China watcher Peter Lee reports that the Pentagon has adopted a new war policy toward North Korea—a policy based on pre-emptive war rather than mere deterrence.
The policy is that if American generals determine that North Korea is about to launch a war, they will order “surgical” strikes against North Korea’s nuclear arsenal and send in special forces teams to assassination North Korea’s leaders.
The problem with that, as Lee noted, is that if Kim Jong Un determines the U.S. is about to destroy North Korea’s nuclear defense and kill its leaders, he would try to strike first. This is a racheting-up process that makes war more and more likely.
The Pentagon’s larger purpose, in Lee’s opinion, is to deter China—to, as the Chinese say, “kill the chicken to frighten the monkey.”
What’s interesting about Lee’s articles is that nowhere to they mention President Barack Obama, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter or Secretary of State John Kerry. The Pentagon evidently has its own policy independent of the policy set by the President and the Cabinet.
This is a vital Constitutional question. Where does the power in government really lie?
‘Beheading’ Kim: Preemptive strikes are back and heading for Asia by Peter Lee for Asia Times.
North Korea Has at Least One Thing Right About America’s Plans for War by William M. Arkin for Vice News.
A Revolution in Strategy: U.S. Shifts to a Pre-emptive Posture for Asia by Peter Lee for China Matters.
How Civilian Control of the Military Has Become a Fantasy by Gregory Foster for TomDispatch.