Loose talk about war with North Korea is irresponsible


THEIR VIEW

By John R. Kasich - Republican governor of Ohio



FILE - In this July 13, 2016 file photo, Ohio Gov. John Kasich speaks before signing legislation into law at St. Joseph Home, which serves children and adults with severe developmental disabilities, in Cincinnati. Ohio is making plans to restructure its vast stores of government data so they can be mined for possible solutions to the state's most complex problems. That includes infant mortality, opiate addiction, illiteracy and unemployment.
Kasichs administration has spent months laying the groundwork for the effort. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

FILE - In this July 13, 2016 file photo, Ohio Gov. John Kasich speaks before signing legislation into law at St. Joseph Home, which serves children and adults with severe developmental disabilities, in Cincinnati. Ohio is making plans to restructure its vast stores of government data so they can be mined for possible solutions to the state's most complex problems. That includes infant mortality, opiate addiction, illiteracy and unemployment. Kasichs administration has spent months laying the groundwork for the effort. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)


Gov. Kasich served for eighteen years on the U.S. House Armed Services Committee. He was a key supporter of President Ronald Reagan’s national security policies and played a role in every major national security effort that helped end the Cold War. He then went to work helping transform our military into a flexible force able to respond to more varied threats, like those we face today.

With tensions continuing to build between the United States and North Korea, there’s growing talk by politicians and TV pundits that we are on the brink of war. In truth, we shouldn’t be anywhere close.

This increasingly hot war of words — including loose talk about the probability of war — does nothing to bring us closer to where we need to be on North Korea, especially when military options short of war remain on the table. In fact, with millions of lives at stake, waging a war of words is a distraction from the serious task at hand. Any kind of war — especially nuclear war — should not be an option until all other options are exhausted. And, in the case of North Korea, there are several roads not yet taken.

First, North Korea is not, as some claim, “sanctioned-out.” We are nowhere near to applying the same type of restraints on North Korea that were successful in bringing Iran to the negotiating table.

In fact, the breadth of sanctions we have placed on North Korea to date are far less than what was applied in earlier crises on Russia, Syria and Iran. While our sanctions on North Korea have clearly escalated, we still have the option to penalize and seize the assets of North Korea’s enablers in other countries that enable Pyongyang to evade the full brunt of financial measures. We can expand our focus on shipping and work with our allies to deny maritime insurance to the vessels heading to or from North Korea. Last month, we targeted sanctions on 20 such vessels. Many more North Korean vessels are active and engaged in illicit activities beyond the small number designated by the Treasury Department.

We also can do more to expose those who use North Korean slave labor and to block any remittances back to Kim Jong Un’s regime.

Second, none of this will work without more pressure to hold the reluctant Chinese government accountable for the commitments it has made and to target more Chinese entities that support the North Korean government. The overwhelming majority of North Korea’s trade — 90 percent — is with or facilitated by China, and despite agreed-upon U.N. sanctions, much of this economic activity continues. Actions should include targeting a greater number of Chinese banks that deal with North Korea, fining their U.S. subsidiaries and freezing their U.S. assets.

This year, the international banking transaction network, known as SWIFT, moved to prevent North Korean banks from using the global messaging system to facilitate international transactions, but that doesn’t impact Chinese banks that transact for the North Koreans. We should consider expanding this ban to include Chinese banks with any North Korean connections.

Finally, we need to ask: Where are our allies on all of this? Instead of threatening a bilateral war between the United States and the North Korea, we should be working with allies — including South Korea and Japan — to threaten increased multilateral pressure to choke the North Korean regime. While economic sanctions have not proved to be effective yet, they have not been fully exhausted and tested. Part of the reason the previous administration succeeded in bringing Iran to the table — regardless of the flaws of their final deal — was due to internationally coordinated sanctions. Thankfully, the U.N. Security Council has adopted three rounds of such sanctions this year, including significant measures last week.

With millions of lives hanging in the balance, the last thing we need is to have politicians and pundits predicting odds on the probability of war. It’s neither an accurate nor a helpful way to treat a complex international challenge.

FILE – In this July 13, 2016 file photo, Ohio Gov. John Kasich speaks before signing legislation into law at St. Joseph Home, which serves children and adults with severe developmental disabilities, in Cincinnati. Ohio is making plans to restructure its vast stores of government data so they can be mined for possible solutions to the state’s most complex problems. That includes infant mortality, opiate addiction, illiteracy and unemployment.
Kasichs administration has spent months laying the groundwork for the effort. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2018/01/web1_kasich-johnny.jpgFILE – In this July 13, 2016 file photo, Ohio Gov. John Kasich speaks before signing legislation into law at St. Joseph Home, which serves children and adults with severe developmental disabilities, in Cincinnati. Ohio is making plans to restructure its vast stores of government data so they can be mined for possible solutions to the state’s most complex problems. That includes infant mortality, opiate addiction, illiteracy and unemployment.
Kasichs administration has spent months laying the groundwork for the effort. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)
THEIR VIEW

By John R. Kasich

Republican governor of Ohio

Gov. Kasich served for eighteen years on the U.S. House Armed Services Committee. He was a key supporter of President Ronald Reagan’s national security policies and played a role in every major national security effort that helped end the Cold War. He then went to work helping transform our military into a flexible force able to respond to more varied threats, like those we face today.

This column originally appeared in The Washington Post. Provided by Kasich for America.

This column originally appeared in The Washington Post. Provided by Kasich for America.