Upon the North Korean Conundrum
When Bill Clinton had the opportunity to take military intervention against North Korea, when the nuclear bomb had just been developed and the programme was thus centralized: perhaps, pehaps he should have done so.
But at this stage my long-held position has been for accepting North Korea as a nuclear state while deisolating them. Isolation does not only exist as a matter of pressure: It is a problem in itself when it comes to a nuclear state.
To clarify, if we can negotiate North Korea into willing and actual de-nuclearization, of course I support our President et al in that enterprise. But to force a state of many millions with wildernesses and widely dispersed nuclear weapons to de-nuclearize would require truly massive political will domestically, and massive blood-shed in Asia.
It should, however, be noted that the idea of a war between the United States and North Korea would be a greatly mismatched affair. We are by far the stronger party and have no cause to provoke a conflict, but ourselves being provoked: We would be capable of responding with disproportionate might.
It should be noted in summation that as a socialist nation North Korea is feared for their ideology and that the deposition of Kim Jong Un has been considered, as laid bare by Bolton's "Libya model" Freudian slip. If the North Koreans have a legitimate need of the nuclear weapons to protect against imperialism, this is a argument for allowing them. I am aware that North Korea has not only ordinary nuclear weapons but at least one functional hydrogen bomb and that legitimizing or allowing this weaponry in what many consider a rogue state is perhaps an unusual proposition.
Thus, I do not as a matter of finality recommend any policy on North Korea. What I do is clarify the question: If North Korea can be negotiated into active and cooperative denuclearization, excellent, but there is a large chance this cannot be achieved. Then the question would come up: "Should we force them to de-nuclearize?" Under the circumstances, this would be an enormous step involving massive loss of U.S. life and massive civilian deaths from Seoul to Tokyo.
If the American people have the stomach for this following our long and bloody engagement in Iraq then they do, but if they don't and want a policy of peace: Their desire should not be abused by a hubris-based policy wherein we could very well stumble into a quagmire without ever having a solemn democratic discussion upon the matter, which should include but not be limited to the Congress, to which the Constitution clearly assigns decisions of war and peace.
Worse, we could maintain North Korea as a rogue state and a covert nuclear power, rather than allowing the cultural commerce between Pyongyang and the rest of the world that needs to take place in the service of stabilization and normalization.