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Imposing a Missile ‘No-Fly Zone’ in North Korea Is Deranged

Marc Thiessen offers up [1] one of the dumbest and most dangerous proposals for dealing with North Korea:

If Trump wants to stop North Korea’s drive for nuclear missiles capable of striking the U.S. homeland, he should look to the success of his Syrian strike as a model. Specifically, he should announce that North Korean nuclear and missile tests will no longer be tolerated — that, henceforth, North Korea is a ballistic missile “no-fly zone” and a nuclear weapons “no-test zone.” Any attempt by North Korea to launch a ballistic missile will be met with a targeted military strike either taking out the missile on the launchpad or blowing it up in the air using missile defense technology. And any attempt to test a nuclear weapon will be met with a targeted strike taking out the test site and other related nuclear facilities.

Thiessen wants the president to issue a threat that he can’t back up without illegally attacking another country and risking a major war. He also somehow thinks that a regime that is hyper-sensitive about its sovereignty will comply with demands made under threat of an illegal attack on its territory. Of course, North Korea won’t comply, and Trump will be left with the choice of backing down from his stupid threat or carrying it out with potentially disastrous consequences.

The Syrian government was never likely to retaliate against U.S. or allied forces over the missile strikes earlier this year, and it didn’t really have the capability to do so in any case. As pointless and illegal as that attack was, it was relatively low-risk and easy for the president to get away with. Launching an attack on North Korean territory, whether it is “targeted” or not, would not only make the U.S. the aggressor but would risk escalation into a very costly conflict. Besides having absolutely no authority or right to initiate hostilities against another state to penalize it for conducting weapons tests, this could trigger a war in which North Korea ends up using its nuclear arsenal against major population centers in South Korea, Japan, and possibly even in the U.S.

Thiessen claims that the attacks he is recommending would be acts of self-defense, but not even the most tortured reasoning from a leading torture supporter can back that up. Preventive war cannot be defensive, and Thiessen is arguing for waging preventive war. Preventive war is inherently aggressive, unjust, and has no legal justification. The U.S. wouldn’t be defending itself or one of its allies against attack, and it wouldn’t even be a pre-emptive strike to counter an imminent threat. Attacking North Korea over missile or nuclear weapons tests would be an unlawful act of aggression against another state carried out solely because it happened to be doing something that our government disapproves of. It is a deranged idea that any sane government would automatically rule out.

7 Comments (Open | Close)

7 Comments To "Imposing a Missile ‘No-Fly Zone’ in North Korea Is Deranged"

#1 Comment By Christian Chuba On November 10, 2017 @ 11:23 am

Just saw a FOX panel of veterans proclaim how Trump has restored our position in the world and they cited both N. Korea and the defeat of ISIS as examples. (BTW have nothing against these vets, not convinced that FOX picked them at random. It looked like they culled facebook comments and chose the ones they liked.)

1. N. Korea – Trump sounds tough but why hasn’t anyone noticed that their nuclear program has grown by leaps and bounds during his first year in office? We love tough talk more than results.

2. ISIS was by far the weakest military opponent simultaneously fighting the U.S., Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Russia.

Getting back to the point in this article, people are translating successful tactics against extremely weak opponents and applying them to much stronger opponents. Oh, and besides successfully attacking Syria, what did our attack accomplish anyway? Again, style over substance.

We are weak as compared to what we were in the early days of our Republic when we understood the corrupting effects of using force.

#2 Comment By wise_pharaoh On November 10, 2017 @ 2:09 pm

@ Christian… We defeated ISIS?? When did that happen?
Or did it happen because FOX veteran commentators say so? And if we beat them, why aren’t our troops coming home?

#3 Comment By Hyperion On November 10, 2017 @ 2:51 pm

DL wrote: Thiessen offers up one of the dumbest…

This is what I think of EVERY Thiessen column.

Sometimes I accidentally click on one when I’m reading WaPo on my phone. About two paragraphs in I realize that I am reading the words of an idiot and think “Must be a Thiessen column”. Sure enough it is without fail. Mostly you can see the craziness in the headline but occasionally it sounds reasonable and I skip over the byline. But he ALWAYS comes across as completely divorced from reality.

#4 Comment By DP On November 10, 2017 @ 7:38 pm

What an imbecile.

He doesn’t realize he’s advocating for the war option (against someone who can strike back, at least against our allies) and thus just falls back on the hackiest incremental fantasy imaginable.

#5 Comment By james On November 13, 2017 @ 1:59 pm

“Marc Thiessen offers up one of the dumbest and most dangerous proposals for dealing with North Korea:”

Please let us know when Marc Thiessen ever writes a thoughtful, serious, honest column. Now that would be real news.

#6 Comment By b. On November 13, 2017 @ 7:33 pm

“It is a deranged idea that any sane government would automatically rule out.”

It is no surprise then that the “Pest” is push-publishing this insanity, as they have every reason to expect this to become bipartisan policy. Have McCain and Graham signed on yet? Buy-in from across the asylum will depend on it.

#7 Comment By rick On November 16, 2017 @ 10:30 am

“Success of his Syrian strike”. What success? Because Brian Williams and all the other war mongering idiots said so?