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Living with a nuclear North Korea – a better idea than panicking into nuclear war

Why can’t we live with a nuclear North Korea?, The Week,  Gracy Olmstead  6 Dec 17 How do you “solve” the North Korea problem? This question has dominated U.S. foreign policy discussions for years. Former President Barack Obama warned President Trump before his inauguration that the small, poor, nuclear-armed country could pose the most urgent foreign policy challenge of his presidency.

Despite extensive economic sanctions and diplomatic pressure, North Korea continues to advance its military power. Last week, North Korea tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that could potentially reach the entire continental U.S. American politicians are scrambling to figure out how to respond.

Unfortunately, the first and primary position on the part of most U.S. policymakers has been panicked overreaction. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told CNN, “If we have to go to war to stop this, we will. If there’s a war with North Korea it will be because North Korea brought it on itself, and we’re headed to a war if things don’t change.”…….

North Korea is an oppressive and dictatorial country, one that has committed a plethora of human rights atrocities against its citizens, and which uses propaganda and antagonism to anger its opponents on the world stage. We know this. But while concerning, this new step by North Korea is neither unexpected nor revolutionary. The fundamentals of the situation remain unchanged. Policymakers need to take a deep breath.

Calling for war or military strikes to remove their nuclear capabilities is a counterproductive and dangerous policy. U.S. resources and presence in the region are already considerable — as American University scholar Joshua Rovner explains, “The best way to deter nuclear powers from using their arsenals to act more conventionally aggressive is by maintaining local conventional superiority. This enhances deterrence without risking escalation, which in turn reduces questions about credibility and alleviates stress on alliances.”

South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in opposes preventive strikes in response to North Korea’s recent tests, and has expressed some concern that the U.S. might act prematurely. “We must stop a situation where North Korea miscalculates and threatens us with nuclear weapons or where the United States considers a pre-emptive strike,” he said at a recent emergency meeting in Seoul.

Attempting to overthrow or undermine North Korea’s regime would have massive implications for South Korea, as well as for China and North Korea’s vulnerable citizenry. In this instance, preventive military action would result in a bevy of unintended consequences, yet nobody in the Trump administration talks about this…….

Calling for war or military strikes to remove their nuclear capabilities is a counterproductive and dangerous policy. U.S. resources and presence in the region are already considerable — as American University scholar Joshua Rovner explains, “The best way to deter nuclear powers from using their arsenals to act more conventionally aggressive is by maintaining local conventional superiority. This enhances deterrence without risking escalation, which in turn reduces questions about credibility and alleviates stress on alliances.”

South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in opposes preventive strikes in response to North Korea’s recent tests, and has expressed some concern that the U.S. might act prematurely. “We must stop a situation where North Korea miscalculates and threatens us with nuclear weapons or where the United States considers a pre-emptive strike,” he said at a recent emergency meeting in Seoul.

Attempting to overthrow or undermine North Korea’s regime would have massive implications for South Korea, as well as for China and North Korea’s vulnerable citizenry. In this instance, preventive military action would result in a bevy of unintended consequences, yet nobody in the Trump administration talks about this.

…….”Maximum pressure” will not work with North Korea. The U.S. must instead consider a strategy that acknowledges North Korea’s purpose and personality — and one that inspires confidence and respect in our allies, most especially South Korea, whose confidence in us seems to have been shaken by recent events…….

Although a nuclear North Korea is far from ideal, descending into panic will not serve U.S. interests abroad, and it won’t keep America safe. The Trump administration must consider the dangerous ramifications of their belligerent stance toward North Korea, before they make a catastrophic miscalculation. http://theweek.com/articles/740247/why-cant-live-nuclear-north-korea

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December 6, 2017 - Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA, weapons and war

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