Robert Kelly is an American living in South Korea, teaching at an university in Busan. Busan in the south of the country would still be in range of the North’s ballistic missiles, including nukes. The THAAD shield system might stop some of them but not all.
There is no such protective shield to defend the capital Seoul against the rain of artillery and rockets that could be fired by the North from the demilitarized zone. In greater Seoul, which the North has threatened to turn into “a sea of fire” if it were ever attacked, there are an estimated 100,000 Americans living among the population of 25 million people.
If Donald Trump lost patience with the North’s recalcitrance over its nuclear program and decided to launch a pre-emptive strike against the regime of Kim Jong-un, he would have to consider whether he wanted to see images of hundreds, maybe thousands of dead Americans on CNN on top of the tens of thousands of dead South Koreans.
This is just part of the devilish difficulty that military planners face as they try to keep “all options on the table” as the Trump administration insists it is doing. Bruce Bennett, a Korea expert from the RAND Corporation, points out is that “there are no good military options”. Read more