The Rushmore Report: How America Should Respond to North Korea


In response to North Korea’s latest missile test of an intercontinental ballistic missile – proving an imminent threat to America – Secretary of State Rex Tillerson vowed that the United States would “never accept a nuclear-armed North Korea” while U.S. and South Korean forces held joint ballistic missile drills. Tillerson called on an international response, saying, “Global action is required to stop a global threat.” But what should that “global response” be? More importantly, how should the United States respond to North Korea’s most recent escalation. I suggest seven ways America should respond.

1. Do not underestimate the North Koreans.

The recent missile flew for about 40 minutes and reached an altitude of 1,500 miles, which is longer and higher than any other North Korean test previously reported. It covered a distance of 580 miles. This puts Alaska in reach, as well as Japan and China. Further, the missile was launched from a mobile launcher, making it more difficult to track. Dr. Bruce Bechtol, professor at Angelo State University, said, “The mobile launcher nearly destroys our warning time and also means that the North Koreans have a real shot at launching this system at us without us being able to destroy it on the ground.” Kim Jong-un must not be underestimated.

2. Submit a new U.N. resolution.

This can be done immediately. The United States should submit a new security resolution requiring more extensive sanctions on the rogue country. The Heritage Foundation’s Michael Brownfield writes, “In addition to this missile test, it has been reported that North Korea may also be in the final stages of preparations for another nuclear test, leading to escalating tensions.”

3. Demand that U.N. nations stand up.

For too long, the Unites Nations has looked the other way while its own members fail to enact the very sanctions they voted for. This must stop. America must apply all necessary pressure on allied nations to stand up to this barbaric regime. America should not have to go it alone.

4. Impose sanctions on Korean allies.

The United States must view those who fail to condemn North Korea as her allies. America must be tough with those nations sitting on the fence. Make them choose: the United States or North Korea.

5. Do not take military action unless . . .

Only when it is almost certain that we face imminent attack should the U.S. take military action. Otherwise, we will face the ire of Russia, China, and much of the Asian continent. But if the North Koreans persist in violating U.N. rules, and if they refuse to back down, any hint of such an attack must be met with immediate force.

6. Prepare as though war is imminent.

American forces must combine with allied forces to deploy all necessary ships and military threats to the Korean region. Drills with Japan and South Korea must continue, despite calls from China and Russia to back down. We cannot be seen as weak; we cannot afford to blink.

7. Extend South Korea’s military capabilities.

South Korea has petitioned the U.N. for allowances to further develop their own defense capabilities. America must use her bully pulpit on South Korea’s behalf. An attack on South Korea must be seen as an attack on America; therefore, full defense of South Korea must be firmly established.


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