BRANDON J. WEICHERT | THE WEICHERT REPORT
It was mass panic in the streets of Hawaii, as a Hawaiian government employee accidentally sent out a mass text to his fellow Hawaiians that a ballistic missile was inbound from North Korea. The problem was compounded further by the absolute lack of coordination from senior local, state, and federal officials, which–despite having quickly realized a false alarm had been distributed–neglected to inform the panicking population on the island. The images of fearful Americans running about their island, bereft of hope (or direction), must have been profoundly enjoyable for Kim Jong-un to watch. It was certainly unsettling for fellow Americans to see. In fact, it was (understandably) downright infuriating for Democratic Hawaiian Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who took to the airwaves to excoriate everyone from the state officials to President Trump for the 40 minutes of mayhem that dominated Hawaii.
Congresswoman Gabbard (D-HI) and several other people have lamented that the bombast of President Trump is the cause of the fear gripping Hawaii. Yet, I seem to remember the former Clinton Administration being the first to discover evidence of North Korea’s nuclear program in 1994. Rather than exercising what was unquestionable global military dominance at the time, the Clinton Administration decided to sell out and make a “deal” with North Korea at any cost. Instead of standing firm to North Korean nuclear aggression, former President Clinton opted to bribe the North Koreans with “aid” money in a failed attempt to prevent Pyongyang from actually following through on their nuclear ambitions. The leadership in Pyongyang took that as implicit permission to sally forth and double-down on their nuclear program–all the while accepting boatloads of cash and aid from the West.
What happened on Hawaii was actually a good thing. It let the American people understand that the North Korean threat is not hypothetical, and it might incite the government to make necessary modifications to our otherwise lackluster civil defense network. Since the end of the Cold War, the United States has allowed some of its most important defensive capabilities to wither away. After all, the specter of nuclear warfare was believed to have diminished since the Soviet Union’s collapse. But, you and I know that this was a faulty assumption made by academic, utopian elites, more ensconced in a theory of how the post-Cold War world should work, rather than the Truth of human nature (i.e. we will war, using all means at our disposal). At the very least, the recent flap in Hawaii illustrates how much work is needed to beef up America’s ailing civil defense system. Then again, however, it would only take 30 minutes for an ICBM to travel from North Korea to Hawaii. And, given the isolated nature of the Hawaiian islands, there is even less that most people can do in the form of protecting themselves in such tight quarters from the devastating effects of a nuclear attack. Even with the proper civil defense system in place, much–if not all–of Hawaii would be lost in the opening salvo of a North Korean nuclear war.
If anything, President Trump’s harsh rhetoric against Kim Jong-un and North Korea has put the North on the defensive. In recent weeks, the North Korean leadership has announced its intentions to engage in peace talks with South Korea. After Hawaii’s nuclear panic attack over the weekend, Congresswoman Gabbard (and others on the Left) believe that President Trump should follow suit by offering to sit down and talk with Kim Jong-un “with no preconditions.” This was precisely, by the way, what the former Obama Administration offered to the Kim regime in 2009, and it was exactly what former President Obama did with the Iranians in 2015. In the former case, the deal went nowhere because the North Koreans weren’t interested and, in the latter, the Iranians took the nuclear deal with the Obama White House, and turned it into a one-sided strategic bonanza for them.
When it comes to North Korea, the Kim regime has nowhere to go. They understand that opening up to the West would likely mean a diminution of the Kim family’s power over time. Further, Kim Jong-un understands what happens to regimes that dance to the West’s preferred non-nuclear tune. As evidenced by what happened with Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi and Iraq’s Saddam Hussein: those states labeled “rogue” by Washington, D.C. that are dispossessed of nuclear weapons are subject to regime change. More importantly, however, is the history and ideology behind the Kim regime. I have written multiple articles elucidating this point both at this website and at American Greatness. Without belaboring the point, the juche (or, neojuche revivalism, in the formulation of Korea scholar Victor D. Cha) ideology of the Kim regime explicitly ties the regime’s legitimacy to the promise of reuniting North with South Korea–under Pyongyang’s control (which is where the Korean peninsula has been historically ruled from).
What’s more, I have long predicted that Kim Jong-un would seek some kind of rapprochement with the South–and that he would use the pending 2018 Olympics (to be hosted by South Korea) as an impetus for the talks (or for terrorism, as his father did in the 1980s. Though, it seems a diplomatic feint is more up Kim Jong-un’s sleeve today). President Trump claims that he forced Kim Jong-un to the table. Maybe. And, to be certain, at this point, brinkmanship is all that is left to the United States when it comes to dealing with North Korea’s nuclear weapons program (because it’s so far along). But, for the North, the real strategic goal is to separate Seoul from Washington diplomatically (on the assumption that a more complete military separation may come down the pike). This explains Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent comments lauding young Kim for his supposed diplomatic acumen when dealing with the West (since Putin claims that Kim is getting everything that he has wanted). Unfortunately, though, Kim does not want peace. Far from it. North Korea is not a status quo power. It is a revanchist power and it is not developing its nuclear arsenal for solely defensive purposes. Kim is building the WMD program in North Korea for offensive means. He just needs a little more time.
Here is the text of Vladimir Putin’s comments on Kim Jong-un:
“I think that Kim Jong Un has obviously won this round. He has achieved his strategic goal. He has a nuclear warhead, and now he also has a missile with a global range of up to 13,000 kilometres, which can reach almost any part of the globe, at least in the territory of his potential adversary. And now he wants to clear up, smooth over or calm down the situation. He is a shrewd and mature politician.
“However, we should be realistic, and… act extremely carefully. If we want to achieve the difficult goal of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, we should do this through dialogue and talks… we can accomplish this mission if all parties, including North Koreans, become convinced that their security can be also guaranteed without nuclear weapons.”
Right now, Kim Jong-un is playing with his prey in South Korea. He is offering them false hope in exchange for buying his nuclear scientists those precious 16-18 months most experts believe Kim will need before he has a fully operational nuclear weapons capability. Once Kim has that capability–and can employ it reliably against anyone–the jig will be up.
Make no mistake, friends: Kim Jong-un is playing with us. The recent chaos in Hawaii is an unfortunate preview of what’s heading our way over the next two years. There is no deal that will deter North Korea from its single-minded mission of taking back the South at all costs. What is needed now is a clear-eyed understanding of this reality by the Trump Administration, and a willingness to begin preemptive attacks against North Korea before it’s too late.