Why stealth bombers over Korea are a mistake
Flying the sorties sends a message, feeds the political machine in the North.
In a move that is sure to upset North Korea, the U.S. has sent a B-2 Stealth bomber on a flight over South Korea during joint military exercises with that country. The show of force comes after North Korea said it was abandoning its 1953 armistice with the South and targeting the U.S. with nuclear weapons.
The bomber's appearance over South Korea was probably intended to demonstrate to North Korea's young leader, Kim Jong Un, that the U.S. has the easy ability to strike his country without warning.
So far, the North has shown no reaction.
North Korea remains the world's most secretive and elusive country. Governed by a totalitarian dynasty, now in its third generation, just what happens in the country remains a mystery to most. Reports tell of a massive population of people living in abject poverty, constantly threatened with imprisonment and death by a brutal regime. Famine is a chronic threat.
Meanwhile, Kim Jong Un and his comrades in the government and military, live luxurious lives, drunk with power.
Political experts suggest that to assert his power over the country, Kim Jong Un, the young son of the late Kim Jong Il, has been doing a lot of saber rattling. Despite the tough talk, North Korea may not be near the brink of war at all. Instead, the bellicose rhetoric could be more for his people than the outside world.
It is thought that so long as North Korea can keep up the appearance of threat by the West, the government can justify brutal and dictatorial control over the people.
The flight of the B-2 would only serve Kim Jong Un's purposes then, by giving the North Koreans another excuse to increase the rhetoric and act out once again, possibly with another nuclear test, or some form of belligerence, such as the sinking of a ship near border waters, or the shelling of targets over the border. Both types of attack have been used in recent years, killing several people in the South.
Despite the North's excessive belligerence, no attack has sparked conflict.
Although it appears both North Korea is actually reluctant to fight, it would be a mistake to dismiss the threat in its entirety. North Korea has one of the world's largest militaries and the country has spared little expense on it. The North also has several short-range missiles that can strike targets across South Korea with conventional warheads.
Although the country has nuclear weapons, it is unclear if these can be deployed in combat; it's not a question anyone would like to see answered by the North.
For the moment, the world waits to see how Kim Jong Un will spend his new political currency, given him by Tuesday's B-2 flight. Perhaps a policy of de-escalation and careful ignorance of the North's behavior would be more conducive to peace than feeding the North's rhetoric machine with new fodder.
© 2013, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2013
General Intention: Victimized Children. That children who are victims of abandonment or violence may find the love and protection they need.
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