Letter to the Editor

Military action may trump sanctions with North Korea

In their Feb. 13 op-ed, “Hit Pyongyang in the wallet,” Sung-Yoon Lee and Joshua Stanton grossly overestimated the effectiveness of sanctions against a country aspiring to nuclear capability. A brief review of the history of nuclear sanctions demonstrates their ineffectiveness at halting such programs.

Despite sanctions, India and Pakistan successfully developed and tested nuclear weapons in the late 1990s. Such sanctions have proved effective only when a strong, established military dependence exists with the targeted country, as in the cases of Taiwan and South Korea, where sanctions were applied to halt nuclear weapons programs.

If the world community truly wants peace and stability on the Korean peninsula in our time, policymakers must think creatively beyond sanctions and should not be too quick to rule out military action, especially while the North Korean nuclear program is still in its infancy. After all, military action by Israel proved effective in halting the Syrian nuclear program in 2007.

Gregory Barnekoff, Alexandria

 
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