Saturday, Kim Jong Un tested an ICBM of sufficient range to hit the U.S. mainland. He is now working on its accuracy, and a nuclear warhead small enough to fit atop that missile that can survive re-entry.
Unless we believe Kim is a suicidal madman, his goal seems clear. He wants what every nuclear power wants — the ability to strike his enemy’s homeland with horrific impact, in order to deter that enemy.
Kim wants his regime recognized and respected, and the U.S., which carpet-bombed the North from 1950-1953, out of Korea.
Where does this leave us? Says Cliff Kupchan of the Eurasia Group, “The U.S. is on the verge of a binary choice: either accept North Korea into the nuclear club or conduct a military strike that would entail enormous civilian casualties.”
A time for truth. U.S. sanctions on North Korea, like those voted for by Congress last week, are not going to stop Kim from acquiring ICBMs. He is too close to the goal line.
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