Tillerson: Oh yeah, military action against North Korea is an option

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Published by: Dan Calabrese on Friday March 17th, 2017

Done with "strategic patience."

This is sure to bring about shrieking from the left that Trump "wants war," and that under no circumstances should we even think about using weapons or the Armed Forces against Bowl Cut Jr.'s hermit torture paradise. That's been official U.S. policy for at least the past eight years, and de facto U.S. policy much longer than that, if only because of the presumption that the Norks either have nuclear weapons, or are awfully close to having them, and could turn Seoul into a sheet of glass if given enough of a provocation.

Would the U.S. actually attack North Korea? According to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, you and they would not be wise to simply assume we wouldn't:

He said the policy of "strategic patience" had ended and the US was exploring a new range of diplomatic, security and economic measures.

North Korea has sparked concern with recent missile and nuclear tests.

Mr Tillerson spoke shortly after visiting the Demilitarized Zone which divides the two Koreas.

He arrived in South Korea from Japan, where he said that 20 years of efforts aimed at persuading North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambitions had failed.

Asked if the possibility for military action existed, he said: "Certainly we do not want to, for things to get to military conflict."

But he said: "If they elevate the threat of their weapons programme to a level that we believe requires action, then, that option's on the table."

I'm sure the Trump Administration, like all others before it, would like to see the North Korean regime brought down - and ultimately a unified Korea - through some sort of internal sabotage that takes out Dennis Rodman's pal without anyone having to fire a shot, let alone launch a missile or an invasion. That's easy for me to say sitting here in Detroit, of course. Someone has to actually volunteer to be the saboteur, and given the way Bowl Cut Jr. deals with people he thinks have betrayed him, that's an awfully risky assignment - not to mention the fact that I have no idea how you would recruit someone for the mission.

Maybe the U.S. does. Maybe this is a case of "they know things you don't know." Or maybe they're just as clueless about it as I am.

But the little despot has operated pretty much as he pleases ever since he took over from his equally despotic father in 2011, largely because it's always been considered a foregone conclusion that neither South Korea nor anyone in the West would take any sort of military action in response. Too risky. Too dangerous. Too hard to say what he might do in response. So he fires his missile tests and tortures his people and for the most part we wag our fingers and occasionally impose a grain embargo or something.

None of this has made a difference.

Would the U.S. actually use military force against the Norks? One thought is that Tillerson is taking advantage of Trump's image as unstable and unpredictable. Hey, you know the boss . . . he just might. I have long believed Trump cultivates that image to his own advantage.

GDP growth for Obama's final year? A measly 1.6 percent

But Trump also understands that a pure bluff is worthless. The threat not only has to appear plausible, but you also have to be prepared to follow through if your bluff is called. Are we? We've had forces in place at the DMZ for generations, although surely not enough to launch a full-scale invasion. No one is really sure if the Norks actually have nukes or if they're just working on it, but an attack would surely test the question - possibly with tragic consequences for the South.

Maybe we have better intelligence than I suspect we have. I certainly hope so. But one thing I know is that a guy like this doesn't respect diplomacy or appeals to his better nature, especially since he doesn't have a better nature. He's never had to worry about paying a real price for the things he does. And if nothing else, he's always believed that China would protect him and that the U.S. is too afraid of conflict with China to test that.

As long as the U.S. has accepted this state of affairs, the result has been bondage, torture and death for the people of North Korea. It's time to try something different. That doesn't mean we "want war" or that it's going to happen. But it does mean we start by changing the presumptions about who can or will do what.

Dan's new novel, BACKSTOP, is a story of spiritual warfare and baseball. Download it from Amazon here!