The U.S. won’t strike North Korea. The problem can be solved in other way.
The conflict over North Korea’s unique, and, not realizing its specificity, it is impossible to talk about it.
The specificity of this is a form of dynamic stability. The Korean Peninsula is one of the most militarized parts of the earth, but the odds at the beginning there’s a full scale war is much lower than, for example, in the Donbas, between Armenia and Azerbaijan or between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The scheme is as follows. On the one hand, constantly hear very loud words, insults and ultimatums.
Especially those sins of the North Korean side. Almost every response to any criticism of the regime of Kim Jong-UN from Seoul or Washington’s threats to “wipe from the face of the earth the American aggressors and their South Korean puppets.” However, despite the rhetoric all parties clearly understand the rules of the game. 1) North Korea will not strike the first blow, since any war that starts on the Korean Peninsula will end with the capture of Pyongyang (the incident with the sinking of the South Korean Corvette “Chonan” still remains a mystery, and not the fact that it was involved, Korea) and 2) South Korea and the U.S. would not strike the first blow. Due to the nature of the North Korean regime, the complex of the “besieged fortress” and the need for the leader to maintain the reputation of a “strong leader” even a limited strike will be considered as the beginning of a military operation for regime change and Pyongyang strike of retaliation, which the DPRK has not only nuclear weapons, but an army of millions, as well as to Seoul trunks of long-range artillery near the border in reliable shelters. Therefore, any war, though will lead to the capture of Pyongyang, but in the process North Korea will inflict critical damage to the South and, possibly, Japan. And this is not to mention the nuclear contamination, abrupt destabilization of the situation on the Peninsula, getting North Korean weapons into the hands of terrorists, and millions of refugees to South Korea or to China.
The Trump Factor
That is why no President of the United States so far and gave the order to bomb the nuclear facilities of North Korea or to conduct a limited military operation (for example the one Trump held in Syria). Neither in 1993 (the height of the nuclear crisis) or after nuclear tests in the early noughties. That is why all the crises that began on the Korean Peninsula ended in a mutual peace.
And that is why the current crisis is over would be 100% the same if it were not present one single but important variable – Trump.
Trump needs to flex its muscles for the domestic consumption and the ships “in star-spangled bikinis”, headed by the aircraft carrier sailing to the shores of Korea, accompanied by submarines Packed with missiles “Tomahawk”. And the President says it is willing to strike at the DPRK.
Of course, the chance of war is but small – a maximum of a few percent. Even if you imagine that Trump (a successful businessman, won in the teeth of the entire Washington establishment presidential elections) has suddenly gone mad, he very quickly explain the rules of the game in the North Korean crisis. Either explain own generals, or denounce this idea especially the Japanese and the South Koreans (which the bones lie, but will not allow a killer to themselves strike at the DPRK).
However, the reality is that Trump is not crazy, and strategist. And showing off the muscles with the simultaneous game in its own unpredictability it leads let and risky, but still a solid game with increased rates. He actually threatens his own unpredictability to receive many bonuses. Not from North Korea – these guys blackmail is useless, what convinced Clinton and Bush and Obama. The game is played with China. Trump is trying to push the Chinese threatened to bomb North Korea, and Beijing to create a lot of problems. Beijing has two options of behavior – either to give in to Trump and to force the DPRK not to conduct nuclear tests or to send the American President and to prepare for war.
It is clear that the Chinese (to the delight of the Tramp relishes a diplomatic victory over North Korea and China, which would entail another increase to the rating and plugging another critical mouths) chose the first option. In particular, put pressure on Pyongyang through the refusal from the purchase of North Korean coal.
The riskiness of the game is that China may not be able – Pyongyang is not always listening to Beijing, and can rocket to still run. In this situation, the rest of the balance when one of the parties – Kim Jong-un or Trump will have to lose face. If Trump does not hit, you will lose it. If Kim Jong-un will not strike back, you will lose it.
The options that Kim the Third do not answer, miserable that stems a) from the logic behavior of the North Korean elite “strike=home invasion” and b) that for Un, the new leader of North Korea, this could lead to a weakening of their own power. So you’ll have to lose a Trump. To strike at the DPRK, as mentioned above, he will not give. The maximum on what can count the American President is the salvation of the person in the form of “alternative action” (for example, new sanctions or new exercises with South Korean forces, which North will probably complain loudly) or on the factor of “Jimmy Carter”. In the early 90’s, when the United States and North Korea stood on the brink of war, former U.S. President to mediate between Washington and Kim Ir Sen, and managed to negotiate a Framework agreement on North Korea’s nuclear program.
In general, everyone recognizes that the root of the North Korean problem – its regime, aggressive and repressive. Destroy it not, so the only real way to solve this problem is his inner evolution. This is exactly what most are doing now the North Korean government headed by Kim Jong-un – in particular, continue to translate the country’s economy at least partially to a market economy. They just need not to interfere.