Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Hereís how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.


 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate

Subscribe!
Subscribe





On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.
___________

Syndicate
RSS/XML


RSS 2.0

The US has to accept North Korea as a nuclear power

By Alon Ben-Meir - posted Monday, 11 September 2017


Although President Trump is not responsible for the complete failure of the US to stop North Korea from becoming a nuclear power, his bellicose threats against North Korea and the acceleration of Pyongyang's missile and nuclear program have dangerously increased regional tension. The conflicting messages emerging from the White House, the lack of coordination with the Department of Defense, and the absence of effective diplomacy point to a total lack of a coherent strategy to deal with North Korea. It is time for the US to accept the reality that North Korea is a nuclear power. Short of a massive military attack on its nuclear facilities, which is unthinkable, no diplomatic efforts or incentives will compel Pyongyang to give up its nuclear arsenal, as the history of the conflict has demonstrated.

Instead, the US must now focus on diplomatic means to prevent North Korea from completing the development of a deliverable miniaturized nuclear warhead on an ICBM that would put the US and its allies at an unacceptable risk. This must be the red line that the regime should not be permitted to cross, and it may well be the only concession that North Korean leaders will be willing to make in return for several concessions-especially the retention of their nuclear weapons.

The lack of a comprehensive strategy to deal with the North Korean threat was sadly demonstrated by Trump's off-the-cuff bellicose statement, "North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen", or his tweet that followed, suggesting that "Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!"

Advertisement

Defense Secretary Mattis added fuel to the fire when he stated that "Any [North Korean] threat to the United States or its territories, including Guam, or our allies will be met with a massive military response, a response both effective and overwhelming [emphasis added]." None of these threats deterred North Korea. On the contrary, it responded by firing an ICBM that could theoretically reach the US followed by exploding what is believed to be a hydrogen bomb hundreds of times more powerful than the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan.

For the following reasons, Pyongyang has concluded that the US will not go to war over its nuclear program because of its dire implications, which was also echoed by several senior US officials.

The administration's concerns are not limited only to the horrifying devastation that such a war will inflict on the US' allies, especially South Korea and Japan, but the ominous destabilization of Southeast Asia that would put China and the US on a collision course, among other horrendous developments.

The US chose not to deploy additional naval and air assets to current forces stationed in the area, which raised serious doubts in the mind of Pyongyang about the US' credibility to use force. Instead, the Trump administration pushed for additional sanctions, which North Korean leaders anticipated and have managed to live with for decades.

Despite US pressure, China was and still is unwilling to force North Korea to abandon its nuclear program. China can live with a nuclear North Korea; it does not want to see the collapse of the North Korean regime fearing waves of refugees, and it does not want an increased American military presence in its hemisphere.

Moreover, contrary to US belief, China's influence on Pyongyang is limited, knowing that North Korean leaders would adhere to their wishes only up to a point. They will, however, stand fast to protect their nuclear weapons because they believe their very survival rests on the possession of such weapons-and they will never put them on the negotiating table.

Advertisement

North Korea also knows that South Korea does not want any military conflagration because it has the most to lose. The South Korean regime has time and again indicated its willingness to negotiate even in the midst of the boisterous exchange of threats between Washington and Pyongyang, to the chagrin of Trump.

Contrary to the view expressed by US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley who stated that Kim Jong Un is "begging for war," he is not. He knows that the US will not rush into a war unless he attacks the US or any of its allies' territories, which he will not even contemplate knowing that his country could potentially be wiped out by massive US retaliatory strikes.

Finally, Trump's warning that "The United States is considering, in addition to other options, stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea" would be impossible to implement, especially with China, whose trade with the US runs into the hundreds of billions of dollars. In any event, it will be counterproductive as the US needs China's support in dealing with North Korea.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All


Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

17 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with del.icio.us Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Dr. Alon Ben-Meir is a professor of international relations at the Center for Global Affairs at NYU. He teaches courses on international negotiation and Middle Eastern studies.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Alon Ben-Meir

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Article Tools
Comment 17 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend
Advertisement

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy