Washington: Prominent North Korean analysts, citing what they see as increasingly troubling signs coming from the dictatorial regime, have voiced concerns that its new young leader, Kim Jong-un, could do something ill-advised and even start a war with the US.
On Friday North Korea renewed what the U.S. has condemned as its `bellicose rhetoric`, saying Kim had ordered the nation`s missile forces to prepare to strike the United States and South Korea.
According to the Christian Science Monitor, in response to the prospect of North Korea following through on this and other marginally less dire threats, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said that the US military "will unequivocally defend, and [is] unequivocally committed to the alliance with, South Korea."
Some former US Special Operations Forces and longtime Korea defense analysts have their own thoughts on what an `unequivocal` US military response could look like.
That includes how US troops would be deployed in the event of a lethal first strike on US and allied military forces by North Korea - precisely the sort of move Kim has been threatening to make.
Patrick Cronin, senior director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security, said that should Kim choose to do "something even more outlandish," the US military and South Korean response would be more dire.
Retired Brig. General Russell Howard, former commander of the 1st Special Forces Group, which has an Asia focus, said that should Kim decide to begin firing them, he says, "in the first few hours of the conflict, it would be pretty ugly."
At the same time, North Korea could begin "swarming" its sizable contingent of 600,000 Special Operations commandos, Howard added, now the director of the Terrorism, Research, and Education Program at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, the report added.