North Korea’s successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile has brought to the fore the most consequential foreign policy question now facing President Trump: Should the United States go to war to eliminate the threat of North Korea’s nuclear weapons?
So far, the debate in Washington over preventive military action has centered on the nature of the threat. Can a more capable North Korea be deterred from using nuclear weapons against the United States and its allies? Will it engage in nuclear blackmail, sell weapons to terrorists or other rogue regimes, or try to unify the peninsula by force? These are important considerations, but not the only ones that matter. Any decision to attack North Korea must also take into account the extraordinary human, military, and economic costs the United States and its allies would bear for years to come. Odds are good that America would be signing up for a nation building project of epic proportions.This article was originally published in The Hill.