Question: Has North Korea re-invaded South Korea since it signed an armistice 65 years ago suspending the Korean War?
Answer: It has been deterred.
Question: Would it make sense for the United States to initiate a new war against North Korea even if North Korea did not invade South Korea or attack the United States?
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, however, takes the opposite point of view.
Appearing on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" on Sunday, Graham argued that Congress should authorize President Donald Trump to take the United States to war against North Korea if North Korea does not give up its nuclear weapons program.
"The goal is to eliminate their nuclear missile program, not contain it," said Graham.
"There's three outcomes here: Peace, where we have a win-win solution," Graham said. "Military force, where we devastate the North Korean regime and stop their program by force. Or to capitulate like we have done in the past. And Donald Trump is not going to capitulate. So, there's really only two options: peace or war."
Eight days before Trump's Singapore summit with Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un, a group of Senate Democrats — including Minority Leader Charles Schumer — sent the president a letter urging him to seek the "complete and verifiable denuclearization" of North Korea.
When Stephanopoulos asked Graham about this anomalously hawkish letter from his Democratic colleagues, Graham challenged them: They must vote to authorize war.
"So, here's the question for my Democratic colleagues: If diplomacy fails, will you support my efforts to authorize the use of military force as a last resort to convince North Korea and China things are going to be different this time," Graham said. "A bipartisan (authorization for the use of military force) would really make that letter much more credible. And if diplomacy fails, as a last resort, Democrats and Republicans need to put the military option on the table or we will never get a good deal."
What would a new Korean War look like? At a June 12, 2017 hearing in the House Armed Services Committee, Defense Secretary James Mattis said: "It would be war like nothing we have seen since 1953."
"It would be very, very serious war," he said.
Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, then described for the committee what would happen in South Korea.
"Regardless of what happens, there's 25 million people in Seoul, 300,000 of those are Americans who are within range of thousands of rockets, missiles and artillery pieces along the border," said Dunford.
"I don't have any doubt in my mind if we go to war with North Korea that we will win the war. We will be successful in accomplishing our objectives," Dunford continued.
"I'm equally confident in what Secretary Mattis said," he added. "In that conflict, we will see casualties unlike anything we have seen in 60 or 70 years. And many of those casualties will be in the first three, five, seven days of the war, where all those people in the greater Seoul area (are) exposed to the North Korean threat that we will not be able to mitigate initially."
Why is Kim seeking nuclear-armed missiles capable of reaching the United States? Does he want to commit regime suicide by starting a nuclear war — even though he, his father or grandfather could have attempted a similar post-armistice suicide via conventional war years ago?
On June 26, 2017, Scott Bray, who works for the director of national intelligence as the national intelligence manager for East Asia, gave a public speech explaining what the U.S. intelligence community believes Kim is doing and why.
"We believe North Korea's strategic objective is the development of a credible nuclear deterrent," Bray said.
"Kim Jong Un is committed to development of a long range nuclear armed missile capable of posing a direct threat to the continental United States to complement his existing ability to threaten the region," said Bray.
"Kim views nuclear weapons as a key component of regime survival and a deterrent against outside threats," he said.
If the intelligence community is right, Kim, who appears to enjoy the material benefits his power brings, wants nuclear weapons for "regime survival" not regime suicide.
But if it were up to Lindsey Graham, the United States would be preparing to start a war with all the consequences described by Secretary Mattis and General Dunford.
Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSnews.com. To find out more about him, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.