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Americans Increasingly Open to War With North Korea, Even As Distrust of Trump Hits Record Highs

Lessons about U.S. interventionism fast forgotten.

KCNAKCNAHow many "kinetic military actions" will it take for war skepticism to stick with the American public?

A new poll by the Chicago Council of Foreign Affairs (CCFA) finds that 75 percent of Americans believe that North Korea—a hermit kingdom thousands of miles away that is unable to keep its people from starving, a country whose military budget is a 60th the size of America's—presents a critical threat to the United States. That's up from 55 percent two years ago.

These feelings don't seem to be tempered by President Donald Trump's historically low approval ratings, which currently stand at 38 percent. In the latest CBS survey, 62 percent of respondents say Trump's behavior as president has decreased their confidence in his ability. The numbers aren't better specifically on foreign policy: 61 percent say they're "uneasy" about Trump's ability to thwart North Korea.

Those numbers are unlikely to improve, as Trump responded to over-the-top threats North Korea regularly issues with one of his own this afternoon.

"North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States," Trump told reporters at his golf club in New Jersey. "They will be met with the fire and the fury like the world has never seen."

Meanwhile, the CCFA poll finds broad bipartisan support for more sanctions against North Korea. 76 percent of Americans favor increased sanctions, despite their limited effectiveness over the last decade-plus. 68 percent want sanctions extended to Chinese companies that work with North Korea.

Reports that North Korea has successfully "miniaturized" a nuclear warhead for missile delivery overshadow progress on the diplomatic front. North Korean missile tests, too, are inevitably followed by successful U.S. missile defense tests.

You might have expected the failures of the War on Terror to have mellowed the American public's patience with military intervention. Instead, for the first time in 30 years, the CCFA poll found a majority of Americans supporting military action if North Korea attacked South Korea. Large majorities think North Korea shouldn't be allowed even to keep those nuclear weapons it already has.

North Korea is unlikely to accept any arrangement where it cannot keep at the very least some of its weapons. The U.S. has taught the world some lessons about that in recent decades, and Pyongyang has been paying attention.

The U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003 after George W. Bush's administration insisted that the country possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and was determined to build more. No WMD program was found, but the Iraq war did have a knock-on effect on proliferation. By the end of 2003, Libyan dictator Moammar Qaddafi indicated an interest in voluntarily relinquishing his WMDs and WMD programs. There was a hope within the foreign policy establishment that countries such as Syria and Iran could be encouraged to do the same.

The message changed dramatically when the U.S. helped depose Qaddafi in 2011. Libya's post-disarmament experience made a powerful impression on any regime that may have been entertaining the idea of avoiding American military action by disarming. Indeed, it created a strong incentive to acquire WMDs, and to maintain a formidable military force, as a deterrent against U.S. aggression.

For all the hype about the nutty young psychopath leading the North Korean regime, Pyongyang has been a relatively rational actor. For decades, the regime has adeptly manipulated the various regional powers and the U.S., allowing it to survive even as communism collapsed nearly everywhere else.

The U.S., by contrast, has survived despite often acting in a less than rational fashion. The ocean buffer that sandwiches America has given us space to do that, as has our massive military superiority. From Vietnam to Afghanistan, the U.S. faces few real existential consequences for its ill-conceived actions.

Trump ran on a platform of questioning America's security commitments around the world. While he has since embraced much of America's role as world policemen, other countries remain understandably skeptical. This has led South Korea and even Japan to consider developing their own nuclear arsenals—a development that, counterintuitively, could go a long way in improving the prospects of peace in the region.

American opinion, meanwhile, is working against peace. Coupled with Trump's sinking approval ratings, the relatively widespread approval of a more aggressive approach in Korea could prompt Trump to drop any attempts at negotiation. Diplomacy is easy to mock, after all. War comes with a rally-'round-the-flag effect.

This post was updated to include new comments by President Trump.

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  • AlmightyJB||

    Give everyone who answered yes a lift to the dmz.

  • ToCa81||

    Reason Poll: How many commenters here support military action, whether preemptive or retaliatory? If so, what strategy do you propose and what results would you consider acceptable. If not, what realistic alternatives do you propose as a solution? And is there any action that North Korea could take that would change your mind? Just curious to see how the regulars here feel about the situation.

  • Rich||

    what realistic alternatives do you propose as a solution?

    I suspect you won't get many responses from this, um, crowd until you spell out what the problem is.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    KCNAHow many "kinetic military actions" will it take for war skepticism to stick with the American public?

    It won't happen until we have a serious land war in the US and people have to face how much of an atrocity it is. For now, it's a fun thing to get antsy about that takes place far away.

  • NoVaNick||

    So-War with NK would be extremely popular AND current POTUS is rather unpopular. Hmmmm-it doesn't take a genius political strategist to figure out that a good ole war can only help POTUS's popularity (see both Bushes-Iraq, Clinton-Serbia, Obama-Libya, Reagan-Grenada).

  • Juice||

    If Hillary had been president she'd be making the same threats, but I think people would have said, "Trump would never have threatened nuclear war!"

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    Reports that North Korea has successfully "miniaturized" a nuclear warhead for missile delivery overshadow progress on the diplomatic front.

    You see, if they have one nuke then they have a thousand and if they have a remote chance of maybe hitting some US target then they're capable of pinpoint accuracy on your house.

    Personally, I don't think blowing all of North Korea to smithereens is too much to ask if it saves just one American life.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    2016 - North Korea is years away from an ICBM
    2017 - Um, nevermind (but trust us, we're still smart)

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    Besides, how hard could it be to assassinate the one fat guy in the whole country? Just put an IED in a ham and send it to Pyongyang.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Think of how many Korean lives it would save.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    Billions at least.

  • BYODB||

    Not enough of them, at this point, since North Korea seems pretty 'happy' with their 'reeducation camps' that people don't seem to come back out of. The takeaway lesson? As long as you're only slaughtering your own people you're good to go.

  • The Last American Hero||

    The position, which I don't agree with, is understandable given that the Norks keep testing missiles and developing nukes and have made very clear their intentions to use them on US targets.

    The 1/60 thing is a canard since NK wages are, well, a bit lower than in the US and NK doesn't maintain bases all over the world acting as global cop, and isn't fighting in half a dozen different countries right now. They have no navy or air force to speak of. All it shows is that they could not invade the US - Red Dawn II style.

    Frankly, I think it would probably be enough to make it very clear to Kim that we aren't concerned about him, and if we start to feel concerned about him, he will know because we will give his friends in Japan nuclear weapons. Let him and his masters in China meditate on that for a while.

  • Juice||

    O man. Red Dawn (the original) came on TV the other day. I forgot how godawful bad it is. It's classic, but damn is it pure cheese.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    I forgot how godawful bad it is

    "Said, StalinDunhamHitler."

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Wow, it only took a handful of years for the reason crew to figure out the long term implications of the Libya intervention. Impressive.

    I look forward to Ed's realization in about 6 years that a nuclear tipped ICBM actually changes the threat equation from the norks.

  • ||

    Short 'N Chubby is a pretty weak Hitler impersonator, but he's the best we've got right now.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Short 'N Chubby was undoubtedly the college nickname of at least half a dozen posters here.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Better than long and thin!

    *cries*

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Hey, it depends on how long and how thin.

  • Juice||

    Short and thin is ok though, right?

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    Anything bigger than a piece of ziti is overkill.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    It's been good for me, I always come.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    We've always been at war with EastAsia.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    It's aight. Everything is topsy turvy. Now progressives believe that Russian Hegemony is the biggest threat to the American way of life.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    They never stopped, not since the Czars. The only thing that changes is people realize it.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Y'all put a lot of faith in polls the losers of the election keep manufacturing.

    As if they actually mean something.

    It's like you've all said 'objectivity? fuck it."

  • Hugh Akston||

    'objectivity? fuck it."

    Well, I mean...what's the alternative?

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    objectivity? fuck it.

    I've noticed that people who whine about objectivity are generally the least objective people.

  • ThomasD||

    Meta?
    Irony?

    At this point what difference does it make?

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    People who complain about objectivity, in my experience, have generally reasoned themselves into a decision they like then determined that it was the only rational decision.

  • ThomasD||

    Your experience, of course, being the gold standard for objectivity.

    Dude, that's not even bootstrapping, it's pure wishful thinking.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    I'll give you $1,000 if you can link to my claim of objectivity.

    Here's a tip: if I say 'in my experience' that's a pretty clear tip-off that it's not an objective assertion.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I don't think objectivity is the right word anyway. More like consistency.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    I'm not sure what is meant. Is he saying we should throw out polls and go with our gut feeling?

  • Azathoth!!||

    He's saying that the same people who were spectacularly wrong about the election are piling on more and more of the same kind of polls, over and over again--and people who should be looking at them with a gigantic blob of skepticism are just smiling and nodding and acting as if NOW they really mean something.

    Objectivity may have been the wrong word. But he was going fast.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    Those polls were within the margin of error. Basic rule of thumb when you're looking at statistics:

    If it's Fortieth-Percentile vs. Fiftieth-Percentile, it might be wrong.

    If it's Thirtieth-Percentile vs. Sixtieth-Percentile, it might be exaggerated, but it's still almost always basically correct.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I think he's saying that people often pick and choose whether to believe a poll based on whether it agrees with them. He's arguing for consistency there, though I believe he is also saying we should not trust polls.

    I would agree on the first point, disagree on the second with the same caveat that Telcontar gave. There is always error. Also, you can always just disagree with an opinion poll.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    "...presents a critical threat to the United States."
    To be fair, FatBoy-Un has threatened to nuke the USA, evidently does have nuclear weapons, and has shot ICBMs toward the USA.

    I am non-interventionists and all but how much casus belli does it take to pre-emptively strike to prevent a nuclear attack?

  • Hugh Akston||

    A credible threat of an imminent attack?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Someone threatens me and I take it as credible, every time.

  • Agammamon||

    Which is why you're posting this from the prison computer center after you got locked up for murdering a fellow 5th grader?

  • Sevo||

    loveconstitution1789|8.8.17 @ 6:03PM|#
    "Someone threatens me and I take it as credible, every time."

    Yeah, well, you're not real bright, so fuck off.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    I am non-interventionists and all but

  • Rhywun||

    He is multitudes.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    There is a line.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Non-interventionist does not mean you cannot pre-emptively attack before someone attacks you.

    I think there are alternatives at this point in time but those are coming to an end.

  • ChipToBeSquare||

    It bears repeating: North Korea is a rational actor despite how evil they are. It took me a while to realize this but they aren't just psychopaths with funny haircuts making ridiculous threats and believing they can actually take us down. The government just wants to stay in power and everything they do is with that goal in mind. They know most North Koreans don't actually believe that Lil Kim doesn't poop. They also know full well that military action on their end would result in a brief and bloody war that violently deposes their leadership. They also know that the losses they could inflict in Japan and South Korea are a powerful deterrent. They would probably only do that if they realized the end was coming and they wanted to go out in a blaze of glory, but giving the appearance of an erratic and unstable regime and reminding us of their destructive capabilities strengthens their position

  • Uncle Joe||

    Stop making sense.

    Everything NK does should be seen with the understanding that not even China would act to save Kim from an internal coup, as long as the new regime remains a Chinese vassal. Kim needs the nukes to protect himself from China & his own people, as much as he needs it to protect NK from the US.

    That said, we need to keep diplomatic channels open to NK while making it clear that we will intercede if NK makes any serious attack on SK. It doesn't seem like we can stop Kim from having nukes, so we need to make sure he doesn't have any reason to use them, while we wait out the inevitable collapse.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    You are assuming everything FatBoy-Un does is to remain in power. You might be right.

    Of course, even if that is true the ICBM situation is escalating. If more and more power projection is being used to keep FatBoy-Un in power then why would they not have to escalate and escalate.

    In other words, they cannot stop threatening and shooting missiles now.

    And we all know how escalations of power work out for innocent people.

  • Ron||

    remember the last country that we claimed and they claimed had a nuclear weapon. Yea we are still there looking for it

  • loveconstitution1789||

    North Korea? Yeah, they have atomic weapons.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    "Just remember what ol' Jack Burton does when the earth quakes, and the poison arrows fall from the sky, and the pillars of Heaven shake. Yeah, Jack Burton just looks that big ol' storm right square in the eye and he says, "Give me your best shot, pal. I can take it."

  • ||

    If we can end this nonsense once and for all by just giving Kim Cattrall to Kim Jong Un, I'm all for it.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Yeah, but what happens when he tries to make us take her back?

  • Crusty Juggler||

    She could distract him during the invasion by rubbing her body up against his!

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    You trying to risk him becoming invincible?

  • ToCa81||

    +1 for an excellent Big Trouble reference. You win the internet today sir.

  • ||

    In the latest CBS survey, 62 percent of respondents say Trump's behavior as president has decreased their confidence in his ability.

    ...and the other 38 percent say Trump's behavior as president has not yet reached their even lower confidence in his ability.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    A measurable number of people had confidence in his ability?

  • ||

    Trump's ability may need to be plotted on the complex plane.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    This post was updated to include new comments by President Trump.

    Look, Ed, if you go around updating posts every time Trump says something, you will die of exhaustion within the week.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    "North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States," Trump told reporters at his golf club in New Jersey. "They will be met with the fire and the fury like the world has never seen."

    Kim had gone too far, and he had best watch his mouth.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    I kinda like how Trump gave a Kim-style response.

  • Hugh Akston||

    The only difference between them is that Kim's TIME magazine covers are real.

  • Rhywun||

    We've got the best fish farms, the best. I mean they are just unvelievable.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    "We really shook the pillars of heaven, didn't we, Wang Steve?

  • DJF||

    What percentage can find North Korea on a unlabeled map of the world?

    What percentage are willing to raise the amount of taxes they pay that will be needed for this war?

    What percentage are willing to fight in this war?

  • Mickey Rat||

    So, Bush invaded Iraq and Qaddafi was toppled by a generic US?

    Whatever else you may have thought about what Bush did in Iraq, it had had some fruit in Libya giving up its weapons program. Then Obama blew that strategy to hell by openly working to overthriw Qaddafi on humanitarian reasons (without even a minimal cover of approval by Congress). Obama's actions reversed whatever gains were made to US foreign policy.

    NK's military budget may be small, but under that kind of calculation the Axis powers should have never started WWII either. They did not have the economic strength to realistically win against the enemies they chose to fight. You cannot always count on the leadership of a nation to be that hyperrational.

    Amwrican's support for military force against North Korea was predicated on the NK attacking South Korea. Are the Reason staff so anti-war that there is nothing worth fighting for?

    It is one thing to argue a particular case is bad, but knee-jerk, across the board pacifism is dangerous to liberty, ultimately.

  • ThomasD||

    "So, Bush invaded Iraq and Qaddafi was toppled by a generic US?"

    It's called a tell.

  • colorblindkid||

    While we shouldn't have invaded Iraq, mostly because of admittedly having 20/20 hindsight, Saddam was arguably the most evil dictator on the planet at the time who had twice arbitrarily tried to conquer neighboring countries and committed genocides against the Kurds and arguably against the Marsh Arabs. Gaddafi wasn't even a mid-level evil dictator. He posed no threat to anybody or anything, and we left Libya in worse shape than we left Iraq!

    None of these, however, are similar to military action if South Korea is attacked or directly invaded by the Norks first. I don't want any pre-emptive attacks, but if they invade South Korea, we should defend them.

  • Robespierre Josef Stalin||

    Jesus Christ! This is written by a libertarian? Go fuck yourself, soldier.

  • ChipToBeSquare||

    Somehow I think you objected more to the first paragraph than the second

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    The U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003
  • Mickey Rat||

    Bush was called out as responsible for that policy. Obama was not called out at all on Libya.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    Because his administration pushed a story about WMD for over a year. Obama joined in on a larger effort to take advantage of a civil war to depose Gaddafi.

  • KBeckman||

    The seeds for the Iraq war were planted well before 2003. Democrats went after Bush Sr. for not continuing on and liberating Iraq from Saddam. Gore defended Clinton's unilateral bombing of supposed weapons sites. Then there was the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 which made the removal of Saddam a priority. That act passed the senate unanimously.

  • Mickey Rat||

    And do not forget, what Obama did was entirely unilateral. He regarded as an affront to his authority that he should get an agreement from Congress on that policy.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    Agreed.

  • colorblindkid||

    While I am a non-interventionist and hope to God we just choose to just suck it up and live with a nuclear North Korea, if they strike first and invade North Korea (which is very unlikely), that is one of the few clear instances where we really don't have a choice but to intervene.

  • colorblindkid||

    If North Korea strikes first and invades SOUTH KOREA**
    Typo. You know what I mean.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Why?

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Your comments above about how Iraq was largely justified because Saddam was so cruel to his people and neighbors is not a very non-interventionist stance.

  • Longtobefree||

    Minor detail:
    We ARE at war with North Korea.
    The shooting stopped in the fifties due to a ceasefire (armistice), not a peace treaty.
    North Korea has officially renounced the ceasefire on multiple occasions, so it is no longer binding on the US.
    (1994, 1996, 2003, 2006, 2009, and 2013).

    Question: What does Trump's rating have to do with it?

  • Hugh Akston||

    Question: What does Trump's rating have to do with it?

    American opinion, meanwhile, is working against peace. Coupled with Trump's sinking approval ratings, the relatively widespread approval of a more aggressive approach in Korea could prompt Trump to drop any attempts at negotiation. Diplomacy is easy to mock, after all. War comes with a rally-'round-the-flag effect.
  • ThomasD||

    Exactly, I mean look what an unpopular war did for Bush!

  • XM||

    "Do you like Trump"

    No

    "Do you care about presidents abusing their executive powers, like bombing countries and enacting subsidies without congressional authorization"

    No

    Well there you go.

  • Mickey Rat||

    The problem with t hat argument is, if th he NK attacks South Korea, the authorization for war for thr Korean War is arguably in effect as well as treaties we have with South Korea (as well as US troops in the DMZ undoubtedly being under fire). Lack of of Congessional authorization for war is not an issue in play under thst circumstance.

  • colorblindkid||

    If North Korea invades South Korea, we have no choice but to intervene. That being said, I doubt that happens and we should absolutely not do anything pre-emptively.

  • Sevo||

    Mickey Rat|8.8.17 @ 5:44PM|#
    "...the authorization for war for thr Korean War is arguably in effect..."

    There was no authorization; Truman called it a "Police Action".

  • CatoTheChipper||

    Are you saying that US bombing and not-so-covert of Islamist rebels in Libya had unintentional consequences?

    Not just the run-of-the-mill blowback that cassandras like Ron Paul has warned about for three decades, but also the unintentional consequence that a megalomaniac dictator would aspire to obtain nuclear weapons to remain secure from the reaches of the American empire?

  • Trigger Warning||

    Look, as NPR explained just last week, Ron Paul is not to,be taken seriously because of those newsletters. Anything he says is tainted with second-hand racism or something.

  • Sevo||

    While Obama's conscious decision to support and attend the services of a rabid racist was just a sort of a mistake under the best of intentions.
    Obama gave a speech about it and slimy lefties were enthralled!

  • Trigger Warning||

    Hannity had a wargasm and fired little soldiers all over his microphone for three hours today.

    I kind of like Hannity. The same way I like Sloth from The Goonies. His warboners are silly and ignorant.

  • Robespierre Josef Stalin||

    Hey guys,

    This morning I was going to post that no matter what crazy shit Donald Trump screams on twitter at least he hasn't started some genocidal war that killed a million people like the last Republican. Never mind that.

    Since we here in California are in range of genocidal idiot #1, can we tell genocidal idiot #2 to go fuck himself and sucede already? What really do we here on the West Coast have in common with bigots in Kentucky and Texass, who-- yet again-- want to drag us into an idiotic war.

    The 45th and last President of the USA... let's hope.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    "Troooollllll in the dungeon!"

    "... Just thought you ought to know." {faints}

  • ChipToBeSquare||

    Yes. Secede. Decentralize. You're finally becoming a libertarian after all

  • Robespierre Josef Stalin||

    I am a libertarian. I'd advocate for a 10 billion dollar defense budget for California and certainly wouldn't spend a dime harassing Mexican immigrants looking to work here.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Defense of what?

  • Longtobefree||

    Please list the names of the million people killed in a war STARTED by the last republican.

    I am willing to help the secession in any way that does not require going into the peoples republic of California. Please secede, and if at all possible, take Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington with you.

  • Robespierre Josef Stalin||

    I'm sure glad we've proven that capitalism with its thousands of nuclear weapons and defense budgets that are designed to keep the oil flowing has proven its superiority to communism.

  • Trigger Warning||

    What?

  • CatoTheChipper||

    I'm just happy that Bill Clinton, Madeleine Allbright, and Jimmy Carter negotiated the Agreed Framework back in the 1990s whereby North Korea would give up its nuclear ambitions via plutonium in exchange for free oil and food and a light-water nuclear reactor, compliments of US taxpayers.

    It really was a grand success, wasn't it? No, it wasn't ... even though it contributed to Jimmy's prospects for the Peace Prize. The Agreed Framework broke down when the US discovered that the Norks had an uranium enrichment program in parallel with its plutonium program. Meantime, the Norks got several billion dollars of free stuff, which was serious bucks to a shithole like North Korea.

  • ChipToBeSquare||

    Did you skip the Venezuela article on the front page?

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    I think this is very simple:

    Can we take out their nukes- *all* of their nukes, or at least their delivery systems- with a 95% chance of success?

    If we can, we should attack, and now.

    If we cannot, then we should accept their arsenal's existence, and hope this "Black Market Generation" is all it's cracked up to be.

    But if we allow this arsenal to persist (and make no mistake, these sanctions will do nothing), that will send a message to all the other little tyrannies around the world that if they acquire the bomb, they too can keep us at bay...

  • CatoTheChipper||

    I think Pakistan sent that message long ago. And Libya is just a reminder.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    Pakistan was not our (diplomatically recognized) enemy at the time. We do at least maintain a *pretense* of being their ally, you know...

  • mtrueman||

    "if they acquire the bomb, they too can keep us at bay..."

    That's a big if. North Korea is one of maybe only 10 countries that has the capability to do both the bomb making and the space stuff needed to make their threats credible. If we're lucky America will consume itself in civil conflict and they'll essentially keep themselves at bay, and the world won't need a nuke in every tin pot dictator's arsenal

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    The DPRK is one of the poorest countries on Earth, nominal GDP, PPP, however you slice it.

    If they can make an ICBM and a nuke to fit on it, *any* nation can...

  • mtrueman||

    North Korea is not just any nation. Don't let bourgeois notions like GDP etc lead you to underestimate them.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    "mtankieman"?

  • Bgoptmst||

    In the last twenty years I have been against military intervention everywhere we have done it with conventional forces. I thought Afghanistan should have ended with Tora Bora when UBL escaped. I thought the Powell Doctrine was worth following, and we shouldn't have strayed form it. Iraq, Libya, and what we are doing in Afghan'aland are all abortions of foreign policy and immoral.

    With that being said at some point the world needs to decide if we are going to let petty dictators use nuclear weapons to hold the world hostage. Iran (for example) would be the worlds biggest idiots to not go the route of Nk and cement their independence from foreign intervention. I'm not suggesting unilateral war here, but Nk developing nuclear weapons and missile technologies with the stated purpose of striking the US is far different from the foreign interventions due to "being bad" of this century.

  • Kroneborge||

    One nuke from North Korea detonated in the atmosphere would produce and EMP that would end life as we know it. Within 1 year 90% of the country would be dead from starvation and violence.

    We refuse to harden our infrastructure against EMP's. So North Korea can't be allowed to get this technology (or give it to another actor)

  • Longtobefree||

    Please cite your source.
    Crops and food animals are not electronic devices, and will continue to grow after an EMP.
    Your cell phone may go to device heaven or hell, and the ability to post ludicrous statements on line will be degraded, but the starvation and 90% casualty rate will not.

  • Kroneborge||

    US government report on the effects of an EMP.

    Crops might continue to grow. But they won't be watered without electricity to power the pumps. And those that do will rot in the fields without people to harvest them, and transportiation to get them to where they need to go

    http://netrightdaily.com/2017/.....-year-emp/

  • Kroneborge||

    I also recommend reading one second after

  • mtrueman||

    "Within 1 year 90% of the country would be dead from starvation and violence."

    If it's any consolation, I think our pets would fare a lot better.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    I've asked this before, but why are we accepting as in any way accurate the popularity numbers being put forth by the polling industry that made such a Mongolian Cluster Grope of predicting the 2016 election? Why do they have ANY credibility?

  • Robespierre Josef Stalin||

    The U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003 after George W. Bush's administration insisted that the country possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and was determined to build more. No WMD program was found, but the Iraq war did have a knock-on effect on proliferation. By the end of 2003, Libyan dictator Moammar Qaddafi indicated an interest in voluntarily relinquishing his WMDs and WMD programs. There was a hope within the foreign policy establishment that countries such as Syria and Iran could be encouraged to do the same.

    The message changed dramatically when the U.S. helped depose Qaddafi in 2011. Libya's post-disarmament experience made a powerful impression on any regime that may have been entertaining the idea of avoiding American military action by disarming. Indeed, it created a strong incentive to acquire WMDs, and to maintain a formidable military force, as a deterrent against U.S. aggression.

    Eh, bullshit wars come and go, but libertarian apologia for those wars never changes. Jesus, Ed, tell me again when North Korea unsealed those plutonium processing reactors? It was during the Obama administration, right? What a joke! Obama's Libyan dalliances furthered NK's paranoia and commitment to developing nuclear weapons? What history are you reading, Ed? Something from Infowars?

  • Tom Bombadil||

    "a hermit kingdom thousands of miles away that is unable to keep its people from starving, a country whose military budget is a 60th the size of America's"

    Why is this filler needed?
    If Dear Leader Stumpy has nuclear weapons atop functioning missiles, neither his budget, nor the national diet matter.
    (And a military budget 1/60 of the USA is a lot of money, especially when you can buy a trooper for 1/60 the cost of a 'Merican)

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    If the US was to get into an open war with North Korea, they would be ill advised to launch an attack without having an understanding with S. Korea, Japan, and China about the end of the conflict and the future of North Korean territory. Either way, South Korea needs to have real evacuation plans in place for Seoul regardless.

  • mtrueman||

    "If the US was to get into an open war with North Korea, they would be ill advised to launch an attack without having an understanding with S. Korea, Japan, and China "

    No, two of those nations, China and South Korea, are run by communists. Why would they rubber stamp an attack on a comrade?

    "Either way, South Korea needs to have real evacuation plans in place for Seoul regardless."

    Pointless. There's over 10 million people in Seoul and evacuation would be difficult and economically crippling. Lightning decapitation strike is the likely choice and Seoul's population will live or die according to its success.

  • Longtobefree||

    Evacuation plan for Seoul? 10 million people, half the country in the greater area?
    The plan is to go into the civil defense shelters as soon as the artillery shells begin to fall, and wait until the peoples republic is destroyed by the USA. The conflict ends when the North Korean military is destroyed. Then China and South Korea can flip a coin to see who gets the smoking ruins. (loser gets what was NK)

    Just for the record, we are still at war with North Korea based on the "police action" in the fifties. No peace treaty, just an armistice; so no end to the war.

  • mtrueman||

    "so no end to the war."

    Feature, not a bug.

  • JoeBlow123||

    It's all fun to pretend North Korea is rational. Meanwhile, let's not forget the CHEONAN sinking, NK sneaking spec ops into South Korea to terrorize their citizens, their launch of a ballistic missile over Japan in 1998, repeated no notice launches that put ships and airplanes at risk, building a nuclear reactor for Syria that the Israelis blew up in 2007, blowing up dissidents by shooting them with AAA batteries, blowing up a South Korean airliner in 1987, their connection to the AQ Khan proliferation network with Iran and Pakistan, selling midget subs and missile tech to Iran for nuclear know how, a gulag prison the size of Manhattan, snatching tourists for political exchange, hacking into Sony because they were offended by a movie and causing corporate terrorism, blowing up US spy planes in international airspace, boarding and seizing and then capturing the only US ship to still be in enemy hands (the USS PUEBLO) etc.

    DESPITE already possessing the largest conventional artillery force in the world that can easily range Seoul, which also makes any attack against them moot. Essentially they do not need a WMD because they can destroy South Korea already with their conventional forces.

    Yes they are indeed rational actors. Keep drinking the Kool-Aid mate. There has been an armistice that has held for over half a century despite repeated North Korean provocations and the only thing that has changed recently is what North Korea is doing.

  • Bgoptmst||

    This is what I find troubling. Nk has continued to go down a provocative road regardless of the US and the West not invading or posturing to invade their country. Military exercises aren't major enough to cover for an invasion of the north and NK knows it. Nk is a rogue state that has proven time-and-time again that they will pursue a destructive foreign policy. As you mention they have the conventional forces to make it impossible for a strike against them without a significant humanitarian crisis (Mattis talked on this several months ago). Nuclear weapons in their case seem to be a weapon of terror and not a means of self-defense.

  • Robespierre Josef Stalin||

    AND THEY'VE VIOLATED 1,435,656 UN RESOLUTIONS TO BOOT!!

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    Okay, shibboleth-addressing time:

    How have so many people convinced themselves that those "10,000 artillery pieces" pointed at Seoul are equivalent to a nuke?

    How many are non-operational or fake Quaker guns? How many shells do they have? How far away are the shell depots? What is the quality of the guns' barrels? How well made are their aiming apparatus? How much training have the crews had, and how many practice rounds have they fired per crewman? In what condition have the shells been stored? What payload do the shells carry?

    And finally: how secure are these batteries and shell depots against counter-battery fire and aerial attack?

    Keep in mind that the media made a really big deal out of Saddam's Republican Guard Corps, only for them to turn out to be a bag of muppets when the shooting started...

  • JoeBlow123||

    Every single one of their guns along the DMZ may be corroded and unusable but it doesn't matter, the bluster is effective enough and the perceived threat enough to prevent the massively superior conventional forces of South Korea from invading and decapitating. Of course this is not the whole story as China must always be factored in as to why they have not been invaded, but the point stands: the perceived NK threat from their artillery and SCUDs and missiles and tanks and etc is enough to make any war with them a non starter considering the calculus of even two years ago. Plus we just do not know much about North Korea, they are pretty good at hiding their capabilities.

    Let's put it this way, if you were a South Korean living in Seoul would you trust that the weapons don't work?

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    I think if I were a South Korean living in Seoul, I'd be less afraid of a few artillery barrages, followed by the USAF going all Super Saiyan on them, than I would of a feckin' nuke.

    And if history is anything to go by, their abilities are probably lower, not greater, than they're letting on. Dictators aren't Bond villains- they show off everything they have as soon as they have it, without waiting for a dramatic moment to reveal their secret weapon (mainly because unlike Bond villains, who usually run NGOs, dictators have a populace to keep in awe). Our own intelligence services usually tend to exaggerate threats as well: the IRGC in Gulf 1 and the WMDs-that-weren't in Gulf 2 are the easy examples, but the "Missile Gap" in the 1950s is another classic and relevant example (USAF spy planes indicated that the Commies had thousands of ICBMs. Spoiler: they actually had... 4).

    So, yeah, 10,000 artillery pieces firing, 7,500 artillery pieces surviving the first shots' pressure and firing again, and 2,500-and-dropping artillery pieces still firing 30 minutes after the ROKAF and USAF scramble- the vast majority hitting fields, empty streets, and evacuated buildings... That's not worth letting someone have a nuke over. Them retaliating *with a nuke*: THAT's worth letting someone have a nuke over.

  • JoeBlow123||

    I think your arguments are all fair and it is true artillery is no substitute for a nuke. Which makes the 50+ year ceasefire that has held with only the conventional forces of NK to threat SK and Kim Jong Un posturing for a nuke and ICBMs now much more confusing. I honestly think their push for all this crap has more to do with their internal politics and the need for Kim Jong Un to look like a tough guy to ward off any coups because he is a young new dictator as they were under no threat of invasion two years ago despite their retarded actions. Their ICBM push honestly just seems dumb as it invited external pressure.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    I think it was the Gulf War combined with Daddy Sov taking away their credit cards. Once the Soviet Union fell, the Kims no longer had a strong enough backer (the PRC is more leery of them) to feel safe, and the Gulf War made them realize just how little of a chance they would stand in a conventional war without Soviet backing.

    The truth is that we should have invaded in 1994, and every year afterward until they actually acquired the bomb in the late Aughts. But I fear at this point they've had enough time to prepare bunkers and defenses for their arsenal, such that a "decapitating strike" might just provoke a nuke being fired towards Guam in return...

  • mtrueman||

    Americans can easily afford to underestimate North Korea, as they've done for decades. It's Koreans north and south who will pay the price.

  • JoeBlow123||

    Nothin more true has ever been said. I feel bad for the Korean people.

  • josh||

    Not even twenty years later, and we're back to the preemptive war doctrine.

  • mysmartstuffs||

    What percentage can find North Korea on a unlabeled map of the world?

    What percentage are willing to raise the amount of taxes they pay that will be needed for this war?

    What percentage are willing to fight in this war?
    My recent post: Lifetime Stock Video Review

  • mysmartstuffs||

    I've asked this before, but why are we accepting as in any way accurate the popularity numbers being put forth by the polling industry that made such a Mongolian Cluster Grope of predicting the 2016 election? Why do they have ANY credibility?

    My recent post: vRankerPro Review
    My recent post: Printly Review

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