Skip to comments.What If America Assassinated Kim Jong-un?
Posted on 04/18/2017 3:54:40 PM PDT by nickcarraway
A question that is just as important is whether assassinating Kim or the generals in charge of North Koreas nuclear program, ballistic missile program, military or intelligence services would be a good policy. We tend to believe that if we just took out the top, bad guy in the regime, all of the other bad guys in that regime will be scared straight, change their behavior and suddenly turn their governments into bastions of human rights and democracy. Weve had experience with his belief before: several days prior to major military operations in Iraq, Washington lobbed cruise missiles at Saddam and the Iraqi political leadership in the belief that perhaps further war could be avoided. Whether that hypothesis would have played out is unknown because Saddam survived those attacksits comfortable to assume that the Baathist leadership would surrender to coalition forces the next day, but its just as likely that the war would go on.
North Korea is an entirely different situation than Iraq was in 2003. Kim Jong-un is solidly in power, having killed or marginalized anyone (including his uncle and half-brother) perceived to be even a minimal threat to his control. Unlike Iraq, whose military was demoralized and degraded by the Persian Gulf War in 1991 and by a sanctions regime over the next decade, North Korea is a nuclear-weapons state with ballistic missiles that have the capability to level Seoul quickly and target U.S. bases in the region. Killing Kim and banking on the idea that the regime would change how it does business after seven decades would be a high price to pay if that untested theory proved to be wrong. Because North Korea is such a black-hole in terms of human intelligence, the U.S. intelligence community wouldnt be able to confidently assess that the man or woman (Kims sister, for instance) who replaces Kim wouldnt be just as vicious or unpredictable. Assassinating a head-of-state is the definition of an act of war, and nobody can accurately guess whether cooler heads in Pyongyang would prevail over those who would be itching to demonstrate strength through retaliation.
Putting Kim six feet underground is only one choice in a set of options that the National Security Council will present to President Trump for his consideration. It may even be a policy option that is so far outside the mainstream that Trumps national-security aides would disabuse him of studying it further. Reaction from Beijing would be swift and unyielding, and as much as the South Korean and Japanese governments would like North Korea to behave more predictably, its not at all certain that Seoul and Tokyo would believe that assassinating the men at the top would achieve that objective.
One hopes that all of this talk is more of political gamesmanship to goad the Chinese into cooperating with the United States, and nothing more.
Daniel DePetris is a fellow at Defense Priorities.
IIRC it is against American law to assassinate a foreign head of state.
“We knock off that ONE GUY and it’s OVER..!”
Sounds REALLY tempting, I have to admit.
“They’re all SUFFERING, they really LOATHE their life there, they’d shower us with rose petals, they’d be overjoyed..!”
What a sucker’s play. Sure, there are those that saw SK dramas on smuggled DVD’s, they’ve heard the rumors.
PLENTY of them still go in for the hype, in Saddam’s words we’d be “welcomed by bullets and SHOES”.
The other wolves would simply jump in and take his place at the top.
The future really IS unification but anyone who thinks it would be a Cake Walk is living in La La Land.
LOTS of people would have to be vaporized.
Well, I for one would host a celebratory barbecue, and be thankful that millions of brainwashed and oppressed North Koreans might someday walk in the light of freedom...
Unfortunately, that's not going to happen.
If he were assassinated, another member of the junta would replace him and the regime would grind on.
A lot of North Koreans would be happy?
Besides, that's what China is for...
If North Korea disintegrates, both China and South Korea be ready to handle millions of cannibal zombies. China will just mow down, but the democratic South Korea might be flooded with their own refugee problem... This time, an atheist wave of starving masses. Equally vindictive and resentful of their opponents as ISIS refugees are.
Maybe, but they would be a lot less eager to get in a game of chicken with Trump. Having your enemies fear you is a good thing.
We don’t want to be a part of that because then it would be easier for foreign nut-jobs to think they can do it to our leaders or any other random leaders around the world.
Much more global instability would follow. Long-term ill effects would outweigh any short-term benefits.
Doubtful. The Koreans that have defected from the DPRK to the ROK since 1953 haven’t acted that way.
I think he should get a Scalia/Breitbart style heart attack... or perhaps his Mercedes should inexplicably accelerate to 120 MPH and hit a tree.
I don’t believe the US has ever recognized NK as a legitimate state. We have no diplomatic relations with them. If they aren’t a state, how can their dictator be a head of one? Trump could certainly make that argument.
I heard a discussion on the radio yesterday about why someone in the inner circle doesn’t take Kim out. They concluded that, since the lives and privileges of people that close to the top depend on Kim or at least the continuation of the regime without Kim, there is no one who would do that.
Not if you're Hillary Clinton.
Here’s one problem I haven’t seen discussed.
You’re dealing with a hereditary line of succession in a communist totalitarian state. Who would be the heir apparent after Kim Jong Un? It seems to me that there is no clear replacement that would continue that type of succession.
That creates an entirely unpredictable chain of events in leadership. Perhaps good, perhaps bad. However there is no real way to know.
I doubt even the Chinese have a pipeline into the would be cadre of generals or senior staff to know who could or would pick up the pieces in such an event. The regime is so paranoid at this point that I suspect they would treat communication with the Chinese with equal hostility as they would with ROK or US agents.
I wouldn’t want a jury to decide that with me in the docket.
We go assassinate someone else leader. Then what right do we have to object to some other nation assassinating ours?
I don’t think this is the road we should go down.
Even with Hussein, we captured the guy. We turned him over to the new government. They determined what to do with him.
Uh, he would be dead?
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.