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US Hegemony over Korean Peninsula Challenged by North Korea, and by New South Korean President

Washington can only delay, but not halt North Korea's self-defense advances

Bermudez observed, “It’s likely that any cyberwarfare campaign would not be able to stop either the nuclear program or the ballistic program, only delay it.” (Yuhan, The Guardian. Emphasis added).

Pollack argues that the good news is North Koreans are not suicidal and they are not going to just start a war. As any other country, North Koreans wants to survive as a nation.

The North does not want war. Neither do South Korea and China. There will be a war only if US wants it.

Max Fisher points out the dilemma in “The North Korea Paradox: Why There are No Good Options,” New York Times, (April 17, 2017). He writes, “The United States’ relative strength is also paradoxically, a weakness. North Korea knows that it would quickly succumb to a full American attack, making its only option to escalate to nuclear strikes almost immediately at the start of a conflict.” (italics added). It’s a hair trigger to nuclear escalation.

The North’s goals are: 1) recognition of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) as a legitimate political entity and a nuclear state; 2) stopping the US conspiracy of regime change, biannual “decapitation” exercises along with South Korean military; 3) lifting sanctions; and 4) replacing the armistice of 1953 with a permanent peace treaty.

Should the US engage in a pre-emptive strike, it would not be truly “pre-emptive” in that the word pre-emption means “action taken to check other action beforehand.” The initial first strike against the North would not eliminate all North Korean military targets, such as 15,000 tunnel complexes -- some of which are located mile deep under rugged mountains. And even if the US did intercept the North’s ballistic missiles in mid-flight with an anti-missile system (such as THAAD), the North would retaliate not only with nuclear but also with conventional weapons.

William Perry, former US Secretary of Defense, remarked (April 14 edition of the LA Times): “I think with high confidence, there is going to be a military reaction from North Korea. Not a nuclear attack as they threatened, [but] rather a conventional but still quite destructive attack against South Korea.” There are approximately 20 million people in the greater Seoul area. Moreover, the North has the military hardware to attack Tokyo, Okinawa, and more than 80,000 US military personnel in South Korea and Japan.

In the same article, Leon Panetta, who served as Secretary of Defense under Obama administration, warning against Trump raising tensions, said, “We have the potential for a nuclear war that would take millions of lives. So I think we have got to exercise some care here.”

Christine Ahn writes, “Any military action by Washington will undoubtedly trigger a counter-reaction from Pyongyang that could instantly kill a third of the South Korean population.” (“The High Costs of US War Mongering Against North Korea,” by Christine Ahn, Truthout, April 26, 2017.)

We are not talking about tossing around nukes with 15 kilotons (Hiroshima) or 18 kilotons (Nagasaki); the
most common nuclear weapon in the US arsenal today, the W76, packs an explosive power of 100 kt. The next most common, the W88, packs a 475-kiloton punch.

story | by Dr. Radut