Let’s get something perfectly clear right off the bat. The North Korean government in general and Kim Jong-un in particular are desperate, misguided, and insecure. There are definitely times for diplomacy, for cooler heads to prevail and for tough talk to cease. From America’s perspective, this is not one of those times.
A Defense Department official told CNN:
“We accused the North Koreans of amping things up, now we are worried we did the same thing.”
No. No we did not. In December, they tested a long-range rocket and in February they performed an underground nuclear test. They knew that this would bring tougher U.N. sanctions. They also knew that the United States would demonstrate a flexing of our muscles in response, this time in the form of joint military exercises in South Korea. We did not do “the same thing” that they did. Not even close. To say so is one of the signs of weakness that the desperate regime is trying to stir. They don’t want a war. They can’t afford it. They can’t sustain it.
They want respect. It’s like the crazy little bully in school who would pretend to pick fights with bigger kids up until the point that it was about to come to blows. It’s the Chihuahua that aggressively barks at the passing Rottweiler while both are on their leash but that would not get withing jaw’s reach if allowed.
This isn’t China. They aren’t the type of government that needs to be shown respect whenever they throw a temper tantrum. They need to be shown that if they don’t play nice in the sandbox that they won’t be allowed in. Their actions in the last couple of weeks should be bringing immediate action by the United Nations and the rest of the international community. The US, China, Russia, and other influencing powers need to say with a voice of solidarity that North Korea needs to either back down, all the way down, or see the type of sanctions that would truly hurt.
They want to be isolated. Isolate them. Prevent all interactions with the outside world until they’re ready to play nice in the sandbox. This is not the time to start saying that we were wrong taking offense to them testing nuclear weapons against the decree of the United Nations. China needs to step up and calm their little friends down. They need to do so decisively and publicly. Otherwise, they are complicit in any actions that North Korea makes because they are the biggest supporters of the country. They are the ones with the power to have an “intervention” with young leader of the proud country.
If they gain anything at all including any sign of weakness through shared blame by the United States government, they are only being empowered to pull this sort of stunt again. They have declared that they intend to attack the United States of America and our allies. We’ve gone to war for less than that. While I am definitely not encouraging us to go to war, we cannot start catering to their rhetoric by making statements like the one by the Defense Department. President Obama needs to get on television and call their bluff. He needs to tell them that enough is enough and if they do not stop escalating hostilities immediately that we will push to have the United Nations impose the harshest sanctions possible – complete isolation and an inability to interact with the outside world.
Put that portion of the peninsula on an island. Anything short of forcing them to back down immediately puts the US and our allies at risk. At any moment, they might do something really stupid. Consoling them with shared blame cannot heal stupidity. It can only encourage it.