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Mark Caserta: President’s N. Korea strategy a good one

20 Aug


Mark Caserta:  Free State Patriot editor


Aug 18, 2017



We’ve never been closer to engaging another nuclear power in my lifetime as we are with North Korea.

The escalating threat prompted President Trump last week to warn the rogue nation he was prepared to unleash “fire, fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before” should that country’s Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-Un, fulfill threats against the United States or any of her allies.

In 2012, I wrote a column titled, “U.S. must maintain its military resolve,” referencing the waning respect leaders of other nations had for the global military prominence of the United States, largely due to the appeasement strategies of Barack Obama.

In the column, I discussed the significance of a North Korea missile test despite U.N. resolutions banning that country from using ballistic missile technology. I also discussed how Iran’s nuclear and missile programs were also reported to have benefited from Russia and China, breaching the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which calls for only peaceful use of nuclear power.

In March of this year, I reiterated in a column that North Korea was becoming an increasing military concern, warning the economic and military ties with Russia and China were very dangerous for the U.S.

We are now knee-deep in military mire, I believe, due to our weak strategies.

We know China is technically committed to the defense of North Korea. They’re also economically dependent upon them, comprising roughly three-quarters of North Korea’s imports and exports.

Russia’s ties with Iran are similar. I believe we will see that relationship become an increasing concern soon.

Let’s be clear. No nation would dare suggest the U.S. doesn’t possess the most powerful military armament the world has ever known. That isn’t the problem.

The problem is that lack of leadership of prior administrations has precipitated opposing nations to perceive the U.S. had lost its military resolve. Perception in military engagement is reality. When appeasement precludes action, your enemies take notice.

In 1994 the Clinton administration chose to deal with North Korea’s mounting nuclear weapons program by “bribing” it with more than $4 billion in energy aid over 10 years. In turn, North Korea was expected to reciprocate by dismantling its nuclear weapons program.

In 2016, the Obama administration decided to take the same sort of action with Iran when Obama approved a $1.7 billion settlement resolving claims over a failed arms deal. The first installment was in cash, secretly delivered by plane, the same day Iran released four American prisoners and formally implemented Obama’s nuclear deal with the Iranians, per The Washington Times.

Negotiating from a position of appeasement is a poor strategy. And then there was Donald J. Trump.

As a master negotiator, Trump knows something about leadership and the importance of defining and adhering to consequences. While the president has made clear he’d rather conduct business peacefully, he’ll not withdraw on a pledge he’s made on behalf of protecting our nation – period.

Given our nation’s position, this is the only way to proceed.

North Korea would be wise to negotiate with our commander-in-chief.

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

Mark Caserta: Threats from North Korea merit US concern

25 Mar


Mark Caserta:  Free State Patriot editor

Mar 24, 2017


The Kim family has ruled North Korea for more than 60 years, and it’s no secret the totalitarian regime has an appetite for attention.

But recently, the rogue leader of the country, Kim Jong-un, delivered an ominous threat directed at the United States, which caught the attention of the world.

Last week, the U.S. and South Koreans began a massive, joint annual exercise off the Korean peninsula known as the Ulchi Freedom Guardian Drills. North Korea apparently has always complained about these drills, which Fox News reports as “largely computer-simulated war games,” involving 25,000 U.S. troops and 50,000 South Koreans.

But this time, as reported by multiple news outlets, including CNN, a spokesman for North Korea’s military was quoted as saying on behalf of the country’s state media that North Korea will “turn the stronghold of provocation into a heap of ashes through Korean-style pre-emptive nuclear strike” if the U.S. and South Korea “show the slightest sign of aggression” during the drill.

Just another glitzy attempt to fan their peacock train for the world to extol? Perhaps.

But it’s wise to weigh the varying circumstances under which this threat was made.

We know that both North Korea and Iran have economic and military ties with Russia and China.

China is technically committed to the defense of North Korea under the 1961 Sino-North Korean Mutual Aid and Cooperation Friendship Treaty. China is also economically dependent upon North Korea and comprises roughly three-quarters of the nation’s imports and exports.

Russia’s ties with Iran represent a similar dilemma for the U.S.

In November 2016, The Jerusalem Post reported a Russian-Iranian arms deal worth about $10 billion that would see Moscow “deliver T-90 tanks, artillery systems, planes and helicopters to Iran,” per a senior Russian senator.

And Russia has already built a nuclear reactor for Iran in the province of Bushehr and reportedly has signed a contract to build eight more.

Bridging the entities could be a deal, also reported by the Post, signed to “enhance cooperation between the nations of Iran and China,” both economically and militarily.

Where is the delineation of allegiance to be drawn between these four nations when dealing with the U.S.? Is it possible these countries share a dislike for the U.S. and barter military information and arms to achieve multiple benefits of economic expansion and military duplicity?

Could China or Russia benefit from a proxy attack on the United States by North Korea or Iran?

I understand sensible minds are cognizant of the no-win scenario here. But a nation’s interpretation of “winning” could be the variable.

Sometimes, I wish I wasn’t so aware of the terrible mess the world is in. But it’s bigger than me. It’s about my brother.

So, how should we deal with this information?

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