"The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself and its allies, it will have no choice but to destroy North Korea," President Trump told the U.N.
I pretty much agree with your editorial on the North Korean part of President Donald Trump's UN speech ("Who's the madman, Kim or Trump", Sept. 19). Yes, Mr. Trump is both threatening even greater harm to the North Korean people than its own government has inflicted and increasing the the likelihood that the Kim regime will consider it necessary to maintain its nuclear program or even launch a first strike.
However, I disagree with your conclusion, "There are no good solutions to the threat posed by North Korea." Step one is to offer to negotiate a peace treaty ending the 1949-53 Korean war. Step two is to enter into a rock solid, non-aggression treaty with the North.
But before it undertakes these steps, the U.S. must shed its century old habit of confusing communism and nationalism. In Vietnam, the Vietnamese were fighting for national independence, while the U.S. was fighting communism. (That is made clear over and over in the current PBS Vietnam War series.) In such cases, the nationalist ideology always prevails. The North Korean dynasty is trying to protect itself and its population base from a U.S. attack, which it has viewed since 1953 as always on the horizon. Trying to preserve its communist ideology, per se, is probably third or fourth down on its list of reasons for developing its atomic arsenal. If the U.S. (currently personified by Donald Trump) really wants to neutralize the North's atomic weapons, first thing it must do is recognize the nationalist foundation upon which it rests.