Threatening a heavily armed paranoid killer like Kim Jong Un will not make him listen to reason. It will just make him more paranoid, and hence more dangerous. He has 15,000 long-range cannon and rocket launchers aimed at Seoul's 25 million people. These pieces are well fortified, and not vulnerable to air attack. They are like a loaded pistol held to the head of South Korea, in effect making those people along with 35,000 Americans there hostages to a crazy man.

We have another crazy man who thinks threats and swagger will change anything. Shows of force are equally silly and useless. The only alternative to an all-out war that would kill a million or more people in the first 24 hours is containment of North Korea along lines it can and will accept. China alone is capable of doing that: we are not. We either convince China to do it, or we face the oncoming threat of nuclear disaster.

John Goodwin

Lebanon (Sept. 8)

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