In regard to the N Korea story…
Submitted to this blog by my friend Rajeev Pillay:
For want of any better options, one has to assume that even Kim Jong Un is rational.
That being the case, one can assume that he has a feeling of isolation and victimisation. Nuclear weaponry levels the field in any eventual negotiation. One has to therefore assume that there is no stopping him. He will accelerate his nuclear program – not slow it down or terminate it. He knows that to do so would be suicidal.
What should the US do? Would security guarantees for Kim’s regime (quite the opposite of Trump’s approach) persuade him to back off? Perhaps.
Next alternative is to allow him to develop his missile program and put in place a series of checks and balances and protocols to control their actual use – ideally with independent verification.
The final option is to take out his missile bases. One has to assume that his nuclear weapons are stored separately from his missiles (because of course he is rational, remember). As a consequence, taking out the missile batteries may not result in an apocalypse.
The problem is that the US has very little intelligence capacity on the ground to take this risky approach, so it is entirely likely that Kim would be able to get a couple of missiles off too. That is probably sufficient to eliminate Guam if not parts of Alaska.
No easy solutions, I’m afraid. Can we live with a nuclear N. Korea? We might have to at this point!