Thursday, July 06, 2017

Disastrous for Whom?

China seems upset with the notion that America might do something about North Korea. The Chinese have an excellent alternative: do something themselves.

Got it:

China's U.N. ambassador is warning that further escalation of tensions with North Korea risks getting out of control "and the consequences would be disastrous."

I've gotten the impression that America has given China a choice: do something about your little pet psycho regime, and we'll cooperate; or America will do something.

Explain what will be disastrous if America does something about North Korea? Will it be a disaster for America if North Korea is stopped before they reach their goal of being able to nuke South Korea, Japan, and America? (And China and Russia, too, you know.)

Will it be disastrous for America if North Korea launches a war in response to a disarming strike and we escalate to seriously destabilize North Korea, leading refugees to flood into China? (You must admit, the DMZ defenses put any notional wall on the Mexican border to shame.)

Will it be disastrous for America if South Korea takes over North Korea, putting a modern industrial state allied to America on the Yalu River?

Would it be a disaster for America to take care of a problem on China's border which should be within China's sphere?

Would it be a disaster for America if the campaign goes well, showing America's arsenal to be potent?

Sure, things could go wrong. The campaign might not work. But we'd have declared war on North Korea, going on to blockade and war on North Korean assets, agents, and cash worldwide.

Would China really go to war with America over an outcast outlaw regime and risk China's economy and political monopoly on power that rests on relentless growth?

These things might be disastrous for China. But I'm not feeling the disaster for America in contrast to the problem of North Korea getting nukes.

Which would be a disaster for China, too, if North Korea points them at China or if South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and/or Vietnam go nuclear in response.

And would Indonesia want to be the last to go nuclear in the region?

A lesser disaster for China would be major investments by those countries in missile defenses that reduce the value of China's nuclear arsenal.

Be aware, that if America is determined to prevent North Korea from having the ability to nuke American territory, China's moment of truth is here:

North Korea said on Tuesday it successfully test-launched a first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which analysts said could put all of the U.S. state of Alaska in range for the first time.

Yes, North Korea needs to produce them and be able to put a warhead on them. But there is little time to figure out whether China or America stops North Korea. We're on a countdown to action, I think.

I'm also thinking that the least disastrous thing that could happen for China is for China to risk showing their military isn't as awesome as they claim in a war with North Korea to engineer a regime change in Pyongyang that puts in place a demilitarized North Korea more compliant with Chinese wishes.

UPDATE: Trump puts China on notice:

“Trade between China and North Korea grew almost 40 percent in the first quarter. So much for China working with us -- but we had to give it a try!” Trump tweeted.

With China unwilling to squeeze North Korea enough to stop North Korea's nuclear drive, America may act:

Trump, speaking during a news conference in Warsaw, said there were "severe things" that the United States was considering with regard to North Korea but noted that he would not draw a red line.

With the China option gone, America will look to new options:

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told a meeting of the U.N. Security Council that North Korea's actions were "quickly closing off the possibility of a diplomatic solution" and the United States was prepared to defend itself and its allies.

In case this was unclear:

The only thing holding back the U.S. and South Korea from renewing their war against North Korea is “self restraint,” the commander of U.S. forces on the Korean Peninsula said in a statement released Tuesday, a barrier that he said could be removed at any time.

"Self-restraint, which is a choice, is all that separates armistice and war. As this Alliance missile live fire shows, we are able to change our choice when so ordered by our Alliance national leaders," wrote Gen. Vincent Brooks, the commander of U.S. Forces Korea, Combined Forces Command and the United Nations Command. "It would be a grave mistake for anyone to believe anything to the contrary."

And we are now weighing options that don't involve China reining in their little pet psycho:

U.S. officials were weighing their options on how to handle the situation. Once a final and definitive determination is made that the missile was an ICBM, the goal for top defense officials would be to have a “measured response” approved by Trump, CNN reported.

I'll merely note that our military can measure a lot.

UPDATE: As I've noted, it appears that the problem of North Korea going nuclear can no longer be put off. Of course, just accepting North Korea's nuclear arsenal is one option.

As I've said, deterring North Korea isn't the worst option. I've long thought we could do that.

However, Iran complicates that straightforward nuclear deterrence approach by making North Korea's nuclear capability one that could be sold to Iran.

And I don't think Iran can be deterred. Not while they are run by mullah nutballs.

Oddly enough, one way to react to North Korea's nuclear arsenal would be to support the overthrow of the mullah regime in Iran so North Korea doesn't have a very dangerous--and suddenly cash supplied because of the Iran deal--customer waiting in line to buy nukes.

Do that and deterring North Korea (sanctions, conventional, and missile defenses) could work.