop.

And hopefully North Korea doesn't yet have nuclear warheads.

If this is all a bluff, it's a good bluff.

UPDATE: Strategypage looks at the sorry state of North Korea and related matters.

I never complained about President Obama's "strategic patience" policy of essentially waiting for North Korea to collapse. I'd long wanted a "talk, talk; die, die" policy of talking but offering few or no financial concessions to North Korea to wait for them to die.

I didn't imagine North Korea could decline this much without a regime or state collapse; or without a military or popular uprising.

Perhaps ominously in that post, I did say that one day we might have conditions better suited to taking action:

So let the talks drag on. I don't care. We can't let the North Koreans succeed in holding their own people hostage confident that we will care more for their welfare and so give in to save them.

In time, we will have missile defenses. In time, our Army won't be busy in Iraq. In time, even the South Koreans may start to worry about Pyongyang if the North rattles sabres to get our attention.

And here we are. We have some missile defenses; the South Koreans stopped paying money to North Korea, tired of the Dead South Koreans Theater production that Pyongyang loved; and America's military is not so busy fighting.

As presidents have played musical chairs while North Korea advanced their nuclear program, Trump may be the one unlucky enough to be left standing when the music stopped.