Tora! Tora! Tora!

“If we accept that there is no other option to prevent an attack … there is the view that attacking the launch base of the guided missiles is within the constitutional right of self-defense. We need to deepen discussion,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe said.

Link. They don’t sound too happy over how things are going at the U.N. The whole thing smacks of a cry for China’s attention (Fox News is reporting that there could be a Security Council vote as soon as today, and that China may veto what goes to the floor). Still, I really wish Japan hadn’t given the Korean nationalist-socialist types on both sides of the DMZ an excuse to scream, “Japanese invasion!” Concerned nations should say less and do more.

I’m not sure if Abe’s statement precipitated this reaction by South Korean government; if so, it would put things in some perspective. The reaction would then be understandable … if not for South Korea’s spinelessness after the North Koreans actually fired seven missiles in Japan’s general direction.

Speaking of over-the-top Japanese hysteria, here’s a must-see. (HT, the Marmot)

Update: What have we here? According to this report, South Korea’s statement preceded that of Foreign Minister and anointed presidential successor Shinzo Abe’s. That would seem to mean that South Korea was reacting to Japan’s entirely reasonable threat of sanctions, rather its rather dodgy threat of preemptive strikes. Abe, in turn, was reacting out of frustration with China’s two Korean satellites.

All of which means that now, the United States can fold its arms, knit its brows, and feign grave concern as its own ally in the region launches a crash program to build missiles and nuclear weapons. Just like China has done for the last decade, plus….


Blogs of War: Japan Considering Military Strike on North Korea

Captain’s Quarters: “If Japan determines that they need a massive naval expansion to deter Pyongyang, the Chinese will have to outpace two of the world’s most productive Western economies — and they will find that very difficult to do.


  1. China and Russia have thousands of missiles that are equipped with nukes, and yet, America and Japan are acting hysterical over the few crudely-built empty missiles that North Korea tested. It’s absurd.

    North Korea is extremely poor, and they can never have a missile arsenal that matches what the superpowers have. Also, North Korea would never actually use the missiles against other countries, unless they were attacked.


  2. Well, part of your argument tracks what I’ve argued myself. If this were simply about deterring North Korea from nuking Anchorage, I’d probably agree with the “ingore them” theory. I believe our military can deter a first North Korean strike.

    Unfortunately, it’s not that simple, and no phase that starts with “Kim Jong Il would never …” really reassures anyone. Kim Jong Il has sold uranium to Libya, missiles to Syria, Pakistan, and Iran, and nuclear technology to at least the latter two, both nations with a history of connection to terrorism (which says nothing of the increasingly remote but living possibility of Kim launching Korean War II).

    The U.S. needs a viable military deterrent against any similar North Korean provocation, but we lose much of that if Kim Jong Il has a significant number of working missiles buried in silos.

    So these missiles do represent a threat, even if not a sufficiently imminent threat to do something like a preemptive strike. To remove that threat, and the greater threats from North Korea, we need to dislodge the regime itself. Rather than worrying and negotiating about Kim’s various threats piecemeal, we should be pursuing a comprehensive strategy to reduce and eliminate his capacity to do harm.


  3. Mi-Hwa, these missiles have set off an arms race in the North Pacific. That is the big problem that KJI has instigated with his missile fetish. Japan was already rearming as a direct result of the 1998 launch. China is doing so as well because of its own needs and reaction to Japan’s growing power. The US is threaten by any hostile country with nuclear missiles capable of reaching its shores. So it takes steps too to reduce the risk. This situation, caused soley by KJI, is a classic arms race among the richest nations on the planet. Mi-hwa, is that good for the world?

    Now with 6 of 7 missiles launched directly offshore Japan, an arms race is almost unstoppable. I also don’t like the lineup of the arms race. China, the godfather of KJI, seems to be bringing the views of North Korea and South Korea into balance as they both see Japan as a rival.
    To me, KJI has unleashed dynamics that have never been tamed short of conflict.


  4. Joshua nails it, as always. This is not really a crisis, but it can, I am hopeful, be turned into an opportunity to get even China and South Korea to unambiguously grasp the root cause of all North Korea troubles: “It’s the regime, stupid!”