US conservatives frequently paint North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as a "madman." Kim is bad, not mad. Kim is a dictator and a massive human-rights violator, but one thing he is not is suicidal. Kim knows that any attack on the US would result in North Korea's destruction. Donald Trump has said so. But Kim is also aware of what the US does to regimes, like Iraq and Libya, that lack nuclear weapons. Kim would prefer not to meet the fate of Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi. Nuclear weapons are Kim's insurance policy.
A US attack on North Korea would be catastrophic. A US attack might not cripple or destroy all of the North Korean nuclear sites. Even if a US strike managed to destroy all of Kim's nukes (wildly unlikely), Seoul would still be within range of the North's 8,000 conventional artillery pieces. The North could kill hundreds of thousands of South Koreans along with thousands of the 130,000 Americans residing in South Korea.
Diplomacy is the only sane path forward. The US must lift economic sanctions against North Korea, stop waving the sword, and pursue a "freeze-for-a-freeze." This would mean abandoning the yearly US war games with South Korea in exchange for the North halting or dismantling its nuclear program.
The moral of our story should be obvious. We can live with a nuclear-armed North Korea just as we have lived for decades with a nuclear-armed China. Living with nuclear-armed countries is doable. Just ask anyone outside the United States.
(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).