Jun 28, 2017

Escalation could lead to nuclear war

Our Expert Voices conversation on North Korea

We should take every reasonable measure to proactively minimize the risk of a nuclear conflict in Korea.

  • In diplomacy, we should forsake the goal of North Korean denuclearization in favor of probing North Korea's interest in negotiating an arms control arrangement (which would tacitly permit them to retain at least some nuclear weapons for the foreseeable future).
  • On sanctions, the current strategy of seeking Chinese pressure on North Korea is unhelpful; either China will not impose excessively tough restrictions on North Korea, or they will and it could cause North Korea to precipitate a crisis as a way to alleviate them. We should maintain sanctions for the purpose of censure, not coercion.
  • On defense, the United States should avoid actions that might inadvertently trigger North Korean nuclear use. Actions prone to miscalculation include: preventive attacks on North Korean nuclear facilities or critical infrastructure; deployments of U.S. nuclear-capable bombers to South Korea; and large-scale troop movements flowing from around the region into South Korea. North Korea could conclude from any of these moves that we seek to imminently decapitate the regime or invade, forcing it into a "use or lose" situation with its nuclear weapons.

Bottom line: Increasing the diplomatic, sanctions or military pressure too much too quickly, may bring on the world's first nuclear war.

Other voices:

Go deeper

Trump's big, empty beef with Twitter

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump finally acted on his now year-old threat to take action against social media platforms for alleged bias against conservatives. But so far, according to experts in both government and the industry, the threat looks mostly empty.

Driving the news: Trump escalated his war on Twitter Friday morning, tweeting repeatedly that the company needs to be regulated after it overnight added a warning label to a tweet of his calling for the military to start shooting looters, which violated Twitter’s rules against glorifying violence.

In photos: Protests over George Floyd's death grip Minneapolis

The Third Police Precinct burns in Minneapolis on Thursday night. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Demonstrators demanding justice burned a Minneapolis police station and took control of the streets around it last night, heaving wood onto the flames, kicking down poles with surveillance cameras and torching surrounding stores.

What's happening: The crowd was protesting the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man whose life was snuffed out Tuesday by a white Minneapolis police officer who kneeled on his neck for about eight minutes.

Minneapolis mayor to Trump: “Weakness is pointing your finger” during a crisis

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey fired back at President Trump on Friday, after the president accused the mayor of weak leadership amid violence sparked by the killing of an unarmed black man by a white police officer.

Driving the news: Trump made his accusations in a pair of tweets early Friday, saying he would bring the national guard into Minneapolis if Frey couldn't “bring the City under control.”