Is White House taking Best Path on North Korea? SU National Security Expert says 'No'

Aug 7, 2017

Sanctions against North Korea aimed at getting leaders to stop testing of ballistic missiles and other weapons.
Credit www.state.gov

The Director of National Security Studies at Syracuse University says the U-S may not be handling the North Korea crisis the right way.  As the regime faces new U-N sanctions over its continued threats of a nuclear attack, Bill Smullen says Secretary of State Rex Tillerson needs to go forward with diplomatic solutions.

“We’ve got to not only cause him to rethink this, but perhaps even to settle into willingness to have a discussion face-to-face over this, which is what Tillerson is suggesting, that we need to sit down with North Korea.  That is really the solution here.”

A former Army Colonel who worked in the U-S State Department for over a decade, Smullen finds that aggression will only escalate the already tense situation.  He also argues that the U-S shouldn’t take-on the threat alone, and needs open discussions between North Korea and its other equally concerned neighbors.

“We need to have other voices in the room, clearly South Korea; we need to have Japan, China, and evey Russion so that people can sit around the table, collectively and talka bout what is important.  What really should be the important goal is a more peaceful world.”

Bill Smullen is Director of National Security Studies at Syracuse University.
Credit syr.edu

While North Korea does not currently have nuclear warheads, many are concerned the regime could develop them within the next few years.  Smullen argues the U-S should try incentivizing peace with de-escalation offers.  He suggests offering a plan to cease joint military exercises with South Korea or even pulling troops completely.  However, if all else fails, Smullen recommends letting North Korea know of U-S defensive capabilities that could thwart an attack.

“What I would suggest is tell North Korea that we are going to put off the coast, in territorial waters, on submarines, an anti-missile defense system, meaning ‘you fire a missile, we can shoot it down.’  I think that would cause him to pause.”

Smullen adds that such an anti-missile system already exists, and could be implemented in multiple locations in the Pacific.  

The North Korean missile tests can be seen as a threat to the US, especially if they hint at the ability to launch a weapon that could strike an American target.  Smullen remains skeptical that the last test from North Korea proved they could have reached the East Coast of the US.