North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is saber-rattling in much the same way his predecessor father did each time he wanted further concessions from the West. The young, brash leader is threatening to begin developing the country’s nuclear capacity again and to use it against the United States. There are a number of reasons to be concerned about this situation. For starters, the simple fact that no one knows how stable or rational the North Korean dictator is makes him potentially much more dangerous to the world. His recent bravado filled pronouncements may have backed him into a corner that would make one misstep, intentional or not, a start to an unwanted war.
The Obama Administration’s constant pronouncements that the debt is not an immediate crisis aside, our current fiscal problems could come back to haunt us in a big way as it relates to any potential conflict with North Korea – and I am not talking about our inability to fund a war effort.
While our national debt and related poor financial condition would logically seem to cause fear because it might impact any ability of the federal government to fund large scale and/or long term military operations, there is a much bigger problem looming for those willing to see it. It’s called China.
Remember, the United States has been strongly encouraging China to engage on the North Korean problem since the prior administration of George W. Bush. The Chinese have largely been uncooperative. History tells us that from at least the time of the Korean war forward that the Chinese consider North Korea an ally and will support them in times of conflict. Why wouldn’t they since the two nations share the same political structure and single party of communism? The Chinese will also not want increased American presence and influence in a part of the world they consider their own sphere of geopolitical influence.
So, what happens when that same Chinese government decides to side with North Korea and subsequently calls all the loans we have taken out from them in the last decade? Looking at it from another angle, how will Americans take it if and when we begin paying back those loans and the very money we use to pay them is dumped into a war effort opposing US interests. It sets up a metaphorical “no win” situation.
Americans should stop to consider and, after doing so, be concerned that a country as economically strong as China may be on the opposite side of a conflict with North Korea. What’s more, the Chinese military is not an insignificant foe. As a result, a full fledged war with North Korea could be disastrous for the United States economically, politically, and militarily. We have the best military in the world, bar none. But they cannot fight and win a war that is starved of the financial and industrial support needed to wage such a prolonged effort.
This very large potential problem is a big reason why the national debt and the deficit are so important to solve. It’s about more than morals and economics. It’s about national security and our very survival. Owing people money, especially big sums, is like owing the bookie up the street for a lost bet and not having the cash to pay up.