The guns of April. Happy Tuesday, which the regime in North Korea marked by launching a massive live-fire artillery exercise. The South Korean news agency Yonhap said that as many as 400 pieces of long-range artillery participated in the exercise, and were the same type of guns which are stationed along the border with South Korea, putting the 10 million residents of Seoul well within their range.
The exercise marked the 85th anniversary of the founding of the North Korean army and popped off the same day the USS Michigan, an Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine, made a port call in Busan, South Korea intended as a show of force. The Michigan can carry about 150 cruise missiles and launch Special Operations teams while submerged offshore.
Speeding up. The Trump administration has shown a sense of urgency in dealing with the North and its ongoing missile tests, and expected upcoming nuclear test, which would be its sixth in the past decade. The New York Times’ David Sanger and William Broad write that the urgency stems from a “a stark calculus: a growing body of expert studies and classified intelligence reports that conclude the country is capable of producing a nuclear bomb every six or seven weeks.”
In a meeting with members of the United Nations Security Council at the White House on Monday, Trump told the diplomats it is “time to solve the problem” of a nuclear North Korea. That meeting will be quickly followed up on Wednesday by a remarkable gathering of all 100 U.S. Senators at the White House for a classified briefing on North Korea, and a Security Council meeting on Friday chaired by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that will be focused on the rogue nation.North Korea is not going to relinquish its nuclear program as the Iranians did. The country's leadership understands the obvious: You trumpet your nuclear-free status and you end up bombed by the West, as was the case with Serbia and Libya. Plus, look at Iran. Has the nuclear agreement brought economic integration with the West? A few trade deals, yes. But not economic integration. If anything Iran bought herself a few years. But with a new president who loves kowtowing to al-Saud, the U.S. gunboat is wheeling back around. War is on the horizon. First things first though. Regime change in Syria.
The first and last points of Trump's strategy on North Korea appear to be scaring China into acting. But this assumes that China has the ability to denuclearize the North. It doesn't. I don't even think that any type of oil-for-inspections hooey is possible at this point.
No, it looks like we are on the glide path to war.