Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) thinks that if anyone should be scared about their enemy’s next move, it should be the communist hermit kingdom of North Korea.
According to an op-ed written by the Senator in The Washington Post, Cruz believes the U.S. has spent far too much time being concerned with what North Korea is going to do next, and says the shoe should now be placed on the other foot.
“It’s now time to seize the initiative, put Kim Jong Un on his heels and set conditions on America’s terms,” wrote Cruz.
Cruz wrote that lifting any sanctions so that North Korea could participate in the Olympics would be a grave error and that the best way to keep North Korea from gaining any audacious notions is to keep pressure with adding sanctions. Not doing so would mean repeating the mistakes of the past by former President Barack Obama, who would reluctantly announce sanctions, instead of pursuing them with vigor.
“This appeasement policy has consistently kept the United States two steps behind North Korea, and we must reverse course,” wrote Cruz.
Cruz compared North Korea to a “mafia state” with partner countries that enable sanction violations and bankroll North Korea’s nuclear missile program. Despite this, Cruz says that North Korea is vulnerable to increased sanctions at a speed that would be hard for the hermit kingdom to keep up with:
Kim knows his regime is vulnerable, but until now, he has been able to rest assured that his pacing of missile and nuclear tests would set the tempo of international relations and give his elaborate financial web time to adapt to new sanctions. These moves have also enabled him to seize the diplomatic initiative, as evidenced by his recently proposed bilateral talks with South Korea.
Cruz’s solution is simple:
Rather than intervals of silence punctuated by limited designations, the Treasury Department should establish its own rhythm of sanctions announcements and force Kim to respond to our campaign. We must sanction key choke points and fine offending banks — especially Chinese banks. While I credit Trump for Chinese President Xi Jinping’s limited cooperation, recent reports of Chinese vessels violating sanctions by selling oil to North Korea on the high seas reinforce my long-held skepticism of Beijing’s promises.
While current sanctions have indeed put North Korea into a dicey situation, dicey is North Korea’s default economic status. The sanctions have not convinced the Kim regime to halt their nuclear missile program. Instead, they’ve only emboldened them to continue making missiles and conducting launches.
At this time, the U.S. is arm wrestling with North Korea. While the U.S. clearly has the stronger arm, and it does continue to put on the pressure, it’s not bringing North Korea to the table. The U.S. should use its global strength to apply force and slam the communist kingdom’s arm to the table so hard that it falls out of the chair.
Cruz’s strategy wouldn’t only knock North Korea into a state of fear and uncertainty with the U.S., it would outright make it second guess any desire to defy it. With North Korea, a volatile state that almost subsists on anti-American hatred, currently in belief that it should and will be a nuclear power, Washington should be applying all the force available to it.