The incompetence, gullibility and lassitude of three successive administrations have dumped the horrible problem of North Korea into the lap of President Donald Trump. The shilly-shallying and pretend-resolutions that marked the old way of dealing with Pyongyang have come to a dead end.
The crisis exposes the infirmity of the Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama administrations in their North Korea policies. But it goes back even earlier. It is now clear that, while his insubordination was unacceptable, General Douglas MacArthur was correct in advocating disposing of North Korea when we could have done so. The resulting loss of life would likely have been less than was caused by continuing to skirmish on the 38th Parallel for the next three years.
We would, at the same time, have chastened the People’s Republic of China, which subsequently whetted its appetite with the fiasco of the French in North Vietnam. We might have normalized contact with China, and triangulated the Great Powers relationship, ten years earlier than we did.
MacArthur foresaw what a pestilential nuisance the Kimist lunatic asylum in North Korea would become, and there were many astute foreign policy analysts, including then Sen. Richard Nixon and soon-to-be Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, who agreed with him.