There is but one diplomatic solution remaining to deal with North Korea after 25 years of “carrots and sticks” diplomacy, but if China doesn’t buy into it then it’s time to mull military options, John Bolton said.
In a column for The Wall Street Journal, the former U.S. ambassador said after decades of ineffective warnings and sanctions, the only diplomacy left is for China to agree to regime change.
“The only durable diplomatic solution is to persuade China that reunifying the two Koreas is in its national interest as well as America’s, thus ending the nuclear threat by ending the bizarre North Korean regime,” Bolton wrote in the Journal.
Failing that — “unpalatable military options,” Bolton wrote.
“But many say … that using force to neutralize the threat would be too dangerous. The only option … is to accept a nuclear North Korea and attempt to contain and deter it,” Bolton writes.
“The people saying this are largely the same ones who argued that ‘carrots and sticks’ would prevent Pyongyang from getting nuclear weapons.
“They are prepared to leave Americans as nuclear hostages of the Kim family dictatorship. This is unacceptable,” Bolton wrote.
There are three military options, according to Bolton:
All are rife with threat to the U.S. but also South Korea and Japan, both of which would be immediate targets of retaliation by North Korea, Bolton writes.
But preparations must be underway for now and the future — Iran is watching.
“The Pentagon’s military planners already should be poring through the operational aspects of a potential military strike. But politicians and policy makers also ought to begin debating the military options — for North Korea and beyond, since similar issues will arise regarding Iran and other nuclear proliferators,” Bolton wrote.