Thursday, March 28, 2013

Stealth bombers and offshore balancing

Max Fisher suggests that the B-2 runs from the air base in Missouri to the Yellow Sea, and even more the way in which they were publicly announced, had as an audience not so much North Korea as South Korea, where there have been grumblings on the right about developing an indigenous nuclear capacity. The B-2 runs are a way of reassuring South Koreans that the U.S. has their back.

Notice what Fisher does not mention: the U.S. soldiers on the ground in South Korea. They are not part of this particular story. Nor are any bases in South Korea part of this story. The B-2s took off from Missouri, flew to the Yellow Sea, dropped their inert munitions, flew back to Missouri. Sure, the point was to send a message (one can debate about who the intended recipient was), but the exercise is also an example of offshore balancing. Or rather, it's the sort of thing that would probably become more frequent if the U.S. adopted an offshore balancing approach.

Also (and unrelated), Fisher comments on Der Spiegel's interview with the head of Mali's military government: here.


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately according to North Korea's plans, the US military support for South Korea is wholly ineffective:

LFC said...

I haven't watched the videos but I did read the translation at your post.

Obviously the video scenarios aren't going to occur but I wouldn't rule out a more limited use of force by NK, as has occurred before. Given the current climate, it cd carry more danger of escalation than in the past. Which is not to say I think a second Korean war is in the offing. Btw the ~28,000 US soldiers in SK may be serving some symbolic or other purpose, but clearly not a strategic one, a pt I have made here several times before.

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North Korea: Nuclear genie comes out of the bunker