Defense Strategy Essay 1
Section Two, Essay One
Supportability from a strategy formulation perspective of United States policy options for North Korean nuclear and strategic missile capabilities
16 February 2014
Benjamin J. McClellan
North Korea’s nuclear and strategic missile capabilities present grave challenges to regional security. Pyongyang’s propensity to export its weapons also threatens the global non-proliferation regime. Despite economic impoverishment and an inability to feed its people, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea remains heavily armed and ready to fire first. Its recent and continued military provocations demonstrate the potential for resumed conflict on the Korean Peninsula. Policymakers must …show more content…
Sanctions are a tool of “coercive diplomacy”; the diplomacy of threats. To be effective, the threat must be severe (enough) and credible. To Korea they are not. North Korea is and has been the most sanctioned nation on earth since the early 1950’s. Every American president since Truman has underestimated how much Pyongyang would endure.
Destruction of Capability / Intervention The destruction of the nuclear capability, or intervention (pre-emptive), is another policy option for consideration. Military intervention is the deliberate act of a nation, or a group of nations, to introduce its military forces into the course of an existing controversy. The destruction of the nuclear capability would involve targeting and destroying production, storage, and research facilities in North Korea. The end and the measure of success would inevitably be the destruction of North Korea’s nuclear missile capability.
The means for North Korean intervention would most likely be airstrikes or ship launched missile strikes. The most recent parallel for the use of force to remove a capability was the US’s consideration of military strikes in Syria, in response to suspected chemical weapons attacks. The means to accomplish this end would initially only involve missile strikes but could eventually escalate to troops on the ground. Once again, the limiting factor to this course of action is a matter of end and risk.
Any military action in North Korea will prove costly