MAD or Detente
Fernando Mendez | 9/18/2017, 8:25 a.m.
The leader of North Korea is threatening South Korea and the United States with nuclear weapons. A recent picture of Kim Jong-un consulting with his generals shows a map of Guam, a likely target of his bombs. Mutually Assured Destruction is an apt description of what might occur if Jong-un launches an attack. On the other hand, the South Korean militaries organizing a special force to take out the leadership of North Korea, with the declared intention of killing Kim Jong-un whose government has recently accelerated the pace in the development of nuclear weapons. The United Nations Security Council has just passed by unanimous vote additional sanctions against North Korea. U.S. lawmakers have complained that the U.S. is not exerting enough pressure on North Korea to stop the development of weapons capable of reaching the continental United States. Many legislators are suggesting that we put pressure on China, North Korea’s ally and largest trading partner to stop its aggressive policies. But Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Ca) declared that we don’t dare put pressure on China because that could have serious economic repercussions for the United States.
Donald Trump has added to the tension with his ambiguous statements about the conflict and the consequences of any attack by North Korea. He said the UN sanctions are “not a big deal,” repeating what others have said about the fact that stronger sanctions are needed to rein in Jong-un. Trump called the sanctions just another “very small step.” And then he issued a veiled threat suggesting that a lot more can be done without being specific. Via tweeter he has talked a bout the U.S. response to Kim Jong-un with “fire and fury.” At this point Chiba and Russia continue to support North Korea. Both countries support North Korea in defiance of UN sanctions, doing business as usual with the outlaw regime. There is no evidence that China intends to stem North Korea’s revenue flows. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is applying “peaceful pressure” on the regime, but stronger measures are needed applying diplomatic and economic pressure to bring them to the negotiating table. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said at a conference that the United States is ready to send a message to anybody willing to trade with North Korea that the U.S. will not trade with them. Mnuchin said that the UN resolutions are more “tools in our box,” to attempt to solve the problem. Diplomatic solutions have always been on the table, but Susan Thornton acting Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs is quoted in an article published by CNN that “The United States remains ready to counter any threat with force.” In spite of Donald Trump’s threats of imminent action he knows that Congress is not inclined to get involved in a conflict with North Korea that might involve China. But the danger still exists that Kim Jong-un will act irrationally throwing the world into turmoil. An atomic war is unimaginable in its consequences. Diplomacy is the only way.
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