Hawaii’s U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard once again is issuing a warning about how the United States is handling the situation with North Korea, particular in light of its success Intercontinental Ballistic Missile test.
Now, some folks have previously expressed the opinion that North Korea doesn’t have the capabilities to reach the US with such weapons, and Gabbard was making a mistake and grandstanding when she previously expressed her concern about North Korea. She specifically said Hawaii was threatened because of its proximity to North Korea — a ballistic missile launched from there could reach Hawaii within 20 minutes.
Why Hawaii? Because it is home to the largest concentration of U.S. military strategic assets for well over 3,000 miles, making it a prime target for North Korea’s aggression.
Well, two things. It seems North Korea does have such capabilities, based on its recent test, and Gabbard is correct in urging cautious in dealing with this country that does not care about U.N. sanctions, doesn’t care what anyone else says, and does not seem to fear the US and is, in fact, threatening it.
“We should be worried,” said Philip E. Coyle III, a former head of the Pentagon’s test and evaluation office. North Korea’s latest success, he said, “shows that time is not on our side.”
The U.S. is stepping up its missile tests and its talks, too. On Wednesday, it said it would use its military capabilities to defend the country and its allies against a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile if necessary, but said it prefers to use its clout in international trade to address the growing threat.
Here is what Gabbard had to say Wednesday. We think her assessment is on target.
“North Korea’s latest successful intercontinental ballistic missile test further demonstrates the extremely dangerous and growing threat that North Korea poses to Hawaii, Alaska, and the mainland United States. For the past 15 years, our leaders have let the people of Hawaii and our country down, allowing the situation in North Korea to worsen to this point of crisis where we are left with nothing but bad options. We must ensure we are able to defend against North Korea’s threat with cutting-edge missile defense technologies, but this is not enough. We must pursue serious diplomatic efforts to de-escalate and ultimately denuclearize North Korea. However, U.S. leaders need to understand that Kim Jong Un maintains a tight grip on North Korea’s nuclear weapons as a deterrent against regime change. The Trump Administration would be far more credible in finding a diplomatic solution with North Korea if we weren’t currently waging a regime change war in Syria, and contemplating a regime change war in Iran.”
“The North Korean regime witnessed the regime change wars the U.S. led in Libya and Iraq and what we’re now doing in Syria, and fear they will become like Gadhafi who, after giving up his nuclear weapons program, was deposed by the United States.
“As long as the U.S. is waging regime change wars, we are far less likely to reach a diplomatic solution in North Korea because they have no reason to believe our promises. In fact, we are far more likely to see nuclear proliferation by countries like North Korea who see nuclear weapons as their only deterrent against regime change.
“Serious diplomacy on the Korean Peninsula will require an end to our regime change war in Syria and a public statement that the U.S. will not engage in regime change wars and nation-building overseas, including in Iran and North Korea. We should focus our limited resources on rebuilding our own country and seriously commit ourselves to de-escalating this dangerous stand-off with North Korea and negotiate a peaceful diplomatic solution.”
The U.S. should do all it can to avoid military action against North Korea. If that happens, it will not end well for anybody. Like Gabbard, we call for continued diplomacy and giving trade sanctions time to work. That said, the U.S. is in difficult position. It must lead through seeking diplomatic solutions, but be ready to respond, on short notice with its considerable military powers, which could be necessary as North Korea is a growing threat, has proven itself to be unpredictable, does not like the US and is developing nuclear weapons that clearly pose a threat to America and certainly, Hawaii.