You might have thought the latest season of Game of Thrones wrapped in August, but it appears that Kim Jung-un didn’t want the show to end just yet. When it comes to North Korea, winter is most certainly coming. Tensions on the Korean peninsula are at the highest point since the Korean War following the regime’s hydrogen bomb test last weekend, and the chances of war have increased from about five to 10 percent. This may seem insignificant, but it is surely a worrisome development and once again forces the world to circle back to the same two questions: What does Kim want and what can the rest of us do?

I think the answer to the first question, which I told KQED Radio, is clear: Kim wants to own weapons of mass destruction; achieve respect from the international community as evidenced by engagement and dialogue; and continue living his very pleasant life, built upon the backs of the North Korean people.

As for the second question, I told Morning Joe (watch below) that we have three options. We can:

  1. Launch a military response;
  2. Increase pressure through additional sanctions; or
  3. Accept the status quo.

The answer will be a mix of options two and three. On Fox Radio, I explained that diplomacy is going to be key to all of this – and that it’s unnerving to see what little involvement the State Department has had. We’ve heard crickets from Foggy Bottom for the last week, and at this point, I’d settle for a simple sign of life, such as a press release. Secretary Rex Tillerson needs to get back in the game before he runs out of chances.

Additionally, China can and should play a massive role in reigning in North Korea. As I often say, all roads to Pyongyang lead through Beijing and targeted sanctions against Chinese companies doing business in North Korea might be a necessary next step, as I told Bloomberg Radio.

Overlaying all of this throughout the past week is the destruction and devastation we’ve seen domestically across the Gulf Coast, and especially in Texas, as a result of Hurricane Harvey. As we head into the weekend, and as Hurricane Irma bears down on Florida, and news trickles in about the massive earthquake in Mexico, my heart goes out to all those across the hemisphere affected by these disasters.

We’ve also seen how these tragedies bring out the best in people, especially the best of Fletcher people. I know alumni are already in Houston helping and I’m sure many more will be arriving to affected areas in the days ahead. It’s because of this that I know when the dust settles and the rain stops, we will face each new challenge together.

As always, thanks for reading.

Comments are closed.