Forget about a possible “bloody nose” attack on North Korea. The attack that the Trump administration is considering is much, much worse than that. Josh Rogin reports:
In response to worries that it is planning a “bloody nose” strike on North Korea, the Trump administration has been offering an odd reassurance. Any attack on the regime of Kim Jong Un would not be limited, officials and surrogates are saying, but enormous and overwhelming. That, of course, is not reassuring at all: A massive attack on North Korea would be massively stupid.
It seems that this massive attack is what Trump was alluding to when he referred to going to “phase two” last week. The dangers of initiating a major war are obvious, and the costs ought to be prohibitive. A war with North Korea would be extremely costly for the U.S., both Koreas, and the surrounding region, and to make matters worse it would be an entirely unnecessary war. The death toll would be staggering for both sides with losses most likely measured in the hundreds of thousands if not the millions. Starting such a war would be a moral outrage and a grave international crime, and its disastrous effects would be felt for decades to come.
Rogin mentions another disturbing detail:
Trump is “frustrated” with the situation, senior officials said, and believes the military threat must be credible to work. He also believes he has the authority to order a strike at any time [bold mine-DL].
Trump absolutely does not have the authority to order the start of a war against North Korea. This just confirms that the administration has no regard for constitutional limits on the president’s authority. As long as the U.S. is determined to force North Korea to denuclearize, an otherwise avoidable war becomes much more likely. It is critical that members of Congress and the public realize that denuclearization cannot be achieved at an acceptable cost, and they need to understand that the only way that it might be achieved would come at far too high a price for all of the countries involved. The pursuit of denuclearization is not worth the lives that would be lost in a war with North Korea, and it should terrify Americans that their political leaders are seriously considering starting that war.
Viping Narang made a relevant observation in response to the Rogin piece:
5/ We can “insist” all we want. It’s not going to happen. Everyone needs to shift the mindset from denuclearization to diplomacy and deterrence. Now. Actually, yesterday. FIN pic.twitter.com/AmKL7uZErP
— Vipin Narang (@NarangVipin) February 26, 2018
This report raises two important questions: how many members of Congress are willing to oppose the president publicly over this, and what are they willing to do to prevent a disastrous, illegal, and unnecessary war in Korea?