Should Japan and South Korea Go Nuclear?

By Pat Buchanan

Nuclear War
Should Japan and South Korea Go Nuclear?
Pat Buchanan
Patrick J .Buchanan

USA –  -( By setting off a 100-kiloton bomb, after firing a missile over Japan, Kim Jong Un has gotten the world's attention.

What else does he want?

Almost surely not war with America. For no matter what damage Kim could visit on U.S. troops and bases in South Korea, Okinawa and Guam, his country would be destroyed and the regime his grandfather built annihilated.

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting,” wrote Sun Tzu. Kim likely has something like this in mind.

His nuclear and missile tests have already called the bluff of George W. Bush who, in his “axis of evil” speech, declared that the world's worst regimes would not be allowed to acquire the world's worst weapons.

Arguably the world's worst regime now has the world's worst weapon, an H-bomb, with ICBMs to follow.

What else does Kim want? He wants the U.S. to halt joint military maneuvers with the South, recognize his regime, tear up the security pact with Seoul, and get our forces off the peninsula.

No way, says President Trump. Emerging from church, Trump added, “South Korea's … talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work, they only understand one thing!”

On Monday, South Korea was accelerating the activation of the high-altitude missile defense implanted by the United States. Russia and China were talking of moving missile forces into the area. And Mattis had warned Kim he was toying with the fate of his country:

“Any threat to the United States or its territories, including Guam or our allies, will be met with a massive military response.”

As the United States can only lose from a new Korean war in which thousands of Americans and millions of Koreans could perish, the first imperative is to dispense with the war talk, and to prevent the war Mattis rightly says would be “catastrophic.”

China has declared that it will enter a new Korean conflict on the side of the North, but only if the North does not attack first.

For this and other reasons, the U.S. should let the North strike the first blow, unless we have hard evidence Kim is preparing a pre-emptive nuclear strike.

But if and when we manage to tamp down this crisis, we should ask ourselves why we are in this crisis. Why are we a party to this frozen conflict from 1953 that is 8,000 miles away?

The first Korean War ended months into Ike's first term. Our security treaty with Seoul was signed in October 1953.

That year, Stalin's successors had taken over a USSR that was busy testing missiles and hydrogen bombs. China was ruled by Chairman Mao, who had sent a million “volunteers‘ to fight in Korea. Japan, still recovering from World War II, was disarmed and entirely dependent upon the United States for its defense.

What has changed in six and a half decades?

That USSR no longer exists. It split, three decades ago, into 15 nations. Japan has risen to boast an economy 100 times as large as North Korea's. South Korea is among the most advanced nations in Asia with a population twice that of the North and an economy 40 times as large.

Since the KORUS free trade deal took effect under President Obama, Seoul has been running surging trade surpluses in goods at our expense every year.

The world has changed dramatically since the 1950s. But U.S. policy failed to change commensurately.

The basic question that needs addressing:

Why do we still keep 28,000 troops in South Korea as a trip wire to bring us into a second Korean war from its first hours, a war that could bring nuclear strikes on our troops, bases, and, soon, our nation?

We cannot walk away from our Korean allies in this crisis. But we should look upon the North's drive to marry nuclear warheads to ICBMs as a wake-up call to review a policy rooted in Cold War realities that ceased to exist when Ronald Reagan went home.

Consider. North Korea devotes 25 percent of GDP to defense. South Korea spends 2.6 percent, Japan 1 percent. Yet these mighty Asian allies, who run annual trade surpluses at our expense, require us to defend them from a maniacal little country right next door.

After this crisis, South Korea and Japan should begin to make the kind of defense effort the U.S. does, and create their own nuclear deterrents. This might get Beijing's attention, as our pleas for its assistance with North Korea apparently have not.

Already involved in land disputes with a nuclear-armed Russia and India, China's dominance of Asia — should Japan and South Korea acquire nuclear weapons — begins to diminish.

“As our case is new,” said Abraham Lincoln, “we must think anew and act anew.”


Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of the new book “The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.

  • 15 thoughts on “Should Japan and South Korea Go Nuclear?

    1. So in Pat’s own words, Japan has 100 times the economy of North Korea, but spends only 1% on defense.

      So Japan spends almost three times as much on defense. North Korea firing provacative test ICBMs eats up some coin as well.

      C’mon, Pat, cut the hyperbole.

      I agree that we should pull our support, but over five years to hopefully give them a chance to wean. But don’t freak people out.

    2. Nobody was considering attacking North Korea until they began and continued their nuclear program. Their IR & ICBM programs just make them a target because they are an active threat of a crazy leader making a first strike.
      The best outcome will be if China assassinates the entire Kim family.
      Japan and South Korea will not increase their safety by going nuclear. That will just feed Kim’s paranoia.
      Japan and South Korea should develop defensive technology that can intercept any in-coming missile or artillery shell with 100% effectiveness.
      The United States can turn North Korea into a slag heap any time in a few minutes. We can do that so NK can’t fire a 75 mm round across the border. But China will not accept a US first strike. Will they accept a US retaliatory strike only if a nuke goes off on US soil? Can the US destroy NK if NK attacks SK or Japan? Yes we can but that might start WWIII and involve China, Russia, India, Pakistan as well as the NATO countries.
      China can kill Kim and all the crazy members of the Kim family. How soon they do this and save the world from nuclear war is up to China and whether they value their Walmart economy?

    3. If China doesn’t want them to nuke up,then they better get it together,or we will,kims been playing good poker for long time.enough play time,he keeps getting more time with bluff.soon will be there.Get it done now.

    4. What a mess with no way to win. If we wipe the little fat b*st*rd of the face of the earth we will have started the third world war with China coming after us and Russia would get involved on their side. That would be an oh sh*t moment. Can’t someone slip in and slit his fat throat some night?
      I very much agree that Japan and S. K. should fund their own protection in this childish game of lil kim against the world.
      Japanese and S.K. make a lot of money over the products they sell us, but I am not one that would buy a car that is not an American based company.

      1. @tomcat, I would not worry about Russia. Russia has less that half of the GDP of France. Russia is not the powerhouse that the Soviet Union was. Russia’s economy is about the same size as India.
        China is using NoKo as a proxy so that if anything does happen, China will not sustain damage, and China wants badly to keep it that way, according to my sources.
        In an alliance, Japan would contribute top notch Naval assets. Taiwan would contribute really good air assets. The ROK would contribute huge infantry. Australia would contribute token ships and men. The Flippers are a question mark because their armed forces are really only set up to keep the regime in power. That is a lot of blood and treasure.
        What we need is some kind of satellite based laser that can single him out and burn a hole in his fat greedy head from some where in space.

    5. There is no reason to lose one american life over NK. If and that is a large if, they make a first strike a single response should be used. Load every large air flying machine we have with moab’s and do a scorched earth on the ENTIRE country. No mercy and no second chances. Not only does this remove any future threat from NK but I will bet the middle east gets very quiet for a long time. Anything less and you are just following the other petty dictators of history.

    6. I think with FAT BOY having them
      is BAD enough ! If we could get rid
      of all nukes and high explosives
      making war more up-close and personal ,
      ( more like hand to hand combat) I think we
      would have a lot less confrontations !

    7. Japan and South Korea are nuclear already, being under the protection of the United States. Both Countries have multiple types and numbers of Nukes at their disposal by being under The United States protection!

    8. They should’ve let Patton keep going east after he reached the Elbe River in 1945. At that time we could’ve defeated the Soviets and possibly have changed the world for the better. Too late now, and all of the appeasers who’ve set in the White House seem to have forgotten Churchill’s warning – “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”

      1. “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”
        Churchill had become a very wise man. I’m pretty sure that was the Obama Doctrine. What should happen is for Japan, South Korea, and any other regional nation under threat, should commit to a NATO style pact where any one attacked draws a response from all. Put Lil Kim on notice that any aggression will end his regime…………and his life. Certainly, these countries with solid economies should be expected to fund their own defense. While I believe that America must remain involved in pushing back against world despots, we should not be expected to pay for all of it.

          1. We pay so that we will appear, to our potential allies, to be the logical winner from the very start. The Filipinos, Taiwanese, Japanese, and even the ROK will not join us if it appears that we will be the losers or the outcome will be close. So… we pay.

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