Turn to cyber help
North Korea’s protracted policy of nuclear belligerence toward the United States has reached a long-feared tipping point. Despite a diligent campaign of sabotage and defensive saber-rattling by the Obama and now Trump administrations, Pyongyang has successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile.
The trouble is that so few options for action exist, and those there are have sharply limited appeal.
That’s why attention should turn, if it has not turned already, to America’s limited but potentially decisive asymmetric cyber operations capabilities. Efforts in this area have already proven their worth in slowing down the North’s march to nuclear intimidation or worse.
Although not a silver bullet, crashing North Korea’s electrical grid—repeatedly, if necessary—has the strong potential to force a coup, cripple the army, forestall further nuclear progress or drive the regime to sue for peace. This is a better option than the others the president has to choose from.
The American people expect the White House to meet the Korean crisis forcefully yet prudently—and successfully. After so much trouble with cyber conflict, the United States should turn the tables for a win.