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Obama ‘Playbook’ For North Korea Is Backfiring

From the Wall Street Journal:

U.S. Dials Back on Korean Show of Force

Administration ‘Playbook’ Outlined Publicized Exercises, but Officials Change Course Over Worries of North’s Response

By ADAM ENTOUS and JULIAN E. BARNES | April 3, 2013

WASHINGTON—After a high-visibility display of military power aimed at deterring North Korean provocations, the White House is dialing back the aggressive posture amid fears that it could inadvertently trigger an even deeper crisis, according to U.S. officials.

The U.S. is putting a pause to what several officials described as a step-by-step plan the Obama administration approved earlier this year, dubbed "the playbook," that laid out the sequence and publicity plans for U.S. shows of force during annual war games with South Korea. The playbook included well-publicized flights in recent weeks near North Korea by nuclear-capable B-52 and stealth B-2 bombers, as well as advanced F-22 warplanes.

The U.S. stepped back from the plans this week, as U.S. officials began to worry that the North, which has a small nuclear arsenal and an unpredictable new leader, may be more provoked than the U.S. had intended, the officials said.

"The concern was that we were heightening the prospect of misperceptions on the part of the North Koreans, and that that could lead to miscalculations," a senior administration official said.

Officials said the U.S. didn’t believe North Korea had any imminent plans to take military action in response to the exercises. Rather, the shift reflects concerns within the administration that the North, caught off guard, could do something rash, contrary to intelligence assessments showing that it is unlikely to respond militarily to the U.S. show of force.

In other words, Obama approved ‘a playbook’ that involved ratcheting up the show of force, which he thought would make the North Koreans pull back on their recent threats.

But, instead, it has had the exact opposite effect. And now the administration is trying to dial things back before things get completely out of hand, and the North Koreans do something crazy.

The shift also came after the Navy confirmed reports on Monday that the U.S. had sent two guided-missile destroyers to the waters off South Korea—a deployment that the White House and Pentagon hadn’t intended to publicize and wasn’t part of the playbook, officials said.

Sheesh! Who is running this show?

Officials said publicizing the destroyers risked ratcheting up tensions with the North more than the White House had intended. Likewise, they said, White House officials became upset because the disclosure wasn’t in keeping with the orchestrated rollout it had sought to control.

At least the Obama team is consistent. They get upset when they can’t control the political news, too.

The White House has put the next steps in the playbook on hold while it assesses the North’s posture, officials say, though the administration hasn’t ruled out future shows of force. On Tuesday, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said the U.S. wanted to lower the "temperature" on the peninsula…

Well, they are doing a bang up job at that.

The U.S. military’s Pacific Command began devising the playbook plan amid a series of provocations by the North, including the launch of a long-range rocket in December, in preparation for the annual military exercise with the South.

The public-relations effort was designed not only to send a message to North Korea, but also to assure a hawkish new government in South Korea that it had full U.S. backing and there was no need for it to respond militarily to the North’s provocations.

U.S. intelligence agencies assessed the risks associated with the playbook and concluded there was a low probability of a North Korean military response because the regime’s top priority has been self-preservation. U.S. officials believe the North understands that taking military action could prompt a devastating U.S. and South Korean counter-strike that could destabilize the regime…

The U.S. plan was discussed during several high-level White House meetings, according to participants. The effort was backed by Mr. Hagel in one of his first acts as defense secretary. John Kerry, the new secretary of state, supported the Pentagon, as did other top administration officials, according to meeting participants…

With Obama and Hagel and Kerry and probably Joe Biden involved, how could anything have gone wrong?

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, April 4th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

6 Responses to “Obama ‘Playbook’ For North Korea Is Backfiring”

  1. bousquem25 says:

    If it was a republican administration that did this then the left and the MSM would be screaming at the top of their lungs about warmongering and brinksmanship. There would also be all these calls for peace and negotiating (read giving the North Koreans anything they want for meaningless promises) like Clinton did.

  2. GetBackJack says:

    Obama ordered a Sea-based X-band radar platform moved off-shore to North Korea.


    Immediately comments showed up on the Intertubes to paint a giant eyeball on the side facing North Korea.

    Freak out L’il Kim.

  3. mr_bill says:

    Dear nerobama: Either pimp-slap the living daylights out of Kim Jung Un or completely ignore him. Pick one or the other, don’t flip flop back and forth, it makes you look like an indecisive flaccid d!ckless pansy. The Norks (or any of the other enemies of the US) don’t have any respect for a C-in-C who seems to be scared of a 3rd world country that can’t even feed its people. They’re likely to think you’re an indecisive flaccid d!ckless pansy and see how much they can get away with. See also: Chamberlain, Neville

    BTW, now that the Norks, Chinese, Russians, and Syrians are getting “all wee wee’d up,” this is a perfect time to try to take away guns from US citizens. /sarc

  4. Mithrandir says:

    Two-Faced Obama Caught Being Two-Faced:

    ♦Show military power, yet appeasement.
    ♦Prepare for strength, then act embarrassed it was discovered.
    ♦Ratchet up the heat, while defusing it.
    ♦Support your allies, yet show cowardice.
    ♦Send B2 bombers to region, that do nothing.
    ♦Participate in war games, but be meek about it.
    ♦Prepare for conflict, unless there isn’t, but there maybe conflict, unless we are wrong, then we should prepare, but make it look like we aren’t.

    1. The more you confront Koreans, the more likely they will back down at the 11th hour. (ALWAYS THE 11th HOUR AND 59 MINUTES, ALWAYS)
    2. Don’t blink when they threaten.
    3. Words mean things, but your skill in determining its literal or figurative meaning predicts outcomes.
    4. They threaten to get other things they want, and when you give it to them, you reinforce that behavior, which they don’t respect.
    5. They respect POWER, and they respect resilience, and they respect spines of steel. It’s part of their 5000 year history. There are no stories of men who were meek cowards, but plenty of men who stood up to superior forces, win or lose. This the the person Kim Jong Un wants to remembered as.
    If you have the time: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yi_Sun-sin

    It’s America 2013, vs. North Korea 1953 with American technology of 1943.
    Obama is so busy out-thinking himself, chasing his own tail, it’s likely America will do nothing no matter what the provocation turns out to be. Which is a shame, because this is a massacre the whole world would like to see.

  5. USSFreedom says:

    China’s military having an agreement to stand by their ally presently amassing troops on the border. The hordes of Chinese troops that slaughtered and were slaughtered during the “police action” of the 50’s played a major role during the conflict. Russian Migs piloted by Russians strafed our troops as they were retreating South after being overrun by wave after wave of our present debt holders. Captured GI’s tied to small trees and executed as a no prisioners order was issued. The total war approach by the combined commie forces produced what was called a truce but, in reality was a stalemate. Truman harnessing General Mc Arthur and agreeing to be flim-flamed by the promise of peace brings us to the situation we are in now. Payup and shut up from Beijing and reduce your atomic capabilities as we build up ours by the Putinites. Read somewhere about the Bear and the Dragon attacking the Eagle to bring about the war to end war. My 8 yr old grand daughter asked if the world would ever end and I answered, in the Bible it says, world without end. She thought for a moment and asked, ” Does it say if people will be on it?”

    • Mithrandir says:

      This is how stupidity reigns, and common sense is not common.

      Any idiot would just make an agreement with China and Russia, after N. Korea is allowed to fall, that NO military forces will advance, or be stationed above the 38th parallel, ever! Thereby, assuring those countries that the U.S. or S.Korea will not have tanks on their border. None of the countries involved need to spend money monitoring or manning the border, only police and standard immigration officials.

      Very hospitable trade agreements can be made to each country. The Siberian Railroad can extend all the way from St. Petersburg to Busan, increasing trade and tourism.

      It would even be VERY ADVANTAGEOUS to pay China ALL of the debt we owe them NOW, IN GOLD, if they look the other way and let N.Korea fall. It is MUCH CHEAPER than an extended military conflict. It also would have been better to pay Saddam Hussein billions just to leave the country, rather than borrow a trillion and half from China for regime change with no resulting benefit to us.

      Instead of waving sticks in the air, there are also plenty of carrots to wave around, which doesn’t reward N.Korea for their babyish belligerence.

      We made a mistake by sacking MacArthur, but we don’t need to re-fight that situation again as it appears China is moving troops around ready for the same tactic that worked in the 50s.

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