What To Do About North Korea

In my opinion, the U.S. policy toward N. Korea is totally wrong and totally counter-productive. Sanctions are completely the wrong policy. War games and military maneuvers in and around Korea are wrong. Threats are wrong. The entire negative attitude toward N. Korea is completely wrong. The aim of forcing it not to be a nuclear power is wrong.

Nikki Haley’s statements are completely wrong. They are presumably made with the approval of Donald Trump, and so his take on North Korea is also completely wrong. She said “Today, we are saying the world will never accept a nuclear armed North Korea, and today the Security Council is saying that if the North Korean regime does not halt its nuclear program, we will act to stop it ourselves.” She has just threatened war unless North Korea does what she and Trump demand. How ridiculous is such a posture among independent and sovereign states!

Haley said “We are done trying to prod the regime to do the right thing, we are now trying to stop it from having the ability to do the wrong thing.” She refers to sanctions, and the “wrong thing” she refers to is the N. Korean nuclear program. But this is simply the same thing, namely, issuing threats and creating virtual blockades in order to push the N. Koreans around. It’s quite close to war itself, and it’s a provocation toward war. For what? To force N. Korea to do what the U.S. demands. Such demands and sanctions are totally wrong. N. Korea knows they are wrong and they’ve said so. In their statement, they said that the U.N. resolution with the new sanctions is “a product of heinous provocation aimed at depriving the DPRK of its legitimate right to self-defense and completely suffocating its state and people through a full-scale economic blockade.” This is an entirely accurate statement.

The U.S. is powerful but it’s not using its power the right way. It should not wave a sword over the head of N. Korea while making demands that impinge on the North Korean government and sovereignty, no matter how much the U.S. may dislike what that government is doing. That places the U.S. in the wrong morally. It makes the U.S. into an aggressor. The right way to use U.S. power is to reserve its use for clear violations of U.S. sovereignty that amount to acts of war against America.

North Korea knows full well that if it attacked South Korea, Japan or Guam, the entire world would turn against it in a repeat of 1950. This threat doesn’t even have to be articulated. The U.S. can articulate a desire to see the two Koreas settle their differences and live in peace, but it should go no further than that. It should not suggest terms of any kind.

The U.S. is so strong that it can afford to place the moral onus on N. Korea. It can do this by stopping the war games and maneuvers in Korea, by removing its forces from S. Korea, and by altering its policies. It should certainly stop threatening China with sanctions and pressuring it to make N. Korea alter its nuclear program. The U.S. should inform N. Korea that all sanctions are to be removed and that N. Korea is free to import and export whatever it desires from wherever it desires, including this country.

The burden of the problem is then shifted to both N. Korea and S. Korea. The moral burden falls upon them. Any N. Korean attack under such conditions of American withdrawal makes them the clear aggressor and open to retaliation, but the U.S. doesn’t have to threaten that outcome because it evidently has the power. Let the uncertainty be on the N. Korean side.

Even if the U.S. pulls back, matters have gone so far that N. Korea may continue to develop their weapons and missiles. There is nothing that can be done about that. That’s their right. If, after the U.S. leaves Korea, the North still issues threats of bombarding America, that can be dealt with at that time in the context of whatever else transpires. But because the U.S. power is so great and can devastate N. Korea, there is no reason to get overly excited. The U.S. can go into a relatively passive, quiet and undemanding role for the indefinite future. Threats, sanctions, embargoes and so on from the U.S. are not going to do anything to alter N. Korea’s behavior, as they haven’t in the past. They’ll only hasten and intensify their program, and this is exactly what they say. The U.S. only weakens itself by making demands and threats that cannot be enforced without a full-scale war that kills millions with horrible results. Paradoxically, the U.S. strengthens its position and gains a greater chance of seeing peace on the Korean peninsula by pulling back and going quiet. It’s too late to denuclearize the peninsula by force.


7:24 pm on September 13, 2017