With North Korea perilously close to becoming a nuclear-weapons state and Pyongyang declaring invalid the 1953 armistice agreement with South Korea, the already-fragile security situation in the region is hanging by a thread -- hostilities have commenced on paper, even if no attack is actually undertaken. By now, the Obama administration must realize that the UN Security Council is unlikely to impose measures sufficient to change the thinking in the North, and a potential attack on the Korean Peninsula risks involving 27,000 US troops pledged to come to the aid of the South. It’s time for significant actions by the Obama administration to restore the region to stability and turn North Korea, which cannot open up and survive -- as the Kim regime itself well knows -- away from its current perilous trajectory.
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North Korea has no interest in granting America or its allies a lasting regional peace. Understanding this unwelcome but critical fact is the first step toward a strategy that could make the North Korean problem smaller, not larger, over time.
North Korea’s recent nuclear brinkmanship is a sign not of strength but of weakness. No matter how hard this Communist dynasty tries to conceal this fact from the outside world, problems at home — especially strains within the regime itself — are an important factor behind its aggressive external behavior.
This issue of AEI’s monthly newsletter on public opinion, AEI Political Report, examines the attitudes toward global warming, how Americans feel about the production and transportation of energy, the fallout of the sequester, changing attitudes about taxes, and the situation in North Korea.