Regarding Eugene Robinson’s Jan. 2 op-ed, “Time to cool it on North Korea”:
The North Korean threat is perhaps more dangerous than the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. Nuclear war has remained — and should remain — unthinkable since 1945. Mr. Robinson’s argument should be pushed further. It is past time to accept the fact that our diplomatic efforts have failed to stop the North Korean nuclear project and accept — however reluctantly and fearfully — the reality that it is a nuclear power. The horses are out of the barn.
Given the dangerous vulnerability of Seoul, there is no viable military option. North Korea’s regime clearly believes that it is in its national interest to have a nuclear shield. Sanctions will not work. As Russian President Vladimir Putin said recently, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would rather have his people “ eat grass” than give up nukes. Nuclear deterrence worked throughout the Cold War despite some very close calls. Mr. Kim may be reckless and erratic, but he is not a madman. He must know that a nuclear strike against a U.S. city would trigger a catastrophic response.
We should immediately end the extremely dangerous situation with threats flying back and forth and the ever-present possibility of miscalculation. It is in our national interest to accept reality and make the rational assumption that North Korea can be deterred by our vast nuclear arsenal.
A Soviet first strike would have been far more deadly because of that nation’s huge nuclear arsenal. North Korea, on the other hand, has as yet only a small number of nuclear weapons and, therefore, is much less of a threat to the United States.
John Wood, Washington