Just Where Does North Korea’s Major Strategic Threat Lay?

Originally published:

As with all military that crosses my path, I make sure to reach out at first – and occasionally thereafter, if possible – to thank them so very much for their service, time, energy, commitment, and dedication to protecting our country. There are many of our soldiers that fully understand that God’s hand and presence are in all we do – no matter where we are, no matter what we are doing. Retired Captain Terry Michael Hestilow is one of them – this was a public post he had on his facebook wall recently about North Korea that brings a lot of perspectives that I believe many are missing, especially the complexity (layers) of the threat from NK.

I do not believe that Kim Jung Un has weapons that represent a major strategic threat to the United States proper. But they do represent an immediate threat to the South Korean cities and populations, Japan, the US Territory of Guam, and US military forces based in these areas. And the immediate physical threat is not at all insignificant. Let me make sure that I am clear about the layers of threat from North Korea.

One of the most experienced retired military leaders of our day, former Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Jack Keane, USA, Retired, told Sean Hannity on Thursday, August 10, 2017, that we will not be going to war with North Korea. I certainly hope that he is right; but this lowly retired Infantry captain believes that, to the contrary, the decision to go to war with Kim Jung Un is not really ours to make. Kim intends to start a war sooner rather than later whether we like it or not! His reasoning is not illogical. He thinks that he still has the backing of China, and he believes that now is the time to strike against South Korea to capitalize on a reunification under the threat of nuclear war. If he does not overwhelm South Korea now, his population in the North will collapse from starvation and the United States will restrengthen our capacity to re-exert power in the region (Obama and the Democrats terribly weakened US military forces, and under the command of President Donald Trump the military will be restoring strength rapidly.

Second, it is essential that he push the United States into war now because he knows that Democrats, the Establishment, the media, and many in the Republican Party will fight the President and interfere in allowing President Trump from taking the necessary military action to defeat Kim. While he would very much like to continue to develop his nuclear capability, he doesn’t have the time.

I could go on, but here are his ace cards. The North Koreans have been working for decades to build a fearsome array of artillery emplacements positioned to rain conventional death on the heavily populated South Korean capital of Seoul. Kim intends to use this very real and terrible threat immediately upon any retaliatory response from the United States to his provocations (like firing four missiles toward Guam). And what he is certain of is that any U.S. response will (in his mind) force his protector, China, to respond militarily against the United States regionally (because we will not accept China’s illegal expansion throughout shipping lanes in the area). Let me just say that most wars have started over lesser triggers.

We cannot allow Kim to further develop his nuclear capability, and we can’t ignore Kim’s continuing present aggression. His provocations will only become more dangerous and if we allow him to get away with lesser attacks it will only encourage greater aggression from like threats worldwide.

The real wild card in all of this is China. Does China recognize that stopping Kim is in their own best interests? That will be the key to avoiding world war. If China takes Kim out, then the world can continue to spin normally and North Korea can be economically stabilized. Otherwise, the flames of conventional conflict will most likely fan into a global rage. This is where I see the catastrophic destruction coming from.

I hope that I have made some sense. There are layered approaches that might remove Kim and yet keep China disengaged, but we won’t try to discuss that in any detail. I hope, though, that this old infantryman has shed more light on the why’s that war is more likely than not. Bottom line is that Kim has no choice. His time is running out if he doesn’t push us now. His hope is that Trump will not be able to respond (see media and Congress).

May God grant the wisdom of Solomon to our new president, and may General Keane’s certainty that we will not have to go to war prove true.

God bless America, and God bless Israel.
CPT Terry Michael Hestilow, USA, Ret.
August 11, 2017

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