The United States can shipwreck North Korea’s nuclear ambitions by striking a deal with China.
We should close our military bases and end our defense commitments to Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines. In exchange, China would be required to force North Korea to abandon its nuclear arsenal and to renew its adherence to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. That could be accomplished by China’s annexation, military occupation, or economic strangulation of North Korea. China would also be required to honor freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.
At present, China profits but marginally from North Korea’s nuclear or missile fecklessness and chronic threats against the United States, South Korea, and Japan. The more we and our professed Asian allies must focus military plans and resources on North Korea, the less are available to oppose China.
On the other hand, North Korea’s bellicosity militates against China’s national security by offering justification for South Korea and Japan to permit the United States to station military bases and tens of thousands of troops within their borders; and, for South Korea to consider deploying a United States ballistic missile defense system, i.e., Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THADD).
China would prefer to jockey with its neighbors in Asia without confronting the United States. Here, the United States’ national security converges with China’s.
The Constitution prescribes a foreign policy of invincible self-defense as optimal for national security. At present, It would include pay raises for the men and women who guard our land, sea, air, and cybersecurity borders; the re-deployment of 100 percent of our military resources to the United States to defend the homeland from foreign aggression; and, the termination of treaty or executive branch commitments to defend 69 foreign countries from attack without congressional authorization in contravention Article I, section 8, clause 11.
President George Washington, who was present at the creation of the Constitution, advised in his Farewell Address to avoid foreign entanglements that invariably tie our destiny to the ambitions of others. His advice rested on timeless facets of human nature, not on the current state of transportation technology for crossing the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans:
“It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world…There can be no greater error than to expect or caluclate upon real favors from nation to nation. It is an illusion, which experience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard.”
Then Secretary of State John Quincy Adams elaborated in his July 4, 1821
address to Congress that while the United States wishes freedom and independece abroad to flourish, it fights only to defend its own. The military-industrial complex necessary for the United States to police the world would create a tyranny at home by crowning the executive with limitless power.
The United States is safer from foreign aggression than any other nation in history. Our nuclear arsenal is terrifying. Our conventional weapons are unsurpassed. Our military budget dwarfs that of any other rival. Our armed forces are the best trained in the world.
By ending all of our overseas bases, lily pads, and commitments to foreign nations, and dedicating all of our military resources (including increased pay for soldiers, pilots, and naval personnel) to defending the nation’s borders, our self-defense shield would be impenetrable. By avoiding foreign entanglements as President Washington advised, we would confront fewer adversaries. At present, most have been created by decades of a foreign policy that figuratively first searches for hornets’ nests abroad to burst asunder with bayonets, and then squanders trillions of dollars endlessly to fight the angry hornets we provoked.
John Quincy Adams provided an unanswerable explanation for resisting the temptation of world domination in his July 4 address:
“[America] would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom.
The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force….
She might become the dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit….”
Engaging China to eliminate North Korea’s nuclear threat would be the first fruits of restoring the Constitution’s foreign policy of invincible self-defense.