President Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un are engaged in a war of words, neither of whom have the fortitude to stand down. North Korea has been using not-so-veiled threats of horrific retaliation throughout its diplomatic history and why, you ask? Because, despite their 4-million-man army with inadequate oil reserves, they have all the efficiency of a 4-ton penny collection without being able to move it to the bank. They have, however, developed a nuclear capacity and are now seeking a missile capacity to carry out the threats it levies. If they had the capacity now, they would not be threatening with such chest-thumping bravado.
President Trump is another matter. His real estate history is replete with over-the-top exaggerations, promises and threats from which he has no ability to back down. His political ability is thwarted by his fragile ego. President Trump has abandoned the old US policy and is making up a new one based on Twitter messages and emotional outbursts. His government’s staff keeps busy trying to formulate policy on the spot based on his ill thought out pronouncements. Is it a planned game of brinksmanship? I am not at all certain.
What I do know is that the United States under President Trump has been showing a “strength of force” by flying B-1 bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons across the South Korean portion of the peninsula less than 50-miles shy of the North Korean border. And, we are outraged that the North Korea responded by a planned, multiple launch of missiles to fall just 50-miles shy of Guam from where the B-1 bombers are launched! What may happen is this: we will have an escalating response by, for example, shooting down the ballistic missiles.
Will North Korea respond in kind by attempting to shoot down a B-1 bomber? There are American crews flying the B-1 bombers. Who will have the last word is a matter of each leader’s ego or are we going to war?
I hope not. I served in Korea while a captain in the US Air Force. I’m not the only one because, over the course of more than 65 years, the United States has maintained a large contingency force on the Korean peninsula. Many American with a history of military duty have served there. And I sense that we being drawn back there by a military-minded president whose military experience is imaginative fantasy.
It weighs heavily on me. As a candidate for US House of Representatives in 2018, I may be asked to vote either for a Declaration of War or a military consent decree, justifying this current course of events after the fact. I hope that issues dividing these parties can be defused. The United States has dealt with a belligerent, missile-capable Soviet Union. China has an ability to launch satellites into orbit and, by capability, launch missiles at the United States. We have developed a policy of brinksmanship. That avenue of diplomacy needs to be maintained. The solution is political, not military. I hope President Trump can stay on that course.