That does not mean going to war. It does mean working to induce North Korea’s military and political elites to depose the dictator. It means circumventing the information blackout Pyongyang imposes within its borders, and flooding North Koreans with accurate information about the crimes of their rulers — and encouraging them to rise up in their own liberation. It means persuading China of the benefits it would realize from helping to bring about a post-Kim North Korea. Just for starters, those benefits include a much greater likelihood that two key US allies, Japan and South Korea, won’t be tempted to build nuclear arsenals of their own.
Stephen Bryen, a former staff director of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, urges the creation of a North Korean government-in-exile, formally recognized and supported by the United States. That would establish an alternative to the Kim regime as a concrete option, which could induce even more officials “to bolt from the regime or even sabotage it.”