The United States’ relations with North Korea have been nothing short of rollercoaster throughout the past decade. To quell the idea of nuclear war, the United States has used a wide variety of tactics to stray away from the severity war presents; including diplomacy, deterrence, and military action. In North Korea’s pursuit to military infidelity, they have made clear enemies in the United States and other countries threatened by their up and coming nuclear presence.
The United States, especially during the Trump presidency, has seriously considered action towards North Korea and the Kim dynasty on several occasions. Author John Mauk states that the window for United States military action is narrow and needs to be taken advantage of immediately due to the advancement and accuracy of their military technology. On the contrary, many government officials and analysts have suggested that this thesis has been proven false again and again. General Paul Selva the obvious advances in nuclear and ICBM technologies, the threat from North Korea was not imminent as it lacks the capacity to strike the United States with any degree of accuracy or reasonable confidence of success.
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Other independent analysts including a former Los Alamos National Laboratory director who has visited North Korea on several occasions have concluded that it will take Pyongyang several more years to seriously threaten the U.S. with nuclear-tipped missiles (Bolan). Due to the variety of opinion, but stronger argument towards Korea’s missile capacity not being an imminent threat. The cons of military action outweigh the benefits of it for the United States. This is without the recognition of the possible presence of another nuclear superpower, China, if the United States were to attack North Korea. Harvard historian Graham Allison has recently highlighted the risk that a U.S.- China confrontation over North Korea could push both countries toward a Thuciydes Trap leading to the 21st century’s first major power war. Far dangerous, than the original nuclear stalemate.
The other leading option for the United States is strengthened deterrence, the action of discouraging an action or event through instilling doubt or fear of the consequences. Throwing away military action as a valid option, we are left with the closest thing to it, deterrence. Without the declaration of military action, we can set boundaries and guidelines using our military and economic superiority as a guideline for cooperation. As Victor Cha states in the conclusion, when facing this conflict you are choosing between a variety of risky strategies. Each strategy faces scrutiny and uncertainty, but deterrence offers a possibly much more effective and safe option by preventing the use of any violence between countries. Although it may not promote peace, we are weighing the bad with the worst.
At least while North Korea’s technological development is significantly behind the United States, we can use deterrence as the main strategy going forward. This is the best move for the American people and doesn’t show the bloodthirsty, uncultured, American people that is constantly mentioned throughout American political history. Trump could use his platform to prevent war for the oncoming years; lets hope American greed doesn’t outweigh the cons of another all-out war.
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