Austin Bay is a contributing editor at StrategyPage.com and adjunct professor at the University of Texas in Austin. He describes the North Korea situation as denuclearization with maximum verification or war.
Trump versus North Korea, 2018 edition: The U.S. and its democratic allies, South Korea and Japan, are not demanding regime change. North Korea’s vicious regime can continue to run a Stalinist gulag and starve its wretched citizens. This is a concession to China. If the North Korean gulag remains, Communist China will retain an authoritarian and semi-dependent buffer prison state between its border and South Korea.
In exchange for regime existence (Kim dynasty pay off) and the buffer gulag (China pay off), the Kim regime must get rid of its nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons manufacturing capabilities.
The pay off to South Korea, Japan and the U.S. is that North Korea can no longer threaten Seoul, Tokyo, Honolulu and San Francisco with nuclear immolation.
Ah, the deadly fine print: Assuring denuclearization will require a very intrusive, long-term, take your shorts off, take your shoes off, spread your glutes, check your hair for lice, open every cave, every bunker, every laboratory, every crevice verification regimen.
Call it maximum verification.
If North Korea balks at maximum verification, what happens next?
Trump said his administration would “go hard in either direction.”
That is a promise to sustain maximum pressure. War takes maximum pressure to a new level. No one should be surprised. After all, way back in 1999 Trump told Tim Russert that America had to terminate North Korea’s serious threat.