[ by Charles Cameron — a face-off between two impulsives, and thoughtful planning at a tabletop exercise ]
How the hell can Un, with one star and no stripes, hope to trump Trump, with fifty stars and thirteen stripes backing him up?
How the hell can Un, with maybe a dozen nukes, one of which might be a hydrogen bomb, and some untested missiles designed to reach anywhere in the continental US, hope to trump Trump, with a stockpile of 1,411 nuclear warheads deployed on 673 ICBMs, SLBMs, and strategic bombers [Wikipedis] and an impressive array of generals, admirals and such, one of whom — Gen. Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs — is positively pushing his way out of the photo-frame into at least simulated warfare with North Korea:
The simulation in question was described, as far as is visible under a cloak of secrecy, in a recent NYT article titled U.S. Banks on Diplomacy With North Korea, but Moves Ahead on Military Plans:
A classified military exercise last week examined how American troops would mobilize and strike if ordered into a potential war on the Korean Peninsula, even as diplomatic overtures between the North and the Trump administration continue.
The war planning, known as a “tabletop exercise,” was held over several days in Hawaii. It included Gen. Mark A. Milley, the Army’s chief of staff, and Gen. Tony Thomas, the head of Special Operations Command.
Anything that occupies two generals “over several days” plus planning and debriefing is serious business — especially those two generals.
War with North Korea — Hawaii their nuclear targets.
Oops, the NYT article also features some awkward questions commanders of the US battleforce would face:
How many conventional and Special Operations forces could be deployed, in phases, to target North Korean nuclear sites. Whether the Army’s 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions could be charged with fighting in tunnels Exhaustive plans to take down North Korea’s integrated air defenses, allowing American manned and unmanned aircraft into the reclusive country. Plans for the morbid but necessary details of personnel recovery plans, such as if pilots are shot down, and the evacuation of the dead and wounded.
And Un considers the very fact of the US President agreeing to meet with the dictator of N Korea, ie Donald Trump with himself, to be a clear and unequivocal demonstration of parity. As CNN puts it:
with the simple fact of the meeting, Kim has already achieved his objective: he’s at the table on the world stage, being taken seriously.
Or MSNBC, in a piece titled On North Korea, Trump gambles from a position of weakness:
Trump has agreed to give Kim Jong-un exactly what he wants. North Korean leaders have sought this kind of meeting for decades because it would necessarily elevate the rogue state: it would show the world that North Korea’s leader is being treated as an equal by the Leader of the Free World.
Equal? Mirror image?
China, Japan and Russia have cheered an impending meeting between United States President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as a “significant first step” towards the de-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
China, Japan and Russia, India, and obviously South Korea, are all actors with significant interesta in any US – North-Korean diplomacy — giving us a seven-node tug-of-war for our planners to map — and Donald Trump to intuitively grok.