If credible intelligence sources confirm that North Korea has developed and can launch intercontinental missiles with nuclear warheads, we will have reached a crisis point requiring action. We have wasted too many decades waiting for sanctions and UN resolutions to work. There is no more time to waste.
The best and, possibly, the only hope for a peaceful solution, is through China. China is the only country with the influence and power over Kim Jong-Un to stop the madness that could cause a conflagration of massive proportions. Kim Jong-Un has said that his reason for developing his nuclear program is to assure his country that it is safe from an attack.
China can confirm to Kim Jong-Un that China will protect North Korea from an attack, provided they dismantle their nuclear and missile programs.
The United States has made clear that regime change is not our objective. South Korea is in no position to take over North Korea. If China continues to be a trading partner with North Korea and assures their safety against an attack, Kim Jong-Un has no excuse to continue his nuclear ambitions. The severe sanctions can be lifted if a verifiable dismantling of his nuclear program is agreed to. It has to be made clear to Kim Jung-Un that he is on a self-destructive path to oblivion.
That's the most feasible avenue to a non-violent solution to this crisis. If China cannot or will not negotiate with North Korea, we must be prepared to take action before Kim Jung-Un can pull the trigger and launch his missiles. The next and best alternative solution is for Kim Jong-Un to be removed from power from within North Korea by moderate forces if they exist. This coup effort can and should be fostered, if necessary and possible, by covert actions.
If that is not doable, then a coalition of nations vulnerable to an attack by North Korean intercontinental missiles must stop North Korea by a massive attack from the air on the artillery that threatens Seoul and their missile bases and deployments.
We have the air power with missiles, drones, bombers and more to make this happen. In this dire circumstance, their army must also be rendered ineffective.
This, of course, is a last resort and is the most dangerous option. However, it is a better option than to let the missiles fly towards Japan, Australia, Guam, Hawaii and the United States.
I have a personal interest in seeing to it that we finally put an end to the threats of the menace who calls the shots in North Korea. In 1951, I was with the First Marine Division at the 38th Parallel in Korea. I crawled up the blood-soaked hills fighting against the Chinese army that had interceded in the Korean War and sent hundreds of thousands of troop across the Yalu River onto the Korean peninsula. China's intrusion into that war heavily contributed to the 36,000 American service personnel killed, the 103,000 wounded and the 7,799 still listed as missing in action.
That is reason enough for China to feel responsible and motivated to move aggressively against its problem neighbor. We need to make it clear to South Korea that we will not fight another bloody war to save their country again from the North. I believe they need to mobilize and build a military force adequate to stop another North Korean invasion.
Our 28,000 troops cannot change the outcome against the one-million-man army from the North. We have been stationed on the peninsula too long. It's time to plan the withdrawal of our troops and abandon our plans for a multi-billion dollar permanent base in Korea. We should help South Korea's preparation with missiles, tanks, planes, and whatever armaments are ne ed, but never again with troops on the ground. Our troops should no longer play a sacrificial deterrent role.
Enough blood has been shed, enough pain inflicted. It is distressing and disturbing that we find ourselves in this impossible situation. We are out of time.
Leonard Adreon, a 90-year-old veteran of the Korean War, recently published a book called Hilltop Doc: A Marine Corpsman Fighting Through the Mud and Blood of the Korean War.
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