By Rick Jensen
Seems like there are two North Korea options: Bomb the hell out of them and kill innocent people, or hope North Korea doesn’t bomb innocent people first.
While scholars may differ on some particulars of who really controls North Korea, be it Kim Jong Un, the military, its own “deep state” or some combination, most agree the power brokers remain in control by keeping the people in a constant psychological state of war.
The media is controlled by the government, and access to the internet is restricted to North Korean propaganda and domestic entertainment sites.
Rattling the nuclear sabre is just another way Kim holds control over the people.
Unfortunately, he has convinced the rest of the world he may be crazy enough to use them.
Fortunately, he can be easily cowed by China.
Remember recently when everyone from the New York Times to the L.A. Times was freaking out that Trump might bomb North Korea?
Kim was threatening to lob a couple of missiles onto Guam.
The Chinese government let it be known that should North Korea attack any other sovereign nation, particularly Guam, China would not come to the aid of North Korea.
That’s good news, but it doesn’t solve the problem of a country that has no desire to be part of any world community.
Being an active player in regional or world policies would mean the puppet masters of North Korea would free some strings from the people they control.
Many people believe the U.S. could simply “take out” North Korea’s nukes with our own missiles.
The problem with that line of thinking is that if you miss a couple, those nukes could hit South Korea, Guam, Japan and maybe even the U.S. North Korea has been shuffling missiles around on portable launchers, too, making them difficult to locate.
Former acting and deputy director of the CIA, Michael Morell, told “CBS This Morning” last week the U.S. faces two choices on North Korea.
“One is a military attack with devastating consequences and no guarantee of success and the other is acceptance of where they are and where they’re going with containment and deterrence. I think the latter makes the most sense. I think that’s where we’ll end up,”,
So far, that’s exactly what the Trump administration has been doing, along with words as tough as Kim’s and the threat of more sanctions.
Sanctions sometimes work and often don’t, depending upon the goal.
If the use of sanctions is to get a country’s leader to a bargaining table, that’s just as crazy in this case as Kim Jong Un himself.
Victor Cha, director for Asian affairs at the National Security Council from 2004 to 2007, now director of Asian studies at Georgetown University, expressed a novel idea in a recent magazine article.
Have China pressure North Korea into being nice.
He notes China has helped North Korea through back channels during sanctions, maintaining 80 to 85 percent of North Korea’s trade.
He believes “the U.S. should get China to step up and pay, directly for the denuclearization of North Korea. China’s payments designed to prop up Pyongyang must be tied directly to nuclear inspections, and ultimately to denuclearization and not to China’s economic interests. If China pays for denuclearization, it will take North Korea’s violations more seriously than it does now.”
If China benefits from the regional and international instability of a dangerously bonkers North Korea, does the U.S. have such leverage?
Who’s going to be in charge? What do you do about the existing military and intelligence regime? Who actually takes out Kim? Who else must die? How many innocent North Koreans die, too?
Gregory Treverton, the former chairman of the U.S. National Intelligence Council, is hopeful for regime change.
He wistfully suggested in the same article that “regime change looks more and more attractive. But better that it come from within. Given Kim’s reckless habits – drinking and driving are two of his favorite pastimes – a self-inflicted biological solution is more than possible. So is the chance that an insider will finally get angry enough to take him out, never mind the consequences.
He didn’t give odds.
Rick Jensen is Delaware’s award-winning conservative talk show host on WDEL.