Blogs: The Skeptics

German Politics Is Giving Rise to a New Tide of Populism

Trump's UN Speech Was a Win for North Korea

The Skeptics

Steps that would suggest easing if not abandoning what the North calls Washington’s “hostile policy” include suspending annual U.S.-ROK military exercises, negotiating a peace treaty, and initiating regular government-to-government contacts, including possible diplomatic recognition. The latter should be seen as establishing a channel of communication, not providing a reward. Refusing to talk with the Soviet Union would not have shortened the Cold War.

The United States should also move to disengage militarily from the Korean Peninsula. South Korea long has been capable of expanding its military and defending itself from its vastly poorer adversary. Such a step would sharply reduce the potential for conflict between Washington and Pyongyang. It is America’s participation in the Korean imbroglio that is making the country into a nuclear target. If the North successfully tops ICBMs with nuclear weapons, the risk of a new Korean conflict for the United States will have risen exponentially. Yet there is nothing at stake in the peninsula that justifies Washington’s participation in a nuclear conflict.

Washington also needs to look for alternatives to the present apparent choice between a nuclear North Korea or Second Korean War. One is to encourage the South to develop a countervailing deterrent. A majority of South Koreans back this course. Doing so would allow Washington to drop its “nuclear umbrella” over the ROK and leave the nuclear threats to others. Even more important, the possibility of a South Korean nuke—and a companion Japanese weapon—would get China’s attention. Beijing might seek to be more “persuasive” in halting the DPRK’s program.

Finally, if its other strategies fail, the United States should consider reluctantly accepting a nuclear North Korea, rather like the Bush administration recognized a nuclear India, and relying on deterrence, as America did against Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union. Washington then should negotiate to freeze the current program. That would, of course, require inspections and verification, and satisfy no one. But far better to face a North Korea with a nuclear arsenal capped at, say, twenty bombs than a North Korea possessing 100 nukes with more to come. Second best still is better than the other options.

The DPRK’s latest tests are unnerving but not new. And they have changed nothing: the North currently is not capable of hitting American cities. It may gain that ability more quickly than once thought, but it remains only a possibility. Contrary to the president’s rhetoric, there is no immediate crisis, and certainly no justification for war.

If the president wants to solve the problem, he will ratchet back his irresponsible rhetoric and stop inadvertently affirming Kim’s nuclear efforts. America is the world’s greatest and most powerful nation. Its leader shouldn’t sound and act like the dictator of a small, impoverished, and deadend state half the world away.

Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute and a former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan. He is the author of Tripwire: Korea and U.S. Foreign Policy in a Changed World and coauthor of The Korean Conundrum: America’s Troubled Relations with North and South Korea.

Image: North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un makes a statement regarding U.S. President Donald Trump's speech at the U.N. general assembly, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang September 22, 2017. KCNA via REUTERS

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Kim Jong Un: What If America Just Assassinated North Korea's Dangerous Dictator?

The Skeptics

Steps that would suggest easing if not abandoning what the North calls Washington’s “hostile policy” include suspending annual U.S.-ROK military exercises, negotiating a peace treaty, and initiating regular government-to-government contacts, including possible diplomatic recognition. The latter should be seen as establishing a channel of communication, not providing a reward. Refusing to talk with the Soviet Union would not have shortened the Cold War.

The United States should also move to disengage militarily from the Korean Peninsula. South Korea long has been capable of expanding its military and defending itself from its vastly poorer adversary. Such a step would sharply reduce the potential for conflict between Washington and Pyongyang. It is America’s participation in the Korean imbroglio that is making the country into a nuclear target. If the North successfully tops ICBMs with nuclear weapons, the risk of a new Korean conflict for the United States will have risen exponentially. Yet there is nothing at stake in the peninsula that justifies Washington’s participation in a nuclear conflict.

Washington also needs to look for alternatives to the present apparent choice between a nuclear North Korea or Second Korean War. One is to encourage the South to develop a countervailing deterrent. A majority of South Koreans back this course. Doing so would allow Washington to drop its “nuclear umbrella” over the ROK and leave the nuclear threats to others. Even more important, the possibility of a South Korean nuke—and a companion Japanese weapon—would get China’s attention. Beijing might seek to be more “persuasive” in halting the DPRK’s program.

Finally, if its other strategies fail, the United States should consider reluctantly accepting a nuclear North Korea, rather like the Bush administration recognized a nuclear India, and relying on deterrence, as America did against Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union. Washington then should negotiate to freeze the current program. That would, of course, require inspections and verification, and satisfy no one. But far better to face a North Korea with a nuclear arsenal capped at, say, twenty bombs than a North Korea possessing 100 nukes with more to come. Second best still is better than the other options.

The DPRK’s latest tests are unnerving but not new. And they have changed nothing: the North currently is not capable of hitting American cities. It may gain that ability more quickly than once thought, but it remains only a possibility. Contrary to the president’s rhetoric, there is no immediate crisis, and certainly no justification for war.

If the president wants to solve the problem, he will ratchet back his irresponsible rhetoric and stop inadvertently affirming Kim’s nuclear efforts. America is the world’s greatest and most powerful nation. Its leader shouldn’t sound and act like the dictator of a small, impoverished, and deadend state half the world away.

Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute and a former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan. He is the author of Tripwire: Korea and U.S. Foreign Policy in a Changed World and coauthor of The Korean Conundrum: America’s Troubled Relations with North and South Korea.

Image: North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un makes a statement regarding U.S. President Donald Trump's speech at the U.N. general assembly, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang September 22, 2017. KCNA via REUTERS

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America May Push Iran Into Becoming the Next Nuclear Crisis

The Skeptics

Steps that would suggest easing if not abandoning what the North calls Washington’s “hostile policy” include suspending annual U.S.-ROK military exercises, negotiating a peace treaty, and initiating regular government-to-government contacts, including possible diplomatic recognition. The latter should be seen as establishing a channel of communication, not providing a reward. Refusing to talk with the Soviet Union would not have shortened the Cold War.

The United States should also move to disengage militarily from the Korean Peninsula. South Korea long has been capable of expanding its military and defending itself from its vastly poorer adversary. Such a step would sharply reduce the potential for conflict between Washington and Pyongyang. It is America’s participation in the Korean imbroglio that is making the country into a nuclear target. If the North successfully tops ICBMs with nuclear weapons, the risk of a new Korean conflict for the United States will have risen exponentially. Yet there is nothing at stake in the peninsula that justifies Washington’s participation in a nuclear conflict.

Washington also needs to look for alternatives to the present apparent choice between a nuclear North Korea or Second Korean War. One is to encourage the South to develop a countervailing deterrent. A majority of South Koreans back this course. Doing so would allow Washington to drop its “nuclear umbrella” over the ROK and leave the nuclear threats to others. Even more important, the possibility of a South Korean nuke—and a companion Japanese weapon—would get China’s attention. Beijing might seek to be more “persuasive” in halting the DPRK’s program.

Finally, if its other strategies fail, the United States should consider reluctantly accepting a nuclear North Korea, rather like the Bush administration recognized a nuclear India, and relying on deterrence, as America did against Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union. Washington then should negotiate to freeze the current program. That would, of course, require inspections and verification, and satisfy no one. But far better to face a North Korea with a nuclear arsenal capped at, say, twenty bombs than a North Korea possessing 100 nukes with more to come. Second best still is better than the other options.

The DPRK’s latest tests are unnerving but not new. And they have changed nothing: the North currently is not capable of hitting American cities. It may gain that ability more quickly than once thought, but it remains only a possibility. Contrary to the president’s rhetoric, there is no immediate crisis, and certainly no justification for war.

If the president wants to solve the problem, he will ratchet back his irresponsible rhetoric and stop inadvertently affirming Kim’s nuclear efforts. America is the world’s greatest and most powerful nation. Its leader shouldn’t sound and act like the dictator of a small, impoverished, and deadend state half the world away.

Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute and a former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan. He is the author of Tripwire: Korea and U.S. Foreign Policy in a Changed World and coauthor of The Korean Conundrum: America’s Troubled Relations with North and South Korea.

Image: North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un makes a statement regarding U.S. President Donald Trump's speech at the U.N. general assembly, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang September 22, 2017. KCNA via REUTERS

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Pages

Why Isn't There a Debate about America's Grand Strategy?

The Skeptics

Steps that would suggest easing if not abandoning what the North calls Washington’s “hostile policy” include suspending annual U.S.-ROK military exercises, negotiating a peace treaty, and initiating regular government-to-government contacts, including possible diplomatic recognition. The latter should be seen as establishing a channel of communication, not providing a reward. Refusing to talk with the Soviet Union would not have shortened the Cold War.

The United States should also move to disengage militarily from the Korean Peninsula. South Korea long has been capable of expanding its military and defending itself from its vastly poorer adversary. Such a step would sharply reduce the potential for conflict between Washington and Pyongyang. It is America’s participation in the Korean imbroglio that is making the country into a nuclear target. If the North successfully tops ICBMs with nuclear weapons, the risk of a new Korean conflict for the United States will have risen exponentially. Yet there is nothing at stake in the peninsula that justifies Washington’s participation in a nuclear conflict.

Washington also needs to look for alternatives to the present apparent choice between a nuclear North Korea or Second Korean War. One is to encourage the South to develop a countervailing deterrent. A majority of South Koreans back this course. Doing so would allow Washington to drop its “nuclear umbrella” over the ROK and leave the nuclear threats to others. Even more important, the possibility of a South Korean nuke—and a companion Japanese weapon—would get China’s attention. Beijing might seek to be more “persuasive” in halting the DPRK’s program.

Finally, if its other strategies fail, the United States should consider reluctantly accepting a nuclear North Korea, rather like the Bush administration recognized a nuclear India, and relying on deterrence, as America did against Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union. Washington then should negotiate to freeze the current program. That would, of course, require inspections and verification, and satisfy no one. But far better to face a North Korea with a nuclear arsenal capped at, say, twenty bombs than a North Korea possessing 100 nukes with more to come. Second best still is better than the other options.

The DPRK’s latest tests are unnerving but not new. And they have changed nothing: the North currently is not capable of hitting American cities. It may gain that ability more quickly than once thought, but it remains only a possibility. Contrary to the president’s rhetoric, there is no immediate crisis, and certainly no justification for war.

If the president wants to solve the problem, he will ratchet back his irresponsible rhetoric and stop inadvertently affirming Kim’s nuclear efforts. America is the world’s greatest and most powerful nation. Its leader shouldn’t sound and act like the dictator of a small, impoverished, and deadend state half the world away.

Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute and a former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan. He is the author of Tripwire: Korea and U.S. Foreign Policy in a Changed World and coauthor of The Korean Conundrum: America’s Troubled Relations with North and South Korea.

Image: North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un makes a statement regarding U.S. President Donald Trump's speech at the U.N. general assembly, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang September 22, 2017. KCNA via REUTERS

RECOMMENDED: 

What a War Between NATO and Russia Would Look Like

What a War Between America and China Would Look Like

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Pages

Pages