Thursday, March 28, 2013

America’s B-2 bomber ‘practice run’ may have also been about deterring South Korea

This is not helpful.  Speculation of any daylight in the Alliance is not good.

The message of the B-2's and the B-52's is simple and designed for two things deterrence and demonstration of US commitment and resolve - The US is committed to the ROK/US Alliance and if the ROK or US is attacked the US can and will inflict devastation on the north that it has not seen since 1950-1953 and will bring an end to the regime.

This is important for two reasons.  The north only respects one thing: strength and power.  It is important to demonstrate that strength and will.  Second, the north will not attack in the face of strength and readiness.  It needs to attack a weak force, preferable after there is a split in the Alliance which is part of its long term strategy.  It also requires surprise and therefore demonstrated Alliance readiness through exercises and a reinforcement of the peninsula with elements such as the B-52s and B-2s shows that at this time the north cannot achieve surprise.  

I would be worried if the north went silent as they did in 1950 and stopped their propaganda and rhetoric and then made overtures for talks as they did in May 1950. Analysts thought they wanted to have a peaceful settlement to the division of the peninusla.  And we know what happened on the June 25, 1950.

To summarize:

The north's strategy for 60 years has included the important component of trying to split the ROK/US Alliance. Many of the north's actions are designed for that. One thing the Alliance must do is to attack that strategy and it can do that by responding to nK rhetoric and provocations by demonstrating Alliance strength.  Continued combined exercises and training to enhance readiness and deployment of advanced capabilities such as the B-2 demonstrate US commitment to the Alliance and the defense of the ROK.  And most important this demonstrates a failure of the nK strategy.  It is critical that we respond to the north with demonstrated strength and resolve.  I cannot emphasize that enough.  Ironically the stronger we are the less there is a chance of miscalculation by the regime.  If we show daylight in the Alliance they will try to exploit that and then we are going to have trouble. The Alliance is the key to stability as long as the Kim Family regime continues to exist.

America’s B-2 bomber ‘practice run’ may have also been about deterring South Korea
Posted by Max Fisher on March 28, 2013 at 11:17 am

(Cherie A. Thurlby/U.S. Air Force/Getty Images)
Two B-2 “Spirit” aircraft, nuclear-capable stealth bombers that are as wide as a 17-story building is tall, took off early on Thursday from an air force base just outside of Knob Noster, Mo. They flew across the Pacific Ocean, past the Korean peninsula, to a small island in the Yellow Sea, where they dropped some inert munitions before flying all the way back to Missouri.
Such exercises are rare, or at least rarely publicized: after it was over, the U.S. military announced the practice bombing run, the first time it has ever acknowledged a B-2 mission over the Korean peninsula, according to a New York Times story.

Why conduct such an elaborate exercise? A big part of the answer is, of course, as a deterrent to North Korea’s recent provocations, which have included severing emergency communication lines with the South, announcing a state of readiness for war and threatening “pre-emptive” nuclear strikes on the U.S.

But there may be something more going on here. Pyongyang’s latest threats are not new; although U.S. shows-of-force are part of the routine, this was an unusually dramatic way to demonstrate American deterrent capability. It’s possible that the bombing test run was also meant as a message to South Korea. That would be a deterrence of a very different sort: not from war, but from the possibility that this long-reliant American ally might seek to develop its own nuclear weapons program.

South Korea has long been under the American nuclear “umbrella,” meaning that the U.S. extends its nuclear deterrent to South Korean soil. But, over the last year, a small group of right-leaning South Korean politicians and opinion-makers have been arguing that their country should develop its own “indigenous” nuclear weapons. And South Koreans appear to be increasingly persuaded: a recent poll estimated that two thirds of the country supported the plan.
(Continued at the link below)

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