The Corner

Doomed Doves

In the aftermath of Iraq, the policy of the administration’s Korea doves is doomed. (It was doomed even before Iraq, of course, by the impossibility of verifying any agreement.) The North Korean regime has long sacrificed prosperity to strength. It would sooner accept the continued starvation of its people than disarm itself. The idea that, particularly after Iraq, Kim Jong Il would trust in paper security guarantees, is absurd. The policy of the hawks, on the other hand, has at least a chance of success, but great risk of failure. The Chinese may not want the risks of even peaceful regime change, but they run far greater risks from a regime change brought on by war. So the idea of working with the Chinese to change the regime in North Korea just might work. But it can only work with a credible threat of force–and war, if it should finally break out, could easily turn into a human and a diplomatic catastrophe. There are no good options here, and the risks are immense. But for the first time, because of Iraq, there is at least a plausible scenario for a peaceful resolution.

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