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New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 24th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

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Stand well clear!

5 September 2017

It seems that the blue touch-paper to an armed conflict between N.Korea and neighbouring countries, plus the USA, has almost been lit.

Kimmy claims to have developed and successfully tested a weaponised hydrogen bomb and is working on a test run of the ICBM that (in theory) could deliver this weapon of mass destruction to targets on the North American continent.

Trump has repeated his rhetoric that the USA is prepared to use whatever force is necessary to stop N.Korea's aggression so you might think "different day, same story"... but is it?

I think we can be pretty confident that N.Korea has weaponised its nukes (or is very close to doing so -- or has some impressive photoshop-based evidence) and is preparing an offensive capability that the USA can not guarantee to neutralise.

What will happen next?

Well let's cast our mind back to The Gulf War for some clues.

The USA and Britain invaded Iraq on nothing more than a "claim" that Saddam had a stockpile of "weapons of mass destruction".

There was no evidence to suggest that this stockpile included nuclear weapons and even the amount of biological or chemical capability was minimal -- yet they opted to attack in the name of "keeping the world safe".

By comparison, N.Korea has clearly demonstrated that it has nukes and a vehicle for their delivery.

Okay, maybe 80% of Kimmy's ICBMs will either explode on take-off or fly so wildly off-course as to be totally ineffective -- and the USA's THAAD defense system may be able to neutralise half of those that are left but it will only take a single N.Korean nuke impacting onto US or S.Korean territory for a disaster of hitherto unseen scale to occur.

Surely, with this scenario rapidly unfolding, the USA's hands are tied.

Without the intervention of China or Russia, the only player who can prevent N.Korea from unleashing massive devastation on one or more centres of population are the USA.

Perhaps the only thing that may prevent N.Korea from suffering a massive preemptive strike is the fact that it has no oil or other natural reserves that the USA can steal as "the spoils of victory".

China doesn't want to take military action because the last thing it needs is a massive influx of poor N.Korean refugees. That would be a political and logistical nightmare for a country that is already starting to feel the stirrings of political disquiet within its borders.

Russia doesn't want to take preemptive military action because if it was seen to be the catalyst for N.Korean strikes against US or S.Korean targets then the conflict could rapidly escalate into a much wider one.

So Trump, that only leaves you!

Do you continue to play the waiting game and risk the lives of innocent US citizens, should N.Korea decide to unleash its nuclear arsenal against the mainland or Guam?

Or do you unleash the full might of the US military on N.Korea, without warning -- effectively using the blitzkrieg strategy that was so successful for the Germans during WW2?

With great power comes great responsibility and perhaps now Mr Trump is feeling more than a little uneasy with the decisions he has to make in this matter.

It would seem that he is between a rock and a hard place -- damned if he does attack and possibly damned if he doesn't.

Perhaps... just perhaps, Trump will see that he's in a no-win situation and this will lead him to do the unexpected. That unexpected move would be to offer N.Korea a carrot instead of a stick. Perhaps he could kill N.Korea's hostility and aggression with kindness. After all, if he wins the hearts of the N.Korean people then he effectively weakens Kimmy's control over them and his powerbase.

Just a thought.

Nah... probably not going to happen.

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