I landed in Seoul, South Korea, or the ROK (Republic of Korea) in January of 1995 to serve a one-year unaccompanied tour of duty in the Second Infantry Division. Back then we had a full division and other resources stationed right up to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), quite an oxymoronic term.
Back then it was the dad, Kim Jong Il, who was the dictator of the Stalinist dark state of North Korea…oddly named the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). We were always on alert for the little mini-subs which would dispatch small North Korean Army teams of special forces infiltrators. And yes, on occasion, we had the reports of them being killed. North Korea has consistently played a game of cat and mouse, perhaps better termed as international extortion, in order to maintain its existence. They would threaten aggression, and the West would cower and provide them more food aid. Even President Bill Clinton signed a nuclear agreement with North Korea. Here’s his announcement dated October 21, 1994, the year before I deployed there.
We should be alarmed that some of the same folks who worked on that deal, did so with the Iranians. I have little doubt that Obama’s Iranian agreement will end any better than the one Clinton did with North Korea.
Right now there’s lots of news chatter about Syria and North Korea — funny, we fail to remember that the Israelis bombed a Syrian nuclear facility at al-Kibar, in the fall of 2007. The facility had s stark resemblance to the North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear facility, and yes, there was collusion. And so for several presidential administrations the plan has been to just seek to appease the nut cases who for nearly five decades have been running North Korea. It must come to an end, but we need to be very circumspect as to how we proceed.
As reported by Reuters, “North Korean state media warned on Tuesday of a nuclear attack on the United States at any sign of American aggression as a U.S. Navy strike group steamed toward the western Pacific.
U.S. President Donald Trump, who has urged China to do more to rein in its impoverished ally and neighbor, said in a Tweet that North Korea was “looking for trouble” and the United States would “solve the problem” with or without Beijing’s help.
Tension has escalated sharply on the Korean peninsula amid concerns that reclusive North Korea may soon conduct a sixth nuclear test and after Washington said at the weekend it was diverting the aircraft carrier strike group Carl Vinson toward the Korean peninsula in a show of force.
U.S. officials have stressed that stronger sanctions are the most likely U.S. course to press North Korea to abandon its nuclear program, but Washington has said all options – including military ones – are on the table. It said a U.S. strike last week against Syria should serve as a warning to Pyongyang.
North Korea said it was prepared to respond to any U.S. aggression. “Our revolutionary strong army is keenly watching every move by enemy elements with our nuclear sight focused on the U.S. invasionary bases not only in South Korea and the Pacific operation theater but also in the U.S. mainland,” its official Rodong Sinmun newspaper said.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Trump had put North Korea “clearly on notice” he would not tolerate certain actions, but dismissed Pyongyang’s nuclear attack threat. “I think there is no evidence that North Korea has that capability at this time,” he said. “Threatening something that you don’t have the capability of isn’t really a threat.” North Korea remains technically at war with the United States and its ally South Korea after the 1950-1953 Korean conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty. It regularly threatens to destroy both countries.”
Let me first state that foreign and national security, or any type of policy cannot be relegated to social media: this is far more serious. China, which has been the parochial guardian of North Korea, has already deployed hundreds of thousands of troops in order to secure its border – hint, hint — and preclude a refugee influx from the rogue state.
Instead of hearing about China’s President Xi Jinping going to Pyongyang and getting his little dog back on its leash, the Chinese seem to be playing a game of triple dog dare ya.
Here’s what needs to happen on the Korean peninsula. We must of course get a consensus with our allies South Korea and Japan as to how we shall go forward. I would also consult with Taiwan, as this does have a collateral effect upon that nation as well. I would first authorize a massive propaganda campaign against Kim Jung Un, and I mean old school.
We should not only seek to jam any TV and radio signals and broadcast our message, but also conduct leaflet drops into North Korea. Look, those folks live under a brutal dictator, and have so with his father and grandfather. The everyday North Korean citizen is starving, and we knew that back when I was there, as the winters are brutal. We need to use that element of our national power – information — in order to undermine the rule of Kim Jung Un. And this is something one would believe our own liberal progressive media would come on board with, right? There’s a pretty good Korean community here in the Dallas area, and I spoke to the gentlemen who owns the donut/sandwich shop and cleaners I frequent…his response? Simple, kill the little short fat guy with the bad haircut.
United States policy precludes us from targeting national leaders for assassination. But we must send a strong message to Kim Jung Un. North Korea has sunk a South Korean naval vessel killing sailors, and nothing was done. North Korea has fired artillery onto a South Korean village killing innocent civilians and nothing was done. It’s time for a response to this belligerence, but the consequences must be weighed heavily.
North Korea has hundreds of artillery tubes and rockets built into hard sites within mountains aimed at Seoul. We have deployed THAAD systems, “theater level high altitude missile interceptor capabilities,” but what about just plain artillery rounds? North Korea will choose a time to open those thick blast doors and if they’re able to get off one salvo of rounds before any retribution, it will reign down on the civilian population in South Korea causing mass casualties. We need to ensure we have the targeting data and capability to quickly acquire and strike back at those artillery sites before greater damage can be done…if we are to choose a military option.
It would be helpful if the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution against any further nuclear or ballistic missile tests by the rogue regime. However, since China sits on the security council, I’m not holding my breath for that to happen. The stakes are high on the Korean peninsula, but at some point, the world cannot allow such maniacal actors to exist.
It’s not just what we must do against Kim Jung Un, but what we can do for the people of North Korea. Once upon a time, America had a leader who plainly demanded that a wall come down. I’m not in any way certain that President Donald Trump could ever fill those shoes…but sometimes, circumstances maketh a leader.
First, President Trump, put down the Twitter toy, and address the American people and the world. Reagan gave hope to those who were behind the Iron Curtain. You have that opportunity to do likewise.