The failure to respond in a meaningful way to things that deserve a response seems to just embolden Pyongyang, however, and one day, they’re going to miscalculate and do something that can’t be ignored. If the North thinks it can get away with an artillery barrage on a civilian community, I shudder to image what they’ll try next.Kushibo concurs.
Kushibo was a supporter of Kim Daejung's (but not Roh Moohyun's) Sunshine Policy (and I do believe we will see its positive externalities down the road, especially in the form of a political, social, and economic integration of North Koreans that is far less difficult than it otherwise would have been), but I've always believed the carrot cannot be placed too far from the stick.
If yesterday's Yŏnpyŏng-do attack had not occurred after what was ultimately a milquetoast response to the sinking of the Ch'ŏnan and a promise to really really get mad if something like that happened again, I could understand an argument for a wait-and-see approach.
But North Korea has driven us into a corner: They killed four dozen ROK military personnel and we did nothing, and now they've upped the ante with an attack on sovereign and undisputed ROK territory in which not only were ROK military personnel killed again, but civilians were also attacked. This cannot stand. If it goes unanswered, it is clear that it will almost certainly happen again.
Bearing in mind that a military response may be what North Korea's leadership is trying to elicit from us, and economic damage to South Korea may be a fringe benefit of their machinations, the South Korean response must be clear, meaningful, strategic, and proportionate to both attacks.
What Kushibo recommends is that sometime within the next week next day or so, the South Korean military (without the direct involvement of the US military, unless the ROK military is lacking in some necessary component) must do the following:
- take out the military capabilities from which the artillery strikes on Yŏnpyŏng-do Island took place
- take out the military capabilities from which the attack on the Ch'ŏnan took place
- take out all the military capabilities on North Korea's southwest coast from which it can conduct such attacks on South Korean civilians or military in the outlying islands of Ongjin-gun County and the surrounding waters on the South Korean side of the Northern Limit Line, especially those south-of-NLL waters that North Korea does not dispute
Meanwhile, in case you need some red meat to build up the courage for the Kushibo Plan, here's a video of a local myŏn (township) on Yŏnpyŏng-do being attacked (courtesy of The Marmot's Hole):