Saturday, March 30, 2013

U.S. Pledges Further Show of Force in Korea

As counterintuitive as it is to some, the demonstration os Alliance strength and resolve remains the best way to prevent escalation and deter the ultimate catastrophe: a deliberate attack and war.  The minute that there is an exposure of daylight within the Alliance or weakness or lack of commitment on the part of the US, the north will exploit that.  Yes the regime has to figure out an off ramp as Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il would have done, but a show of Alliance weakness will confirm their playbook and then we will see more.  Of course because of miscalculation due to Kim Jong-un's inexpereince we could see it anyway and that is of course a big fear, but it is better that we are ready and that we make every effort to deter it with the only thing the regime respects: strength and power; than to sit back and let it happen.

Some very good indicators of leadership on the Peninsula here:

"It was as if it could have been real," said Mark Lippert, an assistant defense secretary for Asia, who traveled to South Korea along with Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter. Gen. Thurman "was going through the options in a way that instills a lot of confidence." 
Gen. Thurman remains in constant contact with top South Korean political and military leaders and delivers regular detailed updates to Washington on the situation, said Mr. Lippert.
GEN Thurman has not been caught up in the rhetoric but instead quietly continues to ensure readiness and provide military options to the Military Committee and the National Military and Command Authorities of the Alliance which is exactly what a military leader should be doing in times of crisis.  He is keeping all the options open to allow political leaders to frame the policy and determine the appropriate response.

GEN Thurman is providing a lesson in Generalship.

  • March 29, 2013, 7:05 p.m. ET
U.S. Pledges Further Show of Force in Korea
Officials Aim to Discourage Pyongyang From Rash Action With More Displays of Military Might, Following B-2 Flyover

Associated Press
North Koreans punch the air during a mass rally at Kim Il Sung Square in downtown Pyongyang on Friday, amid escalating tensions.

WASHINGTON—American defense officials are vowing additional displays of advanced U.S. military might as they continue joint maneuvers with South Korea in the midst of growing tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Defense officials declined to detail their next steps, citing operational security concerns. But a new show of force would come after a pair of B-2 bombers flew over South Korea on Thursday and dropped dummy munitions. Earlier this month, U.S. B-52s flew over the peninsula.

The assertive U.S. response came in an intensifying exchange of threats and oaths with North Korea and as Russia and China appealed for calm. U.S. officials are seeking to dissuade Pyongyang from rash steps while assuring allies that, if necessary, American force would be used to defend them.

Pentagon officials said they expected to see still-more-heated rhetoric from North Korea. With joint U.S.-South Korean exercises scheduled to last for about 45 more days, there also will be additional demonstrations of American firepower.
"The United States will continue to demonstr
ate unique advanced capabilities as these exercises continue," said a defense official.

Although the use of U.S. heavy bombers risks provoking the North into a dangerous miscalculation, U.S. officials believe the joint exercises with South Korea ultimately will have a stabilizing effect.

How far did B-2 stealth bombers travel for a "practice run" in South Korea? Why is North Korea threatening missile strikes against U.S. cities like Austin, Texas? WSJ's Jason Bellini has the Short Answer.

In the U.S. view, provocations by Kim Jong Eun, the young North Korean leader, so far have been variations on actions taken by Pyongyang in the past.
"The North is running the same playbook, but using their more aggressive options. Everything they have done, they have done before," said the defense official. "The real worry will be when they throw out the playbook."

A key unanswered question, one U.S. official said, is how much risk Mr. Kim was willing to take to show "he's a tough guy."

"His inexperience is certain—his wisdom is still very much in question," the U.S. official said.
Seoul is expected to respond militarily should Mr. Kim go beyond threats and do something akin to attacking a South Korean ship, as North Korea did three years ago.
Korea Real Time
Under a U.S.-South Korean "counterprovocation plan" completed earlier this month, Seoul will have a framework for responding to the North's belligerence, according to a senior U.S. defense official.
The agreement establishes both a minimum- and maximum-level response that should be taken by Seoul to future provocations by Pyongyang, with U.S. backing.

Creating an agreed-on response, U.S. officials argue, ensures that the South responds forcefully—theoretically not in a manner that escalates the crisis, but instead deters the North from further attacks.
The top American commander on the peninsula, Army Gen. J.D. Thurman, helped devise the counterprovocation plan.
(Continued at the link below)

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