24 November 2010


The North Korean artillery fire into South Korean territory is clearly an act of war. Four people were killed and significant damage was sustained. This is being attributed to internal North Korean machinations as the dictatorship changes hands, but an explanation is not an excuse. North Korea has embarked on a continued path of aggression for years without paying any price. The response so far has been inadequate, particularly from China, which continues to prop up this criminal state, allegedly for fear that refugees would flood into China.

There are 28,500 American troops stationed in South Korea and currently in harm’s way. We have had this burden since the end of the Korean war, which clearly has not really ended. Apart from a show of overwhelming military force, we must be prepared for the possibility that these incidents may escalate, entirely due to the insanity reining in North Korea.

I believe there is a solution to this otherwise intractable problem, and that solution involves a deal with China. One of the reasons China continues to prevent the North Korean regime from collapsing is that it would result in a state containing US forces right on China’s border. This is understandably unacceptable to the Chinese, and pointless for the US if the Korean peninsula is reunited under South Korea. We should offer the Chinese a guarantee that we will remove our forces from Korea if they will pull the plug on North Korea. There is then far less reason to prop up the regime, and it is a win-win all around. The Chinese don’t lose face, we are relieved of the burden of interminably stationing troops in Korea, and the North Korean regime would be history. This has to happen before they get a nuclear weapon, which they are on the verge of doing, with terrible consequences for proliferation around the world. Mopping up and reuniting with the north would then be South Korea’s problem, and that country is wealthy enough to take on that burden.

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