Dear Editor: National Security Adviser HR McMaster and President Trump have made statements implying that war is the likely next step in our conflict with North Korea. Meanwhile Kim Jong-un appears to believe that only nuclear-tipped missiles can prevent the overthrow of his regime. This administration, like others, refuses negotiation until North Korean missile and weapon testing stop, which is not likely until its nuclear capability is reliably deployed.

The administration is apparently leading us toward either a conventional or nuclear pre-emptive first-strike with potentially disastrous consequences, from spreading radioactivity all over the Korean peninsula to the nuclear destruction of large urban areas in Korea and beyond.

There is another option. We could accept a Cold War-style "mutually assured destruction" stalemate. Difficult unless we adjust our thinking: accepting that North Korea will remain a nuclear-armed nation and that porous intercontinental missile defense systems only provide incomplete security; supporting enough pressure to prevent nuclear proliferation but avoiding excessive pressure, which would destabilize the North Korean economy and back its leaders into a dangerous corner.

Acting with restraint and maturity, accepting an uncomfortable but realistic stalemate with North Korea, we can expect eventual detente to move us toward a mutually satisfactory future.

Tom Sullivan

Prairie du Sac

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