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Christian Whiton proposes the following program for bringing down the North Korean regime. What are the pros and cons?
1. Dramatically increasing defector-led radio broadcasting from outside North Korea. The truth is Kim Jong Il’s greatest foe, and dissent movements thrive on factual information that undermine the dictators’ propaganda. Defector broadcasts exist but need real resources.
2. Halt all foreign aid and other funds flows to North Korea, which the regime uses to survive. We should also deny any financial organization or central bank that deals with North Korea the ability to clear transactions in U.S. dollars—essentially a death penalty for banks that would end the regime’s ability to move funds and reward those who keep it in power.
3. Stop trade and seaborne proliferation. China has demonstrated it will not cooperate with us or comply with U.N. resolutions that restrict trade or call for inspections of goods going to North Korea. However, ships going to or from North Korea can be impounded.
4. Wage economic warfare. The North Korean government is the first regime since the Third Reich to counterfeit U.S. currency. We should return the favor by dumping bales of North Korea currency just off Korean and Chinese shores. The resulting economic tailspin would penalize the North Korean elite most.
5. Allied militaries should broadcast a clear message to North Korea’s military seeking to separate it from the Kim family. The USS Pueblo, which North Korea hijacked in 1968 and currently holds captive, should be sunk. We have every right to do this to our own property, and every military officer in North Korea would perceive the regime is running out of lives.
6. Change the military balance. We should consult with South Korea and Japan about increasing the forces of our three nations available for a rapid move on Pyongyang should one ever become necessary.
More importantly, we should talk openly about placing U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in the 5-150 kiloton range in the region to counter the growing nuclear threat from North Korea. For the first time, this would make China realize supporting North Korea is harming Beijing’s own security, which just might make it less willing to aid Pyongyang. Kim’s generals would also see they are worse off for following him.
(Yes, yes, I know: I don’t seem to be writing a book review. I’m as aware of this as anyone. If you’re reading this, National Review, don’t worry. I’m totally on top of the situation.)