The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Of North Korea and Tigers' Tails

North Korea's brutal dictator, Kim Jong-un, literally starves his people as he lords over one of the most oppressive regimes on the planet. This same Kim Jong-un threatens the United States and its allies with extreme violence, including a threat to use ICBMs to deliver nuclear weapons to American cities.

It's ironic that the same elites who have been responsible for "negotiating" with North Korean over the past four or five decades are now wringing their hands as the current president changes the tone of the conversation. It's fair to note that these same elites were responsible for kicking the can down the road from president to president as they watched the NoKos get stronger and more threatening. It's also fair to note that other regimes (Iran comes to mind) have watched this farce and learned from it, waiting for the day when they're free to threaten their region with nukes.

Donald Trump responded to Kim Jong-un's escalating threats with a threat of his own—any action on the part of North Korea that harms the United States or its allies would be met with "fire and fury." Predictably, the four #NeverTrump constituencies got the vapors at such an aggressive response, worrying that it was ... uh ... unpresidential and impetuous. Although different words could have, and probably should have, been chosen (Trump is, after all, imprecise in his language and largely hyperbolic in this comments), the President's tone was pitch perfect.

The United States has been threatened repeatedly by a pissant dictator, who, because of repeated failures by past presidents, can now hold hostage the South Koreans in Seoul, along with Japan and other neighboring countries. And the four #NeverTrump constituencies want what exactly—more talks, more "tough sanctions," and more time for Kim Jong-un to become an even greater threat, moving from a dangerous pissant to something larger and more ominous. To its credit, the Trump administration has gotten unanimous approval for more UN sanctions. That's fine, but I think something more must be done.

Although it's appropriate to talk about "fire and fury," that tone must be followed by a terse discussion of the kind of response that will occur if the NoKos attack anyone or anything of value to the United States. They must understand that our response will not be "proportional" but rather, it will be massively disproportional.

For far too long, Western leaders have adopted the meme that an attack against the West should be met in kind—proportionately. But proportional response provides our adversaries with a significant advantage. They can attack, and as long as they conclude that they can absorb a proportional response—they achieve a propaganda victory. The proportional response is followed by overblown claims of civilian casualties and "crimes against humanity". With the help of a left-leaning media, the original aggressor is magically transformed into a victim. Better yet, the aggressor survives to fight another day.

If on the other hand, a small attack is met with a massive response, the pain suffered by the aggressor will be significant and possibly, terminal. Sure, they'll still wail about civilian casualties and "crimes against humanity," and a left-leaning media will still transform the aggressor into a victim. But one important thing changes—the aggressor's regime, its military infrastucture, and its people suffer "fire and fury." And that changes the entire dynamic of assymetric warfare.

There's a reason that you don't repeatedly pull the tail of a tiger. The tiger's response will most assuredly not be proportional. In fact, with one swipe of her claws she just might cut your throat and make you dead.

UPDATE (8-10-2017):

Kicking the NoKo can down the road is what diplomatic elites have done for decades. Recently, we learned of intelligence estimates that indicate that North Korea has miniaturized nuke technology, potentially allowing them to deliver nukes using their ICBMs. But what's far worse is that it now appears that the Obama administration knew about this in 2013, but chose to do nothing. Debra Heine reports:
You can chalk this up as another example of President Obama employing his signature strategy for dealing with sticky national security issues: Ignore, discredit or downplay. If the foreign policy crisis was too big to ignore, he would was give a speech -- and kick the can down the road for another president to deal with.

In 2013, Obama not only downplayed the Defense Intelligence Agency's intelligence report about Korea's mini nukes -- He attempted to discredit it. The White House media echo-chamber was -- as always -- happy to go along with the ruse.

Via Fred Fleitz, senior vice president for policy and programs with the Center for Security Policy at Fox News:

Tuesday's bombshell Washington Post story that the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) has determined North Korea is capable of constructing miniaturized nuclear weapons that could be used as warheads for missiles – possibly ICBMs – left out a crucial fact: DIA actually concluded this in 2013. The Post also failed to mention that the Obama administration tried to downplay and discredit this report at the time.

During an April 11, 2013, House Armed Services Committee hearing, Congressman Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., inadvertently revealed several unclassified sentences from a DIA report that said DIA had determined with “moderate confidence” that North Korea has the capability to make a nuclear weapon small enough to be launched with a ballistic missile.

The Director of National Intelligence and Obama officials subsequently tried to dismiss Lamborn’s disclosure by claiming the DIA assessment was an outlier that did not reflect the views of the rest of the U.S. Intelligence Community.

All 16 remaining intel agencies, I'm sure.

The media could easily have turned this leak into a major front page story -- like it is today -- but after the Obama White house signaled to the echo chamber that the president didn't want to deal with it -- the story went away.
Of course it did. The same media that spends weeks scurrying around trying to gin up "evidence" of Russian collusion was curiously silent when their masters in the Obama White House gave them a stern look. After all, this wasn't a meeting with a meaningless Russian lawyer. This was only a potential nuclear threat against the United States of America. Let's keep things in perspective ... puleeze.