The U.S. should draft a U.N. Security Council resolution that sanctions any companies, banks or government agencies that participate in Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs. That includes foreign entities as well as North Korean ones.
North Korea also should be given a firm 30-day deadline to stop its nuclear and missile tests. To give the warning some teeth, the resolution should specifically allow the use of military force if North Korea refuses to comply.
Finally, China needs to become part of the solution.
For years Beijing has allowed North Korea to advance its weapons programs, seemingly confident that a nuclear North Korea is more of a threat to the U.S. and its allies than to China. But the Chinese should realize that the unpredictable regime in North Korea could far more easily turn its weapons against its Asian neighbors than against the United States. So it shouldn’t be in China’s interest to help North Korean obtain nuclear weapons.
Let’s hope President Obama’s strong rhetoric is backed by a firm resolve to confront North Korea’s defiance of the international community. The ramifications of his response go far beyond the Korean Peninsula. After all, it was President Kennedy’s disastrously weak performance during a 1961 meeting with Nikita Khrushchev that inspired the Soviet leader to initiate the Berlin Crisis and the Cuban Missile Crisis.
North Korea is challenging President Obama, just as it challenged President Bush in 2003 and President Clinton in 1994. It’s time to put domestic politics aside and present a united front against a determined enemy.