Trump and war with North Korea

Senator Lindsey Graham R(SC) has said that Trump told him if North Korea continues it’s ICBM program that war is inevitable. Trump has said that if China doesn’t get North Korea under control the U.S. would do it alone.

Is war inevitable? No.

There are two routes we can take.

The first is war. How would we do it? There are basically two ways to go about it.

  • Preemptive first strike. This would violate the constitution. Only Congress can declare war. While President Truman went to war in Korea without the consent of congress, there was a clear cut act of aggression against an ally. If North Korea doesn’t attack anyone, there is no cause for the strike. It is not legal without Congressional consent.

    A first strike would have to be highly accurate. Does the U.S. have reliable target information? The North Koreans almost certainly have hidden, hardened and dispersed their weaponry. If nuclear weapons survived the preemptive strike and ICBMs didn’t there are many other ways to deliver them like aircraft, ships and submarines. Seoul, South Korea and U.S. seaports would be vulnerable to retaliation.

    Trump has spoken that nuclear weapons were pointless if we were afraid to use them.

    The loss of lives could be in the millions from nonmilitary target collateral damage and the starvation that could occur especially in North Korea. There may already be mass starvation in North Korea. The food distribution is already fragile.

  • Trump could try to get some kind of support from Congress as President Lyndon Johnson, President George H. W. Bush and President George W. Bush did. This would take time and give the North Koreans time to prepare. It could also prompt them to strike first.

  • There is a remote possibility that the saber rattling could intimidate them or provoke a regime change. Vietnam and the two Gulf wars don’t give much encouragement for that outcome.

The second option is to rely on the cold war doctrine of “Mutual Assured Destruction”. For decades, the U.S. and U.S.S.R had ICBMs pointed at each other. Neither country would attack because it meant their own destruction. It worked. Soviet Communism collapsed from within.

We have a similar situation with Russia today. 

North Korea is not an expansionist nation. They don’t want to become a colony of the U.S. as they see South Korea even if it is far better off. They fear becoming another Iraq. They are hissing like a rattlesnake to be left alone.  They probably have some fear of a Chinese takeover. There is room for reason and negotiation with them.

We should leave them alone and cease the provocative military exercises with South Korea. Cool things down and offer international cooperation. 

Are Trump and his Republicans capable of reason? Will Trump use nuclear weapons? Will our military follow his unconstitutional order to use them?