The Daily Telegraph reports on a very dangerous Trump administration plan:
America is drawing up plans for a “bloody nose” military attack on North Korea to stop its nuclear weapons programme, The Telegraph understands.
The White House has “dramatically” stepped up preparation for a military solution in recent months amid fears diplomacy is not working, well-placed sources said.
One option is destroying a launch site before it is used by the regime for a new missile test. Stockpiles of weapons could also be targeted.
The hope is that military force would show Kim Jong-un that America is “serious” about stopping further nuclear development and trigger negotiations.
If this report is accurate, the administration may be much closer to launching an attack on North Korea than most Americans realize. Perhaps the most terrifying thing is that some in the administration imagine that the U.S. could launch an attack that did enough damage to convey our “seriousness” without precipitating a major war. According to the article, the attack on Syria from earlier this year is being held up as a model:
Donald Trump’s decision to bomb a Syrian government airfield earlier this year to defend America’s “red line” on chemical weapons use is seen as a blueprint.
The possibility that the U.S. is getting ready to launch another illegal attack on yet another country is disturbing enough, but it is truly frightening that anyone in the government thinks that launching a few dozen cruise missiles into Syria with no chance of retaliation and an attack on a nuclear-armed North Korean military have anything in common. Assad’s forces didn’t strike back in response to the U.S. attack because they couldn’t, and they didn’t possess such destructive weapons in any case. If the U.S. gave North Korean forces a “bloody nose,” we have to assume that retaliation would be immediate and massive, and it could even escalate into a nuclear exchange.
The enemy gets a vote. The notion in DC that you can give North Korea a “bloody nose” without the US or an ally suffering a severe stab wound in return is delusional. https://t.co/FhRxSbWAHB
— Vipin Narang (@NarangVipin) December 21, 2017
Furthermore, giving North Korea a “bloody nose” would probably be interpreted as a prelude to a full-on war for regime change. It would be impossible for the U.S. to credibly signal otherwise once it has already initiated an illegal and unprovoked attack. Once the U.S. initiates the conflict, North Korea has every incentive to cause as much damage as it can on the assumption that this could be their last opportunity. North Korea’s “bloody nose” would almost certainly mean the devastation of Seoul, it might lead to attacks on Japanese and U.S. targets, and it would probably cause a major crisis with China, and that’s one of the least disastrous scenarios.
On top of everything else, the “bloody nose” would not convey the desired message, but would make North Korea cling to its nuclear weapons all the more. North Korea’s nuclear weapons program isn’t going to be “stopped” by an attack like this, so in addition to being illegal and insane it would also be ineffective.