Facing the cold truth

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Facing the cold truth

Dark clouds are gathering over the Korean Peninsula — fast. The Trump administration and the U.S. Congress are increasingly raising the risk of war in the region through their appearances in the media. In an interview with Fox News Sunday, U.S. Security Advisor H.R. McMaster said that the likelihood of war between the United States and North Korea is “increasing every day.” He added, “There are ways to address this problem short of armed conflict, but it is a race because he’s getting closer and closer and there’s not much time left.”

Backpedaling on his earlier emphasis on dialogue with the Kim Jong-un regime, McMaster mentioned the possibility of a preventive war. The peninsula is rapidly heading into a graver situation than ever before. Sen. Lindsey Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, joined the chorus on CBS News. “It’s now time to start moving American dependents out of the South Korea,” he said. Pulling out U.S. civilians usually takes place shortly before a war. Graham even referred to a “pre-emptive war” as a last resort.

America’s sense of urgency stems from China’s noncooperation in resolving the nuclear threat and imminent nuclear armaments of North Korea. Uncle Sam believes that international sanctions on the recalcitrant state did not work and that the time is running out fast for the United States to block Pyongyang from completing its nuclear programs and deploying ICBMs in real battles.

McMaster warned China that if South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Vietnam embark on nuclear armament in reaction to the North, it will seriously threaten China and Russia’s national interests. The United States is deeply concerned that the nuclear domino in East Asia will nullify the decades-old Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which again will lead everyone into “the war of all against all,” as Thomas Hobbes wrote in “Leviathan.”

Under such grim circumstances, our government still adheres to a policy of dialogue, as seen by the Unification Ministry’s propaganda broadcasts on metro buses highlighting the need for peaceful coexistence with North Korea. We wonder how the government really can maintain such nonchalance in the face of imminent danger.

Even after the international community underscores the need to enforce a naval blockade or maritime interdiction on North Korean vessels, the Blue House is not willing to join the campaign. If the government just watches the alarming development with folded arms, we cannot avoid a war.

JoongAng Ilbo, Dec. 5, Page 34
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