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There is a maniacal dictator on the loose and he has nuclear weapons. What can the world do to prevent disaster?
Believe it or not, this isn't the plot of a movie, it's real life and that dictator is North Korea's Kim Jong-un.
Could it be that the world is just an evil laugh and a button-press away from a small-scale nuclear holocaust?
Well to be honest, I don't have an answer to that question but I'd say that there's another leader who also has his finger hovering over the big-bang-button of nuclear destruction -- good old Donald Trump.
The next year or so will be "interesting times" in the theatre of possible nuclear war and the way things are shaping up, I'm sure glad I live in the Southern Hemisphere.
There are two forces that are edging the world closer to the second use of nuclear weapons in anger and both of them are very real and possibly unstoppable.
First we have Kim Jong-un, a dictator who has known nothing other than his own omnipotence. He lives in a world where whatever he says goes and, if you dare to speak out against him, you are likely to come to a sudden and violent end.
Kim almost certainly believes his own rhetoric when he threatens the USA and other nations, including South Korea, with nuclear attack. He has never experienced losing or suffering the consequences of his actions and thus believes that he can do whatever the hell he wants, without penalty. That's a very dangerous perspective.
On the other side we have Donald Trump -- the likable oaf who has put the fear of change up the clacker of politicians on both side of the house.
Donald is a wild-card, a rogue and just like Kim, a person used to getting his own way.
What an amazing coincidence that both leaders have such distinctive (but different) hairstyles. What are they putting in "product" these days that addles the brain? :-)
Unfortunately for Donald, his colleagues and peers will eventually turn on him as they find the political cost of his changes too much to bear. At that stage, Mr Trump may decide to play his "trump" card -- go to war against North Korea.
Why would he do that?
Simple -- self preservation.
Wars are great things for incumbent leaders. "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" is a mantra that kicks in at such times and if Trump were to take the USA into war with North Korea then virtually all of the internal politics would vanish, as people focused on the common enemy and its elimination. After all, who wouldn't cheer for the bold leader who rid the world of a nuclear-armed despot like Kim Jong-un?
So it would appear that North Korea is probably going to get hammered sooner or later -- either in retaliation for its own attacks or sabre-rattling -- or simply as an expedient way for Trump to rally support within the people of his own nation.
What remains to be sorted is just what form any move against North Korea might take, and there are several options.
Firstly (and this is the one most often used by the USA), the CIA could infiltrate the ranks of Kim's administration and foment a coup. In the case of N.Korea, I'm not so sure that this would be an effective strategy. Kim's willingness to dispatch even his closest commanders at the blink of an eye if he even suspects them of being a threat probably means that the CIA would have great trouble finding allies within the ranks of those officials.
Secondly, Trump could simply order the assassination of Kim. This would most likely have to be a military action but it would be small, fast and well planned. Given that none of those serving in the N.Korean military have ever actually engaged in serious combat, I doubt their soldiers would pose much of a resistance to a move by US marines or other highly trained professional soldiers. The only problem with this move is that it would create a power vacuum that would probably be filled very quickly by an equally dictatorial general or official. For the USA it could be a case of out of the frying pan, into the fire.
The final option would be an all-out assault on N.Korea's military. This would involve a heavy bombing campaign with cruise missiles and smart ordinance, designed to neuter Kim's ability to strike back or even defend himself. This option is highly likely because the USA just loves to show off its military might and nothing says "USA" like a bunch of 5,000lb bombs blowing the snot out of a few buildings and military bases.
Whatever strategy is chosen, it's pretty likely that N.Korea is going to feel the weight of the USA's fist at sometime in the next year or two -- possibly sooner rather than later. If they leave it too late then there's always a chance that Kim may get a few Nukes off before he and his forces are destroyed. It would only take a single nuke hitting downtown L.A. for Trump to find himself in very hot water -- and he wouldn't like that at all.
What do readers think?
Does N.Korea really pose a credible threat to its neighbours or the USA?
Will the USA take pre-emptive action against Kim Jong-un?
If they do, which strategy will they be most likely to adopt?
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