US Military Policy on Patriot’s Day as Containment
Hal Pepinsky, firstname.lastname@example.org, “peacemaking” at pepinsky.blogspot.com
April 17, 2017
We now have retired generals in charge of the Defense Department and the National Security Agency, veterans of combat and war games strategy, and a Secretary of State who apparently respects military advice and to synchronize it with political foreign policy. I look on the recent series of military events—dropping a Mother Of All Bombs on Afghan resistance underground central command center, bombing a Syrian air base to uselessness, and I join others in speculating, setting off self-destruct mechanisms in missiles North Koreans have tried to launch. Each is a case, two overt and one covert, of a measured signal that—as Vice President Pence put it yesterday in South Korea—we will take measured means to teach you, or in Afghanistan’s case force you, to desist. I can imagine that the Secretary of State carried that message to President Putin when they recently met, to pass the message that the US held the Syrian government responsible for all nerve gas attacks, and would take “whatever measures necessary” to respond to any further gas attacks. And I can’t help thinking that someone, perhaps even Trump during his recent visit with the Chinese president, has let North Koreans know that the US with not allow North Koreans to succeed in launching any missile that could even reach Japan. And voila, the US vice president happens to visit South Korea just as the North Koreans are celebrating the birthday of Kim Il-Sung, and the missile no doubt to cap the North Korean’s celebration of defensive strength went poof. Whatever covert messages the North Koreans may have received, I imagine they’re aware that the US government—including a president who by now openly accepts and respects his newly minted senior military and foreign policy advisers—will officially stay silent or deny any claims to have destroyed the missiles North Korea goes to such lengths to launch, and dare the North Koreans to admit they are militarily so weak.
Whatever gets worked out diplomatically will be led by Secretary Tillerson, who appears in these early moments in office to be working in close partnership with his military counterparts. I’m not a fan of punishment and violence, but practically speaking, I find myself respecting the discipline by which today’s US government sets limits on its tolerance, its containment of violence. Love and peace, hal