Thursday, July 06, 2017

Trump and Korea

I was ten years old during the Cuban Missile Crisis. I most clearly remember the duck and cover drills we had to do in school
and having existentialist discussions during our elementary school lunches about how silly hiding under a desk would be in the event of a nuclear holocaust. The threat of imminent doom will turn even young children into Sartrean philosophers.

Only very much later did I learn that the Pentagon strongly argued in favor of extensive bombing of Cuba followed by a full scale invasion (OPLAN 316). That would have certainly led to Russian tanks moving into West Berlin and the beginning of World War III.

Pacifists, like Jean-Paul Sartre, argued that the proper course was to do nothing. Even Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara argued that a handful of missiles in Cuba did not change the balance of power and that doing nothing was better than doing something stupid.

President Kennedy wisely chose the aggressively peaceful solution of a total naval blockade of Cuba while negotiating with Russia to withdraw the American nuclear missiles that had been placed in Turkey a year earlier in exchange for Russia removing the Cuban missiles.

Speak Tough and Carry a Limp Rag
As far as anything can be deduced, President Twitter's "plan" for North Korea having missiles able to reach parts of the US is to vaguely threaten a trade war with China. This is an empty threat partly because it is directed towards the wrong country and it will never happen if only because the Trump family has extensive investments in China.

No other country would join a trade war with China meaning it would be a war of the United States against the world. That would lead to the economic destruction of the United States, not China.


Like with the Cuban Missile Crisis, there are no easy solutions to North Korea or they would have been done years ago. A shooting war would lead to millions of deaths on both sides of the 38th parallel. It would take a total mobilization of the US military with extensive conscription of civilians to confront North Korea's seven million man army. And there is not another nation on Earth, perhaps not even South Korea, that would join us in the fight.

This is a subject that requires calm and rational counsel, nuanced negotiations, and probably using concessions instead of more threats.

Who thinks Trump is capable of any of that?

No comments: