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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, SEPTEMBER 29, 2017 PAGE 5A By Caroline Glick www.carolineglick.eom The nuclear confrontation between the U.S. and North Korea entered a critical phase Sunday with North Korea's conduct of an underground test of a thermonuclear bomb. If the previous round of this confrontation earlier this summer revolved around Pyongyang's threat to attack the U.S. territory of Guam, Sunday's test, together with North Korea's recent tests of intercontinental ballistic mis- siles capable of reaching the continental U.S was a direct threat to U.S. cities. In otherwords, the current confrontation isn't about U.S. superpower status in Asia, and the credibility of U.S. deterrence or the capabilities of U.S. military forces in the Pacific. The confrontation is now about the U.S.'s ability to protect the lives of its citizens. The distinction tells us a number of important things. All of them are alarming. First, because this is about the lives of Americans, rather than allied populations like Japan and South Korea, the U.S. cannot be diffident in its response to North Ko- rea's provocation. While at- tenuated during the Obama administration, the U.S.'s position has always been that U.S. military forces alone are responsible for guaranteeing the collective security of the American people. Pyongyang is now directly threatening that security with hydrogen bombs. So if the Trump administration punts North Korea's direct threat to attack U.S. population centers with nuclear weapons to the UN Security Council, it will communicate profound weakness to its allies and adversaries alike. Obviously, this limits the options that the Trump ad- ministration has. But it also clarifies the challenge it faces. The second implication of North Korea's test of their plutonium-based bomb is that the U.S.'s security guar- antees, which form the basis of its global power and its alliance system are on the verge of becoming completely discredited. In an interview Sunday with Fox News's Trish Regan, former U.S. ambassador to the UN John Boiton was asked about the possible repercus- sions ofa U.S. military assault against North Korea for the security of South Korea. Regan asked, "What are we risking though if we say we're going to go in with strategic military strength? Are we going to end up with so many people's lives gone in South Korea, in Seoul because we make that move?" Bolton responded with brutal honesty. "Let me ask you this: how do you feel about dead Americans?" In other words, Bolton said that under prevailing conditions, the U.S. faces the painful choice between im- periling its own citizens and imperiling the citizens of an allied nation. And things will only get worse. Bolton warned that if North Korea's nuclear threat is left unaddressed, U.S. options will only become more problematic and limited in the years to come. This then brings us to the third lesson of the cur- rent round of confrontation between the U.S. and North Korea. If you appease an enemy on behalf of an ally then you aren't an ally. And eventually your alliance becomes empty of all meaning. For 25 years, three suc- cessive U.S. administrations opted to turn a blind eye to North Korea's nuclear program in large part out of concern for South Korea. Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama all sought to appease North Korea's aggressive nuclear adventurism because they didn't believe they had a credible military option to deal with it. In the 1980s, North Ko- rea developed and deployed a conventional arsenal of bombs and artillery along the demilitarized zone capable of vaporizing Seoul. Any U.S. military strike against North Korea's nuclear installation, it continues to be argued, would cause the destruction of Seoul and the murder of millions of South Koreans. So U.S. efforts to appease Pyongyang on behalf of Seoul emptied the U. S.- South Korean alliance of meaning. The U.S. can only serve as the protector of its allies, and so assert its great power status in the Pacific and worldwide, if it prevents its allies from being held hostage by its enemies. And now, not only does the U.S. lack a clear means of defending South Korea and Japan, America itself is threatened by the criminal regime it demurred from ef- fectively confronting. Regardless of the means U.S. President Donald Trump decides to use to respond to North Korea's provocative ac- tions and threats to America's national security, given the nature of the situation, it is clear that the balance of forces on the ground cannot and will not remain as they have been. If the U.S. strikes North Korea in a credible manner and successfully diminishes its capacity to physically threaten the U.S America will have taken the first step toward rebuilding its alliances in Asia. On the other hand, if the current round of hostilities does not end with a significant reduction of North Korea's offensive capabilities, either against the U.S. or its allies, then the U.S. will be hard pressed to maintain its pos- ture as a Pacific power. So long as Pyongyang has the ability to directly threaten the U.S. and its allies, U.S. strategic credibility in East Asia will be shattered. This then brings us to China. In mid-August, Trump's then chief strategist Steve Bannon was preparing a speech Trump was set to deliv- er that would have effectively declared a trade war against China in retaliation for its predatory trade practices against U.S. companies and technology. The speech was placed in the deep freeze-- and Bannon was forced to resign his position--when North Korea threatened to attack the U.S. territory of Guam with nuclear weapons. The U.S Trump's other senior advisers argued, couldn't declare a trade war against China when it needed China's help to restrain North Korea. So by enabling North Ko- rea's aggression against the U.S. and its allies, China has created a situation where the U.S. has become neutralized as a strategic competitor. Rather than advance its bilateral interests--like curb- ing China's naval aggression in the South China Sea--in its contacts with China, the U.S. is forced into the position of supplicant, begging China to restrain North Korea in order to avert war. If the U.S. does not act to significantly downgrade North Korea's offensive ca- pabilities now, when its own territory is being threatened, it is difficult to see how the U.S. will be able to develop an effective strategy for cop- ing with China's rise as an economic and strategic rival in Asia and beyond. That is, the U.S.'s actions now in response to North Korea's threat to its national security will determine whether or not the U.S. will be in a position to develop and implement a wider strategy for maintain- ing its capacity to project its economic and military power in the Pacific in the near and long term. Finally, part of the consid- erations that need to inform U.S. action now involve what North Korea's success in developing a nuclear arsenal under the noses of successive U.S. administrations means for the future of nuclear pro- liferation. In all likelihood, unless the North Korean nuclear arsenal is obliterated, Pyongyang's nuclear triumphalism will precipitate a spasm of nuclear proliferation in Asia and in the Middle East. The implications of this for the U.S. and its allies will be far reaching. In other words, if the U.S. does not respond in a strategically profound way to Pyongyang now, it will not only lose its alliance system in Asia, it will see the rapid collapse of its alliance system and superpower status in the Middle East. Israel, for one, will be imperiled by the sudden dif- fusion of nuclear power. Monday morning, North Korea followed up its ther- monuclear bomb test with a spate of threats to destroy the United States. These threats are deadly even if North Korea Glick on page 15A By Lawrence Grossman (JTA)--The 2013 Pew sur- vey "A Portrait of Jewish Americans" shows that Ortho- dox Judaism, while currently attracting the allegiance of only about 10 percent of all American Jews, is the fastest growing sector of the com- munity. The high birthrate and retention rate confirmed by the survey have led some observers to predict that within a generation, American Jewry will be predominantly Orthodox, culturally if not demographically. Of course we cannot pre- sume that present trends will continue, but it's surelyworth thinking about what such a Jewish community might look like. A glimpse of that hypotheti- cal future community may be found in the 2017 American Jewish Committee's Survey of American Jewish Opinion, the latest installment of the organization's annual report on the attitudes of a repre- sentative sample of American Jews, conducted in August. The stark differences it finds between Orthodox and non- Orthodox Jews today go far beyond varying patterns of religious observance, and suggest the profound so- cial, political and ideological changes that may lie ahead. The survey confirms that Orthodox Jews are highly pro-family and pro-natalist. An astounding 42 percent of the Orthodox respondents are aged 18-29, as compared to just 15 percent of Conser- vative Jews, 19 percent of Reform and 16 percent of those calling themselves "Just Jewish." And despite their relative youth, 83 percent of the Orthodox respondents are married, far more than the 54 percent of Conservative, 52 percent of Reform and 44 percent of Just Jewish who are. Jewish identity is strongest among the Orthodox. While virtually all respondents de- clared that being Jewish was important in their lives, a significant denominational dif- ference emerged as to whether being Jewish ranked as very im- portant: 99 percent of the Or- thodox said it did, as compared to 71 percent of Conservatives, 44 percent of Reform and 30 percent Just Jewish. Another large gap emerged in regard to visiting Israel: 84 percent of the Orthodox had done so, 65 percent of Conser- vatives, 49 percent of Reform and 37 percent of Just Jewish. A remarkable 66 percent of the Orthodox sample had been to Israel more than once--a higher rate than that for any of the non-Orthodox groups visiting once. In addition, the AJC survey demonstrates intense po- litical polarization between Orthodox and non-Orthodox Jews. The Orthodox are far more politically conservative, Republican and pro-Trump than other American Jews. Only 3 percent of the Ortho- dox sample describe them- selves as liberal, as compared to 46 percent of Conservative Jews, 64 percent of Reform and 60 percent of those who say they are Just Jewish. Sixty-nine percent of the Or- thodox identify as politically conservative, as do only 29 percent of Conservative Jews, 14 percent of Reform, and 16 percent of Just Jewish. (About an additional 20 percent in each of the denominations identify as "moderate, middle- of-the-road.') Even as Orthodox Repub- licans outnumber Orthodox Democrats by 43 to 22 percent (the rest are Independents), other Jews are overwhelming- ly Democratic--52 percent of Conservatives, 70 percent of Reform and 58 percent of the Just Jewish. And while 54 percent of the Orthodoxvoted for Trump in November, 60 percent of Conservatives, 89 percent of Reform Jews and 78 percent of the Just Jew- ish voted for Hillary Clinton. When the survey was done in August, 71 percent of the Or- thodox had a favorable impres- sion of Trump's performance as president. In contrast, 73 percent of the Conservatives, 88 percent of Reform and 81 percent of the Just Jewish judged it unfavorably. Responses to questions about Trump's performance on specific policy issues-- national security, terrorism, U.S.-Russia relations, NATO and the transatlantic alliance, race relations, immigration and the Iran nuclear issue-- showed a similar pattern. Non-Orthodox respondents view the administration's re- cord unfavorably by roughly 3 to 1, even as the Orthodox give it favorable ratings by about the same margin. On Israel, the survey find- ings clearly indicate that Orthodox Jews are much more hawkish and supportive of the current Israeli government than other Jews. Although clear majorities in all the non-Orthodox groups favor the establishment of a Pal- estinian state under current circumstances, 78 percent of the Orthodox oppose the idea. And asked their opinion of the way Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is han- dling his country's relations with the U.S 86 percent of Orthodox respondents ap- prove, 51 percent "strongly." In contrast, 38 percent of Conservatives, 51 percent of Reform and 53 percent of the Just Jewish disapprove. Questions on the relation- ship of religion and state in Israel elicited strong Ameri- can Orthodox backing for the status quo. For example, 57 percent of the Orthodox believe that Israel's recogni- tion of Orthodoxy as the sole official form of Judaism has no effect on the country's ties with American Jews, and another 28 percent feel it actu- ally strengthens those ties. In sharp contrast, however, clear majorities of each of the non- Orthodox groups responded that the religious status quo in Israel in fact weakens the ties between the two Jewish communities. If, indeed, American Jewry turns more Orthodox in com- ing years, and the Orthodox maintain their currentvalues and views, we will see a com- munity more family-centered, more strongly Jewish, more politically conservative, more engaged with Israel and more committed to Israel's Ortho- dox and right-leaning camps. But before making plans to prepare for this future scenario, bear in mind that prognosticators have been wrong before. Lawrence Gr~ossman is the American Jewish Commit- tee's director of publications. www.drybones.com