While a preemptive North Korean nuclear attack on the U.S. and/or America’s Pacific allies sounds like a plot ripped from my 2008 novel, Dead Heat, it may no longer be a fictional scenario.
U.S. intelligence agencies are now convinced that “North Korea has successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles, crossing a key threshold on the path to becoming a full-fledged nuclear power,” reports the Washington Post, based on a confidential analysis by the Defense Intelligence Agency.
This week, Pyongyang threatened to attack the island of Guam with ballistic missiles that could be armed with nuclear weapons. With 160,000 residents and two U.S. military bases, the Pacific island territory now appears to be in Pyongyang’s crosshairs.
President Trump immediately warned the leaders of North Korea not to dare even consider attacks against the American people or their allies, saying they would experience American “fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
We need to pray for peace, and for our leaders to have wisdom to know how best to contain the North Korean threat and ratchet down tensions. We need to pray that countries like China will use their considerable leverage to persuade the North Koreans to back down. As a protective measure, the U.S. needs to be urgently bolstering its naval and air assets in the Pacific theater, as well as its missile defense assets, closely coordinating both defensive and offensive capabilities with allies like South Korea, Japan, the Philippines, and Taiwan, among others.
At the same time, we need to reexamine the disastrous nuclear deals both President Clinton and President Obama made with North Korea. Both men promised the American people that their diplomacy would make us all safer by persuading Pyongyang not to pursue nuclear weapons or the long-range ballistic missiles to deliver them. Both could not have been more wrong. Such serious misjudments have helped get us to this exceedingly dangerous moment.
In October of 1994, President Bill Clinton cut a deal with North Korea in which Pyongyang agreed to “freeze and gradually dismantle its nuclear weapons development program,” reported the New York Times.
“This agreement will help achieve a longstanding and vital American objective — an end to the threat of nuclear proliferation on the Korean Peninsula,” Mr. Clinton told the American people.
“This agreement is good for the United States, good for our allies, and good for the safety of the entire world,” Mr. Clinton added. “It’s a crucial step toward drawing North Korea into the global community.”
In return, the Clinton administration gave North Korea $4 billion in energy aid.
In addition, the Clinton deal gave North Korea two nuclear power plants, for which American taxpayers helped foot the bill.
“This is a good deal for the United States,” Mr. Clinton said at the time. “North Korea will freeze and then dismantle its nuclear program. South Korea and our other allies will be better protected. The entire world will be safer as we slow the spread of nuclear weapons.”
But Mr. Clinton and his senior advisors couldn’t have been more wrong.
In February of 2012, President Obama was similarly duped.
Mr. Obama agreed to a deal in which Pyongyang promised (again) not to build nuclear weapons and stop testing long-range ballistic missiles.
In return, the Obama administration agreed to give North Korea 240,000 metric tons of food.
Experts warned the Obama team at the time that “it is naïve at best for the administration to herald a North Korean ‘commitment to denuclearization’ after the many years of North Korean actions definitively proving the contrary.”
Less than a month later, Pyongyang tested another long-range rocket in clear violation of the agreement, and a humiliated Mr. Obama had to suspend the food aid program.
Clearly, the policy of “strategic patience” (read: “do nothing and hope for the best”) run by Mr. Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been a colossal failure.
If all this weren’t bad enough, it’s made worse by the fact that the insane Obama nuclear deal with Iran was essentially patterned — and sold — after the Clinton deal with North Korea. As I warned in this Fox News interview and elsewhere (see here and here), the ayatollahs in Tehran are working closely with Pyongyang on nuclear and missile technology. They’re also watching how the U.S. and the world powers handle a nation aspiring to become a nuclear armed power. So far, they’re learning the West can be played for fools, and a small but aggressive nation can build a nuclear arsenal without much fear of being stopped.
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