- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 20, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Some fellow Americans say the Trump administration should turn North Korea into a radioactive parking lot as payback.

North Korea imprisoned Otto F. Warmbier, a U.S. college student, for 17 months — the last 12 of them while he was in a coma — and then last week released him in a state beyond medical help. He died in an Ohio hospital on Monday.

My Facebook page is getting more traffic than expected over this.

Shawn Fairman, for example, blows this kiss (of death) to North Korea’s communist dictator King Jong-un: “When we find out where that little weasel is and we can drop a bomb on him, Otto Warmbier’s name needs to be on it.”

Andrea Billups keeps it simple and to the point: “I’d light up Kim like a gas furnace.”

Doug Stevens posts this modest proposal: “Somebody has got to assassinate the fat little f—. That’s the answer. Why don’t the Chinese do it and install a puppet that’s easier to work with?”

Why indeed, since we’ve already all-but-deserted the Republic of China — the genuinely democratic China — in order to cozy up to the People’s Republic of China in the so-for vain hope that the PRC will whack Mr. Kim upside the head if necessary to get him to stop developing nukes that aim for the stars but can hit Los Angeles.

The back-and-forth on my Facebook page lays out these and other options and what’s wrong with each of them and in most instances does so perhaps as well as any Joint Chiefs of Staff or National Security Council meeting.

Was outside the box, Howard Harawitz’s posts that the U.S. can respond properly to Mr. Warmbier’s death by “sending condolences to his parents, withdrawing troops and weapons from the rest of the world, and using the arms budget to rebuild the countries we wrecked, including North Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya?”

Mr. Harawitz probably won’t find many on Facebook, Twitter or in the malls of America agreeing with his suggestion that the U.S. should rebuild the communist dictatorship in the North because we, the United States, “wrecked” it. The truth is that on June 25, 1950, the army of the communist dictatorship in North Korea invaded authoritarian non-collectivist South Korea.

The United Nations came to the South’s defense with a U.S.-led multinational military action. Communist China and Soviet Russia financed and helped North Korea fight the war.

So if we’re talking reparations, the still-dictatorial communist North should stop spending on developing nuclear missiles and spend that money instead on rebuilding the now democratic South Korea, the nation it attacked in the first place.

Sounding a call to make laws, not war, Nelson Garcia suggests “outlawing all U.S. citizens from travelling to North Korea. State Department warnings are not enough for some people.”

Wait a minute here, chides Andrew Okun. “We are a free country and should treat ourselves like adults.” The American student “took a risk, perhaps a foolish one, but that was his to take. That does not excuse his mistreatment.”

Mr. Okun is right. Forbidding American citizens under penalty of law to visit certain countries is a bit un-American.

Nonetheless, Washington has banned U.S. tourist travel to Cuba since the communist revolution in 1960. Like it or not, manipulating the freedom of travel has long been an instrument of foreign policy. Then-President Barack Obama eased up a bit on the Cuba restrictions before President Trump stiffened them again.

The frustration Americans feel stems in part, as Bennet Kelley recognizes, from trying to formulate a non-military retaliation against a country already loaded with U.S. sanctions.

“We have little leverage because of the degree of sanctions,” Mr. Bennet posts. “We could sanction those that do business with them — but do we want a fight with China? Also anything that hits really hard could cause North Korea to strike at South Korea or Japan.”

Indeed, North Korea has in place enough artillery to decimate Seoul and its environs before the bombs from the first U.S. sortie hit their targets north of the Demilitarized Zone.

Killing Mr. Kim isn’t necessarily a solution, either. Here’s the deal: Kim Il-sung, his son Kim Jong-il, and his grandson Kim Jong-un have ruled the North’s roost without significant differences in style or ruthlessness. Others in the family could fill the vacancy Mr. Kim leaves. So what’s accomplished by assassination or death by U.S. bomb with “Warmbier” painted on it?

The answer is to encourage Chairman Kim & Family to spend even more, much more, in their quest to beat into nuclear submission the free world — yes that free-unfree separation still exists 27 years after the dissolution of the Evil Empire.

The Soviet Empire collapsed in considerable part because its crumbling economy couldn’t begin to match America’s spending on military superiority. North Korea has no discernible economy that will allow it alone to finance a credible nuclear arsenal, even if it further starves its population. The Cold War in Europe was won by lengthening Leninist bread lines and without the West firing a shot. The same laws of survival apply to the Korean Peninsula.

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