In these times, there are no guarantees. While the United States fights a war on terrorism, some select portions of the world continue to discredit and counteract our efforts against terrorists. One of the strongest proponents of actions against the United States is North Korea. North Korea
has repeatedly forsaken their word; they have taken many efforts to obtain nuclear weapons- against the wishes of the United States and the UN. The current policies are clearly not working, thus North Korea’s actions have evoked a call for a hard- line response.
Critics like Robert J Einhorn of The Policy Forum Online have argued reliance on pressure to disarm North Korea would lead to the worst of world. He argues specifically that using force against North Korea would force South Koreas more towards China and have China pull away from helping the United States more than ever. Unfortunately, there are already concerns that dispel worries about this theory. For example, China- much like The Soviet- has already been helping North Korea to reach a greater arsenal of nuclear weapons. Also, China had refused to help the United States in the war against Iraq, while also, aiding other terrorist networks like North Korea. Clearly, if the United States was worried about losing an ally, that fight is already lost. China has not aided us in the fight against terrorists; they have helped terrorists fight against us. As far as South Korea is concerned, we may need to worry about them pulling away from the United States and reaching independence but this may not be all bad. As Richard Cronin of the CRS Report for Congress states, “Given North Korea’s longstanding goal of securing a withdrawal of U.S. troops from South Korea, its leaders might in theory, at least, be willing to allow inspections of their nuclear facilities in return for a reduction or elimination of the U.S. military presence.”
Additionally, taking a hard- line approach with North Korea does not mean a war. While war is a possibility, the threat of allowing North Korea to bully the United States into supplying their efforts and needs for stabilization of their regime is a big enough threat to risk going to war. After all, many analysts like, Richard Cronin firmly believe that North Korea is trying to revive a Cold War and play their hand to a point where the United States gives in to their demands to avoid another Cold War. If this is the case, doing nothing or worse- continually aiding North Korea- will likely end their obtaining and arming themselves with nuclear weapons and the United States, losing all credibility on the international stage.
Look at the current message that the Bush Administration is sending to the rest of the world. We go to war with Iraq because we think Iraq had nuclear weapons and are aiding terrorists; while we aid North Korea and send them money, but we know for a fact that they have nuclear weapons- since they yell it loudly and profusely- and are aiding anti- American, terror organizations and regimes. Not to mention President Bush’s constant reprimand of what he coins “hostile regime” while all in time, doing the very acts that he condemns! Boy, do we live by a double standard or what? For those who may have supported us, we are losing our ground on the international stage everyday. The longer we sit by and give into North Korea’s demands, the more it will take for people to take our threats of force and the use of pressure on them, to mean something and motivate change. What good is having the strongest military in the world, if no one takes you seriously?
What the United States needs to do is get tough with North Korea. Stop blindly giving them aid and funding. More simply, cut them off at their bargaining point. This should force North Korea to sit down and bargain with us for a better pact of peace. As Leon V Sigal of North Korea SSRC states, “Many Asians, however, see a negotiated solution as desirable and possible.” The results of any policy stance will always be a game of chance. But as in Poker, many people lose big, when they give into a bluff. Comparatively, those same people could win big if they took steps to present themselves as the dominating force to be reckoned with, only giving into to bluffs when it is absolutely unavoidable and making the best of the cards that are dealt, no matter what.