Friday, March 8, 2013

Time Is Running Out on North Korea

My comments are in response to the title of this piece.  Senator Menendez does a good job of outlining the problem and threats that north Korea and the Kim family Regime poses.  And although I am a firm believer that the north will not radically change (for the better) as long as the Kim Family Regime is in power, phrases such as the one in the title are a warning for what could come next as the time runs out on the regime.

If the regime is faced with collapse because of internal and/or external pressures (internal pressure resulting from external pressure) it may very well calculate that it's only option may be to execute its campaign plan.  This is the implosion/explosion paradox and what we worried about when we first began developing CONPLAN 5029 for north Korean Instability and Collapse in 1996.  In fact we did not want to have a numbered plan because collapse and war are so inextricably linked that we wanted to keep this effort part of OPLAN 5027 but the war planning bureaucracy got out ahead of us and some action officer requested a number from the Joint Staff.  Our work around was to write a CONPLAN without TPFDD so that we would use the 5027 TPFDD because we would need to have combat forces to deal with collapse.  But later planners, perhaps not seeing the linkage between war and collapse,  argued to turn 5029 into a stand alone OPLAN which poses a dilemma for us - as we see the conditions deteriorate which plan do we execute and which forces are deployed? Some day Bob Collins and I will write the history of the evolution of the plans but that will have to wait until after Korean Unification.

But to reiterate: when faced with regime collapse the decision to go to war is a very real possibility and one for which we must be prepared.  There is an implosion/explosion paradox.

Congress needs to make Pyongyang pay a price for its recklessness.


North Korea's nuclear test last month set off alarm bells in capitals around the world -- and for good reason. Pyongyang's recent actions, including a rocket launch in December, are provocative, reckless, and demand a firm response by the international community.

There are no easy answers when dealing with a regime like North Korea. But one thing is certain: There is no longer any time to lose to get our policy right.

Experts believe that North Korea has accumulated between 20 to 40 kilograms of plutonium -- enough for as many as six to eight nuclear weapons. Pyongyang has now conducted three nuclear explosive tests. It has developed a modern gas centrifuge uranium enrichment program alongside its plutonium stockpile, and it is seeking to develop the capability to mate a nuclear warhead to an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Taken together, these developments present a growing danger to our allies and to American forces in region. North Korea's status as a renegade nuclear power could have additional destabilizing effects if it leads other nations in the region to reconsider their commitments under the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The danger that North Korea poses goes beyond its nuclear capability. The United States and our allies also face the risk of further conventional military provocation from North Korea that could result in a wider conflict between the North and South. And we cannot ignore the potential for unintended escalation that draws the United States and China into a deadly and dangerous confrontation on the peninsula.

Let's not forget: North Korea has provided conventional weapons and nuclear technology to despotic regimes around the world, contributing to regional instability and increasingly lethal attacks against democratic governments. North Korea and Iran have a long-standing, cooperative military relationship.
(Continued at the link below)

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