What’s next with North Korea?
Regarding the Aug. 9 news article “Trump warns N. Korea of ‘fire and fury’ if threats persist”:
While I would have preferred the president used less bellicose language in warning North Korea to beware, he’s not the first president to use that kind of language. Most people today are too young to remember, but in August 1945, President Harry S. Truman issued an ultimatum to Japan after an atomic bomb had obliterated Hiroshima but before another destroyed Nagasaki. Truman warned Japan to immediately and unconditionally surrender, or the United States would unleash “a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth.” He was bluffing because the United States had no stockpile of atomic bombs, but the warning was enough.
After the bombing of Nagasaki, Emperor Hirohito overruled his generals and decreed that Japan would surrender. Perhaps the North Koreans should be reminded again that we have more than two bombs now — in fact, more than enough to obliterate the entire country in a matter of hours.
Willis Mann, Laurel
As a person who
served my country in the wars in Korea and Vietnam, I can assure you that a strike or war against North Korea is not winnable. The first war against North Korea was lost, as the present situation demonstrates. The war against Vietnam was a disaster and resulted in a humiliating withdrawal. Used-car-salesman bluster and threats will only make matters worse; diplomacy is the only way. This spat with North Korea is being made considerably worse, probably to be a distraction from other activities. Alan Huckerby, Manassas
The decision to go war
is never taken lightly. But sometimes war is inevitable, and engaging earlier rather than later may actually shorten a war and save lives. The war in Europe preceded combat between the Allies and the Germans in World War II. The Allies retreated behind the French Maginot Line and waited while Germany was conquering Europe and preparing for an assault on France. The allies had more tanks and artillery along the border than the Germans. But after eight months of war, the Germans had built up their army sufficiently and swept through France. Had the British and French attacked before Germany was ready to attack them, World War II might have ended there.
North Korea has ballistic missiles and nuclear capability. Diplomacy and sanctions have failed. China has not contained the North Koreans. War is always the last and most terrible option, but in this case, there are no other choices. If the North Koreans do not stand down, we should attack now and end this conflict decisively. The longer we wait, the more time the North Koreans have to prepare for war.
Gary J. Kaplowitz, Pikesville, Md.
The Chinese were reacting favorably
to what seemed to be “four nos” (analogous to the four Chinese “nos” about Taiwan) from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson saying the United States has no interest in North Korean regime change, no intent to cross the 38th parallel, no wish for reunification and no reason for Americans to lose sleep over North Korea.
One would think these four “nos” add up to grounds for a peace conference to settle the Korean War. We are still in a state of war with North Korea; that’s why it’s still just an armistice after 65 years. I am not sure who doesn’t want to move beyond that armistice — South Korea? North Korea? China? The United States? Russia? Would not a peace settlement take regime change, reunification and maybe other items of concern off the table and lead to a “freeze” and more?
The total lack of serious comment among commentators or in the government about the need to move beyond the armistice to the possibility of a permanent settlement puzzles me.
Richard R. Palmer, Washington