North Korea, despite prior sanctions from the U.S. and the international community as a whole, has a growing arsenal of nuclear weapons. The U.S. has been sanctioning nuclear weapon creation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea for dozens of years and yet their arsenal has been growing in size. While many different reports state differing numbers on the size of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal the biggest thing that matters is not how many they have, but the fact that they have it. This is not a matter of how many tanks a nation has, even just one hydrogen bomb can do significant damage to any nation in the world causing hundreds of thousands or even millions of lives lost. With this type of weaponry in the hands of an unstable regime something must be done.
The dangers of a nuclear strike are apparent to all but the fact that North Korea has nuclear weapons hurts us in other ways also. Since the end of world war II the United States has been the single strongest force in the world and it has been mostly unrivaled after the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the cold war. This Hegemony is very important for the United States to maintain our safety and security. With every additional country adding nuclear powers our stranglehold on being the most powerfully country is slowly slipping away. This is especially true with North Korea as it is a dictatorship that is founded on the control of security forces and the media and this nation directly opposes the democracy and ideals of freedom, equality and justice that the United States are founded on. North Korea is also allies with China, which is the biggest threat to our hegemony. With China’s allies becoming more powerful we are more at risk of losing this domination over the world as ever. On top of just losing the domination of the United States we also risk losing the domination that democracy (through the U.S.) holds on the world. These two reasons are why we need to do something about North Korea’s rapidly growing nuclear arsenal.
There are three main potential courses of action that we can take regarding the proliferation of nuclear weapons in North Korea. I will state these three potential courses of action and then I will later assess the consequences of these potential actions, and give my choice of which of the three I believe will be the best course of action for the United States to take.
The First of the potential courses of action is a continuation of what is already being done against North Korea, but making it stronger by continuing to increase sanctions on the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The United States has been using financial sanctions to freeze out the already weak North Korean economy and financially hurt them for their role in building weapons of mass destruction. These financial sanctions restrict aid and trade from the North and they get enacted more seriously every time the U.S. becomes aware of North Korea breaking the sanctions.
The second possible course of action is a much more difficult but hands on approach to this nuclear crisis. The second approach would be to take down the current regime in North Korea. There are a few ways to approach this action and the first would be to start a war and beat the Pyongyang Regime and get rid of Kim Jong Un and his dictatorship. This would be a very taxing affair on the United States so a more hands off approach would be to attempt to start a revolt of civil war in this country to help the people overthrow this regime themselves.
The third and final potential course of action is much more hands off, and it would be the action of deterring North Korea from using nuclear weapons. This approach would be based on not trying to denuclearize North Korea but instead making sure they do not use their nuclear arsenal on anyone. The effects of a nuclear war could be catastrophic so this approach would just try to limit that until a more stable government/regime was in place in North Korea. The biggest way to enact this deterrence is to completely take the idea of a preemptive strike off the table. The United States must do whatever it can to prevent a nuclear war from starting and that begins with not taking military action against North Korea.
The first approach would have consequences that would not be drastic. The increase in sanctions on North Korea could potentially lead to North Korea denuclearization, and the disarming of their weapons of mass destruction. This would happen if the sanctions were strong enough to severely cripple the North Korean economy and force the denuclearization. If North Korea was crippled enough it could lead to the Pyongyang regime losing control and succumbing to a coup, civil war, or local uprisings. If The regime saw these uprisings coming they may be willing to be gin denuclearization in order to keep the regime alive by bringing in aid and stopping the sanctions to calm down the population of North Korea. This would be a great outcome of the increased sanctions, but it is only one of the possibilities.
The other big possibility is the consequences that the sanctions have now, and that is the ineffectiveness of them. As of now, North Korea is under heavy sanctions that have seen the annual foreign aid in North Korea was at $249 million annually from 200-2005, but in the period from 2006-2017 the annual aid was down to $59 million. These sanctions have been very drastic, yet in this time North Korea has continued their proliferation of nuclear arms. If these already drastic sanctions have not impacted the construction of weapons of mass destruction yet it is not guaranteed that increasing sanctions will accomplish anything.
The second course of action has much more dire consequences. If The U.S. were to try to bring down the regime it would undoubtedly get very messy. Kim Jong Un has one real desire, and that is the survival of his regime. He would do everything in his power to prevent the Pyongyang regime that his family built alive even if it came down to using weapons of mass destruction. North Korea has already successfully shown that it has Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) that are capable of reaching the west coast of the United States. They have also successfully tested hydrogen bombs that are 17x more powerful than the one that the United States used at Hiroshima. This would cause devastating loses if this nuclear bomb was able to hit the United States and could be the end of millions of lives and potentially the end of our great nation. In addition to starting a war with North Korea if we helped to start an uprising the instability of the Pyongyang regime could also prove deadly if they wanted to extract their revenge. If the U.S. actively tried to topple the North Korean regime it would prove very deadly.
The third and final action would have the least drastic consequences. Since North Korea is already heavily armed with nuclear weaponry it would be very hard to disarm them. Instead the third action would just be to make sure to do everything in your power to not cause North Korea to start a nuclear war which could be the end of the world as we know it. If the United States did a preemptive strike on North Korea it would almost certainly lead to a response by the Pyongyang regime which would undoubtedly be disastrous for the United States. There is no downside to this course of action as unless they are provoked, North Korea has no reason to start a war. North Korea’s only true ally is China and their relationship has slowly been dwindling and it is to the point where President Xi publicly stated that the treated between these two countries that dates all the way back to 1961, will not be honored if North Korea starts a conflict. If North Korea started a conflict it would almost certainly be the end of their regime with their only ally turning against them.
You know the importance of taking action against the Nuclearization of North Korea, and you have heard the possible courses of actions and the consequences of each of these possible actions. My recommendation, President Trump, would be a combination of the first and third courses of action. I believe that we should continue our financial sanctions on North Korea, and even make them stronger, while also practicing deterrence. The number one most important thing is the survival of our great nation, and the democratic ideals of liberty, justice and equality that it stands for. For this reason we MUST practice deterrence and do what we can to prevent North Korea from setting off any nuclear. This means that we cannot start a war with North Korean and cannot take military action.
We are in a much better situation than North Korea and therefore it is in our best interest to use our power and influence to wait this one out by practicing deterrence and wait for the collapse of the regime. With the financial sanctions placed on North Korea the people will continue to get more and more upset with the current regime and it will have to eventually begin denuclearization or it will be at risk of an uprising that could cause the end of the current Pyongyang regime and the end of the rule of Kim Jong Un. With the financial squeeze placed on North Korea by the United State’s Sanctions, the regime will have to submit to our desire of their denuclearization or it will collapse.
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