Over a month ago, I wrote a piece about the importance of the North Korean showdown. I did it because the media and America were obsessed with CNN’s effort to intimidate a meme maker instead of a more serious problem that could lead to nuclear war. My thesis was that the disparate coverage of the two events helped to explain a media in crisis. Simply put, we don’t know what is real news, let alone what is really important news. If you don’t understand the North Korea showdown, I have some questions we should all be asking about it.
We are perilously close to war. It is a war that could go nuclear.
Most Americans are popping off about the showdown and focusing on complete, non-issues. Thank you, American media. Thank you, twitter. Thank you, culture blinded by political zealotry. We may be at war, and we may need to be at war within weeks, and yet some Americans are trying to decide if Trump is trying to start a war to hide his “Russian collusion.” If that’s your narrative, your stupid may be incurable.
Let’s put aside Trump’s “fire and fury” comment for a moment, and ask bigger, harder, more important questions.
Can the United States live with a nuclear-armed North Korea with missiles capable of hitting our country?
No. We cannot. Indeed, that has been a red-line for American Presidents for decades, and the principle reason President Clinton tried to negotiate with North Korea to give up its nuclear ambitions. North Korea lied, stole our money, and developed these weapons anyway. As I have pointed out previously, North Korea is crazy, and it is the ultimate rogue nation.
Still, some think we can live with a nuclear North Korea.
— POLITICO (@politico) August 10, 2017
If you think we can live under this threat, tell me, which US city or cities are you willing to risk if you are wrong?
The last test by North Korea demonstrated that its ICBMs can now likely reach the East Coast. It was not acceptable to me when they could reach any American state or ally. Moreover, last week, the Washington Post reported that North Korea can now miniaturize its nuclear warheads and fit them on the missiles it has proven can reach us.
Not one bit of that is Donald Trump’s fault. It is, as I have said, now his problem.
Just how solid is the purported intelligence gathered by US intelligence agencies and the Japanese?
This is a very fair question. President Bush took us head long into a very difficult war based upon “bipartisan” evidence that was a “slam dunk.” In fact, it was a Clinton hold-over who assured the President that Saddam had WMD’s. More recently, the most recent US intelligence assessment is that the Russians hacked the DNC. Just yesterday, a story broke from a liberal publication casting doubt that there was an outside hack.
Americans need to know, see, and understand the basis of any intelligence assessment before we go to war. And, if we go to war, we must have total victory. That must be our American war doctrine.
If America is to go to war, don’t we want to be unified, and don’t we want both a national debate and a Congressional mandate?
I’m an American and a conservative. If we are to go to war, possibly killing millions, I want my Constitution followed. Sorry, I’m a stickler that way. Likewise, I want the elected representatives of this country to do their job, and I want all the people to be heard. When America goes to war, it must be united under our system of federalism. In any war, we will never all agree, but a vote and declaration by the people’s house is the only acceptable means to wage total war. Of course, should North Korea strike first, the President, this or any other, should defend us by any means until we can get a declaration of war.
Can we take out North Korea’s threat with conventional weapons?
This may not be a policy question, but it is critical to how, when and if we respond to the current threat. For example, if we can’t be 100% sure to get all of their missiles and weapons with conventional weapons, we need to know that. That could mean that we are condoning a war where we may be forced to use nuclear weapons to ensure our own safety. That might be necessary, and I hope it is not. However, consistent with the war doctrine, America’s primary war objectives should always be fought to protect and preserve American lives.
When North Korea opted to build nuclear weapons, design long range ICBM’s, and test them both for the public to see … it did so against international wishes. In so doing, it invited the concern, analysis, and likely conclusion that to protect our nation and allies, we may need to take out North Korea entirely. Like all else in this showdown, that is the fault of North Korea.
If we don’t strike now, and “tolerate” a nuclear North Korea, what are the threats and policy ramifications?
The longer we leave a nuclear North Korea in place, the more likely it is that we will not be able to defend ourselves adequately or completely as their weapons advance. They have already exceeded expectations in missile and nuclear development. Moreover … where is the red line? What message do we send as a nation and a world leader about nuclear proliferation?
If North Korea is permitted nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them to the United States, which country would not be permitted them?
Nuclear proliferation is a truly a global threat. It’s an extinction level threat. The more men with weapons to end the world, the more likely the world will end by the eventual use and misuse of those weapons. As nation-states get them, eventually, so will loosely affiliated, well-financed, criminal and terror organizations. In fact, the future of proliferation will make weapons smaller, more powerful, more mobile, and even cheaper. Proliferation must end, and an American policy that sets the limit of nations holding nuclear weapons to the current holders, minus North Korea, is essential. Unfortunately, to enforce that policy now and in the future, as Bill Clinton now knows, requires the will and ability to make war to save millions of lives.
Why aren’t American’s obsessed with serious questions about a possible nuclear war?
I know we are unwinding and devolving around partisanship and starkly different views for America’s future. I think we all agree, that future cannot include nuclear war on a global scale. Unfortunately, we are chasing our tails in a two party, us versus them, grudge match that has made us political zealots, rather than American patriots.
Everything is red v. blue, liberal v. republican, progressive v. conservative, alt-right v. alt-left, black v. white … and on and on. I get it. Congrats, we diversified America into a balkanized disaster. Have you ever noticed how viciously tribes fight each other in other countries? The new American civil war will be worse, as the tribes are getting increasingly diverse and angry. We are in trouble from within, but the immediate threat remains a nuclear North Korea.
Instead of reading about it ceaselessly in credible media, we hear only the screeching partisan positions of all the sides. No, this isn’t Trump’s fault. You can be a resistance member and still think the US and Trump must act. You can be a neo-con, anti-Trump, DC, insider, elitist, and still think the President and our country can act.
I get that Mr. Trump’s bravado and threats were jarring to many. They were a surprise to me too. However, the threat I real. What should he be saying? If a nuclear North Korea is a red line, or a line in the sand, and it has been crossed, what are the magic words for him to use? Should he negotiate, as did Clinton. That got us here. Should he reward this behavior with money and trade? How does that help?
We are facing a nuclear bully, who is crazy, and who has a God complex. Yes … chuckle. I get it, the left think’s that’s Trump. See, that’s the problem. Trump might be an imperfect man and politician, but he is not Kim Jong Un, and Americans who take the side of North Korea just to be anti-Trump are seriously disturbed.
If you have some magic words that get North Korea to surrender its nuclear weapons and missiles, please share by tweet, e-mail, smoke signal, or carrier pigeon. Mr. Trump can use them.
I wanted Mattis to be President. That was before most of the country ever heard of him. So, if I had my choice, a better man and better equipped person would be handling this real crisis. But, we don’t have that … we have Mr. Trump. And by “we,” I mean all of us.
Ironically, no matter where you stand on Trump, you should be rooting like mad for him to get this right. It’s not just your party or your country … but human existence that depends upon it.
On North Korea, we must talk about real issues and not political food-fights and partisan talking points. We may be asked to make the most serious of judgments. That requires a far more serious, sober, united, thoughtful, America.
The questions about North Korea are serious … now it’s time for all Americans to get serious.
Author: Richard Kelsey
Richard Kelsey is the Editor-in-Chief of Committed Conservative.
He is a trial Attorney and author of the new book on higher education, “Of Serfs and Lords: Why College Tuition is Creating a Debtor Class”
Rich is a former Assistant Law School Dean and Law Professor. At Mason Law Kelsey conceived of, planned, and brought to fruition Mason’s Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property, known as CPIP, drawing on his expertise as a former CEO of a technology company specializing in combating cyber-fraud.
Before returning to private practice, Rich taught legal writing and analysis and an advanced litigation seminar. In 2014 he was elected by the graduating class as the faculty speaker at their graduation.
He is a regular commentator on legal and political issues in print, radio and on TV. Rich has appeared on hundreds of stations as a legal expert or political commentator. He provided the legal analysis for all stages of the Bob McDonnell trial and appeal for numerous outlets including NPR and WMAL.
Rich also writes on occasion for the American Spectator and CNSNews.com.
In his free time, Rich is part of the baseball mafia of Northern Virginia, serving on numerous boards and as a little league and travel baseball coach.
His Twitter handle is @richkelsey.