Day 166: Diplomatic Dire Straits

North Korea’s nuclear ambitions have boiled tensions in the Korean Peninsula to a crisis point. The current lack of leadership surrounding the situation is terrifying.

North Korea sent an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile into the sea yesterday as a “gift for the American bastards” on our Independence Day. U.S. officials confirmed that the test was indeed a successful test of an ICBM, one that could potentially reach Alaska or Hawaii and carry a nuclear warhead.

The situation is as complex as it is difficult to solve. China, North Korea’s life line, has increased trade with the hermit kingdom, even as it has reduced its coal imports from the DPRK. They have a strategic interest in doing so, North Korea functions as a buffer to a U.S. allied nation sitting on its Northeastern border.

A military solution to the problem would be an unthinkable nightmare. Hundreds of thousands of people could die. Seoul could be destroyed. Tokyo would be under threat. The economic vitality of the region, a critical player in the technology field, could be reduced to rubble. Our alliances would be shattered and who could blame them? We would’ve escalated a preventable conflict.

As this crisis grows with every new missile test and live-fire drill, the Trump administration is retreating from dealing with the dilemma. Rex Tillerson is attempting to butcher the State Department’s budget, which has been feeling the effects of an asinine austerity agenda already. To take a position that supports a 30 percent reduction in any government component is absurd, but to do so with the one that deals with diplomacy is insane and completely reckless.

And we need diplomacy now. We need sanctions on Chinese businesses that deal with North Korea. We need companies to start pulling business out of China if they don’t deal with Kim Jong-un (and frankly, move those jobs back to the United States permanently, for both the benefit of our workforce and to avoid supporting a nation with a horrible human rights record). We need to pay off our debt to China quickly, so they lose leverage against us in foreign policy matters and we need to re-examine our trade policies within the whole region to ensure the highest ethical standards are applied.

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