Thursday, August 10, 2017

Shoot Down North Korea's Next Test Missile

“We do not seek a regime change,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on August 1, speaking of North Korea. “We do not seek the collapse of the regime . . . We’re trying to convey to the North Koreans: We are not your enemy. We are not your threat. But you are presenting an unacceptable threat to us, and we have to respond.” This differs sharply from comments made by CIA director Mike Pompeo at the Aspen Security Forum a few days before. Pompeo remarked on the administration’s aim to “separate” those who control the regime from its nuclear capacity. Excuse us for thinking this sounds a lot like regime change.
Whether these contrasting messages have arisen from strategy or from perplexity—a little of both?—we don’t know. But perplexity would be entirely defensible. There is no obvious course in dealing with North Korea. Decades of intermittent negotiations have not stopped Pyongyang from developing a nuclear capacity, exporting ballistic missile technology to other anti-Western governments, and threatening its neighbors. Nor have U.S. economic sanctions. These last are necessary and ought to be intensified, but they haven’t arrested the Kim regime’s progress towards its goal: the capacity to land a nuclear warhead wherever it chooses.
North Korea has performed at least five nuclear weapons tests over the last decade—all of which violated past agreements. Already this year it’s tested 14 ballistic missiles. The latest tests grabbed international attention. The first, fired for symbolic reasons on July 4, flew nearly 600 miles before dropping into the Sea of Japan. Many analysts think that missile, the Hwasong-14, could fly more than 4,000 miles—enough to reach Alaska. The second, a more advanced, unnamed ICBM fired on July 28, likely has a range of 6,200 miles. This is enough to reach the American mainland.
At this point the United States has no options that don’t involve the risk of war. --->
Read the rest of this Weekly Standard editorial HERE.

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