What’s next with North Korea?

The Washington Post Sunday - - SUNDAY OPINION -

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

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