Via the Right Scoop, a Reaganesque response to yesterday’s NorK revelation. Given The One’s “nuclear zero” posture, I assume this idea is a total nonstarter, although (a) South Korea is reportedly interested in the possibility of reinstalling U.S. nukes on the peninsula and (b) the “talking cure” for North Korea hasn’t cured all that much 15 years and two nuclear tests later. To be clear, though: Kraut’s policy here isn’t aimed at Kim Jong-il but rather at the Chinese, who, as noted last night, maintain the only real leverage over Kim. Put nukes in South Korea and nudge the Japanese towards building a program of their own and, in theory, the budding superpower next door will finally get the message that it’s really, truly time to rein in the North Koreans. (Think of it as a far east version of the idea of building up India in Afghanistan in order to make Pakistan crack down on the Taliban.)
Just two problems. One: Is there any reason to think the world’s nuttiest government would react rationally to a provocation like that, even under intense pressure from China? Remember that the North Koreans are in the midst of a murky power succession right now between Kim and his son. If Kim doubts that junior is up to the task of “governance,” such as it is in NK, maybe he’ll react to a nuclear standoff by deciding there’s nothing left to lose. Two: Given China’s upset about American influence in the far east and growing confidence about its own military power, I’m guessing that the sudden emergence of U.S. nuclear weapons next door would instigate some sort of reprisal. Think Obama’s up to dealing with that if and when it comes? Me neither.