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Our Expert Voices conversation on North Korea

North Korea continues to accelerate its hostile nuclear missile program, and the US has few choices to blunt, much less end, this preeminent threat. Not enough leverage has come quickly enough from China. A naval blockade or quarantine will not produce direct results. Conventional war would be a bloodbath. And tactical nuclear strikes would not save deployed Americans and South Koreans, already skittish, from devastating retaliation.

There is another option. Cyberwar and sabotage have slowed Pyongyang's progress and foiled past launches. This effort should now add attacks on the North's strategic infrastructure, especially its electrical grid. The U.S. has signaled in the past that it has the power to severely disrupt or at least temporarily shut down Russia's grid; if that capability has not been developed yet against North Korea, federal cyberwarriors, aided by the private sector if necessary, must ready it for immediate use. Pyongyang should be informed that unless all testing and launches stop at once, the lights will go out.

Bottom line: Although many subjects are accustomed to darkness at night, as satellite photos make clear, stripping the military elite of electrical power would cripple the regime — making launches and research prohibitive, and perhaps even precipitating its collapse.

Other voices:

Go deeper

28 U.S. citizens depart Afghanistan on Qatar Airways flight

Passengers board a Qatar Airways aircraft bound to Qatar at the airport in Kabul on September 10, 2021. Photo: Aamir Qureshi/AFP via Getty Images

The State Department on Saturday confirmed that a Qatar Airways charter flight left Kabul on Friday with 28 U.S. citizens and seven lawful permanent residents on board.

The big picture: Friday's flight is the third such airlift by Qatar Airways since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, AP reports.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Smaller than expected "Justice for J6" rally met with large police presence

Police officers watch as demonstrators gather for the "Justice for J6" rally in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 18, 2021. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

A few hundred demonstrators were met by a heavy law enforcement presence on Saturday at the "Justice for J6" rally outside the fenced-off U.S. Capitol, AP reports.

The latest: Four people were arrested at the rally, including one person with a gun, one with a knife and two with outstanding warrants, per the U.S. Capitol Police.

DHS to increase deportation flights to Haiti from Del Rio

Migrants walk across the Rio Grande River carrying supplies back to a makeshift encampment under the international bridge between Del Rio, Texas, and Acuña, Mexico. Officials are struggling to provide food, water, shelter and sanitation, forcing migrants to cross the Rio Grande several times per day for basic necessities. Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar via Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security on Saturday announced plans to ramp up deportation flights to Haiti out of the small Texas border town Del Rio, starting as soon as Sunday.

Why it matters: Reports have emerged of more than 10,000 migrants, primarily from Haiti, crowded in a temporary camp under the international bridge in Del Rio. Hoping to find refuge in the United States, they've had to bear with filthy conditions and the scorching sun for days, per an NBC News affiliate.