How to respond to North Korea’s new nuclear provocation

North Korea parade Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) were certainly an impressive show on Wednesday. Whether it was more than a show — whether the large missile canisters rolling through Pyongyang’s capital were actually functional solid-fuel missiles capable of launching a nuclear attack on the US mainland — is hard to say. But according to some experts, the new ICBMs on display are not yet ready for use guessedThere is no denying that the North Korean regime has been on a volatile trajectory as of late.

Last year was the busiest year in the isolated country written down for Missile testAnd in September, dictator Kim Jong Un made his case for this arsenal newly clear: He views the US effort to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula as a regime change project and, accordingly, will not give up its nuclear weapons—regardless of the intensity of international pressure. His own promise To the then President Donald Trump in 2018-or not legally restricted Its nuclear use in defensive strikes. Kim “has drawn an immutable line,” he said, saying he “can’t negotiate on our nuclear weapons.”

Even if we read this new ICBM display as a gloomy invitation to new discussions (and Pyongyang says It wants nothing to sort), the overall trend is dire. If North Korea does not want to consider denuclearization, and according to the policy of the Washington-Biden administration, reaffirm As of recently As of last month—reluctant to consider anything else, are we at a dead end? Is this the end of nuclear diplomacy with North Korea?

It doesn’t have to be. Although alarming, nothing here marks a significant change in North Korean policy. There is a fundamental continuity in the Kim regime’s goals as well as its limitations.

Unfortunately, there is also a fundamental continuity in Washington’s denuclearization delusion, which steadily undermines any chance of real progress in the talks. If this latest show of force from Pyongyang changes anything, it should shift U.S. policy toward a recognition that our existing deterrence capabilities can maintain an imperfect but demonstrably tolerable status quo within which we can move toward more achievable, incremental diplomatic goals.

Increasing tension and a relatively gruesome Administration has South Korea-Usually Voices of Reason in the Korean-US Triad – Indications of a New Incremental Approach. When did the new year start? Kim ordered South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has “theoretical” expanded its nuclear cache repeated signals He is considering a more aggressive stance. He has floated ideas including US-South Korean drills including American nuclear weapons, South Korea developing its own nuclear arsenal and jettisoning Seoul. military contract That came out of the 2018 inter-Korean talks.

These options would mark a significant shift from the path that Washington has followed for years on South Korea. South Korea’s Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup says “preventing the use of nuclear weapons should be prioritized”. said Just this past October,” Donates [Pyongyang] A clear idea that if North Korea tries to use nuclear weapons, it will end the North Korean regime and it will disappear completely.”

Unlike denuclearization, this is an effective strategy, as the North Korean government has long signal Kim’s belief, informed by the past two decades of U.S. policy in Iraq and Libya, is less about peace than about Kim’s own ouster.

But this is unflattering, according to Doug Bando of the Cato Institute argued that foreign policy, is not unreasonable. “History proves that strong nuclear deterrence serves as the most powerful treasure sword to frustrate foreign aggression.” said a North Korean state media editorials in 2016. Deposed and dead dictators Saddam Hussein and Muammar al-Qaddafi “couldn’t escape the fate of destruction after depriving them of the foundations of their nuclear development and abandoning undeclared programs of their own volition,” the article continued.

The point of Kim’s tests and comments last year, then, is a message to the world and the United States in particular: North Korea’s nuclear weapons are not going anywhere, and North Korea is not interested in negotiating with them.

The correct response for Washington is not to abandon diplomacy, but to reiterate Kim’s fear of regime change by joining Seoul’s new hobby of saber-rattling. It is – as our method should have been All along – to follow realistic Diplomatic outcomes that will help maintain peace.

It means sitting aside Nuclear disarmament as a goal for the near future. Instead, President Joe Biden should take incremental steps such as denuclearization, a peace deal to end the Korean War, and an economic opening of North Korean society to at least improve the basic living standards of ordinary North Koreans.

All the while, despite Kim’s war of habit, unless the US and our allies go to war with North Korea, US conventional and nuclear deterrence will continue. should continue hold on. Pyongyang is beyond nuclear arsenal Fundamentally weakand Kim’s will to power (not to mention his will to survive). works for us Here.

If none of these incremental goals are met, North Korea will not denuclearize outright. But denuclearization is not now possible at a remotely acceptable cost, and that may not change for decades to come. what is Increased stability and normality, fewer parades and weapons tests, more productive negotiations, a better and freer life for the North Korean people, and a reduced risk of catastrophic global war are all possible.

All that is no less true than what preceded the construction of this apparent new ICBM, and these achievements could very slowly lay the groundwork for Kim’s denuclearization before the “never” becomes a “maybe.”