Joel Wit and Jenny Tower conclude their piece on the Atlantic magazine website thusly:
"The bottom line is that, even if this current crisis recedes, North
Korea's WMD programs pose serious security risks in the region and to
the U.S. that
will continue to grow if not addressed in a direct and compelling
way. .... It may
given the nature of the North Korean regime, but there is no
substitute for diplomacy and direct contact with Pyongyang."
Great. "addressed and a direct and compelling way." So what does that mean? Talk at 'em, nuke 'em, blockade 'em, invade 'em, bury our heads in the sand, or what? Just saying we ought to do something doesn't help. You gotta say what you wanna do. Especially if "something" involves a lot of pain, which doing a second Korean War would involve.
Ah, here we get to it. "there is no
substitute for diplomacy and direct contact with Pyongyang". Been there, done that. Both Clinton and Bush tried to cut a "economic assistance in return for stopping weapons development" deal. The North Koreans signed two such deals and reneged on both of them. In actual fact, the North Koreans see nuclear weapons as the only thing that will keep the North Korean regime alive in the face of South Korean and American economic, political, and military pressure. The Kim regime knows that all their citizens would join South Korea in a flash. As soon as the North Korean secret police and army loose their grip, even for a day or two, the regime is gone, the Kim's are dead, and Korea is re unified under Seoul. At least with nukes they don't have to worry about ground invasion or air strikes from the South. No way are the North Koreans going to give up their nukes no matter what we promise 'em.