Danger Close

It is always important in matters of high politics to know what you do not know. Those who think that they know, but are mistaken, and act upon their mistakes, are the most dangerous people to have in charge.

Prime Minister (UK) Margaret Thatcher

I posit that Lady Thatcher was the exact woman needed for our cousins across the stormy Atlantic to face down not just the threat of Soviet domination or annihilation, but also to maintain the dignity of the British Empire even as it’s glory had waned in comparison with that of the American superpower.  She saw the threats, took them seriously, and understand most importantly the limits of her own power and intelligence.

Today, I have noted a far too casual approach to the aggressive posturing and threats of a remnant of the old Cold War in North Korea’s continuing belligerence, provocations, and outright brazenness toward South Korea, Japan, and the United States.

Instead of confronting a madman and threatening the outright devastation and annihilation of his country in response to an attack, we are talking of a proportional response to any attack.

So if North Korea shells Seoul, killing hundreds of thousand and destroying the South’s capital, we shell Pyongyang?

If North Korea sinks a South Korean navy ship or an American ship, we sink the attacking vessel only?

What deterrent effect does such a restrained counterattack provide?

If Tokyo is laid waste by a medium range ballistic missile carrying a low yield nuclear warhead, we fire a single nuclear shot into North Korea in response?

What assurance of safety and security do the Japanese or South Koreans feel at such a “restrained” response on our part?

You do not cow a belligerent state or person into behaving by the expectations of the society at large by going tit for tat with them.  You do not expect obeisance based on limited reprisals and slaps on the wrist.  You look at North Korea – expose your biggest, baddest piece of hardware, and tell them that they are wrong, that their leader is a foolish little man, and that they – the citizens of North Korea – will suffer along with their rulers if they allow this belligerence to continue.

You sneak F-22 Raptors into their air space and buzz their field headquarters at low level, paint everything that goes into the air with targeting radars so their threat-warning indicators never stop beeping in their ears.

You sneak up a Virginia or Seawolf Class SSN into the baffles of North Korea’s most powerful, capable naval vessel and take hull photographs, then you back off and hammer their hull at close rang with full power active SONAR to let them know that they would be dead if we wanted them dead.

You land Navy SEALs and DELTA teams to go into North Korea and sabotage pieces of equipment, steal documents, and otherwise raise deniable hell by knocking out power generation, communications, and whatnot.

You use our vaunted B-2 stealth bombers to drop leaflets over the North advising them that the next overflight may contain bombs, not paper, if their leaders continue their belligerence.

You remind the North that they are not tangling with an equal.  You remind the North that they are tangling with the most technologically superior, well-trained fighting force ever fielded or sailed on the open seas and that any provocation – verbal or physical, will not be met with proportional response, but with overwhelming destructive force and significant loss of life and treasure.

Uncalled for?  Overly aggressive?

When a despot warns of war I listen.

Madmen rarely conceal their intent in advance.

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