Letter: Nuclear blackmail biggest threat from North Korea

April 24, 2013 

Jim Stoffel's recent letter minimized the threat posed by North Korea, correctly pointing out that North Korea has few and small nuclear weapons and no missiles capable of reaching our strategic weapons.

True enough now, but North Korea continues to slowly develop its nuclear forces and may already be able to mount a nuclear attack on its neighbors. Eventually it will have the capability to reach us.

When it does, Mr. Stoffels implies it wouldn't dare attack us because we could overwhelm North Korea with our response. We could, but would we? After all, retaliation would have severe consequences to our allies Japan and South Korea, and could trigger war with China.

I think the leadership of North Korea is well aware of our reluctance to retaliate, thereby opening us up to nuclear blackmail. Therein lies the real danger.

Or is Stoffels supporting a Strangelovian approach to nuclear defense? An overwhelming nuclear response with no regard for the consequences? Even that old Cold Warrior Ronald Reagan confided to William F. Buckley (to his dismay) and others that he didn't think he could bring himself to order such retaliation because of the consequences to mankind.

RICHARD ENGELMANN, Pasco

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