On Friday August 11, 2017, President Trump, having apparently been incorrectly advised by the vaunted US intelligence community that North Korea was cowering in the face his “fire and fury” comment, crowed, “‘Let me hear Kim Jong Un say it – he hasn’t been saying much’.”
Surprise, surprise. On September 3, 2017, Kim set off a test thermonuclear bomb originally pegged at a 100 kilotons blast, but later estimated by US intelligence as much larger than 100 kilotons. For the record, even a 100-kiloton nuclear blast is about 7 times the power of the Hiroshima’s gun-type uranium-235 15 kiloton Little Boy nuclear bomb, and 5 times more powerful of the Nagasaki implosion-type plutonium 21-kiloton Fat Man nuclear bomb.
To top things off, around September 11, 2017, the Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, which is North Korea’s official propaganda arm stated, “The four islands of the [Japanese] archipelago should be sunken into the sea by the nuclear bomb of Juche. Japan is no longer needed to exist near us.”
The word “Juche” translates from the Korean to mean “self-reliance,” and it is North Korea’s ruling ideology that is a blend of Marxism and hyper-nationalism. Think of North Korea a transnational genetic ideological cross between Stalinist-Communism and Hitleresque-Nazism. This “Japan should disappear by nuke” threat was then followed by an actual North Korean statement that “Let’s reduce the U.S. mainland into ashes and darkness. Let’s vent our spite with mobilization of all retaliation means which have been prepared till now.”
Apparently, Kim heard President Trump’s 11 August request for a personal and direct North Korean threat, and Kim delivered not one, but many explicit nuclear threats to the US homeland and US allies. Then, to add some comedy, a rather unimposing, meek bespoke-dressed US National Security Advisor McMaster then firmly stated “There is a military option.” McMasters’ feckless statement weakened America’s already existing stance because wasn’t there already supposed to be “all options on the table,” that supposedly includes the “military option”?
Net-net, the real questions are two-fold:
1) Militarily, what “military option” actually exists?;
2) Politically, what “military option” actually exists that a) will not expose US troops to extensive casualties that will doom a Trump 2020 re-election bid, and b) will also make President Trump look like a immediate clean “winner.”
There really is only one answer: a pre-emptive nuclear strike on North Korea. And the simple rationale for such a pre-emptive nuclear attack is that 2017 North Korea presents a greater “clear and present danger” to the United States mainland than 1945 Japan presented. And, since President Truman’s dropping the atomic bombs on Japan in 1945 was perfectly legitimate, certainly President Trump’s pre-emptive dropping of nuclear bombs on 2017 North Korea would be perfectly 100% legitimate.
Firstly, would a President Trump pre-emptive nuclear attack on North Korea be legal under the US Constitution, and additionally under international law? Historically, from 1950 through 1953, President Truman dubbed the Korean conflict a “police action” under United Nations’ aegis and never sought a declaration of war from the US Congress. And, while an “armistice” was signed, the armistice by its very terms was not a peace agreement, nor was “The United States of America” actually even an actual “Party” signatory to Korean Armistice. The Armistice Preamble, in fact, explicitly limited the Armistice agreement where “said conditions and terms are intended to be purely military in character.” If the Armistice’s “conditions and terms” are “purely military,” then the Armistice is not a final political settlement binding the parties to peace.
Further, one could easily argue that North Korea has already violated article 6 of the Armistice that states: “6. Neither side shall execute any hostile act within, from, or against the demilitarized zone.” North Korea’s nuclear tests on the Peninsula itself, its missile launches in all directions, and its bellicose statements clearly constitute grave “hostile acts” “against the demilitarized zone” and the entire region.
Critically, for over 65 years, without a US Congressional “Declaration of War,” successive US Congresses have unlimitedly allocated billions of dollars to the original and continued deployment of US troops to South Korea. So, in effect, the US Congress has repeatedly sanctioned, by way of the purse, the full panoply of US war powers in Korea to the all the successive US Presidents as Commander-in-Chief including President Trump.
Hence, if President Truman had the legal constitutional authority without a Congressional Declaration of War to send 36,574 US troops to their death with an additional 103,284 wounded with 7,926 missing in action, and with 4,714 taken as prisoners fighting in Korea between 1950-1953, President Trump has full legal authority to send several decapitating nuclear bombs against North Korea to protect both the 30,000 US soldiers now deployed in South Korea as well as the threat to the United States homeland.
Secondly, as a “clear and present danger” to the United States homeland in 2017, North Korea is many orders of magnitude a “clearer” and infinitely more “present” danger than Japan ever was to the US mainland during the entire World War Two, let alone in 1945 when the Japanese military had already been militarily and economically decimated. I will enumerate just an abridged short list of the catastrophic threats North Korea immediately presents to the United States security.
North Korea has clearly miniaturized a nuclear bomb with an over 100 kiloton warhead and has the missile delivery capability to deliver such a bomb certainly against the South Korea and Japan, if not to American territory itself.
As Major Miller USAF posited in 2005, and I related in a 2013 article, such a North Korean nuclear tipped missile can be used as a tactical EMP “leveling the playing field weapon” against the South where the North could effect a EMP blitzkrieg and capture 30,000 living US Prisoners of war checkmating any US President from responding at all, let alone with nuclear weapons. Therefore, North Korea has a highly reliable and effective rational military trump card against the nuclear deterrence theory of Mutually Assured Destruction, or MAD. MAD theory never countenanced the possibility of a “rational actor’s” rational use of tactical nuclear EMP to capture 30,000 living US soldiers as hostages so as to pre-empt any nuclear retaliation by the US.
North Korea presents an immediate threat against the US homeland with such weapons. And, in North Korea, China and Russia have a perfect useful idiot nuclear “proxy” that they can claim they have no control over. Again, this “nuclear-proxy” variant scenario renders MAD a useless prophylactic against a North Korean attack because is the United States going to consider a nuclear attack by North Korea as an attack by Russia and/or by China so as to obliterate both Russia and China if North Korea fires a nuke? Of course not!
Then, what exactly would an American annihilation attack against just North Korea destroy anyway? There’s practically nothing there now. Mutually Assured Destruction theory only works if there is not only “mutual destruction” but also, comparatively equal destruction between all the involved parties. So, the United States trading nuclear destruction missiles with North Korea isn’t true mutually assured destruction, it’s only the “Act One” destruction of the United States and destruction of the nothing country of North Korea, leaving Russia and China completely unscathed for an “Act Two.”
In fact, an Act One nuclear exchange between the United States and North Korea might even put the United States into such a weakened strategic position in Act Two that fully-nuclear-armed and untouched Russia or China could then effectively threaten secondary follow-on Act Three nuclear attacks on an already severely crippled United States.
Of course, then, there’s the certainty that Iran has already bought the nuclear technology and bomb from North Korea. Perversely, former President Obama gave Iran 150 billion dollars and a huge slice went to North Korea to fund its breakout testing of nuclear bombs and missiles. Be sure, whatever North Korea has, Iran already has, or will soon have.
Every minute the North is allowed to continue to exist exponentially increases the probability that the North Korea has already transferred the nuclear bomb to Iran. Obama’s billions to Iran and his dropping of the sanctions rendered all the sanctions against North Korea a nullity. Iran can fund North Korea from a fraction of the 150 billions, and its newly-de-sanctioned oil exports.
In short, if President Truman found 1945 Japan to be of such “clear and present danger” to the United States so as to enable and necessitate the use of nuclear weapons against 1945 Japan, President Trump clearly can find 2017 North Korea to be an even greater danger enabling and necessitating the use of nuclear weapons against 2017 North Korea. And, the sooner President Trump acts, the better.