It seems that the grim reality of the situation in North Korea has sunk in for most of the nation. The timing is apt, since our spy satellites just caught them moving cruise missiles onto their patrol boats. For the first time in the history of this polling question, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs finds that a majority of people are willing to engage United States troops if Jim Jong-un attacks not only us, but South Korea, Japan or any of our other allies in the region. (The Hill)

A majority of Americans say the U.S. military should defend South Korea if North Korea attacks, according to a new poll released Monday.

It’s the first time that more than half of Americans say troops should be deployed to help South Korea, according to the survey done by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, which has been polling the issue since 1990.

Sixty-two percent of respondents said they support military action against North Korea if it attacks the South, up from 47 percent in 2015.
Both Democrats and Republicans show similar support for increasing sanctions against North Korea, with 84 percent of Republicans and 76 percent of Democrats approving of them.

A look at the full poll results shows that this survey comes with a few caveats and some predictable partisan divides on related questions. While it’s true that they found a majority willing to support military action, it’s only in response to North Korea striking somebody first. When asked if they would support preemptive airstrikes against Kim’s nuclear facilities, support fell to 40%. Interestingly, a majority of self-identified Republicans (54%) are in favor of it, but support among Democrats and independents withers to 33 and 38 percent respectively. Still, a third of Democrats being willing to consider a preemptive strikes says something for the mood of the nation.

But that’s just air strikes. As far as sending U.S. troops into North Korea to take out Kim’s nukes absent a first strike by him, that’s still very, very unpopular. 28% overall would consider it, with the R/D/I breaking out at 37/24/24. But there’s one thing which is less popular than any scenarios involving warfare and that’s the idea of simply throwing in the towel and “accepting” that North Korea will be a nuclear power which continues to produce tactical weapons. Support for that idea came in at R/D/I 11/13/10. (There was a slightly larger number of delusional people who were willing to allow North Korea to keep the weapons they’ve already built if they promise not to build any more. Because, you know… Kim is so good at keeping his promises and all.)

It seems clear that the nation is facing the inevitable and mentally preparing for the possibility that we’re going to have to throw down with Kim Jong-un in what will, by nearly all expert accounts, be a ruinous, bloody disaster of a war. But nobody is willing to let them continue on the path to being an unbridled nuclear power, so apparently all options really are on the table. That leaves us with the nagging question of what our new president will actually do. He’s talked tough on this subject for the past two years. But when the time comes, will he pull the trigger? I’m guessing yes, but he’s been unpredictable enough on some other issues that we can’t be entirely sure.