Let North Korea implode
First, let's cover the "fire and fury" comment. The pendulum swings. We had eight years of soft-spoken and out-of-his-depth Mr. Obama. People were frustrated with him. Then they elected outspoken Mr. Trump. He's the anti-Obama. It's hard to find an American president who can strike the perfect balance between tough and gentle talk. If we can't seem to find a president with the perfect pitch and tone to please everyone, then I'd rather have tough talk than not believable intellectual ramblings, complete with "uhs" and gazing out over the horizon, as Mr. Obama did.
Only Reagan seemed to manage the right balance between tough talk and careful calculations, though his critics on the left called him a cowboy. Of course, they were wrong. Consider his response against terrorism.
He bombed Libyan targets after the North African rogue regime forced terrorism on the world. Here is a two-item timeline in 1986.
5 Apr: A bomb explodes in a discotheque frequented by US servicemen in W. Germany. One American sergeant is killed and 60 Americans are injured. Three terrorist groups claim credit. US officials blame Libya.
14-15 Apr: US planes strike Libya at 7:00 P.M Eastern Standard Time. The planes, some of which flew from Britain (and France would not allow aircraft to use its air space), and bombed Tripoli, including what is believed to be Col. Qadaffi’s home and headquarters. President addresses nation and says evidence was found that implicates Libya in discotheque bombing.
Reagan explained his decision with calm and firmness of purpose and resolve.
Then, on December 21, 1988, a suitcase filled with explosives detonated and downed New York-bound Pan Am Flight 103, killing 259 passengers and crew and 11 people on the ground over Lockerbie, Scotland. In response, on January 4, 1989, Reagan okayed the shooting down of Libyan fighters over international waters.
These U.S. military actions in 1986 and early 1989 came only after Libya initiated violence. It is a sad fact that people may have to die if North Korea hits a city with a stray missile. But it is a bad idea for the U.S. to launch a pre-emptive strike under current circumstances. (It's a great idea to do so if North Korea does cause deaths with its juvenile missile program.) In the meantime, we have to hope Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), or missile defense, will act as a deterrent or shoot down a stray missile and save lives.
As things stand now, we will just have to wait for North Korea to implode, economically, as we observed with the Soviet Union and then East Germany, which reunited with West Germany. Even though Khrushchev's shoe-pounding portrayed the Soviet premier as a lunatic, neither he nor his successors used nuclear weapons. We have to trust that Kim Jong-un will be equally cautious, even though he is as lunatic as Khrushchev.
But will North Korea implode? On August 5, the U.N. Security Council voted to toughen its sanctions on North Korea:
The Security Council today further strengthened its sanctions regime against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, condemning in the strongest terms that country’s ballistic missile launches and reaffirming its decision that Pyongyang shall abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programmes in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2371 (2017) under Article 41, Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the 15-nation Council decided that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea shall not supply, sell or transfer coal, iron, iron ore, seafood, lead and lead ore to other countries.
Expressing concern that Democratic People’s Republic of Korea nationals working abroad were generating foreign export earnings to support the country’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, it also decided that all Member States shall not increase the total number of work authorizations for such persons in their jurisdictions, unless approved by the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1718 (2006).
North Korea is an isolated military state. It shall implode someday soon, especially when (or if) China follows the U.N. resolution and does not prop up its client state. Until then, we will have to hope a missile doesn't go astray (and if it does, we can trust that we or our allies can shoot it down). And we will have to work hard to find political solutions before disaster strikes.
cartoon by Mike Harris
James Arlandson's website is Live as Free People, where he has posted One Hundred Accomplishments the West Can Be Proud Of (it's time for the West to stop hanging its head).