As I type this, USS Carl Winson's Carrier Battle Group is steaming towards North Korea's shores. Once at the station the group will be ready to strike in order to, as US media say, prevent this North Korean regime from developing its nuclear arsenal. OK, we get this and I, personally, have very little sympathy for this regime, which is not to the case with North Korean people who suffered enough, not that it is of any concern in D.C. Two main reasons for this sudden US urge to face down a cartoonish regime in Pyongyang have nothing to do with North Korean nukes--this reason is secondary to a whole new brain game Trump Administration is trying to play in the region. First reasons is, of course, China.
1. Yes, China is big, she is the largest economy in the world and, as rumor has it, is also not very happy with her rambunctious North Korean neighbors. But what China is not as of now, she is not a serious naval threat to US Navy and she is not there yet to deal with US desperate need for Asia-Pacific pivot, which this whole tour de force' is designed to demonstrate to China. In the end, huge part of China's economic heart is not even in China--it is in Walmarts, JC Penney's, K-Marts and Home Depots of North American continent. Take away a large part of enormously voluminous, consumerism-obsessed US market and China will find herself immediately in huge economic trouble. There is much more to it, of course, than purely economic considerations, there is an issue of window of opportunities for fading US (I write about it in detail in the piece which should be published in Unz Review this coming Monday). Plus, it is always good, in Washington's view, to flex muscles as a way of self-medication. Yes, this China factor is important, but the second one could have been placed in the first place.
2. North Korea, despite her bluster and possession of actual nuclear weapons is not a competitor militarily for a power with a full blown stand-off capability such as US Navy. Once nuclear weapons are factored out of the equation, the only way North Korea may respond to US aggression is to launch a massive land invasion of South Korea. That is it. That is the only weapon in Pyongyang's arsenal which can be seriously considered, the rest? North Korean Armed Forces are simply antiquated and are no contest for Carl Winson's group. North Korea doesn't have means to even reach this CBG and, unless some bizarre confluence of conditions allows it, North Korean Air Defense and Air Force will be destroyed within 48 to 72 hours by Carl Winson's air wing. Realistically, this could be a turkey shoot but that is precisely why North Korea was chosen as the next bogey--military weakness in modern warfare. It is obvious that Pentagon thinks that it can control escalation. I, however, don't think so and I base my assumptions on the "credit history" of US political and military leadership.
Once North Korea decides to attack South (God forbids) and US forces in South Korea get embroiled in the mayhem, which will follow, the dynamics may change dramatically. US hopes, using North Korea as punching bag, to put China in the place Washington thinks it is appropriate, but what could reaction of Beijing be I can only speculate. US cannot impress Russia with her military and, rather embarrassing, Tomahawk strikes, but it seems that starting from the false flag "chemical attack" in Syria and punitive action, Trump, and those who "advise" him on military strategy, kept China in mind. China may (I am not saying that she was) have been "impressed" and there is no denial here that US, for now, still have a bit of a grasp if not both of China's cojones, but one for sure. It is a rather strange time we live in but in this a wonderful Easter time and I wish to all faithful a Happy Holiday and say with all my atheistic agnostic passion--Christos Voskrese! Let there be life.