Page 8 - Pakistan Link - January 26, 2018
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P8  –  PAKISTAN LINK  –  JANUARY  26,  2018                                                                                           OPINION
                  n By Dr Earl Tilford         North Korea: Avoid a Needless War
                         PA                                                                                              been budget constraints curtailing mainte-
        “  To subdue the enemy without fi ghting is                                                                      will involve lots of fi repower and substantial
                                                                                                                         nance and reducing training.
                                                                                                                            Additionally, a war against North Korea
           the acme of skill.” —Sun Tzu
               Th  e  recent  bogus Hawaiian  nuclear
        alert puts the smoldering crisis with North                                                                      ground  forces.  American  armed  forces,  par-
                                                                                                                         ticularly the Army, are adept at special op-
                    Korea in perspective. Al-                                                                            erations. Conventional war, however, requires
                    though most experts believe                                                                          forces structured and prepared for sustained
                    it will be a year before North                                                                       combat. Th  is will demand a signifi cant com-
                    Korea’s ICBM capability fully                                                                        mitment of Reserve components by a Con-
                      matures, the threat has                                                                            gress signifi cantly split on politically ideologi-
                      reached a point of critical-                                                                       cal matters—a Congress unlikely to support a
                    ity. Instead of dithering over                                                                       war absent overt North Korean aggression.
                    the extension of the Deferred                                                                           Strategically,  American  forces  remain
        Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy,                                                                     bogged down in the Middle East with the
        Congress needs to pass a budget that increases                                                                   global war on ISIS and affi  liated groups now
        defense allocations to include more than dou-                                                                    raging in Syria and spreading into Africa. Rus-
        bling the 44 missile interceptors currently sta-                                                                 sians are in Syria supporting an Assad regime
        tioned in Alaska and southern California.                                                                        also backed by Iran. If the United States makes
            Kim Jong-un is provocative, annoying,                                                                        a signifi cant commitment to a war in Korea,
        and potentially dangerous because North Ko-                                                                      then Iran, under a Russian aerial umbrella,
        rea possesses nuclear weapons and he states his                                                                  could attack Israel. Hezbollah attacking from
        intent to use them on the United States. For a   aft er  the  Soviet  Union,  which  was  far  more   maintaining composite skins on F-22s, F-35s,   Lebanon, Hamas out of Gaza, and Iranian Re-
        number of reasons, President Donald Trump’s   powerful in 1962 than North Korea is today,   and B-2 bombers. For instance, the OR rate for   publican Guard forces already in Syria strik-
        administration should focus on making that   placed intermediate-range ballistic missiles in   F-22s is 67%. Only about 120 of a supposed   ing at Golan would pose a signifi cant threat to
        capability a veritable “doomsday scenario” for   Cuba. Credibility is the essence of deterrence.  180 F-22s are rated as combat ready. Upgrades   Israel. Th  e presence of American and Russian
        Kim—one that grants him a relatively high de-  Kim  Jong-un  needs  to  understand  that   to F-16s, F-15s, and F-18s to make them more   forces in Syria complicates the situation and
        gree of security against any American attempt   the United States will annihilate North Korea                    increases its volatility. Absent Washington’s
        to remove  him from power but also makes   if necessary. What Washington must avoid,   Growing tensions between the United   support, a desperate Israel might use its nucle-
        clear any attack on the United States or its al-  however, is provoking a conventional confl ict   States and North Korea have many   ar forces provoking a global catastrophe.
        lies means oblivion for him and North Korea.   that could devastate South Korea, cause thou-  people on edge. Such was the case over   Finally, the American body politic is
        If Kim understands that, the United States will   sands of American casualties, and further de-                  sharply divided. Many Democrats (and some
        have subdued North Korea without risking a   plete a US military diminished through years   the weekend in Hawaii when a ballistic   Republicans) would use an unpopular war as
        limited attack that could provoke a potentially   of fi ghting terrorists and weakened by Con-  missile warning caused panic aft er   a way to end the Trump presidency. For now,
        costly and needless war.              gressionally imposed spending constraints.   being accidently sent to residents. Is the   such a war is unnecessary because the Trump
            If North Korea launches a missile on a   Indeed, our military readiness has degraded   possibility of a war with North Korea   administration possesses more economic and
        trajectory toward the United States, Guam, or   signifi cantly since 2001.                                       international political clout than the Ameri-
        one of our Asian allies, that missile must be   Th  e Air Force and Navy would have to   increasing? In this article, military   can left  and the media will—or can—admit.
        destroyed. If it continues on to impact, wheth-  bear the brunt of a war in Korea. Overall,  scholar Dr Earl Tilford details what the   Military force must be the last resort, but
        er detonates and obliterates its target or fi zzles,   the operational readiness (OR) of the US Air   current administration can do to prepare   if it becomes necessary, it must be used over-
        North Korea must be hit with an overwhelm-  Force’s combat aircraft  is down from 83% a   for escalating threats from North Korea  whelmingly to reach a decisive and rapid con-
        ing counter-strike. Th  is must be made clear to   decade ago to 72% today. Older, less capable                  clusion.
        Kim before that happens. Th  is is not the brain-  aircraft  actually have a higher operational ca-                 (Dr Earl Tilford is a military historian
        child of what the American and international   pability than modern, fi ft h generation planes   combat  capable  also  require  greater  mainte-  and fellow for the Middle East & terrorism
        left  might dub “Trump’s dementia.” President   due to the latter’s higher reliance on comput-  nance. Only 47% of the B-1B bomber force   with Th  e Center for Vision & Values at Grove
        John F. Kennedy threatened to do exactly that   ers and the physical challenges associated with   is combat ready. Th  e primary culprit here has   City College)

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