Not Chess But Poker?
At the end of December, 2002, as Korea began ratcheting up their insane nuclear rhetoric, the politicians did what they do best in this country: They ran in circles pointing fingers at everyone but themselves, seeking to place blame, and trying to avoid putting the onus on themselves. Since that time, North Korea has continued working on its nuclear weaponry, launched missiles over Japan, and blithered its own, patented brand of Insane-o-babble for the world's press to lap up.
But there was at least one thinker who came up with a fairly interesting solution to the problem of North Korean Nukes. This was Jack Wheeler, of the Freedom Research Foundation. Wheeler, in a column he wrote, discussed the playing of games and how they relate to geopolitics. In it he said,
"One of the meta-reasons America won the Cold War is that Russians play chess, while Americans play poker.
Chess demands great skill and intelligence, particularly at developing complex long-range strategies and anticipating your opponent's moves. But it bears little resemblance to life in the real world. It is completely static and open. Nothing is hidden.
Poker is very different. You have to guess what your opponent has and the extent to which he is bluffing. In business, in politics, in life in general, the folks who know how to play poker will almost always fare better than those who know how to play chess.
Ronald Reagan never played chess with Mikhail Gorbachev. He played political poker. At the 1986 Reykjavik summit, Reagan bluntly told Gorbachev he was going to build and deploy a space-based missile defense (SDI). Then came the clincher.
"Mikhail," he said, looking the Soviet leader in the eye, "we both know that America can afford to do this, and the Soviet Union cannot. There is no way you can compete with us in military spending. So you are going to lose."
Gorbachev did not know if the U.S. could actually create a workable missile defense in space. But he did know it could afford to do so, while he could not. So he didn't call for Reagan's cards. He, and thus the Soviet Union, folded their own. In the real world, good poker beats good chess every time.
One of the great geopolitical puzzles of our day is why America has been outplayed at poker by a collection of primitive Stalinists in North Korea. The guys in Pyongyang are the best experts in the world at military bluffing and nuclear blackmail. They easily took Clinton to the cleaners."
That they did, and have since we first learned of their Nuclear Weapons research. Like many others, I'm sure, the idea of North Korea is simply not an option. yet the US government, as well as every other government, has tried to "play poker" with North Korea, seeking "engagement" as a way to talk Kim down from the precipice. But that hasn't worked, nor will it. Kim needs that Nuclear option to retain power. It's as simple as that. So what is the answer?
Well, we could drop enough bombs on the reactors to reduce them to rubble and probably kill most, if not all, of North Korea's nuclear scientists. But this would spread radioactive debris over untold miles, harming a lot of innocent people. And the US would have to deal with the entire world's anger over a unilateral action that is, for all intents and purposes, and act of war. The same applies to dropping nukes, of any size, on the sites. (Neutron bombs might be a different story, but are there any left?)
Economic sanctions? That's a laugh! North Korea has no economy worthy of the name. All sanctions would do would be to force the Army to redirect even more of the country's supplies away from the populace and into the pantries of the NK Army. But is there an option? Jack Wheeler had one, and it's an interesting idea. In that article, he said:
"[...]Far better to destroy it quietly, safely, stealthily and mysteriously.
With a spear. A steel rod 40 feet long and 4 inches in diameter, fin-stabilized, with a needle-sharp tungsten-carbide tip, equipped with a small JDAM guidance package including a GPS. It is non-explosive; there is no warhead.
You've heard of smart bombs. This is a smart spear.
You take a half-dozen of these Smart Spears up in a high-altitude bomber, like a B2 or B52, and drop them over Yongbyon at 50,000 or 60,000 feet. The Smart Spears have such a big sectional density that it will be like a vacuum drop – with no wind resistance, they will be going faster than the speed of sound when they hit their target.
Going so fast and with almost no radar signature, the GPS-guided Smart Spears will punch through the Yongbyon reactor and keep right on going, burying themselves in the earth several hundred feet deep. The North Koreans won't know what happened, and all there will be is some holes in the ground – plus a melted-down reactor."
Read the column Dr. Wheeler wrote. It's fascinating reading and will make you wonder why we're not trying something like this. If we did, and it worked, could we then turn our aim to Iran?
Just a thought.
Another view on this from JustOneMinute, "Accidents Will Happen"
Wheeler's NewsMax column, "Playing Poker With Korea"
Dr. Wheeler's "To The Point"