C.W. Gusewell

THE KANSAS CITY STAR

North Korea's dangerous war of words

Is there no one in all of North Korea with the sense and the courage to explain to that lamentable country’s pudgy ruler the potential cost of his regime’s ceaseless saber-rattling?

Among his threats … a “merciless” nuclear missile strike on a target in the continental United States.

Does the north have that capacity? Absent hard intelligence to the contrary, the answer is almost certainly no.

But about the following question – What would be the U.S. response to such an attack? – there cannot be the slightest doubt.

The impact of a single missile on a target anywhere in this country would evoke a counter-blow so swift, so massive and so decisive as to eliminate any possibility of Kim Jong Un’s or his government’s survival.

As a practical matter, there would be a blank space on the map of Asia.

A tragedy of those dimensions, bearing mainly on the 24.5 million North Koreans whose evil luck it is to be recklessly and incompetently ruled, is by no means inevitable.

What is necessary is for the U.S. to make clear, beyond any chance of misunderstanding, the determination to ensure the security not only of the American homeland but also of South Korea and our other allies in the region.

The intemperate ranting out of Pyongyang has gone on too long, and become progressively more strident.

It was time – past time – for Kim Jong Un and his servile military to be put on notice that loose lips can sink ships – including dictator-ships .

And that message was delivered with dramatic clarity in the recent mock bombing run over the Korean peninsula by two B-2 stealth bombers flying round-trip from Whiteman Air Force Base, near Knob Noster, Mo.

The planes, capable of delivering nuclear bombs or cruise missiles, were undetected by the North Koreans’ radar, revealing the permeability of their air defenses and warning, “Don’t play with fire.”

To South Koreans and Japanese, it offered clear evidence that, though we may be half a world away, “We have your backs.”

One cannot help wondering how much of the nastiness in the world might be moderated, or even prevented altogether, by reminding the strutting miscreants in a timely way that the world is watching.

How close to the precipice is Kim willing to tread? He is young, inexperienced and obviously insecure – a dangerous combination. A miscalculation on his part could lead to unspeakable consequences.