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.