And in the New York Times op-ed entitled “Bomb North Korea, Before It’s Too Late,” University of Texas Professor Jeremi Suri argues the United States should take out North Korea’s Musudan missile while it’s still on the ground:
Earlier this week, North Korea closed the Kaesong Industrial Complex, the only facility where citizens from North and South Korea work together. And now the North is openly threatening (and visibly preparing) to fire a mobile-launcher-based Musudan missile with a range that could reach many of the places Mr. Kim has menaced in his public statements. American intelligence agencies believe that North Korea is working to prepare even longer-range delivery systems to carry the nuclear warheads already in its arsenal.
The Korean crisis has now become a strategic threat to America’s core national interests. The best option is to destroy the North Korean missile on the ground before it is launched. The United States should use a precise airstrike to render the missile and its mobile launcher inoperable.
Just to be clear, you’re talking about launching potentially dangerous military action to take out an untested missile based on obsolete Soviet technology with a range far short of the US mainland, right?
Let nobody call Prof. Suri callous, though:
A war on the Korean Peninsula is unlikely after an American strike, but it is not inconceivable. The North Koreans might continue to escalate, and Mr. Kim might feel obligated to start a war to save face. Under these unfortunate circumstances, the United States and its allies would still be better off fighting a war with North Korea today, when the conflict could still be confined largely to the Korean Peninsula. As North Korea’s actions over the last two months have shown, Mr. Kim’s government is willing to escalate its threats much more rapidly than his father’s regime did. An unending crisis would merely postpone war to a later date, when the damage caused by North Korea would be even greater.
Now, lest I be accused of singling out the NYT, the WaPo also ran a column of dubious conclusions by David Ignatius, who actually played the inscrutable Asian card:
Is it really possible that Kim and the North Korean military could lead their country toward what would amount to national suicide? Analysts often reject this as an irrational and improbable outcome. But consider this: There was a northeast Asian nation led by a ruler with quasi-divine status, who in league with his military led his country into a reckless and self-destructive war against the United States. That nation was imperial Japan.
That nation also had the world’s third largest navy and an empire that spanned from the Manchurian steppes to Indochina. The North Koreans… have half a country and eat tree bark.
Look, I though “Homefront” probably deserved better reviews than it got, but Jesus, Dave.
Finally, you have Professor Andrew O’Neil of Griffith University’s School of Government and International Relations in Hojustan, warning Aussies in Seoul that they’ll only get 45 seconds of warning before North Korean artillery shells start raining down:
“Australians are taking advantage of cheap flights to Seoul,” said Prof O’Neil, professor of Griffith University’s School of Government and International Relations.
“If North Korea does launch a strike, US and South Korean intelligence has proven they can fire 20 rounds in one go and up to a thousand rounds of large scale rocket systems.
Prof O’Neil, who is travelling to Seoul on a four-day business trip, advised Australians in Seoul to remain in their hotel rooms if air strikes begin.
I guess after all the “don’t go to Australia or you’ll get attacked by a racist mob” stories, we sort of deserve this one.