Saturday, April 14, 2012

My letter to the NY Times re: How to Deter North Korea's Nukes

Subject: How to Deter North Korea's Nukes
Date: Fri, 13 Apr 2012 16:12:56 -0400

Re: Few Options as North Korea Nears Launching

Dear Sirs:
The West's response to North Korea's nuclear weapons program has focused entirely on the failed policy of what can only be called appeasement; i.e., attempts to bribe North Korea with food and fuel. We common citizens marvel at the seemingly bottomless faith that our politicians have in such futile programs. Why not try something that always works--peace through strength. Rather than negotiate with North Korea--which cannot possibly accomplish anything, given the nature of the hard-line communist regime--build an effective missile shield to protect our two main allies: South Korea and Japan. Furthermore, the nuclear deterrence dynamic is made unnecessarily questionable by the fact that neither South Korea nor Japan have their own deterrent but rely upon a third party--the U.S. There will always be some level of doubt whether the U.S. will respond to a nuclear attack or credible threatened nuclear attack on either or both countries. The U.S. nuclear shield may have been necessary when neither country had the resources to defend themselves, but that no longer is the case. If South Korea and Japan had a credible nuclear deterrence under their own control, there would be no question of instant retaliation of a North Korean attack, just as there is no question of an instant retaliation by the U.S. following an attack upon our soil. The U.S. has weapons that work and the means to deliver them. We should sell both to our long time allies, instantly checkmating any nuclear program by North Korea. North Korea may not give up its nuclear program, but the region would be a safer place. An additional benefit would accrue to the U.S. budget as we could bring our troops home. South Korea and Japan are our allies; let's start treating them as such and not as dependents.

Patrick Barron

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