Time to worry North Korea might be crazy enough to act on its crazy talk?

Americans have heard dramatic, bellicose pronouncements from North Korea so many times before that, if you’re like me, you tend to dismiss them as part our natural background noise. It’d almost be more noteworthy not to hear them.

That said, the recent saber-rattling by Kim Jong Un, the young ruler who assumed the throne from his late father about 15 months ago, is even more shrill than usual. While the war between North K0rea and South Korea has technically continued for the past 60 years, as hostilities were only halted by an armistice rather than ended by a peace treaty, North Korea’s state-run media late last week carried this warning:

Any issues regarding North and South will be treated in accordance to the state of war. … The condition, which was neither war nor peace, has ended.

Is it time to worry this time is different?

I’ve read of no analysts who believe North Korea has the wherewithal — yet — to carry out its threats against U.S. soil, whether that means Guam, Hawaii, Alaska or the lower 48 states. China, so far, appears to be on board with tougher sanctions to force Pyongyang to back down. As long as Beijing is on the same page as our government regarding North Korea, the likelihood of shots being fired is probably low.

Still, the Obama administration shows signs of taking the threats more seriously than in the past. It recently announced it was beefing up missile defenses in Alaska, and last week we sent a pair of B-2 stealth bombers on a not-so-stealthy flyover of South Korea. This week, the maneuvers intensified with the deployment of a sea-based radar and guided-missile destroyer closer to North Korea.

As the Wall Street Journal editorialized about North Korea’s rhetoric, “the problem with acting crazy as a diplomatic strategy is that it doesn’t rule out the possibility that Kim is crazy.” Or that one of his generals will get impatient or confused, and do something that can’t be undone.

The belief here is that President Obama is being appropriately firm so far in responding to the Kim regime. Some of these moves, in particular the renewed interest in Alaska-based missile defense, represent reversals of policy — with precious time lost over the past couple of years. But better late than never.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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284 comments Add your comment

Cheesy Grits is gone but not forgotten

April 2nd, 2013
10:39 am

The North Koreans are famous for their Sabre rattling.

All of this is more for domestic consumption as well. They will play this off with internal propaganda aimed at showing how Kim Jon Eun is keeping them safe. After they scare them with air raids etc.of course.

Sort of like the way Republicans manipulated the phony terror alert system for political reasons a little while back.

The biggest problem isn’t N Korean nukes. Never has been.

They have tons of normal artillery that can hit Seoul a city of millions at a moments notice. This is their ace in the hole.

They know a direct conflict with the USA and South Korea ends with their demise.

If the Chinese would stop propping them up they would fold anyway. I guess the Chinese like having a buffer between their border and capitalist S Korea.

Centrist

April 2nd, 2013
10:44 am

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

April 2nd, 2013
10:47 am

They have, in the past, sunk a SoKo navy ship, fired artillery at SoKo territory and launched missiles over Japan – and got away with all of it. They know that the hear no evil, see no evil, embrace all evil dhimmicrats are in charge of the world’s policeman and nothing will ever happen to them. Now it’s just a matter of how many people they think they can kill.

md

April 2nd, 2013
10:49 am

Depends on how the “little big man syndrome” plays out inside the country. Once you build up the boogey man to a fever pitch, will the masses froth at the mouth enough to want to go to war?

And like it or not, war is a strategy for population reduction by those crazy enough to consider it, and Kim has quite a few he isn’t exactly wanting to care for right now……….

The mistake would be to not think the guy is crazy enough to do it as we know from history it only takes one crazy man to go too far.

JF McNamara

April 2nd, 2013
10:49 am

He’s just trying to look strong to his own people. He doesn’t want to die.

Just Saying..

April 2nd, 2013
10:51 am

Just relieved that neither John McCain nor Sarah Palin will have any meaningful decisions to make…

Cheesy Grits is gone but not forgotten

April 2nd, 2013
10:53 am

They have, in the past, sunk a SoKo navy ship, fired artillery at SoKo territory and launched missiles over Japan – and got away with all of it.

I highly doubt they will try that again.

For the record they deny involvement. Sure they did it but denying it shows they aren’t exactly ready to boast about it.

They have been doing this for years. We actually might have had a chance at meaningful dialogue but Bush blew that with his Axil of Evil speech. Man was he and his team totally lost on foreign policy.

What a disaster.

Off subject so Kyle may ban message but it looks as if Indiana has moved on board with funneling tax dollars into religious schools under the guise of “vouchers” and choice.

Kids learning Science in red states are gonna ill prepared. Its sad.

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

April 2nd, 2013
10:54 am

hitler wrote a book, especially for them, and the liberals and euroweenies still couldn’t figure it out.

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

April 2nd, 2013
10:55 am

Ahhh, admiral cheesy highly doubts they will do it again.

Comforting, isn’t it?

Cheesy Grits is gone but not forgotten

April 2nd, 2013
10:55 am

Just relieved that neither John McCain nor Sarah Palin will have any meaningful decisions to make…

Or Bush or Cheney or Wolfowitz or Rice.

Or Cheesy Grits

They would have already turned this into a circus.

AMEN

Retired Soldier

April 2nd, 2013
10:56 am

Kyle you are correct in your assessment that Kim the youngest has far exceeded his grandfather and father is “saber rattling. I was assigned in South Korea when the previous Kim assumed power and it was an interesting time to say the least.

This is not for domestic or internal reasons, heck the North Koreans are slaves in their own country. This is for the military and their continuing desire to go south.

When will North Korea attack? When North Korea’s chance of survival depends on the riches of South Korea. Second best guess is when Kim the younger feels he must attack to keep his military at bay. All of this is out of the control of the United States. China is the only country that any chance of containing North Korea.

Finn McCool (the system isn't broken; it's fixed)

April 2nd, 2013
10:57 am

Just relieved that neither John McCain nor Sarah Palin will have any meaningful decisions to make…

+1

Jefferson

April 2nd, 2013
10:58 am

When someone want to die, all you can do is give them their wish.

Cheesy Grits is gone but not forgotten

April 2nd, 2013
11:00 am

Ahhh, admiral cheesy highly doubts they will do it again.

Comforting, isn’t it?

It is isn’t it.

Glad to be of help.

MarkV

April 2nd, 2013
11:03 am

I find very interesting how many people on this blog have such an intimate knowledge of what and why is Kim Jong Un doing what he is doing.

I believe that any such situation should be taken very seriously, because there can always be catastrophic results of even intended actions.

Kyle could not resist a dig into Obama’s handling of the security issues with his “reversals of policy — with precious time lost over the past couple of years.” Never mind that it conflicts with his writing “I’ve read of no analysts who believe North Korea has the wherewithal — yet — to carry out its threats against U.S. soil, whether that means Guam, Hawaii, Alaska or the lower 48 states.”

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

April 2nd, 2013
11:12 am

Clarification – I’ve always been “on to you” liberals but now even the low infos are figuring it out.

Not very many people like to be lied to.

JDW

April 2nd, 2013
11:16 am

Who knows…I read somewhere that in this case the problem with acting crazy as a strategy is that no one knows if it is true or not. It is conceivable that this guy is so deluded that he believes his own BS.

As for what to do, I think we are doing it right publicly so far, keep an eye on the FruitLoop, have a few demonstrations of ability to respond and be ready to respond if needed. Privately somebody better be twisting some arms in China to rein him in.

md

April 2nd, 2013
11:17 am

“China is the only country that any chance of containing North Korea.”

And yet may be the one country that pushes them over the edge. China is currently their biggest provider of goods, cut that flow and is the rabid dog pushed into a corner?

Time will tell……but the world community needs to cut out the continual greasing of the squeaky wheel as that has perpetuated the problem, much like our own entitlement programs………..

Kyle Wingfield

April 2nd, 2013
11:20 am

Aesop and Finn: Stick to the posted topic.

md

April 2nd, 2013
11:21 am

“Man was he and his team totally lost on foreign policy.”

Yet Obama has a tendency to circle back and do the same, hence the recent plan to follow the Bush doctrine of beefing up Alaska……..you are aware that Obama is now following yet another Bush proposal, right?

MrLiberty

April 2nd, 2013
11:26 am

Well count on the neocons in this administration and those sideline cheerleaders in the republican party to do whatever it takes to provoke N. Korea into doing something stupid. Nothing puts big money in the pockets of the military contractors like war and bloodshed. Idiots like Bernanke, Obama, and most of the people in Washington also believe the “broken window” fallacy that destruction somehow leads to prosperity and the other lie that war (specifically WW2) can end Depressions. Put all these together and the mushroom cloud we see rising may very well be above a US city. Sadly the word diplomacy means absolutely nothing in warmongering Washington these days.

Kyle Wingfield

April 2nd, 2013
11:28 am

“Man was he and his team totally lost on foreign policy. … Kids learning Science in red states are gonna ill prepared. Its sad.”

It’s not as sad as the poor preparation of kids wherever you attended school when it comes to grammar, Cheesy.

L'il Aynie

April 2nd, 2013
11:30 am

Lil’ Napoleon is as batty as Donald Trump!

China, Russia, and South Korea share borders with North Korea. All three countries have two fears regarding their wacky neighbor: a reckless military attack leading to regional conflict, or the breakdown of government control leading to millions of refugees flooding across the borders.

China is especially concerned about refugees streaming across the lightly-fortified border with North Korea, so it has tended to be supportive of the regime. But the nuclear saber-rattling is a bit much.

Centrist

April 2nd, 2013
11:31 am

Just what does the military presence (B-2 Bombers and a Navy task force off the coast) expect to accomplish? Giving the idiot credibility only encourages more of the same behavior.

When the bombers and Navy ships come home, he will simply say he drove them away. Stupidity.

Dusty

April 2nd, 2013
11:32 am

Oh boo!! I just figured out how to solve Georgia’s water issue (all that great thought wasted!) and now here comes North Korea!

Since I don’t have access to the CIA, the FBI, the “military”, Kim Yong YumYum, China and Obama and Sec.of State Whatshisname have not called, or any of thise other good folks, I will mainly consider what to have for lunch.

Kimchee and Chinese noodles are definitely out today. Maybe good ole’ American hot dogs. Now they will clear the mind (with lotsa ketchup, onions and chili). No use to consider perilous times on an empty stomach! Right? (If you can do better, please tell us. Griping and insulting other Americans does not help.)

GasMan

April 2nd, 2013
11:33 am

‘Lil Kim’s actions remind me of Saddam Hussein. His strategy was to have everyone believe he had tremendous weapons and that he might just be crazy enough to use them. I don’t think that worked out well for him or us.

If there is a lesson here, it is to keep in mind that North Korea offers no existential threat to the United States. Send the right signals (we are big and if you ever mess with us or South Korea we will squash you like a grape), then ignore the little punk. That would seen like the most likely way to avoid a Kuwait action or an Iraq war.

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

April 2nd, 2013
11:33 am

Kylev- My comments about “global warming” were to point out that liberals have no idea what they are talking about and are always conclusively wrong, so why should we listen to what they say about NoKo?

Who ratted me out?

This is not for profit

April 2nd, 2013
11:34 am

The United States is under threat of nuclear attack. Pretty serious situation, it seems to me. The whole world is watching and waiting. What is Obama doing about this? Nero fiddled…

Uncle Jed

April 2nd, 2013
11:35 am

Maybe we could double-dog dare Kim So Plump to bomb a trench from the Tennessee River to the Chattahoochee. Water problem solved.

Kyle Wingfield

April 2nd, 2013
11:36 am

Aesop: No one “ratted you out.” I know from past experience that those kind of comments take the whole discussion off-topic pretty quickly.

Cheesy Grits is gone but not forgotten

April 2nd, 2013
11:36 am

This is not for domestic or internal reasons, heck the North Koreans are slaves in their own country. This is for the military and their continuing desire to go south.

100 percent incorrect. This is for domestic reasons.They have no desire to attack the USA.

The Kims are basically gangsters with their own state. They do this stuff to

1. Look better at home. Not to the people in gulags but the elite in Pyongyang.
2. Gain concessions from International Community

http://www.amazon.com/Under-Loving-Care-Fatherly-Leader/dp/0312323220

Read that book please if you would like to educate yourself on North Korea.

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

April 2nd, 2013
11:37 am

See what I’m saying? -

If there is a lesson here, it is to keep in mind that North Korea offers no existential threat to the United States.

If anyone one else considers thousands of artillery shells raining down on Seoul to not be a threat to the United States, please, by all means, place the dunce cap upon your head.

Unless, of course, the libs plan on telling ANOTHER ally that “it’s your problem, buh bye!”

Centrist

April 2nd, 2013
11:37 am

I have had LOTS of interaction with the South Koreans. They often asked me why the U.S. was concerned or paid attention to the purposeful antagonism from the North – they were mostly unconcerned until an actual provocation. The South Koreans know the North nuclear program is extremely basic, and the South and U.S. would retaliate with overwhelming superiority to any real attack.

Cherokee

April 2nd, 2013
11:39 am

“It’s not as sad as the poor preparation of kids wherever you attended school when it comes to grammar, Cheesy.”

I’ts your blog Kyle, you get to make the rules.

Having said that,… you have to be kidding, right? Aseop comes on here and plagiarizes stuff every day, and you’re worried about grammar???

As to the topic at hand, yeah it’s scary. Kim Tim Whatever is obviously trying to prove to the North Koreans what a tough guy he is. But what will happen when we call his bluff? I have trouble seeing him back down now and still keep the respect of the poor people who live in that hellhole…

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

April 2nd, 2013
11:39 am

You gonna put up a GW thread for us in the near future?

MarkV

April 2nd, 2013
11:40 am

There may be an easy solution to the North Korea crisis – send Dennis Rodman to entertain Kim Jong Un with basketball tricks – perhaps he will forget the rockets.

curious

April 2nd, 2013
11:43 am

Of all the Countries not so friendly with us, North Korea is the only one with an irrational leader.

Don’t discount any possibility with them.

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

April 2nd, 2013
11:44 am

I suppose I should break this down for the low infos, South Korea is a major trading partner of the United States and there are positive economic benefits from this relationship. They are also a pretty credible counterweight against Chinese influence in the region, the ROK is as tough as nails.

This, of course, matters if you are interested in the speak softly but caryy a big stick idea of national security.

Cheesy Grits is gone but not forgotten

April 2nd, 2013
11:44 am

If anyone one else considers thousands of artillery shells raining down on Seoul to not be a threat to the United States

Since when is Seoul part of the United States ?

GasMan

April 2nd, 2013
11:45 am

Aesop,

“If there is a lesson here, it is to keep in mind that North Korea offers no existential threat to the United States.

If anyone one else considers thousands of artillery shells raining down on Seoul to not be a threat to the United States, please, by all means, place the dunce cap upon your head.”

First, perhaps you should look up the term “existential”.
Second, how are shells raining down on Seoul a real threat to the United States, existential or otherwise?
And third, I believe I said that any attack on South Korea or the US should be dealt with in a very harsh manner. (for example, destruction of every North Korean military item from tanks to shiny jackboots) And no, I would not care if we killed a few citizens along the way. People are ultimately responsible for their leaders.

Kyle Wingfield

April 2nd, 2013
11:45 am

curious: I’m not so sure about the rationality of the leaders in Tehran, but I might agree NK has the least rational leader.

curious

April 2nd, 2013
11:45 am

Give South Korea a few nukes.

Uncle Jed

April 2nd, 2013
11:50 am

Kim Jong Ill and Dead Daddy Ill are/were obsessed with nukes. Maybe we should give them one or two and see if NoKo will then be our friend. (I am kiding of course. Why waste the money?)

GasMan

April 2nd, 2013
11:52 am

Maybe I am not making my point clearly enough. The policy I am advocating is called deterrence.

You let your enemy know in no uncertain terms that an attack will be dealt with in an overwhelmingly destructive manner to their military, their economy, and possibly their citizenry. Then you disengage. If they wish to talk to you, listen. If they wish to provoke you, ignore them. You don’t get in a continual slappy fight with them that brings you down to their level. Their leaders will find someone else to annoy that will achieve their domestic propaganda goals.

Kyle Wingfield

April 2nd, 2013
11:53 am

Cheesy: We’re not going to the GW debate. I’m taking down all those comments, including yours.

And if you’re going to turn up your nose at others’ education, prepare to have your own shortcomings pointed out.

Kyle Wingfield

April 2nd, 2013
11:53 am

Aesop @ 11:39: Maybe. But this isn’t it.

Uncle Jed

April 2nd, 2013
11:54 am

Since when is Seoul part of the United States ?

I can’t speak to the northern United States, but down here we have Seoul. And Seoul food. And Seoul sistas. And seoul on and seoul on…

Just Saying..

April 2nd, 2013
11:54 am

“‘Lil Kim’s actions remind me of Saddam Hussein. His strategy was to have everyone believe he had tremendous weapons and that he might just be crazy enough to use them. I don’t think that worked out well for him or us.”

Yeah, to this point, it does seem like we’ve seen this before…

Logical Dude

April 2nd, 2013
11:56 am

My main question is: What would China do?

Would it be (as I think it went before) China vs. US by using the Koreas as the middle pawns? Or will China thank North Korea for getting rid of themselves by trying to invade the South, and having South Korea lead the unification?

Because if it’s about money, China would welcome the trade of a strong partner instead of a money suck that North Korea would continue to be.
Otherwise, if it’s about supporting whatever type of communism is practiced in North Korea, then China may put its weight behind North Korea and make it another long-winded, neverending war (well, until someone drops a few nukes here and there)

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

April 2nd, 2013
12:00 pm

China and Russia are watching you liberals and probably grinning from ear to ear, I would imagine. They love hearing the chickens cluck. They eyeball Taiwan and Eastern Europe even more intensely.