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Fast and furious: Korea edition

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Fast and furious Korea edition

A few weeks ago I wrote about my opposition to continuing the war in Afghanistan. I explained why. My opposition to remaining in Afghanistan was based on personal experience and a firm understanding that continued fighting is useless. It doesn’t mean I’m a libertarian or a liberal who thinks if we just try to get along with everyone all war can be avoided.

Korea is a whole other ball of wax. Kim Jong-un is directly threatening the United States, not to mention the rest of the world, with hydrogen warheads on his ICBMs, which may or may not be able to hit something other than the Sea of Japan.

North Korea’s current leader is far more confrontational than even his father and grandfather were, and it seems that things may be coming to a head after more than 65 years of stalemate on the Korean Peninsula.

Korea is an interesting socio-political example. You have the Republic of Korea (ROK) in the south which is capitalist, free, prosperous. They have successful trading relationships with much of the world.

Then you have the deceptively named Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in the north. Communist, totalitarian, with people living in abject poverty, and what little the country does have used for their military, largely coming from their communist patron, China. North Korea’s military is formidable, but it’s really all they have, making it inevitable that they will eventually want to use it to conquer their southern brothers, and conquer the wealth they’ve accumulated.

When the North comes across the DMZ it will be with the coiled energy of six decades of military buildup. Their artillery will rip apart the massive minefields we’ve laid in wait for them. North Korean commando units will likely infiltrate the South prior to any invasion and wreak havoc. Tanks will enter Seoul in a matter of days, at best. More likely, hours. Maybe we beat them back, at which point Kim Jong Un launches ICBMs carrying nuclear weapons at Tokyo and Washington DC.

That’s the nightmare scenario, of course. There is another option. We could hit them first.

Many on the American Left have expressed displeasure at President Trump’s rhetoric regarding this particular portion of what President George W. Bush called the “Axis of Evil.” Personally, I hope his rhetoric matches the action we actually take.

This country is struggling through difficult times. We’re in serious debt, radical groups of every stripe are rising to create chaos, and this hurricane season is making up for the fact that we have not had a serious hurricane problem since Katrina. The last thing we need is a lunatic running around the Far East with nuclear weapons. What we need second least is to get into yet another protracted war.

President Trump’s rhetoric is not dissimilar to Secretary of Defense James Mattis’ own rhetoric on the matter. Mattis is someone who has much more credibility than Trump on these matters, having served his entire adult life as a Marine officer and is one of the most respected generals in a generation. There is little doubt that he has a plan for every contingency, and I’m sure he is telling Trump exactly what I would tell him, which is this is not a war like we’ve seen in the last half century.

This will not be about politics, or making sure the people of the DPRK like us. Should another open conflict with North Korea come, this will be about the complete annihilation of Kim Jong Un’s military forces, in the air, on the ground, and at sea.

North Korea’s naval forces will be of little concern to our Navy, but as we’ve seen with recent collisions at sea, there is always the possibility of terrorist attacks causing significant damage to our ships. Their air forces are older, and our Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, not to mention the ROK’s very competent Air Force, should have no problem handling them. However, the DPRK has a robust anti-air defense network, including plentiful modernized radars, missiles and anti-aircraft guns. Our pilots would face the densest anti-air network possibly in history.

The B-2 Spirit stealth bomber and the fifth generation F-22 Raptor would no doubt find themselves gainfully employed. B-1Bs and F-15Es, some of them flown by old friends of mine, would likely shoulder the bulk of the strike duties. Mobile surface-to-air missile (SAM) batteries would still be a threat even after the stealth aircraft had whittled the stationary SAMs down to size.

Establishing air supremacy very quickly would be vital. The Korean Penninsula doesn’t have a lot of land to trade for time, and Seoul, the capital and home to a quarter of the population of the ROK, isn’t far from the DMZ.

The ground war will be messy. We can move soldiers fairly quickly by air, but moving M-1A2 Abrams tanks, Strykers, and Bradleys is much more difficult and time consuming. Equipment prepositioned at various locations cuts down on the time, but as I mentioned already, time is at a premium. The armies of the US and ROK will need to slow the advance of the DPRK until the Air Force and Navy can start to cut off their supply routes and then kill the advancing units.

I have no doubt we will win, but the casualties will be high, and we have to make certain we hit the DPRKs nuclear capabilities very early on to prevent a scorched earth retaliation. The war will be fast and furious, but if it comes, I hope it will be one trouble spot we can finally leave behind and allow the ROK to integrate what is left of the DPRK into their society with a minimum of help from us. We don’t need more mouths to feed. I’ve already pointed out we have enough problems already.

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Foreign Affairs

Would the White House pressure Benjamin Netanyahu to form government with left-leaning parties?

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Would the White House pressure Benjamin Netanyahu to form government with left-leaning parties

On the surface, it may be difficult to imagine President Trump, a Republican, quietly pressuring Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form the next Israeli government in a coalition with left-leaning parties should he win the April elections. But dig a little deeper and the thought becomes plausible. Why? Because it’s very likely his much-touted Middle East peace plan includes provisions for the Palestinians that conservatives in Israel may not allow.

A pair of articles out of Israel hint at this possibility:

My Take

It isn’t just those supporting such a move who are talking about it. New Right candidate Caroline Glick told the Jerusalem Post in an interview: “It’s mystifying that [Trump administration officials] think there’s a deal to be made when there so obviously isn’t one from the Palestinian perspective.”

Just as President Obama wanted to make his mark with the Iranian nuclear deal, so too would President Trump want to do what no world leader has been able to truly accomplish in history: a negotiated and firm peace in the Middle East between Israel and the Palestinians. It would be a crowning achievement if that was the only thing in his legacy. It would be truly historic.

Of course, most experts on Middle East affairs agree that there’s no chance for such a deal or a lasting peace without a two-state solution on the table, which is almost certainly what the Trump administration is going to push on Israel. The left in the Jewish state seem amicable to the idea, but conservatives are generally opposed. Doing so would weaken them militarily, forcing them to cover areas they currently control and bringing the potential for attacks against Israel nearly impossible to repel.

It’s the hope of any American leader to bring peace to the Middle East because it’s never been done before. Unfortunately, the path to peace is one that would eventually be covered with Israeli blood. That’s the nature of the hatred towards the Jews.

 


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Foreign Affairs

As Benjamin Netanyahu meets with world leaders, focus centers on Iran in Syria

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As Benjamin Netanyahu meets with world leaders, focus centers on Iran in Syria

The threat represented by Iran in the war-torn nation of Syria manifests in multiple ways. Other Middle Eastern nations are concerned that if Iran’s military is allowed to get entrenched in Syria, they will have too much direct access to the region in ways that threaten the peace. The United States and western allies are concerned that exerting control over the Syrian regime will turn them into a puppet state that will not solve the problems faced by the Syrian people.

Meanwhile, Israel faces the greatest threat as the nation that wants to wipe them off the map would be next door neighbors if they continue to fortify themselves in Syria. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu knows this all too well and has not been shy about expressing these views to the world. In fact, he did it today in meetings with 60 world leaders and followed up by sharing his perspectives on Twitter.

Iran is not Israel’s problem alone. They are a problem for all freedom-loving countries in the region as well as powers throughout Europe, Africa, and parts of Asia. Israel needs our support as well as the support of others who realize the threat Iran poses to us all.

 


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Guns and Crime

Former counterintelligence agent Monica Elfriede Witt charged for allegedly conspiring with Iran

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Former counterintelligence agent Monica Elfriede Witt charged for allegedly conspiring with Iran

What motivates people to defect from the United States to work with nations opposed to our way of life? We may never know what Monica Elfriede Witt was thinking when she defected to Iran in 2013, but one thing is certain. If the charges against her are true, her treachery may have put American lives in danger.

Though she defected in 2013, it’s unclear when her loyalty shifted away from the United States. She ended her official and contractor duties in 2010 after serving in a counterintelligence role since 1997, but it’s possible she was operating covertly even after that point. It’s conspicuous that a trip to Iran in 2012 was where she made contact for arrangements to move her to Iran permanently.

“The alleged actions of Monica Witt in assisting a hostile nation are a betrayal of our nation’s security, our military, and the American people,” said Special Agent Terry Phillips of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. “While violations like this are extremely rare, her actions as alleged are an affront to all who have served our great nation.”

My Take

This is thankfully quite rare in the United States today… or at least we hope. Perhaps it should concern us that we’re just now hearing about her even though she defected nearly six years ago. No, I don’t expect the intelligence community to reveal their leaks while in the middle of an investigation, but it still seems a bit too long in the modern era for charges to be filed after it seemed pretty clear she had access to sensitive data and her defection was made known when it happened.

There’s no way to prevent every single potential spy or defector from infiltrating our intelligence services or sharing information with our enemies. If someone wants in, they can go through the long process of participating, pretending to be loyal while hiding their true feelings. Then, there’s the risk of radicalization; those exposed to the enemy may grow sympathetic to them over time.

It may be very scary to think someone with access to sensitive information, including the identities of current operatives, could be working with the enemy. Thankfully, these cases seem to happen less frequently in America than in other nations.

 


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