Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Rumors of War - Kings of the East

Pentagon: North Korea's missile capability far ahead of schedule - UPI.com
UPI reports: "North Korea may have a reliable intercontinental ballistic missile by next year -- about two years ahead of schedule, a new assessment by the Pentagon says. An analysis by the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency accelerates the timeline of Pyongyang's missile capabilities. It says that intercontinental ballistic missiles -- capable of carrying nuclear warheads -- could be ready by 2018."

Comment: It's getting increasingly difficult to imagine an outcome to the North Korean nuclear crisis that does not involve major conflict. The regime has proven to be resistant to economic sanctions. They are shielded by allies like China and Russia, who hold veto power at the UN Security Council and they make sure no further punitive actions will be taken under cover of international consensus.  The only optimistic scenario I can imagine is regime collapse. There is little evidence to indicate that this is on the horizon. Despite being a brutal dictatorship the Kim family has created a cult of personality that retains the devotion (either genuine or coerced) of the people as well as the military and we have seen few hints that revolt or coup is at all likely. Given that, the only option available to the U.S. is either a long game of waiting it out and using covert means to undermine the regime (which presumably has been the play for decades) or direct military intervention. Well, that's not entirely true, there is another option, simply accept North Korea as a nuclear state and seek deterrence in the old fashioned way of assured destruction. This is starting to seem like the most realistic option.

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