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The March to North Korea
by Jack Lowry. The American Commentator
10 May 2003

This situation is complex because inaction may be as dangerous for the U.S. as action.

The inexorable advance towards a showdown with North Korea marches onward. Just three days ago, the United States said that it would not “rule out military action.” While this is a standard reply there seems to be nothing new with respect to North Korea actually taking the advice of the world community and stopping its nuclear weapons production. Advice is not always heeded, as Iraq provides the latest example. Yet the North, a communist dictatorship, is less likely to heed warnings than Iraq.

Now what is interesting is the entire region has a vital interest in removing Nuclear weapons from Korea. The North, ever paranoid, might use a weapon against Japan or China. So, one might wonder, where is the outcry from these two countries? Although there has been talk, there is little doubt that China could demand the removal, yet it is the United States taking the lead in the negotiations. China would rather see the United States play the role of bad guy while the Chinese could then capitalize when North Korea submits willingly, or by force. Why then, one must ask, are we being drawn into this situation?

The "reason" for our involvement is quite clear. We have a vested interest in the South as well as Japan. If harm came to either one, we would suffer economically, but also take casualties. Our troops in South Korea as well as our forces stationed in Japan would take the brunt of any aggression by the North. Thus, if we fail to act, we are risking American lives. Conversely if we act, we are risking American lives. Inaction is as dangerous as action. The obvious hope, and the one least likely to happen, is on the diplomatic front.

The South Korean leader Roh Moo-hyun is due to discuss the situation with President Bush in a May 15 summit. It is to keep avenues open for a peaceful resolution, but the South Korean leader is set to tell the President that the South does not want the threat of Nuclear weapons hanging over the south’s head.

Now all of this is expected but negotiating with the North Koreans, like the former Iraqi regime, is an exercise in bold talk, falsehood, and bravado. Witness the discussions previously when the North Korean representative stated the North had weapons and what were “we (United States) going to do about it?”

If we achieve a diplomatic solution then how will it be enforced? The North has already violated a treaty that was signed in good faith to prevent them from arming. They have a deep mistrust of inspectors precisely because they do not want to give up their trump card. They have suggested, via the Korean Central News Agency, that "The U.S., which possesses the biggest number of nuclear weapons in the world and poses a constant threat to other sovereign countries with them, should scrap its nuclear program before such a small country as the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] does." What they fail to mention is that the United States is not a rogue nation.

The President made his feelings known when he labeled North Korea a member of the “Axis of Evil.” With those words, Mr. Bush defined how the current administration views the government of North Korea. Yet, if one is to believe the statements coming forth from the State Department, one might conclude that we are on a definite diplomatic course. This seems implausible given the fact that in order to have diplomacy, both sides must be willing. The North Korean President fears, more than anything, the loss of power over his people. How then can one negotiate a steady peace? Recall Chamberlain in the midst of a Nazi push for domination trying to negotiate with Von Ribbentrop. If a nation is bent upon conflict then conflict it shall be, despite best efforts.

It is by no means inconceivable that the peace will prevail. Yet history teaches us to be wary, and in pursuit of peace, prepare for war. If, once again war comes to the Korean landscape, it will be vastly different engagement than last time around.

Primarily, the function of Special Forces will come to the forefront, with the mission of seizing key objectives; such as storage areas of any nuclear stockpiles, nuclear facilities, and areas that harbor Chemical and Biological weapons. In addition, one can expect a Naval bombardment of key installations, as well as a force being landed to break apart the forces concentrated at the Demilitarized Zone. This area is where the North Koreans, pushing forward, might do the most harm, aside from any use of WMD.

Perhaps we will not see a conflict, and certainly we do not want one, but if North Korea fails to act in good faith, what then are our objectives? Do we allow them to develop, or acquire, means by which they can launch long-range missiles? The diplomats need to be working late into the night to diffuse this issue before it erupts.

If not, then we will once again be at war.

Jack Lowry is the Editor of American Commentator, a conservative daily.  A former Naval Submariner, Mr. Lowry is a freelance writer, author, and poet.  He holds a BS in Computer Science. He is working on his PhD in History.

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