breaking news

UPDATE: Man in missing girl case to be held on civil charge

Is a Korean missile crisis ahead?


To back up Defense Secretary “Mad Dog” Mattis’ warning last month, that the U.S. “remains steadfast in its commitment” to its allies, President Donald Trump is sending B-1 and B-52 bombers to Korea.

About 300,000 South Korean and 15,000 U.S. troops have begun their annual Foal Eagle joint war exercises that run through April.

“The two sides are like two accelerating trains coming toward each other with neither side willing to give way,” said Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, “Are (they) really ready for a head-on collision?”

So it would seem.

It is Kim Jong Un, 33-year-old grandson of that Stalinist state’s founding father, who launched the first Korean War, who brought on this confrontation.

In February, Kim’s half-brother was assassinated in Malaysia in a VX nerve agent attack and five of Kim’s security officials were executed with anti-aircraft guns. On Monday, Kim launched four missiles toward U.S. bases, with three landing in the Sea of Japan.

U.S. response: Begin immediate deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile shield in Korea.

This set off alarms in China. For while THAAD cannot shoot down Scuds on the DMZ, its radar can detect missile launches inside China, thereby, says Beijing, imperiling her deterrent.

For accepting THAAD, China has imposed sanctions on Seoul, and promised the U.S. a commensurate strategic response.

Minister Wang’s proposal for resolving the crisis: The U.S. and Seoul cancel the exercises and North Korea suspends the nuclear and missile tests.

Why, a quarter of a century after the Cold War, do we still have 28,000 troops in Korea? Not only does South Korea have twice the population of the North, but an economy 40 times as large, and access to U.S. weapons far superior to any in the North.

Gen. James Mattis’ warning last month was unambiguous:

“Any attack on the United States or our allies will be defeated and any use of nuclear weapons would be met with a response that would be effective and overwhelming.”

Hence the next move is up to Kim.

New tests by North Korea of missiles or atom bombs for an ICBM could bring U.S. strikes on its nuclear facilities and missile sites, igniting an attack on the South.

For China, this crisis, whether it leads to war, a U.S. buildup in the South, or a U.S. withdrawal from Korea, is problematic.

Beijing cannot sit by and let her North Korean ally be bombed, nor can it allow U.S. and South Korean forces to defeat the North, bring down the regime, and unite the peninsula.

However, should U.S. forces withdraw from the South, Seoul might build her own nuclear arsenal, followed by Japan. For Tokyo could not live with two Koreas possessing nukes, while she had none.

This could leave China contained by nuclear neighbors: to the north, Russia, to the south, India, to the east, South Korea and Japan. And America offshore.

What this crisis reveals is that China has as great an interest in restraining North Korea as do we.

While the United States cannot back down, it is difficult to reconcile a second Korean war with our America first policy. Which is why some of us have argued for decades that the United States should moves its forces out of South Korea and off the Asian continent.

Events in Asia are pushing us toward a version of the Nixon Doctrine declared in Guam in 1969 that is consistent with America first:

While we will provide the arms for friends and allies to fight in their own defense in any future wars, henceforth, they will provide the troops.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Opinion

Letters: West Palm leaders fell short during Irma

Where in the world were our West Palm Beach leaders during Hurricane Irma? Prior to, during and after the storm I was monitoring radio and television for updates. I saw our mayor briefly on one of the networks addressing a question about evacuation. When asked on Sept. 8 whether she thought it was safe to travel, she responded that, in her opinion...
POINT OF VIEW: Florida’s small businesses deserve tax relief

Small businesses are the cornerstone of Florida’s economy. They make up 99.8 percent of all Florida businesses and employ over 3.2 million workers. Encouraging their growth is essential to growing Florida’s economy and helping our hardworking employees. Nationally, small business owners claim taxes are their top concern, and it is easy...
The New Center seeks volunteers

New York City’s annual gridlock festival, otherwise known as the United Nations General Assembly, is a proper metaphor for America’s current state of affairs. While Manhattan’s already snarled streets filled beyond capacity with limos toting dignitaries, a quieter, less-theatrical group of thinkers and leaders was meeting to discuss...
Spicer’s Emmys gig a lesson in the benefits of fame

I’m an awards-show geek who usually spends the morning after the big event nattering about who was unjustly robbed, who was unwisely dressed and whether it’s a felony in Hollywood to consume more than 300 calories a meal, because it sure looks that way. But not on Monday, because what I and anyone else who tuned in to the Emmys on Sunday...
Palm Beach Post editorial cartoon: Sept. 21
Palm Beach Post editorial cartoon: Sept. 21

CARTOON VIEW LEE JUDGE
More Stories