NORTH KOREA HAS OUR NUMBER
By James E. Horn
The wheel goes around and around and stops at the same place.
For about fifty years, North Korea periodically goes off on a rant, starts a ruckus that neither we Americans, the South Koreans, or the Japanese have handled well, certainly not successfully.
Now, it is peaking and President Donald J. Trump has been handed the can that appeasement minded Presidents from the time of Kennedy have kicked on down the road. The UN led by America halted the North Korean invasion, but since the cease fire have been partnering with us in appeasing an increasing ugly bully who has us over a barrel.
[A 1959 movie, THE MOUSE THAT ROARED was about an impoverished little nothing country that came up with an idea. They took something like a football, covered it with shiny foil and declared that it was a secret doomsday weapon. Every nation on earth was so intimidated that they heaped largess on that pitiful little nation to keep them from using the weapon.]
North Korea was that impoverished little nation. However, North Korea is no longer a pitiful joke. It has developed a bite, a deadly, dangerous thermonuclear bite and the nations of the world are sitting up and paying attention because they indeed fear that the toad leading North Korea just might be crazy enough, desperate enough for power, and witlessly careless enough to actually use a nuclear weapon on anyone that he sees threatening him, or perhaps just for kicks and giggles. The toad, Kim Jong Un is the proverbial “Big Brother” who cares little about the people of North Korea who live in perpetual poverty, at the edge of starvation, and terrified of the wrath of “Big Brother”. Any perceived threat or offense can cause “Big Brother” to throw entire families into frightful gulags for generations, to cause them terrible tortuous deaths for crimes their grandparents were accused of committing.
This “Big Brother” wants to take over South Korea and impose his incredibly selfish, cruel, greedy, self-aggrandizing will on those wonderful people who have created an economic powerhouse, a life with education, liberty, choices, and unparalleled freedom never before seen or experienced on the Korean peninsula. This is an intolerable situation for “Big Brother”, one that he has worked for a half of a century to overcome. In cultural and evolutionary terms, South Koreans are now about 20% bigger and stronger than northerners, and have greater mental capacity, are far healthier and enjoy much longer longevity than perpetually undernourished, brainwashed, and terribly abused North Koreans.
Kim Jong Un is not working alone. He has powerful and influential protectors and partners. The protectors are China and Russia who have defended North Korea since the end of World war II and later sponsored his invasion of the South. They are NOT threatened (yet). His partners are Iran, Syria, Pakistan, and others, including terrorism enabler, Barak Obama who gave the Iranians billions to continue and expand their reign of evil. They provide tons of money to bankroll Kin Jong Un in every way with technical and scientific expertise and an outlet, a market for his weapons programs. China and Russia have their own forms of “Big Brother” with their gulags and other controls over their populations.
Kim Jong Un’s father, and before that his grandfather began this periodic exercise of saber rattling that got them concessions, money, food (that went to the army, not to the poor starving masses), and other things that we, his adversaries were foolish enough to provide, to buy them off. Their threats and fulminations always paid off
This has been going on for years. The North Koreans have created an entire government program, an industry focused on effectively bullying and bamboozling us, and they’ve become good at it, real experts.
We, on the other hand with changing Presidents and Prime Ministers, intelligence leaders and priorities, rotating military brass with varied focuses du jour have been dealing with the North Koreans on an ad hoc basis. All have been played for fools. Our Modus Operandi involved talking tough and then quickly finding ways to capitulate to the North Korean demands and paying them off. We have never really set a priority focus on these lunatics over there. This has built and built and now President Trump is faced with a half-century of neglect that he needs to address. It is high time for an end to this cycle, time to eliminate an insane nuclear threat that will soon find its way into the hands of other roaring mice.
North Korea is a top aid recipient of Russian largess, mostly weapons. The Russians like this status quo, because the North Koreans, especially now, are causing us to invest heavily in a variety of measures to shore up our allies’ defenses. For every dollar the Russians invest, we are spending tens of hundreds of dollars. The Russians like this because it causes us pain.
The Korean peninsula has been a vassal state of the Chinese for millennia. The Chinese taxed and gained benefits from their Korean vassals, and when the Koreans were challenged by the Mongolians or the Japanese, the Chinese steeped up to protect their vassal, their property. When the Americans and the UN blocked the North Korean attempt to unify the peninsula under the Communists, the Chinese threw millions of men into the fray trying to drive us out. They failed. They have never forgotten nor forgiven us for this humiliating defeat. It is to their great advantage and even pride that North Korea is now in a serious position to threaten the USA and our allies with deadly force in the form of the ultimate doomsday weapon.
The Chinese will not ever take serious or effective steps to assist us despised Americans and our allies in curbing their vassal, North Korean excesses, and Kim Jong Un knows this. He is laughing up his sleeve at us and our flailing about.
President Reagan opened access between the US and China and most importantly Chinese access to our technology. Clinton gave the store away and enabled the Chinese to launch industrial facilities enabling them to build a world class navy. Clinton enabled the transfer of technology to China and they capitalized on that big time. People may not realize it, but we cannot build, maintain, or operate our warplanes (and other war machinery) without Chinese made electronics. [The Chinese have no problem providing this because we are using most of it against their mortal enemies, the Moslems.]
It is imperative that we bring this technology home and start producing our own war technology and machinery immediately.
The Chinese pretend to do as President Trump asks, and even make a show in one direction or another, but underhandedly they go back to the usual business. President Trump demanded that the Chinese take measures against the North Korean economy and Chinese overall trade with North Korea grew by 30%. They jammed a thumb in President Trump’s eye.
The North Koreans have been building and testing nuclear weapons with impunity. They have enough surplus missiles to fire one off whenever they feel like it.
The North Koreans have worked closely with Pakistani, Syrian, and Iranian nuclear and rocket scientists in the development of their nuclear weapons and long-range delivery systems, and no doubt the Chinese are privy to all of this and benefit from the technology being developed.
The United States and the UN have heaped ineffectual sanctions on North Korea that their protectors and partners easily overcome to make sure that Kim Jong Un’s essentials are taken care of regardless of our threats and entreaties. That renders our squeaking mouse like efforts pitiful.
Secretary of Defense, General “Mad Dog” Mattis, the President and others can whimper and wine, rant and rave, and promise all manner of hellfire and brimstone, which they have done. The North Koreans merely turned around and fired off a long-range ICBM and detonated a thermonuclear bomb. Our response? Essentially some foot stomping and little else.
We cannot trust or count on the Chinese or Russians to support our side in this standoff. We are on our own, and we need to do the necessary to end this cycle now, but in a manner, that will not garner Russian or Chinese retaliation. That’s a tall, delicate order in dealing with an abusive, noisy, and dangerously insane “Big Brother” – a mouse with a roar!
James E. Horn is a retired American Diplomat who spent thirty years working in various aspects of National Security. Among his assignments, He has served in South Korea, has a Korean spouse, and has worked with the Korean CIA in resolving issues that affected our two nations.