Tensions in the Korean peninsula are dangerously high. North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un has made multiple threats, the U.S. is responding by beefing up its military presence, and even China is mobilizing troops near the North Korea border.
With war, and the possibility of an accident or mistake, a serious possibility, this reiterates the case that the U.S. should stop meddling and intervening in Korea and use diplomacy instead.
The hawkish response by the Pentagon in Korea is only adding to the tension and decreasing the chances of peace. Over the past few weeks, the U.S. has ran multiple war games near the Korean peninsula with nuclear-capable B-52 strategic heavy bombers and B-2 stealth bombers and has even sent Special Forces into North Korea. Flexing this type of muscle in a region riddled with tripwires for war is a dangerous gamble.
As Xu Ke argues in Xinhua Weekly, hostilities between North Korea and Washington are the result of what Ke calls "fragile relationship" between the two governments, based on "mistrust, misunderstanding and animosity."
America's "punishment-heavy approach" in dealing with Pyongyang has helped fuel this crisis. Pyongyang issued its "state of war" against South Korea in direct response to the aforementioned U.S.-South Korea war games. Rounds after rounds of economic sanctions by the U.S. have further isolated North Korea.
This has backed North Korea into a corner and forced it to resort to desperation in attempting to defend itself, including the pursuance of long-range missile capabilities.
While Washington is surrounding North Korea, running military exercises, and imposing sanctions, North Korea really has absolutely no means of carrying out the hawkish rhetoric Jong-Un is currently employing. North Korea lacks the technology to strike Guam or Hawaii, let alone the mainland U.S. Even the neighboring South Korean capital residents of Seoul are remaining calm, seeing North Korea's threats for what they are: empty threats aimed at getting food and aid packages and ultimately a peace treaty with the U.S.
If bordering South Korea isn't worried, why is the U.S.? As I argued last week for PolicyMic, part of it likely has to do with President Obama has been implementing his "Asia pivot" and militarizing the Pacific.
Also, whenever the war drums are beating, one will never go broke betting on our military-industrial-complex. The past two U.S. administrations have been warning about the supposed threat North Korea poses, which has coincided with increased spending for missile defense systems along the western U.S. Thankfully, these missile defense systems are government programs, so they are laughably inefficient and simply don't work. And since the North Korean threat isn't real, they pretty much cancel each other out.
The only practical way to avoid a disastrous war and increase the chances of long-term peace is to build trust, for the U.S. to the stop the saber-rattling, sit down with China and other countries in the regions, and use some diplomacy for a change.
Besides, what's the alternative? Nuclear war? America's political leaders may be well-dressed criminals, but they aren't foolish; just like the North Korean regime, they are nuclear-armed and interested in self-preservation. This may ironically be the reason that war and military confrontation will be avoided and cooler heads will prevail.