The Waiting Game

Steven Den Beste has a detailed look at the US strategy for North Korea. He compares it to what Iraq is trying to do with the US – pretend to give concessions while secretly ensuring that their long-range goals are not met. (Although the US has the power to escape such a situation – North Korea does not.)

The situation in North Korea can only be made worse by acting rashly. When nuclear weapons are involved in a crisis, the decision-making calculus changes dramatically. Applying the same rationale to North Korea as we are on Iraq ignores the fact that any hostile action towards the DPRK could very well lead to smouldering craters where Seoul and Tokyo once stood. Den Beste is right – the best strategy is to wait the situation out until diplomacy has the chance to work or the North Koreans lose their resolve. There are times for bold and decisive action, and times to exercise patience. North Korea falls firmly into the latter.

2 thoughts on “The Waiting Game

  1. This is perverse logic. By this standard, if UN inspectors discover nuclear weapons in Iraq between now and the time war begins, we should attempt a diplomatic approach with them as well?

  2. Assuming that Iraq did have nuclear weapons, (thankfully they have not yet been successful in finding enough weapons-grade material as of yet) then it would be paramount to destroy those weapons in the first strike. Unlike the DPRK, the Iraqis don’t have the kind of long-range missile capability to launch a nuke at a major city – so we’d be able to immediately destroy that weapon without a signficant risk of having it be used against us.

    North Korea is different. We don’t know where their nukes are, and the have the ability to deliver them to Seoul or Tokyo before we could intercept them. That creates a very real risk that they’d use those weapons if they were sufficiently provoked. Given that Iraq has been searching for both nuclear weapons and long-range delivery systems, it is imperative that they be stopped before they gain the kind of leverage that the DPRK now has.

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