North Korea announced that it will restart a nuclear reactor that was turned off five years ago, while simultaneously issuing threats that have been labeled as "bellicose rhetoric." The armistice that ended military conflict between North Korea and South Korea has now been ripped to shreds.
The U.S. military is now conducting their regularly scheduled training missions with South Korea, with a few additions. Stealth bombers, B-52 stratofortresses, destroyers, stealth fighters, and a powerful radar system have now been deployed as well.
One spark hitting this pile of tinder could ignite a war.
Though North Korea has taken each of these actions before; these current actions are happening under the new leadership of Kim Jong-Un, who we don't quite know yet. His deceased father Kim Jong-Il, became aggressive whenever he was seeking something. Usually, he was seeking food aid. This is a new leader and a new set of circumstances and this situation can turn very bad very quickly.
Though all Americans know the story of Pearl Harbor, we don't know the history of the days and weeks prior. The U.S. had launched a naval embargo of the Island of Japan. With other nations we blocked the sale of iron oil, steel, and oil to Japan. Japan's response was the attack on Pearl Harbor. Now, we have launched major sanctions on North Korea, with a new leader we can't predict. History teaches us that we need to watch this situation extremely closely.
We are either at peace with a nation, or at conflict. Military conflict is executed in multiple forms. We can launch a war of annihilation, where we use our weapons to destroy the enemy, or a war of attrition where we go for the resource base. World War 2 was won partly because we aimed towards annihilation by attrition. We heavily targeted the factories building German military equipment and their gasoline supply, which powered their armored units.
We have now launched a war of attrition on the economies of both Iran and North Korea. The North Korean sanctions were the most recent and helped trigger this major escalation. At the root of those sanctions are specific issues, such as an underground nuclear detonation in North Korea that we were unable to measure and long range missile testing. The U.S. is concerned that North Korea may have tested a plutonium device that would be a far more powerful nuclear weapon that anything they have used before.
Now that we have given our solid and necessary response to our concerns with North Korea, have begun new behavioral pattern. It is a combination between what would happen with a cornered, injured dog and a spoiled adolescent who just got punished. The dog will lash out and show it's teeth. The brat will throw a temper tantrum. The trouble is, we don't know how well the brat is able to control his emotions and keep from swinging those fists one step too far.
While it is possible that nothing happens, that is not guaranteed. This situation has the potential to turn into something much much bigger and is something that each of us should be fully aware of.
The U.S. will remain involved with our ally South Korea. A look at a map illustrates why this country is so strategically important to us. South Korea is directly between our current ally Japan and China. South Korea sits directly in the middle of an area where we want to maintain our military influence. Looking at the map will explain why if South Korea is attacked, the U.S. will have their back.
If bullets are fired across the border between North and South Korea, we will be drawn into another military conflict.