How on earth did we get into a position where an unstable and dictator like Kim Jong Un has the capability send missiles over Japan’s airspace and to threaten the US with what appears to be a viable nuclear weapon?
Is this a failure of intelligence or a failure of world leaders, the UN, and in particular the UN Security Council to act effectively to stop nuclear proliferation? A statement of disgust yesterday by the UNSC on the latest North Korean missile launch over Japan does not seem to have Kim Jong Um quaking in his boots. This does not bode well with preventing Iran and other potential global ‘destabilisers’ from obtaining the ‘bomb’.
People in US, Seoul and the Far East are pretty vexed about a situation which is, apparently, of little consequence to the UK and Europe.
I am just back from the US and Australia where the reaction and coverage of the North Korean missile crisis is very different to that afforded in the UK and Europe. People are very concerned.
President Trump is his usual bellicose self, but in deference to this, perhaps it appears Kim Jong Um might be wavering with his plans to attack Guam; but he does change with the wind, or should I say downwind hazard, and, I gauge, this impending disaster scenario is far from over. It would be ‘sensible’, in my opinion, if not essential, for Trump to get the backing of the UNSC and in particular the Permanent 5 (US, UK, France, Russia & China), to neutralise the North Korean nuclear capability. Otherwise, we are in for a whole heap of trouble, I expect, if Trump arbitrarily attacks North Korea to prevent, or in response to a North Korean nuclear tipped missile firing; even though, in theory, he can strike under UN Article 51 ‘self-defence’.
A Security Council resolution may encourage China and Russia to get more involved, and they will probably have more effective dialogue with North Korea than others; they have of course supported the UN resolution on sanctions hitherto.
Disappointingly, recently the UNSC has been inept in resolving the Syrian crisis, so I do not hold out any great hopes for a coming together over this, unless the P5 lead the way. There appear to be fewer conflicts amongst the P5 over North Korea than there are over Syria, at least? I would like to hear UK Govt wade in as an ‘honest’ broker between US, China and Russia in UNSC; we, at least still have great credibility in the diplomatic space and could be the ‘glue’ to stick the P5 together where the US are unable.
Paradoxically, sanctions might be making the situation worse. North Korea is desperately poor and relies on most of its trade with China to fill its coffers. With this flow of money stagnating, and the world arrayed against Kim Jong Um he may feel he has no options but to shoot his way out? Guam at the moment is strategically important. To attack Guam would be the same as attacking the White House, and this is still very much on Kim Jong Un’s mind, whatever bizarre sound bites he releases.
Conversely, a mishap by North Korean generals with missiles pointed at Guam, and/or a miss understanding/judgement of missile tests towards Japan could see ‘hell and fury’ unleashed on North Korea. They would undoubtedly release what they could towards Seoul, including the deadly nerve agent VX, before being flattened by US power, in turn, with the possibility of this regional conflict turning global.
Kim Jong Un is a mad man who has already used the deadly VX to kill family abroad, and I do not think he would have any qualms about pressing the Red button in the context thus described!
Luckily, Rex Tillerson seems to be talking a lot of sense and at the moment President Trump appears to acquiesce to Tillerson’s clear thought, but I think it is the UN Security Council and most especially the P5 who might hold the key for both the US and for North Korea to get out of this without the Armageddon scenario playing out.
Though Kim Jong Un appears to be reigning back from attacking Guam, I expect this is more the case that his missiles are not quite ready, but they will be soon, rather than a normalising and rationalising of his thoughts.
Ultimately, is this a serious threat to world peace or just a bully wanting some recognition? What is clear, is that the ‘International Communities’ counter nuclear proliferation strategies are not wholly effective and the UNSC must review this as a matter of urgency and the P5 must lead this review in unity and this includes ‘BREXITed’ Britain.