The decision by the U.S. to take action against North Korea is like trying to decide between cutting off an infected finger, or wait for the gangrene set in and risk bigger problems. Either choice is going to hurt!
The U.S. has three choices… One, keep the status quo with sanctions in hopes of delaying their nuclear program. Two, launch a preemptive strike and destroy their nuclear capabilities. Third, rely on the Chinese to rein in their crazy neighbor.
Option One – Status Quo
The status quo is not working. North Korea is more than happy to starve their people in hopes of finally deploying a nuclear missile capable of striking the United States. Once they have this capability, then future military action may come at the cost of an American city.
Option Two – Preemptive Strike
The second option is not very appealing either. While a preemptive strike will most likely destroy their nuclear capabilities, there is the chance that the U.S. fails to destroy everything. The other problem is North Korean retaliation. If they launch an attack, South Korea and Japan will be exposed to massive firepower. In any regional conflict, the U.S. and their allies will win in the end; however, it will be at a very high cost.
Option Three – Convince the Chinese to Take Action
This is most likely the best option and seems to be the one being pursued by the Trump administration. While I wouldn’t call China and North Korea BFFs, China is their closest trading partner; thus, they have the ability to put the squeeze on the North Koreans. The only downside, China will want something in return from the U.S. and their allies.
We can only hope that we first pursue option three; yet, we need to prepare for option two. God help us if this crazy man ever succeeds at option one.
This is the problem in the real world of geopolitics… You can say anything on the campaign trail, but when reality slaps you in the face, the options are generally few and never good.