TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – If United States President Donald Trump really takes military action against communist North Korea in retaliation for its alleged test of a hydrogen bomb, he will only have three options, according to a security expert consulted by the BBC.
Justin Bronk, a specialist in combat airpower and technology at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London, wrote in an analysis piece for the broadcaster that no matter what choice the White House makes, all will be accompanied by high costs and significant risks.
The U.S. could first choose to continue a policy of enhanced containment, which would involve moving more troops and weapons systems into South Korea, Bronk said. However, North Korea might interpret such moves as preparation for a full-scale military invasion, while neighboring countries such as China and Russia would equally object. Enhanced containment would also be the least effective option, according to the expert.
Surgical strikes could be a second possibility, Bronk argued, with bombers and Tomahawk missiles pounding North Korean nuclear and missile facilities. The level of damage inflicted would be hard to predict since the defense capabilities of the North Koreans were relatively unknown, Bronk said, adding that the strikes would not prevent the Kim Jong Un regime from retaliating against South Korea.
The third option would be a full-scale invasion of the North, but the expert calls this scenario far-fetched because of the enormous cost in human lives and the highly visible preparations necessary on the side of the U.S. and South Korea, which must also agree to the plans.
Even if all those options are contemplated, any military conflict might leave the winners to face the reconstruction of North Korea, which would amount to a vast enterprise much more complex than the reunification of Germany, Bronk wrote.