The world watches with a great amount of trepidation as North Korea and the U.S. engage in a confrontation over North Korea's determination to develop a nuclear weapons system. This is a very tenuous situation, like a ticking time bomb, that could go off at any given time.
Quite possibly we're witnessing the opening of a new chapter in the exercise of military power in the world. We might say that the U.S. military is "Standing at the gates" of North Korea, ready to launch its monumental power at that nation but, because of the unique circumstances involved, it is stymied, it cannot act, at least for now.
When is the last time that a relatively small nation of just over 25 million people confronted such a military giant that was primed to launch a massive attack against it, and was able to hold that power in check?
How did all this come about? After many years of working on developing a nuclear program, North Korea finally launched an ICBM that, based on the conclusions drawn by experts in the field, has the range to hit Alaska. That's quite a frightening thought. The U.S. government, as well as nations around the world, are gravely concerned that subsequent tests will result in an increase in the range and effectivity of the rockets. And then the next step will be to connect the rocket with a nuclear bomb, a nightmare in the making.
At this point in time, North Korea has a distinct advantage over the U.S. and its powerful military. It could be said that North Korea holds most of the aces in this deadly game of military poker. That's because it and its leader Kim Jong-un have thousands of powerful artillery pieces and missiles located on the border with South Korea. They are pointed directly at that country and the huge city of Seoul. Should the U.S. dare to take some kind of military action against North Korea it will immediately launch a devastating attack on the South.
So we have an ongoing standoff in which there seems to be no real answer, no good solution to the problem. Let's review the various options:
*It should be clear that a pre-emptive U.S. military strike is not the answer and should be considered only as a last resort.
*Use of diplomacy in which the leaders of North Korea, the U.S. and, possibly, the participation of South Korea and China try to reach some kind of settlement. This is a very good option but it would be extremely difficult to get North Korea's leaders to the negotiating table. They are quite paranoid, and their safety and security is their primary objective. Also they have a great distrust of the U.S. government and the many highly aggressive military actions it has taken over many decades. However, this option must be pursued.