“Flexible response” on the Korean Peninsula

Discussion in 'Asia' started by Casper, Nov 30, 2010.

  1. Casper

    Casper Member

    Sep 6, 2010
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    Valdai Club expert Alexei Fenenko gives his assessment for latest incident between North and South Korea.

    Over the last twenty years many military analysts have speculated about the danger of a conflict on the Korean peninsula. The most likely scenario predicted that the U.S. would strike a series of knock-out blows at North Korean nuclear facilities. It was envisaged that North Korea would then respond with missile strikes on the nuclear facilities of America’s allies - Japan and South Korea. In any case, the conflict’s initiator was supposed to be Washington or any one of its Pacific allies

    The conflict over Yeonpyeong island has fundamentally changed the situation. It demonstrated that under certain circumstances North Korea could also initiate a military conflict in East Asia. This amounts to a serious crisis in America’s policy of nuclear deterrence. Both the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations would like to bring the scenario of the USSR deterrence to bear in regard to the DPRK, involving: (1) taking strategic targets in North Korea hostage and (2) providing security guarantees to its allies from possible attack by North Korea. The current crisis has demonstrated that the government of the DPRK is not afraid of America’s nuclear guarantees to South Korea and Japan.

    From its side Washington could use the crisis over Yeonpyeong island to intensify their “forced disarmament” strategy. There are currently two possible ways of implementing this: the peaceful way (the pressure put on Libya or Iran) and through the use of military force (the operation against Iraq). The Americans demanded that North Korea eliminate its nuclear arsenals and plutonium production facilities under the watchful eye of the “five powers’ commission” or the IAEA. Pyongyang's recent military provocation may now raise the spectre of the United States or even South Korea delivering non-nuclear strikes against its nuclear facilities. That would give the USA an opportunity to raise the question of whether certain regimes should be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons or even to develop nuclear fuel cycle capacity.

    The scenarios for conflict between nuclear powers with the limited use or even non-use of nuclear weapons at all discussed in the 1960s today seem possible.

    Full Version of the article was published on valdaiclub.com

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