If there ever was a time when North Korea’s bullying militarism could be curbed without great loss of life, it probably passed decades ago. That should not blind world leaders to the reality that the regime’s lethality grows by the week — and cannot be ignored forever.
A new North Korean missile, tested on Independence Day, makes that clear. Analysts worry the rocket’s long-range test means the United States may be at risk.
Japan, North Korea and other U.S. allies already are in jeopardy.
What can be done? Dictator Kim Jong-un’s actions seem to be a mix of calculated saber rattling and mental instability. Uncertainty over how he would respond to any meaningful threat to his buildup is a very real consideration.
Even Pyongyang’s only real ally, China, has been unsuccessful in convincing Kim to stop taunting the United States and his neighbors.
Perhaps U.S. leaders can convince China that failure to curb North Korea will have major, unpleasant consequences for Beijing. That may be the only option.
Clearly, however, Kim cannot be allowed to proceed unchecked. There is no reason to believe that is a viable strategy.