The North Korean threat

The Washington Post Sunday - - SUNDAY OPINION -

Re­gard­ing the July 6 editorial “North Korea’s in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal threat”:

Let’s set the record straight: Ei­ther we ac­qui­esce in North Korea’s hav­ing nu­clear-armed in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­siles that can reach Cal­i­for­nia, Ore­gon and Wash­ing­ton state, or we take mil­i­tary ac­tion. There is no third way.

For 35 years, we’ve tried penal­ties, diplomacy, meet­ings, get­ting China to act, etc., and the re­sult is that North Korea now has an ICBM that can likely reach U.S. soil. To try sim­i­lar mea­sures again and ex­pect a dif­fer­ent re­sult is in­san­ity.

The mea­sures sug­gested in the editorial, though well-in­tended, are sim­ply not strong enough to stop North Korea from ad­vanc­ing its nu­clear ap­pa­ra­tus.

Daniel S. Smith, Northville, Mich.

Any­body who thinks North Korea is threat­en­ing the con­ti­nen­tal United States with in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal mis­siles fired from North Korea is greatly mis­in­formed and is de­lib­er­ately mis­in­form­ing our coun­try.

North Korea knows any ag­gres­sive ac­tion to­ward the United States or South Korea will be met with com­plete de­struc­tion. North Korea has been threat­en­ing to at­tack South Korea for more than 60 years know­ing war would lead to its own de­struc­tion. If North Korea re­ally in­tended to pose a threat to the United States, it would de­velop sub­marines with short-range mis­siles ca­pa­ble of reach­ing the United States from off our Pa­cific Coast. We have not heard of any de­vel­op­ment of this ca­pa­bil­ity.

North Korea’s test­ing of mis­siles and nu­clear war­heads is just blus­ter in­tended to keep the world’s at­ten­tion fo­cused on a failed state that has no sta­tus in the world com­mu­nity and is will­ing to spend mil­lions of dol­lars to get at­ten­tion.

Joel Lasko, Sil­ver Spring

Some of us re­call “Red China,” which was char­ac­ter­ized by fa­nat­i­cal, reck­less cra­zies with an ut­ter dis­re­gard for con­se­quences and who wel­comed nu­clear war be­cause a good part of their vast pop­u­la­tion would sur­vive and then rule the world. Amaz­ingly, many in the United States, par­tic­u­larly in the U.S. gov­ern­ment, bought this far-fetched idea. Even­tu­ally, we got over “Red China.”

How­ever, we never lost the “Red China Syn­drome.” We re­cently ap­plied it to Iran. When Iran fi­nally achieves nu­clear sta­tus, we be­lieved it would wreak havoc on Is­rael and maybe parts of East­ern Europe. The fact that an­other coun­try would ut­terly de­stroy the Is­lamic repub­lic wouldn’t dis­suade Iran in the slight­est.

Now, North Korea has joined the club. Once it gets an in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile with a nu­clear war­head, it’s goodbye, Hol­ly­wood. The fact that North Korea has had nu­clear weapons for some time and has never used them against an­other na­tion doesn’t seem rel­e­vant to those with the syn­drome. North Korea is no more likely than Iran to use nu­clear weapons and in­vite to­tal de­struc­tion. North Kore­ans are not crazy, but we are if we go to dan­ger­ous lengths to stop the in­evitable. Steve Bald­win, Spring­field

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