America vs. North Korea: Can a Brutal War be Avoided?
As Thae Young-ho pointed out in his Congressional testimony, the Kim regime is not as solid as often depicted, and his totalitarian control over the population outside of Pyongyang is weakening. With an active and aggressive information operation plan, he said, the people within North Korea may eventually rise up as did the East Germans and others who had been imprisoned behind the Iron Curtain.
The objective of U.S. diplomatic and military policy in the region should be first to protect the U.S. mainland, and second to prevent the loss of life and destruction of property of U.S. allies in South Korea and Japan. Those goals can be accomplished by using firm deterrence, close cooperation with our allies, and an effective program to broadcast information about the outside world to the North Korean population. The use of preventive military action will almost certainly harm U.S. national security.
National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster said the U.S. was “running out of time” to solve the crisis in Korea, implying that military action will be needed within “a few months.” He is wrong. Time is on our side, not on Kim Jong-un’s. A rational, logical, and patient foreign policy will preserve the lives of our allies, prevent the use of nuclear weapons by North Korea, and increase American security. If time is running out on anything, I fear it may be on hoping Trump chooses a rational policy instead of a reckless militaristic one.
This first appeared in RealClearDefense here.