Lord Owen in the Daily Mirror 5 September 2017
View the article here: DropMOABifDiplomacyFails
The world faces a very grave situation over what to do to contain the Korean dictatorship of Kim Jong-un after the sixth and most powerful nuclear test in deﬁance of international law and progressively tougher UN resolutions passed unanimously with the support of China and Russia.
This comes after a series of Korean missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads were launched demonstrating to Japan and South Korea that they can be hit and promising the same would be done to the island of Guam in the Paciﬁc.
Guam is an unincorporated US territory whose inhabitants are automatically US citizens and it has been a critical place for US defence ever since the war against Japan in 1941.
The closest comparable threat to the US was during the night of the 26 October 1962 when Soviet troops in Cuba, ignoring President Kennedy’s earlier public demand for the removal of all Soviet missiles, moved three FKR missiles with 14 kiloton nuclear warheads, to within 15 miles of the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay.
For that one night the Russians, without reference back to Moscow, had orders to ﬁre if the US invaded the island.
The UK will not be asked in advance to approve any US action against North Korea but the UK was part of a UN force that the Labour Prime Minister, Clement Attlee, agreed should ﬁght in defence of South Korea in June 1950.
The Korean War was brought to an end in July 1953 after President Eisenhower had used the Indian Prime Minister Nehru to warn the Chinese leader Zhou Enlai in May
that the US would use atomic bombs north of the Yalu river in North Korea unless peace talks in Panmunjom between North and South Korea made rapid progress.
In 2006 the deteriorating situation in North Korea was part of an “uncertain world too big a risk for our defence” that convinced another Labour Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to renew our UK nuclear deterrent. More recently some 170 Labour MPs supported that decision in Parliament, later conﬁrmed in Labour’s manifesto in the recent 2017 General Election.
So Britain cannot wash its hands of the dilemma the US faces and disown any decision President Trump might make particularly if it emerges it had the support of the Chiefs of Staff and the Secretary of Defense, General James Mattis.
President Trump has talked directly to the Chinese President Xi in person and by other means many times. If Chinese diplomacy cannot change the mind of the Korean leader what will short of force? Perhaps initially using the Massive Ordnance Air Blast bombs on all nuclear sites will suﬃce, leaving nuclear bombs as a last resort only if South Korea is attacked.
These MOAB bombs (also known as Mother of All Bombs) were used for the ﬁrst time ever in April against an ISIS tunnel and cave complex in Afghanistan. It is an horrendous choice the US is facing.