Fire, Fury, and Frankly Power: Tensions Flare With North Korea as We Slide Closer to a Catastrophic War That Cannot Happen

by Robert Carbery

We are closer to nuclear war than we have ever been since the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. Yes, President Trump has the nuclear codes, but we are not going to war with the rogue regime in North Korea. At least, not yet. The unpredictability!
On Tuesday, President Trump said North Korea “will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” And even the sober and serious Washington Post opinion columnist David Ignatius had some kind words for Trump’s tough talk on North Korea.
Ignatius wrote:
“President Trump’s bullying style, even in dealing with trivial matters of domestic politics, obscures the extent to which he has tried to marry U.S. policy on North Korea with that of China. For the most part, he has been surprisingly successful. Beijing and Washington have mostly been aligned, as in this past weekend’s unanimous U.N. Security Council vote in favor of additional sanctions against Pyongyang to punish its continued missile tests.”
While most of the mainstream media is obsessed over the possibility of war and the uncertainty over having someone like Trump as the decisionmaker, there is a new Sheriff in town and North Korea and China should be nervous. Leak-prone National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said that a nuclear-armed North Korea was “intolerable” to Trump. Well, we are far past that. The menu of military options are being prepared.
The Defense Intelligence Agency concluded at the end of July that North Korea has figured out how to put a nuclear warhead on top of a missile that could hit the U.S. In addition, a white paper by Japan’s defense ministry similarly concluded that the nuclear threat was an imminent problem that must be dealt with.
China is now in a sticky situation with North Korea, to say the least. The Red Dragon has been sounding the alarm on its unpredictable communist neighbor. Crazy Kim Jong Un has launched its fifth nuclear test just last September and continues to test missiles, despite Chinese warnings and sanctions from the greater international community. Kim went further and slapped Beijing right across the face by assassinating his half brother Kim Jong Nam in February, who was under Chinese protection.
Trump is the first president on the brink of nuclear war since the late great John F. Kennedy. But, how will he get us through this with only real estate, business, and reality television experience?
He will. Believe me.

War with North Korea would be catastrophic for the region and could prove quite deadly for America as well. At some point, Trump could be forced to choose between the safety of Americans and the safety of South Koreans and Japanese.  
“Realistically, war has to be avoided,” said John Delury, an assistant professor of international studies at Yonsei University in South Korea. “When you run any analysis, it’s insanity.” War is insane and should be avoided at all costs. Are Trump’s words just tough talk? Or will he follow through as he did with the erroneous Syrian missile launches?
Courtesy of Bloomberg, we can go over an analysis of whether all out war can be avoided in the following paragraphs.
Can’t we just strike the North Koreans and end them once and for all? No. The North’s missile defenses are well dispersed throughout the nation’s mountainous terrain. We cannot hit them all at once and wipe them out. Failing to do so simultaneously would leave to some 10 million South Koreans in Seoul and 38 million Japanese in Tokyo at risk. Not to mention the nearly 30,000 American soldiers still situated on the Korean Peninsula.
Regime change continues to not be an option on the table. Even if we take out the crazy fathead dictator, who is to say the close clique of generals around him would act any differently? In addition, China seeks to prop up the existing regime, fearing a refugee crisis should anything happen at the top.
All out war would not be the best option for the U.S. Any build up of American or South Korean or Japanese military forces could prompt the North Koreans to launch a devastating preemptive strike. Russia or China could also be drawn in.

North Korea’s conventional forces include over 700,000 armed men and tens of thousands of pieces of artillery. War has a devastating impact on a country’s economy. Syria’s Civil War, for example, has led to a 60% drop in the nation’s GDP. The most deadly conflict since World War II though has been the Korean War in 1950, which led to 1.2 million South Korean casualties, and a GDP drop of over 80%.
An impact of war in Korea would be huge. South Korea exports three times as many intermediate products as Thailand and is the largest producer of liquid crystal displays in the world and the second biggest of semiconductors. Not to mention its market share in auto manufacturing and shipbuilding. The U.S. cannot afford another war on another front. The costs are too high and the debt is simply not worth it.
After the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. spent over $170 billion on reconstruction while our own roads and bridges crumble and our impoverished descend into homelessness and starvation. South Korea is approximately 30 times larger than Iraq and Afghanistan combined.

Still, North Korea aims to attack Guam, of all places, with a nuclear bomb by mid-August.
The state-run KCNA news agency issued a statement reading that the Korean People’s Army (KPA) failed to grasp the “grave situation,” saying that “sound dialogue is not possible with such a guy bereft of reason and only absolute force can work on him,” in response to Trump’s fire and fury comments on the rogue regime.
North Korea reiterated its intentions to strike Guam in the near future, where many American citizens and soldiers are stationed.  
“The KPA Strategic Force will finally complete the plan until mid August and report it to the commander-in-chief of the DPRK nuclear force and wait for his order” and North Korea will closely watch United States’ “speech and behavior.” Kim’s regime will complete a plan by mid-August to attack Guam with full force while closely watching the U.S.’ behavior.
Whatever will happen from here is anyone’s guess. We must hope and strive for peace at all costs. Nuclear war cannot be a possibility. A preemptive strike carries many costs.
Good thing we got Mr. Trump with the nuclear codes and not Hillary, right?
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