Fred Henneke, Attorney & Counselor-At-Law
I frequently said in these posts that I do not fear Kim Jung Un intentionally starting a nuclear war with the United States. The result of such an irrational act is pre-ordained – millions would die or be severely impacted while Un and North Korea cease to exist and East Asia turns into a nuclear wasteland. Not just North Korea, but South Korea, Japan and China. Nuclear fall-out does not respect boundaries.
My major concern is that a relatively minor incident – like the murder of the 2 unarmed Army officers who were leading a team to trim trees in the DMZ in 1976 – spins out of control and quickly escalates into a full, all-out conflict Not unlike the start of World War I, only with the ability to destroy civilization as we know it.
We are inching closer to such a scenario.
North Korea lately has ramped up its provocations, sending missiles deep into the Pacific Ocean or over Japan and exploding increasingly larger and more powerful nuclear devices. The US and its ally, South Korea, have responded with less dramatic measures. Most recently, the United States send B-52s along with South Korean jets in international air space closer to North Korea than usual. At approximately the same time, President Trump made derogatory comments about Un and the North Korean foreign minister. The North Koreans chose to interpret those comments as a declaration of war by the US (a position that has no support in international war). Furthermore, the North Koreans went a giant step further and stated that, since the US had declared war on North Korea, North Korea would be justified in shooting down any American warplane threatening North Korea, even if the plane was in international air space. Should that happen, we would have no alternative but to retaliate in kind – i.e., with military force. And, then, where does it stop? Would the act by the North Koreans be ordered from on high? Not necessarily; it could also be some over-zealous pilot or anti-aircraft battery commander who felt like he had the go ahead based on the “Dear Leader” comments and was determined to demonstrate his devotion and vigilance.
What to do? Obviously we cannot directly influence what Un does. We can, and should (1) tone the rhetoric WAYYYYYYYY down, especially the personal insults and attacks, (2) quietly beef up our conventional forces in South Korea and the area, (3) openly and intentionally consult at the highest military level with the South Korean and Japanese military leadership, and (4) quietly consult with the Chinese military. The goal is to not give Un any more ammunition for his inflammatory rhetoric while demonstrating, quietly but effectively, our military might and resolve.