Tags: North Korea | Trump Administration | victor cha | north korea | strike | missile

Victor Cha: Preventive Strike Against North Korea Is Not the Answer

Victor Cha: Preventive Strike Against North Korea Is Not the Answer
(AP)

By    |   Wednesday, 31 January 2018 09:22 AM

Victor Cha, who had been President Donald Trump's top choice to be ambassador to South Korea, warned that if North Korea is not stopped, it will build an arsenal with nuclear missiles meant to threaten the U.S. homeland.

Cha's comments came in a column for The Washington Post.

The Georgetown University professor is no longer expected to be nominated for the ambassador's post after privately disagreeing with the Trump administration over a possible "bloody nose" strike against North Korea.

In his Post column, Cha said spelled out his concerns about any preventive military strike, saying it is not the answer.

"Instead, there is a forceful military option available that can address the threat without escalating into a war that would likely kill tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of Americans," he said.

"Some may argue that U.S. casualties and even a wider war on the Korean Peninsula are risks worth taking, given what is at stake," he said. "But a strike (even a large one) would only delay North Korea's missile-building and nuclear programs, which are buried in deep, unknown places impenetrable to bunker-busting bombs.

"When I was under consideration for a position in this administration, I shared some of these views."

And he added: "A strike also would not stem the threat of proliferation but rather exacerbate it."

He said he empathizes with the hope of those in the administration who believe a military strike would shock North Korea into respecting U.S. strength.

"Yet, there is a point at which hope must give in to logic," he said. "If we believe that Kim is undeterrable without such a strike, how can we also believe that a strike will deter him from responding in kind?

"And if Kim (Jong Un) is unpredictable, impulsive and bordering on irrational, how can we control the escalation ladder, which is premised on an adversary's rational understanding of signals and deterrence?"

Cha maintained an alternative strategy would call for global pressure on North Korea to denuclearize.

He said that strategy requires the administration to strengthen "the coalition of U.N. member states it has mustered in its  highly successful sanctions campaign."

It also would require the U.S. to increase weaponry and intelligence sharing with Japan and South Korea, he noted.

Cha said the U.S. "must build a maritime coalition around North Korea involving rings of South Korean, Japanese and broader U.S. assets to intercept any nuclear missiles or technologies leaving the country. China and Russia should be prepared to face the consequences if they allow North Korean proliferation across their borders."

He also called for the U.S. to continue to prepare military options.

"Force will be necessary to deal with North Korea if it attacks first, but not through a preventive strike that could start a nuclear war," he said.

"A sustained and long-term competitive strategy such as this plays to U.S. strengths, exploits our adversary's weaknesses and does not risk hundreds of thousands of American lives."

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Victor Cha, who had been President Donald Trump's top choice to be ambassador to South Korea, warned that if North Korea is not stopped, it will build an arsenal with nuclear missiles meant to threaten the U.S.
victor cha, north korea, strike, missile
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2018-22-31
Wednesday, 31 January 2018 09:22 AM
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