Mad About THAAD: An Untimely Decision, by Mel Gurtov

Mel Gurtov excoriates the US government for its decision to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system in South Korea. From Gurtov at antiwar.com:

The US decision, supported by the South Korean government, to deploy an antimissile system known as THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) may be one of the most thoughtless strategic moves in a generation. The official US argument is that close-in defense against North Korean missiles is necessary. But the deployment has resulted in the following: an argument in China for increasing its nuclear weapons stockpile; an incentive in North Korea for moving rapidly ahead to develop its long-range missile capability; a deep fissure in China-South Korea relations; roiling of South Korean politics at a time when its corrupt president has been impeached; and a new issue in Sino-US relations.

Most of these negatives were well known when THAAD was initially on the drawing board several years ago. Yet they were thrust into the background on the argument that the North Korean missile threat to the continental US was so pressing as to warrant building a defense against it. Never mind that any North Korean missile attack, whether on South Korea, Japan, or the US, would result in the immediate and utter destruction of North Korea military and political institutions, as Kim Jong-un and his colleagues surely understand. But rather than consider the possibility that North Korea’s nuclear weapon and missile buildup is intended to deter a US attack, and rather than weigh a new diplomatic overture to the North that might reduce tensions and thus the need for THAAD, US leaders in the last two administrations went ahead. Lay the decision at the door of the “military-industrial complex” if you will, the fact remains that planning and deployment of THAAD is a decision where the risks and costs far outweigh any benefit.

To continue reading: Mad About THAAD: An Untimely Decision

 

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