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Denuclearizing North Korea

President Trump returns from his second summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un with nothing but vague hope his allegedly special relationship with Kim, and promises of future economic prosperity for North Korea, will tempt "little rocket-man" to give up nuclear missiles.

Our president is being misled by State Department advisers down the same path of largely fruitless negotiation and "strategic patience" followed by Clinton, Bush, and Obama, that resulted in North Korea successfully testing an H-Bomb, and having ICBMs capable of striking any American city.

Although Pyongyang has suspended nuclear and missile testing during negotiations —dictator Kim announced before negotiations North Korea achieved its technological testing objectives.

This is almost certainly true.

North Korea does not require the same technological standards of reliability and performance for nuclear missiles as does the United States.

Contrary to the State Department, economic sanctions almost certainly are not working.

Russia, China, and others are helping North Korea circumvent economic sanctions.

We don’t even know how to accurately measure the effects of sanctions on the North Korean economy, let alone gauge their influence on the thinking of political leaders in Pyongyang.

We do know North Korea has made enormous sacrifices, including starving thousands, for nuclear missiles.

We should know economic prosperity, as it exists in now inconsequential Vietnam, is no big temptation to psychopathic Kim Jong-Un. Kim probably fears economic prosperity would encourage freedom and embolden rival elites to challenge his power in North Korea.

Megalomaniac Kim wants to perpetuate his tyrannical hold on power and to overawe his foreign enemies. These goals he has achieved and is achieving by a spartan existence for his people, and by his world-shaking signature accomplishment and ultimate guarantor of power—nuclear missiles.

So far, North Korea has made a few symbolic gestures — destroyed a nuclear test tunnel and a missile testing gantry — but done nothing irreversible and nothing that diminishes its nuclear missile threat.

Indeed, the Intelligence Community’s recent Worldwide Threat briefing to Congress warns North Korea continues building nuclear weapons and missiles.

The North Korean nuclear missile threat is increasing.

Kim Jong-Un’s game is to use negotiations to buy time to produce more nuclear missiles, enough so the U.S. will consider a disarming strike using conventional weapons as too risky, removing the U.S. military option. Thus, the U.S. will be forced to accept a Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) relationship with North Korea, and learn to live with a nuclear-armed Kim Jong-Un.

The Democrat Party has already surrendered to Kim Jong-Un. Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and former Director of National Intelligence, General James Clapper, all say nuclear North Korea is irreversible, and the U.S. must accept a MAD relationship with dictator Kim.

The only reason Kim Jong-Un is negotiating with President Trump is because he fears Trump is the first president brave enough to denuclearize North Korea forcibly, by military means.

If Kim can buy enough time through negotiations to build 50-100 mobile ICBMs, he hopes President Trump will surrender, accept nuclear-armed North Korea and MAD.

Gambling that a thermonuclear holocaust with North Korea can be avoided by MAD is a very bad bet that will probably kill millions of Americans.

What to do?

Accelerate U.S. nuclear deterrent modernization, deploy space-based missile defenses, and harden U.S. critical infrastructures against electromagnetic pulse (EMP) and cyber-attacks to punish and pressure China and Russia for helping nuclearize North Korea, for supporting their client state’s intransigence, and to de-value all nuclear missiles.

Shootdown North Korea’s two satellites, the KMS-3 and KMS-4, that orbit over the U.S. and may be armed for surprise EMP attack, posing an existential threat.

The Congressional EMP Commission recommends destruction of these satellites—to eliminate the greatest and most immediate potential nuclear menace to the U.S. from North Korea.

Destroy the satellites in a surprise attack, with no publicity afterwards. But privately notify Kim Jong-un the U.S. will not tolerate any more North Korean satellites — and patience is running-out for progress toward North Korean complete denuclearization.

This is the least escalatory military option for denuclearization, as it entails no strikes on North Korea. Yet destroying the satellites would be the first time any president struck back against the growing North Korean nuclear threat, and would prove the U.S. is willing to act forcefully.

If Kim Jong-Un is so pathological he would start a new Korean War over shootdown of his satellites, better to deal with him now, before he gets 100 ICBMs.

Shootdown of North Korea’s satellites would at a stroke increase the credibility of U.S. resolve to Russia, China, and Iran, and reassure allies worldwide at a time when U.S. military power is still unrecovered from years of neglect by the Obama administration.

Some will protest acting militarily amidst negotiations is unprecedented and will reinforce President Trump’s image of being reckless and unpredictable.

America has never been more threatened from as many quarters as now. Our conventional and nuclear forces have never faced such great challenges as now, and are overmatched on many fronts.

At this dangerous moment America’s greatest asset may be the personality of our courageous, bold, surprising president. If America’s enemies fear President Trump — Good!

Dr. Peter Vincent Pry is executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security. He served on the Congressional EMP Commission as chief of staff, the Congressional Strategic Posture Commission, the House Armed Services Committee, and the CIA. He is author of "Blackout Wars."