Leave him be we say.
An occasional Raytheon ™ provided slap across the face if he plays too fast and loose with sarin? Very reasonable, if not without risks.
But to those who want him removed, beware: The ghost of Moammar Ghadaffi (How the world misses ye! May ye rest in peace!) resplendent in still magnificent African robes casts a long shadow. For the alternatives to Assad are all worse than Assad many times over. Remove Assad from power and post-Assad Syria instantly becomes post-Ghadhaffi Libya without precious, soul-nourishing, hydrocarbons, and with still more dubious stakeholders invested in carving up Syria’s geopolitical carcass.
Assad can and most likely will be reined in now that he knows he does not have a blank check from Trump to do whatever he wants.
North Korea is an entirely different matter.
I admire NorkKor’s intelligence service. Whatever it does (and whatever the hell that is, is quite opaque even to the Chinese) is built around Proletarian Socialism, which means it does not involve pussyhats, global warming, human “rights”, or diversity.
I have recommended the North Korean model of discipline for America’s intelligence agencies. I will continue to recommend it so long as our intelligence services are more interested in transgender “rights” than espionage.
But this Stalinist throwback, as a whole, may have finally outlived its usefulness, even to this blog which is still very open to having authoritarian regimes make their case without any historical filters.
But a North Korean ICBM program that can eventually produce a nuclear weapon able to reach the Continental United States will have to be destroyed, one way or other.
I admit, as a foreign policy crisis, I admire the threat North Korea poses for its purity, a survivor, unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality. Without those minor distractions we have a true strategic threat that will allow America to be even more unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality in annihilating it.
At Pragmatically Distributed we rarely leave a discussion of a particular case study without tying it back to theory.
The greater theoretical lesson to take from the saga of North Korea’s nuclear program is that the objective rogue governments have in acquiring nuclear weapons is not so much to actually use them. The true advantage to their having them is to grant them leverage to get away with all sorts of extra mischief that they could not get away with if they had only conventional weapons. With an ICBM, North Korea would be, for example, able to attack First World merchant ships because they would know the cost of retaliating to the United States for North Korea’s non-nuclear aggression could potentially escalate into a nuclear attack against the Continental US.
If an ICBM gives North Korea freedom to do evil, the United States’ objective must be to deny them the freedom an ICBM would give them by any means necessary.