There are two main points that need to be made regarding the North Korean Missile Program. First, sanctions have not worked and never will. With everything the world has done to isolate the North Koreans the result has been that they have continued, unabated, the development of Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles(ICBMs). Whether or not this latest ICBM could reach the U.S. is irrelevant. Once they have the capability to develop it, it will not be long before they also have the capability to reach the west coast of the U.S. and eventually the East coast. The fact is, sanctions rarely work against rogue regimes. They didn’t work with Iran despite what some in the media project and they haven’t worked with North Korea. Brutal, despotic dictators like Kim jong-un, don’t care if their citizens suffer and he has proven, more than willing to kill whoever would oppose him. What is clear is that President Obama’s support for sanctions and a diplomatic solution, have yielded no fruit. Given the current state of affairs, North Korea will have a nuclear ICBM capable of hitting the U.S. and sanctions and diplomacy won’t change that. So let’s end the conversation.
The second point is that we now face only two possible solutions. Either we accept a nuclear North Korea and do our best to contain it, or we strike with our military. Neither option is a good one. Some times there are Zonks behind both curtains, to steal a term from Let’s Make a Deal. This is one of those times. There is no good or right answer. There are no experts here. We are in uncharted territory. The question that must be decided is which of the two options is preferable? On the one hand we accept another nuclear power and hope, (never a good plan), that the rest of the world can keep him from using his nuclear weapons. Or on the other hand, we hit him with a preemptive strike and attempt to finish him off before he has the capability to strike Japan and the U.S. Of course we would be jeopardizing the lives of our thirty thousand troops stationed in South Korea and millions of South Koreans and Japanese. No one really knows what the North Korean response would be but it would create a scary scenario with a huge loss of life.
It’s time to finally end the silly rhetoric of strengthening the sanctions. They will not work. They have not worked. China continues to support the North Koreans as does Russia and that won’t change. So the only options left at this point, are the ones listed above. Even if the U.S. suddenly pulled every soldier out of South Korea and attempted to deescalate the conflict, it would make no difference. Kim jong-un is intent on developing long-range nuclear weapons and nothing will stop him from developing them. But there is a larger concern that I have not yet heard mentioned. Would Kim jong-un be willing to share this nuclear knowledge and weapons with IS for example? That should frighten everyone. Unless of course we make the decision to at last stand up to him. Rephrased, are we willing to sit back and do nothing while a mad man, develops weapons capable of ending millions of lives in the far east and eventually in the west?