Waiting with Baited Breath

Bill Neinast


Monday morning quarterback is the easiest job in the world.  All the blunders, missteps, and good calls are preserved on videos to be played over and over so you can say that would not have happened if I had been on the sideline or in the dugout instead of those incompetent coaches.

There is no difference when the game is foreign relations or war.  It is so easy to look at the aftermath and say, “Had I been in charge instead of that dummy Patton, target A would have been bombarded before B, and the 36th Division would have been called out of reserve three days sooner.”

Unfortunately, there can be no Monday morning quarterbacking of events that have not happened.  Consider, for example, the situation with North Korea.  

The only individuals who know all of the available facts on the North Korean regime’s nuclear activities are the small group in the intelligence arm of the White House.  The tidbit of that information that is leaked to the public indicates that Kim Jong-un has some plan or intent to use his nuclear missiles for offense rather than defense.

The public, however, and maybe the intelligence community, does not know Kim’s real intent.   So here’s some Sunday morning quarterbacking predicting what is going to happen.

In the near future, Kim is going to offer to negotiate to dismantle and destroy his nuclear missile programs in exchange for the U.S. pulling all of its troops out of South Korea.  This will have the full backing of China.

Both countries are envious of South Korea.  That small country is a little industrial giant chugging along right under their noses.

South Korea is one of the major steel producers in the world.  It is into ship building and manufacturing electronics, auto and auto parts, armaments, chemicals, textiles, footwear, and other consumer items.  Two of their products, a Kioti tractor and a Hyundai car, are in my barn and garage.  Both are in the top of their lines.

While democratic, capitalist South Korea was building this industrial giant, communist North Korea was building its military might to protect its dictators.   Today, the only thing standing between Dictator Kim and all that wealth to the south is the U.S. military.

That military has also been an irritant to China for some time.  So about eight years ago when it became apparent that the U.S. would agree to anything that appeared to prevent war or the development of nuclear weapons, China and North Korea colluded on a plan. 

They had North Korea begin programs to develop nuclear armed missiles that could threaten U. S. territories.  It would be too obvious if China just moved some of its own into North Korea.  So North Korea had to appear to be developing a nuclear program.

China would furnish the material and know how, but North Korea had to proceed on a slow process to indicate that it was doing it on its own.

The glitch in the plan was that the missile development could not get to the point of being a valid agreement chip before President Obama left office.  Initially there was not too much concern, because it was assumed in China, as it was here, that he would be succeeded by Hillary Clinton.  She would be as easy to persuade to proclaim, “Peace in our time,” as Obama would have.

The election of Trump as President threw the whole scheme into disarray.  There will be no reduction of U.S. troops in South Korea, Japan, or Okinawa while he is in the White House.

This is a real dilemma for China.  It does not want North Korea armed with nuclear weapons other than as a bargaining chip.  When it becomes obvious that that chip has been voided, what can be done with it?

So here’s the perspective.

Although China may have collaborated with North Korea in developing nuclear missiles, world pressure is now on it to neutralize what it may have started.

Realistically, China does not want a nuclear armed neighbor any more than any other country.  So it will probably go through with the original plan of North Korea offering to disarm if the U. S. withdraws from the region.  

When that fails, China may move the North Korean intercontinental missiles and nuclear material back to its home in the Chinese arsenal.

We will just have to wait with baited breath.


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