It seems not have occurred to the viewers of CNN, to Anderson Cooper and to the endless guest commentators who form the anti-Trump media that, if they are successful in paralyzing this presidency via some form of legal jeopardy, their own lives could be imperiled. They appear utterly convinced that Trump must be stopped for a myriad of reasons but especially before he can order a preemptive strike on North Korea.
Yet it seems that their abject hatred for Trump has blinded them from seeing that we are rapidly moving toward a new Cuban Missile crisis where, in addition to the Korean Peninsula, the lives of millions American liberals and non-liberals in Honolulu, San Francisco, and Los Angeles could also be at stake.
A few days prior to Trump’s signing the 2018 omnibus bill, Arthur Herman and Stephen Meyer wrote a piece for the Wall Street Journal, Drones Can Protect Us from Kim’s Missiles in which they proposed, for as little as $100 million (1% of the annual Missile Defense Agency budget), the Pentagon could deploy a drone-based missile defense system over the Sea of Japan.
They point out that there is already a drone-based system in place which detects the launch of North Korean missiles in their boost phase. Moreover, this same system could easily be equipped with a weapon system that shoots a missile down close enough to its launch site to send the debris back onto North Korean soil, thereby not endangering our troops or allies.
Remarkably, Herman and Meyer concluded that such a system, if the funds were made available in the omnibus bill, could be ready in as soon as 12 months. And given the North Koreans’ uninterrupted record of deceit in their nuclear arms negotiations, when Trump meets Kim in May, this would give him “a strong card to play.”
I caught up with Peter Pry, who is the Executive Director of the U.S. Nuclear Strategy Forum and who is arguably the most knowledgeable person outside the Pentagon on U.S. nuclear weapons capabilities. I wanted to know if the omnibus bill contained the funding for the above system, one that could protect the U.S. territories and mainland from Korean nuclear attack and was the Trump administration moving on it full speed ahead.
In talking to Pry, I learned that the answers were, “yes” and “yes.”
Kelley: Do you see the drone-based system described by Herman and Meyer as being an effective countermeasure to North Korea’s ICBMs and are the funds for its build-out in the new omnibus budget?
Pry: It is in the budget and, yes, the technology is real. It is something we could put in place. It’s not the total solution but it’s a whole lot better than what we have now. A more perfect version will take longer to build but there is no reason why we can’t put air-to-air missiles on our predator drones and do so in 12 months or sooner. DoD (Department of Defense) is crashing on this right now.
Kelley: That’s great news. Are there no roadblocks to getting this system deployed before Kim can target cities on the American west coast?
Pry: There are people in the State Department, mostly Obama holdovers, who will argue, if we put drones armed with missiles into their North Korean air space, this will be an act of war.
Kelley: Therefore, you don’t see a way for us, over the next 12 months, to arm those drones over the Sea of Japan?
Pry: We’ll need more time to equip them with longer range missiles. But I would argue that even if we put them into North Korean airspace, this would be an act of self-defense, due to all the threats that this regime has leveled at the U.S. We legally have the right to defend ourselves, given that we are technically still at war with North Korea.
Kelley: Could you comment upon the Aegis ship-based systems we have deployed. Do you see them as integral to protecting U.S. cities?
Pry: Absolutely. It’s one of our best options and we have it now. I believe we have already forward deployed enough assets in the Sea of Japan to cover all possible attack trajectories aimed at us. And we have already used Aegis to take down satellites.
Kelley: This brings me to ask you why you think that the drone systems are not a total solution. Is it because, as you and I discussed last May, North Korea has two satellites whose orbits include traversing the U.S. mainland? (See my two-part series, In this New Cuban Missile Crisis, Are We Already in Checkmate? Townhall.com, May 6, 7, 2017)
Pry: That’s right. We ought to use the Aegis to take out both of those satellites, both of which could be armed with advance EMP (Electro Magnetic Pulse) weapons which have the capability to shut down the entire U.S. grid, an existential threat to us.
Kelley: Should negotiation between Kim and Trump fail, what do you feel should be our response?
Pry: Many of the so-called experts have written that there are no good military options. That’s not true.We could use three aircraft carrier groups to surgically take out the ICBM threat (to the U.S.) in three to six hours. But before we do that, the first thing we should do is take out those satellites. If one or both have EMP weapons on board equipped for salvage use, that is designed to detonate even if the vehicle were destroyed, that would be it for us…
Kelley: Unless we take those satellites out when one is over an ocean and the other over a polar cap.
Pry: Correct. We could do this with a minimum loss of human life. As James Woolsey (former Director of the CIA) and I have advocated, after we take them out, we have a strategic pause and offer negotiations to Russia, China, and North Korea. Up to this point, no other administration has launched even a symbolic act which demonstrates that we are serious about a military option. It would be the lowest risk operation in terms of loss of life. But at the same time, it would eliminate the greatest form of military threat to us as posed by North Korea.
What an improvement it would be to our current dangerous political environment if some in the Trump-hating media would find the wisdom in taking a pause in their attacks. But that is probably too much to hope for.