North Korea has the offensive capabilities to threaten both its neighbors and the United States. The United States needs to implement an effective response that will level the playing field and reassure its allies in the region.
Increased tensions between the United States and Iran over the last couple days, along with U.S. President Donald Trump’s calls to end the Iran Nuclear Deal, could put Iran on the same path as North Korea as an imminent threat potentially needing military consideration.
If the United States thrusts aside the nuclear deal with Iran—and uses contrived evidence to do so—the message to North Korea and others will be that America’s word is disposable and Washington cannot be trusted to honor its commitments.
While much of the discussion of a North Korean regime collapse focuses on its potential to unleash thousands of refugees and on the economic costs of Korean reunification, the geopolitical and security dangers would be far more consequential for the future stability of Northeast Asia.
Previous debates focusing on freezing North Korea's nuclear program are played out. Today, the main challenge is preventing North Korea from hurting the United States and its allies now that the Kim regime has long-range nuclear missiles.
North Korea’s most recent nuclear test calls into question a more active cooperation between China and the United States to increase long-term regional stability. Despite agreeing on the goal of denuclearization on the peninsula, both countries have been unable to reach a real consensus.
Thoughtful and respectful leadership, close consultation with affected parties, and a commitment of real resources to assemble necessary leverage present a better chance than anything on offer so far.
A wide-ranging conversation on the relationship the United States has with Russia, the G-20 meeting between Presidents Trump and Putin, trade with China, and more.
If anything were needed to underline how much safer the Iran deal has made the United States, the menace of North Korea’s nuclear development surely qualifies.
The goal of denuclearizing North Korea is not dead, but the United States and its partners must accept that it will take time to realize this goal and that, in the meantime, there are real dangers that must be prevented from unfolding.