Duck and CoverI had planned to write on another matter entirely this morning, but your regularly scheduled weblog entry has been interrupted by a drunken, sex-craven lunatic with a nuclear weapon. The President has said that the U.S. will "honor the full range" of U.S. security commitments in Asia. I certainly agree that we should honor these commitments, especially since North Korea is a continually evolving threat to America and to the nations in the region.
The great problem with this situation is the fact that the U.S. has significantly diminished its capability to respond to this crisis in the way that it needs to be responded to because our military forces are quite busy dealing daily with the war in Iraq and cannot be readily deployed to the Korean Peninsula to act as an appropriate deterant to the Stalinist threat. Unlike some people who were mere pacifists without rhyme or reason, my problem with the war in Iraq has been that it diverts our military from far more immediate threats. Here is the problem we are facing: Old alliances and nuclear power.
Red China does not want a nuclear war, and they desperately want even more expanded trade relations with the West. However, they do have an old alliance with North Korea. If the North launches a nuclear attack (or any attack) against South Korea or Japan, the United States is compelled by agreement to respond as if the U.S. had been attacked on its own soil. China has traditionally had a similar arrangement with North Korea-so what happens if the U.S. is forced to respond to a North Korean attack on the South or Japan-does China respond to the inevitable American attack by joining in the fight? China may have a technologically inferior military force, but they'll throw every man they have into any conventional fighting that may result-it would be a population reducer.
In the meantime, Iran is promising that sanctions will not deter it from developing nuclear abilities, and you can be sure that North Korea is itching to share its information with Tehran.
If the U.S. needs to fight North Korea and China conventionally, we may not have the manpower to do it-that manpower is in Iraq.
Labels: Foreign policy