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And when all these forces come together, the political firestorms may sweep away long-standing international relationships as well as myriads of Korean and American lives.There are sounds, for those who can hear them, of the preliminary and muffled drumbeats of war.
This is serious first and foremost because the North Korean threat is serious. It is certain that this regime has shown no respect for any international norms, let alone international law; that it has committed murder; that it lives in a psychotic cocoon of its own making; and that it will stop at nothing.
Mundane logistical processes of moving, stockpiling, and updating crucial items and preparing military personnel are under way.
Only the biggest indicator—the evacuation of American dependents from South Korea—has yet to flash red, but, in the interest of surprise, that may not happen.
For Donald Trump it may be a moment of glory, a dramatic vindication of campaign promises, and an opportunity to distract American minds from Robert Mueller’s investigation of his campaign’s ties to the Russians.
And so threats and bluster may turn into violent realities.
For narrow-minded American strategists, it is the only way of cutting the North Korean nuclear Gordian knot.
For Kim Jong Un peeking over the edge of the precipice may cause South Korea to break with the Americans, or the Chinese to fight them.Hundreds of thousands of civilians, including American expats and dependents, would perish in the war that could be unleashed.Even assuming some magical technologies that enable the U. to disarm North Korea and decapitate its leadership, who is to say that the ensuing war would not have its way even so?Or are they more likely to pour troops, aircraft, and missiles into the Korean peninsula and to warn the Americans off? To judge by his public statements, Mc Master, like United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, is hard over on the notion that North Korea has to be denuclearized, be it by peaceful surrender or by force. In so doing he is, of course, echoing the president, but it is reasonable to think that he agrees with the basic idea.And that would not be entirely surprising: His duty is to ensure the security of the United States, and North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missiles would undoubtedly be a threat to that.The dangerous bit, rather, was when pundits and diplomats wrung their hands and predicted calamity and (far more predictably) nothing happened.