By Robert Bridge*
Sen. Lindsey Graham said the US is ‘getting close to a military conflict’ with Pyongyang, adding that Pentagon officials should stop sending their families to South Korea. But following Pyongyang’s latest missile launch, will they be any safer in the US?
In a deeply disturbing interview at the weekend, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said preemptive US military action against North Korea is becoming “more likely.”
“We’re getting close to a military conflict because North Korea’s marching toward marrying up the technology of an ICBM with a nuclear weapon on top that can not only get to America but deliver the weapon,” Graham told Face the Nation on Sunday. “The policy of the Trump administration is to deny North Korea the capability to hit America with a nuclear-tipped missile. Not to contain it,” he said.
“We’re running out of time.”
Graham, who failed to mention years of provocative US military moves in the Korean Peninsula, then had some rather strange advice for military officials, which will certainly ratchet up the geopolitical thermostat in the region.
It’s crazy to send spouses and children to South Korea, given the provocation of North Korea,” Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, continued. “So, I want them [the Pentagon] to stop sending dependents and I think it’s now time to start moving American dependents out of South Korea.”
The question is: will that precaution make any difference if worst comes to worst?
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, during a NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels on Monday, warned that the North Korea’s “ballistic missile that was fired last week showed that all our States may be exposed to this danger.”
Nevertheless, the games continue.
This week, after an illusory lull in the military exercises, the US and South Korea will hold“unprecedented” air force exercises, featuring six F-22 Raptor fighter jets and six F-35A stealth jets. A total of 12,000 personnel and over 230 military aircraft will participate.
Pyongyang responded to the announcement about the war games, saying the US is “begging for nuclear war.”
Meanwhile, North Korea is certainly not oblivious to what happens to those chosen countries – Iraq, Libya and almost Syria, which just barely escaped the jaws of the regime change machine – that do not have the defensive means to protect themselves from US aggression. They strive to get the most powerful weapons they can procure. This type of survivalist thinking has defined military strategy ever since men fought wars with spears and shields.
On September 3, 2017, North Korea stated it had tested a thermonuclear device (hydrogen bomb), adding that the weapon could be “detonated…at high altitudes for super-powerful EMP [electromagnetic pulse] attack.”
At the end of last month, North Korea stunned military analysts when it successfully tested its Hwasong-15, an ICBM that according to Pyongyang could deliver heavy nuclear warheads anywhere in the continental United States. The missile had a 53-minute flight that finished its journey some 600 miles into the Sea of Japan.
For Lindsey Graham to speak so loosely about the prospects of military action suggests the Trump administration wants Pyongyang to strike first, thus giving the US carte blanche to resort to ‘defensive actions’ that will most certainly inflict tremendous destruction on the entire region.
Unfortunately, Graham has not been alone in uttering such reckless comments.
White House security adviser H.R. McMaster said Saturday that North Korea represents “the greatest immediate threat to the United States,” and the potential for war with the communist nation is “increasing every day.”
Meanwhile, America’s loose cannon in the UN, Ambassador Nikki Haley, told the UN Security Council “if war comes… the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed.”
So much for diplomacy.
Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister, called Haley’s spectacle “a really bloodthirsty tirade.”
“If someone really wants to use force to – as the US representative to the UN put it – destroy North Korea… then I think it’s playing with fire and a huge mistake,” Lavrov added.
However, before Lindsey and McMaster uttered their provocative comments, Lavrov preempted their saber-rattling by one day, reminding Japan and South Korea that, in the case of war with North Korea, they will be the “first victims” in the event of war on the Korean Peninsula.
“Unfortunately, they are trying to drag the Japanese, and South Koreans in the same direction, who… will be the first victims in the event of war on the Korean Peninsula,” Lavrov said in an interview with Belarusian broadcaster STV.
Although Lavrov failed to mention it, there are also tens of thousands of US military personnel and their families in the region who would also come under significant risk in the event of some emergency.
According to the latest available data, there are about 40,000 US military personnel stationed in Japan. At the same time, there are 35,000 US military personnel serving in South Korea.
And herein lies the solution for bringing a swift end to the ratcheting up of hostilities between the United States and North Korea. Let those pugnacious people – Lindsey Graham, HR McMaster, and Nikki Haley, for example – who speak so freely and recklessly about war in the Korean Peninsula – be required to live and work in South Korea and Japan, precisely in range of North Korea’s missile launches, much like the rest of the local population.
That would change their hawkish tunes very fast, and we’d be much closer to the road of peace and diplomacy rather than bloodshed and militancy.
*Robert Bridge is an American writer and journalist. He is author of the book, ‘Midnight in the American Empire,’ released in 2013. [email protected]