Is North Korea aiming to attack America? Or is this misdirection? Looking at America or American colonies (Guam) as Rocket Man’s target may be entirely wrong.
Putting aside the mistake Japan made at Pearl Harbor – a small attack they thought was the mere shooing-away of an almost militarily insignificant non-combatant trying to interfere in their years-long creation of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere (that resulted in the annihilation of two of their cities, the loss of millions of Japanese lives and the destruction of their country as an effective polity) – centuries have passed since the last attack on the West. Why? Because the West, and, particularly, America, is just too militarily powerful for any enemy to attack with any hope of not being defeated.
The West rose in Classical Greece and Rome. Its warriors and economy conquered S Asia, N Africa, the Middle East, much of Europe, and parts of W Asia. Genghis Khan attacked this nascent West, but his sons were unable to hold it. Atilla came north, but ultimately was defeated.
Islam, the strongest ideologically-driven force in history, conquered the Middle East, North Africa, S. Asia, Persia, much of India, and was moving into Europe when it finally was stopped in the 17th Century by a small portion of Western Christendom at the Gates of Vienna. (Until turned loose again by Jimmy Carter, Islam really hadn’t been heard from since as they allowed themselves to be overtaken by their fundamentalists, devolving into a savage anti-modern barbarism from the advanced artistic and mathematical culture they had been.)
Free of attack from without, for centuries a tribal West fought itself. Because war causes the advancement of technology more quickly than any other endeavor, the West prospered technologically and economically more quickly than any other culture. Northern europeans – the Germans, the descendants of those who overthrew Rome – were the best at making war. The Vikings excelled in combat, but combat is not war and so ultimately were subdued. Napoleon came and went, but the Germans remained. And europe – and the West – remained free of invaders.
German attacks over the years on the French (and everyone else) were attacks within, not on, the West. The Germanic people have a propensity to destroy. They destroyed the Roman Empire, causing the Fall of the West, creating 1,000 years of the Dark Ages, and enabling the rise of Islam in the power vacuum. WW1 was yet another intra-West, German attempt to conquer the West following multiple earlier Franco-Prussian wars. Had America been smart enough to stay out, WW1 likely would have ended with a bit of land traded in a traditional Western conditional surrender based on the stalemate reached by early 1917. Island Britain’s goal always has been to balance those two continental powers to prevent either from continental dominance, i.e. balancing power within the West, causing her entry. WW2 in europe was an extension of WW1 by a megalomaniac with the world’s best military technology, and an easily-led, warlike people, and was the most catastrophic event in human history. American entry into the Long War (WW1-WW2 interrupted to raise more men) may well have initiated the Fall of Western Civilization; as in the 5th Century, it was initiated by the Germanic people. The current German encouragement of Islamic invaders (it cannot be seen logically as anything else) is yet another Germanic attack on Western Civilization, perhaps now a West unwilling and unable to defend itself.
Astronomers speak of the Solar System as being “The Sun, Jupiter and debris.” WW2 correctly can be seen as “Germany, the USSR and debris.” The Western Front – America’s participation – was a distraction, a diversion Stalin had been demanding for years as he lost 20,000,000 Russians to the NAZIs. (America’s total war dead, both Pacific and European theaters, was under 500,000.) Russia is a european country, with a european heritage, european monarchs, european education, culturally an offshoot of Christendom (East Orthodox). The Long War was the West fighting the West; a war within Western Civilization.
The biggest technical advances of WW2 – the jet aircraft, long-range missile and the nuclear bomb – all were inventions by Germans, the latter by Germans in America, driven from Germany by Hitler’s counterproductive elimination of German Jews (something that only can be explained by the German’s historic path of laying waste to all around him).
The atomic bomb was developed by Germans in America, copied from America by our British and French allies, given to the USSR by its American spies, and transferred to a then-ally of the USSR, the PRC (technically, China developed its own with “substantial Soviet assistance”).
The end of the Long War saw a race between the US and USSR for German scientists, and the Space Race was a race between our Germans and their Germans. Even the Cold War was West v West.
The West is so powerful no one outside the West is willing to attack us on the battlefield. Futhering the Solar System analogy, the West now consists of America and debris. As Huntington noted, the West cannot survive without America. South America is economically and scientifically irrelevant. Europe is committing demographic and cultural suicide. Canada is an economic and cultural irrelevancy. A Westernized Japan has given up on sex and so fertility. And no one – ever – has successfully waged war on America.
What has this to do with Korea?
The Korean War was an attack sanctioned by Stalin on a country we foolishly had omitted from a speech on containing communism. Mao wanted the entire Korean peninsula, a logical extension of the PRC. Following the exclusion of Korea from our containment policy, he asked his then-ally Stalin if he’d mind if he went after it. Stalin, curios as to whether America would respond to combat forced upon her with war – or with combat, knowing that America had nukes she could deliver across continents and the USSR did not, really didn’t want to find out which choice America would make by losing a few million Russians. So he let Mao go find out.
As it was not an attack on the West, we did not respond with war; we responded with combat – which is not the same thing at all.
Conventional weapons are weapons of combat: we kill their armed guys and they kill our armed guys. Nuclear weapons are weapons of war: we kill your country regardless of how many armed guys you have. And then the killing stops.
By rejecting a response of war, we ultimately killed 2,000,000 Koreans and 40,000 Americans in combat – for a tie.
Combat is not as effective as war in reaching a goal of defeating adversaries for the simple reason that conventional weapons are not as productive as weapons of war.
It may seem odd to use “productivity” as a measure of war – but what else is there? In war, the country that kills more of the enemy more quickly than their own are killed, wins. As the most destructive and lethal endeavor of mankind, war ought always be – and, until recently always had been – fought with the most productive weapons the adversaries have at their command. Had we detonated a small nuclear warhead on Pyongyang in 1950, we’d not have killed 2,000,000 Koreans or 40,000 Americans. Having just completed the bloodiest war in history, and having used atomic bombs for the first time in history, America did not want to use nuclear bombs again, so we killed more people than needed by rejecting war for combat.
How did the Korean War end? It hasn’t. Combat ended, however, when Ike told Mao that, if Mao didn’t get Pyongyang to the Peace Talks, Ike would use our weapons of war to kill North Korea. Combat ended when the West offered to replace it with war. Both sides knew that the West would win that war decisively. Again – no one wages war on the West.
The Vietnam war began as the locals kicking out the French colonials, a logical outcome of the (historically dumb) decolonization that followed WW2. America foolishly entered based on the nonexistent “Tonkin Gulf Incident.” Again we killed 2,000,000 of our adversaries, and this time 60,000 of our own by conducting combat operations rather than war – in which far fewer would have been killed. And we lost.
Why? Because half our country didn’t want to win. When Nixon came to power in 1969, he wanted to end combat in Vietnam. Attacking the opponent’s capitol – their center of ideology and funding – is the normal way wars are won. Not wanting to go nuclear, Nixon began bombing Hanoi (for the first time with any seriousness, which is ridiculous in and of itself in a then-ten-year war), and mining Haiphong Harbor (precluding the delivery of munitions to the enemy) with conventional weapons.
And American Democrats went nuts. How dare we try to win? We might actually kill people! (Though KIA in American foreign wars through 2012, based on the party of the president engaging American forces, show that 98.53% of American KIA in foreign wars have been in wars started by Democrats, Democrat voters still believe, incorrectly, that it is the GOP that is the “war party”.)
What has this to do with Rocket Man?
North Korea and China both know history; they know no one wages successful war on the West. Kim Jong Un knows that the immediate result of a nuclear attack – waging war – on Guam or Hawaii or Seattle or San Francisco or Los Angeles, will be the annihilation of Pyongyang and his forces along the DMZ. Why would he want that? Why would China want that?
The threat to China is a destroyed DPRK and influx of millions of Norks needing food, housing and jobs. They can’t handle this. They also do not desire an American ally on their border. The threat to DPRK is the same, and they’ve spent their entire GDP for nearly 70 years to prevent it.
How would attacking America help either of them? It wouldn’t.
The question then becomes – if not America, who?
Would an America more deeply riven politically than at any time in the past 150 years, between those who love America and those who hate America and Western Civilization, really nuke another country, killing millions, because Seoul was annihilated? Because a few thousand American troops (that half of America hate anyway) in Korea only to “trigger” our response were wiped-out?
America has rejected war for 70 years, regardless of how many of our own have been killed in combat. Once nukes are in-play, the only serious American responses are war and non-engagement.
An attack on Seoul would not be an attack on America. Would a president be willing to annihilate a few million of a country that had not attacked us … on his own? And become liable for he reconstruction and, perhaps, security of what he’d just destroyed?
Would a Congress that lacks even the maturity to pass domestic legislation agree? Calls for impeachment would be heard before the mushroom cloud over Pyongyang reached full height.
The EU doubtless would threaten us with everything they have – the imprisonment of American citizens for trial at the ICC, tourist embargoes, trade embargoes, etc.
The UN would tell us to “talk,” which is how we got to this mess to begin with, and pass innumerable sanctions against us.
Half of America would blame America for a nuclear attack by North Korea… on America.
A nuclear attack on the Republic of Korea by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, however, would achieve goals held by both DPRK and PRC.
Why talk about the PRC? Who do you think gave Rocket Man the technology? True, we all know what good engineers Asians have proven to be. But…
I worked for years for a DFC-decorated pilot who once flew spooks around Vietnam. Following his participation in Vietnam, and when nuclear countries still were doing nuclear testing, he flew USAF WC-135s (specially-equipped 707s) through the clouds made by nuclear detonations. Sampling these clouds provides data on the type of explosion. France never was able to develop a thermonuclear bomb, an H-bomb. Do you really think the Norks could develop one on their own if an advanced, economically sound, Western nation could not?
Under President Bill Clinton, the PRC stole from Los Alamos national nuclear lab secrets (and here and here) to several US nuclear warheads, including our most advanced nuclear weapon, the W88. The W88 is a unique device with a unique shape, detonation and radiological signature. While knowing whether the recent Nork H-bomb detonation matches this signature would be conclusive, that knowledge (if we have it) would be unlikely to be released by our government for obvious reasons.
The W88 also is miniaturized – small enough to fit ten of them on a single ICBM.
Notice a similarity in warhead shape? Coincidence?
Again, China has no interest, less, even, than their client, in a free, capitalist democracy and American ally on their border, nor any interest in the destruction of DPRK.
A nuclear attack on South Korea can achieve their goal. An attack on America cannot. And – no one attacks the West…
But there’s more.
Once America does not respond with war (and a response of combat would not be serious and would not change the political equation), China becomes free to become the regional hegemon they desire.
This is exactly the same strategy pursued by Mao in asking Stalin about attacking S Korea: Testing the American response to a Korean attack risking Korean (ie non-Chinese) forces in order to achieve a Chinese goal.
An America unable/unwilling (no difference exists politically) to defend our ally, the Republic of Korea, for the reasons above, would not contest with PRC the occupation of the South China Sea, or the expansion by intimidation of the PRC into contiguous countries. China knows this.
Japan and Taiwan, unable to wage war and lacking the human, military and economic resources to wage combat, would have no ability to remain truly independent of an expanding PRC. China knows this.
A UN voting against the West, and, particularly America, for decades, would not mind this turn of events. Russia – who has shown interest in an expanding China (BRI) but less interest in stopping China by allying with an America attacking Russia for the delusion of functional interference in American elections – likely would concern herself only with future PRC relations. America would become irrelevant in the Western Pacific and South Asia. China knows this.
Back to the question in the title:
Is Kim Jong Un’s target really the West?
Is it really the USA?
What if it’s not?