There are tensions between the US and DPRK right now, and we are basically reliving the Cuban Missile Crisis. The DPRK has said that by mid month they will have a plan submitted to place four missiles in the water 15 or more miles off of Guam, which is unusually specific language for them. But it says a lot about the situation and the desired outcome. It says that these are negotiations. Trump has taken a tough guy tact and said off the cuff that the DPRK had better stop threatening the US, or America would rain down fire and fury, the likes of which this world has never seen, on North Korea. Still in negotiations.
The specificity of the intended target suggests that Kim wants to demonstrate the fourth piece to the Nuclear Puzzle. They have nuclear weapons, the first piece. They have a way to launch an ICBM, the second piece. They have a re-entry capability, the third piece. This last step, the fourth piece, is to show they can accurately target a location and hit it, and it is as far away as a US territory. North Korea believes they can then use this capability to strong arm the US to the negotiations table to put an end to the war dating back to the early 1950’s which has never ended in a peace agreement. Is that a bad thing? That depends on what else they want, which we won’t know till both seats are occupied at that table.
News outlets like CNN are in a flurry trying to present to the public information on what to expect. That flurry can easily overwhelm readers, sending them into panic about an impending nuclear war. Is there one? General Mattis has stated that any war would be catastrophic. Yet he has also gone a step beyond Trump, advising that the North Korean regime not do anything to bring about the destruction of their people and leadership.
Trump and his leadership is making it clear that war is a strong possibility. They are strong arming North Korea with the same rhetoric the North Koreans use against the US all the time. They are changing the status quo, which is a negotiating technique. They certainly have the ability to back it up. One way this is different to the Cold War is that rather than just negotiating with a mad man like Kruschev, we have our own leadership we don’t trust. We only hope they have the sense to understand that heros don’t win wars, they prevent them.
In the next week or so we can expect to see North Korea aim for their intended target and risk the embarrassment of missing. The US will also risk embarrassing themselves by trying to shoot the missiles down. It is fast becoming the only option if Kim Jong Un carries out his launch. The systems the US have at their disposal are THAAD, and a ship mounted laser, both of which may need to be deployed against the four missiles announced. After that, it is time for more rhetoric, or it is The Guns of August.
Clearly History is on repeat. What does that say?