What Kim Jong-il is Really Up To:

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Doug Hanson is right — as usual — in concluding that North Korea's missile launches are intended to test U.S. resolve.  The question is: Resolve about what?

Let's cut through all the super—sophisticated analysis that's flooding this morning's newspapers and talk shows and get to the heart of it:

Kim Jong—il has only one objective: the unification of Korea under his control.  That's it; this is what he wants.  North Korea's huge army may or may not be strong enough to defeat South Korea — but the South Koreans know that even if they defend their country successfully from a North Korean invasion, Seoul would be utterly destroyed in the fighting.  So in the event of a North Korean invasion — or perhaps even the credible threat of invasion — it's likely that the South Koreans would capitulate.

The only thing standing between Kim and his objective is the United States.  More precisely, Kim cannot risk an invasion of South Korea so long as this would bring the US armed forces into the war.  So, to accomplish his objective Kim must first take the US out of the equation.  He can do that by turning US public opinion against the idea of risking nuclear war to defend South Korea.  When members of Congress, and of course The New York Times, start asking aloud, Why risk Seattle to save Seoul? — it's over.  And by developing nuclear weapons and test—firing missiles, Kim moves closer to neutralizing the US.

And yes, it really is this simple.  What's so worrisome is that Kim's strategy stands a very good chance of working.

Herb Meyer   7 5 06

( Herbert E. Meyer served during the Reagan Administration as Special Assistant to the Director of Central Intelligence and Vice Chairman of the CIA's National Intelligence Council.  His DVD on The Siege of Western Civilization has become an international best—seller. )

Doug Hanson is right — as usual — in concluding that North Korea's missile launches are intended to test U.S. resolve.  The question is: Resolve about what?

Let's cut through all the super—sophisticated analysis that's flooding this morning's newspapers and talk shows and get to the heart of it:

Kim Jong—il has only one objective: the unification of Korea under his control.  That's it; this is what he wants.  North Korea's huge army may or may not be strong enough to defeat South Korea — but the South Koreans know that even if they defend their country successfully from a North Korean invasion, Seoul would be utterly destroyed in the fighting.  So in the event of a North Korean invasion — or perhaps even the credible threat of invasion — it's likely that the South Koreans would capitulate.

The only thing standing between Kim and his objective is the United States.  More precisely, Kim cannot risk an invasion of South Korea so long as this would bring the US armed forces into the war.  So, to accomplish his objective Kim must first take the US out of the equation.  He can do that by turning US public opinion against the idea of risking nuclear war to defend South Korea.  When members of Congress, and of course The New York Times, start asking aloud, Why risk Seattle to save Seoul? — it's over.  And by developing nuclear weapons and test—firing missiles, Kim moves closer to neutralizing the US.

And yes, it really is this simple.  What's so worrisome is that Kim's strategy stands a very good chance of working.

Herb Meyer   7 5 06

( Herbert E. Meyer served during the Reagan Administration as Special Assistant to the Director of Central Intelligence and Vice Chairman of the CIA's National Intelligence Council.  His DVD on The Siege of Western Civilization has become an international best—seller. )