Blogs: The Skeptics

North Korea's Latest ICBM Test Highlights America's Flawed Strategy

What Would Happen If North Korea Attacked Washington, DC with a Nuclear Weapon?

Does Korea Have to Reunify? Short Answer, No.

The Skeptics

This result might disappoint some South Koreans, but others might be relieved to avoid the manifold uncertainties, difficulties and costs of reunification. Moreover, a willingness to accept Chinese intervention could be used as a bargaining chip to encourage Beijing to toughen its stance toward Pyongyang. Knowledge that the allies would not take advantage of a North Korean collapse and reunification might make the PRC more willing to threaten the North to promote denuclearization.

While the desire for Korean reunification looks quixotic, the objective of denuclearization deserves priority. Ending or at least limiting the security crisis in Northeast Asia would open possibilities for peaceful transformation of the Korean Peninsula. Pursuing reunification without denuclearization is guaranteed to fail. Who really believes the rulers of a nuclear state would be willing to be absorbed by their neighbors?

President Trump asked an important question: is reunification necessary? It is not. It isn’t even obviously desirable, at least absent an unlikely transformation of the North. South Korea has come far; it does not want to sacrifice its success in a vain attempt to incorporate the North.

Maybe everything will work out. But maybe not. And the allies should be prepared. They have no higher duty than maintaining the peace. Reunification would be too dearly bought if it followed by another Korean War.

Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Tripwire: Korea and U.S. Foreign Policy in a Changed World.

Image: Reuters

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Libertarianism and Restraint

The Skeptics

This result might disappoint some South Koreans, but others might be relieved to avoid the manifold uncertainties, difficulties and costs of reunification. Moreover, a willingness to accept Chinese intervention could be used as a bargaining chip to encourage Beijing to toughen its stance toward Pyongyang. Knowledge that the allies would not take advantage of a North Korean collapse and reunification might make the PRC more willing to threaten the North to promote denuclearization.

While the desire for Korean reunification looks quixotic, the objective of denuclearization deserves priority. Ending or at least limiting the security crisis in Northeast Asia would open possibilities for peaceful transformation of the Korean Peninsula. Pursuing reunification without denuclearization is guaranteed to fail. Who really believes the rulers of a nuclear state would be willing to be absorbed by their neighbors?

President Trump asked an important question: is reunification necessary? It is not. It isn’t even obviously desirable, at least absent an unlikely transformation of the North. South Korea has come far; it does not want to sacrifice its success in a vain attempt to incorporate the North.

Maybe everything will work out. But maybe not. And the allies should be prepared. They have no higher duty than maintaining the peace. Reunification would be too dearly bought if it followed by another Korean War.

Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Tripwire: Korea and U.S. Foreign Policy in a Changed World.

Image: Reuters

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Why North Korea's Air Force is Total Junk 

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America Is About to Expand Its Missile Defenses Dramatically (But There is a Problem)

The Skeptics

This result might disappoint some South Koreans, but others might be relieved to avoid the manifold uncertainties, difficulties and costs of reunification. Moreover, a willingness to accept Chinese intervention could be used as a bargaining chip to encourage Beijing to toughen its stance toward Pyongyang. Knowledge that the allies would not take advantage of a North Korean collapse and reunification might make the PRC more willing to threaten the North to promote denuclearization.

While the desire for Korean reunification looks quixotic, the objective of denuclearization deserves priority. Ending or at least limiting the security crisis in Northeast Asia would open possibilities for peaceful transformation of the Korean Peninsula. Pursuing reunification without denuclearization is guaranteed to fail. Who really believes the rulers of a nuclear state would be willing to be absorbed by their neighbors?

President Trump asked an important question: is reunification necessary? It is not. It isn’t even obviously desirable, at least absent an unlikely transformation of the North. South Korea has come far; it does not want to sacrifice its success in a vain attempt to incorporate the North.

Maybe everything will work out. But maybe not. And the allies should be prepared. They have no higher duty than maintaining the peace. Reunification would be too dearly bought if it followed by another Korean War.

Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Tripwire: Korea and U.S. Foreign Policy in a Changed World.

Image: Reuters

Recommended: 

Why North Korea's Air Force is Total Junk 

Why Doesn't America Kill Kim Jong Un? 

The F-22 Is Getting a New Job: Sniper

Pages

Pages