That’s what I argue in my Wall Street Journal column today, namely, that the best way to break the logjam with North Korea, prove our commitment to our allies, and make stability more likely in East Asia, is to blow Pyongyang’s “satellite” out of the sky. Reminding Kim Jong Un that we have a stick to use when he brushes off our attempts at the carrot might just make him and his handlers think about their own survivability.
Obviously, such a plan has risks, such as North Korea deciding to launch a war in response. But I think they’re too canny for that, since they know they would lose everything in such a scenario. I think shooting the missile down now not only won’t lead to war, but is a better approach to ensuring peace, given that we’ve tried repeatedly to negotiate with the North, and have been made fools of, each time.
I think we probably could intercept and destroy the NORK missile with existin Aegis/BMD capability. Maybe not with just one shot, but hey, there’s a lot of cells in a Mk41 VLS.
But the problem is, you have to have your ship in the right spot. And the Norks can easily just wait until inevitably, the Navy has to bring the ship home. Or conversely, they could force us to establish a defacto BMD station in the WestPac (in cooperation with the Japanese, who have their own BMD capable Kongo class destroyers).
I dunno. Do you shoot it down to prove you can? Or do you just ignore it and let the Norks throw their tantrum?