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North Korea Is Not America's Problem

March 20, 2013 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

The so-called Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is impoverished and decrepit. Its people are starving and risk death to flee their tragic land. The country is virtually friendless and suffers under a bizarre system of monarchical communism. Pyongyang’s armed forces are dwarfed by those of the U.S., the globe’s premier military power.

Yet the DPRK has struck fear into the hearts of otherwise sober American policymakers and analysts. The administration announced plans to spend a billion dollars to add 14 interceptors to the missile defense in Alaska to guard against a North Korean attack. Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter rushed to Seoul to consult the South’s government.

The Washington Post’s David Ignatius worried: “Counting on North Korean restraint has been a bad bet. It may be wiser to assume the worst and plan accordingly.” The International Crisis Group observed that “North Korea has taken a number of recent steps that raise the risks of miscalculation, inadvertent escalation and deadly conflict on the Korean peninsula.”

Seoul, let us remember, can very well defend itself.”

The Associated Press’s Foster Klug warned: “Recent Korean history reveals a sobering possibility. It may only be a matter of time before North Korea launches a sudden, deadly attack on the South. And, perhaps more unsettling, Seoul has vowed that this time, it will respond with an even stronger blow.”

Worse, declared defense analyst Steven Metz: “Today, North Korea is the most dangerous country on earth and the greatest threat to U.S. security.” Indeed, the DPRK foreign ministry might be proved right when it “asserted that a second Korean War is inevitable.”

The Heritage Foundation’s Bruce Klingner argued that the U.S. needed “strong military forces to protect” itself from the North and denounced planned military budget cuts as undermining “U.S. military capabilities and credibility.” The ICG urged “U.S. officials, including the president,” to reaffirm “that the U.S. will fulfill its alliance commitments, including robustly against any North Korean military attacks.”

In Metz’s view this would be no minor affair. Rather, “The second Korean war would force military mobilization in the United States. This would initially involve the military’s existing reserve component, but it would probably ultimately require a major expansion of the U.S. military and hence a draft. The military’s training infrastructure and the defense industrial base would have to grow.”

It’s a frightening picture, and it seems almost as wildly overblown as the DPRK’s rhetoric. After all, …read more
Source: OP-EDS

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