Fuel To The Fire?

Japan Today is reporting that the US is putting bombers on alert in South Korea in case of an advance by the North. While this may possibly be sound policy, it is slightly worrying.

The costs of an attack by the North would be devastating. Unless we were able to deploy an effective missile defense shield in time, there would be literally nothing that could be done to prevent the destruction of Seoul, a disaster which would ripple throughout all of Asia. The North would be rebuffed, that much is certain, but at a cost of large amounts of property and life on both sides.

The last thing we need to do is inflame the tensions in the region further, which is why a hands-off approach is likely the best. If the North feels like they have been backed into a corner, they may use their nuclear trump card. The risks of such a scenario are extreme.

Instead, the US must continue to find a peaceful solution to this crisis. There’s a time when military action is the best option, and there’s a time when the risks of military are simply too great. Once a state gains nuclear capability, the military options grow very small, very fast. Even if we could destroy North Korea’s nuclear arsenal before launch, the DPRK has the ability to cause havoc by invading the South.

In the end, the Bush Administration has to adapt to the situation. While taking a hardline on Iraq is the best solution, the same cannot be applied to North Korea. In the end, the larger foreign policy test for Bush may not be Iraq, but North Korea, where Bush will have to learn the fine art of diplomacy in order to head off a potentially disastrous conflict.

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