2003 March 05 Wednesday
Bush Says Military Force Against North Korea Is Option

Bush says that if diplomatic efforts fail against North Korea then the use of military force is an option.

WASHINGTON - President Bush explicitly raised yesterday for the first time the possibility of using military force against North Korea, calling it "our last choice" if diplomatic moves fail to halt Pyongyang's nuclear-weapons program.

Speaking of efforts to prevent North Korea from building a nuclear arsenal, Bush said, "If they don't work diplomatically, they'll have to work militarily."

The official purpose of the deployed bombers is to deter an attack by North Korea during the war in Iraq. But once the Iraq war is completed does anyone seriously think these bombers will then be sent home?

A senior Pentagon official says the decision to deploy 12 B-52 and 12 B-1 bombers to Guam was made last week. He says it is not related to Sunday's intercept of a U.S. spy plane by four North Korean fighter jets over the Sea of Japan, near the Korean peninsula.

A White House spokesman called the spy plane incident provocative and reckless, and said the United States was in close consultation with its allies on how to make a formal protest.

Defense officials say the Pentagon is also considering sending fighter jets to escort U.S. surveillance planes on future missions.

My guess is that the US will continue to build up more forces in the Western Pacific before and after the war in Iraq.

The South Korean government is trying to bribe North Korea to stop developing nuclear weapons.

SEOUL, March 5 (Reuters) - A top South Korean presidential aide held secret talks with communist North Korea in Beijing last month, offering large-scale aid and urging it to drop its nuclear ambitions, a Seoul daily reported on Wednesday.

The North Koreans are not willing to accept the offered bribe.

The US government expects more provocations similar to the recent interception of the RC135S reconnaissance aircraft by North Korean fighters. Most do not think these provocations will lead to war. But what kinds of provocations do the North Koreans think they can get away with without triggering a war?

U.S. intelligence officials said yesterday that they anticipate a continuing series of provocative acts by North Korea along the lines of last weekend's interception of an Air Force surveillance plane by North Korean jets, saying such moves would be aimed at pressuring the Bush administration at a time when it is preparing for a possible war with Iraq.

There is a real possibility of a war in Korea this year.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 March 05 01:45 AM  Military War, Rumours Of War

AMac said at March 5, 2003 10:12 AM:

Last month, Parapundit cited a long policy paper by Stephen Bradner that described policy options from the North Korean leadership ("Kim Family Regime", KFR) point of view. Although written in 2000, Bradner is almost prescient in describing the course of KFR-US and KFR-ROK relations.

The US and the ROK are looking to engage the KFR in a "win-win" process. What this concept of carrots and sticks ignores is the KFR perspective. They foresee a unitary Korean state in the near future. In other words, from the KFR point of view, the KFR-ROK competition is a zero-sum game. One will win, the other will cease to exist, and the KFR is absolutely determined to be the winner. As the post-WWII history of Korea amply demonstrates, questions relating to concepts like suffering, prosperity, morality, and legality are wholly immaterial to the KFR.

The coming few months are indeed a very frightening time for the Korean peninsula. The time of engagement of US forces in Iraq has got to look like a very tempting window of opportunity for an invasion for the KFR. Or, they may calculate that their acquisition of dozens of nuclear weapons by year's end obviates the need for an invasion in 2003, both in terms of security and in terms of a new source of foreign exchange.

If the US government seems distracted and clumsy, the new ROK president, Roh, seems to be positively sleepwalking. Shades of Western European under-estimation of the aggressive nature and threat of Nazi Germany in the 1930s. One hopes that the ROK military has a more realistic view than the country's leadership, and that the public drops its anti-American blinders before it's literally too late.

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