Mero Moment: What to do about North Korea?

Composite image includes chess board by Dashikka / iStock / Getty Images Plus, nuclear blast courtesy of Science Photo Library, ICBMS free vector stock image; St. George News

OPINION – On June 7, 1981, the Israeli air force attacked and destroyed a nuclear plant facility in Iraq. Israel called it a pre-emptive attack. Its justification, they said, was that Iraq was on the verge of making nuclear weapons. Operation Babylon, as it was called, was roundly condemned by the international community, including the United States.

Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin responded with what became known as the Begin Doctrine:

On no account shall we permit an enemy to develop weapons of mass destruction against the people of Israel. We shall defend the citizens of Israel in good time and with all the means at our disposal.

Today, the United States faces a similar situation with North Korea. The North Koreans have rattled their tiny saber in our direction and have promised to launch nuclear weapons our way if provoked – and by provoked they mean if Donald Trump doesn’t quit rattling his saber.

Should the United States invoke the Begin Doctrine and pre-emptively strike North Korea? Or are there diplomatic ways of handling this rising tension?

North Korea is led by a pathological narcissist. So, too, is the United States. It is not a stretch to imagine Kim Jong Un referring to the size of Trump’s hands. Nor is it beyond reasonable doubt that Trump sees North Korea as the perfect place to reveal his manhood.

Many people think Kim Jong Un is nuts, much the way American liberals used to portray Hitler and Stalin. In fact, many people think Donald Trump is nuts too. But that would be a mistake in both cases. What if both men, narcissists as they are, just want respect? What if the North Koreans just want to be seen as equals on the world stage? If so, perhaps a pre-emptive strike against North Korea is the wrong move.

Let’s understand the mechanics of a North Korean nuclear threat to the United States. True, North Korea has launched an intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach the United States. Its test launch was straight in the air but had a distance and force to predict it could reach us. And it is true that North Korea has a nuclear warhead capability. But what is unknown, at this point, is whether or not a North Korean ICBM could actually survive its flight path into space and re-entry without burning up.

We do know that North Korea could wipe out 20 million South Koreans in a matter of minutes, along with U.S. military personnel stationed in South Korea. We don’t have to guess about that. In return, the U.S. would launch a nuclear strike on North Korea killing millions more.

There are two big questions we face. First, would Kim Jong Un launch a nuclear attack on the United States or its Pacific territories (such as Guam)? And, second, would Donald Trump launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike on North Korea?

Let’s remember that Trump does not need the approval of Congress to launch such an attack. He has 60 days under the War Powers Act to do what he wants before Congress can intervene. Sixty days is a long time when all he needs is 60 seconds to wipe out tens of millions of people.

But maybe there is a military action we could take that would not set off mass destruction. We know the location of North Korea’s nuclear facility. Perhaps we could take it out tactically? But this notion only works if we are sure that Kim Jong Un would not immediately escalate the conflict. There have been hundreds of Demilitarized Zone conflicts between North and South Korea since the signing of the 1953 Armistice and none of those skirmishes escalated. But that was before North Korea had the bomb, so to speak. That game has now changed.

For humanity’s sake, Trump and Kim Jong Un need to zip up their pants and talk rather than taunt. While it is hard for me to imagine, what if Trump went to North Korea as Nixon went to China? Responsible world leaders, especially American leaders, will try everything before war.

Many Americans believe that a pre-emptive war is an immoral war. Many others simply do not care about people half way around the world. But the world is small today and getting much smaller. If America is to lead, America must do everything possible before attacking North Korea – an attack sure to lead to the use of nuclear weapons.

I’m Paul Mero. Thanks for listening.

Paul Mero is an opinion columnist for St. George News. The opinions stated in this article are his own and may not be representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews



Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!


  • DRT August 11, 2017 at 7:54 am

    How about we have our military take out Kim Jong Dong. Then if N K has others, (which it will,) that threaten us harm, we do what we have to do to neutralize the problem.
    When are we, as a people going to learn that peaceful negotiating with these idiots is just going to lead to more people being subjected to the abuse of them.

  • Kilroywashere August 11, 2017 at 9:43 am

    I disagree with the writer. Unless You have extensive experience over in Asia, and / or have studied the cultures at an academic level, youre simply seeing things from the American cultural perspective. Chinese negotiation, which I studied in grad school, is a different ballgame/paradigm. This is not about North Korea as much as it is about China. North Korea is a Chinese Frankenstein. Without going into any specific details, the current approach, Including words and tone, by the whitehouse, is the only viable path. We are dealing with a neo- Dr. Strangelove scenario. China is the key. If you don’t think they are worried about nuke fallout then you missed the point. I get the gist of what the writer is saying, but if you dig a little deeper, you might find there’s a method to the madness. Remember N.Korea doesn’t negotiate as proven in the past. Not the case with China. No further comment.

  • Craig August 11, 2017 at 11:21 am

    Interesting article. I do object comparing the North Korean dictator to our President, more than once, one rather crudely.

    You are misjudging our President significantly.

    The North Korean dictator is not stable in any way. Decades of presidents have acquiesced rather than deal with him. Clinton even gave him nuclear reactors and $5 billion.

    Trump is speaking to him in the only language he can understand.

    We deal with it now or we deal with it when they have nuclear weapons.

  • commonsense August 11, 2017 at 8:54 pm

    I hope we never have a protracted war that we are not committed to win. The Korean war, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan were too consumptive of lives and money. If NK is a legitimate threat to the US or its territories, I say employ whatever means necessary (short of nuclear) to destroy the treat. No plans for occupation or boots on the ground, just a massive preemptive strike on their military, government and nuclear facilities. If they rebuild, strike again.
    Previous administrations have enabled NK to proceed with nuclear armament. Its time to act decisively to curb the threat and deter future aggression.
    Strength is the best option when dealing with a psychopathic bully.

    • Brian August 11, 2017 at 9:57 pm

      I hope we never have to fight another unilateral war, where we’re basically going it alone, footing the entire cost (in both lives and dollars), and alienating much of the planet in the process, all while leaving the country in ruins. That pretty much describes everything we’ve been involved in since 9/11, plus Vietnam. Contrast that to the Gulf War where we had a large coalition, the backing and respect of the international community, and all but $5B of the $85B cost was repaid. The only problem there was we stopped too soon and left, leaving tens or hundreds of thousands to be slaughtered.

      War with NK will be a mess. It should have been dealt with a long time ago, but ratcheting things up right now may make things much worse.

  • utahdiablo August 11, 2017 at 10:52 pm

    Ok Paul, so you’d rather we wait to see if that POS NK leader can back up his claim to hit a few states in the entire USA? What will it take before your on board? California, Alaska, Oregon, Chicago, Utah, New York, Washington DC…or Guam? Which one is ok to lose along with the countless Millions in the later day Radiation fallout? You sound like a “Better Red than Dead” policy person….but in the USA? These Colors Don’t Run

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.